Gender Equity Council

Katharine Earhart, Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women
Katharine is responsible for client relations and new business development in Alesco’s San Francisco office. Previously, she was Head of the iShares Connect Program where she advised and consulted with iShares institutional clients at BlackRock. Katharine focused on asset managers, insurers, RIAs, and boutique investment managers totaling $350B in ETF assets. Katharine has spent over 20 years in financial services with BlackRock, Barclays Global Investors, mPower (robo advisor acquired by Morningstar), and Charles Schwab & Co. She is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor of arts degree in English.

Molly Colten, Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women
Molly is a Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison Western Division, focused on serving small to midmarket organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. She partners with organizations and is a trusted advisor in talent development strategies and career transition best practices. While Molly’s current accounts are primarily global and concentrated in technology and medical device arenas, her background spans the public and private sectors. She has worked across the human capital and education spaces for over 12 years. She holds a Bachelors degree from University of Minnesota and a Masters degree from Sam Houston State University, is certified in a variety of LHH leadership tools, presents on human capital topics, and volunteers for local charities. Molly is also a Silicon Valley Leadership Group Education Policy Committee member with an emphasis on mentoring and encouraging girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields.

Emily Loper, Bay Area Council
Emily Loper is a Policy Manager at the Bay Area Council, where she leads the Council’s Gender Equity policy work. The Bay Area Council’s Gender Equity Committee advocates for policies that promote women in the workforce and enhance workplace cultures of equality. Earlier this year, Emily helped drive the passage of the San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, which made San Francisco the first city in the nation to guarantee that nearly all employees have access to fully paid leave for the purposes of bonding with a new child. Emily holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the USC Price School of Public Policy where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar, and graduated with honors from UCLA with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. A Bay Area native, Emily enjoys cycling, hiking, and skiing on weekends.

Peg McAllister, Bay Area Council
Peg McAllister is Senior Vice President in the San Francisco office of Lee Hecht Harrison. In this position, Peg consults with corporate clients for Career Transition and Outplacement, Career Development and Leadership and Change Consulting and Executive Coaching, providing customized solutions. Peg has more than 25 years of experience in the Northern California market in leading and creating human capital solutions. She has extensive experience in building national strategic business relationships with Fortune 500 companies and developing strong, high performance service teams. Peg holds an MBA from California Lutheran University. Her professional development includes coursework in leadership and career development, teamwork and change management. Peg is an Executive Board Member of the Bay Area Council and Co-chairs Gender Equity initiatives. She also serves on the boards of the Friends of the San Francisco Commission on Status of Women and the Girl Scouts of Northern California, as a Camp CEO mentor and a ChristCare Leader at Trinity Lutheran Church. She is often called upon by media and the community to comment on women in leadership, gender equity, employment, talent mobility, employee engagement and leadership trends.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Commission on the Status of Women
Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, CFP®, is one of America’s most trusted sources for financial advice, and a leading advocate for financial literacy. Through her leadership of Charles Schwab Foundation, she has overseen the development of best-in-class financial literacy programs. She has also served two White House administrations advising on financial capability policy. In 2010 she was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and she also advised the Council under President George W. Bush. Schwab-Pomerantz speaks and writes extensively about personal finance. Her latest book is The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances after Fifty: Answers to Your Most Important Money Questions (Crown Business, 2014). She
also writes a weekly column called Ask Carrie, which appears on,, the Huffington Post, Business Insider, and is syndicated through Creators News Service. As chairman of the board of Schwab Charitable, she oversees one of the country’s largest national donor-advised funds. She also serves on the national board of governors of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and in 2017 was appointed Commissioner of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women.

Debbie Mesloh, Commission on the Status of Women
Deborah "Debbie" Mesloh has served in the public policy and political arena for the past 15 years. She was previously the Senior Director of Global Public and Government Affairs at Gap, Inc. Most recently she was Senior Advisor to Attorney General Kamala Harris during her successful run for statewide office. Commissioner Mesloh's work with AG Harris builds upon her service as a key campaign official during Harris’ successful race for San Francisco District Attorney in 2003, and served as DA Harris’ communications director during her first term. In 2007, Commissioner Mesloh joined the Obama for America campaign as California Communications Director. She then served the next 18 months in various states throughout the country as a spokeswoman and communications advisor to the campaign. In 2008, she was asked to serve as a spokeswoman on the Presidential Inauguration Committee and then as a White House Political Appointee to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. She remains active in local, state and national politics. Commissioner Mesloh holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas. She is an avid surfer and runner.

Breanna Zwart, Commission on the Status of Women
Breanna Zwart has been a lifelong advocate for women and girls through mentoring, education, and community & economic development. She currently works to promote social innovation on YouTube. Ms. Zwart’s portfolio includes partnership development and strategy execution. Previously, Ms. Zwart worked to promote Internet access in emerging markets with the Access and Energy team at Google and was a Presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where she led initiatives promoting gender equality in international economic development. Before her time in Washington D.C., Ms. Zwart was the City of San Diego’s Budget and Finance committee consultant and a policy advisor to the City Council President. Ms. Zwart has served on the board of the Elementary Institute of Science, the San Diego New Leaders Council, is a past member of Hermanitas, HerStory, and former co-director of Strong Women, Strong Girls.  Ms. Zwart holds a Masters of Science in Public Policy and Management, and a Bachelors of Arts and Humanities in International Relations and Drama with a Minor in Hispanic Studies, both from Carnegie Mellon University.



Bennett Freeman, Calvert Investments 
Over the last 15 years of a three decade-plus career, Bennett Freeman worked at the intersection of governments, international institutions, multinational companies, investors and NGOs to improve corporate conduct and to promote human rights and sustainable development. As Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments from April 2006-April 2015, Bennett Freeman led the environmental, social and governance research, analysis, public policy and shareholder advocacy work of the largest set of sustainable and responsible (SRI) mutual funds in the U.S. He was Chair of the Advisory Board of Global Witness; Board member of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) USA; Steering Committee member of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Initiative (CHRB); Board Secretary and a co-founder of the Global Network Initiative (GNI); member of the Governing Board of the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI); Board Chair of EG Justice; Board member of USSIF-The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. He received an MA in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where he studied as an English Speaking Union Churchill Scholar at Balliol College, and an AB in History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Shawn MacDonald, Verité
Dr. Shawn MacDonald is responsible for a variety of research, training, multi-stakeholder dialogue, and advocacy programs focused on issues like forced labor, freedom of association, compliance program design, trafficking, and standards-setting. He regularly leads workshops, trainings, and multi-stakeholder public meetings on labor and other CSR issues and consults for business leaders on CSR strategy and program design. Dr. MacDonald has broad international and domestic experience in social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, multi-sectoral partnerships, conflict analysis and resolution, labor and environmental standards, public health, and civil society promotion. Before joining Verité, Shawn was Director of Accreditation at the Fair Labor Association, Vice President of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and co-founder of the Development and Employment Policy Project. Additionally, he worked for a variety of international NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. He holds a PhD from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, an AB in History from Harvard University, and was certified as a mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Emily M. Murase, PhD, Department on the Status of Women
Dr. Emily Murase has served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women since her appointment in 2004. Through her leadership, the Department has been engaged in groundbreaking gender analyses of city operations in which the workforce, budget, and services of city departments are examined using the lens of the CEDAW human rights framework. Dr. Murase is currently serving her second term on the San Francisco Board of Education. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Murase holds a Master’s degree from UC San Diego and a PhD from Stanford University. She resides in San Francisco with her husband and 2 children.


Verna Liza Caba, Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women
After being away from the corporate world for more than 10 years to raise two children, now 12 and 15, Verna Liza is thrilled to provide part-time fundraising, event planning, and organizational support as Executive Director of the Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women. Verna Liza is a Property Manager by profession and has worked for industry giants GE Capital, Trammell Crow, Spieker Properties and Equity Office. She has managed office staff and Class A commercial real estate portfolios in downtown San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City. Prior to joining the Friends, she organized and served as Chair of several school auctions in San Francisco which saw repeated increases in revenue while decreasing expenses and delivering the project under budget. Verna Liza grew up on a military base in Hawaii and graduated from UC Davis where she received a BA in History.

Elizabeth Newman, Department on the Status of Women 
Elizabeth Newman is the Workplace Policy & Legislative Director for the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women where she manages public and private sector initiatives to advance gender equity in the workplace and monitors, analyzes, and develops policy and legislation to improve the lives of women and girls in San Francisco. Ms. Newman previously served as a Policy Advocate and Political Organizer for the San Diego Labor Council and coordinated field programs for political campaigns. Ms. Newman graduated with a Master of Public Policy from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and earned her BA in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Sociology from Macalester College. 

Diana McCaffrey, Department on the Status of Women 
Diana McCaffrey is a Public Policy Fellow at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women where she supports the Gender Equality Principles Initiative. Before joining the Department, Diana worked at NARAL Pro-Choice America where she co-produced the organization's bi-annual Luncheons and lead other programming and fundraising initiatives with NARAL's Leadership Councils. Diana holds a BA in Sociology and minor in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. 

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Meet the participants

Many individuals and institutions contributed to the creation and advancement of the Gender Equality Principles' tools and resources.

Please take a moment to see who they are.