Author: Commission News
Published: Jun 21, 2021

The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls Elects New Executive Committee with Focus on Post-Pandemic Recovery
Executive Committee Will Focus on Structural Improvements, Policy Change, and the Critical Need for Gender Inclusive Policies that Focus on Pandemic Recovery for Women and Families

SACRAMENTO – The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls has elected a new slate of Executive Committee members who will lead the work of the Commission. The Nominating Committee presented the slate who each offered 1-2-minute pitches on their vision for the future of the Commission and its work. A vote was held on June 14, 2021 at the Full Commission meeting and the following positions were approved by majority vote.

• Lauren Babb, Chair, (Contra Costa) Public Member appointed by the Governor
• Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Vice Chair, (San Ramon) Appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly
• Erica Courtney, 2nd Vice Chair, (Monterey) Public Member appointed by the Governor
• Joelle Gomez, Member-at-Large, (Stockton) Public Member appointed by the Governor
• Lisa Greer, Member-at-Large, (Los Angeles) Public Member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly

As the state entity tasked with assessing gender equity in multiple issue areas including health, safety, employment, education, and equal representation in the military, and the media, the Commission stands ready to provide leadership across the state as we begin to heal from a devastating pandemic. Through research, policy and programs, education, and advocacy, and our many partnerships, we are committed to ensuring that women are centered in the recovery.

As we grapple with the long-term consequences of this pandemic, it is imperative that embedded in the rebuilding comes a renewed focus on parity and equity for women in every industry and area of life. This includes implementing paid family leave policies that make sense for families, childcare and health insurance opportunities for employees, and a strict attention to salary differences for substantially similar work. The Commission is committed to leading the work to understand impact of Covid19 on women and families and helping to support recovery efforts at every level. The subject matter experts leading the Commission’s new executive committee are well positioned to make these goals a reality.

Commission Chair Lauren Babb is a community leader and has spent the last nine years on a series of federal, state, and local campaigns. She is the Assistant Director of the Office Legislation and Regulations for the California Department of Developmental Services and former Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Northern California. Chair Babb was a 2020 Women’s Policy Institute – State Fellow on the reproductive health, rights, and justice team and helped pass SB 1237: The Justice & Equity in Maternity Care Act.

“I’m absolutely humbled to lean into leadership at the Commission. The global pandemic has caused a she-cession disproportionately impacting women of color. I recognize the importance of addressing systemic discrimination and uplifting policy and programs to support women and girls in California.” said Babb. “It is critical that the needs of women be front and center in the State’s recovery planning, and that the Commission itself is prepared to respond to whatever lies ahead.”

Chair Babb is a fierce advocate for women’s equality. She serves on the boards of directors Contra Costa STAND! for Families Free of Violence, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mar Monte, and a former member of the 2020 Contra Costa Complete Count Steering Committee. Chair Babb is a graduate of American University, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and Emerge California.

Vice Chair Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan was elected in 2018 to serve the 16th Assembly District. She is an attorney, environmental advocate, community volunteer, law professor and mother.

“I am honored to work alongside such brilliant women who are dedicated to advancing our women and girls,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “Unfortunately, we have seen that it was women who bore the brunt of hardships during the pandemic, so we have our work cut out for us moving forward, but I am confident that together we will come back stronger than ever.”

A Bay Area native, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan is the granddaughter of refugees, who came to the United States to escape the Holocaust. She has taught appellate law and legal research and writing at Santa Clara University and Golden Gate University. She has dedicated her career and personal time to solving complex problems, protecting civil rights, and fighting to ensure everyone can succeed. Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center.

Second Vice Chair Erica G. Courtney has 19 years of combined active and Reserve Army duty time having served in various positions to include military police, flight operations, scout helicopter pilot, NATO certified Gender Advisor, policy, plans, strategy, UN Military/Political Advisor, senior staff officer and paratrooper. As a trailblazer, she graduated number one in her cadet class, was part of the first group of women to go Cavalry and the first to graduate the Advanced Armor Cavalry Course back in 2002. In addition to a distinguished military career, she has been a successful small business owner for 13-years having won several awards and recognitions. Commissioner Courtney is a fierce advocate for veterans, entrepreneurship and women serving on international, national, state, and local Boards, Committees and Commissions.

“There is no greater honor than to be selected by your peers to lead,” said Commissioner Courtney. “I humbly take on the responsibility of representing the many women and girls in the state of California. As a military officer, business owner and mother, I do not take this role lightly because in a post-pandemic environment where women and children have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, there is much work to do.”

Member-at-Large Joelle Gomez was appointed CEO of the Children’s Home of Stockton in October 2016, a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program providing Specialty Mental Health Services and Transition Aftercare Services for foster youth ages 12-18. Prior, she spent 24 years as CEO at the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services. In March of 2014 she initiated and convened San Joaquin County’s first Human Trafficking Task Force. She is a Board Member on the California Alliance for Child and Family Services and St. Joseph’s Medical Center Transitional Advisory Committee and Commissioner on the Children’s Coordinating Services Commission. In 2011 she was awarded the National Visionary Voice Award by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Commissioner Gomez was inducted into the Mexican American Hall of Fame in 2008. Commissioner Gomez is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and attended Oxford University in England.

Member-at-Large Lisa Greer is a philanthropist, advisor, entrepreneur, and author of “Philanthropy Revolution”, published by HarperCollins in 2020. She is an active real estate investor, advisor to many nonprofits, and the co-founder of Tandem Careplanning, a Public Benefit Corporation that champions both care seekers and caregivers. Commissioner Greer sits on the board of the New Israel Fund, and is an active member of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors. Previously she served as President of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Board member of many organizations, including the L.A. District Attorney’s Crime Prevention Foundation, Make-a-Wish of Greater Los Angeles, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and others. Commissioner Greer holds a bachelor’s degree in History from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

As the Commission grapples with the exacerbated inequities caused by Covid19, the Executive Committee is looking ahead to strategic planning, redrafting the Commission’s bylaws, fundraising, and advocacy work that will be the backbone of their challenges moving ahead. They will continue to oversee the programs of the Commission such as the partnership with the First Partner of California #EqualPayCA which is committed to eliminating the gender wage gap in California.

“The Commission is focused on post-pandemic recovery, particularly with regards to the needs of the women and families who were hit the hardest by this disaster,” said Interim Executive Director Holly Martinez. “The Commission has confirmed a powerful slate of leaders who are well-prepared to help California’s women and girls recover and thrive.”

The Commission will continue its efforts to ensure equitable access to reproductive healthcare, to encourage women to utilize their right to vote, and know their rights in the workplace as we look ahead to recovery from a global crisis. In the process of rebuilding the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls looks forward to building back a better version of our state, with equity for women and girls at the forefront of every effort.

“Now more than ever, we need women at the helm to restructure and rebuild our economy, our healthcare system, our justice systems, and our state. Women have shown time and again that when we lead, everything from companies to communities are transformed,” said Chair Babb. “I look forward to this work and to taking on these challenges with my fellow leaders.”

The Commission thanks it’s previous Executive Committee for their leadership and hard work and looks forward to continuing to work together to champion bold policies and agendas for the women and girls of our state as we seek to truly rebuild a better California for ALL.


About California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
For more than 50 years, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls has identified and worked to eliminate inequities in state laws, practices, and conditions that affect California’s women and girls. Established as a state agency with 17 appointed commissioners in 1965, the Commission regularly assesses gender equity in health, safety, employment, education, and equal representation in the military, and the media. The Commission provides leadership through research, policy and program development, education, outreach and collaboration, advocacy, and strategic partnerships.