Emerge California Announces New Leadership of Board of Directors – Committing to Build on Successful 2018 Cycle

  • Feb 22, 2019
  • Emerge California

San Francisco – On the heels of an historic election cycle for woman candidates and with the launch of the 2019 program class happening this weekend, Emerge California announces the election of new officers to lead its Board of Directors. Emerge California, a statewide organization committed to training Democratic women to run for office, had a banner election year in 2018 with 92 alumnae on the ballot statewide and a 62% win rate – including Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Board of Equalization Board Member Malia Cohen and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this weekend’s launch of our 2019 program class in which we will train 53 Democratic women to run for office, with cohorts in Northern California, the Central Valley and Southern California,” said newly elected Board Chair Janice Rocco. “Since its founding over fifteen years ago, Emerge California has a proven record of training over 500 Democratic women to run for office with impressive results, and we will build on this record of success in 2019.”

Overall, 50% of Emerge California graduates have run for or been appointed to office and, of those who run, more than 65% have been elected to office.   Additionally, a majority of Emerge California alumnae are women of color.


The newly elected officers of Emerge California for 2019-2020 are:


Janice Rocco has spent the last eight years as California’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner overseeing Health Policy and Reform at the California Department of Insurance (CDI).  Rocco led the Department’s successful efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act and was a key player in developing California’s related state health care reform laws.  Prior to her current position, Janice served as Chief of Staff to then Assemblymembers Hannah-Beth Jackson and Dave Jones. She has spent more than two decades serving on the boards of a number of women’s rights organizations and has run successful legislative races, helping to elect women and people of color to office.



Courtney is the Founder and CEO of CLB Global Strategies, a global strategy and engagement advisory firm.  She has over 17 years of experience in the international political and business arena, and has served as a consultant, speaker, lecturer, and published author on a variety of topics, including foreign policy, counterterrorism and extremism issues, and women in politics.  She has experience in the public and private sector, having worked with government, think tanks, and first started her career in the global finance world at JPMorgan Securities.  Courtney has worked all over the globe, and is a frequent contributor to various TV networks as a thought leader on these subjects.



Josefina Ramirez Notsinneh is a Senior Associate in Government Relations for Children Now, a leading nonpartisan umbrella research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health, education, and well-being in California. Josefina is experienced in working with a wide-range of public affairs governmental and corporate entities on successful legislative, community outreach, and media relations campaigns. She previously worked at Ogilvy Public Relations and was a legislative staffer in the California State Legislature for almost a decade.



Naomi is the president of Tower26, a strategic communications and public affairs agency in Los Angeles and the former director of communications for Mayor Eric Garcetti. She transforms leaders and organizations into powerhouses of influence. Her hard-hitting strategies have put clients on the map for over 25 years, in a career spanning both coasts and the very different worlds of Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. In her political advocacy work, she has helped end the careers of some of the most corrupt members of Congress, targeted the NRA and its allies, exposed front groups covering for corporate interests, and rooted out conservative misinformation in the media.



A working mom and lifelong Angeleno, Wendy Greuel started her career in public service working for her mentor, former Mayor Tom Bradley, where for ten years she worked on a wide range of public policy issues including child care, senior care homelessness, housing, public health and education. In 1997, Wendy transitioned into the private sector, working for five years in the film industry as an executive at DreamWorks SKG. In 2002, Wendy was elected to the Los Angeles City Council and quickly developed an impressive record of accomplishment by creating jobs, preserving open space and reducing traffic congestion. In 2009, Wendy was elected City Controller, becoming only the second woman in LA’s history elected to citywide office.



Michelle Jeung is Emerge California’s newest board member, having recently been elected to the Board.  Michelle has over 15 years of political campaign research and communications experience. Most recently, she was a Vice President at Storefront Political Media where she served as the account lead on a competitive statewide gubernatorial campaign and numerous other campaigns at the state and local level. She also worked on a multi-year brand advertising campaign for a Fortune 500 company. Prior to joining Storefront, she served as the Research Director on a competitive U.S. Senate race during the 2012 election cycle.


Links to the full bios of Emerge California’s officers are available on the Emerge California website, as well as a video with interviews with a few of our most well-known alumnae.


Emerge California is a statewide organization committed to training Democratic women to run for office, using a unique five-month, cohort-based training program. Since Emerge CA’s founding, the organization has trained more than 450 women to run for office. Alumnae include San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Board of Equalization member Malia Cohen, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott.  Of our graduates, 50% have already run for or been appointed to office, of those who run, more than 65% have been elected to office. Over 50% of Emerge California alumnae are women of color.

Ellie Schafer

Interim Executive Director

Emerge California

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February 22, 2019