Business & Professions
Julie Castro Abrams is the CEO of Women’s
Initiative for Self Employment, a non-profit which provides education,
training, and microloans to women-owned small businesses and transforms the
lives of low income, high potential graduates. Under Ms. Abrams’s direction, the training-based, micro
lending program has generated a return of $30 to the local economy for every
dollar spent. Julie is responsible
for the organization’s expansion from three to eighteen training locations
throughout the Bay Area, including an expansion to Novato. Through her leadership, the
organization has increased the number of women trained and receiving microloans
by tenfold, and generating an estimated $480 million social return on
Julie has been profoundly affected by
social and economic inequality since she was a little girl. She quickly identified a life path that
embraced the Judaic-Christian-Muslim traditions of service, sacrifice, and
encouraging strength and transformation among the most marginalized community members.
Julie is a passionate advocate and clear
that Women’s Initiative provides the most effective poverty-reduction strategy
that exists. She believes that
economic power is at the heart of the search for equality and social justice
and she has worked on behalf of women, children and various communities of
color her whole life.
A leader in non-profit sector for twenty
years, Julie has advanced degrees in social work and social policy from
Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, and speaks both nationally
and internationally on U.S. economic development, microenterprise and microfinance,
anti-poverty strategies, and women’s issues. She joined Women’s Initiative in
2002, after spending more than a decade heading non-profits in the Chicago region.
While leading Women’s Initiative, Ms.
Abrams received the Community Leader of the Year award from Leadership
California, named among San Francisco’s “Most Influential Women”, and
recognized by the San Francisco League of Women voters as a “Woman Who Could Be
President.” She has also been
named the SBA Business Advocate of the year, awarded Oakland’s Women of
Greatness, Human Rights Award from the Commission on the Status of Women and
the Women of Color Action Network Award.
Under Ms. Abrams’s leadership, the Urban Institute Best Practices
Foundation, the Equal Rights Advocates, and Cisco Innovation in Technology have
recognized Women’s Initiative.
Ms. Abrams is on the board of the National
Council of La Raza and she is a member of the advisory board for OneCal
Julie shares a bilingual home with a
devoted husband who was born in Mexico, two wonderful children who she adores,
and has foster parented abused and neglected Marin children.
Business & Professions
Etta Allen is a Marin pioneer for women in non-traditional
careers. Etta showed an early resolve for entering fields not
ordinarily open to women by earning an airplane pilot's license while
still a teenager. Later, she co-founded a heating, air conditioning
and sheet metal business with her husband, Jim. Upon his death,
she faced tremendous obstacles to obtaining a heating/ventilation
contractor's license for herself, despite years of contracting experience.
Through persistence and patience - the hallmarks of Etta's success
- she was able to take the contractor's exam. Allen Heating
and Sheeting Metal, Inc. continues to be a successful Marin business.
Ms. Allen went on to become the first
woman President of the Marin Builder's Exchange, where she is still
an active member. She was the first woman contractor on the
executive committee of the California Association of Builder's Exchanges.
She also served on the Apprentice Committee for Women in Non-Traditional
Careers. Etta was elected to the Marin Community College Board
for two terms (eight years). She was President of the Bay Area
Trustees for Community Colleges. Etta continues to be a leader
in the Marin community. She was appointed by the Governor to
the State Compensation Insurance Fund Board. She was the first
woman President of the San Rafael Rotary Club, and was President of
the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. She maintains a strong involvement
with both organizations. A board member of the Marin General
Hospital Foundation for many years, she recently moved to the Hospital's
Management Board of Directors. In addition, Etta is a director
of Westamerica Bank.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai.
Internationally acclaimed author Isabel Allende began writing novels
in 1981. Since then her books have been translated into 27 languages;
two of the books were made into motion pictures and theater plays.
All her works have a common theme: life is precious and should be
lived free from oppression. Her novels feature female protagonists
whose strength, intelligence and creativity enable them to endure
hardships, fight oppression and improve the world around them.
A Marin County resident since 1988, Ms. Allende
typifies the characteristics of her protagonists. She combines
toughness with gentleness, spirituality with independence. A
Chilean native, Ms. Allende, through her actions and her novels, fought
the Pinochet regime until its downfall in 1988. Originally a
journalist, she wrote her first novel, "The House of Spirits",
in 1981 to bring attention to the brutality of the Pinochet regime.
Since becoming a Marin resident, Ms. Allende
has greatly and purposefully lent her support to numerous philanthropic
organizations and agencies which enrich our community.
Ms. Allende has received several honorary
degrees and her books have received numerous awards including:
Best Novel of the Year-Panorama Literario, Chile, 1983; Book
of the Year, Germany, 1984; Grand Prix d'Evasion, France, 1984, Grand
Prix de la Radio Television Belge, Belgium, 1985; Freedom to Write,
Pen Club, USA 1991 and many others.
To read more about Ms. Allende on her web site. www.isabelallende.com
Read the extended biography by Marianne Rogoff
Nahid Angha, Ph.D., is an international Muslim Sufi leader, a renowned
scholar, and a resident of Marin County. Her long CV demonstrates
tireless dedication to the transformation of individuals, communities,
and institutions; an ongoing commitment to human rights; and interfaith
cooperation. She has worked tirelessly for more than 25 years to empower
others - especially women - through education and leadership training.
Her peers and many admirers consider her a visionary transformer.
Sufism, the mysticism of Islam, has many forms
and is practiced in many cultures. Traditionally, Sufi communities
have been isolated from each other (often by choice) and guided solely
by men. Dr. Angha changed all that. In 1983, she and her husband Dr.
Ali Kianfar co-founded the Marin-based International Association of
Sufism (IAS), to open a line of communication among Sufis from around
the world. IAS was the first Sufi organization admitted as an
NGO/DPI to the United Nations. Dr. Angha is IAS' main representative
the UN. IAS earned UNESCO's "Messenger of Peace" award in 2000.
Through her steadfast leadership, Dr. Angha has
paved the way for Muslim women to assume leadership roles within the
Sufi community, the greater Islamic community, and the international
interfaith religious community. She established a Sufi network uniting
individual Muslim and non-Muslim communities under one umbrella organization.
She was the first woman ever to sit in the inner circle council of
the annual Sufi Symposium - a truly revolutionary accomplishment.
To recognize and acknowledge the contribution of Sufi women to the
advancement of our civilizations, and to empower women, Dr. Angha
formed the Sufi Women's Organization, an international humanitarian,
nonsectarian organization working for human rights with focus on women's
rights. SWO now has chapters in the US and 14 other countries.
Locally, Dr. Angha has held numerous positions
on interfaith councils and was an active member of the Marin Interfaith
Council. She established a partnership with Dominican University that
resulted in an annual series of "Building Bridges of Peace" lectures.
The first lecture brought together members from all the religious
communities in the County, as well as the general public, to establish
networks for joint community action and social justice. In San Jose,
where people of many cultures reside, Dr. Angha formed a domestic
violence awareness and prevention program for women in the Middle
Marin County is indeed fortunate to claim Dr. Nahid
Angha as one of our own.
Angeles Arrien is a cultural
anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to many
organizations and businesses. Raised bi-culturally and first generation
of a Basque immigrant family from the Pyrenees mountains of Spain,
Angeles discovered as a young girl, her deep interest in teaching and in
learning about other cultures, because of her own bi-cultural
experience. With family in both the Basque communities of Idaho and
Spain, she eventually pursued her interests in diverse cultures and
international work through an advanced degree in Anthropology and
Folklore at UC Berkeley. This allowed her to learn about cross-cultural
and indigenous traditions, and explore the commonalities of Perrenial
Wisdoms encompassing spiritual and religious traditions, societal mores,
and universal values.
As a young woman travelling around the world as part of her studies,
teaching and research, Angeles developed a lifelong commitment to
finding the common ground between people and communities. She feels it
is important to bridge differences and optimize the creative
opportunities and points of unity found in diversity, by revealing the
“universal wisdoms” that transcend culture, history, or family
conditioning. Angeles has remained committed for over 45 years to the
pursuit of these universal and perennial wisdoms, and in disseminating
them through her national and international work, in a sustainable
manner so they will be preserved for generations of the future. Her
lectures, courses, and writings, bridge cultural anthropology,
psychology, comparative religions, conflict resolution and mediation
She has written seven books, which have been translated into thirteen
languages. Her award-winning books include: The Signs of Life (Winner
of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award), and The Second Half of Life:
Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom (Winner of the 2007 Nautilus Award for
Best book on Ageing). Angeles is most known for her book, The Four-Fold
Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary,
from which her programs, keynotes and workshops draw most extensively,
to enhance the personal and professional development of others. Through
her Fold-Fold Way programs, and lifelong love of nature, she has
provided 3-day 3-night solo wilderness experiences for over 6000 people
of all ages.
Angeles has taught in the University of California system at
Berkeley, Los Angeles, Irvine, Davis, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. She
has been an associate professor at three Bay Area graduate schools, the
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), John F. Kennedy
University and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. While at CIIS,
she co-designed and implemented the Social and Cultural Anthropology
Doctoral program, and received their Distinguished Teaching Award. Since
1988, she has received three honorary doctorate degrees in: Philosophy;
Transpersonal Education; and a Doctorate of Divinity. For many years,
she has been an international advisor and past Fellow at the Institute
of Noetic Sciences. She is currently a core faculty with the End-of-Life
Counselor Training (EOL) program sponsored by the Metta Institute,
which trains and supports professionals who wish to work in the field of
hospice and palliative care in a compassionate way.
Angeles is the also the Founder and President of the Foundation for
Cross-Cultural Education and Research. The Foundation supports the
preservation of cultural heritage of Indigenous Traditions worldwide;
sponsors multi-cultural bridging and collaborative projects between
countries, professions, generations and faiths. Additionally, it honors
international elders as invaluable mentors and wisdom-keepers; fosters
the development of emerging youth leaders worldwide; and supports
environmental sustainability through the conservation of heritage seeds,
reforestation, and has sponsored the development and dissemination of
over 200 water wells in countries in need. The Foundation’s outreach has
positively impacted people and communities in 27 countries, and has
provided over 400 scholarships worldwide to youth and elders.
Angeles Arrien’s work has been featured on CNN, and is currently used
in medical, academic, and corporate environments. Within the medical
community, she has consulted with: the Institute for Health and Healing
at the California Pacific Medical Center; the Kaiser Permanente Group;
Sutter Community Hospitals; and the American Association of Critical
Keynote addresses, workshops and presentations to name a few, have
included: The State of the World Forum; Wharton Business School;
International Women’s Forum; American Leadership Forum of Silicon
Valley; Hewlett-Packard Labs; and the National Organizational
Development Network Conference. Her expertise to work with diverse
multi-cultural issues, mediation, and conflict resolution, has been used
by the International Rights Commission and the World Indigenous
Council. Requests for her organizational and international skills have
taken her expertise to: Bali, China, Indonesia, New Zealand,
Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Hawaii, the Czech Republic, Germany,
Ireland, South Africa, Mexico and Canada.
Angeles enjoys living with her sister in a hundred year old house, in
nature-full Sonoma County. As vast as the depth and breadth of her
expansive and far-reaching lifelong work, Angeles is best known for her
personhood, depth of character, compassionate engagement, skillful and
astute communication abilities. She is a wonderful storyteller, with a
delightful sense of humor, creative outlook on life, and is beloved by
her students, colleagues, friends and family. She remains committed to
walking the spiritual path with practical feet, and to making the world a
better place by leaving a legacy of increased cultural and spiritual
tolerance and understanding for generations of the future.
Business & Professions
From her first job as program director of a "start-up" radio
station called KTIM, to her work as an editor of the China Daily in
Beijing, Beth Ashley has had a rich and varied career.
Ms. Ashley has reflected Marin County's history
to new readers and captured warm reminiscences for its long-time residents.
She has made us look at our responses to important issues by revealing
her own thoughts and feelings to us. She has helped everyone
in Marin to grow and become more aware of who we are and where we
During the 1950's, she was one of two women
news editors on daily newspapers in California. During that
period, she was elected President of the United Press Editor's Association
of Northern California. She had job offers from the two major
newspapers in San Francisco, but turned them down because she preferred
to work in Marin where she could be close to her children and be part
of the local community.
Ms. Ashley has had her own public relations
firm, traveled the world and written about it, captured the essence
of Marin in her legendary columns and in her most recent book, "MARIN."
She also worked in 1990 in Moscow on Komsomolskaya Pravda and
on USA Today in Washington in 1996. She is a role model
for success through hard work, perseverance, kindness and compassion.
Read the extended biography by Marilyn Geary
Not content to just identify problems, Margaret Azevedo has always
been one of the few who solves them. Ms. Azevedo moved to Marin
County in 1951 and became involved with the local Democratic Party.
She chaired the successful campaign for reelection of Vera Schultz
to the Board of Supervisors in 1956. Shortly thereafter, she
was appointed to the Marin County Planning Commission where she served
almost continuously until 1979.
Her early experiences on the Planning Commission
prompted her to spearhead a drive to develop a Countywide Plan.
This plan, the first of its kind in the state, defined corridors of
land use in the county - inland, agricultural and urban. She
worked during the 1960's and 1970's to conserve the coast of Marin
as a founding member of the Point Reyes National Seashore. In this
capacity she helped to preserve the inland agricultural areas through
the creation of Agricultural Preserves in central and west Marin,
enhanced the urban corridor with open space zoning and greenbelts,
and expanded public transportation and programs for affordable
housing. As chair of the Transportation Committee of the Marin
Council of Civic Affairs, she played a pivotal role in the drive to
bring public transportation to Marin. Ms. Azevedo continues
to serve the community today as a member of the State Coastal Conservancy.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Smith Harris
A former educator, Iniece Bailey was a selfless and tireless worker
for many causes. A passionate activist for social and civil
rights, she was co-founder of Operation Give a Damn, Inc., a Marin
City based program, established in 1969, to assist young people
Ms. Bailey was also co-founder of the Marin
County and Mill Valley Human Rights Commissions. While serving on
the boards of the ACLU, CORE, Adult Criminal Justice Commission, and
the San Quentin Task Force, she furthered her efforts to end injustice
by sensitizing others to its presence. She was a founding member
and ordained Elder of the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin
Steadfastly committed to children, she was
a mother of four and a long-time foster parent. She served as
the Marin County Coordinator for the United Nations Year of the Child,
and has the distinction of being the first African-American PTA President
of Tamalpais High School. She was also an early board member
of Project Care for Children.
Ms. Bailey began her second career with the
Department of Public Social Services as an Eligibility Worker. She
then became a Supervisor for a unit of para-professional Social Work
Assistants. Ultimately, she became the Department's liaison
to the County Head Start providers.
At the time of her death, she had been diligently
working to pioneer an affordable child care center for infants and
toddlers from low income families. The Sausalito based Iniece
Bailey Infant and Toddler Center was established in her honor.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
Winifred Baker's musical and conducting excellence has brought the
best of choral music works to audiences in Marin, the Bay Area, New
York and Europe. For forty years, she has conducted the Winifred
Baker Chorale and San Francisco Civic Chorale. The Chorales
have performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Marin Symphony,
the San Francisco Civic Opera, the San Francisco Pops, and sang twice
in New York's Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Baker has created a legacy of trained
singers throughout the Bay Area and the country. Some of the
original members of her Chorales and Children's Chorus still sing
with her, as do several of their children. Others continue to
bring musical talents they developed under her tutelage to choruses
and audiences throughout the world.
The world of conducting is one that has been
primarily populated by men. Ms. Baker has ignored the musical
glass ceiling by her perseverance, her energy, and her attention to
excellence. Ms. Baker has won respect from many, including Arthur
Fiedler, Sandor Salgo, Peter Toboris (who invited Winfred to
conduct in Carnegie Hall) and Gary Sheldon, conductor of the Marin
Symphony. In 1976, she became the sixth woman invited to join
the London-based Incorporated Society of Musicians in the Conductor's
Section, sharing this honor with such notables as Benjamin Britten
and George Solti. Her impressive musical skills have dissolved
barriers, paving the way for other women to perform and conduct in
the great cathedrals and music halls of the world.
In addition to conducting her choruses, Ms.
Baker is a Professor Emeritus at Dominican College and teaches piano
classes on campus. She is an active member of Marin Music Chest,
passionately advocating for a return to music education in schools
and colleges. She has received numerous awards for her musical
contributions including the "Distinguished Women Award"
conferred by Dominican College, the San Francisco Arts Commission's
"Award of Honor," the Women Musicians of San Francisco's
"Musician of the Year" Award and the "Music Educator
of the Year" Award, elected by the Marin Symphony, Marin Opera
Company, Marin Ballet Company and Youth in Arts.
Winifred Baker's passion for musical beauty
and her commitment to excellence has inspired her listeners, her students
and her colleagues for over forty years. She is a giant among
musicians and a beacon for those who aspire to make a mark, whatever
their chosen profession.
Read the extended biography by Barbara Euser
Member of a pioneer Mill Valley family, Jean Barnard graduated from
Vassar College in 1940 Phi Beta Kappa and first in her class with
degrees in political science and music. Concern for good government
and the environment led her to monitor board meetings at various levels
of local government which ultimately resulted in her election to the
Mill Valley City Council, on which she served for 8 years, including
2 years as mayor. In 1982, she ran unopposed for the Marin Municipal
Water District Board and served two terms.
Ms. Barnard has worked on a variety of environmental
causes including the creation of the Marin County Open Space District.
She led the battle to keep a high-rise community from being built
in the Marin Headlands and the struggle to keep Bolinas Lagoon from
being turned into a yacht harbor. She pioneered the early recycling
efforts in Mill Valley, and the effort to convince Congress to finish
acquiring Pt. Reyes National Seashore.
She has been active in the AAUW since 1970
and was president of the Southern Marin Branch. She has been
Chair of Common Cause Marin and the Marin Chapter of the World Federalist
Movement. Ms. Barnard was active in the early years of Planned
Parenthood of Marin and the League of Women Voters, and helped to
launch the National Women's Political Caucus of Marin.
Teveia Rose Barnes has known from early childhood that she wanted to
be an attorney. A self-described skinny kid with large glasses from San
Antonio, Texas, she was the one who all the other children would
approach to settle disputes. As a youngster, she was considered
extremely studious. She came into her own in college, earning a
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 from Rice University, as a triple major
in economics, German studies and political science. Upon graduating
from Rice, Ms. Barnes attended and graduated from New York University
Law School in 1978.
She practiced law in New York at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett from
1978 to 1983, and from 1983 to 1986 she practiced at Sage, Gray, Toss
and Sims. From 1986 to 1999, she served as Associate General Counsel
and Senior Vice President at Bank of America. Ms. Barnes demonstrated
her ability to influence women when she launched the Bank of America’s
diversity initiative for women and people of color. She always remained
unassuming and humble in her leadership.
In 1999, Ms. Barnes accepted a public service calling at the request
of former president Bill Clinton. Clinton appointed Ms. Barnes as
Executive Director for Lawyers For One America. (LFOA). LFOA is a
non-profit organization commissioned to work with a collaboration of
lawyers and organizations to promote diversity for women and lawyers of
color in the legal profession and to provide pro bono legal services for
the working poor and underserved communities. Under Ms. Barnes’
leadership, LFOA produced Bar None: Report to the President of the
United States on the Status of People of Color and Pro Bono Services in
the Legal Profession, and the video, “Bending the Arc Toward Justice.”
Ms. Barnes’ full time service to LFOA ended in 2001, when she yielded
to the call of public service, to serve as the Executive Director to
the Bar Association of San Francisco. In addition, she maintained
oversight of the Association’s Volunteer Legal Services Program, the
largest comprehensive pro bono service provider in San Francisco.
Ms. Barnes is now dividing her time between LFOA and private
practice at the law firm of Foley and Lardner LLP in San Francisco, as a
partner in the financial institutions and the bankruptcy practice
groups. Still, she is propelled by her passion to volunteer. She has
served as a board member at Equal Rights Advocates. Equal Rights
Advocates is one of the most well-established women’s legal advocacy
groups, whose mission is to protect and secure equal rights and economic
opportunities for women and girls through litigation and advocacy.
Ms. Barnes currently serves as Chairman of the Board of On Lok, Inc.,
which provides . On Lok Lifeways, a nonprofit program specifically
designed to provide total long-term care for the elderly. On Lok’s
comprehensive health plan includes full medical care, prescription
drugs, home care, adult day health, transportation, and more, thus
allowing its member to remain at home for as long as possible.
She also served on the Board of Trustees for Rice University,
including serving as Chairman of the Audit Committee, the California
Minority Counsel Program, the American Conservatory Theater Board, and
the Board of the Branson School.
Ms. Barnes has spoken widely at national and regional bar
associations, law schools, universities and law firms and major
corporations promoting diversity and pro bono legal services to the
working poor, while taking time to mentor young women lawyers and
lawyers of color.
In 2004 Ms. Barnes was presented with the prestigious Margaret Brent
Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women for her
“steadfast advocacy and gender diversity crusade.” Other recipients of
the Margaret Brent Award include Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham
Clinton, and Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Conner and Ruth Bader
Ginsburg. She was also recognized in 2005 with the Marin County Human
Rights Commission’s Martin Luther Kin Jr. Humanitarian of the Year
Teveia Barnes is devoted to her husband, Alan Sankin, also a major
volunteer at LFOA, their two sons, Aaron and Zachary, and Aaron’s
fiancée, Nicole Velasquez.
Wright Bastian, an octogenarian dynamo, is known rightfully as the
Tiburon Penninsula's "community organizer extraordinaire."
founded the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society in 1959. Under her
direction, the Society acquired, restored, and maintained the peninsula’s
most cherished historical landmarks: Old St. Hilary’s, the
Social Saloon of the S.S. China (China Cabin), the Tiburon Railroad-Ferry
Depot Museum, and the 19th century farm cottage and garden, AKA
the Landmarks Art and Garden Center in Tiburon. The Society’s
archives center in the Boardwalk Shopping Center is the most significant
repository of the art, images, papers, and ephemera documenting
the community’s past. Bastian is the only Tiburon Peninsula
resident to be named “Citizen of the Year” by Belvedere
amazing woman is also recognized for her work in education. Bastian
established six nonprofit cooperative nursery schools in southern
Marin. The co-op in Marin City predated Head Start service in that
community. She also founded the Marin Child Development Center for
neurologically handicapped preschool children. As executive director
of the co-op schools for 20 years, Bastian was a role model for
mothers, many of whom were inspired by her example to return to
school for advanced degrees.
the years Beverly Bastian has worn other hats. She was appointed
to the first board of directors of Marin’s Family Service
Agency in the 1940s. She served on Belvedere’s Parks and Recreation
commission and chaired it for seven years. She worked as a journalist
for The San Francisco Chronicle, Marin IJ, The Ark, and the Mill
Valley Record. She co-authored A Pictorial History of Belvedere,
1890 – 1990.
has also enjoyed success in business. She opened Custom House Antiques
on The Boardwalk. Bastian achieved all this despite having narcolepsy,
a lifelong disability that prevented her from getting a driver’s
1992 Bastian was honored for Distinguished Public Service by her
Alma Mater, the University of the Pacific. She was honored by the
Conference of California Historical Societies and received the Jefferson
Award from the American Institute for Public Service. Awards also
came from the Family Service Agency, the Marin Child Development
Center, the Marin Conservation Council, and the Daughters of the
American Revolutions (DAR).
recognition of her remarkable contributions, the Marin Women’s
Hall of Fame joins the Landmark Society in calling Beverly Wright
Bastian “the catalyst, the master mind, the guiding spirit”
behind much that is good in the County.
Amid the howling mobs and fiery storm of the 1957 battle to integrate
Little Rock Central High School, Melba Pattillo Beals and eight other
young warriors risked their lives to change history. The U.S.
Congress voted Beals and her "Little Rock Nine" companions
the Congressional Gold Medal for their contribution to the Civil Rights
movement. Only 318 Americans have received this award.
Warrors Don't Cry is Beals' chronicle
of the school integration battle. Warriors won the 1994
American Library Association Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year,
was named a Notable Book of the year by the American Booksellers Association,
and received the coveted Robert F. Kennedy Award for books that reflect
RFK's "concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for
honest and evenhanded justice, and his faith that a free democracy
can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity."
Another focus of Ms. Beals' life has
been her work with Aid to the Adoption of Special Children (AASK).
During her 20-year tenure on its board of directors, more than 10,000
special needs children have been placed with adoptive families.
Now a Professor heading Dominican University's
Communications program, Ms. Beals is a sought-after motivational speaker.
She has appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air," on "Oprah,"
and C-Span's "Booknotes." She has been featured in
USA Today, People, and Newsweek.
Ms. Beals surprised all her friends and
colleagues when at age fifty she adopted three-year-old twin boys.
She gives praise and thanks to her grown daughter, Kellie, for helping
her to raise Matthew and Evan.
Read more about this remarkable woman through this web site. http://www.mccsc.edu/~jcmslib/mlk/beals/family.htm
JOAN LINN BEKINS
Introduction: In January 1964, the San Francisco Chronicle named
Joan Linn as one of thirty-ﬁve business people chosen as “Bay Area
Leaders Who Made Their Mark in 1963.” After a long professional public
relations, sales promotion, and advertising career representing
agricultural industries, Joan married Don Bekins in 1964 at age 34. With
their infant in a packpack and leading their toddler by the hand, Joan
started walking with Elizabeth Terwilliger in 1967.
For many, Joan Linn Bekins’ name is synonymous with that of Elizabeth
Terwilliger. Joan was the energetic volunteer who was the “woman behind
the woman.” She publicized and nominated Mrs. T for numerous awards
(including President Reagan’s volunteer award) to direct public
attention to Mrs. T’s important work with children. In 1970, she
launched the Terwilliger Nature Guides to help Mrs. T lead school ﬁeld
trips, the non-proﬁt Elizabeth Terwilliger Nature Education Foundation
in 1975, and theTerwilliger Guild in 1984.
While education chairwoman for Marin Audubon Society’s Board of
Directors in 1972, Joan obtained corporate funding to produce and
distribute three habitat ﬁlms featuring Mrs. T showcasing her renowned
teaching methods. Joan produced two more award-winning ﬁlms in 1976 and
1978. She now distributes free DVDs nationally through the non-proﬁt
Terwilliger Nature Education Legacy, founded in 2004 by Mrs. T’s
children. This effort represents Joan’s 38 year volunteer dedication to
this ﬁlm project. To date, seventy million children have met Mrs. T via
ﬁlm in classrooms throughout the United States!
In 1979, Joan was successful in obtaining Buck Trust funding for the
ﬂedging ETNEF organization. This enabled the volunteers to have an ofﬁce
in Tiburon and hire staff, but the effort was still volunteer-driven
with expanded recruitment and training programs for new Terwilliger
Nature Guides. NatureVans, ﬁlled with taxidermied birds and mammals,
traveled to schools in eleven Bay Area counties.
Joan edited and published books, naturalists’ site guides, and
records for children and adults to reach new audiences. Talented as a
volunteer publicist, photographer, grant writer, and fundraiser, she
also collaborated closely with the Marin County Superintendent of
Schools, environmental and conservation groups.
Joan emphasizes, “I could not have achieved this without the
support and talents of other women - - many with young children - - who
also contributed their time and enthusiasm to enrich childrenʼs lives
with an understanding and appreciation of Nature. I am, today, blessed
with their friendship, of both Terwilliger Nature Guides and the women
of the Terwilliger Guild. We shared a very special camaraderie. We had a
passion and Mrs. T was our inspiration.”
Joan inspired volunteers, and for some was a role-model; she was
recognized in 1980 as Marin’s “Volunteer Activist of the Year.” She
offered women opportunities to explore video production, event planning,
library research, archives, newsletter writing, production, graphic
art, schoolyard ecology, early education, senior and special needs
programs, that provided hands-on experience. For some, these became
their career choices. By 1995, the Guides had led tens-of-thousands of
children on school ﬁeld trips and the Guild had raised over $100,000.
When the Terwilliger ofﬁce was in her home from 1975 through 1979,
Joan provided women reentering the job force an opportunity to gain real
world business experience through a CITA-funded program. The women did
clerical work, helped with direct mail campaigns, and ﬁlled mail orders
for an assortment of educational Terwilliger materials Joan produced,
“Sights & Sounds of the Seasons,” “Mrs. Tʼs Coloring Book,” a record
album from the sound track of the ﬁlms, a song book, and “A
Naturalistʼs Guide to Richardson Bay Sanctuary.
Joan inspired other women to join her to help Mrs. T lead school ﬁeld
trips, and was the ﬁrst volunteer president of the Terwilliger Nature
Guides after spearheading the group’s formation in 1970. Joan actively
recruited docents each year and developed a well respected training
course for them to learn about plants, marine life, birds, insects, etc.
that empowered women to feel comfortable about teaching groups of
children, their teachers, and accompanying parents on walks. Many women,
like Joan, had careers before having a family and brought their
expertise to the programs. Joan encouraged volunteers to spread their
wings and schoolyard ecology, early education, senior and special needs
When it was apparent that some schools could not fund chartered buses
for ﬁeld trips, Joan and other Nature Guides launched the ﬁrst
Terwilliger Nature Van in 1981. Habitat scenes were painted on the
outside and children learned food chain concepts by placing magnetic
creatures in the habitats. Inside were taxidermied creatures for
multi-sensory, interactive experiences. This effort helped the non-proﬁt
to expand the numbers of children served annually from 6,000 to 65,000,
when two additional vans were put on the road to cover eleven Bay Area
Joan found that there were many women who believed in educating
children about nature, although they were not interested in becoming
Guides. To leverage their talents, in 1984, Joan formed an auxiliary,
the Terwilliger Guild, that staged “Fandango” fundraising events to help
support school programs and again offered opportunities for women to
develop new skills and friendships.
Her dedicated commitment to nature education has had a positive
effect on the lives of children throughout Marin, and the nation, as
well. An advocate for open space, she chaired an ad hoc committee in
1999 to fund and reinstate the Marin County Open Space district
The ﬁlms are still in high demand. Joan mails VHS and DVDs free
to school librarians throughout the United States on behalf of the
non-proﬁt Terwilliger Nature Education Legacy. This signiﬁcant program
for young children is nationally applauded for awakening a curiosity and
appreciation of nature and the natural world. It is also part of the
curriculum in some universities to demonstrate effective teaching
She is an award-winning nature photographer, and since 2000, when
she turned 70 years old, she has had numerous Bay Area solo exhibitions
of her work that beneﬁt non-proﬁts. She also writes a newspaper column,
“Wildﬂower Watch,” illustrated by her photographs.
Other recognition: Chevron Texaco “Conservation Award” 2002; CINE
Golden Eagle Award, Washington, D.C. 1973; John Muir Award National
Education Film Festival, 1974; elected Fellow in the Explorer’s Club,
1986; represented the U.S. in the International Wildlife Symposium,
member of the Consultative Committee, 1984-1988.
Joan’s special moments: “Sharing what I learned from Mrs. T with my two children, and now with my grandchildren.”
Margie Belrose is founder and director of The Belrose School and Theatre
in San Rafael. At The "Belrose", Margie Belrose teaches,
performs and directs. Theater colleagues proclaim that Margie
exemplifies the stage motto, "The show must go on." Through
hard work and steadfast devotion to her dream, she has earned the
respect of associates and audiences. In 1954 she and her late
husband, David, founded a school for performing arts in Marin.
The Belrose School and Theatre today offer Marinites affordable theater,
and opportunities to act, write, produce and direct. Belrose
has taught dance, music, acting and singing to generations of local
families. Her tenacity and perseverance have served her through
the years when she has been called upon to surmount overwhelming odds.
Abandoned as a child, she lived in an orphanage
except for short periods with her aunt and father. After graduating
from high school she moved to San Francisco where she met and married
one of her dance teachers. The sudden death of her husband in
1971 left her alone to raise her two children while operating The
Belrose School and Theatre. Today, with her son, she operates
a large non-profit costume shop that benefits the Belrose Performing
Arts Center scholarship program. One of her programs is the
Belrose Jr. Players for children eight to fifteen years of age.
She provides scholarships for children to enable them to participate
in Junior Players and the Belrose Musical Summer Camp program that
has been in operation since 1978.
Read the extended biography by Marilyn L. Geary.
is Marin's best-known voice for peace, mindfulness, and practical
spirituality. She has published four best-sellers that demystify spirituality
and Buddhism (It's Easier Than You Think; Pay Attention, For Goodness'
Sake; Don't Just Do Something, Sit There; and That's Funny You Don't
Look Buddhist). She writes a column for Shambhala Sun Magazine
and is known internationally for her work at Spirit Rock Meditation
native of New York City, Sylvia married her husband, Seymour, in 1955
and graduated from Barnard College in 1956. After moving to Marin
in 1961, Sylvia earned a Master's in Social Work from U. C. Berkeley
and a PhD. in Psychology from Saybrook Institute while raising her
has always been an activist. As president of Marin Women for Peace
in the 1960s she, often accompanied by her children, led marches down
Miller Avenue to protest the Vietnam War. She was a member of the
Marin Chapter of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom,
and once represented Marin at a League Conference in Amsterdam.
1967, Sylvia worked for the Marin County Community Mental Health department
as a psychology consultant to local police and sheriff's departments.
She began private practice of Psychotherapy in 1984, was on the board
at Center for the Family in Transition and served as Board Chair for
began teaching at the College of Marin (COM), Child and Adolescent
Psychology, in 1970. She also designed and taught Parapsychology and
Psychology of Meditation. She is pleased to have created the College's
first course in Women's Studies. She also introduced Hatha Yoga at
COM and taught in until 1984.
the 1980's Sylvia began teaching meditation and is a founding teacher
at Spirit Rock. Her Wednesday class draws nearly 80 students a week
who consider the class their spiritual community. In 1996, Sylvia
was among a group of Western teachers of Buddhism who dialogued with
the Dalai Lama in India. In 2000 she and the Spirit Rock faculty and
staff hosted an International Conference of Buddhist Teachers that
brought the Dalai Lama to Marin.
is a practicing Jew as well as a Buddhist meditation teacher. In 1994
she helped develop and teach the first Mindfulness training series
for rabbis. In April 2006, Sylvia will teach at Spirit Rock's first
Interfaith Mindfulness retreat. She represents Spirit Rock on the
Marin Interfaith Council. We are honored to have Sylvia Boorstein
in the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.
A 1962 graduate of Brooklyn College with a B.S. degree in Economics,
Ms. Boxer stepped into the Wall Street scene as a stockbroker and
economic researcher. As an award-winning journalist in the 1970's,
Ms. Boxer's special assignment at the Pacific Sun was to report the
activities of the County Board of Supervisors. Active in community
affairs, she was a founding member of the Marin Economic Corps which
provided job training for low-income women, the National Women's Political
Caucus of Marin, and Marin Community Video. After two years
as a Congressional Aide to John Burton, Ms. Boxer was elected to the
Marin County Board of Supervisors where she was the first woman to
ever become its president.
In 1982, Ms. Boxer was elected to represent
the Sixth Congressional District. She became known as an effective
and strong advocate for women, children, peace and the environment.
In 1992, she was elected to the United States Senate.
Barbara Boxer has been honored in Congress
by the Consumer Federation of America, the Coalition to Stop Government
Waste, Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, Public
Citizen, Sierra Club, the Center for Environmental Education, the
Center for Defense Information and the American Association of University
Women. She has been recognized as a champion of Human rights
by the Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign Fund, and
the Leadership Council on Civil Rights.
Born to great wealth, Louise Arner Boyd had the options that a life
without financial concerns promised. In place of comfort, she
chose the challenges of sub-zero temperatures, scientific exploration,
polar bears, and cramped living quarters. Starting in the 1920's,
she took the highly unusual path of becoming an explorer of the Arctic.
In recognition of her endeavors a portion of Greenland was named "Miss
Boyd Land" and a waterway was named "Louise Boyd Bank".
During her lifetime, Ms. Boyd went on seven arctic expeditions by
ship and dog sled, conducting scientific research, including geological
studies to determine the origin and history of the fjords and glaciated
valleys in Greenland. She photographed all aspects of her expeditions,
often taking the first pictures of the native people and the regions
The maps provided to the expeditions were
often incorrect. She corrected these errors and new maps were
drawn. Plant ecology studies, collection of botanical specimens,
the analysis of cloud formations and water conditions, and recording
the depths of the region's waterways were all parts of her expeditions.
During World War II, her knowledge of the Arctic area made her an
invaluable resource to the American Navy. She also served as
a consultant to military intelligence throughout much of the war.
She received numerous awards and honors for her distinguished scientific
work. At age 67, Louise Boyd chartered an American DC4 and,
flying from Oslo, Norway, became the first woman to fly over the North
Pole. Louise Boyd was also a generous patron of the arts, supporting
numerous organizations throughout her life.
Kay Boyle was a renowned poet, teacher and author of poetry, short
story collectives and numerous articles. For twenty years
her short stories in the New Yorker helped to define literary
form. As a woman in a man's profession, she served as the
New Yorker's foreign correspondent in the 1940's.
Encouraged by her mother to become
a writer, despite formal education ending at the eighth grade, Ms.
Boyle defined her writing as an expatriate in the "lost generation"
colony of artist and writers in the Paris of the 1920's.
The accomplishments of which she was most
proud were her teaching and humanitarian work. She was a professor
of English at San Francisco State University for eighteen
years, retiring at age 77. As a passionate woman with strong
convictions, she sought to better the world by fighting Nazism and
McCarthyism, by focusing on the anti-war and civil rights movements,
and by founding the San Francisco Chapter of Amnesty International.
Her awards and honors were legion: O. Henry
prizes for short stories, fellowships, and a California Literature
medal. She was one of the few women admitted to the
National Institute of Arts & Letters and continued her writing
after moving from San Francisco to Marin in 1989. In 1989,
she was honored by the Women's Foundation for her contributions
to the causes of peace, freedom and human rights.
Read the extended biography by Daryl Siegel
Ann Brebner is helping to change the face of downtown San Rafael through
her successful efforts to renovate and restore the Rafael Theater
as a permanent home for the Film Institute of Northern California
which produces the Mill Valley Film Festival.
As a past Board President and current member
of the Board of Directors she has, by the strength of her vision,
her sensitivity and integrity helped developed the Film Institute
into a substantial, widely respected, broadly-based arts organization.
She is a founder of the Marin Shakespeare Festival, and of Northern
California Women in Film and has served as an advisor to Bread and
Roses and is a director of the Pickle Family Circus. She was
also instrumental in the development of the College of Marin drama
program and its theater.
A native of New Zealand, Ms. Brebner abandoned
her pursuit of a career as a concert pianist and applied herself first
to medicine and finally to theater arts. She studied all aspects
of theater at London's famous Old Vic Theatre School and has directed
in New York and the Bay Area. She was President of Brebner Agencies
Inc., a respected agency in San Francisco representing writers and
actors. Ever fascinated by why we do, what we do and how actors
function, she is the author of "Setting Free the Actor; Overcoming
Creative Blocks." She as two sons, Alexander and Jay.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
Laurel Burch (1945 - 2007)
Mystical beings and familiar icons expressed Laurel Burch’s own brilliant and loving spirit. Her artwork and designs of fantastic felines, mythical horses, creatures from ocean and sky, people from many lands, all serve as symbols, to remind us of the ongoing world of the spirit.
As a self-taught painter and entrepreneur, Laurel perceived herself as a folk artist. She told visual stories, beginning as a child when she fashioned small gifts from odds and ends for her grandmother. At fourteen she left her troubled home, taking with her only a paper bag of clothes and osteopetrosis, the rare bone disease she was born with.
With no job, no money and no plans, she landed in San Francisco, where she earned her room and board by cooking, cleaning and babysitting. She began making and wearing jewelry, earrings and necklaces, from old coins, bones and beads. Her creations became bridges to friendships and patrons, and these artifacts became treasures for people all across the country and collecting Laurel Burch became a phenomenon.
Throughout her life, she refused to give in to her painful osteopetrosis. Even during long periods of convalescence, when she was forced to paint from a bed or a wheelchair, she held onto her paints and her brushes. "I refuse to have anything in my life," she said, "that I can’t turn into something magical and beautiful." Even from a hospital bed, she continued to create, calling up that indomitable spirit from what she called her "inner sanctum." Later, in an isolation forced by her illness, Laurel was able to travel the world via her website, sharing her designs and messages all over the globe in the forms of prints, fabrics, scarves and more.
Laurel performed hundreds of speaking engagements around the country, with an emphasis on healing. "My bone disease was my gift," she told others. And her gift of generosity and commitment extended to many organizations, giving her time, art work, her name and her heart to hundreds of boards, organizations and causes, including Glide Memorial Church, KQED TV, San Jose Cleveland Ballet, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Gandhi Memorial International Foundation, and many others.
She was appreciated by many of these organizations who celebrated her humanitarian participation as well as her art work. Her awards include the SF Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Women of Vision Award, Living Legacy Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.
The Marin Women’s Hall of Fame adds its adulation of this creative and inspiring artist’s accomplishments: prolific painter, designer, poet, public speaker, community activist and humanitarian.
Toni epitomizes the terms self-help, client rights, empowerment, advocacy,
risk-taking and visionary. Her fifty years of volunteer service
began in her children's elementary school. From there she went
on to volunteer with the Marin Public Health Department. Her
work has been a sparkplug, igniting others to action. She participated
in the formation of four continuing empowerment programs: Community
Mental Health (CMH) Companion Program, the Office of the Patient Advocate
for CMH, the Network of Mental Health Clients/Enterprise Resource
Center and Labor Support Services.
Challenging the status quo has been a hallmark
of Toni's efforts. As a supporter of individuals in the mental
health system and of women, she has investigated ways to make sure
that the projects she works on can be institutionalized and maintained
despite sometimes daunting obstacles. Her outrage at denial
of basic rights to women prisoners in the Marin County jail led her
to persuade the local Red Cross to sponsor a program addressing those
needs. That is just one example of her response to unfairness
toward those who are the most powerless, disadvantaged, stigmatized
For fifty years, Toni has served the needs
of others with her husband, children and grandchildren. Her
legacy is one of tremendous courage, tenacity and persistence in speaking
out on behalf of those who do not have a voice or whose voice is often
Read the extended biography by Eleanor Kellogg Smith