WHO WE ARE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kathy has had a distinguished career leading technology organizations in the telecommunications, banking and financial services industries. She is a results-focused, high energy senior leader who is passionate about helping women grow their careers and assume leadership roles.
Kathy brings a strong business background to WIRE along with her experience on non-profit boards serving young girls and women leaders. Kathy recently served as President of the International Women’s Forum of Northern California.
Kathy is inspired by the work being done by WIRE. She is a strong advocate for getting more women into politics. She believes increasing womens’ voices and actions are so important to our communities and for the next generation of women leaders.
Kathy lives in Emerald Hills.
Diane brings a strong business background to WIRE, with a BS in Marketing and an MBA in Finance. She began her early career in Connecticut and Toronto, before returning to San Mateo County where she has worked for several local businesses. She has volunteered with various philanthropic organizations and served on the Speaker’s Bureau for the American Cancer Society. In addition, she has served in leadership roles with the Belmont Newcomers, San Mateo Leads Club, and the Peninsula Professional Women’s Network.
Diane is excited by the opportunity to continue building WIRE's network of support to increase the political participation of women in our communities. She believes that our society as a whole functions more cohesively when both women and men are equally represented in local government. Diane served as WIRE's Co-City Captain of San Carlos and now serves on the WIRE Board.
Diane lives in San Carlos.
Jessica has always been interested in politics, but wasn’t sure what role she could play other than donating money and writing letters. She was compelled to get more actively involved after seeing, among other things, a recent photograph of an all-male group of politicians making critical policy decisions on health care that negatively impacted women. Jessica believes that a healthy government must be representative of the people and that means it must include more women.
For Jessica, creating WIRE was a chance to build a strong pipeline of female leadership at every level of government, starting in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Jessica especially encourages women who never saw themselves as politically active to join. “As an introvert, I didn’t think there was a place for me in politics, but now I see that there are many ways to participate and to help female candidates succeed. WIRE leverages each volunteer’s unique skills to support women getting into public service.”
Treasurer & Technology Lead
Katherine was inspired to join WIRE as a Bay Area native and as a woman who has spent too much of her largely finance and technology career as the only woman in the room. She has been involved with various efforts for women in business or technology; WIRE is her first foray into working to advance women in government. Katherine believes that constituents in any sphere are better served if leadership represents all their varied voices and interests.
Katherine lives in Palo Alto.
Emily served two terms on the Saratoga City Council, and as mayor in 2014 and 2017. As a council member, she also took on regional roles such as Chair of the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority and President of the Peninsula Division of the League of California Cities, collaborating with other elected officials. After concluding her second term in December 2018, Emily was elected Board Vice-Chair of the Hakone Foundation and had served as Vice Chair to Santa Clara County Advisory Commission on Consumer Affairs. Before elected office, Emily was President of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, and PTSA Co-President of Saratoga High School where her two children attended. Emily recently retired from her 20 year old business in promotional products to focus on community service.
Emily supports diversity, and strongly believes it is essential to include and engage women in both the public and private sectors. She is passionate about supporting women to run for elected and appointed positions, especially women who are qualified but lack the resources and political machine to back them up.
Emily lives in Saratoga.
Virginia Chang Kiraly
Virginia has the privilege of serving on both the San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors. She is the first Asian-American woman to serve on both boards and is the second woman in the 100+-year history to serve on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board. In 2015, Virginia was named by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a “Woman of Influence.”
Virginia was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Commission for Economic Development, serving on the Commission from 2007-2014. As a Commissioner, she was appointed by Lt. Governor John Garamendi to chair the Commission’s Biotech Advisory Committee. Professionally, Virginia has fifteen years of experience in corporate financial analysis, planning, and investments. She is a former Senior Director of the Nasdaq Stock Market and has worked at some of the country's leading financial institutions.
Virginia earned her B.A. in Government with a minor in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently in her last semester studying for her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Virginia lives in unincorporated West Menlo Park.
Christina brings more than 20 years of transformation leadership having served as a senior strategy and corporate finance professional, an entrepreneur and change leader. Her client list include leaders the Biotech, Consumer, Technology and Utilities sectors. She believes in hands-on engagement to make a difference in all areas and selectively extends pro-bono advisory services and mentorship to non-profit organizations focused on empowerment, education and entrepreneurship.
Christina lives in San Carlos.
Shelly has been a leader in education and women’s health for over 20 years, and joined Council for a Strong America in August, 2020. Throughout her career she has led youth-serving non-profits, and held multiple education and women’s health-related leadership roles. Most recently she served for five and a half years as the CEO of Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, a statewide education non-profit that partners with the California Department of Education and other education leaders to create, resource, and implement solutions to improve public education.
Shelly is currently the Vice Mayor of Redwood City, where she has served on the Redwood City Council since 2015. She chairs Redwood City 2020, a public private collaborative focused on healthy children and youth and is the Vice President of the Peninsula Division of California League of Cities. Shelly was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Redwood City School Board, where she was elected 3 times and served for 10 years, including two terms as Board President. During her tenure she was twice chosen by her colleagues across the county as President of the San Mateo County School Boards Association. She served as an elected delegate for the California School Boards Association, and on the Education Advisory Committees for Assembly members Rich Gordon and Kevin Mullin. Shelly was voted as one of the 100 Most Influential Women by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for her work in education.
Shelly and her husband are parents of 3 – two college students and one teacher and live in Redwood City.
Vicki is the Managing Director, West Coast, of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a national non-profit working to bridge policy divides. Vicki ran Convergence’s California Health Reform Initiative whose March 2020 recommendation was advanced by the Governor and the Assembly Health Committee. Vicki was a candidate for the State Assembly in 2016, after being recruited by Close the Gap and trained by Emerge. Vicki currently serves on the Advisory Board of Fund Her. She helped found, and served as the first General Counsel of, Women’s Professional Soccer. Vicki is a professional mediator and was appointed by the International Trade Commission and the Federal Court to their mediation panels.
A practicing attorney, Vicki was a partner at international law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP and at Fish & Neave (now Ropes & Gray) before founding Veenker Law Offices in 2013. She is a Board Member and former President of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, which provides legal services to under-served communities. Vicki served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and at Santa Clara University Law School. She earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and degrees in Biochemistry and Political Science from Indiana University where she was mentored by Professor Elinor Ostrom, the first woman and first political scientist to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Vicki lives in Palo Alto.
Karen Schwarz was elected to the San Mateo County Community College Board of Trustees in November 1995. She has served five terms as President of the Board and completed her 25 year tenure as Board President. She is the Past President of the San Mateo County Colleges Educational Housing Corporation Board which oversees the operations of the College Vista and Cañada Vista residential communities for faculty and staff. She previously served as an elected member of the San Mateo County Board of Education (1988-1994), including two terms as Board President. She has been elected and appointed to several educational and community associations, including the San Mateo County School Boards Association (President, 2001-02), California State School Boards Association, California County Boards of Education. She has extensive PTA executive leadership experience as past President of South San Francisco PTA Council.
Honors include: 2011 inductee into San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame, Soroptimists Distinguished Woman of the Year Award, and numerous South San Francisco Honorary Service Awards.
Karen has been a resident of San Mateo County for more than 40 years. She currently resides in Redwood City. She is a long time member of the League of Women Voters, was appointed member of the Redwood City Library Board; is currently a Board member of Broadway by the Bay Theatre Company, and President of the Peninsula Hills Women's Club.
Karen believes in WIRE and hopes to share her experience of being an elected and appointed woman to help all women in their quest to also serve their communities.
Karen lives in Redwood City.
Liz Kniss has recently left public service after serving in public office for thirty five years. She looks forward to supporting women who want to run for elected office or appointed positions. Kniss began her public career when elected to the Palo Alto Unified School District Board in 1985, then was elected to the Palo Alto City Council in 1989, serving three terms as well as Mayor in 1994 and 2000. In 1994, Mayor Kniss led Palo Alto to be the first city in the U.S. with a web site. Affordable Housing, internet connectivity and community family resources were emphasized while she served.
In November 2000, Kniss was elected to represent Santa Clara County's Fifth District on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. In her county role she was on the boards of VTA, CalTrain, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and was elected to leadership roles on each board. After serving three terms, the maximum allowed at one time, she returned to the Palo Alto City Council. In 2016, she won by a decisive margin; Kniss was elected a total of ten times. She was elected mayor of Palo Alto for a third time in 2018.
While Mayor, and later that same year, Kniss revealed she was a survivor of sexual abuse in the 1960s. This happened during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings for the Supreme Court. Kniss spoke out, as she felt it was important for women to come forward and receive support after sexual abuse; she knew that many hesitated, thinking they would not be believed, or seen as credible.
Kniss’ background as a public health professional has proven of great value for serving in public office and supporting goals for a healthy environment and sustainable future. Kniss holds a BSN from Simmons University, an MPA from CSU, and studied health policy and economics at UCB. In addition, she also worked in Marketing and Communications at Sun Microsystems in SunLabs for over ten years.
Liz looks forward to working with the distinguished board of WIRE and encouraging women to run for office successfully. After 35 years, she knows that running is a daunting commitment, and wants to help women embrace opportunities to serve their community. Women being in office changes our whole governing system, and given that women are half the population, Kniss holds the strong conviction that we need more balance in our government. Women working together will promote that balance, fairness, and equality.
Liz lives in Palo Alto.
Carol Mayer Marshall
WIRE Founder and President Emeritus
Carol began her career in public service as a Congressional Intern on Capitol Hill. Later, she served as a Legislative Assistant to three Congressmen and two Senators. In 1969, she became the first woman ever to serve as an Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations in any Administration. She was later appointed by the President and confirmed by the US Senate as the first female Director of VISTA (the Domestic Peace Corps). In 1989, President Bush Sr. appointed and the Senate confirmed her as the first woman Director of the San Francisco Mint.
Carol has run her own consulting business, practiced law, and been active in commercial real estate development. She has run for the California State Senate and has served on many local community and political boards. She founded a salon of women, now in its eleventh year, which meets monthly to discuss issues of national and international importance. She serves on the board of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, is the Chair Emeritus of the NARAL Leadership Council, has served on the national NARAL board, and on both the local and state boards of Planned Parenthood. She is the founder of WIRE for Women.
Carol lives in Menlo Park.
Wynne Segal Dubovoy