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About this event

In California AB979 and AB8 were laws put in place to ensure gender and racial diversity on boards. They were both struck down by the California Superior Court in spring of 2022. While California was the only state to require diversity in the law, but similar steps are in place in Maryland, New York, and Illinois. And, other states have contemplated putting board diversity laws in place, such as Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and Oregon. The SEC, with encouragement from Nasdaq, too put in place requirements around disclosure and illustration of real effort to diversify public boards nationwide. As the constitutionality of such laws are challenged, the questions are "Do we need them?" or is there enough else in place from institutions like Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, and large LPs behind PE and Venture? And, "Is removing these laws a set back; a slap in the face of progress?" And, very importantly "Where do we go from here?"

Join us as we explore these questions, and the extent to which we, as individuals, as leaders, can impact the changes in policy we feel we need to see. 


Heidi Harmon Senior Public Affairs Director

Heidi Harmon, Public Affairs Director of Let’s Green CA!, is a dynamic keynote speaker and featured guest on programs including Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, NPR, and TEDx. She’s held many titles in her life, among them maid, mayor and mom. Heidi served three terms as mayor of the City of San Luis Obispo, where she led the city to adopt what was then the most ambitious carbon neutrality goal in the United States. A mother of two, Heidi is a social, environmental and gender justice leader committed to creating an equitable and sustainable world. Heidi’s authenticity and palpable passion for her work are her superpowers.

Hannah Jackson CEO and Founder

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is a former prosecutor and practicing attorney. She received her law degree from Boston University Law School before returning to California. She was elected to the California State Senate to represent the 19th Senate District, from 1998-2004 she represented the 35th Assembly District where she worked to author more than 60 bills into law.
Hannah-Beth has become known as an advocate for protecting the rights and privacy of Californians, supporting access to justice for all Californians, championing equality for women, improving access to early childhood education, and supporting veterans and veterans treatment courts, among other issues.

Notably, she is the co-author of SB 826, the California Board Diversity Law, which was signed into law amid the #MeToo movement in 2018. The law ensured at least one woman sat on the board of any publicly traded California company, and was slated to increase in number for companies with more than four directors by the end of 2021. SB 826 was declared unconstitutional in May 2022 but her work and legacy continue. She is also the author of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, landmark legislation that established the strongest equal pay law in the country and SB 1383 passed in 2020 to expand job protection for family leave to millions of Californians.

Hannah-Beth was named by the Huffington Post as one of 11 women around the country “blazing new trails” in American politics. She has received Legislator of the Year awards from a wide range of organizations and is the recipient of the prestigious California Women Lawyer’s Fay Stender Award, given annually to an attorney committed to affecting positive change and serves as a role model for women. She helped establish the Santa Barbara Shelter Services for Women (now known as Domestic Violence Solutions) and Women Against Gun Violence. She is also a founding member and past president of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee. She served as President of Speak Out California from 2005-2012, a non-profit that educates and empowers young people to become activists for social justice.


Coco Brown CEO

Coco is founder and CEO of Athena Alliance. Prior to her current roles, Coco served as President, COO, and Board Director of Taos, a market leader in IT Services serving hundreds of F1000 companies, including Apple, Cisco, ebay, Facebook, and Silicon Valley Bank. Coco brings rich experience across F1000 companies, start-ups, and nonprofits in the roles of CEO, COO, advisor, and Board member to Athena. She possesses a unique understanding of the breadth of challenges and opportunities of leadership. She empowers leaders to execute successfully, working with them to develop the relationship between a company’s strategy and its organizational design and environment. Coco’s expertise in developing and strengthening these important linkages makes her a powerful C-level advisor and Board member. In addition to serving on the Board of Taos from 2004 to 2014, Coco served as a Board Director for MentorNet during its rebranding, product transformation, and subsequent acquisition by Great Minds in STEM. Coco was on the finance committee supporting the Board of Directors of Samasource and established the Operating Committee for the Silicon Valley arm of Golden Seeds, a New York-based early-stage investment firm. She also currently serves as Chair of the Nominating Committee for the Anita Borg Technology Leadership Award, one of the most prestigious awards honoring women in technology.

Key Details

If Board Diversity Laws Are Struck Down, Then What?

Tue, Oct 04 @ 12:00pm PT (1 hr)

Virtual (RSVP for link)


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