Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D, president of Skyline College, received a standing ovation after keynoting at the Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference presented by the County of San Mateo’s Commission on the Status of Women.This timely and sold-out conference attracted dynamic speakers to appeal to diverse groups of women in San Mateo County and was on the same day as the national March for Our Lives.

The Commission on the Status of Women of San Mateo County launched its Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference with the theme “Breaking Out” Empowering & Encouraging Women Leaders” on March 26, 2018.

The objective of this event was to empower, lead, and recognize women with their accomplishments who have impacted San Mateo County.  The day covered topics on:

  • Capitalizing on Women’s Leadership/Creating a pipeline for powerful women leaders
  • Powerhouse female legislators/Government & Community Engagement
  • Mentoring & Networking

The Women’s Leadership Conference took place last Saturday, March 24, 2018 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Grove, at Cañada College in Redwood City.  Over 200 women from diverse backgrounds were in attendance.  The conference was followed by the Women’s Hall of Fame with a networking reception that started at 3:00 pm and Awards presentation at 4:00 pm.

This conference offered participants a unique perspective on women’s leadership—rather than asking women to change themselves to “better fit” the current culture, the speakers spoke about how they can drive systemic change in corporate culture, policy, compensation, and government representation to empower women and encourage their leadership style.

Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D, the featured keynote during lunch, is the president of Skyline College.  Stroud has been an educator in the California Community Colleges for more than thirty years.  Stroud presented real stories of young women who overcame adversity.  The purpose of sharing these stories was to “humanize” issues that she advocates for as a leader.  During Stroud’s talk, she stated, “You do not have the luxury of mediocrity.  You need to get comfortable with power.”  Stroud received a standing ovation after an interesting Q & A that opened up after her talk. Women from all backgrounds, stood in solidarity to ask Stroud questions pointing to issues that leaders face. “The Women’s Leadership Conference, and the Commission on the Status of Women, provided the platform we need right now to lift up female leaders in our own community and ensure empowered women are embracing their strength and can lead the charge for gender equality on a global scale.”Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D.

Michelle Droz, Senior Partner and VP of Woodruff Sawyer, was the emcee for the conference. “It was an honor to emcee the Inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference that attracted women from diverse backgrounds. It was wonderful seeing so many young women from Skyline College attend the conference.  The energy level was high and these women were engaging with each other and the speakers. This event came at a perfect time and was on the same day as the March for Our Lives Walk! Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, our keynote, created a brave space for these women to ask difficult questions that they face in their leadership roles.  Stroud provided such wisdom and grace in her answers to the questions asked which earned the standing ovation she received after speaking.  San Mateo County has amazing women and it is exciting to see other women empower and inspire each other.”

Other featured speakers include Cañada College President, Dr. Jamillah Moore, Brigid O’Farrell, author of Eleanor Roosevelt’s white papers, Leah Weiss (teaches Compassionate Leadership at Stanford and recently launched her book “How we work: Reclaim your sanity”), Jaemi Serene (founder of SheLeadsHer), and Patty White (co-founder of the company ReBoot Accel).

San Mateo County Board Supervisor, Carole Groom, moderated the government panel and served as the emcee for the Women’s Hall of Fame. Government panelists included Shara Watkins, San Mateo-Foster City School Board Trustee and Davina Hurt, Vice Mayor for the City of Belmont. This conference introduced women leaders from business, education and politics- allowing the opportunity to network and hear first-hand, their stories.” –Carole Groom

“This was an opportunity for women to learn about local government and how to engage with the community which will increase our pipeline of women leaders.  Women coming together to empower one another to bring about needed change is inspiring.  The response to this conference has been overwhelming as it has been a long time coming for both young women and those re-entering the work force.”  –Linda Koelling, President of the Commission on the Status of Women

This year’s honorees recognized at the Women’s Hall of Fame were Erin Tormey (founder of the Coastside Farmer’s Market) and Naomi Patridge (first Asian-American to be elected for public office in San Mateo County). Both ladies are from Half Moon Bay.  The third honoree, Kalimah Saluddan, is from Daly City and currently serves as a Trustee for the Jefferson Union High School District Board of Education.

County of San Mateo was the presenting sponsor for this Women’s Leadership Conference and Hall of Fame. Other sponsors included Skyline College, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Cañada College, Woodruff Sawyer, Chajinel Home Care Services, Warner Pacific, Cigna Healthcare, Swinerton Management & Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, and event organizer Circle Communications. In-kind sponsors that contributed to the conference included Crystal Springs Catering, Foster City Chamber (wine), Ailli Ice Designs (Florists), Mazetti’s Bakery, Scott Buschman Photography, Bagicha Garden & Floral Designs, Hal Kataoka M.A. (Inspirant Photographer), Aaron & Matt Alvarado (A+ Photo & Videography), ICF professional coaching. “It was wonderful to work with these generous sponsors like Gilead Sciences and Kaiser Permanente who donated back their tickets so women on our waiting list could attend this invaluable conference.  There were also a group of individuals who purchased tickets to go towards this scholarship fund so those who did not have the financial means were able to attend. We also had many volunteers that donated their time and talent before and during the event to make it successful.  This conference was definitely a community effort!”—Leila Perreras, Circle Communications.

About County of San Mateo’s Commission on the Status of Women

The Commission on the Status of Women, an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors, seeks to improve the quality of life for women of all ages in San Mateo County. Through strategic partnerships and collaboration, the commission identifies women’s needs, advises the board of supervisors, and educates the community on matters concerning women.

For any questions or suggestions regarding the Commission, or interest to serve as a commissioner, contact 650-363-4467 or  A copy of the conference program is available at



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