The Trusteeship
International Women's Foundation

Ann Reiss Lane – Dine-Around – May 22

Ann Reiss Lane once again volunteered to host a Dine-Around and as is the case, all who attended had a great time! Sharing wine and appetizers in the garden was especially sweet as Ann’s garden is always a masterpiece to the eye and nose!

We had a lovely visit!  XO, Leeza

Just as with my Xmas party 2 years ago everyone loved the size. The 4 of us really bonded and I enjoyed the preparations and camaraderie.  XXOO, Ann

’19 Pasadena Retreat – Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead – April 26 – 28

The reviews are in and the ’19 Retreat has been proclaimed:  Fabulous!  With historic Trusteeship Retreat attendance of nearly 50 members joining in the informative and fun three-day event, we want to thank our Retreat committee, panelists and hostesses who made the Pasadena come alive!

“I really think the weekend went great, and everyone had a great time. Our member panels certainly were a highlight for me. I am always stunned by the expertise and talent of our members. The dinner at Julia’s was another highlight! Perfect in every way. XX Jane O.”

“Karen, I thank you for all your leadership. I think it is fair to say you inspired all of us during the whole process. We are lucky to have you as our president, your willingness to innovate, your ability to bring everyone together, your genuine respect of people’s opinions and your amazing ability to multitask yet stay focused. It was a true pleasure to work with this amazing team. I hope you all realize how important your work was and how much everyone has said what a great retreat this was. I thank each of you as well. Truly, Abbe L.”

“Just a note to thank you for making our retreat week-end so special! It was a wonderful first-time experience for me. All my best, Karen G.”

“Just wanted to send a big thank you for all the behind the scenes making it happen job you did. Bravo! I really enjoyed the day and spending time with such incredible women. Look forward to seeing you soon. Elizabeth F.”


Opening Night:  Dinner, Cocktails & Feng Shui

The ’19 Pasadena Retreat opened with a great cocktail reception on the rooftop pool deck of our host hotel, Hotel Constance. Many Trusteeship members, who we hadn’t seen in a long time, attended the cocktail reception and then meandered over to the Sunset Room where we enjoyed a lovely dinner! At the opening dinner we were treated to a presentation on the Art of Feng Shui, by Diane Miller, Feng Shui expert and author of “Feng Shui – Just add Wind & Water” where we were gifted Diane’s book by President, Karen Caplan.  Thanks Karen!


Climate Change Panel Discussion

Our day began on Saturday in the Colorado room at the Hotel Constance, our host hotel, with a breakfast buffet as members gathered and seated themselves, connecting with old and new friends. Our Trusteeship Panel of Experts discussed The Truth About Climate Change and what we can or cannot do…this was a topic of discussion that frankly, could have lasted for hours with expert panelists:

  • Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board under Gavin Newsom – and his three predecessors
  • Anne Shen Smith, retired Chairman and CEO of The Southern California Gas Company and current member of the PG&E board
  • Janet Clayton, Senior Strategist for Vectis Strategies, a public affairs and public relations firm with offices in LA and in Washington D. C.; former editorial page Editor for the LA Times and recently retired SVP of Edison International
  • Diane Wittenberg, retired president of The Climate Registry and co-author of CALIFORNIA GOES GREEN, a Roadmap to Climate Leadership.

We discussed what is happening in regards to fire and climate, California’s environmental leadership, AOC’s Green New Deal, and the impact of the widely successful Clean Power Alliance in Southern California. As well as the question, will our children and grandchildren live in a Southern California where extreme weather makes our iconic lifestyle obsolete? What are we doing and what more can we do about it?

Special Access/VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Hostess, Jane Olson, was able to open the doors for us to tour one of the nation’s most secure facilities, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To say the least, the experience was out of this world!

We all arrived promptly at 10:30 a.m. and began our two hour, behind the scenes guided tour. We learned about the projects JPL is currently working on, the history of JPL, it’s relationship with California Institute of Technology and why JPL is considered the Center of the Universe. We saw rovers and other spacecraft and imagined what other worlds are out there and if there is in deed life on other planets.

This was truly a “once in a lifetime” event.  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon.

In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.  JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university’s faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

Today JPL continues its world-leading innovation, implementing programs in planetary exploration, Earth science, space-based astronomy and technology development, while applying its capabilities to technical and scientific problems of national significance. JPL technology developed to enable new missions is also applied on Earth to benefit our everyday lives.

Lunch & China/US Trade: What’s at Stake? Panel Discussion & Historic Behind the Scenes Tour of Pasadena City Hall

Our next stop:  Pasadena City Hall where lunch was served in the Mayor’s private quarters. We followed up our boxed luncheon with a Panel of Trusteeship members discussing the US and China and what is at stake with the current trade situation.

The governments of the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle for months as Washington presses Beijing to address long-standing concerns over Chinese practices and policies around industrial subsidies, market access and intellectual property rights protections.

Our Panel was led by Elizabeth Harrington, who has spent decades working with and in China, and it took a look at the key issues between the US and China and their implications: What are Washington and Beijing fighting about? What’s at stake? How does Beijing view our complaints?

Panelists included Trusteeship members:

  • Elizabeth Harrington, President & CEO, E. Harrington Global. Board of Directors: Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Temptation Foods/India, and The Warranty Group/Chicago. Advisor to the Chinese government on in and outbound foreign investment. Assist US companies to do business in China and Chinese companies to do business in the US. Retired Partner, Pricewatershouse Coopers China and Global Strategies practices. Hurun Report—China Rich List, North American Publisher; China’s leading business magazine.
  • Jihee Huh, Vice-Chairman, PAFCO. Directs and oversees marketing and new business ventures. Manages and increases global expansions; allocates and directs new product development; manages and expands Pete’s Seafood Club development. Pacific American Fish Company (PAFCO) is a global seafood Import, export, manufacturing, distribution company founded in 1977.
  • Donna Smith, President & CEO, Persnickety Productions Inc., a motion picture production company. Former Pres. & CEO, Cinema Completions Int’l. Inc. Former Sr. VP, Production and Post Production at Universal Pictures. Former CEO at Entertainment Completions Int’l. Chair, Women in Film Foundation. U.S. Film Ambassador to China. Board Member: Mediascope; Partner in Film West Global.

Next we toured lovely Pasadena City Hall as it opened its doors just for us! We received a behind the scenes tour of the historic building. Pasadena City Hall, completed in 1927, serves as the central location for city government in the City of Pasadena, and it is a significant architectural example of the City Beautiful movement of the 1920s. The city’s exquisite landmark exhibits Italian Renaissance and Spanish influences with its red tile roof, ornate fountain, and lush garden courtyard. It has also been the backdrop to several movie and television shows.

Elegant Dinner At the Home of member Julia Gouw

We gathered for our final Retreat Dinner at Julia Gouw’s lovely home in Pasadena for an authentically prepared Chinese meal. We enjoyed pre-dinner refreshments in the beautiful backyard and then meandered inside to Julia’s gorgeously decorated tables for a fun and joyous dinner.


Special Access: The Huntington Gardens Tea & Tour

Trusteeship members gathered in San Marino and joined The Huntington Library President, Karen Lawrence, for a lovely tea at The Huntington Tea House. It was a perfect conclusion to a wonderful retreat!

Our tea was then followed with a private tour of the Huntington Art Gallery with Director of the Art Collections, Christina Nielsen. Christina’s knowledge of the exquisite Huntington homes and buildings as well as the amazing private art collection was delightful….from the famed Blue Boy restoration project to Pinkie who held court at the front of the room, all was lovely.

Afterwards we were all able to enjoy the grounds at our leisure, shop at the Bookstore or attend their annual Plant Sale.

Bon Voyage Luncheon for Claire Rothman – April 17

A lovely Bon Voyage Luncheon for Claire Rothman was held at IL Cielo Restaurant in Beverly Hills on April 17th to a sold out room!

The Bon Voyage Luncheon was organized by Claire’s dear Trusteeship friends to celebrate her as she transitions to her new home in Las Vegas at the end of April.

We were honored to have this opportunity to show our appreciation for the 40 years Claire has shared her time, talent and treasure as an active founding member, as Trusteeship President, 1993-1996, and as our steady, devoted Board member.

Thank you to all who joined us as we expressed our feeling of deep gratitude for a friend who has enriched our lives.


Joan Abrahamson – Dine-Around – April 6

Hi Julie,

My Dine-a-Round was wonderful! We didn’t remember to take photos, so I’m sending ones of our round dining table after the party. Great people, real connections… a celebration of Spring, creative process and friendship.


Getting that Seat on the Board – March 23

On January 1, new California law SB 826 went into effect, requiring all public companies in the state to have at least one woman director on their board by the end of 2019 and two more by end of 2021.

Trusteeship members and guests gathered at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a panel presentation and learned from three of our own esteemed members who serve on Corporate Boards. They shared their experience and advice for being named a Corporate Board Member.

Some Key Notes from the Event:

  • Networking is key, it is always about relationships and who knows who.
  • People want to work with people they know, or who have been recommended by someone they know (80% recruited by friends/colleagues 20% by search firms.
  • Values needed on boards:
    • Understanding the consumer (Betsy M. is on many private boards due to her understanding young consumers).
    • Understanding what employees need (women traditionally have an HR focus.
    • Understanding finance, compensation.
  • Many women head the compensation committee, as many men don’t seem to want to say how much the CEO should make or deal with that negotiation.
  • More boards use data to drive decision making, understanding how best to use data more and more
  • Important – Be good at one or two things and brand yourself, so people start thinking of you when they need that expertise.
  • Boards want to put people on who are relevant, so if you are older (usually you are making an 8-10 year commitment) you must be able to show you are relevant (think if you are 62 in 10 years you are 72).
  • Age is a number, and it is trending younger, but still lots of older board members, but as usual may be harder for older women.
  • Think about the value you bring, and also make sure you get value out of it as well.
  • Don’t allow money to be the driving factor for why you join a board, it is a big time commitment, especially if the organization is going through a leadership change. 

Our Trusteeship Panelists: 

  • Betsy Berkhemer Credaire, CEO, Berkhemer Clayton Retained Search – Board Member of: CEO of 2020 Women on Boards Statewide California Board of National Assn of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-CA), sponsors of the California Law Women on Boards, SB 826, enacted January 1st, 2019. Past Boards: SoCal Edison Consumer Advisory Board, UCLA Health Sciences & Medical Center Advisory Board. Author: “The Board Game — How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors”, “Winning the Board Game–How Women Corporate Directors Make The Difference” (out in May, 2019).
  • Betsy McLaughlin, named 2018 Director of the Year for Growth Companies by The Forum for Corporate Directors. Board Member of: Everlane, BarkBox, Veggie Grill, Lazy Dog, 5.11 Tactical, Dolls Kill. Past Boards: Hot Topic (HOTT), Noodles (NDLS), Pinkberry, Kriser’s Natural Pet. Non-Profit Boards: PetSmart Charities.
  • Julie Newcomb Hill, Founder, The Hill Company. Board Member of: Anthem – US health insurer, Lord Abbett Family of Funds – The oldest private mutual fund complex, founded in 1929 and was the first woman on the board in 2004. UNYQ – Silicon Valley start-up, wearable medical devices. Non-Profit Boards: Chair of the UCI Trustees. Past Boards: Holcim (US), a Swiss-based international concrete cement manufacturer, Lend Lease – Sydney based heavy construction company, active in 90 countries around the world, Resources Connection – IPO out of Deloitte, financial services company.
  • Moderator: Cristina Rose Board of Directors: The Claremont Colleges, Metropolitan Los Angeles YMCA. Past Boards: HMSHost and The Mills Corporation.

Upcoming Events

  1. 40th Anniversary – The Trusteeship – October 27

    October 27 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm


IWF Conferences

Toronto, Canada: November: 13-15, 2019 – IWF World Leadership Conference

London, United Kingdom: May 13-15, 2020 – IWF Cornerstone Conference

Detroit, Michigan: October 7-9, 2020 – IWF World Leadership Conference

Santiago, Chile:  May 2021 — IWF Cornerstone Conference

Seattle, Washington:  September 29-October 1, 2021 — IWF World Leadership Conference


“The Trusteeship has introduced me to great role models, lent encouragement when needed, and challenges us to be better. The unique experiences, conversations, and shared stories keep The Trusteeship an integral part of my life.”

– Melinda