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.
Mimi Baez Farina first picked up a guitar when she was thirteen.
By the time she was eighteen, she was performing her music on stage.
Since then, Mimi's life has always been close to the performing arts.
In 1974, Mimi became the founder and guiding force behind Bread and
Roses, a non-profit organization which brings free, live, top-quality
entertainment to people confined or isolated in institutions.
Over the years, Mimi has made a significant contribution to the lives
of people in prisons, convalescent homes, AIDS wards, rehabilitation
hospitals and other confined situations. A successful musician
with numerous recordings and live performances around the United States
and Europe, Mimi has used her own talents and enlisted the talents
of others. These artists, by volunteering their time and abilities,
have made a positive difference in the lives of an often forgotten
Bread and Roses currently produces over 400 live
shows each year, reaching a total annual audience of about fifteen
thousand people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bread and Roses
does not charge any fee for its shows. It operates through donations
and grants, keeping its entertainment affordable for all people.
Mimi Farina's commitment and dedication to the success of Bread and
Roses have now inspired other agencies serving many communities throughout
the country to establish similar services.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
view Mimi's interview with Beth Ashley click on the appropriate
format for your computer.
Medicine & Social Change
Patricia Hallinan was one of the first women to graduate from Stanford
Medical School. Although she was actively discouraged from pursuing
medical studies by some of her professors (who did not want female
students), she successfully completed her medical program. When
medical internships other than at children's hospitals were routinely
denied to women, Patricia Hallinan directly negotiated a general medical
internship at San Francisco General Hospital. When she completed
her internship, she was the first Stanford graduate in twenty years
to be awarded a residency at San Francisco General. She later
entered private practice as a cardiologist.
Dr. Hallinan eventually became Assistant
Health Officer for Marin County. In this position she became
closely acquainted with the special needs of disabled children, children
with birth defects and other children with special needs. She
established a program in the Department of Public Health for the protection
of battered children. She was a champion for the rights of the
developmentally disabled. Later, as a representative of the
Agency for Infant Development, she worked with State Assembly members
to write, sponsor and pass legislation designed to protect California's
children. She actively lobbied in Sacramento and made numerous
television appearances on behalf of these laws and other child-related
issues. She was one of the first to address the problem of fetal
alcohol syndrome. Dr. Hallinan received numerous awards during
her life, including the March of Dimes Meritorious Service Award.
Anne T. Kent devoted her life to serving and enriching the Marin community
through her enthusiastic interest and energetic participation in a
variety of activities. She showed her love of the environment
by donating half of Kent Island in Bolinas Lagoon to the Nature Conservancy
as a wildlife refuge. A woman who loved being outdoors, she
further demonstrated her environmental commitment as a founding member
of the Marin Art and Garden Center, the Marin Conservation League
and the Marin Garden Club. She also had an active, long-term
involvement with the National Audubon Society, California Botanical
Society and the Save the Redwoods League.
Anne Kent, who attended "librarianship
school" in 1920, showed her love of reading and learning through
her "generous and warm-hearted" leadership in the establishment
of the Marin County Library System in the 1920's. She later
initiated and managed an extensive oral history project focusing on
Marin's earlier years, interviewing, with her partner, over two hundred
and twenty-five "old-time" Marinites. She was also
an active member of the Marin County Historical Society, the California
Historical Society and the Friends of the Library. The Civic
Center Library Branch houses a special room devoted to California
and Marin history. It is named "The Anne T. Kent Room" in
recognition of her many civic contributions.
Edna Muse is a volunteer dedicated to many Marin organizations.
She has committed countless hours to many causes that impact the quality
of life for local residents, including the American Cancer Society,
the Novato Human Needs Center, the Novato Unified School District,
and numerous local hospitals. She co-founded the Concerned Parents
of Novato, a multiracial organization that raises scholarship money
for local African-American youth. Her ability to walk in someone
else's shoes has made her a valuable asset to the Novato Police Advisory
and Review Board. Her service ranges from helping to collect
emergency foods, to serving on speakers bureaus, to being in charge
of fund-raising. She's upbeat and possesses an uncanny ability
to find the common bound between diverse groups of people. An
active member of her church, she is an extraordinary singer and soloist
in the choir.
Ms. Muse's contributions have been recognized
in numerous awards including the Humanitarian Award from the Marin
County Human Rights Commission. A close friend wrote, "It
can be truly said of Edna Muse that she has played a part in fulfilling
the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She has tried to feed
the hungry, clothe the naked and visit those who were in prison;
she has tried to love and serve humanity."
Vera Schultz was a trailblazer for Marin County women's involvement
in politics. During her lifetime, she was a living demonstration
that women can make a constructive contribution to society.
She was first elected to the Mill Valley City Council. Within
a few years, she became the first woman ever elected to the Marin
County Board of Supervisors. She distinguished herself quickly,
pushing for the professionalization of services offered by the county
government. She was instrumental in the creation of the County
Administrator, Public Works Commissioner and County Counsel positions
and she actively supported the establishment of a County Personnel
Commission. She served on the ad hoc committee that formed the
Marin Women's Commission. She was selected as a director of
the California State Supervisors Association, again one of the first
women to serve in that role. Ms. Schultz was also active in
the Marin leadership of the League of Women Voters and was involved
with the creation of Marin General Hospital.
For all of her numerous contributions to
Marin, Vera Schultz, is best remembered for her leadership in obtaining
the services of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design
the Marin County Civic Center. Through numerous obstacles, Ms.
Schultz' enthusiasm and drive kept the construction on track.
The Civic Center is a landmark building that is now visited by lovers
of architecture from around the world. It is this legacy to
Marin of which Vera Schultz was most proud.
Read the extended biography by Sally Hauser
Terwilliger, known to generations of Marin residents as "Mrs.
T.", has devoted over forty years of her life to environment
teaching. She began the work as a young mother when she took
her own children on nature walks. During these times, she
shared her high regard for all living creatures and extensive
knowledge about the eco-system of Marin. Through her animal
collection, her famous walks and countless visits to Marin and Bay
Area schools, she has communicated her love of nature in a creative
and memorable way.
Mrs. T., an active member of the Marin Conservation League, worked
toward the creation of Monarch butterfly preserves and the purchase
of land for open space and parks. The establishment of the
natural preserve on Goat Hill, located on the Tiburon peninsula, was
a direct result of Mrs. T's efforts. She helped to co-found
the Marin County chapter of the Audubon Society. Mrs. T. also
helped to establish many of the bike paths throughout the county,
setting an example for other communities in the nation and enabling
cyclists to enjoy the beauty of Marin. She is the recipient of
numerous local and national awards, including the President's
Volunteer Action Award, given to her by President Ronald Reagan at
the White House in 1984.
Wygant is an artist with vision. It is her ability to carry her
vision to fruition that has benefited thousands of elderly Bay Area
residents. An ordained elder at her church, Mae spoke with
fellow church members gathered at her kitchen table about the unmet
needs of older Marinites. Many were passing their days without
any visitors or companionship except attending medical
personnel. Enlisting the support of friends, neighbors and
others willing to volunteer, Mae founded "Love Is The
Answer" (LITA) in 1975. LITA is an agency which makes
friendship connections between residents of convalescent homes and
volunteers. Through her persistence and commitment to service,
agencies have been established over the years in Sonoma, Alameda and
Contra Costa counties. LITA continues to grow; in 1996, a LITA
was formed in Napa County.
Mae now faces the challenges of living with a chronic neuro-muscular
disease. Over the past decade, she has experienced problems
with her vision, muscle coordination and the daily consciousness of
living "less able". But while Mae has had to slow
down her busy schedule, she continues with her successful painting
career and with her LITA involvement. She serves as an advisor
to LITA in Sonoma, and recently volunteered as a LITA coordinator in
a local hospital. Mae also financially supports LITA by
donating some of her artwork to be sold at LITA fund-raisers.
Her plans for the future include LITA, exhibiting new artworks and
writing more poetry.
Read Mae's extended biobraphy.
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 at risk.
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 City.
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.
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 Anne's extended biography by Nancy Nakai
Business & Professions
Newsweek has noted that Ann Diamond
founded the first all women-lawyer legal firm in the Bay Area. In
addition to that "first," Ms. Diamond also pioneered the area of
family law as a legal specialty. As a member of the Family Law
Advisory Commission of the California State Bar, she helped to set state
guidelines for child and spousal support. She taught law at U.C.
Ms. Diamond came to the U.S. from Hungary at
the age of 17, speaking no English. Within seven years she had
graduated from high school, college and law school and passed the bar
exam. She went on to practice law with distinction until retirement
at age 73.
Ann Diamond can look back on a legacy of the
Marin Legal Aid Society, Lawyer Referral Service, developed family
mediation techniques and a cadre of lawyers and judges who call her
"mentor." The first woman to serve as President of the
Marin County Bar Association, Ms. Diamond was also the President of
the Northern California Chapter of American Academy of Matrimonial
Ms. Diamond remains very active with the
Family Law Center, Kids Turn and other innovative programs designed to
help families at the time of separation.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
With understanding and enthusiasm
for the democratic process, Virginia Franklin infused several generations
of high school students with appreciation for civil liberties and our
system of government. Through her efforts, many Marin teens have
participated in "mock political conventions"; others have had
the opportunity to experience government in Sacramento or Washington, D.C.
Beginning teaching after her graduation from
U.C. Berkeley at age 19, she always strongly believed in an informed
student population, opposing book bans and other restrictions on
instructing. Even during a storm of protest in the 1960's when she
was attacked for encouraging critical thinking, she remained a fearless
teacher of all ideas. Mrs. Franklin successfully survived attacks on
her teaching by the John Birch Society, the American Legion, Congressional
hearings and nation-wide publicity in Life Magazine. She went
on to get a doctorate in education and developed a curriculum for
educators on how to teach civics and democracy. Named outstanding
teacher of the year in 1982 by the Marin Educational Foundation, she
encouraged students to write bills which were actually introduced into
Congress. Other honors have included Barbara Boxer's "Women
Making History", the Valley Forge Classroom medal, the constitutional
Rights Foundation Award and numerous others.
After "retirement', Mrs. Franklin served
as an active consultant and mentor for Marin's Human Rights Resource
Center, sharing her experience in education and commitment to
democracy. She passed away in 1991.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
Helen Nelson has devoted most of
her adult life to consumer advocacy and education. With a focus on
American consumer, she has promoted fairness and truth. Often in the
public spotlight, she has held press conferences, testified before state
legislatures and the U.S. Congress, addressed countless audiences and
worked with numerous national and international leaders. Helen began
her consumer work by becoming Consumer Counsel to California Governor
Edmund Brown. In this position - the first of its kind in the
country - she drafted and recommended consumer legislation. She had
to work against "special interest" lobbyists, especially those
representing industries who did not want to label the contents in their
products (such as the food and cosmetics industries), who did not want to
provide the actual cost of credit ("truth in lending") and who
did not want to otherwise inform the spending public.
In addition to her work in Sacramento, Helen
served on the Consumer Advisory Council to Presidents John F. Kennedy and
Lyndon B. Johnson. Later, she was the Public Governor of the
American Stock Exchange from 1972 - 1978, as well as Consumer Consultant
to the U.S. Congress. For fifteen years she served on the Board of
the Consumers Union. Under President Jimmy Carter, she was appointed
a member of the President's Export Council, as well as Consumer Advisor to
the Federal Reserve Board. In 1979, she founded the Consumer
Research Foundation, which makes policy recommendations on consumer
matters throughout the world. In 1996, she was featured as the
commentator on a video of the history of the American consumer movement
entitled "Change Makers: The Struggle for Consumer Rights".
Jean Starkweather has worked for
many years to preserve the beauty and natural features of Marin
County. One person has commented that "Anytime there is a
public hearing on an issue that will affect the environment, Jean
Starkweather is present, both with information and a readiness to take
Ms. Starkweather has worked on preservation
and restoration of wetland habitats. She has taught classes and led
fieldtrips for children and adults to further their knowledge and
enjoyment of the natural environment. Acting on her firm belief that
the natural resources are valuable community resources, and that people
must work to protect them, she insists "the quality of the community
is dependent on the people getting involved in it".
Among her many civic activities, Ms.
Starkweather has been President of Marin Audubon and the Marin
Conservation League. She is a long term docent and board member of
Audubon Canyon Ranch. As a member of the Marin County Parks, Open
Space and Cultural Commission, she served as Commission Chair for two
years, and works on issues in county parks and open space, and on the
extension of bicycle paths and routes throughout the county.
Ms. Starkweather is the recipient of the 1979
Environmental Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in recognition
of her outstanding environmental contributions to the Bay Area.
continues to serve on the MCL Board of Directors and is active on several
committees. She served as MCL President from 1993-95 and received
the Marin Green Award from MCL in 1998. Jean is particularly known
for her knowledge of San Rafael shoreline ecology, her habitat restoration
work in that area and her suggestions regarding San Francisco Bay Trail
Read Jean Starkweather's extended biography
Grace Wellman gave her time over and over to influence
issues meaningful to the community. Her involvement and leadership
were varied. She ran the Civil Defense for Kentfield during World
War II. She coordinated the volunteer program, speaker's bureau and
other programs for the Marin American Red Cross. She played a
leadership role with both the Marin Garden Club and the Marin Outdoor Art
Club. In addition, Mrs. Wellman's volunteer support to the
Marin Conservation League lasted over forty years, as she served as its
President and in numerous other capacities.
Mrs. Wellman was instrumental in saving the
Bolinas lagoon as well as many other open space areas. She described
much of her work in conservation as learning "when to play Paul
Revere" including when to sound the alarm, who to call, and where to
go. In 1982, she was awarded the Green Award, the highest award of
the Marin Conservation League in recognition of her years of excellence in
the environmental field. She attributed her success to the fact that
she enjoyed people and she could organize them and they could have fun.
Read Grace Wellman's extended biography