top of page

2nd Annual Event Program

Improving the quality of life, financial independence, and confidence of women in Southern California

In Honor of International Women's Day (IWD)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

5:00pm to 9:00pm Long Beach Marriott 4700 Airport Drive Long Beach, California


Good Evening and Welcome! I am Marah Fineberg-Kuck, a practicing CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ based in the Long Beach/Seal Beach area of Southern California. This is our second annual event In Honor of International Women’s Day (IWD) which is March 8th every year. The Women’s Symposium of Southern California (WSSC) improves the quality of life, financial independence, and confidence of all women in Southern California by hosting and promoting an educational annual event that is accessible and comprehensive in financial planning resources and STEM field awareness.


I brought this annual Womens Symposium to you all to enliven our community and households with empowerment through meaningful discussions and applicable knowledge together. Women’s Symposium is a wonderful cause and much needed especially in this day and age as women are reclaiming their confidence and all women young and experienced are in need of quality of life education.


Lastly, I want to encourage us to be enthusiastic about the color purple, in celebration of IWD and for the entire month of March. This is our time - across the globe- to remember what women have achieved before us and what uplifting actions we can take for our own futures. I hope tonight’s program inspires you to reach new levels of excellence in planning and life design. We’re here today setting in motion the fulfillment of our dreams and visions. Let’s create and implement a power of our own, knowing exactly what to leave out and what to put in, just where and just how. Thank you again for joining us tonight!


Warm Regards & Cheers~ Marah Fineberg-Kuck, CFP® , CRPC


Founder & Executive Director Women’s Symposium of Southern California

Save the Date for the 3rd Annual Women’s Symposium Next Year: International Women’s Day is Friday, March 8th 2019!

WSSC Event Program Agenda - Thursday, March 8th 2018

In Honor of International Women’s Day

Theme: Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Grand Ballroom

5:00 p.m.

Registration & Sign-In


Cash Bar with Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres

Silent Auction

Grand Ballroom

5:15 p.m.


Host: Marah Fineberg-Kuck, CFP®, Founder of WSSC

Master of Ceremonies: Shea Vaughn, Co-Founder & CEO

Women’s Broadcast Television Network

Opening Remarks

Grand Ballroom

5:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker – Penny Davidi, Celebrity

“Building an Empire … One Pizza Slice at a Time”

Grand Ballroom

6:00 p.m.

Guest Speaker – Desiree Patno, CEO, NAWRB

“Women’s Global Issues, Making a Difference!”

Grand Ballroom

7:20 p.m.

Master of Ceremonies: Review Format & Breakout Panels

Reminder of Silent Auction & Contributions to the Cause

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

​Breakout Session 1 (Choice of Five Breakouts) 

  • Planning 

  • Family 

  • Small Business 

  • Transitioning 

  • Generational Collaboration

7:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Breakout Session 2 (Choice of Five Breakouts)

  • Planning

  • Family

  • Small Business

  • Transitioning

  • Generational Collaboration 

Grand Ballroom

8:15 p.m.

Guest Speaker – Tiffani Sierra, Founder & CIO 

“You Can Improv(e) Your Success by Being You”

Master of Ceremonies: Thank Yous, Event Evaluation

Silent Auction Announcements

9:00 p.m.

Symposium Concludes


**Your Contribution to the Cause helps WSSC no Matter how small**

*Please Contribute Today at Registration Tables*

Proceeds from Contributions the 2018 Women’s Symposium of Southern California event will be donated to the following charitable organizations:

USNC for UN Women

Purpose: Building collaborations to increase awareness of issues that affect females globally and locally


WHW, formerly known as Women Helping Women

Purpose: Provides the unemployed and underemployed the skills and resources they need to get and keep a good job. Since 1993, WHW has served over 80,000 job seekers at no charge.


Precious Life Shelter

Purpose: Provides residential and supportive services for homeless, adult, pregnant women

Women’s Symposium is 100% pure Educational Event for the public where marketing and sales to attendees is prohibited unless you are a sponsor. The 2018 WSSC Suggested Donation per Symposium Attendee is $50.00 and is not required. Educational Materials and Program Participants have been involved on either a complementary or pro-bono basis.

All Contributions are tax deductible as WSSC is an IRS approved 501c3 Public Charity| Tax ID 81-3501443



A Special Thank you to the 2018 WSSC Advisory Board Committee Volunteers who have worked diligently to make our second Women’s Symposium a success! Thank you to their dedication and passion to share the vision for WSSC and their undaunting commitments to make today possible. Their personal support of WSSC as donators with time, in-kind and financial donations to fund Women’s Symposium as a grassroots awareness campaign helps make this event possible. We thank you for being there with all of your devotion & commitments in the last year!

WSSC Advisory Committee: Marah Fineberg-Kuck, Susan Viator, Kirsten Larsen, Lauri Blanchard , Carolyn Wyatt, Lauren Grant, Monica Groves, Carol Chudy, Theresa Murphy, Pat Hale, Carrie Logue, Madelon Wallace, Merrietta Fong, Shannon Switzer & Hannah Dennett.

Program Committee:

Chair: Susan Viator

Co-Chair: Lauren Grant

Event Planning Committee:

Chair: Lauri Blanchard

Co-Chair: Carolynn Wyatt

Marketing Committee:

Chair: Monica Groves

Co-Chair: Kirsten Larsen

Partnership Committee:

Chair: Kirsten Larsen

Co-Chair: Carol Chudy

WSSC Internship Program:

Intern: Hannah Dennett California State University, Long Beach

Intern Coordinators: Marah Fineberg-Kuck & Pat Hale

WSSC Executive Committee:

Executive Director: Marah Fineberg-Kuck, pro-bono basis

WSSC Attorney: Shannon Switzer, pro-bono basis

WSSC CPA: Merrietta Fong, pro-bono basis

Also a Very Special Thank you to all of the Program Participants, Speakers, Panelists, and event day volunteers for volunteering at this 2nd annual symposium along with the other countless attendees that jumped-up to volunteer today as well. All of you helped make this grassroots awareness event a success! Thank you ALL very much for your contributions!

To volunteer for Women’s Symposium, please email:

2018 Women’s Symposium Event Theme:

Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women


Planning - Creating & Managing Your Financial Plan

This workshop will guide you through action steps to achieve a healthy financial life for you and your family. Topics will cover basics of a sound personal financial plan for women starting out or starting again after a loss of a spouse or divorce to more advanced planning techniques and financial tools to enhance your existing plan.

Family - Balancing My Needs and My Families’

This session will focus on finding “balance” between work and career and family. “Having it all” is NOT impossible, but it does require having an action plan with your priorities clearly defined to achieve a rewarding life. Included will be tips on raising children to fulfill their dreams and steering them to explore STEM programs and other educational avenues that fit your child; starting the conversation with them about money matters. Important issues facing “sandwich generationers” and those facing a divorce will be addressed with tips to survive and thrive through the challenges.

Developing Your Small Business – Turning Entrepreneurial Talents into a Successful Venture

Running a successful business takes passion, attitude, persistence and a lot of luck. Do you have what it takes? Do you have an idea for a product or service that consumers will be willing to pay for to have? Do you have the financial backing to launch your business? How do you best promote your business and reach your target market? In this session, successful business owners will share their stories of how they started and became successful and identify missteps to avoid when you venture out.

Reinventing Ourselves – New Realities of Work & Retirement

This session will focus on discovering how to re-invent yourself when you decide it’s time to pursue a new professional endeavor or give back to your community through volunteer and philanthropic vocations. Come hear personal stories from women who “reinvented” themselves and feel new purpose in life. Find out how “reinventing” leads to more enjoyment, sanity and a healthier you and contributes to society. This session will also address the financial decisions facing those reaching traditional retirement age.

Working Together – Narrowing the Generation Gap

Ever notice that the generations often speak a different language. Their expectations from “work”, “fun” and “making a difference” differ as well. Millennials and Baby Boomers share the work space and interact with each other in purchasing product and services, but each communicates in a different fashion, such as preferred choice of media, and gather and assimilate information differently to make a purchase decision. This session will highlight the positives and strengths of each generation. Experts will guide us through how to initiate the conversation; share knowledge and experiences; and listen to the other generation for the overall benefits to all. Millennials and Baby Boomers both win when they collaborate their talents, passions and unique characteristics together. Help “Bridge the Gap” by sharing your perspective.

General Session- Platform Speakers


Shea Vaughn

Co-Founder & CEO - General Sessions- Master of Ceremonies

Shea Vaughn is a lifestyle pioneer and nationally recognized health and wellness authority and the Co-Founder/CEO of WBTVN (the Women’s Broadcast Television Network). WBTVN, is the first OTT online TV network with original content created for women. Its hosts reach an audience of over 30 million through OTT partners Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Google Play and more. Ms. Vaughn is the Creator of SheaNetics®; a values-based doctor-endorsed lifestyle practice (and the mother of actor Vince Vaughn). Shea’s innovative work with corporate leaders, celebrities, entrepreneurs and athletes around the country has earned her the affectionate title of “America’s Queen of Wellness” and the endorsement of the City of Chicago and the Department of Public Health. Ms. Vaughn is the author of the best seller, BREAKTHROUGH – The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great & Find Total Well-Being and a frequent speaker and contributor to media and TV. Her philanthropy is reflected in her work as Founder of the Healthy Initiative Foundation and its acclaimed healthy ambassador program, the 90-Day Lifestyle Makeover.


Penny Davidi

Celebrity Chef- Keynote Speaker

Born in Iran and raised in California, Penny prides herself on being an independent woman with a strong work ethic. Penny grew up learning the art of cooking from the women in her family. She has used her passion and knowledge as a launching pad to fuse her creativity and develop her own innovative recipes. Penny has been introducing her love of Middle Eastern Cuisine to the United States as the first Persian Jew to be featured on the Food Network and through appearances on Chopped All-Stars, Food Network Star, Cut Throat Kitchen, Kitchen Inferno, PUMP and many other national television shows. Penny is both a chef and an entrepreneur. In 2005, she brought the successful franchise Pizza Rustica and opened one in Beverly Hills, later expanding to other areas in Los Angeles. In 2008, she sold the franchise to focus on other projects. She is a leading force within US Foods and helps consult and create menus for restaurants throughout Southern California. Penny has a product line of Liquid Saffron that is currently distrib in 2013, she co-founded Spice Lab, a food and beverage incubator based in Los Angeles. In May of 2014, Penny opened PUMP Lounge with Lisa Vanderpump, of Real Housewives fame. She is the executive chef and the menu curator. Penny was regularly featured on VANDERPUMP RULES and the REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS which aired on Bravo in the fall of 2014. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband ,two teenage daughters and her husbands three younger children. A modern day "Brady Bunch" as she likes to call it. Filled with endless FOOD, LOVE and LAUGHTER!


Desirée Patno

CEO & President of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). - Guest Speaker

With over 25 years in real estate and championing gender equality, she brings insider knowledge to NAWRB’s mission of advancing women and women-owned businesses in the housing ecosystem. As Vice Chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council, she oversees the accountability of increased women-owned and small business utilization and women inclusion at all levels. NAWRB has raised awareness of diverse opportunities, supporting with the development and implementation of workforce and supplier diversity standards for the multi-trillion dollar housing sector since 2010. Desirée resides on the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Leadership Advisory Council and Enterprising Women Advisory Board. In 2017, she was named the highest-ranking woman and 4th overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow by and received the Connected Women of Influence Women’s Advocate of the Year Award and Walker’s Legacy Power25 Award. In 2016, she was honored with HousingWire’s Women of Influence award and was selected the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Champion of the Year. In 2012, Desiree won the prestigious Enterprising Women of the Year award as well as HousingWire's Women of Influence award for the first time. NAWRB is honored to be one of only 11 organizations listed as a Women’s Entrepreneurship Partner for the SBA. Desiree is the Publisher of NAWRB Magazine—winner of the APEX Award for Publication Excellence in 2015, 2016 and 2017—and is a monthly contributor to RISMedia’s Real Estate Magazine, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Inman and various industry publications.


Tiffani Sierra

Founder & CIO - Guest Closing Speaker

Tiffani Sierra is an actress, master facilitator, experiential speaker, and alumni of the famous Improv School, The Second City in Hollywood, CA. Her acting training hails from the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and A.C.T in San Francisco. As an arts educator, her training comes from the UCLA Arts and Healing Program. She is a certified Social Emotional Arts Facilitator. With over 15 years of experience working in schools and organizations, Tiffani shifted her focus from performing in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, to transforming lives through developing theatre programs using the art of improvisation. Her innovative workshops were featured with her work with East LA Classic Theatre and the Award-winning Odyssey Theatre Program “The Odds”, working with underserved Los Angeles youth. Tiffani has being a highly-acclaimed teaching artist with Unusual Suspects, Each One Reach One, offering playwriting programs in juvenile halls in the Bay Area, and P.S Arts. In 2010 she founded Improv It Up and has been using Improvisation to help students, organizations and corporations experience greater creativity, teamwork, personal growth and transformation, improved working relationships, boosting morale, and performance skills.


Breakout Panel for Personal Planning:


Debbie Hines

Financial Advisor & VP Investments- Session Leader - Planning

As a Financial Advisor for over two decades, Debbie has helped clients address their financial concerns and develop strategies for each individual’s specific needs. With extensive experience throughout major shifts in the markets, Debbie has dedicated her career to delivering the personalized Investment Planning Services her clients deserve. She lives in the South Bay, works for Wells Fargo Advisors, and is involved with several different community groups, Redondo Beach Chamber, SBBWA as well as other charitable groups that she is passionate about, including Dress for Success LA and Forte Animal Rescue Group. She received the 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager Award in Chicago Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine 2016. She was also featured in the November 2015 South Bay Magazine Trusted Advisors issue.


Christine Lambino-Cunliffe

PMP, PHR, Business Owner - Planning Topic: Womens and Financial Literacy- Personal Finance Tips and Tricks

Christine is passionate about two things: helping people achieve autonomy and personal finance. She joined Bobo Strategy at the intersection of these two interests. Bobo Strategy is a bootstrapped company, that started with $15 of capital 10 years ago, and has since created literally millions of dollars of revenue with zero additional outside investment. Christine’s ideas have been critically useful to helping her company grow while remaining fiscally responsible and avoiding the cost of outside investors and debt. She is a big fan of reading books by financial experts and has firsthand experience on how life-changing sound personal finance can be, as a critical tool on the path to autonomy. Christine has a Master’s Degree Northwestern University and holds Project Management Professional (PMP) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications. She was recognized as one of Advancing Women in Technology (AWT's) 2017 Rising Women in Technology.


Grace Geer St. Clair

Esq., Estate Planning, Real Estate & General Attorney - Planning

Ms. St. Clair went to Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. She graduated in 1991 Cum Laude, 3rd highest in her class, and first among the female graduates. Ms. St. Clair began her career at the prestigious firm of O’Melveny & Myers in downtown Los Angeles but now concentrates her efforts in the South Bay helping families and small business owners handle their Wills, Trusts and Probate needs. In addition, her office also handles real estate transactions, general corporate, LLC creation, loan workouts, banking disclosure advice and leasing transactions. Ms. St. Clair uses her large firm experience to handle client matters with excellence but with a small firm commitment to personal service. Having been a client herself before becoming an attorney, Ms. St. Clair brings a unique understanding and sensitivity to every client issue. She is also a recognized local artist and began oil painting as a child. Her artistic talents add to her breadth of experience.


Mercedes Van Pelt

Esq., Estate Planning, Real Estate & General Attorney - Planning

Mercedes Van Pelt has been a licensed Realtor for over 10 years. Having been born and raised in the South Bay, Mercedes has extensive knowledge of the area and is an expert on local neighborhoods for clients looking to buy or sell Residential Real Estate. Mercedes has always epitomized integrity, honesty, hard work and follow through in every real estate transaction. Mercedes feels that buying or selling a home is one of the most important transactions in the lives of her clients. Because of that, Mercedes believes that it is important to work with someone you trust, who is a market expert and who can strongly negotiate on your behalf. People trust Mercedes with their mostvaluable asset and it's a responsibility she takes very seriously. Mercedes does not measure success through awards received but rather through the satisfaction of her clients. Whether you are looking to buy or sell your home, Mercedes can provide you with sound and trustworthy advice to help you achieve all of your real estate goals.

Breakout Panel for Personal Planning:


Jennifer Delcham

Business Owner, Wife & Mother, Session Leader – Family Balance

As a co-founder of Ways & Means restaurants, Jennifer contributes her extensive experience in legal and operational counseling to the back office operations of all locations. She oversees food and beverage menu development and curates the wine list for each Ways & Means. Prior to Ways & Means, Jennifer founded Optimal Legal Services, a law firm focused on the hospitality industry, following her tenure with several nationally prominent law firms, including Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Her focus has always been assisting start-ups with formation, executive team hiring & development, creating & implementing effective organizational structures, managing employee hiring and performance, and preparing companies for acquisition or other disposition activities. Jennifer has also founded and managed several start-up companies of her own, in areas ranging from marketing to financial services. Jennifer served as an adjunct professor at University of California Irvine and Hope International University, teaching law and public speaking. Jennifer was a Dillard Fellow at the University of Virginia School of Law and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Bowling Green State University.


Cindi Wudyka

Business Development Director- Family Balance Topic: Sandwich Generation

In her current role Cindi is Vice President of Strategic Partnership Development with Platinum Resource Group providing business solutions through staff augmentation resources. Her professional background includes executive business development positions in high technology and hospitality supporting Fortune 500 companies working for Western Digital and Maritz Corporation. Solution driven and known for her ability to create synergy and problem solve through creative thinking she is passionate about growing business by adding value. An approachable personality combined with high energy and a positive attitude helped develop her strong capability of building lasting relationships. Strategic planning with business partners aligning company objectives with great resources is the strength Cindi provides to successfully move companies and individuals forward. Bringing people together through the practice of listening, coaching and mentoring have contributed to her success. A graduate of the University of Redlands and strong supporter of the alumnae she is an active participant and past President of the Executive Board of the Alpha Theta Phi Alumnae Association. In addition her volunteer work includes supporting the Saddleback Career Networking outreach to the community, PEO whose philanthropy provides college scholarships for underprivileged women globally, and the American Heart Association. Passionate about the arts and a professionally trained vocalist and voice over actor she participates in local choral and theater groups and supports numerous arts organizations providing music and theater for children of the community.


Sydney Hamilton

Service Engineer , Boeing- Family Balance Topic: STEM (STEAM) Careers

Sydney Hamilton works in the BCA Operations Center as a Service Engineer in Seal Beach, CA, supporting structural wing repairs for the 767 & 777 airline operators. Sydney was hired through the Engineering Accelerated Hiring Initiative (EAHI). She started her career in January 2014 as a Structural Design Engineer on the Production Support team in Long Beach, CA. While on the Production Support team, Sydney worked on 767-2C Tanker Corrective Action Requests, Sub-Led the 777 Automated Floor Drilling Equipment (AFDE) Elimination and Floor Redesign project and supported the 777X Folding Wing-Tip Mock-Up. In July 2015, Sydney was recognized as the Structures Design and Production Engineering Employee of the Month, and in October 2016, she was the recipient of the 2016 Technology Rising Star Award at the Women of Color STEM Conference. Sydney was also nominated by the Amelia Earhart Society for the Women of Achievement Award. Currently, she serves as the president of Boeing Generation to Generation in Southern California in efforts to help bridge the generation gaps in the workplace. Externally, Sydney also sits on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization, Dramatic Results, which helps underprivileged students in Long Beach learn STEM through art (STEAM). Sydney received her B.S. in Mathematics and B.S.E in Aerospace Engineering from Spelman College and the University of Michigan, respectively, through the Atlanta University Center Dual Degree Engineering Program. Sydney is enrolled at the University of Southern California seeking her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. When she is not studying, Sydney can be found at paint night, cooking and (especially) eating new cuisines, and salsa dancing with friends.


Janet E. Dockstader

CFLS- Attorney for child & family law- Family Balance Topic: Divorce & Family Law

Janet E. Dockstader is a managing partner with Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader, LLP. She has more than a decade of experience litigating dissolutions that include property, spousal and child support, child custody and domestic violence issues. She understands the importance of being aggressive, yet effective in the courtroom. She also understands that litigation is not for every client and is trained and experienced negotiating marital settlement agreements to avoid expensive litigation. Ms. Dockstader received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis on International Studies from the University of California, at Santa Barbara, and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. She is certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, as a certified family law specialist and has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer from 2016 to the present. She was recognized as the “Best of Long Beach” for Family Law Attorney in the Beachcomber Newspaper in 2017.

Breakout Panel for Developing Your Small Business:


Lauren Grant

Business Owner & Mother, Leader- Small Business

As an experienced business owner and franchise specialist, I help clients that are interested in owning their own business, but don’t know where to start, identify what type of business would be a good match for them. Through my process, I identify their professional and personal skill sets, likes and dislikes, personality, lifestyle and financial goals to determine what type of business would be a good strong fit. I connect them with franchises where people just like them are top performers and walk them through four steps of vetting franchises. We start with building their personal business model, discovery the franchisor’s model, speak to existing franchisees to truly understand the business from current perspective, and handle the legal and financial aspects of opening the business. My services are free to clients I work with.


Shirley Kefgen

Senior Funding Consultant- Small Business Topic: Franchise Sales and Development of Franchise Brands

Shirley Kefgen is a Senior Funding Consultant at FranFund. She’s originally from Michigan and has lives in Arizona for the last ten years. She has had a career in the franchising industry for nearly 18 years. Ms. Kefgen started out in franchise development for Two Men and a Truck, the country’s largest local moving franchise. The company was founded and run by female leadership which gave her an excellent opportunity to work with and learn from strong women in business. Upon deciding to finally escape the Michigan winters she’d known all of her life she moved to Arizona in 2008 and began working in franchise development for Synergy HomeCare, a company focused on helping the elderly age in place. She’s spent the last five years in the funding industry and has helped hundreds of people become business owners in one way or another. She has found it especially rewarding to support women in their endeavors to become entrepreneurs.


Jennifer Nicole Nelson

Philanthropist and Founder - Small Business Topic: Maximizing Social Media

Jennifer Nicole Nelson was born and raised in Minnesota, where she felt a calling for design from an early age. She found her niche in commercial and residential design while completing her undergraduate degree. Since her undergraduate days, she has helped people find sanctuary in their homes with her designs throughout the United States. While one of Jennifer Nicole Nelson’s passions is design, her code of living is to work for a cause and not just applause. Jennifer has always felt a strong commitment to give back to the community as a philanthropist, and she has devoted her time and talents to various charitable causes including Serving People in Need (SPIN), Big Brother Big Sister Program, Council of Aging, Working Wardrobes, Philharmonic Society of Orange County (Children’s Music Program), Philharmonic Society House of Design, Boys Hope, and Children First Project.


Beatriz Devis

Economic Development Specialist, SCORE Liaison- Small Business Topic: Economic Development

Ms. Beatriz Devis is an Economic Development Specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Los Angeles District Office. Ms. Devis has been with the SBA for 23 years and has spent her entire government career in the Los Angeles region. She has served in many different areas of the SBA, including Administration, Executive Direction, 8(a) Business Development Department and Economic Development. A native Angelino, Beatriz has dedicated her career to serving the needs of the local small business community. Beatriz can be contacted at ph:(818) 552-3201 or

Breakout Panel for Reinvesting Ourselves:


Michelle Pierson Young

Founder & President - Session Leader - Reinventing

Michelle Pierson Young is Founder and President of Life Mastery, Inc. The company is built on the concept that when people discover how to use and are allowed to deploy their innate talents and abilities, they become happier and more productive for their employers, employees and themselves. Some of her most impactful work has been 1:1 and group training in her role as a high performance, leadership and life coach. Michelle has worked with a wide range of clients from a Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department to a world famous sculptor, from homemakers to CEOs. Michelle served as the Editor in Chief for Women Network, has served in leadership for civic and non-profit groups and has been the host a successful radio show. She has worked on projects for such notables as John Maxwell and Clarissa Burt. Michelle is an accomplished writer and painter. She and her husband of 30 years, Aaron, have raised 5 children.


Casi DiLeva

Regional Vice President & Specialist- Reinventing Topic: Financial Tools- Social Security, Medicare, Long Term Care

Casi DiLeva has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, the last 7 of which have been at Nationwide Financial. Casi is currently the Vice President, for Nationwide Financial in the Los Angeles. Prior to joining Nationwide Financial, Casi was Vice President for Union Bank Investment services managing the Insurance, Retirement and Licensed bankers for the Bank. Casi also spent several years at AIG and Allstate. Casi lives in San Pedro, Ca with her husband Angelo and 2 sons, Jackson and Cooper. And they recently welcomed a Chinese exchange student that will live with them through High School.


Colleen Hauk

Author, Executive Coach & Speaker - Reinventing Topic: How to Live the “And” Life

Colleen Hauk is the co-author of the bestselling book, Women Who Ignite, a certified executive coach, speaker and creator of YOU SO NEWTM, a program designed for successful professionals who fail to take care of their personal life. She holds a BS in Human Services, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and she is a certified Les Mills group fitness instructor. All of this coupled with over a decade of corporate leadership, training, and consultative selling, Colleen shares her skills and personal experiences in a unique way to authentically connect and empower high-performers to ‘have it all’ without losing it all. Married to her supportive husband, Matt, they live in Southern California where both were born and raised. They enjoy life with their beautiful children, Jordan, Ethan, and Reese, camping, hosting funfilled evenings with friends, and spending quality time with their nearby extended family.


Holly Richards

Founder & President, Education- Reinventing Topic: Encore Careers, Repacking your talents

Holly Richards has 40 years of project management and business management experience. She has held positions of IT consulting partner, VP of Software Engineering, VP of Enterprise IT Controls and Compliance and Senior Director of IT for a business process outsourcing company. She is now the founder and Board President of Gals Starting Over which is a non-profit that provides unemployed women with compassionate coaches and facilitated workshops that build skills and confidence to get and keep a job. The program includes outreach to the local community, leadership and volunteer opportunities to build marketable skills and events that provide inspiration, empowerment and opportunities to build confidence. Gals Starting Over has programs in Redondo Beach and Long Beach and has impacted over 150 women in the last 5 years.

Breakout Panel for Working Together:


Silvica Rosa

Founder & CEO, Business Brains, INC- Session Leader – Working Together

Silvica Rosca seeks to empower professionals to become more impactful leaders by first learning to lead themselves. Her leadership expertise spans multiple sectors, including non-profit, higher education, and aerospace. For the past 12 years she has worked at Raytheon across all areas of finance, managing budgets up to $100M, and as an active leader in various employee resource groups. She is an certified Extreme Focus coach, and uses that training to bring the athletic mental performance mindset to the business world. She strongly believes that love is the most powerful force in the world. She has seen how love can transform our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with others, and our businesses. Whether it's corporate America, higher education, religions organizations, or other non-profit organizations, infusing love in what you do and how you do it will have drastic results. Silvica launched Business Brains Inc in 2016. From that platform, she trains individuals, non-profit organizations, and large corporations alike. While running her business, Silvica volunteers in various groups at her church, alma mater, and community.


Julieann Billings-Riordan

M.A. Fractional Marketing Mgt.– Working Together Topic: Marketing, Communications and educational and online media production

Julieann is an experienced fractional marketing manager, organized leader, and creative thinker specializing in supporting businesses and non-profits in achieving and optimizing their strategic marketing goals. Fractional marketing management means you receive expert help, connections from an extensive network of professionals, and a consistent strategy you can rely on, all for less than the cost of a part-time employee. With 17 years of corporate experience plus 9 years as President of her successful consulting company, Julieann offers deep expertise in a wide range of industries and project types. She takes pride in delivering projects on time and within budget, always with an emphasis on quality. Her ability to meet clients’ expectations helps her maintain their trust and confidence, while her unfailing attention to coordination, communication, and collaboration throughout every project is a tremendous asset for them.


Jaz Pinero

Regional Director, CA – Working Together Topic: Generational Issues- Communication Styles

Jaz Pinero serves as Regional Director, Life Insurance, for AIG, and assists in driving sales and recruitment in the California Region. Jaz brings strong regional office experience in providing agency support on product, marketing, illustrations and licensing needs. Prior to her current assignment, Jaz was a Sr. Internal Wholesaler for the Western, Pacific and Southwest California Regions. Before joining American General in 2004, Jaz was a Production Engineer for Trecon Electronics of California where she was responsible for developing new relationships with major telecommunication companies as well as hiring and directing the work of 20 sales and assembly service personnel. Jaz has one daughter who is a sophomore at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX. Jaz calls Sugar Land, Texas home.


Rachel Rifkin

Personal Historian, Life Stories Today– Working Together Topic: Legacy Letters, Similarities from Generation to Generation

Rachel Rifkin is a personal historian/ghost writer (i.e., she helps people preserve their life events and life stories by turning their memories into family keepsake books). She has helped people write memoirs about war experiences, love stories, pregnancies, and full life journeys. Her photo project, which features her posting as eight of her relatives, was highlighted on Huffington Post, Bored Panda, Buzzfeed, and the Jewish Journal. She is also a Journalist who weaves family stories into personal essays, and is in the beginning stages of writing a memoir that will go back and forth in time between her grandfather and her, focusing on where their lives intersect.


2018 WSSC Platinum Sponsors:


2018 Gold Sponsors:


2018 Silver Sponsors:


2018 Silver Sponsors:

the ups.jpg

Seal Beach


A Special Thank You to Contributing US Government Agencies:


Note: 2019 Women’s Symposium So Cal Sponsorship Opportunities are Available for 3/8/19. To Review WSSC Sponsorship Packages Please Visit

The Women’s Symposium of Southern California (WSSC) 1198 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite D-104

Seal Beach, CA 90740

All donations are tax deductible as WCCS is an IRS approved 501c3 Public Charity| Tax ID 81-3501443

bottom of page