OUR TEAM

Julie Castro Abrams, Founder and CEO, How Women Lead

Julie Castro Abrams is an expert in board governance and building diverse boards that are a strategic advantage. She is an experienced non profit CEO and entrepreneur and through her consulting practice she supports leaders to build high-performance boards, break through performance for the leaders and high performing multicultural teams. She is Chair and CEO of How Women Lead, a network of over 10,000 women dedicated to promoting diverse women’s voices and propelling women’s leadership forward as well as the Managing Partner of BoardLeaders.com where she actively places leaders on corporate boards and supports them to build inclusive and high-performance boards.

 

An active investor and advisor to start-ups, Julie also sits on the advisory boards of the fin-tech start-up LENDonate, The New Search Collaborative and is the Governance Chair for the Women’s Funding Network, a network of women’s foundations across the globe. She has previously led the board of multiple nonprofit organizations located throughout the country, including Board Director for the National Council of La Raza, Governance Chair for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and Board Chair of Cypress String Quartet.

 

The recipient of many accolades, Julie has won the More Jobs Genius Award, the Morgan Stanley Innovation Award, Cisco’s Innovation in Technology Award, the League of Women Voters’ Women Who Could Be President Award, the Stevie Award for Best Non-Profit Executive, and the Commission on the Status of Women’s Human Rights Award, and is a member of the Women of Color Action Network, Leadership California, and the Marin Women's Hall of Fame. She has also been featured in four books, including “Scrappy Women in Business,” “Women of Courage,” and “The Missing Mentor,” and Fast Company’s video series “30 Second MBA.”

Nicole Stiles, Head of Operations

Nicole Stiles is a growth driven self-starter overseeing all content delivery and programming for the network of 10,000 senior women leaders. As the driver for the Bay Area implementation of 2020 Women on Boards national movement, she was instrumental in the passage of California’s historic SB826 law. Nicole networks corporate board directors and develops trainings to prepare women for corporate board roles. She is an innovative intrapreneur having created the How Women Give foundation to fund services for low-income women and girls in the Bay Area and curating the annual invitation-only Global Women’s Leadership Summits. She is also leading the exploration phase of the forthcoming angel fund How Women Invest. Additionally, Nicole plays a pivotal role in the transition and growth of the newly acquired Women Leaders for the World program.

Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a minor in Psychology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She earned her Master of Public Administration degree from San Francisco State University with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Nicole is also a content contributor to the Los Angeles Times and Cosmopolitan.

Alexandra Drechsler, Silicon Valley Program Manager

Alex is a highly driven, detail-oriented individual pursuing a career in the marketing and events industry. She recently graduated from Santa Clara University with degrees in Communications and Entrepreneurship. She exhibits a strong interest in all of her work, high levels of effort, and time management skills. In the world of social media marketing, she has helped small businesses gain a presence in their local community, engage their audience, and utilize the platforms freely available to leverage more business growth and opportunity. With each client, she can easily adapt to new challenges, analyze current situations, and recommend a course of action to attain desirable goals. Alex is results driven and extremely organized in her approach.

Bonnette Ishimwe, Global Leadership and Marketing Associate

Bonnette graduated from Whitman College in 2018 with a degree in Politics & French. During her time at Whitman, she was an International Orientation Assistant for three consecutive years, an intern for the Study Off-Campus Office and was elected the President of the African Student Association. During the summer of 2016, she spent her summer interning at Congresswoman Betty McCollum's office in Washington D.C. In 2017, she spent her spring semester with the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and secured a coveted summer internship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda. Bonnette’s family survived many attacks during the 1994 genocide, but she ultimately lost her father in the conflict. Her mother singlehandedly raised her and her younger brother, and in high school Bonnette distinguished herself by holding countless leadership positions and graduating with honors. She aspires to be a legislator and work on policies that foster excellence in education, environmental protection, fiscal responsibility, and robust foreign policy. But most of all, Bonnette hopes to mentor other young Rwandan girls and foster future women leaders who will help to grow Rwanda’s economy.

Patricia Murillo, Women Leaders for the World Program Facilitator

Patricia Murillo is a strategy and organizational development consultant bringing 25 years of non-profit leadership experience to the field. She is the Director of Training for Women Leaders for the World at How Women Lead. As a first generation Latina who came up from working the fields in Watsonville, she has been on a mission to provide supports and opportunities for youth, women and communities to give back for the many hands that uplifted her throughout her education and career.  

 

Patricia served as the Executive Director for Alternatives in Action for 11 years where she successfully grew the organization from a 1.4 to a 6 million operating budget and increased services from 400 youth served annually to 1,300. Prior to AIA, she served as the Senior Director of Program Services for the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco where she led initiatives internally and externally including developing Behavioral Health programs, program improvement and evaluation strategies and a comprehensive professional development effort. She brings expertise in strategic planning, program improvement, business development and training and facilitation. She has taught at the high school, community college and college level and has served on several boards including the Latino Affairs Commission of Santa Cruz County and the On the Move Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelors from Vassar College and a Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) from UC Berkeley with a concentration on Management and Planning.

Noni Allwood, Strategic Advisor

Noni Allwood’s career spans over 20 years as an executive, an entrepreneur and an innovator. Her corporate career includes senior roles for Fortune 500 companies, including Cisco, Tandem Computers, and Exxon Corporation. As an entrepreneur, she is founder of Noni Allwood & Associates and co-founder of Innovo21. In the area of Diversity and Inclusion, Ms. Allwood is a Senior Fellow & Senior Advisor to the Center for Talent Innovation, leading research and innovation of practices to advance women and multicultural talent globally.

 

Her roles and contributions in the corporate world include education, research and innovation of practices for the optimization of talent, having established a Global Gender Diversity function for Cisco Systems. As an expert in business operations, Ms. Allwood established a function to integrate acquisitions into a global sales organization, created a learning and development group for a global sales force, managed a transformation project for sales operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa and developed a company-wide project management methodology for use by the global sales organization.  

 

Ms. Allwood is Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor to the Center for Talent Innovation, a highly regarded think tank where she leads research and seeding of practices to accelerate integration of all streams of talent.  Her client base includes Fortune 500 corporations including technology, healthcare, biotechnology, travel, electronics manufacturing and non-profit industries.

 

Ms. Allwood currently serves on the Board of Geographic Expeditions. She is a member of the Advisory Boards to the Gender Equality Principles Initiative of the City and County of San Francisco and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for Professional Business Women of California.  She is currently a member of the Bay Area Council for Vital Voices, a global organization dedicated to the development of women leaders globally. Ms. Allwood has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Centroamericana (El Salvador) and completed the Stanford University School of Business Executive Program.

 

In 2004, she was honored with the Inspirational Immigrant Award from Upwardly Global. In 2007, she was recognized by Flexperience, as one of the “Top 25 Bay Area Women Redefining Success.” In June of 2008, Mexican American Community Services Agency of San Jose, California named Ms. Allwood one of the “Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley”.

Tanya Monsef Bunger, Trainer and Strategic Advisor, CIP and WLW

A leader in many national and international organizations supporting women and entrepreneurship, Tanya Monsef Bunger has a background of 25+ years of Silicon Valley high tech, startups and non-profit business success in the areas of finance, marketing and strategy.  She has coached and delivered programs with leaders from 40+ countries.

 

Tanya designs leadership training, leads workshops, provides one-on-one coaching, and facilitates conversations with clients around the world. She speaks globally about the power of leading from authenticity as a way to create harmony in the workplace.  She loves working with individuals, teams and organizations to build highly collaborative work environments that achieve high impact results, with an emphasis on start-ups.

 

She is Dean's Executive Professor, Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University (SCU), CA.

 

Tanya is active in various community programs and non-profits, has served as Chair of the Board for Global Women’s Leadership Network, co-founder of SF Turkish Women’s International Network chapter, Advisory Board for My Own Business Institute, Board of Fellows for SCU and program director of the Global Fellows program at SCU.

 

Tanya has been recognized for excellence by receiving the Silicon Valley Woman of Influence Award. A native of the Silicon Valley, Tanya holds a B.S. degree in finance from Santa Clara University along with graduate coursework from the University of Southern California.

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