Spotlight on Women Speaker Series


The Women's International Center is proud of our Spotlight on Women Speaker Series in collaboration with The Women's Museum of California, Pacific Arts Movement, The San Diego French American Chamber of Commerce, and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. Our Series is held at various locations around San Diego and features professional and celebrity speakers and delicious international food. We encourage people of all ages to join us in this cooperative environment and, time permitting, guests may introduce themselves and promote causes.

Please join us for our next Spotlight on Women Speaker Series presentation:

Spotlight on Women in SciencE Panel: 5 Ocean Scientists from San Diego's Sister City Vladivostok, Russia

What: Our next Spotlight event features 5 emerging Ocean Scientists from Vladivostok, Russia - San Diego's Sister City. Co-presented with the San Diego World Affairs Council, our event features a panel discussion in which 4 marine biologists and an oceanographer briefly present their work in order to further the advances of ocean research internationally. A professional interpreter will assist our dialogue and for more information on the specific areas of research including micro algae, toxins, pollution, and the ocean as a source of food, please explore this link.
Where: UCSD Women's Center (Student Center West, Bldg 290, Above Hi-Thai Restaurant, near Main Gym)
Date and Time: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 Noon-1:30pm- Please allow sufficient time for parking
Meal: Buffet style luncheon is provided including vegetarian entree choice and salad prepared by David Chenelle, President and Member Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego.
Cost: Complimentary with gratitude to our co-sponsors San Diego World Affairs Council, San Diego Sister Cities Association and Budget Blinds.

Mental Health Through the Generations

We are pleased to announce this excellent upcoming panel presented by the leading bevahioral health care provider in San Diego:


Mental Health Through the Generations.
 Kathi Lencioni, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Sharp Mesa Vista and Sharp McDonald Center at Sharp HealthCare moderates this expert panel including Dr. Alisha Carpenter, Larkin Hoyt, and Dr. Dara Schwartz..

Kathi Lencioni is Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Sharp Mesa Vista and Sharp McDonald Center at Sharp HealthCare. 

Dara Bliss Schwartz, PsyD is lead clinical psychologist for the Sharp Senior Outpatient Program.  A trained geriatric psychologist, Dr. Schwartz has a passion and knowledge base for working with, and engaging older adults.

Dr. Alisha Carpenter is currently the Manager for Child & Adolescent Services at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital overseeing all inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for children, adolescents, and their families. 

Dr. Larkin Hoyt is the Manager of Sharp McDonald Center and a licensed clinical psychologist with over 12 years’ experience working with individuals diagnosed with severe and chronic mental illness and addiction. She will be discussing the types of treatment services available in the community for those that struggle with addiction.

Date TBA

Our Speaker Series has Featured:


Marilyn Lane and Valerie Buck on Equine Assisted Therapy

Date: Wednesday November 5 2014, noon-2pm

Valerie Buck and Marilyn Lane together have 51 years of hands-on experience with Thoroughbreds on racetracks across America. Valerie worked as an exercise rider for several trainers including Hall of Famers. Horses respond to Valerie because she takes time to understand them and help them through their fears. This same patience and understanding can help her assist women through difficult times. Valerie owns a farm in Salem, New York near the Vermont border and has been successfully moving horses from their racing careers into their new lives as retired racing horses.

Marilyn Lane began her career as a trainer in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1960’s before the days of women jockeys. Marilyn trained horses through 1989 and was a founding member of both ThoroFan and Saratoga WarHorse. Marilyn's passion is the age-old bond between horses and humans. She works with Valerie Buck at ACTT Naturally and helps coordinate the participation of horses in the Mack Foundation's (headed by former Ambassador Earle Mack) Man o’ War Project which will emerge soon under the auspices of the oldest Thoroughbred retirement organization in North America, the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund (TRF). The Man o’ War project will serve veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries, or TBI’s. Man o’ War has attracted a strong team of mental health experts from Columbia University. "For thousands of years horses led men to battle, today horses are leading warriors back to peace." - Marilyn Lane


Ms. Veronique Benchimol

Ms. Sandra BrowerIn the middle of last century, a Colombian neuropsychiatrist named Dr. Caycedo started synthesizing his years of studying yoga, Zen Buddhist meditation, relaxation theory, hypnosis, phenomenology and traditional medical study. He wanted to create a simple tool that people could use in their daily lives, a way to combat stress, disease, and other mind-body complaints. He called his new discipline Sophrology, and defined it as a science of consciousness in harmony. Sophrology is now established and well-accepted throughout Europe, used widely in medicine, sports, education, prenatal care, the corporate world, and the arts. But it’s just starting to be known here in the U.S. After practicing for ten years in France, certified Sophrologist Veronique Benchimol now practices in San Diego, CA, USA. Sophrology involves exercises in breathing, dynamic relaxation, meditation, concentration and movement, all meant to reduce stress and promote well-being. It is, essentially, a relaxation technique that allows you to develop, in at least fifteen minutes a day, a profound sense of well-being.

Thursday May 9 2013 Speakers: Veronique Benchimol - Optimal Health and Well Being Through Sophrology Co-Presenter: San Diego French American Chamber of Commerce Location: Alborz Middle Eastern Restaurant, 2672 Del Mar Heights Rd, 92014 in Del Mar Heights Village Shopping Center, just west of Fwy 5


Founding Mothers of the Women's Museum of California

Ms. Sandra BrowerMs. Sandra BrowerMs. Sandra BrowerExecutive Director (and Women's International Center Living Legacy) Ashley Gardner, Anne Hoiberg, Dr. Sue Gonda and Founding Mothers gave a moving verbal history of the evolution of the Women's Museum of California. From 1983 until 1997, Mary Mashcal assembled an extensive collection of memorabilia and aritifacts, filling virtually every room of her Golden Hill home with historic documents, banners, posters, and books. Mary and others also reached out into the community, offering lectures on women's history to school children, professional and social organizations, and community groups. In 1995, at the urging of family and friends, Mary opened her home to the public and held exhibitions of her vast collection.The WMC is a co-founder and sponsor of the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame. We collaborate with dozens of women's and girl's organizations and agencies throughout San Diego. In 2011, we changed our name to the Women’s Museum of California with the tag line “preserving the past…inspiring the future”. We are now located at the NTC at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

Friday March 29 2013 Speakers: Founding Mothers of the Women's Museum of California: It's the Museum's Birthday! Co-Presenter: Women's Museum of California Location: Women's Museum of California, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd #104 San Diego, CA 92106 (Liberty Station in Point Loma, off of Rosecrans)


Asian American and Pacific Islander Women/Womyn in Academia Panel

Kirin Amiling Macapugay, MSWKirin Amiling Macapugay, MSW - Moderator

Kirin serves as a Commissioner for the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Operation Samahan. She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from San Diego State University, focusing on program development, resource development, and community relations. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She also serves on the boards for the San Diego Association of Fundraising Professionals, Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, BIBAK San Diego, Kalingas North America Network, and is an adviser for the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum San Diego Chapter. She is a member of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce as well as the nonpartisan Black American Political Association of California.


Amanda Solomon Amorao, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Asian & Pacific Studies Program, SDSU
Executive Director, Kuya Ate Mentorship Program

Amanda Solomon Amorao received her Ph.D. in Literature in 2011 from the University of California at San Diego. She specializes in Asian Pacific American literature generally and Filipino American cultural studies specifically. Currently, she is a lecturer in the Asian and Pacific Studies Program at San Diego State University, but has been associate faculty at UC San Diego's Literature and Ethnic Studies Departments as well as lecturer in the Critical Gender Studies and Humanities Programs. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program, a non-profit educational organization focused on intergenerational mentorship, social justice, and bringing critical Filipino American Studies to the local San Diego community.

Kirin Amiling Macapugay, MSWAnne S. Bautista, Esq.
Legal Program Director

Ms. Anne S. Bautista is the Legal Program Director for the VAWA Legal Program. She is an immigration attorney specializing in representing immigrant victims of domestic violence under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). She began the VAWA Legal Program at Access, Inc. in 1998 and has successfully represented thousands of women and children under VAWA. Ms. Bautista is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at California Western School of Law (CWSL) teaching two courses: Women and Immigration Law, a course which takes a critical look at the effect of immigration laws and policies on women immigrating to the United States, and the Immigration Seminar and Clinical Field Placement: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from California Western School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Ms. Bautista has received numerous awards for her work on behalf of victims and survivors and has trained both advocates and students on the protections available to immigrant victims under VAWA.

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D.Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D.
Public Relations Professor, SDSU
Consultant in Public Relations Research & Strategy

Dr. Sha’s primary research program combines theories of mathematical physics with public relations scholarship. Her other research areas include cultural identity, international public relations, activism and gender. Dr. Sha’s scholarly work has been published in Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Promotion Management, as well as various book chapters. In the San Diego community, Dr. Sha is active in the Public Relations Society of America, in the Union of Pan-Asian Communities, and in Parent Teacher Associations at the school, school district, county and state levels. Nationally, Dr. Sha served the Public Relations Society of America as the 2010-2011 chair of the National Committee on Work, Life & Gender. Currently, she chairs the research work group of the Universal Accreditation Board, which oversees the world’s largest certification program in public relations.

Valerie Ooka Pang, Ph.D.Valerie Ooka Pang, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Teacher Education, SDSU

Valerie Ooka Pang is a professor in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She has published eight books such as Multicultural Education: A Caring-centered, Reflective Approach (2nd ed, 2010) and Struggling To Be Heard: The Unmet Needs of Asian American Children with L. Cheng (1998). In addition, Dr. Pang has published in various journals including Educational Researcher, Harvard Educational Review, The Kappan, The Journal of Teacher Education, Action in Teacher Education, and Social Education. Professor Pang has consulted with organizations such as Sesame Street, Family Communications (Producers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood), and Scott Foresman.

Kirin Amiling Macapugay, MSWYến Lê Espiritu, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

Originally from Vietnam, Yen Le Espiritu is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She has published widely on Asian American panethnicity, gender and migration, and U.S. colonialism and wars in Asia. She is completing a book on the politics of commemoration of the Vietnam War.

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum San Diego (NAPAWF-SD) & Women's International Center Co-Present Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Women/Womyn in Academia Panel

Thursday, September 26, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest 1475 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92103


Ms. Sandra Brower

Ms. Sandra BrowerMs. Sandra Brower is an Attorney specializing in environmental law and all aspects of real estate litigation. Ms. Brower specializes in eminent domain litigation for both public entities and private owners. She is expert in all aspects of real estate litigation, including inverse condemnation, land use and planning, environmental, contract disputes, broker liability, construction defects, title and boundary disputes, and title insurance matters. Ms. Brower has appeared before city and county administrative boards, tried lengthy and complex cases in both state and federal courts, and appeared before the California and United States Supreme Courts. She has tried several landmark cases involving environmental, land use and condemnation matters which have resulted in published appellate opinions.

Robynne French"Robynne French is an 11-yr-old M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records recording artist who sang at our luncheon."

Bio: Robynne French is a 11 year-old singing sensation who is the youngest artist ever to sign to the M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Record label. This hometown girl who has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do is known and admired for her big heart and even bigger voice. Robynne has been wowing audiences since she was 5 years old after she told her mother that she wanted to sing and use her voice to changea and inspire the world.


Ms. Marisa Ugarte

Marisa UgarteMarisa Ugarte Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition
Subject: In accordance with Women's History Month -- Raising Awareness about BiLateral Human Trafficking: New and Tougher Laws to help Prevent Human Trafficking Globally and Locally
More About Marisa Ugarte: In her role as the Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, Marisa Ugarte brings more than 20 years of experience in advocacy for exploited men, women and children, and in assisting and at-risk youth. With a Masters degree (equivalent) in social work and psychology, Ms. Ugarte spent three years developing social services programs in Tijuana, Mexico. Ms. Ugarte is founder of the Binational Crisis Line in Tijuana, as well as the Domestic Violence Crisis Center for the Sistema Nacional para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia, Tijuana (DIF Tijuana). Ms. Ugarte continues to be an advisor to DIF and to the Civil Protection and Disaster Crisis Prevention Program in Mexico. Read more


Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, MD

Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, MDDr. Carolle Jean-Murat, MD is a board-certified gynecologist who had a successful medical practice in San Diego from 1982 to 2005. She is the CEO and Founder of Dr. Carolle's Wellness and Retreat Center of San Diego. She has also begun the Health Through Communications Foundation Angels for Haiti Project ( & that supports women and children globally by keeping education and wellness as their priorities. In addition to being a celebrated doctor, healer, and educator, she has authored over 12 books including Life's Lessons from Grandma and has received countless honors including ABC's Channel 10 Community Leadership Award and the Bob Marley Peace Award.



MARIE FLACASSIERBorn in France, Ms. Flacassier has worked in the language industry for many years and has over 10 years experience as a senior manager for several localization & translation companies. Over the years, she has helped a large number of US companies with their international expansion into foreign markets. She graduated with a MA in English studies (including translation and linguistics) from the University of Nice (France) in 1998 and with an MBA in International Business from National University (USA) in 2005. She is Chief Operations Officer at Beat Babel, a company that specializes in professional translation (especially for websites) to help companies maintain an international profile. Her diverse cultural background and industry experience helps her find creative solutions to business challenges. Her personal motto is inspired by Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Nov 8 5-7pm Happy Hour, 7:15 Film

Women's International Center is honored to co-present the film American Revolutionary at the Pacific Arts Movement San Diego Asian FilmFestival this year. We join NAPAWF-SD and Pac Arts for a special Happy Hour Question and Answer session with the director Grace Lee.

About American Revolutionary:
We would all be so lucky to know a Grace Lee Boggs: activist, feminist, author, speaker, and philosopher. As of this writing she is still socially active at age 98. Grandmotherly in appearance, but fierce and outspoken - sometimes to the point of making people cry during arguments - she embodies the spirit of the words she once spoke: "You don't choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be."

In her previous The Grace Lee Project (SDAFF '05), filmmaker Grace Lee (no relation to Boggs) created diverse portraits of people who share her name. Grace Lee Boggs though, warranted a film all of her own. The Chinese American Boggs has long been an advocate for the rights of African Americans, who have in turn embraced her and her husband, auto worker and fellow activist James Boggs.

"Shot over a decade in Boggs' home city of Detroit, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY offers a reverential but also critical overview of her ideas and accomplishments, deeply influenced by Marx and Hegel. It also takes a sobering, though optimistic, look at the city's history. Able to adapt her methods and ideas to a changing environment, Grace Lee Boggs has become a symbol of sustainable activism." - Wilda Wong

This film is co-presented by: National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum San Diego, Women's International Center, Japanese American Citizens League, UCSD Cross-Cultural Center.



- Photos from our Spotlight on Women Collaborative Luncheon, featuring the San Diego French Chamber of Commerce and Francophone Accueil de San Diego, held at Vela Restaurant, Bayfront Hilton, San Diego, California.
Photos: a) Guests b) Exec. Director FAWC-SD Joyce Fitzgerald, Exec. Director SDFACC Elsa Depeupiere, CEO WIC Bridget McDonald