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San Diego Appoints Members to Newly Revived Commission on the Status of Women

Group of women profiles

For the first time in nearly two decades, the City has revived the Commission on the Status of Women to advise City leaders to ensure women are supported in City policies and decision-making. The Commission advises the Mayor, City Council and other agencies of City government of inequities that may confront women in social, economic and vocational pursuits. First established in 1973 as the “Advisory Board on the Status of Women” and subsequently revived and renamed in 1991, the commission has been inactive with the last of expiring terms ending in 2001. Its revival reflects City leaders’ commitment to equity and ensuring San Diego women are positioned for success.

In August, Mayor Todd Gloria announced his appointments to the Commission. Former U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis (pictured on the top right) was nominated to serve as the Commission’s Chair.

"My interest in serving on the Commission on the Status of Women goes back over 50 years with San Diego’s League of Women Voters," Davis said. "In my work as an elected public servant, the adage that a country and community succeeds when women succeed has been a guiding principle. The Commission’s leadership in working to secure equity and opportunity for women and girls will be our unique legacy."

Other nominated Commissioners come from a variety of backgrounds and industries.

Solange Jacobs (top middle) is the Chief Marketing Officer for Arena Analytics, a mission-based startup charting the future of work. She was born and raised in South Africa and is a veteran technology marketer living, working and raising a daughter in San Diego.

"It's important to me to give back to my community and to show my daughter a model of service work in action," Davis said. "I inhabit and share so many identities with women across San Diego––parent, marketing executive, Black woman, creative professional, immigrant, and now City Commissioner––and I believe that  alongside my colleagues, we will bring the breadth and depth of our lived experiences to every recommendation we offer for consideration to Mayor Todd Gloria and members of the San Diego City Council."

Gail Friedt (top left) is a master's prepared registered nurse and Retired Reserve-Inactive Navy Captain, who currently works in medical affairs for a pharmaceutical company. 

"I hope to work on the issues facing women as we age - homelessness, social issues, ageism in the workplace, innovative housing and aged care," Freidt said." I'd also like to focus on military women who make San Diego their home whether that be on short-term assignment or permanent basis. It's time for us to ensure that older women are more visible and play a prominent role in society."

Dr. Lakeya Cherry (bottom left) is the CEO of Lakeya Cherry LLC and a Partner at Evolution, Silicon Valley's premier coaching, consulting, and investment firm. She is the former CEO of a nonprofit organization with a background in psychology, social work, leadership, management, and organizational development.

"I am deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and want to do my part to advocate on behalf of other women in the city of San Diego, especially those from marginalized backgrounds whose lived experiences may otherwise not be considered," Cherry said. "COVID-19 has exacerbated the inequalities all women face at home and at work and it's important to me that local government begins prioritizing and addressing our needs."

Sophie Tarazi (bottom middle) is a trial attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) with a background in human rights law and civil litigation. 

"I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the Commission and the City government to make real progress on addressing and combating discrimination against women and girls," Tarazi said. "This is an exciting opportunity to hear from stakeholders across San Diego about such an important issue."

Natasha Wong (bottom right) is an international law attorney who began her career in San Diego as the Executive Director of the Chinese Service Center. She is the co-founder of San Diego’s first fully licensed Chinese bilingual preschool and is the current Superintendent and former Principal of the Chinese School of San Diego

"I joined the Commission on the Status of Women because I believe it is important to promote and protect women’s rights in our community," Wong said.