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October 14, 2015, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

The 4th Annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon

Event Recap

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Family Paths’ 4th Annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon was held on October 14, at the Lakeside Garden Center at Lake Merritt, Oakland. The sold-out crowd of more than 100 women, allied men and honored guests in attendance grossed over $13,000 for Family Paths! In addition to raising much needed unrestricted funds for services not-otherwise-paid for, this was an exciting year for the luncheon as we introduced two new traditions – holding the event in the East Bay for the first time and the induction of our first Honorary Chairwoman!

The decision to move the event to the East Bay was not easy: we are grateful to our founder, Mary Brooks, for her sponsorship that allowed for such prior success at the beautiful San Francisco City Club…thank you, Mary! However, we also agreed that it was becoming necessary to further our mission of serving this community with increased Agency visibility and access closer to home. To this end, we were delighted to have engaged more local sponsors than ever and to have been joined by several local dignitaries whose presence and thoughtful input enhanced the event for all.
State Assembly member Tony Thurmond opened the day with poignant remarks reminding us of the beauty and strength already in Oakland and the potential we all have to contribute in various and generous ways. To encourage positive growth and sustainability, Assembly member Thurmond encouraged increased awareness and nurturance of Oakland’s children, especially today’s girls who will become Oakland’s future women leaders. Other Honorable guests to generously offer their time and support included the Oakland City Councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington (Dist. 4) and Abel Guillen (Dist. 2); BART Director, Robert Rayburn, (Dist. 4) and Oakland’s City Auditor, Brenda Roberts. Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s attendance was much appreciated as were her thoughtful comments regarding Family Paths’ dedication and service to Alameda County foster youth. We salute our public leaders for your continued service and gratefully thank you for your support of Family Paths!

For the second year in a row, we were most privileged to have Donna Gianoulis at the mic as Emcee. Donna’s insightful commentary enhanced the program, which featured an inspiring keynote presentation by Sudha Shetty, JD, of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Sudha’s moving speech, entitled “Leveraging the Playing Field: A Personal Journey”, addressed her influences growing up in rural India, her move to the US and subsequent unwavering commitment to study law and set policy on behalf of all women, especially survivors of domestic violence who are mothers.
She has researched and championed such issues across the country and internationally to protect women and children as well as instituted career-path programs for women survivors striving for economic self-sufficiency. Our thanks to Sudha and colleagues at the GSPP for supporting our event and their larger contributions in line with Family Paths’ vision of a safe home for every child.

Additionally, The Honorable Courtney Ruby, Oakland’s former 2-term City Auditor, held a special role as this year’s inaugural Honorary Chairwoman. We created and presented this award to Ms. Ruby for voluntarily approaching Family Paths’ earlier this year and asking, “How can I help?” What ensued has become a fruitful friendship wherein Ms. Ruby has stepped up to advise, consult and make public appearances on our behalf. During her whole-hearted acceptance speech, she personally thanked Family Paths for the Hotline support our staff provided when she and her two adopted boys “became a family overnight”. We honor her commitment to her chosen family and to this community, as we thank her for her courage, transparency, leadership and public support in service of Family Paths.

And last but certainly not least, Family Paths extends our heartfelt thanks to our Sponsors, In-kind donors and those of you who attended our luncheon, many as repeat supporters! We look forward to continued partnerships in 2016! And we are already taking suggestions for an engaging woman leader to be our next Keynote. If you can recommend someone who would be a great addition to the Family Paths’ Women’s Leadership Luncheon series, kindly contact Kimberly Cohn: kcohn@familypaths.org


October 14, 2015
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Lakeside Park Garden Center