Women's History Month 2024

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Celebrating Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, and this year's focus is on honoring trailblazing women with this year’s theme being "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion." We're inspired by our women leadership within the credit union who play an active role to the organization in spearheading our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives that WPCCU is committed to now and for our future.

Originally, Women’s History Week was declared the week of March 8, 1980, by President Jimmy Carter. Then, in 1987, Congress officially designated March 1987 as the first Women’s History Month. Since then, every president from 1988 onward have all made an annual proclamation of Women’s History Month.

During this special month, WPCCU will host a companywide “Women’s History Month” with our team members to share some influential leaders’ stories and how they describe their successes, as well as their passions and talents.

It is with great pleasure that the credit union and DEIB Committee introduces the following influential women of our board and supervisory committee. All of these women have given freely of their time to guide, counsel and mentor. We invite our members to learn more about them from their bios. Also included are some women figures in judicial, presidential, film and the arts, who are legendary pioneers trailblazing a path to the future.

WPCCU women and historical figures

Patrice Mustafa, Chief Operations Officer

Patrice can be described in one word, “Altruistic.” She truly believes that management’s role is to discern what special, unique talent each staff member has, then set them up for success. She often can be heard saying, “Everyone has a special talent to bring to the organization. It’s our job to mentor them so they will become the very best they can be.” Patrice also is a fierce advocate of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and feels that the only way an organization can truly assimilate these key elements is to embrace the fact that it is through acceptance of DEI, we strengthen our organization as we can better serve all of our members.

Patrice Mustafa has faithfully served Water and Power Community Credit Union and its members for more than 20 years. She started her journey at WPCCU as a contact center representative. She quickly advanced to our Operations Department and eventually became the Assistant Branch Manager, Senior Branch Manager, Senior Business Development Officer, Director of Branches, and finally Vice President of Sales and Lending; before ascending to her position as COO.

Patrice is an active member of the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), and passionately believes in their mission. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Communication Studies degree from University of Arizona. When she is not working, her favorite thing to do is to spoil her grandson and root for the Lakers and Cowboys!

Nora Yusa, Chair of our Board of Directors

Nora Yusa retired from Water and Power Community Credit Union (WPCCU) after working in various capacities, among them VP of Risk Management and Internal Audit and VP of Compliance. Ms. Yusa holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from California State University at Dominguez Hills. She currently holds the position of Chair on the Board of Directors and has previously held the job of Treasurer and Secretary on the Board of Directors.

Venest Henry-Evans, Board First Vice Chair

Venest Henry-Evans worked at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) after more than 31 years as a Senior Real Estate officer in the Energy Systems Services. She retired in 1999. Ms. Henry-Evans has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Redlands and Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California. She has served as a credit union volunteer for more than 35 years with service on the Board of Directors, Supervisory Committee and Credit Committee.

Belinda Walker, Board Treasurer

Ms. Walker recently retired from the water quality division with LADWP. She attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, majoring in business administration. Ms. Walker has been a volunteer for the credit union for 30 years, serving on the Supervisory Committee and Credit Committee. She currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Gladys Berry, Board Secretary

Ms. Berry was a 36-year employee of LADWP. She retired as the Utility Service Manager over the Low Income Customer Access (LICA) Programs, which included the five customer billing discount rates and their bill payment assistance program, the LADWP Share Project. Her goal was to ensure that the underserved communities were provided access to all of the LADWP’s energy efficiency programs, products, and services.

Ms. Berry earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She has served as a volunteer on the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee for more than 10 years.

Cynthia Meekins, Supervisory Committee Member

Ms. Meekins has over 25 years with the LADWP. She is a Senior Utility Services Specialist in the Small Business Support Group. She supervises a team of Utility Services Specialists responsible for assisting small business customers to resolve their LADWP and city-related issues and address their energy and water conservation needs.

She earned her MBA from Pepperdine University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from USC, and currently serves as a member of the Water and Power Community Credit Union Supervisory Committee.

Jacky Magarin, Supervisory Committee Secretary

Emma "Jacky" Margarin has over 13 years with LADWP. She is a Lead Utility Services Specialist in the Distributed Energy Solutions Custom Performance Program Group. She leads a team of Utility Services Specialists responsible for developing and managing energy efficiency programs for commercial, industrial and institutional (CI&I) customers in an effort to assist customers in upgrading outdated inefficient equipment with new, energy efficient technologies, while simultaneously achieving their energy efficiency goals. She earned her Master of Public Administration (MPA} from California State University, Northridge and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She currently serves as temporary member of the Supervisory Committee.

The late Shari Lewis, television show host, dancer, singer, actress and author, was best known for her sock puppet Lamb Chop. She made her TV debut in the 1950s on a variety show. In 1960 she was the host of her show, The Shari Lewis Show which had an ensemble of sock characters such as Hush Puppy Charlie Horse, and the iconic Lamb Chop. In 1990 PBS approached Shari about reprising her television show, and a new generation was treated with Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. She was one of few women that owned a television production company and had her own branded credit card in the 1950’s, which was hard to obtain at that time. Shari had received 13 Emmy wins for her shows. Although she has long past, her daughter Mallory has been keeping the memory of her mother and Lamb Chop legacy going.

Greta Gerwig, Screenwriter, Director and Actor is a highly recognized screenwriter, actor, and director. Starting her career in independent films and transitioned more behind the scenes. She had written and directed Lady Bird, Little Women, and the hit of the year movie Barbie. Barbie is the highest-grossing film ever directed by a woman and has reached $1.5 billion worldwide. She brings in her own unique life experiences in the way that she directs her films. Two of her last films have been nominated for Academy Awards, but she has yet to become a nominee herself.

Quote: “I’ve never had a plan, I’ve always done things from instinct.”

Kamala Harris, United States Vice President is the first woman Vice President of the United States. Her humble beginning of being the firstborn generation to an immigrant mother from India. She went to Howard University and then attended law school at University of California, Hasting College of low She started her career as a district attorney in Alameda County and worked her way up to Attorney General of California from 2011-2017. From there she was a U.S. Senator from 2017 till she resigned from her seat on January 18, 2021 and took on the role as Vice President of the United States.

Quote:  “When you break through a glass ceiling, you’re going to get cut, and it’s going to hurt.”

The late Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 till her death in 2020. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York attended Cornell University where she earned her bachelors. Attending Harvard Law School for a brief time she was one of few women in that time attending law classes. Transferring to Columbia, she was joint first in her class. She had an uphill battle in her legal career due to her gender but overcame that stigma. She co-founded the Woman Rights project at the American Civil Liberties Union, some of her notable cases are Mortiz v. Commissioner, Frontierio v. Richardson Craig v. Boren. During her Supreme Court tenure, she oversaw cases from gender discrimination, voting rights and affirmative action to international law.

Quote: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you. Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself.”

Karen Bass, Mayor of Los Angeles was elected into office 2022. She was born and raised in the Los Angeles attending Alexander Hamilton High School and then attending San Diego State University before graduating from Keck School of Medicine of USC. Ms. Bass started her career in politics when she was elected in 2004 to California's 47th Assembly District; she became the only African-American woman to serve in the state legislature. She continued her political career in the House of Representatives until 2018 and was part of twenty caucus committees; and was second vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 115th Congress. In 2022 she ran for Mayor of Los Angeles and won, one of her biggest initiatives was to combat the homeless population out of the streets, among other crucial initiatives.

Sonia Sotomayor is one four female Associate Justices currently serving on the U.S Supreme Court. She earned her Bachelors in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, also receiving the Pyne Honor Prize—the highest academic honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She was hired out of Law school as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then entered into private practice at Pavia & Harcourt in Manhattan as an associate where she specialized in intellectual property litigation, international law and arbitration. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit where she served from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.

Elena Kagan is one the four female Associate Justices currently serving on the U.S Supreme Court. She received an A.B. from Princeton in 1981, an MPhil from Oxford in 1983, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. After law school she clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986-1987, and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1987 term. She went into a private practice and handled five lawsuits that involved the First Amendment. After briefly practicing law at a Washington, D.C. law firm, she became a law professor, first at the University Of Chicago Law School and later at Harvard Law School. She also served for four years in the Clinton Administration, as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Between 2003 and 2009, she served as the Dean of Harvard Law School. In 2009, President Obama nominated her as the Solicitor General of the United States. A year later, the president nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010. She took her seat on August 7, 2010.

Amy Coney Barrett is one the four female Associate Justices currently serving on the U.S Supreme Court. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes College in 1994, and a J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. She served as a law clerk for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1998 term. After two years in private law practice in Washington, D.C., she became a law professor, joining the faculty of Notre Dame Law School in 2002. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. President Donald J. Trump nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat on October 27, 2020.

Ketanji Brown Jackson is one the four female Associate Justices currently serving on the U.S Supreme Court. She received an A.B., magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992, and a J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996. She served as a law clerk for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1996 to 1997, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1999 term. After three years in private practice, she worked as an attorney at the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2003-2005. During this time she also served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., and from 2007-2010, she was in private practice. She served as a Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2010-2014. In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she served from 2013-2021. She was appointed to the Defender Services Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference in 2017, and the Supreme Court Fellows Commission in 2019. President Biden, appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021, and then nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2022. She took her seat on June 30, 2022.

History of International Women’s Day

We look forward to celebrating International Women's Day on March 8, 2024, which is notable worldwide. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

Since those early years, this special day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women's movement has been strengthened by four global United Nations women's conferences, and has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

International Women’s Day was spurred on by the universal female suffrage movement, during the early 20th century. Allegedly, it originated from labor movements in North America and Europe. The earliest Women’s Day was purportedly organized by the Socialist Party of America in New York City on February 28, 1909

Movement in the United States

The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

But the first milestone in US was much earlier -in 1848. Indignant over women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott congregate a few hundred people at their nation’s first women’s rights convention in New York. Together they demand civil, social, political and religious rights for women in a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. A movement is born.

The National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA), which spearheaded the movement for March being declared National Women’s History Month, has announced the women’s history theme for 2023, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

Throughout 2023, the NWHA will encourage recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade.

First key years of the movement

Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, International Women's Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe: 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1917 and now.

Recommended women’s books and movies

  • "The Audacity to Be Queen" by Gina DeVee
  • "The Light We Carry" by Michelle Obama
  • "The Heart of a Woman" by Maya Angelou
  • "Girl, Stop Apologizing" by Rachel Hollis
  • Movie:  "Hidden Figures"
  • Movie: " A League of Their Own"
  • Movie:  "Women Talkin"

Things you can do to lift up women!

  • Learn about female innovators and women inventors throughout history
  • Gift someone an “empower” box of goodies from women-owned businesses
  • Join a yoga a session, virtual or in-person, that focuses on rest, reflection, and healing
  • Play Women’s History Month trivia with friends or family
  • Honor influential female artists and creatives
  • Create care kits for girls and women
  • Volunteer with a nonprofit that empowers women and girls
  • Give a special woman a “healing” gift, such as a massage or healthy meal
  • Explore online exhibitions with the National Women’s History Museum
  • Celebrate Women’s History Month on your social media
  • Explore the online Exhibit, “Girlhood (It’s Complicated)” from the National Museum of American History
  • Share your favorite Women’s History Month quotes
  • Post about inspirational stories of female entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, and leaders
  • Follow, connect and network with women-owned and women-run businesses
  • Amplify the voices of female thought leaders in your industry

Facts That Might Surprise You

  • In 2021, a record number of women led Fortune 500 companies. However, that record included only 41 women out of 500 CEOs. In other words, only 8.1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
  • Around the world, women comprise just 4.6% of the Global 500 CEO list. This means that only 23 out of the 500 CEOs on this list are women.
  • More women than ever before are also serving in the 117th United States Congress. But, representation for women in this important branch of government is still far from equal despite some advances throughout American history. Currently, just under 27% of Congress is female.
  • Throughout U.S. history, only 3.1% of all members of Congress have been women.
  • Globally, just 10 countries have a woman Head of State. Additionally, 13 countries have a woman Head of Government
  • At WPCCU, women have the majority on our Board of Directors. In fact, our Chair, is a woman.

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