OLP Women’s Symposium

Registration for this virtual event is now closed.

Join the Seventh Annual OLPWS on Friday, March 12, 2021

The 7th Annual OLP Women’s Symposium theme of “Watch Her Rise: Lessons in Perseverance and Reinventiontakes an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities, as well as life stages, of today’s woman. Open to the public, from high school students to seasoned business professionals, the 2021 Women’s Symposium features a series of workshops, lectures, and highly curated panels with prominent leaders in their industries. The half-day, nonprofit event will leave attendees with tangible advice, lessons learned, and inspiration for what’s next in their lives. 

Proceeds benefit the education of the next generation of female leaders, including through high school scholarships and classroom tools.

2021 Symposium Program

Schedule (All times are listed in PST)

8:30 - 9:00 am: Wellness Session
9:00 - 9:45 am: Opening Plenary and Keynote
9:45 - 9:55 am: Break
9:55 - 10:40 am: Breakout Session A
10:40 - 10:50 am: Break
10:50 - 11:35 am: Breakout Session B
11:35 - 11:45 am: Break
11:45 am - 12:30 pm: Breakout Session C
12:35 - 1:00 pm: Closing Plenary

Registration for this virtual event is now closed.

2021 Keynote: Dr. Ellen Ochoa

Veteran astronaut, First Latina to go to space, Former Director of Johnson Space Center

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is the first Latina ever to go to space. She’s also only the second female Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center—where she led the human space flight enterprise for the nation from 2013 to 2018. Ochoa is a trailblazer like no other.

As an in-demand speaker, she touches on resonant issues that have defined her historic career: What can we learn about change, innovation, and the culture of teams from her time at the upper reaches of NASA’s leadership? And what can we do—really do—to ensure that more women and minorities find a place within STEM fields?

2021 Closing Keynote: Dr. Seanna Thompson '93

Senior Medical Director at Mount Sinai South Nassau

Transformative, dynamic, entrepreneur certified physician executive with a proven track record of innovative leadership, oversight, inspiring change, vision and talent for operations serving as the Senior Medical Director, Clinical Network Development for Mount Sinai Health System. Eight years progressive senior leadership experience and 16 years clinical experience as a medical provider in a multispecialty care delivery system with previous leadership roles with the Mayo Clinic Health System and Lehigh Valley Health Network. Frequent community lecturer on health topics and keynote speaker. Experience with urban, suburban, rural, community and academic care centers. Recipient of multiple academic and merit scholarships. Dual degree MBA/MS in Healthcare Policy and Research and Healthcare Leadership from the Cornell Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Morning Wellness

All attendees will have the option of attending one of our three morning Wellness Sessions. On a day that is so centered around women's achievement, we find it important to underscore the need for integrating opportunities for wellness into our lives as well. Attendees can choose to participate in a guided meditation with Moon Garden Meditation, a Catholic Devotional with Laura Martin-Spencer, or a fitness class with Yovana Mendoza Ayres. Make sure to have a comfortable yoga mat or pillow for the meditation or devotional, and sneakers, a mat and water if you plan to partake in the fitness class!

Speakers

  • Meditation by Moon Garden Meditation (Led by Angelica Orduno and Nancy Mendiola)
  • Laura Martin-Spencer, Director of Pastoral Formation for St. Francis Center for Priestly Formation and the Pastoral Associate at the Immaculata Catholic Church
  • Yovana Mendoza Ayres '07, Wellness and Healthy Living Social Media Influencer

Sessions Offered During Breakout Session A (9:55 - 10:40 am)

Becoming an elite athlete requires many hours of practice and perseverance. These panelists have succeeded in riding the highs and lows of competitive sports and creating a name for themselves in their respective fields. Celebrated athletes will describe the journeys that led them to where they are now, including the challenges they have overcome, and what lies ahead in the world of sports in the post-COVID world.

Speakers

  • Nika Sedghi, Mechanical Design Engineer
  • Afsoon Johnston, U.S. Medalist in Women’s Freestyle Wrestling
  • Sally Boettger, Health & Fitness Department Chair at OLP

We all know that internships are a great way to gain practical experience in just about any field, but how do you find one? And once you get that internship, how do you make the most of the  opportunity? In this master class, you will learn how to reach out and obtain internships to help prepare for your preferred career. Panelists will explain where to find internship opportunities, discuss the interview process, and share strategies for a successful internship. Speakers will also discuss their own internship experiences and how internships helped shape their careers. 

Speakers

  • Sandy Young, J. Walcher Communications
  • Olivia Stafford, Account Executive at J. Walcher Communications

Despite factors that often work against them, when women are intentional about their finances, they can accomplish great things. With proper financial literacy, women are capable of achieving financial wellness. This session will address important considerations for women as they approach their personal finances over all stages of their lives. We will cover how to forge your financial future, including best practices and Important concepts, including managing budget/cash flow, building a personal balance sheet, investing early & wisely. This session will also explain risk and credit.

Speakers

  • Natalie Do, Senior Vice President of Torrey Pines Bank

Pursuing an advanced degree can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. Hear from women who have successfully conquered the world of graduate and professional school, and learn why they chose to continue their education after college. From the application process to the challenges of going back to school, panelists will offer insight on how to rise to the occasion and how they’ve used higher education to advance their personal and professional lives.

Speakers

  • Meghan Connor '13, Medical student at Touro University
  • Rachel Cotton '10, Venture Associate at JDRF T1D Fund
  • Analucia Aliaga '10, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University (AZ)
  • Lori Favela, English Department Instructor, OLP

This workshop will cover brand positioning, visual identity, brand design, and social media marketing to help you build a business. The session will highlight the whole process from building a brand mission, vision, and ideal client avatar to fundamentals of good logo design and social media presence. Lastly, you will dive into community building and creating an audience around your brand idea and converting them to clients and customers. 

Speakers

  • Michelle Wintersteen, Creative Director, Brand Designer at MKW Creative Co.

Sessions Offered During Breakout Session B (10:50 - 11:35 am)

How can we set boundaries and advocate for ourselves to get our needs met in relationships? This session will focus on the tenets of healthy relationships and challenges women face in establishing them, especially in the digital era. Unhealthy relationship dynamics such as teen dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, boundary setting, and habit responses will be discussed.

Please Note: This session is not suitable for middle school attendees.

Speakers

  • Stephanie Powers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the CEO of your own company? Do you want to know how to get there? Tune in to the Femme Founders: Lessons In Entrepreneurship panel to hear from several accomplished entrepreneurs about how they started and manage their own companies. Learn from successful women who have overcome obstacles to create their own businesses. Moderated by Katlyn Grasso, CEO of GenHERation, you’ll learn various tips and tricks on what you can do to start your business and be successful over time.

Speakers

  • Katlyn Grasso, Founder and CEO of GenHERation
  • Meri Birhane, CEO of Meri Consulting Services
  • Anahi Abe-Brower, Founder of Worthy Picks
  • Shontay Lundy, Creator and Founder of Black Girl Sunscreen

This panel consists of determined, hardworking, and inspiring women making their mark in the military. These “Women in Command” will share what inspired them to join the military, how they have risen in the ranks, and how they each navigate being a woman in command in a male-dominated field. Panelists will also discuss their roles in the military and the paths that have led them to become the courageous servicewomen they are today.

Speakers

  • Jodie Grenier, CEO of Foundation for Women Warriors
  • Christina Ratajczak '13, Lieutenant in the United States Army
  • Col (Ret) Stephanie Dawson, United States Army
  • Jocelyn Addeo, Lieutenant in the United States Navy
  • Rheanna Sinnett, Commander, United States Navy Reserve

It’s been a landmark year for women in politics, from the history-making election of our country’s first female Vice President to local figures like Congresswomen Sara Jacobs, women are making their mark. But what does it take to enter the political arena, and how can women continue to have an impact once elected? Newly elected Congresswoman Jacobs will lead this discussion and share her experience as a female politician, from the campaign trail to serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 53rd congressional district.

Speakers

  • Sara Jacobs, U.S. Representative for California's 53rd congressional district
  • Denise Gitsham-Jones, Public Affairs Strategist, Attorney

What will the post-pandemic world look like and how can you prepare for it? This panel will offer practical advice for preserving public health and mental health and navigating the job market in these uncertain times. Learn how to emerge from the pandemic with grace by looking inward, sharing intentions, and speaking up. Those seeking professional development will also learn effective strategies to maximize opportunities in today’s unique job market. Prepare to move forward on the road to self-improvement and  seize new opportunities.

Speakers

  • Seema Shah M.D., County Health and Human Services Agency
  • Mary Fain Brandt, CEO & Chief Inspiration Officer at The LinkedIn Bakery
  • Shahrzhad Nooravi, Organizational Psychologist
  • Amanda Elisha Nelson, Director of Communications at San Diego Housing Federation
  • Melody McCoy, Vice President, Global Engagement Communications Office at Jhpiego

Sessions Offered During Breakout Session C (11:45 am - 12:30 pm)

Digital overload is a defining problem in today’s workplace. We spend days and nights on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, we’re bombarded with so many messages and alerts that even when we want to focus, it’s nearly impossible. This workshop will help you to take control over your digital devices rather than having them control you.

Speaker

  • Jill Tupper, Corporate Leadership Innovator and Executive Coach

Do you have a passion for the arts? Are you interested in visual arts, performing arts, fashion, or all of the above? If so, this panel is perfect for you. Featuring changemakers in the arts that will offer their professional advice and answer your pressing questions, such as “How did you get started?,” “What is it like being a woman in the arts field?,” and “What inspired you to pursue your passion for arts as a career?”

Speakers

  • Rachel Rougas, Actor and Director
  • Kim Phillips-Pea, Curator
  • Rochelle Samawi '10, Interior Designer
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Dicce, Visual & Performing Arts Department Instructor, OLP

If you’ve ever considered blazing your own trail or entering a lesser-known line of work, then this panel is for you! With careers spanning various facets of the arts and sciences, these panelists will share the curiosities, innovative thinking, and bold choices that got them to where they are today. Learn more about the benefits and challenges of pursuing an unconventional career from these esteemed professionals who are breaking new ground in their respective fields.

Speakers

  • Haley Antoine '15, Safety and Crashworthiness Engineer at Toyota
  • Sushmitha Vijay Kumar, Scientist at Roswell Biotechnologies
  • Adia Sykes '12, Curator and Arts Organizer
  • Chinedu Odu, Business Owner
  • Dr. Mittie Cannon, Founder of POWER UP Inc. - Discover More

Future lawyers look here! This panel of attorneys will share their experience in different areas of the legal field, including litigation, transactional law, personal injury, entertainment law, and healthcare law. These lawyers will share their insight and personal stories about their careers, from navigating their way through law school to choosing a practice area. 

Speakers

  • Andrea Seikaly '10, Attorney
  • Gabriela Stevens '13, Law student at Loyola Law School
  • Cassandra E. Gutierrez-Griffith, Personal Injury Trial Attorney
  • Nicoli Richardson '97, Deputy Equity, Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator for Healthcare at USC

Women in particular face increasing pressure to achieve personal and professional success while also bearing the brunt of the emotional tolls of the pandemic. Now more than ever, women are juggling their careers, personal lives, motherhood, and more, and striking a healthy balance is  increasingly elusive. The dreaded feeling of burnout is all too common, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. This panel will provide tools to promote resilience on your toughest days. Learn how to face the current reality head-on while prioritizing your physical, mental, and emotional.

Speakers

  • Reema Makani Boccia, Principal, Two Rivers Strategies
  • Professor Stefania Marchina, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
  • Dr. Hei-ock Kim, Founder and Executive Director of Kim Center
  • Jamie Flannery, English Department Instructor, OLP

Sponsorship Opportunities

Thank You, 2021 Sponsors

2021 Women’s Symposium Advisory Council

Danitza Villanueva ’98
Andrea Seikaly ‘10
Sofia Seikaly ‘13
Carrie Sawyer
Peter Dennehy
Rivka Bent
Sarah Hassaine
Dr. Lauren Lek, Head of School
Bridgette Ouimette
Kaila Weedman '08
Sandy Young
Jamie Flannery
Stephanie Kanaski '99

2021 Student Council

Kiara Ashman ‘22
Grace Brutto ‘22
Valentina Cabrera ‘23
Priscila Cano ‘23
Sofia Carranza ‘22
Jane Cox ‘21
Mia Davis ‘23
Maria Dominguez ‘21
Mallory Downing ‘21
Siobán Downing ‘23
Lily Eros ‘22
Sofia Gaxiola ‘22
Jordan Ho ‘23
Francesca La Marca ‘22
Emilie Lindsey ‘24
Kyra Martin-Spencer ‘22
Simona Ruderman ‘21
Avani Ryan ‘22
Arianna Shaikhvand ‘21
Olivia Shull ‘24
Sofia Silva ‘22
Annie Sundstrom ‘24
Katie Sundstrom ‘22
Marissa Wilfahrt ‘24

2021 Session Descriptions & Confirmed Speakers

All attendees will have the option of attending one of our three morning Wellness Sessions. On a day that is so centered around women's achievement, we find it important to underscore the need for integrating opportunities for wellness into our lives as well. Attendees can choose to participate in a guided meditation with Moon Garden Meditation, a Catholic Devotional with Laura Martin-Spencer, or a fitness class with Yovana Mendoza Ayres. Make sure to have a comfortable yoga mat or pillow for the meditation or devotional, and sneakers, a mat and water if you plan to partake in the fitness class!

Speakers

  • Meditation by Moon Garden Meditation (Led by Angelica Orduno and Nancy Mendiola)
  • Laura Martin-Spencer, Director of Pastoral Formation for St. Francis Center for Priestly Formation and the Pastoral Associate at the Immaculata Catholic Church
  • Yovana Mendoza Ayres, Wellness and Healthy Living Social Media Influencer

Becoming an elite athlete requires many hours of practice and perseverance. These panelists have succeeded in riding the highs and lows of competitive sports and creating a name for themselves in their respective fields. Celebrated athletes will describe the journeys that led them to where they are now, including the challenges they have overcome, and what lies ahead in the world of sports in the post-COVID world.

Speakers

  • Nika Sedghi, Mechanical Design Engineer
  • Sally Boettger, Health & Fitness Department Chair at OLP

This panel consists of determined, hardworking, and inspiring women making their mark in the military. These “Women in Command” will share what inspired them to join the military, how they have risen in the ranks, and how they each navigate being a woman in command in a male-dominated field. Panelists will also discuss their roles in the military and the paths that have led them to become the courageous servicewomen they are today.

Speakers

  • Jodie Grenier, CEO of Foundation for Women Warriors
  • Cristina Ratajczak '13, Lieutenant in the United States Army
  • Col (Ret) Stephanie Dawson, United States Army

Do you have a passion for the arts? Are you interested in visual arts, performing arts, fashion, or all of the above? If so, this panel is perfect for you. Featuring changemakers in the arts that will offer their professional advice and answer your pressing questions, such as “How did you get started?,” “What is it like being a woman in the arts field?,” and “What inspired you to pursue your passion for arts as a career?”

Speakers

  • Rachel Rougas, Actor and Director
  • Kim Phillips-Pea, Curator
  • Rochelle Samawi, Interior Designer

Pursuing an advanced degree can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. Hear from women who have successfully conquered the world of graduate and professional school, and learn why they chose to continue their education after college. From the application process to the challenges of going back to school, panelists will offer insight on how to rise to the occasion and how they’ve used higher education to advance their personal and professional lives.

Speakers

  • Meghan Connor '13, Medical student at Touro University
  • Rachel Cotton '10, Venture Associate at JDRF T1D Fund
  • Analucia Aliaga '10, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University (AZ)

We all know that internships are a great way to gain practical experience in just about any field, but how do you find one? And once you get that internship, how do you make the most of the  opportunity? In this master class, you will learn how to reach out and obtain internships to help prepare for your preferred career. Panelists will explain where to find internship opportunities, discuss the interview process, and share strategies for a successful internship. Speakers will also discuss their own internship experiences and how internships helped shape their careers. 

Speakers

  • Sandy Young, J. Walcher Communications
  • Olivia Stafford, Account Executive at J. Walcher Communications

Future lawyers look here! This panel of attorneys will share their experience in different areas of the legal field, including litigation, transactional law, personal injury, entertainment law, and healthcare law. These lawyers will share their insight and personal stories about their careers, from navigating their way through law school to choosing a practice area. 

Speakers

  • Andrea Seikaly, Attorney
  • Gabriela Stevens '13, Law student at Loyola Law School
  • Cassandra E. Gutierrez-Griffith, Personal Injury Trial Attorney

Digital overload is a defining problem in today’s workplace. We spend days and nights on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, we’re bombarded with so many messages and alerts that even when we want to focus, it’s nearly impossible. This workshop will help you to take control over your digital devices rather than having them control you.

Speaker

  • Jill Tupper, Corporate Leadership Innovator and Executive Coach

How can we set boundaries and advocate for ourselves to get our needs met in relationships? This session will focus on the tenets of healthy relationships and challenges women face in establishing them, especially in the digital era. Unhealthy relationship dynamics such as teen dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, boundary setting, and habit responses will be discussed.

Please Note: This session is not suitable for middle school attendees.

Speakers

  • Stephanie Powers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

This workshop will cover brand positioning, visual identity, brand design, and social media marketing to help you build a business. The session will highlight the whole process from building a brand mission, vision, and ideal client avatar to fundamentals of good logo design and social media presence. Lastly, you will dive into community building and creating an audience around your brand idea and converting them to clients and customers. 

Speakers

  • Michelle Wintersteen, Creative Director, Brand Designer at MKW Creative Co.

What will the post-pandemic world look like and how can you prepare for it? This panel will offer practical advice for preserving public health and mental health and navigating the job market in these uncertain times. Learn how to emerge from the pandemic with grace by looking inward, sharing intentions, and speaking up. Those seeking professional development will also learn effective strategies to maximize opportunities in today’s unique job market. Prepare to move forward on the road to self-improvement and  seize new opportunities.

Speakers

  • Seema Shah M.D., County Health and Human Services Agency
  • Mary Fain Brandt, CEO & Chief Inspiration Officer at The LinkedIn Bakery
  • Shahrzhad Nooravi, Organizational Psychologist
  • Amanda Elisha Nelson, Director of Communications at San Diego Housing Federation

Women in particular face increasing pressure to achieve personal and professional success while also bearing the brunt of the emotional tolls of the pandemic. Now more than ever, women are juggling their careers, personal lives, motherhood, and more, and striking a healthy balance is  increasingly elusive. The dreaded feeling of burnout is all too common, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. This panel will provide tools to promote resilience on your toughest days. Learn how to face the current reality head-on while prioritizing your physical, mental, and emotional.

Speakers

  • Professor Stefania Marchina, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
  • Dr. Hei-ock Kim, Founder and Executive Director of Kim Center
  • Jamie Flannery, English Instructor at OLP

It’s been a landmark year for women in politics, from the history-making election of our country’s first female Vice President to local figures like Congresswomen Sara Jacobs, women are making their mark. But what does it take to enter the political arena, and how can women continue to have an impact once elected? Newly elected Congresswoman Jacobs will lead this discussion and share her experience as a female politician, from the campaign trail to serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 53rd congressional district.

Speakers

  • Sara Jacobs, U.S. Representative for California's 53rd congressional district
  • Denise Gitsham-Jones, Public Affairs Strategist, Attorney

If you’ve ever considered blazing your own trail or entering a lesser-known line of work, then this panel is for you! With careers spanning various facets of the arts and sciences, these panelists will share the curiosities, innovative thinking, and bold choices that got them to where they are today. Learn more about the benefits and challenges of pursuing an unconventional career from these esteemed professionals who are breaking new ground in their respective fields.

Speakers

  • Haley Antoine '15, Safety and Crashworthiness Engineer at Toyota
  • Sushmitha Vijay Kumar, Scientist at Roswell Biotechnologies
  • Adia Sykes '12, Curator and Arts Organizer
  • Chinedu Odu, Business Owner