Past Featured Members
Gordana Zura, Communications Director, CASA of Contra Costa County
Gordana Zura is Communications Director for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Contra Costa County. She sets and guides the strategy for digital communications, marketing, website, social media and collateral media to articulate, promote, enhance and advance the mission, vision, and goals of CASA. The organization recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who work with children and youth in foster care who are the victims of abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are ordinary people willing to make an extraordinary difference in the life of a child that has experienced distress and mistreatment.
Volunteers, highly trained by CASA, and appointed by judges to advocate for foster children, and to help them move out of foster care into a safe home environment, whether reuniting them with their family of origin, or through adoption. They make sure kids don’t get lost in the overburdened system.
Gordana enjoys working at CASA because it contributes to good in the world. She loves the entire CASA team who she describes as great, hard-working, knowledgeable people who all work really well together.
Gordana is an integral part of MDBW. She has been on the organization’s Board of Directors for several years as Director of Digital Technology and works diligently to keep the MDBW website current. She says she’s benefitted from being involved with the group and that it’s helped her understand how to find solutions for business problems, build meaningful relationships with business women, and boost her energy and motivation. The group’s camaraderie and support is what she sees as one of MDBW’s best features.
When not working at CASA or making improvements and updates to MDBW’s website, Gordana enjoys roller skating, hiking, website design, and singing. She also makies beautiful and unique jewelry pieces that are often popular raffle items at MDBW events.
Learn more about Gordana by connecting with her on LinkedIn.
Diane Salmon, Diane Salmon Writing & Consulting
Do you have a business plan, Request for Proposal (RFP) submission, email newsletter, donation letter, or web content that you need to write? Has it been lingering on your to-do list, either because you don’t have the time, or you simply don’t like to write? If this sounds familiar, then no worries! Delegate your writing projects to Diane Salmon, owner of Diane Salmon Writing & Consulting.
Diane can help you clearly communicate your ideas and information to your customers, business partners, a grantor, or other decision-makers to influence them to respond to a call to action to move your business forward. The content Diane produces will steer your audience to make a donation, purchase a product, award a grant, or click a link for a free trial.
Delivering results is what motivates Diane. She enjoys using words to organize, craft, and deliver projects, and feels especially rewarded when her work delivers top results for clients. She also enjoys each project’s discovery process — meeting new people, understanding how the project supports their goals, and learning about their business and areas of expertise.
A good referral for Diane is someone who has a specific writing need, whether a one-time project or routine needs such as an email newsletter, an annual business plan, or using a company’s business results to create RFP proposals. She is currently writing grant applications and RFPs for B-Corporations, and various non-profits, including Yours Humanly, a global education nonprofit.
Diane also writes Mt. Diablo Business Women’s email newsletter as part of her role as Publicity Chair on our Board of Directors. Being a MDBW member for several years, Diane says it’s the friendships, encouragement, and creative ideas she gains from the members that she most appreciates. She values the inner personal benefits of a support group combined with the outer business benefits of networking and education.
When she’s not working, Diane can be found outdoors walking, running, hiking and backpacking. She also loves reading and doing “just for fun” writing, which she sometimes pairs with her husband’s great photos.
To learn more about Diane, visit her LinkedIn page.
Monica Stein, Lifestyle Engineer
Monica Stein’s company is Omthentic You. She is a lifestyle engineer, helping people feel better in their bodies, become stronger, and learn to find stillness— all with the purpose of helping them find their authentic self. Once that occurs, good choices for oneself and others can be made.
Monica’s journey to becoming a lifestyle engineer began as a child when her father taught her how to meditate. She discovered she was intuitive but not knowing how to cope with her intuition, blocked it off completely.
At college she studied civil engineering and a few years after graduating received an MBA while working at The Boeing Company. During this time she studied different types of meditation and rediscovered her connection to her intuition.
Over the years, her idea was brewing to help people connect to their authentic self. She became a Chopra Center certified instructor and learned many healing modalities.
Today, those who work with Monica feel better in their bodies, are stronger, and are able to find stillness. Monica enjoys seeing the results in those she helps, especially the change in their face and overall demeanor.
A good referral for Monica is someone who is looking for a break from life, a moment to find peace and stillness.
Monica is a new member of Mt. Diablo Business Women. She says the women she’s met have been an inspiration for her. In describing the group’s members she says, the women “show up, they have integrity, they are kind and purposeful.”
She gives back to the community by volunteering with animal rescues, something she has been involved in for about 20 years. She also has given free yoga and meditation classes.
When not working, Monica enjoys her dog rescue volunteer work, walking her own dogs, reading, walking in nature, learning, practicing yoga, and meditating.
If you are seeking peace and stillness in your life, Monica has a beautifully wrapped box of wonderful tools and techniques to help you. You can learn more about her by visiting her Facebook page, or connecting with her on LinkedIn.
Andrea Burnett, Rodan + Fields
Andrea Burnett is a Level V Circle Consultant with Rodan + Fields, which provides innovative skincare products and tools addressing common skincare concerns, including aging skin, sun damaged skin, sensitive skin, and acne.
Helping her customers find the right products to address their skincare concerns, is what Andrea enjoys about her business. She says, “Our company is known for the great results our skincare regimens and tools produce.” As a personal consultant to her customers, Andrea helps them each step of the way, from purchasing their products to teaching them how to use the products, to making sure the products are working for them.
She also enjoys mentoring the women who join her team as independent consultants, giving them the business tools and personal development skills to create a successful business.
A good customer referral for Andrea is someone with skincare issues they want to resolve. To join her team, Andrea is looking for enthusiastic, coachable women who will enjoy sharing the products they love with their networks. Women currently on Andrea’s team represent various professions including doctors, nurses, teachers, stay-at-home moms, makeup artists, realtors, and insurance agents.
Andrea recently joined Mt. Diablo Business Women and says she has found the organization to be a group of professional businesswomen at the top of their fields who are welcoming, supportive and caring. She says, “I know that I can confidently refer any woman in this group to my network of friends and family.”
When not working, Andrea enjoys cooking for friends and family, getting outdoors to hike, and spa retreats with girlfriends! She also gives back to the community by donating to a number of different charities, holding Great Skin for a Great Cause events each quarter, and by volunteering her time to mentor young women.
Teresa Currivan, Therapist and Parent Coach
Teresa is a licensed marriage and family therapist and parent coach. She works with parents whose children are struggling in school, because they are highly creative, highly sensitive, or exceptional.
As a parent coach, Teresa guides parents through a process that includes referrals to appropriate professionals, discussions of outcomes of assessments and services, emotional support, and overall seeing them through to a positive outcome for their family and children. She enjoys helping parents understand and get through difficulties with their child, and prides herself on being a go-to person for gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) families. Parents benefit from Teresa’s work, because they come to understand their children and themselves from a strength-based approach. For those who cannot afford coaching or therapy, Teresa offers a sliding scale.
Teresa actively shares her knowledge, giving talks about twice-exceptionality to faculty at San Francisco Bay Area schools, and has educated therapists on the topic. She offers free support groups to parents of gifted and 2e children. Her writing on giftedness and twice-exceptionality can be found online including on Mother.ly, Filter Free Parents, GHF (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum) and Hoagies Gifted Education Page.
Teresa appreciates referrals from schools, parent groups, doctors’ offices, psychological testing centers, or anyone who sees an outlier child struggling in school.
As a recent member of Mt. Diablo Business Women, Teresa has quickly become active in the group, joining the board of directors as hospitality co-chair. She says she enjoys the supportive atmosphere gained from meeting other businesswomen.
When not working with families, Teresa enjoys hiking, yoga, and parenting her teenage son.
For more information, visit Teresa's website, helpmychildthrive.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Debi White, Travel Consultant
Debi White, owner of My Travel Consultant likes to say that life is too short to take a bad trip. Specializing in leisure travel, she prefers to work with clients with higher-end expectations for cruising and world travel. You can rest assured the trip she’ll plan for you will be a memorable experience.
Debi is more than just a travel agent. She goes beyond simply taking direction from clients on what to book. Rather, Debi spends time talking with her clients and getting to know them so she can find what will work best for their vacation needs and wants. Because she’s been in the travel industry for over 17 years, she has acquired a great deal of knowledge and resources for products and destinations that can be difficult to find online. Plus, Debi is expert at saving clients both time and money.
Debi has been a member of Mt. Diablo Business Women for over ten years, including serving on the board of directors for many years, including as co-president. She says she enjoys the relationships she’s developed with the group’s professional women. She has gained business from the group and referred others to women in the group, but she emphasizes that MDBW is more than just business—there’s also camaraderie among the members.
When Debi is not planning trips for her clients, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and of course traveling extensively throughout the world.
Donna Austin, Health and Wellness Coach
Donna Austin is a certified Health and Wellness Caach, a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience, and owner of Optimal Wellness. She has extensive knowledge of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. As a health coach, she empowers people to heal their bodies from the inside out, helping them to make choices that restore digestion, prevent inflammation, improve energy levels, and result in weight loss, better sleep, and improved mental clarity.
Donna has had great success helping individuals improve their nutrition and digestive health. She says that an unhealthy gut can make for an unhappy life and be the cause of symptoms such as low energy, moodiness, weight gain, anxiety, stress, insomnia, skin issues, and autoimmune diseases. After working with her, clients are able to find the happy in their lives. She coaches them to make the right food choices for a healthy gut, and be inspired to transform their lives.
She enjoys helping clients with their specific needs so that they can be successful in their health journey. A good referral for Donna is someone over 30 years old experiencing gluten intolerance, dealing with food sensitivities, has Hashimoto’s disease, digestive problems, anxiety, or unable to lose weight.
What Donna enjoys about Mt. Diablo Business Women are the many outstanding entrepreneurs that she’s met, and appreciates that members provide mentoring and support to others.
When not coaching clients to better health, Donna enjoys dancing, including salsa, swing, and tango. She also likes being physically active, either at the gym, or hiking in the outdoors.
If you need help pinpointing your health issues and want solutions to feel better, visit Optimal Wellness Coaching, and start on the path to good health.
Nese Ganch, Floral Arts Florist
Nese Ganch is the owner of Floral Arts Florist on Mt. Diablo Blvd., the only full-service florist in Lafayette. She is committed to offering beautiful floral arrangements and gifts, backed by attention to detail, and friendly, prompt, personal service. Working primarily with fresh flowers for customized floral arrangements, she creates plant assortments using various sizes of both blooming and green plants.
Floral Arts Florist’s services include delivery to Lafayette, Alamo, Orinda, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Martinez, and Moraga.
What Nese enjoys about her business is working with fresh flowers and receiving satisfied feedback from smiling customers.
Good referral sources for Nese include corporate businesses, restaurants, event coordinators, and word of mouth from happy customers.
Nese regularly attends MDBW events, and says many members have been repeat customers at her shop. She enjoys the friendships she’s made, the networking opportunities that the group offers, as well as the valuable information she’s gained from member and guest speakers.
Giving back to the community is important to Nese, and she donates floral arrangements to numerous organizations for their fundraising events, and also donates extra flowers to many local assisted living communities.
When not running Floral Arts Florist, Nese enjoys cooking and getting together with family and friends, playing tennis, and traveling.
Let Floral Arts Florist be you first choice for flowers. To learn more about the shop or to order flowers, visit . Also check out their Facebook, and Instagram.
Lisa Andrews, All California Mortgage
As a mortgage advisor with All California Mortgage, Lisa provides home loans for purchase, refinance transactions of primary residences, second homes, and investment properties. She offers a wide range of products including jumbo, conventional, VA, FHA and reverse mortgages.
With 25 years of experience, clients benefit from Lisa’s experience and firsthand knowledge of the ins and outs of the business as well as her understanding of various market trends. Lisa provides expert advice and consultation to help clients attain their real estate goals, and provides the best products for their specific needs. She is a strong advocate, guiding them through the process from start to finish and is available as a resource before, during, and after the loan funds.
Good referrals for Lisa are financial planners, realtors, and those who know someone who is looking to purchase a property, or needs a lower payment, cash out, money for college, a remodel, or a dream vacation. A consultation is free with no obligation.
Lisa has been a member of Mt. Diablo Business Women for several years and currently serves on the board of directors as marketing co-chair. She says not only does she receive support and business from members, but it also has given her the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
As an established businesswoman, Lisa looks forward to being a resource and inspiration for women in all businesses, and is always willing to share her knowledge and expertise, especially if it promotes professional or personal growth. She acknowledges that many women have helped her grow professionally and she hopes to be able to do the same for those coming up in the business world.
Lisa is also active in the community and serves as the co-facilitator for the Walnut Creek Community Homeless Task Force and is the founder of the Homeless Education Committee, working to help area businesses understand the homeless situation. She is 100% committed to finding solutions for the homeless in the community.
When not working or volunteering, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, including her sweet dog Oliver, traveling, hiking, dancing, reading, and cooking.
Learn more about Lisa or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Trudy Triner, Paleoventures
Trudy Triner is co-founder of Paleoventures, an outdoor teambuilding company that helps corporate and nonprofit teams become more cohesive and functional. She founded the company along with her son, Jack Foley, who is an experienced outdoor educator.
Paleventures takes teams into nature for a day away from the workplace to help build relationships and break down silos. Participants learn real outdoor survival skills, hone communication skills, and have fun together.
Trudy’s background includes 20 years of organizational development, including leading teambuilding activities and workshops at Kaiser Permanente and numerous Fortune 500 companies. Her career background, combined with her son’s expertise in teaching outdoor skills to hundreds of adults and students makes for the perfect combination to teach workplace teams how to develop better working relationships, make work more enjoyable, more efficient, and more profitable.
Trudy loves to see people learn skills that will enhance their personal and professional lives. A good referral for Paleventures is the manager of a business or organization whose success depends on a high functioning team.
Trudy enjoys MDBW for the wonderful friends, the members whose valuable services she’s found, and the knowledge she’s gained from speakers at the group’s events. She has served on MDBW’s board of directors in many roles, including as president and now as membership chair. In 2018, Trudy was named MDBW’s Woman of the Year for her contributions to the group, the professional world, and her community.
Trudy is also active in Rotary and her church. She contributes to the business world by being available to share her knowledge as a mentor to young businesswomen.
For more information, visit Paleoventures website.
Ann Wrixon, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Contra Costa County
Ann Wrixon is Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Contra Costa County. The organization provides highly-trained volunteers who report to the dependency court about the needs of foster children that CASA serves so they are able to have a permanent home and complete their education.
Ann’s commitment to CASA is based on her belief that children are our future and anything we do for them today pays enormous dividends in the future.
CASA has had tremendous success. Although less than half of foster youth graduate from high school or earn a GED, 100% of CASA youth do. In addition, 67% go onto college or other post-secondary education, although overall only 10% of foster youth do.
Ann inspires others by teaching at the Graduate School of Social Work at San Jose State University. She encourages the young women in her class to make the world a better place by serving our most vulnerable populations, especially children in the child welfare system.
As a member of MDBW, Ann says the women she’s met have provided all sorts of resources to CASA. And, most importantly, she appreciates the friendships and personal support the members have provided her.
Ann’s ideal dream day away from work would consist of a long walk on a sun-dappled path through the wood over gentle hills. Eventually the path would open to a beautiful view of the ocean with a cushioned bench where she could spend hours reading.
You can learn more about CASA of Contra Costa County on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or visit its website.
Diane Kaplowitz, R.C. Fischer & Co. Insurance Brokers
As a Personal Lines Insurance Broker, Diane is licensed in property, casualty, life and health as a broker. She is appointed with many different insurance companies and provides clients with solutions to protect assets and minimize loss. She enjoys developing relationships with the people that she provides personal risk management solutions for.
Diane’s clients receive peace of mind knowing that if they were to be sued for personal negligence or were in a bad accident, they have protection in place. Diane always proposes policies with only the best interest of her clients in mind. She is able to shop all carriers and build a policy that will provide the best protection for the premium.
Good referrals for Diane include a new home buyer, a mortgage lender, a financial planner or wealth manager, a trust attorney, or anyone who wants a review of their current insurance policies or as Diane calls it, “a second pair of eyes.”
Diane recently joined MDBW and even stepped up to be Hospitality co-chair with Barb Lindhorst. She enjoys the terrific, energetic, entrepreneurial, and engaging women she’s met.
Being involved in the community is important to Diane and her husband. They open their home for respite to the foster care community, and financially support many nonprofits including ARF, the Restore ministry for the homeless and recovery program for the addicted in Concord and Walnut Creek. They support the GROW home in Thailand financially, and are personally invested with the director, Feenfa 'Fa' Sumitra. GROW home provides a safe home and education for children who have been victims of sex trafficking by the hands of their own relatives.
Diane enjoys gardening, golf, hiking, and wine tasting, especially in Sonoma County.
Learn more about Diane. Visit her on Facebook and LinkedIn.