Watch the Gala:
Join us June 9, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific, for our annual Gala! This year, our virtual (online) annual Gala event will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a landmark law that radically improved gender equity and expanded opportunities in the classroom and the playing fields.
ERA is proud to have led some of the country’s most impactful Title IX cases since our landmark case in 1975. From then to now, we’ve challenged everything from “no girls” rules on college wrestling teams (Mansourian v. UC Regents, 1992) to the denial of student survivors’ rights in sexual misconduct investigations (ERA et all v. U.S. Dept. of Education, 2020). At the Gala, we will celebrate the barriers broken, stereotypes challenged, and leaders developed over the past 50 years, and will be joined by special guests and speakers who exemplify the impact of this historic law.
Join us June 9 as we forge the future of gender justice in education with renewed vigor and hope!
Meet Our Featured Speakers
Two-time WNBA Champion, sports analyst, and ground-breaking entrepreneur Renee Montgomery made her mark as a player and is continuing to make history. During her eleven-year career as a professional basketball player, Montgomery led her team to two WNBA Championship wins, was named an All-Star, and the 6th Woman of the Year. As Montgomery turned her focus to social justice reform, she retired from the league and pivoted to team ownership, becoming the first WNBA player to become an owner and executive of a WNBA team. She is known for her TED Talk How to Turn Moments into Momentum, sharing her journey taking a leap of faith to stand up for what is right. Montgomery is sought-after for her insights about leadership, entrepreneurship, and diversity and social justice, making an impact on audiences of all kinds.
Montgomery is also an acclaimed sports analyst, working as a studio analyst for the NBA/WNBA with Turner/NBA TV and most recently covering the 2022 NCAA Final Four with CBS. Montgomery is host of her own podcast on the LeBatard & Friends network titled Montgomery & Co. In addition to her role as Co-Owner and Vice President of the Atlanta Dream, she is also a part-owner of the FCF Beasts indoor football team, and General Partner of Valor VC. A committed philanthropist, her Renee Montgomery Foundation strives to promote positivity, teamwork, and make dreams come true along the way.
Renel is a Bay Area native, entering her 23rd season as P.A. Announcer for the San Francisco Giants. She is a graduate of Woodside High School, and received a B.A. in English Literature from Mills College. She spent 35 years as a local radio and television broadcaster, including stints at 106 KMEL, 98.1 KISS-FM and CBS-5, among others.
Renel has been recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame as the first woman to Public Address Announce a world championship game in any professional sport, following Game 3 of the 2002 World Series. Renel has received numerous awards, including honors from American Women in Radio and Television, Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, 100 Black Women, Bay Area Black Journalists Association and Girls, Inc. Renel was a founding member of Friends of Faith, a non-profit that served low-income Bay Area breast cancer patients. March 18, 2005 was proclaimed Renel Brooks-Moon Day in San Francisco by Mayor Gavin Newsom, honoring her broadcasting career and community activism. Renel was profiled in O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, as “The Woman Who’s Changing Baseball.”
In 2008, Renel received an honorary doctorate from her Alma Mater, Mills College, and in 2018 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco and delivered the commencement address. Also in 2008, Renel was the featured bobblehead for the Giants African-American Heritage Night, and in 2020, she served as Ambassador for the annual Giant Race, and was again the featured bobblehead. In 2017, Renel was honored to MC the historic inauguration of San Francisco’s first African-American Female Mayor, London Breed. Renel is a 2019 NorCal Emmy Award winner as host of the television series “Forever Giants” and was featured on a limited edition 2020 TOPPS baseball card.
Nicole Aunapu Mann was selected by NASA in June 2013. She is currently training for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission, the fifth rotational mission to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The California native holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Mann is a Colonel in the Marine Corps and served as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet. She deployed twice aboard aircraft carriers in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (pronounced SPEAR) is a fearless fighter for women’s equality, LGBTQ rights and the disenfranchised who has dedicated her life to eliminating government corruption while working to strengthen America’s national and economic security. She was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world and one of “Politico’s 50” most influential people in American politics for bringing the Me Too reckoning to Congress.
She proudly represents California’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from the southern portion of San Francisco through San Mateo County to East Palo Alto. Speier serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), where she is the Chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, and on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where also she serves as Chair of the Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee and serves on the Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation (C3) Subcommittee. Additionally, she serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, where she serves on the Subcommittees on National Security and Economic and Consumer Policy. Speier is also Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC), the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the Bipartisan Task Force To End Sexual Violence, and the Gunviolence Prevention Task Force.
Lisa Kopelnik is a freshman at the University of Virginia from Oakland, CA. She is studying Politics and Economics, and she is passionate about gender equality and justice. In her senior year of high school, Lisa worked to reform her high school’s Title IX policy to be more responsive, restorative, and to serve marginalized groups and women at her school. At the University of Virginia, she is a leader of the University Judiciary Committee, where she works to promote restorative justice and institute educational programs that improve the university’s culture and policy. In her future, she intends to continue to advance gender rights through legislation and legal work, and she is excited to collaborate with the ERA on this important event. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and baking with her family and friends.
Shellie Onstead, a 2008 U.S. Olympic assistant coach and California Hall of Fame inductee, and Collegiate All-American, has put Cal field hockey on the map as a player and a head coach.
Thanks to a pair of $1 million gifts from supportive alumni, Onstead’s title became officially known as the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey, named in honor of the Golden Bears’ first head coach. This made Cal Field Hockey the first women’s sport at Cal to have an endowed head coaching position.
The San Jose, Ca., product has also made an impact in the game at the national and international levels through her work with USA Field Hockey. Most notably, she served as an assistant coach to the U.S. women’s team in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Onstead has served as a USA coach for U16, U17, U19 and U21 teams in various capacities in the international arena. Onstead is one of the few females on the U.S. men’s national team coaching staff and was the first woman ever to be named head coach of the men’s under-16 national team, earning her the 1999 U.S. Field Hockey Association’s National Coach of the Year.
The first All-American player for the Golden Bears, Onstead is now in her 27th year at the helm of her alma mater. Onstead has compiled a 267-206 career record and has led Cal to 11 conference titles, including guiding the 2011 squad to the NorPac Tournament championship. The six-time NorPac Coach of the Year has guided the Bears to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
A member of the U.S. national team in 1985 and 1986, Onstead still ranks among Cal’s all-time leaders in scoring. She is tied for 10th in career goals (26) and points (70), and ranks seventh in career assists (18). She was elected into the California Hall of Fame in 2008.
“I embrace my role in providing opportunities to young women through this game of field hockey. The doors they can open are unlimited and as they grow, we all grow.”
Kiki Williams works for San Francisco Unified School District as the Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Employee Relations, focusing on Title IX, discrimination complaints, and complaints related to serious employee misconduct. Kiki graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology (2004) and a MA in Education (2005). While she was at UC Berkeley, Kiki played on the Women’s Basketball team, receiving all academic honors all 5 years.
Following Cal, Kiki Attended UC Hastings, College of the Law, graduating in 2008. Kiki worked as a civil litigation defense attorney for 5 years before transitioning into civil rights and education law. She spent 2 years at Equal Rights Advocates as a staff attorney focusing on Title IX and Education Equity legal advocacy, before transitioning to SFUSD to do legal compliance in the District’s internal Legal Division.
Kiki has also coached girls basketball for the past 13 years and started girls-only basketball club and summer camp, Prime Youth Sports. Prime provides girls with all women coaching and champions a positive environment for girls to learn and develop skills both on and off the court.
ERA represented Chris Ng in a Title IX lawsuit against UC-Davis, where female wrestlers were denied the equal opportunity to participate on the wrestling team.
Chris Ng has a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and also a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. Currently, she works for a cryptocurrency startup. In her free time, she volunteers for the National High School Ethics Bowl and is working on her dream to write children’s books that engage children to ponder ethical issues.
At Scripps Research, one of the largest nonprofit biomedical research institutes in the country, Danielle Blackhall partners with leadership to help break down historic barriers to entry in the scientific field. Leveraging her legal and training expertise, she works closely with individual labs, the institute’s nationally ranked graduate school, and Human Resources to identify issues that limit access to STEM, and develop and implement practical solutions that improve gender equity in research and academia at all levels.
As a lifelong learner and advocate for the underrepresented, Ms. Blackhall enjoys training students, faculty, and employees on a variety of topics impacting the work environment, including leadership skills and people management, harassment and discrimination prevention, addressing implicit bias, mentoring, and ethics in scientific research and academia. She has served as the Title IX Coordinator on the institute’s California campus and continues to oversee the Title IX program for the entire organization.
Ms. Blackhall is a founding member of the Diversity Advisory Committee at Scripps Research, which was formed to address long standing social inequities in the sciences. She works with committee members and institute leadership to continually assess the on‐campus climate and create measurable, sustainable solutions designed to increase diversity in recruitment, career opportunities, mentorship, and community outreach. These actions also seek to improve transparency and accountability throughout the organization. Scripps Research’s commitment to equity and inclusion is helping individuals of all backgrounds to realize their full potential at the institute and, hopefully, inspiring like‐minded organizations to adopt their own initiatives for increasing opportunities for women to succeed in the highly competitive world of scientific research and academia.
Ms. Blackhall is a graduate of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and the University of San Diego School of Law. She began her career as a civil litigator with Baker & McKenzie LLP and then worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Michael M. Anello of the United States District for the Southern District of California before she joined Paul Plevin Sullivan and Connaughton, LLP where she specialized in employment law and began training employers on best practices to promote an environment where people of all backgrounds can be authentic and thrive.
Thanks to our event sponsors, including:
Louette Colombano Philanthropic Fund
Gibbs Law Group
Morrison & Foerster and the Morrison & Foerster Foundation
See all of ERA’s 2022 Gala Sponsors here.
About our Gala
For over 45 years, our annual gala has been one of the most popular civil rights events in the country. In 2020 and 2021, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, ERA pivoted to a virtual gala, successfully bringing together over 1,200 civil rights advocates, business leaders, philanthropists, and partners from across the nation in a lively celebration of our collective power to drive transformative change. You can read a recap or watch the video of the 2021 event here.