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14th Annual Powerful Women of the Bay Luncheon

The 14th Annual Powerful Woman of the Bay Luncheon was held at Scott’s Pavilion in Jack London Square on March 30. The event celebrated women that are passionate about educating, empowering, and connecting with women in business and the community.

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14th Annual Powerful Women of the Bay Luncheon
14th Annual Powerful Women of the Bay Luncheon

By Carla Thomas

The 14th Annual Powerful Woman of the Bay Luncheon was held at Scott’s Pavilion in Jack London Square on March 30. The event celebrated women that are passionate about educating, empowering, and connecting with women in business and the community.

Honorees included Tali Bray, Wells Fargo Executive Vice President of Technology Diversity, Community & Sustainability. Bray leads a global team with focus on strategy, cultural transformation, and sustainability.

Dr. Chris Wachira, Founder & CEO of the Wachira Group received the C. Diane Howell Entrepreneur Award. C. Diane Howell was the publisher of Black Business Listings, a publication created to connect, promote and inform Black business owners. Wachira, a Kenyan born entrepreneur and her husband Chadwick Spells are the owners of Karibou Wine Lounge in Alameda.

California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis was also recognized. Kounalakis is the first woman lieutenant governor of California and also serves as California’s representative for International Affairs and Trade.

California Assemblymember Mia Bonta was also recognized. Bonta serves the 18th Assembly District of the East Bay, including Alameda, Emeryville, and Oakland. Bonta’s husband in attendance, California Attorney General Rob Bonta acknowledged his wife’s accomplishments.

Honoree Nola J. Turnage is the senior manager of Legal Operations of Contracts for Okta, Inc. Turnage and her team are responsible for managing Okta’s go-to market agreements worldwide.

The head of Uber’s Public Policy and Communications in the Western U.S., Ramona Pierto, was recognized. Pierto leads the work spanning policy, stakeholder, community engagement, and corporate communications.

Artist Chrisel Ahime Martinez was honored. Martinez is an artistic director fusing her political ideologies and grassroots understanding with her love for public programming. The DWJ Public Policy Initiative develops leaders for public office. The seven-month fellowship is named in honor of Dezie Woods Jones by BWOPA, Business Women Organized for Political Action.

President and publisher of the San Francisco Business Times, Mary Huss was honored. Huss currently serves on the San Francisco State University Foundation Board and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The Innovator Award was presented to Ay’Anna Moody, Social Impact & Sports Senior Director for the Golden State Warriors. Moody launched Generation Thrive that has served over 6,000 educators with free professional development and learning opportunities.

State Controller Malia Cohen provided the keynote address. Elected in November 2022 as chief fiscal officer responsible for the world’s fifth-largest economy, Cohen is responsible for protecting and accounting for the state’s financial resources.

Cohen serves on 70 boards and commissions and chairs the Franchise Tax Board. The nation’s two largest public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System (CalSTRS), which have a combined portfolio of $750 billion, are also boards Cohen serves on.

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