CCUSD Board President Amazola Presents at LA County Women’s Empowerment Conference

Highlighting National Women’s History Month, Los Angeles County Office of Education hosted the annual LACOE Women’s Empowerment Conference: Challenge Accepted on March 10, 2023 at the LACOE Conference Center. The conference was created to challenge and inspires new leaders.

Paula Amezola, MPH, President of the CCUSD Board of Education, joined Dr. Alma Castro, Trustee of the Lynwood Unified School District, to present “Leading with equity con Corazón.” Amezola, a Mexican immigrant and first generation college graduate, was the first bilingual person elected to the CCUSD Board of Education.

Part of Amezola’s message was to encourage more women to apply to School Boards and to serve in public office. “It is challenging to serve in these capacities, as elected officials are often faced with a lot of criticism, particularly when trying to change long-standing norms and practices as they relate to equity,” said Amezola. “But we lead with heart. I believe that 100% of the decisions we make need to involve more women and more women of color; otherwise decisions would not have needed representation that would lead to the most appropriate solutions for those that are underserved. I constantly ask myself what voices I am NOT hearing at the school board meetings. Then I seek and reach out to the individuals one-on-one to ensure they are heard and represented.”

Amezola commented that “Leading with corazón (heart) was felt as soon as you entered the conference. The display with quotes from women leaders inspired our hearts, and the workshops gave us the tools to overcome challenges. Women are women 365 days a year, celebrating, empowering, and inspiring women to lead is important each and every day of the year; not just in March when we celebrate Women’s History Month. Wishing every woman strong and inspired corazones to overcome challenges.”

Women leaders from all over Los Angeles County attended, as Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Holly Mitchell provided the keynote. Additionally, Dr. Debra Duardo welcomed the group, followed by guest speaker Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson, President, Mount St. Mary’s University welcomed the group. Most notable was the L.A. County Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Panel, who shared their story and led a panel discussion.

The hugely successful event supported networking and sharing accomplishments, stories and experiences among a diverse group of more than 250 women leaders. Highlights of the Conference included Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s keynote speech, inspiring remarks from Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Duardo and her mentor Executive Director of Peace Over Violence Patti Giggans, and powerful workshops designed to inspire and motivate attendees to achieve goals and overcome challenges.

Joanna Brody

The Actors' Gang