Shaina Brown and Ashley Maier at State Capitol

Shaina Brown (L), Ashley Maier (R) at State Capitol

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2014 Pathways to Policy Institute: The California Women’s Research Forum’s Mentoring Initiative for Young Women Leaders with CALCASA’s newest staff member, Shaina Brown.  Shaina joined CALCASA just this week, serving as Public Affairs and Communications Associate.  With a background in public affairs, media relations, and grants management, she will be responsible for managing strategic communications and providing analysis on legislative issues related to sexual violence.  Learn more about Shaina, and other CALCASA staff members, here.
Taking place in conjunction with the California Women’s Policy Summit, Pathways to Policy is a day-long intensive training program inviting young women from throughout the state to build skills around policy work, receive and provide mentorship, and interact with policymakers.  At a special reception at the State Capital, CALCASA’s own Associate Director, Ellen Yin-Wycoff, was honored as an example of strong women’s leadership in, consistent with the theme of the women’s policy summit, advancing women’s health, wealth, and power.  Assembly members Nancy Skinner and Susan T. Eggman joined many other legislative staffers, local policymakers, and other legislative advocates, sharing their professional journeys and stories of success.
An invaluable experience, Pathways to Policy was the definition of empowerment, focused on fostering young women as policy leaders to make real change for California’s women and girls.  As Shaina reports:

I leave energized by the participation and enthusiasm from a diverse set of participants – students and young professionals, alike, coming together to empower each other and inspire change. This was the perfect opportunity to kick-off the legislative session.

Policy can be an incredibly powerful way to support women, especially regarding issues like sexual assault.  With so many (over 65!) young women leaders in the room yesterday, it was crystal clear that we are on our way there.  And the leadership continues – today, CALCASA’s Executive Director, Sandra Henriquez, will participate in a session about the rape kit backlog.  Learn more about CALCASA’s policy agenda here and stay tuned for Shaina’s report on today’s session.