Our Leadership

Our Leadership Council is a diverse group of Californians who guide California Forward’s projects.

The California Dream must be available to all.

California Forward (CA FWD) believes we must build stronger economic, political and social foundations that ensure our government and our world-class economy work for everyone — no matter the zip code where they were born. We believe unlocking the state’s diverse human capital and financial capital, as well as upgrading our infrastructure to create an ecosystem of successful outcomes can lift all Californians.

That’s the “what.”

The equally daunting challenge is the “how.”

That’s what CA FWD works on every day. We value the time, staff and funding resources CA FWD commits to the organization’s mission. We recognize the foundational importance of building relationships, bringing people together across geographies and ideologies to create new solutions, policies, and programs that otherwise wouldn’t be — or couldn’t be — advanced.

CA FWD is a vehicle for real change, doing the hard work needed to move our state forward by balancing racial and geographic equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth. We are proud to be co-chairs of this organization and are deeply committed to helping forge the vision of a more just and equitable California where all can prosper.

Kate Gordon
Chief Executive Officer

Previously Served

Juan Arambula
Former Assembly Speaker pro Tempore

Robert Balgenorth
Former President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO

Oscar Chavez
Assistant Director, Sonoma County Human Services Department

David Davenport
Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Lloyd H. Dean
CEO, CommonSpirit Health

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
Co-Founder, Promise

Yolie Flores
Chief Program Officer, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Carl Guardino
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy, Bloom Energy

Bill Hauck
Former President, California Business Roundtable

Antonia Hernández
President and CEO, California Community Foundation

Robert M. Hertzberg
Senate Majority Leader, California State Senate

Heidi Hill Drum
CEO, Tahoe Prosperity Center

Fred Keeley
Former Assemblymember, California State Assembly

Joanne Kozberg
Principal, California Strategies, LLC

Stewart Kwoh
President & Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Donna Lucas
Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning & Initiatives, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Laurie Madigan
Partner, Madigan Consulting, Inc.

James P. Mayer
Senior Fellow & President Emeritus, California Forward

Thomas V. McKernan, Founding Co-Chair
Chair of the Board, Automobile Club of Southern California

Bruce McPherson
Former California Secretary of State

Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Superintendent-President, Long Beach City College

Leon E. Panetta
Former Co-Chair; Former Secretary of Defense and Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Charles “Chuck” Poochigian
Former State Senator & Assemblymember

Kish Rajan
Principal, KRPA

Cruz Reynoso
Former Associate Justice, California Supreme Court & Third District Court of Appeal

Constance L. “Connie” Rice
Former Co-Director, Los Angeles NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

Kate Roberts
Former President and CEO, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Wade Rose
Vice President of External & Government Relations, Dignity Health

Joseph N. Sanberg
Founder, CalEITC4Me

Bill Shireman
President and CEO, Future 500

Bruce Stenslie
President & CEO, Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County

Duf Sundheim
Principal at GPS Mediation; APC & Former Chairman, California Republican Party

Van Ton-Quinlivan
CEO, Futuro Health and Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Workforce & Digital Futures at the California Community Colleges

Arturo Vargas
Executive Director, NALEO

Eugene J. “Gene” Voiland
Former President & CEO, Aera Energy LLC

Pete Weber
Former Executive Committee Chair, CA Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley

Dan Whitehurst
Chair, California Issues Forum

Sunne Wright McPeak
President & CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund