Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women Making a Difference in San Mateo County


Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions women have made to our history, culture and society. Each year, the California State Legislature provides members the opportunity to recognize a Woman of the Year for their district. San Mateo County is fortunate to have many women who have made outstanding contributions to their local communities, the county and, in many cases, the region.

Join me for Conversations With Kevin as I welcome a panel comprised of the women I have had the honor to recognize as the AD 22 Woman of the Year throughout my legislative tenure, including my 2022 recipient Kitty Lopez, the Executive Director of First 5 Mateo County. During this virtual event, we will be discussing what motivates and empowers these women to make a difference, barriers and challenges they have encountered and overcome, and how others can become more involved and make a difference.

Tune in for our discussion on my website or via Facebook Live, and submit a question here.

The evening’s panel will be comprised of the following AD22 Woman of the Year honorees.

Kitty Lopez | 2022
Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County

Kitty LopezThis year’s WOTY recipient is the Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County, focusing on strategic investments, community leadership, and policy and advocacy development for young children 0-5 and their families. Previously, Kitty served as the Executive Director of Samaritan House, one of San Mateo County’s leading Core Service Agencies and safety-net nonprofits serving low-income families and individuals with food, clothing, health care, counseling, education classes and holiday assistance.


Rosanne Foust | 2021
CEO of San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMEDA)

Rosanne FoustRosanne is a leading voice of the business community in San Mateo County and across the Bay Area. She directs conversations important to maintaining a strong economy, attracting and retaining employers, and creating partnerships between business and government to address the critical issues of affordable housing, mobility improvements and maintaining a good quality of life.


Stacey Hawver | 2020
Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

Stacey HawverStacey Hawver has been a public interest lawyer for over 20 years. A well-known advocate on behalf of low-income residents, she has been recognized for her work fighting for social justice.



Rev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon | 2019
Senior Minister of the Congregational Church of San Mateo, United Church of Christ

Penny NixonRev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon has been the Senior Minister of the Congregational Church of San Mateo, United Church of Christ since 2007. She is known for her social activism on the peninsula for anti-human trafficking, housing affordability, LGBT rights, inclusion and immigration. She does her work in partnership across faith traditions and is the convener of the Peninsula Solidarity Network, engaging interfaith clergy in local justice issues.


Maria Martinucci | 2017
Former CEO of South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Maria MartinucciUsing her skills in building relationships along with her energy, influence and fiscal discipline, Maria significantly increased Chamber membership and took Chamber finances from red to black during her first year as CEO.



Michelle Vilchez | 2016
Co-CEO of Innovate Schools

Michelle VilchezAs Co-CEO of Innovate Schools, Michelle works to ensure that all students – especially low-income students and students of color—receive a world-class public education. Formerly the Executive Director for Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, the largest provider of community-based conflict management and prevention services in San Mateo County, Michelle has worked extensively with individuals, organizations and municipalities throughout San Mateo County.


Melissa Lukin | 2015
Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Peninsula

Being the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Peninsula has given Melissa the opportunity to be part of an organization that provides year-round renovation and repair services for the Peninsula’s most vulnerable homeowners, from seniors and veterans to individuals with disabilities and families with children. Formerly the Executive director of CORA, the only multicultural agency in San Mateo County, Melissa has also previously helped provide safety, support and healing for those who are experiencing domestic violence.