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Mentoring month – a confluence you can’t miss

Life is full of random intersections, meeting points where themes, events and movements find confluence.

It isn’t clear whether Kathy Witkowicki understood the confluence she was creating when she decided to launch her new speakers program, “Sonoma Mentoring Presents,” with Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and her husband Gavin, as the inaugural speakers.

Siebel Newsom is the omni-talented writer-director-producer who gave us “Miss Representation,” the film that eloquently exposed how stereotyped and inaccurate portrayals of women shape the visions and aspirations of girls, resulting in the radical underrepresentation of women in politics and corporate positions of power and influence. Her husband gave us a pioneering window for the acceptance of same-sex marriage as San Francisco mayor, and currently has some sort of state government job while he awaits a fresh opportunity to run for governor or the U.S. Senate.

Siebel Newsom should be every girl’s role model. She is a Stanford honors graduate and holds an MBA from its graduate school of business. She played varsity soccer and studied at the American Conservatory Theater, spent time in Hollywood appearing in TV, films and theater and, somewhere along the way, she traveled the world on assignment for Conservation International. She’s also bilingual in Spanish and founder of The Representation Project, a nonprofit building on the film’s efforts to address injustice created by gender stereotypes. Its motto appears to be Marian Wright Edelman’s declaration, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Siebel Newsom has also founded a film production company called Girls Club Entertainment, established, her website says, “to develop independent films focused primarily on women that educate, activate, and transform culture.”


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