top of page


Updated: Sep 7, 2022

How Women Lead Appointments Lorraine Akiba, Lori Castillo Martinez & Shawnte Mitchell to Boards

SAN FRANCISCO – September 7, 2022- How Women Lead, a powerful community of accomplished women executives working to redefine female leadership in the 21st century, has appointed Lorraine Akiba, President & CEO, LHA Ventures and Board Director: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), HMSA and Lori Castillo Martinez, Executive Vice President & Chief Equality Officer, Salesforce and Board Director: Rhia Ventures to its executive board. The organization has also added

Shawnte Mitchell, Chief Legal Officer &

General Counsel, Genomatica and Board Director: Life Science Cares Bay Area, Stanford University Women on Boards to its Silicon Valley board. All three female executives are impressive, strategic new additions to How Women Lead, who will bring invaluable experience and perspective to the organization’s leadership.

“I continue to feel both intense pride and complete awe at the remarkable caliber of women executive leaders we’ve enticed to join our leadership team in progressing the ever-important cause of gender equity,” said Julie Castro Abrams, How Women Lead Founder & CEO. “Lorraine Akiba, Lori Castillo Martinez and Shawnte Mitchell are at the top of their game and I have no doubt our organization will benefit from their deep knowledge, experience and perspective as we work to bring more deserving women into the boardroom, the c-suite and the world of venture capital.”

Lorraine Akiba

Lorraine Akiba is a senior advisor, board member, attorney and internationally recognized speaker who brings extensive and diverse experience in regulatory and energy policy, ESG, healthcare, and risk management in both the private and public sector. She specializes in helping entities identify their most pressing organizational issues, deal with policy and regulations, and develop corporate ESG goals and metrics to address those issues. Ms. Akiba is a recognized thought leader and sought-after strategist, known for using technical knowledge and public policy expertise to enable innovation and business transformation. Ms. Akiba is also an experienced board director for private companies and non-profit organizations. She serves on the Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA) board, the licensed Blue Cross affiliate for Hawaii, as a member of the Audit, Quality Oversight and Community Engagement committees and has undertaken board strategic planning, financial budget reviews and approval, CEO selection, and business transformation. She also serves on boards of various national not-for-profit entities including the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, where she chairs the Governance committee.

Lori Castillo Martinez

Lori Castillo Martinez is Executive Vice President and Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce where she leads global equality efforts, including equality strategy and programs. Previously, Lori served as the head of Global Employee Relations and Equality at Salesforce — a role uniquely designed as a way to accelerate and integrate people and equality initiatives at Salesforce, guided by employees. In this role, she focused on performance and employee relations management across the globe, as well as driving equality initiatives at the company. Under Lori’s leadership, the company has continued to increase representation and create a more inclusive culture through equity-focused processes and programs. Lori is also the co-chair of the Salesforce’s Racial Equality and Justice Task Force and serves on the Board of Rhia Ventures, non-profit, venture capital firm investing in reproductive healthcare solutions that empower women. She is driven by her passion to improve the way women live and work.

Shawnte Mitchell

Prior to its recent acquisition by UCB, Inc., Shawnte recently served as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, of Zogenix Inc., a publicly traded commercial stage pharmaceutical company. As a member of the C-Suite, she collaborated in setting the company’s strategic direction, providing input on long term product development and financial plans. As Zogenix’s first general counsel, she has set the strategic direction for the legal affairs team, oversees corporate compliance globally, and built the corporate legal, intellectual property and compliance team. Shawnte has also provided direct support to the boards of Zogenix, Aptevo and Emergent, by serving as Corporate Secretary and Assistant Corporate Secretary, respectively. In addition, she gained extensive non-profit board experience, serving on the boards of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the ArtsFund. Most recently, she joined the board of Life Sciences Cares Bay Area and was recently elected to the position of Vice Chair.

Made up of over 14,000 senior executive women, many in the prime of their careers, How Women Lead continues to set the bar for what female leadership looks like and what it can accomplish. Offering ongoing education, unparalleled mentorship opportunities, and peer relationship networking, the organization continues to grow quickly, as underlined by these three exciting new appointments to its Executive Board and Silicon Valley Board. Learn more about all How Women Lead board members at

About How Women Lead

How Women Lead is a national organization of top executive women focused on activating their individual and collective power to achieve equity for women by driving representation and opportunities across all aspects of life and career. Founded in 2011, the organization fights for change at all levels by affecting systems reform, mobilizing a movement, offering training, and providing access to opportunities. Now more than 14,000 strong, the organization has expanded the breadth and depth of its impact nationally. How Women Lead’s philanthropic arm, How Women Give, provides grants and invaluable connections to women’s and girls’ organizations on the frontlines of today’s most critical issues. And its sister organization, How Women Invest, invites women to play big and powerfully in venture, making meaningful investments and propelling high-potential, women-led companies forward at scale. For more, visit

View the press release here.

114 views0 comments


bottom of page