OLP Women’s Symposium

Join us for OLP’s Fifth Annual Women’s Symposium on March 15, 2019 at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace.

OLP is honored to serve as an epicenter for women's education and is excited to host this unique event centered on reciprocal learning and inspiration. We are incredibly thankful to have Franchesca Catagnola and Danitza Villanueva '98 as our amazing Co-Chairs for this wonderful event. Modeled after speaker panels at leading universities, OLP’s Women’s Symposium brings together top women leaders to share their insights and pathways to success with our students and the community. Through dialogue and modeling, these female leaders empower young women to stand up for themselves and fearlessly chase their dreams.

The funds raised from this event will support the OLP Alumnae Scholarship Fund for students who embody the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, show academic potential and demonstrate financial need.



8:30 AM Vendor Marketplace Opens
9:35 AM Opening Assembly
10:20 AM Panel Session 1
11:00 AM Break
11:30 AM Panel Session 2
12:15 PM Closing Assembly
1:00 PM- 2:30 PM Networking Lunch and Vendor Marketplace


    • $50 – General Admission
      • Includes access to all presentations and panels, welcome reception and networking lunch
    • $15 – OLP Alumna / College Student / Young Professional (under 30 years old)
    • Parking: There will be optional shuttle service provided for parking convenience. We encourage guests to park at the Westfield Mission Valley Mall (East parking lot between The Broken Yolk and Bank of America) and take one of our courtesy shuttles to OLP. Shuttle service will begin at 8 am. Shuttles will run continuously between Westfield Mission Valley and OLP, with the last shuttle leaving OLP at 3 pm. Parking is limited at and around OLP, and we ask our guests to support our efforts in being good neighbors by being aware of residential driveways. Please do not block or park too close to driveways: you will be towed. Carpool and rideshare are also encouraged.

New this year… We are excited to announce our Vendor Marketplace. Make sure to stop by and support our women entrepreneurs, including our student entrepreneurs! From jewelry to skincare, there is something for everyone.

Kendra Scott
Hola Swim
Dr. Diane Perez
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Andrea's Truffles
Honey & Lavender
Branch Out Market
American National Investments

Fifth Annual Women's Symposium

Join us as a corporate partner for the Fifth Annual Women’s Symposium. Through your support, your business or organization will benefit from direct exposure to hundreds of community members who are interested in supporting and encouraging young women to pursue their dreams, find their voices and reach their true potentials.

Sponsorship Opportunities range from $1,000 to $15,000 and can be customized to fit your needs.

View 2019 Sponsor Info 

Thank You, 2019 Sponsors

Innovator Sponsor

Trailblazer Sponsors

Changemaker Sponsors

Pathfinder Sponsors

Anne Sweeney
Johnson & Jennings
Mary M. O'Connor, DDS, Inc.
First Republic Bank

Trendsetter Sponsors

RCP Block and Brick
Team TAG
North Island Credit Union
Marathon Construction

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP



2019 Main Stage Speakers

Elizabeth Alvarez
 Broadcast Journalist, KUSI News
Mistress of Ceremonies
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DA Summer Stephan
District Attorney, County of San Diego
Keynote Speaker
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Mara Fortin
 Owner, Nothing Bundt Cakes
Closing Speaker
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Section 1

Overcoming Adversity

At this panel, you will hear from women who have surpassed roadblocks in their trajectory,
allowing themselves to “fail forward” and rise up from their challenges. They will discuss their
first steps in overcoming adversity, and the turning points in their lives where they changed their
failures into successes. These panelists will describe how they overcame societal standards
and personal obstacles, the milestones that made them the accomplished, empowered women
they are today.

Lorena Slomanson '93
Development Director, Legal Aid Society of San Diego
Thought Leader
Read More

Michelle Flores-Gonzalez '02
VP, Director of Operations, Flores Financial Services, Inc.
Read More

Holly Smithson
CEO, Athena
Read More

Dr. Ann Scarborough-Bull '67
Chief of Environmental Sciences (Ret.), Bureau of Ocean Energy
Read More

Mary Jean Anderson
Owner, Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air
Read More

Section 2

Changemakers in Action

Meet women who are currently changing the world for the better, with improvements large and
small, day by day. These inspiring and powerful women won’t stand for the status quo, and will
provide tips so that you can become your own changemaker in your field, your community and
beyond. Some of these women purposely set out to break glass ceilings and others were
committed to doing solid work and ended up causing radical change in the process. Learn how
they got to where they are, and what’s next.

Sandra Jeskie
Partner, Duane Morris LLP
Thought Leader
Read More

Rana Sampson
Director, Community Relations Ambassador, Southern California and San Diego Divisions, Union Bank
Read More

Deborah Klochko
Executive Director and Chief Curator, Museum of Photographic Arts
Read More

Gina M. Jackson
Founder and Executive Artistic Director, Cultural Noire Performing Arts Company

Professor, San Diego Community College District

Arts Commissioner for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

Read More

Julie Meier Wright
Senior Fellow, California Council on Science & Technology

Read More

Section 3

The Power of Your Voice

Investigate deeper into the possibilities of using your voice to advocate for your own
development and goals – changing the conversation and challenging stereotypes. You will learn
when and where it is best to use your voice to bring about change. These independent women
will talk about how they gained their own voice when facing hard times, uncomfortable situations
and pessimistic attitudes.

Chinedu Odu '93
Owner, Your Virtual Support Team
Thought Leader
Read More

Sue Saarnio
Consul General of USA in Tijuana, BC
Read More

Ashley Nell Tipton
Fashion Designer, Winner of Project Runway 14
Read More

Jodie M. Grenier
Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Women Warriors
Read More

Section 4

Creating Your Own Story

Every woman is in the process of creating her own unique story. Like any great story, each of
these women were facilitated by others who illuminated their journey – as well as those who
caused them to pivot or make twists or turns. Hear riveting stories, as panelists delve into the
highs and lows of their lives and their diverse chapters.

Carrie Sawyer
Manager of Inclusion and Diversity, Qualcomm
Thought Leader
Read More

Kimberly Herrell
President, Schubach Aviation
Read More

Lisa Druxman
Founder, FIT4MOM (Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby, and Body Back)
Read More

Mine Okano
Senior Staff Technical Project Manager, Sony Playstation
Read More

Debra Simmons
Observatory System Engineering Lead, Northrop Grumman Corporation, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope
Read More


Danitza Villanueva '98 
 Giving Back Magazine

Francesca Castagnola
 Senior VP, Torrey Pines Bank

2018 Women's Symposium

Watch a Video:

View 2018 Photos:


View Our Program: