Opening Keynote: Felena Hanson Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera
Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs.
This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment
for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet
with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus
giving them the support, they need to be prosperous.
She has two company-owned locations in San Diego and licensed locations in Carlsbad,
Phoenix, DC, Irvine, and Temecula with more cities launching soon. She’s on a mission
to support thousands of women in the launch and growth of their business. Felena and Hera Hub have been featured in Inc Magazine, the BBC News, Forbes, and
the New York Times. She is a published author and international speaker. Her book,
“Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business” is
available on Amazon.
San Marcos City Mayor, Rebecca Jones has been a long-time San Marcos resident and
has served on the San Marcos City Council since January 2007 after being appointed
to a vacated Council seat. She was re-elected in 2008, 2012 and again in 2016. Rebecca
served as the Vice Mayor from 2012-2018. She is currently serving in her first term
as Mayor, having been elected in November 2018.
Her former roles have included Chair and Board Member of North County Transit District
(NCTD), Chair and Board Member on North County Dispatch Joint Power Authority (NCDJPA),
Chair and Board Member of SANDAG Public Safety Committee, State Member of the LOCC
Public Safety Committee and as a primary LOCC representative.
As an advocate for public safety in San Marcos, Rebecca is dedicated to maintaining
a high quality of life in her community and strongly supports San Marcos youth. Recognized
by the Red Ribbon Commission in 2016 with the Excellence in Prevention Advocacy Award,
she effectively championed the creation of ordinances to restrict tobacco sales to
San Marcos youth. She has also actively worked to outlaw the sale of the synthetic
drugs Spice and Bath Salts in advance of state action.
Mayor Jones is a strong supporter of business in San Marcos and believes that a healthy
business base is an important part of a dynamic and thriving community. She is a member
of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, an organization that supports business, and
has promoted streamlining city planning processes so that small businesses open in
a shorter time frame so they are able to succeed. Rebecca also serves on the Board
of the San Diego Regional EDC.
California State UniveFor nearly 20 years, Dr. Gail Cole-Avent has served as a leader and graduate instructor
in higher education institutions or affiliated organizations. Professional experiences
in the Northeast, Southeast and West Coast provided experiences and the understanding
of varying institutional, geographical, and community needs. This has framed her outlook
on the unique opportunity and responsibility that a University/College has to advocate
for and support social mobility.
In July 2018, Dr. Cole-Avent began her tenure as the Associate Vice President for
Student Life at California State University San Marcos. In a newly created position
and unit, her purpose is to establish a collective vision and integrated operations
among nine departments focusing on enhancing the campus experience and engagement
for students. Student Life includes Associated Students Incorporated, Student Life
Centers for Identity, Inclusion and Empowerment - Black Student Center, Cross Cultural
Center, Latinx Center, LGBTQA Pride Center, and Gender Equity Center - Campus Recreation,Student Leadership & Involvement (Greek Life, Leadership, and Student Organizations),
Veterans Services, and the University Student Union.
Prior to transitioning to the California State University system, Dr. Cole-Avent worked
at the University of Miami where she served on the executive team for the Division
of Student Affairs in multiple roles including the Executive Director for Student
Life, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, and University Ombudsperson.
She also served as an adjunct graduate faculty member teaching foundation content
courses and on dissertation committees.
She also has professional and graduate experience at public and private institutions
including the University of Georgia, University of Connecticut, and Golden Key International
A native of Pasadena, California, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech from
Northwestern University, Master of Education degree from the University of California,
Los Angeles, and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Georgia.
Dr. Ranjeeta Basu is CSUSM's Interim Chief Diversity Officer and has been teaching
Economics here at CSUSM for the last 25 years. Over the last six years she has focused
her attention on mindfulness practices and contemplative pedagogy. She, along with
a group of faculty, staff and administrators, have started an initiative called Mindful
CSUSM. The purpose of this initiative is to provide support to students, faculty,
staff and administrators through contemplative practices that foster deep learning,
reduced stress, increased capacity for compassionate listening and increased well-being.
Karin Iwasaka is the Associate Director at the Cal State San Marcos Career Center,
where she provides career counseling to students and alumni and serves as a liaison
to the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences. She majored in History
and minored in Sociology at UC San Diego, prior to earning her master’s degree in
Counseling, with a Career Counseling emphasis, from Cal State Long Beach.
Kai (they/them/ theirs) works as the North County organizer for the ACLU of San Diego
& Imperial Counties. They have been organizing for almost 10 years, mostly around
immigrant rights issue. They studies Women Studies and Political Science when they
attended CSUSM, enjoying events like Take Back the Night and V-Day. Kai loves talking
spirituality, nature, and Ecofeminism. They live in Escondido with their wife and
Carrillo graduated from Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM) with a double major
in Mass Media & Women’s Studies and a minor in Communications. While at CSUSM, she
was President of the Women’s Studies Student Association and served as the Women's
Wellness Advocate at the CSUSM Women’s Center.
Carrillo began her career working with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors,
refugees, and survivors of elder abuse. She has over 10 years of experience being
an advocate for others, from working in DV shelters to accompanying survivors through
the court system. Carrillo is enthusiastic about empowering girls, creating awareness
regarding Reproductive Justice, LGBTQ rights, and Immigrant rights.
Trista Kallis-Ferrera, MSL, serves as the Manager of Respriatory Care Services at
UC Irvine Health. She completed her undergraduate degree in Professional Development
and Advanced Patient Care as well as a Master's degreein Leadership from Grand Canyon
With over 10 years of Leadership experience and a passion for the topic, Trista has
been involved in many leadership initiatives within the hospital setting and has completed
her master trainer certificate in TeamSTEPPS, an evidence-based teamwork system which
incorporates leadership within its program. Although Trista has a passion for leadership,
she also has a passion for motherhood. Trista is a mother of four and uses the same
leadership principles she has learned over the years to develop and lead her children
Dr. Joely Proudfit (Luiseño), is a descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission
Indians. Dr. Proudfit holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science with emphasis in
public policy and American Indian studies from Northern Arizona University and a B.A.
in political science with emphasis in public law from CSU Long Beach. A full professor,
Dr. Proudfit has been tenured three times in the CSU system. In 2016 she was appointed
by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
A recent publication by Dr. Proudfit from 2017 focuses on California. On Indian Ground-:
A Return to Indigenous Knowledge—Generating Hope, Leadership and Sovereignty through
Education. Dr. Proudfit is also author of the forthcoming book titled Beyond the American
InReadian Stereotype: There’s More to Me Than What You See. Dr. Proudfit serves as
the Department Chair of the American Indian Studies Department. Dr. Proudfit is also
the Director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) at CSUSM.
The mission of the CICSC is to foster collaborative study and community service relationships
among the faculty, staff and students of CSUSM, and members of tribal communities,
for the purpose of developing and conducting research projects that support the maintenance
of sovereignty and culture within those communities.
Cynthia Luvlee Austin is the President and Founder of Shyne San Diego, a nonprofit
dedicated to ending exploitation by building a network of survivor owned enterprises.
She graduated from SDSU with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She went on to study
holistic health at Bodymind College where she began incorporating new healing approaches
to social service models. Cynthia has over twenty years' experience as a nonprofit
startup specialist making it her mission to design innovative social programs from
the ground up. Mrs. Austin serves on the Board of Directors for Neighborhood House
Association and is a member of the 4S Ranch Team Referral Network. Shyne San Diego
has been featured on NPR, KUSI, News Channel 8, San Diego Union Tribune and San Diego
Eloise Madriaga was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She was raised in the foster
care system and spent much her adult life in the California State Prison System.
Born to a teenage mother who died on ther 21st birthday from and alcohol and barbiturates
overdose. Eloise suffered from childhood trauma at an early point in life. To cope
with the death of her mother and removal from family by Child Protective Services
she dove into Street Life to find acceptance. At the age of 16 Eloise was emancipated
and attempted a family life with marriage and children.
In 2014 Eloise was facing a life sentence by means of the three-strikes law. By what
she calls God’s Grace, she found mercy in the courts and was only sentenced to five
years with half and saw that as a wakeup call and a second chance. While in prison
Eloise attended college to begin a degree in Sociology. Since her release in 2017
Eloise has become a part of a large recovery community through organizations such
as Transitions Collective “Celebrate Recovery”, narcotics anonymous, and juvenile
Eloise lives a quiet life in servanthood to her community and friends and family.
She continues to live freely seeking mind, body and soul restoration while currently
battling breast cancer. She believes herself to be a woman of strong conviction that
we are all of one race and the only thing to truly set us fee is forgiveness and love.