As part of an ongoing feature, we present brief profiles of some of SLO County’s most influential women. By acknowledging these women of influence we hope to inspire by example, promoting achievement and spotlighting the individual and collective progress of dedicated professional women active today in SLO County.
Executive Director, North County Women’s Shelter/North County Women’s Shelter & Resource Center/ Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center
Jennifer Adams is the Executive Director of the newly merged North County Women’s Shelter/Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center. As the previous E.D. of both agencies, she saw merging as an opportunity to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Jenny has worked in the field for 15 years, fueled by her passion to create a community free from inter-personal violence. She is a Cal Poly graduate, mother of a 21-year- old son, and lover of the Central Coast. She continues to be inspired by survivors as well as her incredible staff.
Director, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
Rochelle Becker is an internationally recognized nuclear activist who has been engaged with California electric utility issues for 35 years. Since the late 1970s, she has appeared before the CPUC, NRC, California Energy Commission, the California Coastal Commission, Legislature and Congress on matters affecting the state’s nuclear power plants. In 2005, she co-founded and became Executive Director of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, having served for the previous 25 years as a spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. A graduate of the University of San Francisco, she is also a former President of the Board of Directors of TURN. Ms. Becker was instrumental in gaining the support of California’s Attorney General and the County of San Luis Obispo for federal court appeals of NRC decisions concerning the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and has consulted the NRC. She was an active participant in last year’s California Energy Commission proceedings concerning seismic reassessments of the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre plant sites, which she supported.
Interfaith Spiritual Director, Circle of Grace
Laura Grace is a spiritual activist and the Interfaith Spiritual Director for the Circle of Grace in San Luis Obispo, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness through education in spiritual diversity and deep personal growth and transformation. Laura is also the host and producer for the Central Coast Annual Women’s Symposium. A member of Spiritual Director’s International and the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Laura has a background in world religions, developmental psychology, integrative studies and Jungian dream analysis. Laura attended the New Seminary and One Spirit Seminary in New York and is entering the doctoral program in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Somatic Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara this fall. As a teacher, speaker and writer, Laura has authored two books and is a syndicated columnist for more than 20 publications.
Andrea K. Lueker
City Manager, Morro Bay
Andrea has served as City Manager for the City of Morro Bay for the past six years. She has been in municipal government for over 26 years, beginning as a lifeguard after graduating from college. She was then promoted to a supervisor, department head, Assistant City Manager and City Manager. She oversees Police, Fire, Public Services, Administrative Services and Recreation & Parks as well as the Harbor Department – not typical in most cities. Andrea has a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and a Master’s from Cal Poly. She is active in the League of California Cities, Women Leading Government, is a credentialed City Manager by the International City/County Management Assn. and president of the Central Coast Area City Manager’s group. A competitive triathlete, Andrea is married with a daughter and lives in Los Osos.
Jan Howell Marx
Mayor of San Luis Obispo
Jan Marx was elected Mayor of the City of San Luis Obispo in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. She served as a member of the San Luis Obispo City Council from 1998-2002 and 2008-10. She represents the city on the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), San Luis Obispo Regional Transportation Agency and Air Pollution Control District. Prior to her time on City Council she served on the City Planning Commission and the County Parks & Recreation Commission. Now retired from law practice, her legal career was in estate planning, real property, environmental, employment and local government law in San Luis Obispo for over 20 years. She owned her own law firm from 1993 to 2010. She is a former Deputy District Attorney and trusts and estates civil litigator. She has also taught Business Law at Cal Poly. She has served as a mediator for real property matters and also and conducted mediations and settlement conferences in estate planning matters for the San Luis Obispo Superior Court. A co-founder of the Temporary Restraining Order clinic for victims of domestic violence, she also has volunteered for the Senior Legal Services Center, and SLO County Bar Association Fee Arbitration panel. She has been an advocate of preservation of local open space and natural areas for over 25 years, and has served on a number of local boards, including the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO). She is married to Steven Marx, and they have two children and four grandsons.
President, Transitional Food & Shelter Inc.
Born in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas, Pearl worked as a social worker for LA County, went to Loyola Law School, moved to Paso Robles and started a private law practice. She helped start the Toy Bank along with Louise Eastman, Rolle and Libbie Lemm, and served on the Mission Board of the Plymouth Congregational Church. She has been President of Transitional Food & Shelter Inc. (TFS) for 12 years. TFS is a nonprofit serving SLO County headquartered in Paso Robles. It provides temporary, emergency shelter to persons who are both disabled and homeless and is one of seven Medical Respite programs in California and the only one in SLO County. Clients are referred by hospitals and social service agencies. Totally and permanently disabled are also assisted into housing. TFS also includes People’s Kitchen of North County, serving a hot supper Monday through Friday in Paso Robles to all hungry persons who attend.
President/CEO, Coast National Bank
Anita M. Robinson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Coast National Bank since January 2012. As a veteran banker for the past 40 years, she is the former and Founding Chief Executive Officer of Mission Community Bank, Mission Community Bancorp, Mission Asset Management, Inc. and Mission Community Development Corporation since that bank’s inception in 1996. She continues to serve as Founder & President of Mission Community Services Corporation, a non-profit small business intermediary, technical assistance provider and Women’s Business Center for SBA Fresno District Office. She is a past chairman for the California Bankers Association (2007) and was designated as the 2007 U.S. Small Business Administration Central California Women in Business Champion of the year. Robinson has served as founding chairman of the board of the San Luis Obispo County Housing Trust Fund. She is a past chairman and 20 year member of the board of directors for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) and currently a member of Cuesta College Foundation board of directors.Robinson was a board member of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project for San Luis Obispo and is a founding board member of the Central Coast Economic Forecast. She is also a past Chairman of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and member of Sierra Vista Hospital Governing Board. She is the recipient of the 2006 Influential Latino Award by Latino Today and has received other awards and designations including the Mujer Hispana Distinguida 2005 by Adelante Mujer Hispana, 2004 Trailblazer of the Year by Women’s Economic Ventures and 2003 California Polytechnic State University Entrepreneurial Leadership Award for Financial Services.
Linda Seeley believes that our greatest obligation as humans is to care for the place we live on behalf of the generations who have yet to be born. Because of her experience as a community midwife on the Central Coast for over 30 years, she feels a strong commitment to health and wellness for the young and innocent. Since her retirement from midwifery in 2009, she is busier than ever. She serves on the Board of Directors of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, and she is the secretary of the Executive Committee of the Santa Lucia Sierra Club. She is a member of the Core Team of the Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign, working to bring the issue of the toxic legacy of nuclear waste to the forefront of the climate change movement. Linda also serves as the Executive Director of the Terra Foundation, a local non-profit supporting permaculture design courses and deep ecology awareness, and she is a member of the advisory board for Central Coast Bioneers. She is an advanced facilitator of the Work That Reconnects, group work developed by Joanna Macy PhD to help people awaken to their own passion for Earth justice and ecological awareness. Linda spends as much time as she can in the natural places of SLO County – she loves hiking, swimming, and observing other species, both plant and animal. She has three grown children and three grandsons.
Elizabeth “Biz” Steinberg
Elizabeth “Biz” Steinberg is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc. (CAPSLO), a Community Action Agency serving low-income community members since 1965. Biz began working at CAPSLO over 30 years ago as the Head Start Education Coordinator and then as the Head Start/Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Director. She served as the Director for five years and was then promoted to Chief Executive Officer, a position which she has held for over 25 years. When CAPSLO began operating in 1965 it was providing services to low-income clients only in San Luis Obispo County. The CAPSLO Board, with Biz’s leadership, allowed expansion into adjacent counties. The agency currently provides services in 10 California counties from as far north as San Joaquin County and as far south as San Diego. As CEO, Biz is responsible for all operations, strategic planning and development of a community action agency of over 1,000 employees with an annual budget of $62 million. She is responsible for the oversight of seven departments, including: The Adult Day Center; Child, Youth and Family Services; Energy Conservation Services; Family Support Services; Health Services; Homeless Services; and Central Administration. These programs serve over 40,000 low-income individuals in 10 counties annually. In addition to being the Secretary to the National Community Action Partnership, Biz continues to forge strong bonds on the local and state levels with her involvement on various boards.