The League Board 2017-18

President Adena Ishii

As President, I will work with the Board and members to create a positive and inclusive culture. We will also build up structures and systems that will help grow and sustain our League. As the youngest and likely first women of color to be president of our League since 1911, I hope to update our image and bring relevance to our organization. I have been involved with the League since 2009, and in 2014, I was honored with the Spirit of the League Award for my work connecting students with opportunities for civic engagement and resources for transferring to four year institutions. In addition to working with the LWVBAE Membership Team, I managed our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter, served on the Prop 13 Reform Team, and serve as a Berkeley Commissioner on the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts.

Secretary Christine Wenrich

I am  delighted to be elected to continue in my role as Secretary. The minutes are an important record of procedures and activities carried out by LWVBAE.  I believe my teaching and librarian skills allow for accurate reporting and for receptiveness to feedback. Board meetings are enjoyable, forward-looking, and based on substantive issues.  I must add that my most avid interest is in elementary education and I am awaiting the return of studies in this area.  Overall, I am thankful to be learning about and working to better the democratic political process with the League.

Photo Emily BeckhusenTreasurer Emily Beckhusen

I look forward to continuing to work with the League, while also expanding my horizons and skills. Having worked at Semifreddi’s for about 13 years, I am now the Office & Payroll Manager—overseeing sales data analysis, accounts receivables, payables, billing, and scheduling bakery production. I attended Berkeley High School and earned my GED at 17. Previously, I was an active volunteer for the Berkeley/Albany Girl Scouts Service Unit, including serving as the cookie sales manager and co-treasurer. I’m the mother of fourteen year old Micaela, a long-time League volunteer.


 Phyllis-Gale-cu-150x150Phyllis Gale

The 2018 elections are coming up: we are already planning for more and more effective voter services. For the last two years, I have served as Vice President for Voter Services and previously I was the Voter Services Coordinator. Voter Services expanded coverage for elections in 2016 so that all Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville candidates for contested local offices and regional candidates participated in public forums which were cablecast and available on the web. Our Pros & Cons publications and web pages  included more than 40 local and regional ballot measures.  We distributed more than 3000 printed Pros & Cons covering all state, local and regional ballot measures. Our Speakers Bureau presented ballot pros and cons at more than 25 events–and we included presentations at the public libraries. Voter’s Edge, the LWVCalifornia  on-line election resource is widely used by voters; we supply the local information. I welcome members to join the Voter Services Team, so we can register and inform even more voters in 2018.

Jinky-gardner-cu-edited 2016Jinky Gardner

Last year I took on the job of Membership Director, working with Adena Ishii.  Our membership grew by leaps and bounds. This year, with the help of the new Membership Team, we will be focusing on getting many of them actively involved. I joined LWVBAE in 2002 and quickly became very active. I co-led a local study on civics education in our public schools, and shepherded the study through consensus meetings to a good policy statement we can act on.  I also served in various capacities on the Board including a two year stint as President.

preston jordan informal cu 2016jpg

Preston Jordan

As a scientist, I naturally gravitate to the League. Like the scientific community, the League is comprised of strong-minded individuals who have agreed to subject their ideas to review for the greater good. I appreciate the League for keeping alive the memory of being denied the vote, and jealously guarding and pursuing the expansion of suffrage. For years I have advocated hopefully for election methods that result in representation for almost every voter, which increases engagement and turnout. In comparison, there is consensus among political scientists that the method currently used by Albany and Emeryville is the worst. As a geologist, my other civic passion, motivated by fear, is reducing greenhouse pollution to avert climate change.,

Jessica Powell

I joined the League in 2016 and immediately jumped in – helping out where possible. I was honored to be appointed for the remainder of the term as Program Director and elected for a further board term. My interest in the League grew from my work promoting women’s participation in politics, good governance, and democracy promotion. I founded and manage a consulting firm, Gender Resources, Inc. that promotes gender equity and women’s empowerment around the world, and have spent the last 10 years leading equity and good governance initiatives in Afghanistan, Philippines, Timor Leste, and Thailand – and working as a poll monitor here at home. I look forward to applying the skills I have developed to promoting a more prosperous, equal society here in Berkeley.

Ben BukowskiKen Bukowski

I plan to apply my varied public and business experience, long residence and work in the City of Emeryville and my current familiarity with regional issues  to the Board’s work. During  6 terms as a City Council Member in Emeryville, I served 6 one-year terms as Mayor and helped lead the redevelopment of 65% of Emeryville. I’m a past president of the Emeryville N.A.A.C.P. and a founder of  the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce and the Emeryville Property Owners Association, for which I serve as a consultant. I volunteer for the Public Banking Institute. Since 2014 I have been recording regional public meetings and events, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC)–as well as events for local leagues. The videos are available free on line at Other experience includes: owning two successful nightclubs in Emeryville, being a former private pilot and an avid cyclist.

Off-Board Positions

Nominating Committee 2017-18

Note: Three additional members will be appointed by the 2017-18 Board

Chair Nancy Bickel

Our committee will begin work in July– by visiting Team meetings and getting acquainted with the very large number of new members recruited in 2016-17, encouraging interested new members to gain skills and take on more challenging tasks in the League, so that they can become future League leaders.  A member of this League since 1976, I have served often on the Board and twice as president. My other current job is communications coordinator. I learned to write, produce, and distribute documentary films in the League and practiced this profession for the League and others before returning to local League work. I look forward to finding a new generation of League leaders to replace me,  so that I can retire and support their work.

Members of the Nominating Committee

Elise Mills

I have always looked up to the League, its activities, and its goals and very much support them!  I was happy to join LWVBAE and help with a few of the fall pre-election forums. I have become active  with the Civics Ed/Prop 13 (Make it Fair!) and Membership teams, I look forward to continue to support  Make It Fair! including spreading the word further about amending Proposition 13. I have always worked in public institutions of higher education. First as a student in Pennsylvania & later as staff in Texas and California. I moved back to California and the East Bay in 1989, and, since 1990, I have worked for UC Berkeley as a research administrator.

I look forward to this opportunity to support the League!