2015-2016 Athenian Society Dean’s Speaker Series
The Change Makers: The Women Who Lead Los Angeles


Hilda L. Solis
Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor, First District of Los Angeles County

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis was sworn in as Los Angeles County Supervisor for the First District of Los Angeles County on December 1, 2014.

Prior to becoming Supervisor she served as Secretary of Labor. Supervisor Solis was confirmed on February 24, 2009, becoming the first Latina to serve in the United States Cabinet. Before that, Supervisor Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001 to 2009.

In the Congress, Supervisor Solis’ priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the Green Jobs Act which provided funding for “green” collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

In 2007, Supervisor Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico — United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She was the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee.

A nationally recognized leader on the environment, Supervisor Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.

Supervisor Solis graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. A former federal employee, she worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and was later appointed as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.


Sachi A. Hamai
Los Angeles County

On October 13, 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Sachi A. Hamai as the County’s Chief Executive Officer. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the nation’s largest municipal government, including oversight of the County’s $28 billion budget. As CEO, she also supports the Board’s policy and programmatic leadership on numerous health, social services, criminal justice and quality of life programs and services.

Before her selection as Chief Executive Officer, Sachi served 10 months as the Interim CEO, selected by the Board of Supervisors in December 2014. Previously, Sachi was the Executive Officer for the Board of Supervisors from April 2006 to December 2014, supporting the accounting, procurement, personnel, payroll, technology, facility management and other administrative services of the Board.

Sachi was raised in Denver and graduated from Colorado State University. She first joined Los Angeles County as an accountant-auditor in August 1988.

For the next several years, she held several positions in Auditor-Controller, supervising the operational, compliance, and financial reviews of many County departments, until her promotion to a management position with the Department of Health Services Inspection and Audit Team in November 1994. As Chief of the Audit and Compliance Division, Sachi developed and implemented the groundbreaking Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT), a multi-agency program to deter illegal criminal activities threating the publics’ health and well-being.

From 2001, until her appointment as the Board’s Executive Officer in 2006, Sachi was the Director of Administrative Services at the County’s Department of Health Services, supervising the human resources, information technology, facilities management, and audit and compliance offices in the nation’s second-largest public healthcare system.

Sachi is a passionate distance runner, completing her first marathon in St. George, Utah in 1997. She’s participated in nearly 40 races in the past five years, achieving a recent a personal best time in the 2015 Tokyo Marathon.


Mary C. Wickham
County Counsel
Los Angeles County

Mary C. Wickham was appointed to the position of County Counsel by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November 2015. Mary Wickham is the 15th County Counsel in the history of the office and the second woman to hold that position.

Mary began her career with the Office of County Counsel in November 1995 as an ALS contract attorney, and in January 1998 she was appointed a Deputy County Counsel. During her career she has advised on employment law, including employee relations, human resources issues, employment investigations, and Civil Service matters. Mary was the lead County Counsel on the Bouman v. Baca gender discrimination federal court class action involving the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and was instrumental in terminating that consent decree by bringing the LASD into full compliance with the Court’s mandates. Thereafter Mary was the lead County Counsel responsible for the development and implementation of the Policy of Equality for the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department and the creation of a unique equity infrastructure within that organization by developing and implementing the County Policy of Equity (CPOE), including its centralized equity complaint reporting and investigatory program.

Mary was appointed Acting Executive Director of the newly created County Equity Oversight Panel in January 2013, and in May 2014 was made permanent. In her role as Executive Director she oversaw all aspects of the Countywide workplace Equity Program; served as an expert and resource on the CPOE.

Mary received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration in 1986 from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She then attended Whittier College School of Law and received her Juris Doctor in 1989. While attending Whittier College School of Law she was a Merit Scholar and the Managing Editor of the Whittier College Law Review.


Bonnie Reiss (Moderator)
Global Director
USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State & Global Policy

Bonnie Reiss is the Global Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute on State and Global Policy, which launched in September 2012. She is an accomplished attorney, advocate and strategist, and has a remarkable career having worked in the public sector for U.S. Senators and Presidents and founded and served as CEO for three national nonprofit organizations. She was a highly respected entertainment attorney and utilized her legal and accounting background to the benefit of many corporate boards she served on or advised.

She served as Senior Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger from 2003-2007, advising on all major policy initiatives, budget and political strategy and served on the California State Board of Education from 2003-2005. In 2009 she stepped in to serve as California Secretary of Education for the final year of Governor Schwarzenegger’s term of office. She currently serves on the University of California Board of Regents and the University of Miami President’s Council. Bonnie also serves on the Boards of the California Museum; National After-School Alliance; and After-School All Stars.