President: Michelle Burton is managing partner of Shoecraft Burton, a civil litigation law firm specializing in complex coverage and insurance litigation. She graduated with distinction from San Diego State University and earned her law degree from California Western School of Law. Ms. Burton is licensed in California and Washington and is also a certified appellate specialist. Ms. Burton is one of the original members of RWR and is passionate about inspiring pro-choice, progressive women to run for political office.
Vice President: Carol Kim serves as the political director at San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council. The daughter of Korean immigrant parents, she is a UCLA graduate who began her career as a classroom teacher in an inner city school in Los Angeles, where she also coordinated a fine arts program and was the lead teacher of an after-school program for at-risk boys. Her years as a teacher were followed by several more working in HIV prevention, serving high-risk groups that included active and recovering substance users, adolescents in the foster care and judicial systems, LGBT communities, as well as communities of color. Carol also provided training on HIV and related topics for public health nurses, community service providers, and teacher candidates. This led to eight years as a research associate for an education nonprofit, working with schools and school districts in San Diego and throughout the state of California to provide effective programs that support health, safety, and well-being for students in public schools, and to develop career and technical education opportunities for young people in partnership with community colleges. Carol was a candidate for San Diego City Council, District 6, in 2014.
Secretary: Hilary Nemchik is currently communications director for San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry. She previously worked on Bry’s campaign and as a field representative for State Senator Marty Block, where she focused on healthcare, women’s issues, and housing. Hilary began her career in public service at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, shortly after receiving her graduate degree in Applied Communication from Northern Arizona University. As director of external affairs and events for the Borough President, Hilary managed community outreach and public events for the office and also served as chair of the Manhattan Domestic Violence Task Force. Hilary is a 2015 San Diego Leadership Alliance fellow and a member of the San Diego County Young Democrats and the Clairemont Town Council.
Board Member (Political Action): Kirsten Clemons is the political coordinator for the Service Employees International Union California (SEIU), an organization representing more than 700,000 Californians who work throughout the state. Its members are social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors, and more, working in four primary areas: healthcare, long-term care, public services (both state workers and local), and building services. Earlier in her career, Kirsten worked as political/legislative director for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, an organization representing 135 labor unions and more than 200,000 working families across two counties. Kirsten is a native of Harrisburg, Penn., where she graduated from Shippensburg University with a BA in Psychology. Kirsten moved to San Diego in 2003 and got her start in San Diego politics working for the California State Assembly as district director to Assemblymember Lori Saldana. She has worked on several political campaigns in the last dozen years. Kirsten has served on the boards of various nonprofit and community organizations, including as president of California Women Lead’s San Diego chapter, chair of the North Park Project Area Committee, advocacy chair for the North Park Community Association, and as an assistant coach for In Motion Fit, a local running organization.
Board Member (Leadership Development): Katherine McGrath is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Katherine is also a member of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, the San Diego Young Democrats, the Welsh Inn of Court, and the Penn Club of San Diego.
Board Member (Events): Mehry Mohseni is a native San Diegan who grew up in Encinitas and graduated from Carlsbad High School. She then graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Long Beach where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a minor in Child Development and Family Studies. During her undergraduate degree, Mehry worked as a pre-school Teacher’s Assistant and as a visitation supervisor for families affected by domestic violence. After graduation, Mehry became a Program Assistant for the National Family Justice Center Alliance. In this role, she consulted communities and multi-disciplinary service providers throughout the nation on providing coordinated services for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse. Mehry next obtained her Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law. She served as Vice President of the Public Interest Law Foundation, Secretary of the Women’s Law Caucus, and Community Chair of the Child, Family and Elder Law Society. She clerked for San Diego Superior Court, Juvenile Division judges, handling research on various juvenile dependency and delinquency matters. She also clerked for San Diego County Counsel, Juvenile Dependency Division where she represented Child Welfare Services on numerous dependency matters. Mehry now practices family law with the firm Cage & Miles, LLP. Mehry currently serves as Co-Chair of the Reproductive Justice Committee for Lawyers Club of San Diego, Secretary on the Board of Directors for local non-profit Free to Thrive, and was a 2016 Fellow of the San Diego Leadership Alliance.
Board Member (Issues): Nora E. Vargas serves as the vice president of community & government relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. In her role, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the vision and strategy for the agency’s Community and Government Relations department. In addition, she oversees the day-to-day operation of the agency’s political organization, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest, including its Issues Campaigns and Political Action Committee.
Nora was appointed and later elected to the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board, the only institution of higher education in the South Bay. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve on the 12-member California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS). Committed to community service, Vargas also serves as a champion of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), as a boardmember for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). She continues to be a passionate advocate for women and the Latino community, and ensuring they are included in the public dialogue about important issues like health care access, civic engagement, and education.
Christine Kehoe made history when she was elected to the San Diego City Council in 1993 as the first out LGBT candidate to win public office in San Diego. Chris went on to serve seven years on the City Council followed by twelve years in the legislature. While a city councilmember, Chris was successful in strengthening neighborhood services, funding programs for The Center and San Diegans living with AIDS, adding grade school classrooms in North Park and Normal Heights, and leading a major redevelopment in City Heights including the completion of the I-15 freeway. Chris was appointed to the California Coastal Commission and the San Diego Association of Governments while on city council. In 1998 Chris ran for Congress in the 49th district and lost a close election to incumbent Brian Bilbray. Two years later she ran for the 76th Assembly district to succeed Susan Davis and won. She was appointed Speaker Pro Tempore, presiding over many raucous Assembly sessions at the height of the energy deregulation crisis. During her four years in the Assembly, Chris authored legislation to establish the San Diego River Conservancy, chaired the Joint Committee on Emergency Services that grew out of the 2003 firestorm in San Diego, and was the founding chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Legislative Caucus. Water conservation and efficiency, fire prevention and fire-safe planning as well as local government reforms were addressed in her legislation. Chris was elected to the state Senate in 2004, succeeding Dede Alpert. During her eight years of service in the Senate, Chris chaired key policy committees including four years as chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Her legislation continued to define fire planning, energy and water conservation policy, advance alternative vehicle and fuels, reform local land use, and strengthen LGBT civil rights. Currently, Chris is the executive director of the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative whose members include public and private sector leaders in advancing the adoption of clean EVs to meet California’s economic, energy and environmental goals.
Jamie Quient is an attorney at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, focusing on policyholder insurance coverage litigation and representation of licensed professionals and institutions in administrative proceedings. Jamie also volunteers her time as a pro bono attorney for the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Casa Cornelia Law Center, and other organizations. Outside of her legal practice, Jamie is actively involved in the San Diego community and has focused her efforts on promoting diversity and furthering the advancement of women. In addition to her involvement in Run Women Run, she is president of Lawyers Club of San Diego and founder and chair of the Lawyers Club Human Trafficking Task Force. Jamie has served for the past five years on the planning committee for the Women’s Resource Fair, an annual event that provides medical, legal and social services to women and children in need.
Lisa R. Shaffer was elected to the Encinitas City Council in 2012, her first elected office. Her campaign platform was to work hard, tell the truth, and play by the rules. She came in first in a field of nine candidates. Lisa is the Encinitas representative on the SANDAG board of directors and represents the north coastal cities on the SANDAG Transportation Committee. Her career spans 40 years of service, primarily in international environmental science and policy. During 25 years in Washington, DC, Lisa held positions in NASA and NOAA, developing international cooperation in studying the Earth from space. She also worked for five years in strategic planning for a major aerospace company. In 1998 she joined UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she worked in the director’s office, responsible for international relations and policy programs. Lisa moved from Scripps to the main UCSD campus in 2007, where she helped found a campus-wide sustainability program, and then was asked to develop and teach courses on ethics and corporate social responsibility at the Rady School of Management. Lisa retired from UCSD in 2013. She has held many board positions, including at the Center for Sustainable Energy and Kids-vs-Global-Warming, and is currently president of her church congregation. Among her awards, she received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Climate Champion award from the City of San Diego, the UCSD Sustainability Award, and was one of the inaugural Muir Environmental Fellows at UCSD. She earned a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, a PhD in public policy from the George Washington University, and an MBA from UCSD. Lisa lives in Encinitas with her husband, Steve Bartram. They have four adult daughters.
Alejandra Sotelo-Solis was elected to the National City City Council, where she has served since 2008, including four years as vice mayor. She serves on the SANDAG Public Safety Committee and as an alternate on the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Board. Professionally, Alejandra is age friendly communities manager at The San Diego Foundation. Previously, she worked as development director for MANA de San Diego, in both the UC San Diego student affairs department and chancellor’s office, as well as with two California State Assemblymembers. A third generation National City resident and graduate of Sweetwater High School, she is proud to be a board member of the SUHI Foundation, which provides college scholarships to graduates of her alma mater, and to be engaged with social justice issues through American Diabetes Association Mission Delivery. Alejandra is married to her college sweetheart, Arturo Solis, and they bought their home in National City close to family and friends.