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.
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.
When Jeniffer’s flat-coated retriever passed away unexpectedly at the age of 10, she never knew whether it was because of the dog’s age, or whether it was because of the pain medications that she was on. Jeniffer always had a feeling that she would work with dogs in some form. So, after spending 9 years as a massage therapist for people, it was an easy transition for her to learn massage for dogs. As the owner of Dogma Massage, she helps older arthritic dogs relieve their pain, improve their mobility, increase circulation, and reduce stress.
Jeniffer loves helping dogs move better, feel better, and live better as well as giving dog owners peace of mind that they are providing a natural and holistic way to help relieve their pet’s pain.
Jeniffer has been a member of MDBW for several years and says she enjoys the people she’s met and connections she’s made. The best business referrals for her are from veterinarians, groomers, boarders, and dog walkers.
When not working, Jeniffer enjoys volleyball, hiking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling.
For more information about Jeniffer and DogmaMassage, check out her website and visit her on Facebook.
Joanna Aiken, Partner, Enso Wealth
Joanna Aiken loves helping her clients, especially her female clients, figure out how to achieve their financial goals so they can focus on matters that are really important to them. By taking time to understand her clients’ goals and values, she can make recommendations specifically tailored to their individual needs.
Joanna’s conversations with clients often take on a unique approach because she makes it a point to incorporate philanthropic options into the discussion. She feels this approach opens clients’ minds to different possibilities so that they can understand they can have an impact on an issue they truly care about while helping to satisfy their own financial goals.
When it comes to growing her business, good referrals for Joanna are businesses looking for assistance with cash management and retirement plans, as well as individuals with $1mm or more of investable assets. Real estate investors looking for diversity are another group that she enjoys working with.
Joanna has been a member of MDBW for two years and has served on the board of directors. She says MDBW has helped her develop deep friendships with other working women and has been a great source for expanding her business network.
Joanna volunteers at her children's elementary school, raises funds for the cystic fibrosis community, and has recently been involved with the East Bay Community Foundation. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two active boys, her friends and extended family and likes laughing, hiking, eating great food, and drinking even better wine.
Looking for that special outfit to add to your spring wardrobe? Visit Harper Greer, a women’s clothing store in Lafayette catering to women of all sizes. In addition to unique clothing, the store also carries fun accessories. Terry Kiskadoon is the store’s owner and one of MDBW’s newest members. She says she loves helping women get dressed in the clothes they love.
Whether you’re seeking something new for work, fun, or an event, Terry knows how to help you pick that perfect outfit that will get you lots of compliments no matter what the occasion.
Terry has inspired women in business through a class she taught on how to open a successful apparel company. She is well known in the Lafayette business community and is a member of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. As a member of MDBW, Terry says that even though she just joined, “I’ve met some amazing women who will be good friends.”When not working at Harper Greer, Terry says she loves to hike in the hills around Berkeley and entertain friends.
For more info, visit Harper Greer’s website. Notice the great photos - they were taken by Terry.
Follow Harper Greer on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the store at 979 Moraga Rd, Lafayette.
Joy Colino, Founder, Nannies Plus
Families seeking a nanny immediately feel welcome when meeting Joy and experiencing her energy, warmth, and friendly smile. Her business, Nannies Plus, is a nanny placement agency that offers clients the safety, trust, and peace of mind that is so critical when bringing a nanny into one’s home. She puts new parents at ease by providing them with professional quality childcare. Nannies Plus matches clients with experienced, loving, thoroughly screened nannies who fit with a family’s personality, caregiving style, and values.
Founding a nanny agency was a perfect fit for Joy. Her background includes 25 years of working as a professional nanny, and as a result has a perfect understanding of what a great family team looks like. She has first-hand experience helping children to have a happy, balanced childhood.
One of the ways Joy grows her business is through networking. Good referral sources for her are those who know first-time parents worried about going back to work and leaving baby, parents who have not been able to find consistent expert care on their own, or parents who need work/life balance, and all of who can offer a livable wage. Other good referral sources are pediatricians, OBGYNs, family practice physicians, midwives, birthing teachers and coaches, doulas, newborn care specialists, lactation consultants, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, prenatal yoga instructors, online influencers in the parenting and birth community, personal assistants, executive assistants, housekeepers, dog walkers, and house sitters.
Joy builds community with nannies by offering networking and professional development opportunities such as nanny resume workshops, and nanny brunches. Her networking activities include running a Meetup networking group for women entrepreneurs. Joy is on MDBW’s board of directors serving as Director of Programs. She brings amazing and inspiring speakers to the group’s events. She says she loves being part of MDBW’s warm and welcoming community of business women. She says, “I can hold my head a bit higher, being a part of MDBW, knowing that I have the membership as a resource, and the good name of a group that has thrived for 25 years.”
Joy loves to sing. She says, “Karaoke is my middle name (OK, it's Katrina, but they both start with a K)". She also enjoys wine tasting, dinner parties, live music and theater, and spending time with friends and family.
Connect with Joy on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Jill West, Nutritionist, Jill West Nutrition Consulting
If you are seeking a nutritionist to provide a personalized plan to help you maximize health, energy, and longevity, then Jill West, owner of Jill West Nutrition Consulting is a good choice to help you achieve your desired results. Jill’s knowledge and expertise can help youimprove specific areas of your health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as improve your overall health by eating according to your genes. This involves learning which nutrients are most important. Jill provides her clients with personalized nutrition advice to maximize health and energy and even to lower the chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Women over 50 are some of the clients Jill enjoys working with and she appreciates referrals from health professionals such as chiropractors, doctors, personal trainers, massage therapists, and acupuncturists.
Jill has been an active member of MDBW for several years. She has served on the board of directors, including leading the organization as president. She says that MDBW has provided many benefits including gaining knowledge from the excellent speakers and developing friendships with amazing women.
Jill volunteers for the White Pony Express and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. She also enjoys hiking, wine tasting, watching the SF Giants, and spending time with her family. Follow Jill on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Betty Lee, Managing Director, Prinicipal Financial Group
Betty Lee is a new member of MDBW, and we are excited to welcome her. Betty is a managing director for Principal Financial Group®. She says she has found MDBW to be a welcoming group of women who are supportive and provide her with opportunities to learn and grow. Betty also belongs to other organizations that support the growth of women in business and volunteerism in the community, and she is on the board of directors for Gilead House in Marin.
When not working, Betty enjoys volunteering at her daughter's school, live performances, and easy access to skiing.
You can read more about Betty on her LinkedIn page.
Renee Mac Arthur, Licensed CPA, Oakstone Advisors
Renee MacArthur is a licensed CPA with Oakstone Advisors. She helps mid-size businesses and organizations with one or more employees to increase profits by reducing expenses, recovering overcharges, and taking advantage of available tax incentives. This allows business owners to be able to focus on growing their business. Renee works on a contingency fee basis. Her compensation is a portion of the savings she recovers for her clients. This means there is no charge for her ork unless, and until, she actually obtains savings for a business. As a member of MDBW, Renee says she benefits by learning from the experiences of members as well as from the presentations of guest speakers.
When not working, Renee volunteers with a transportation program for seniors through John Muir Hospital. She also enjoys reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Amanda Keith, Retirement Funding Solutions
Four years ago, Amanda Keith, a licensed CPA, moved from Texas to California and changed careers. She says this experience is proof that women can do anything they set their minds to and be successful at it, and that “life begins when you step outside your comfort zone.” Today, Amanda helps homeowners, 62 years old and up, to age in place with dignity through the use of a federally-insured loan with all repayment deferred. Her customers are able to increase their cash flow by using this loan to do any of the following with no monthly mortgage payments:
Pay off an existing mortgage (eliminates their monthly mortgage payments)
Acquire a large growing line of credit to use if, and when, they need it (for in-home care, home improvements, travel, hobbies)
Right size to their forever home.
Amanda enjoys receiving referrals and working with the clients of financial advisers, estate planning attorneys, fiduciaries, lenders, and bankers whose clients age 62+ are looking for a way to increase their cash flow. For Amanda, Mt. Diablo Business Women provides her with networking opportunities. She is on the board of directors and enjoys being a part of implementing change so the group to grow and thrive. Amanda is also involved with Oakland Rotary #3, helping Oakland high school students better understand how businesses work, assisting with Kinder Prep activities, and collecting coats, clothing, and hygiene items for Oakland’s homeless population during the holidays.
In her free time, Amanda likes to hike in the Redwoods, bike around Oakland, go wine-tasting, spend time with her siblings, fiancé, and 11 nieces and nephews, and travel. Learn more about Amanda and her business by visiting her website, and following her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
JoAnn Adams, Just Joe's Automotive Auto and Truck Repair
JoAnn Adams represents Just Joe’s Automotive Auto and Truck Repair in Concord. Just Joe’s provides simple oil changes to complex restoration of vintage models and always aims for results that are of the highest quality. JoAnn says she’s glad she found Joe’s because she doesn’t want to replace her 1999 Toyota. JoAnn has a varied resume. In high school she worked at the original Mervyn’s store. Some of the jobs she’s held include teaching grades 7-12, owning a flower shop, selling trucks for a dealer, and working for a laser printer cartridge company.
In addition to representing Just Joe’s, JoAnn teaches classes for senior citizens at a residence in Walnut Creek and volunteers at the Walnut Creek Senior Center.