Leadership • Friendship • Community • Inspiration

January 2018

 The Preeminent Leadership Network

Dear Member,

Happy New Year! I am very honored to be your President for 2018 and excited to be working with our new Board of Directors. You can count on me to bring my passion for helping girls and women advance their leadership in this ever-changing world. As a senior technology executive, I was known for getting things done while building for the future. I will bring that same dedication and energy to IWF NorCal.

Our forum has a strong foundation and we will continue to build on the strategic plan developed last year with goals around member engagement, diversity, expanding our partnerships with IWF Global and the Legacy Foundation as well as providing accessible and relevant programs.

As you will see in the Newsletter, we had our Annual Meeting on January 16. We had over 100 members attend. It was an exciting evening to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to 2018. Please join me in thanking Nanette Lee Miller for her leadership as President over the last two years. Our thanks also go out to the Board and Board Committee members who are retiring their positions.

We also want to thank Christina Pacini and HollandParlette for their management support over the last three years.  Our organization no longer fits HollandParlette’s organizational model and we have decided to move to an independent team model. Please join me in welcoming Marsha Takagi, our new Interim Executive Director. Marsha will support us while we finalize a long-term solution.

The programs for the coming months are coming together thanks to Rene Kim, our Program Committee Chair and her team as well as a number of members who have shared great ideas. Please be sure to read our weekly program email distributed every Monday.

Our programs offer the opportunity to exchange ideas, to learn, to inspire, to build better leadership for a changing world. I encourage you to attend an event or host a small gathering or Behind the Scenes event. Rene welcomes all your great ideas!

Wendy York-Fess is the new Chair of the Membership Committee.  IWF is all about its members and we are always looking for more talented, successful women who share our values, goals and interests.  You can find our process for Nominating members on the website; Wendy is looking forward to receiving your candidates!

The Legacy Foundation is kicking off 2018 with a bold and exciting goal. We will increase our time, talent and treasure significantly over our great achievements in 2017. The Legacy Foundation gives us a great opportunity to give back to the community and make a difference to improve the status of women. You will be hearing more from Barbara Adachi, President of the Legacy Foundation, in the coming weeks.

The Board of Directors will hold our annual Retreat on January 27 where we will begin to map out our goals for 2018. Look for more information to come. In the meantime, I am excited to share with you an infographic on ‘Who We Are.’ It gives you a snapshot of our amazing forum. This was built from data in our member database. We will continue to refine this over time.

Now is the time to get involved. There are many unique and enriching opportunities before us. I look forward to an exciting 2018!

All the best,


Kathy Anderson
IWF President, Northern California

Please Renew your Membership by January 31, 2018

If you haven't already, it's time to renew your 2018 IWF Northern California membership. You can renew online, mail a check to the IWF Northern California office or call 1-415-227-9987  and provide your credit card. Renewals are due by January 31, 2018

If you have any questions or comments, please call Wendy York-Fess at 1-650-888-8371.

We don't want to go into this exciting next year without you!

Upcoming Events

United States Supreme Court Cases to Watch This Term 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 | Sausalito

Attorney and IWF NorCal member Barbara B. Creed will present a brief description of several important cases to be addressed by the United States Supreme Court during the term that began on October 2, 2017. Brief reading materials will be distributed in advance so attendees can familiarize themselves with the issues. Following Barbara's presentation on each issue, the group will discuss the issue, possible outcomes and potential effects of the Court's opinion. 

Don't miss this special opportunity to gain insights into key cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term!

Theatre Season 2017-2018

March 4, 2018 – Vietgone – Strand Theatre
April 8, 2018 – The Wolves – Marin Theatre

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with a Tea Tasting

Saturday, February 3, 2018 | Oakland

Learn about different tea growing regions in China and taste teas selected and brewed by master tea artisans John and Xiaobei. They travel to China annually to select the very best teas. You’ll experience a lesson in history, chemistry and most importantly the joys of fine tea. 
Sophie's Cuppa Tea is a tea playground providing the experience of tasting Chinese teas in true Chinese fashion - no milk, no sugar just fine tea brewed to exacting standards.

East Bay Supper Club: Managing the Intersection Between Art and Commerce

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | Lafayette

Our featured speaker, Susie Medak, Managing Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, will present Managing the Intersection Between Art and Commerce. Susie Medak has managed Berkeley Repertory Theater for over 27 years. In that time, she has learned a great deal about how to create an environment in which great artists can produce their best work while also balancing the sometimes conflicting priorities of art and money.

Annual Meeting Honors New Members

Nanette Lee Miller and Kathy Anderson
 Marsha Takagi, Valerie Corradini, and Heidi Kuhn  

Over 100 Northern California Women’s Forum members renewed friendships, celebrated 17 new members, and previewed events planned for 2018 at the annual meeting in January. The event started with a reception where members enjoyed wine from Lail Vineyards provided by our wine sponsor, Robin Lail. We honored Nanette Lee Miller, who reflected on her presidency, thanked retiring board members as well as Legacy Board members and praised committee chairs for their leadership. She passed the gavel to Kathy Anderson who shared her vision for the coming year, saying, “My vision is all members are engaged with IWF NorCal and coming away feeling energized and inspired, helping us as leaders and role models for the next generation.” Anderson welcomed new board members: Linda Abraham, Paula Collins, Valerie Corradini, Candice Eggerss, Cindy Eisenberg, Lisbeth McNabb, and Leah Toeniskoetter. Special thanks are due our sponsors including Robin Lail (wine sponsor), Nina McLemore (raffle), Dianne Snedaker and First Republic Bank (printing), Marcum LLP (pen and note pad), Casto Travel (cell phone wallet), and Nanette Lee Miller (access to City Club).

Annual meeting slides are available here.

Legacy Foundation: Leadership, Impact, Connectivity
 Barbara Adachi
Legacy Foundation President

As we begin 2018, I am excited to focus on the three tenets of our mission for the IWF NorCal Legacy Foundation:


Our primary Leadership goal for 2018 is to expand our partnership with IWF NorCal. This is core to our success and I look forward to working closely with Kathy Anderson and the Board to strengthen our engagement with IWF NorCal members. Kathy has asked me to remain on the IWF NorCal Board as an ex-officio member. I am excited to keep this connection strong as Kathy will also remain on the Legacy Foundation Board.

I am honored to continue as the Legacy Foundation President for 2018. Our 2018 IWF NorCal Legacy Foundation Board members are:

  • Jodi Morris, Vice President and President-Elect
  • Sue Sprunk, Treasurer
  • Moira Dowell, Secretary
  • Kathy Anderson
  • Aparna Bawa
  • Kathleen Burke
  • Christi Haley-Stover
  • Mary Jo Potter
  • Catherine Zinn

Congratulations and welcome to our new board members: Aparna, Kathleen, Mary Jo and Catherine!

We also want to thank our retiring Board members: Cindy Eisenberg, Susie Hoganson and Marsha Vande Berg. Thank you for your leadership, passion and commitment – you will be missed.


Our primary Impact goals will be to refine our selection criteria and to select a new partner for 2019.

As previously announced, in 2018 we will continue to invest in our two current partners: Year Up and Girl Scouts of Northern California. We will be selecting one replacement partner for 2019 this year as our 3-year relationship with Year Up will end at the end of 2018. Our nomination process will begin in June 2018 and more details about the process, selection criteria and timing will be forthcoming in the next few months.


Our primary Connectivity goal is to increase our volunteer and financial participation to 2/3 of our IWF membership. This is a very BOLD and ambitious goal and we are very excited about this opportunity! 2017 was an extraordinary year with more than 60 IWF members volunteering and making in-kind and monetary donations. Our board is looking forward to connecting with our members to understand how Legacy can continue to be impactful in our communities and meaningful to our members.

In closing, I would like to thank our Board, donors and leaders for making 2017 an extraordinary year. I believe that this is our time…to foster the development of the next generation of women leaders.  I look forward to being on that journey with you.

View the Legacy PowerPoint slides from the 2018 Annual Meeting

In Memoriam

Past IWF member Leslie Ferguson Langnecker Luttgens passed away peacefully at her home in San Francisco on October 27, 2017. Mrs. Luttgens, a community and civic leader, foundation trustee, corporate director, and philanthropist, was a trailblazer for women. She set precedents in the corporate world as an effective director on boards, and in the volunteer sector, as a committed leader and advocate for health, education and social service causes. Born December 27, 1922 in Palo Alto, she attended Stanford University ('43) where she served as president of the student body. She was the beloved wife of William F. Luttgens, M.D. who predeceased her, loving mother of Lise Luttgens, and devoted grandmother of Kate Santulli, both residing in Los Angeles.

Mrs. Luttgens worked at the Stanford (Presbyterian) Hospital Auxiliary (founding member), and the San Francisco Junior League (past president). Throughout her career, she served in leadership, governance and fundraising roles including the Nat'l Council on Foundations (former Chairman), the Rosenberg Foundation (past President and Trustee Emeritus), the Walter S. Johnson and Coro Foundations (past Director), SF Business Leadership Task Force (past Chairwoman), Private Industry Council of SF (past Vice Chair), UCSF Board of Overseers, United Bay Area Crusade (first female Board President), SF Mayor Agnos' Fiscal Advisory Committee and Hotel Tax Advisory Committee (past Chairman), SF Education Fund (past Chair), Mills College Associate Council (past Chair), Burke's and University High Schools (past Vice Chair). 
In the corporate sector, Mrs. Luttgens served on the boards of directors of Hexcel, Foremost- McKesson, Crocker National Bank, Pacific Gas & Electric Co, Pacific Telesis Group, and Pacific Bell. She received honorary degrees from Mills College and the University of San Francisco. She received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award for Leadership, the Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Public Service, and the Alumnae Resources WAVE (Women of Achievement, Vision & Excellence) award, among many others.
Her family is deeply grateful to her devoted caregivers, Josephine, Bernie and Trish. A celebration of her life will be planned at a future date by Lise Luttgens (LLuttgens@gmail.com). Please visit www.halstedngray.com for more information. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mrs. Luttgens' name to the Rosenberg Foundation, 131 Steuart Street, Suite 650, San Francisco, CA 94105.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 5, 2017

Events in Review

East Bay Supper Club: United States Supreme Court Preview

Barbara Creed Barbara Creed
 Cindy Eisenberg

We gathered at Postino Restaurant in Lafayette on November 9, 2017, to hear attorney and IWF NorCal Founding Member and Past President, Barbara Creed describe several important cases that will be addressed by the United States Supreme Court during its term that began on October 2, 2017.  Following Barbara’s presentation, we had a lively discussion on each issue, considered possible outcomes and the potential ramifications of the Court’s opinion.  The issues we discussed included:

  • Religious Objections to Same-Sex Marriage,
  • Digital Privacy, plus
  • Three cases on the Lawfulness of Class Action and Collective Action Waivers.

The evening definitely provided “food for thought.” Barbara engaged us with her legal scholarship and masterful understanding of the Supreme Court and its potential impact.

IWF Early Leader: Dianne Snedaker

By Jenny Erwin

Dianne is one of our members that I did not know very well so I welcomed this opportunity to interview her and get 
better acquainted. My impression has always been that she is generous with her time and resources as she often hosted local IWF programs at First Republic Bank where she was the Chief Marketing Officer. Also she obtained crucial sponsorships to support the international conference that our forum hosted in 2010 and our annual meetings. She has always projected positive energy, and I sensed that she was both a practical and creative person. I learned that was indeed true.

I conducted this interview just after she had retired from a successful career at First Republic, and she talked enthusiastically about this next stage in her life. But I also wanted to learn more about the evolution of her career and how she landed in the Bay area. Did you know that she was born in New York, was raised in Miami and never lost her east coast bravado? Like many women of that generation, teaching was her primary career option.  Yet immediately after taking one education class, she knew that was not her future. Instead she switched her major to advertising, an ideal fit that provided her 47 years of success, accomplishments and fun. After completing her graduate degree at Northwestern, she worked in the Chicago area for five years.  Although she enjoyed her work there, she was ready for a change of weather and scenery when she was recruited to work at Ketchum Advertising in San Francisco.  Once here, she knew she had found her home. Her 20+ years at Ketchum and another 16 at First Republic Bank add up to a lifetime commitment to the Bay area business community. 

In addition to hearing about her career, I also learned that Dianne is an avid traveler and loves to explore different cultures. She has just returned from a Costa Rica/Panama cruise and has upcoming trips planned to Cuba, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Our conversation ended much too quickly, but I look forward to reconnecting with her again at future IWF events. I encourage you to reach out to Dianne….you will be inspired, energized and learn some interesting history about the advertising and marketing industry. 

When did you join IWF and what was your position at that time?

I joined IWF in February 1989, shortly after I was appointed President of Ketchum Advertising in San Francisco. Ketchum, which was founded in 1923 in Pittsburgh, evolved over the next 90 years into the largest and most graphically diverse global advertising and public relations firm. Advertising was one of its three major divisions (its largest) and I worked there for 20 years.

What knowledge did you have about the early history of the organization and how did it impact your decision to join?

In truth, I knew very little about the organization. A wonderful colleague of mine at Ketchum, Maggie Waldron, was a member of IWF and approached me about it. I respected Maggie who ran our 2,000 square foot test kitchen and was friends with Alice Waters, James Beard, and Julia Child. At the time, I did not know many women in top executive positions, and I liked the idea of connecting with highly successful women through this organization.  Of course, over time, I have concentrated far less on conventional success factors and far more on our members as individuals.  Who knew I would meet such interesting people?

What was the most challenging aspect of your career at the time you joined and how did the organization provide support to help you deal with this?
There weren’t very many women in executive roles when I joined IWF and the biggest challenge was a common one—dealing with men who didn’t like reporting to (or even working with) a successful woman. Seeing other successful women thrive helped me believe in my own abilities and focus more on my own talents and less on the perceptions of others.

In Chicago, one of my clients was Proctor and Gamble who had no women executives in brand management. They wanted to actively recruit and hire outstanding female talent.  So they asked me, as the lone female executive they knew, to help interview potential women candidates to join their firm.  It was indeed a bare cupboard for women in leadership positions at that time.

What was the major benefit of membership when you joined the Forum? What do you see as the major membership benefit now?

When I joined, the primary benefit was having access to a women’s business networking group.  In those days, there were about 80 people in the organization so it was easy to connect with other members. I didn’t know it at the time, but the major benefit of belonging to IWF became the abundance of friendships I formed over the years. I find most successful women to be multi-dimensional and wildly interesting, and I can’t have enough smart, funny, kind and committed women in my life.

It’s been 35 + years since IWF started but is it any easier now for women in your field to advance to the top leadership roles? Why or why not? What are the current challenges/barriers to women’s top leadership advancement?

I personally think it is far easier to advance in advertising (where I started) or in banking (where I just retired) because of the success of so many different people. Many women have proven themselves which makes it easier for succeeding female hires. (Ironically, when I started in business, many men thought that they only needed to hire “one of them”—women! — to reach their required quotas.)  Diversity and the benefits of different perspectives is better understood now and that helps men, women, people of color, people of different origins, etc. That said, far more women than men are leaving senior positions to take care of their families, and this creates some wakes.  Personally, I believe our culture may have placed too much emphasis on conventional business success, and the achievement of work/life balance may be the new definition of success.

What are you most proud of in your career and what do you consider your most significant contribution to your profession?

There are several things. First in terms of work product, I believe I have created a body of work that has been breakthrough and quite memorable. Developing campaigns for the beef industry and Bank of America when they were in major decline provided immediate results. These and other marketing campaigns, for Acura, Orville Redenbacher Popcorn and First Republic Bank, for example, also made me proud. And it’s been fun and rewarding to find success through my own quirky path. But more importantly than that, I take real pride in the colleagues I have inspired and helped develop over the years. I never considered myself a mentor per se, but that has been the word used most often to describe me. I revel in the success of my teammates and delight when I am told that I may have helped others along the way. Finally, I am proud that I was true to myself and didn’t have to change who I was at work to fit in or be successful.
To what do you attribute your success?
There are all the usual things…hard work, humility, hiring well, and so forth. But the fact that I never really focused on being successful but instead focused on loving what I do may have been the magical path to achievement.  As the saying goes, I focused on the journey, not the destination, and the road led to a wonderful place. I give my mother much credit for this perspective.  She was well-grounded and instilled in me and my sister several key values: get a good education, do your best, don’t be stuck on yourself and never prevent yourself from trying new things.

What was the best advice you got as you climbed the ladder to success? Is it still relevant for aspiring women leaders today?
Ironically, it was much of what I just mentioned above: Just love what you do and do it the best you can.  Either you will succeed wildly beyond your imagination or you will have a great time—and, if you’re lucky, both will happen.  Yes, it is still relevant today.
Are you currently retired and if so, was it a challenge to make that transition? What helped you successfully navigate retirement?
I have only been retired since January 1, so I am not the most knowledgeable on this subject.  But since it is new to me, I can say this:  It was initially bittersweet when I contemplated retirement because it meant the end of what I had been doing for so long.  But that said, once I concentrated on the talent I had helped nurture and was leaving behind, I became more enthusiastic about my retirement and truly excited about what was ahead for my remaining colleagues. It also helped when I focused on what I was going to, instead of what I was leaving behind.  I have tons of adventures on the horizon including travel, consulting and working with nonprofits. Lastly, I truly believe that retirement is easier for women, especially if you have a network of great friends, because it allows you to have more fun together. This is a great plus of IWF.

What leadership roles have you held within the Forum and what current programs are of most interest to you?
I have served on the board a couple of times, and have attended all sorts of programs. I particularly love the conferences and the internationally oriented educational programs. There are such interesting women from all over the world who both inspire and educate at these international events. To this day, one of the early conferences in Israel remains one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

How do you define success?
Great achievement at something you really love.

Is there a quote that has inspired you or represents your philosophy of life?
I saw this some years ago and really liked it. It does sum up how I feel: “Life isn’t about surviving the storm, but how to dance in the rain.”

What book has had a profound impact on you?
There are so many books that have influenced me as I was an avid reader from an early age.  As a young girl, it was To Kill a Mockingbird for its message about tolerance and premature judgment (among other things). As an adult, I am most inspired by books that celebrate triumph through anguish. (Some recent favorites: The Boys in the Boat, Dreams of Joy, The Language of Flowers, Lilac Girls.)
What advice or messages should we be giving women and girls today about careers?
Be your own person. It isn’t about being a man or a woman; it’s about being your best self and seeking the goal (or career) you most want for yourself—whatever that is.

Final comments, thoughts or words of wisdom
Most of the corny wisdom we receive over the years actually does become true. Pay attention. It doesn’t mean act on everything you hear. It just means consider the learning of others. It can sometimes ease the way.

Newsletter Article Submissions

We welcome member participation in our monthly publication!  If you have a newsletter article to submit please see our article format guidelines and send your article to iwfnorcal@gmail.com and be sure to copy our newsletter editors Marcia Linn at mlinn@berkeley.edu and Linda Cyrog at lcyrog@gmail.com.  Thank you for your contributions to IWF Northern California!

Contact us at iwfnorcal@gmail.com                      1040 El Camino Real #205, Burlingame, CA 94010                              415-227-9987

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