Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am honored to welcome you to the ACE Women’s Network of Northern California. Advancing opportunities for women in executive roles in higher education is deeply important work.

None of us succeeds alone and women especially know the immense value of professional networks in helping us along our way. Throughout my career, from my days as a PhD candidate through the growing challenges of university teaching, scholarship, and leadership, I have benefited from the generosity of many advisors, mentors, and supporters both inside and outside the academy. I cannot thank them all enough, and so my obligation now is to pay it forward for upcoming generations.

This is all the more important when we recognize that women are greatly under-represented in the ranks of university administration and leadership across the nation, despite the increasing numbers of women college graduates. Certainly the picture has improved since my own early days as an administrator, but there is much more we must do together to ensure that the leadership in higher education appropriately reflects the diversity of our society and can better meet the complex and diverse needs of our students, faculties, communities, and employers.

This is what the ACE Women’s Network is about: effectively harnessing the experience, wisdom, and power of women leaders to help find, prepare, and move more women into college presidencies and other executive and leadership positions. Each of us can serve as door-openers, role models, and sounding boards so that women seeking advancement are not alone and can use this network to benefit both women’s careers and college administration.

As a fourth-generation Californian I have seen and experienced profound changes in our state and in our colleges, especially in the incredible diversity of our population. We have made tremendous progress to break down barriers to opportunity, but our work is never over; there is so more we must do to achieve our ambitious goals. What has not changed, however, is our collective commitment to make our colleges and California the best they can be. The ACE Women’s Network is a key part of this effort, and I thank you for your support, participation, and commitment that make our mutual success possible.


Mary A. Papazian, PhD
San José State University