LA, CA Leaders Discuss Breaking the Stained-Glass Ceiling Luskin Leadership Development Program hosting Diversity in Leadership Conference on April 25.

diversityBy Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

On Saturday, April 25, UCLA Luskin hosted a Diversity in Leadership Conference to give students the opportunity to hear from top professionals about how to  break through a multi-colored glass ceiling and develop leadership skills as potential future leaders.

VC Powe, executive director of external relations, hosted the event under her Leadership Development Program. She says the conference was really organized around interest expressed by Luskin students.

“Last year students discussed hosting a women in leadership conference, but when I met with the committee this year, the students expressed a desire to open up the discussion to focus not just on women, but to all underrepresented groups,” Powe said.

Following a welcome address by the Commissions Appointment Secretary from the Office of Governor, Mona Pasquil, students participated in two panels with several Luskin Senior Fellows and leaders in Los Angeles County. The panel discussions were moderated by Val Zavala, the vice president of News and Public Affairs at KCET.

The day’s keynote address was delivered by Congresswoman Karen Bass.

Allyson Ly (MSW ‘15)  who was part of the conference planning committee said it is important for students who want to become advocates, policy makers and leaders to learn how others have been successful in similar areas of interest. The event allows students to learn about how they can be leaders while in a minority group whether that is in terms of race, sexual orientation, or any other combination of factors.

“It is important to learn how to advocate for individuals who may be in the minority, underserved or forgotten about, to help their voices be heard. I think students will come out motivated by the panelists and determined to find ways to acquire skills needed to become leaders in their field,” she said.

Ly said she is interested in learning about the struggles diverse leaders have faced and how their personal identity, values, history and present circumstances have influenced them throughout their careers.

Veronica Calkins, also a planning committee member said she thinks students should think about where they stand in terms of leadership skills to help them set goals as aspiring leaders. As future social workers, students have a lot of potential power to help the community and shape the lives of others, she said.

“Many students who enter the school of public affairs intend to help people who do not have large voices in society,” Calkins said. “ This conference will help individuals learn how to be better leaders for themselves and how to coach clients in our professional careers.”

Below is the breakdown of the panels and its speakers:

Panel 1:  Breaking the Stained-Glass Ceiling

  • Monique Earl, Deputy Controller, Los Angeles Office of the Controller

  • Torie Osborn, Principal Deputy for Policy/Strategy, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; Senior Fellow, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

  • Jennifer Thomas, Captain, Los Angeles Police Department

  • Alan Toy, Executive Director, Westside Center for Independent Living

Panel 2: Defining Leadership: How to become a great leader

  • Patricia Costales, Executive Director, The Guidance Center

  • Hon. Richard Katz, Founder, Katz Consulting, Former CA Assemblymember; Senior Fellow, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

  • Gillian Wright, Vice President, Customer Services, Southern California Gas Company

  • Hon. Betty Yee, CA State Controller

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Luskin School of Public Affairs in rooms 2343 and 2355. Students interested in attending should register here.


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