Emerge California Class of 2018 Graduates 65 Current and Future Democratic Candidates.

2018 Northern, Central Valley and Souther California Class Photos.


Oakland, Cali.—Emerge California, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, graduated 65 program members from their 2018 Central Valley, Northern and Southern California classes this past month. This class's chosen group of future women political leaders is shaping up to be one of Emerge California’s best ever, with the exciting addition of a new Central Valley Cohort which launched in February.

“Emerge California is thrilled to graduate the class of 2018,” said Maimuna Syed, Executive Director of Emerge California. “This year saw our most talented program member pool yet with women coming from all industries, from the tech sector to lifelong public servants. We will see many of this year's graduating class on the ballot in 2018- including State Assembly candidates Jackie Smith and Rebecca Bauer Kahan, San Juan Unified School Board candidate Myel Jenkins and Costa Mesa City Council candidate Arlis Reynolds.”

Emerge California has a proven track record for getting Democratic women elected. Since the organization launched in 2002, the program has to date trained more than 520 women with the skills needed to bring change to their communities. More than 50 percent of the alumnae have gone on to run for political office or been appointed to local boards or commissions, and of those who have gone on to run for an elected position, 70 percent have won. Emerge California’s commitment to diversity also means that the women selected for the program come from a multitude of different backgrounds and all walks of life. In fact, 55 percent of the program’s graduates are women of color.

Class of 2018 program members join Emerge CA Alumnae including San Francisco Board of Supervisors London Breed and Malia Cohen, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, Tustin City Councilmember Letitia Clark, San Luis Obispo Mayor Hiedi Harmon and Bart Board Director Lateefah Simon. 

Emerge California offers Democratic women a cutting-edge training program that gives women a hands-on campaign learning experience. Graduating Program members have received 70 hours of in-depth education over six months focused on the skills needed to win. The program’s trainers are comprised of an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from all over the country, who have been involved in some of the most successful campaigns and initiatives seen in recent election cycles. Participants learned from these experts and developed practical knowledge in areas such as public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, media and messaging and others. Candidates also engaged with an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office and became a part of the 'Emerge Sisterhood', which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board and advisory council members.

Below is a full list of Emerge California’s Class of 2018 Graduating Program Members.

Northern California

April Anderson
Olivia Anglade
Wendy Askew
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
Akiba Bradford
Sarah Butler
Julie Caskey
Shelly Covert
Lorien Cunningham
Alida Fisher
Bonnie Hamilton
Natassija Jordan
Rashi Kesarwani
Mary Kay Lacey
Alexis Leifheit
Sharon Montgomery
Olivia Navarro
Doriss Panduro
Gaylon Parsons
Julia Prochnik
Kristin N. Rivers, Ph.D.
Mansi Shah
Sahar Shirazi
Holli Thier
K Patrice Williams


Southern California

Kimberly Carr
Stephanie Castellanos
Violet Cavanaugh
Denise Davis
Emily Dresslar
Erin Edwards
Susan Funk
Rosalyn Lee
Sarah Kate Levy
Margie Llinas
Deborah Klein Lopez
Christina Prejean
Arlis Reynolds
Jessica Rivas
Sheri Sachs
Karla Salazar
Isabel Sanchez
Giselle Sorial
Erica Stewart
Tamala Takahashi
Marni von Wilpert
Wendy Wheatcroft


Central Valley

Lisa Diaz Nash
Dee Emmert
Sharon Golden
Myel Jenkins
Ilana Lipsett
Kristina Molina
Patricia Munro
Annalisa Perea
Karina Ryan
Susannah Sallin
Jacalyn Smith
Tara Sreekrishnan
Carolyn Templeton
Rachelanne Vander Werf
Katharine Wanamaker
Kimberly Warmsley
Dionne Ybarra

(Class of 2018 Program Members Anne McKereghan and Medha Rishi are expected to graduate in 2019.)

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