New UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Circle Co-Chair talks about her goals and inspirations

January 29, 2024

The UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Circle (WILC) is a community of Cal alumnae leaders fostering support and growth among its members since WILC's inception in 2019. With over 75 members from fields as varied as law, tech, medicine, and government, WILC is dedicated to monthly engagements that enrich professional and personal development. The Circle is committed to advancing democracy, equity, inclusion, mentorship, and networking. Through initiatives like virtual career panels and strategic discussions led by influential figures such as Dean Raka Ray and Professor Celeste Kidd, WILC is not just preserving UC Berkeley's legacy but is actively shaping the future of leadership and societal innovation. Below is an interview with our new co-chair, Mindy Morton.

What inspired you to join WILC as a member?

I joined WILC because I am an enthusiastic alumna of UC Berkeley and I enjoy connecting with other Cal grads. I also love connecting with other women and learning about some of the exciting research in the College of Letters & Science. Most of my professional networking groups are women-focused, so I was delighted to find out about WILC.

How would you describe your UC Berkeley experience, and has it influenced your decision to come back to support it through leadership service?

I loved my time at Cal. I was a political science major, and I took classes with Cal greats Sandy Muir and Leon Litwack, both of whom had a profound effect on my life and my career. I also studied the Ecological Evolution of the Dinosaurs with Kevin Padian and Introduction to Geology with Walter Alvarez and learned about the origins of flight and the KT boundary. I had only a few women professors, and I am delighted to see how much the faculty has diversified since my graduation. 

I also discovered my love of Cal football as a freshman, and 33 years later, I still enjoy sunny afternoons cheering on the Bears. I was one of the few freshmen on my dorm floor from outside of California, and I believe that the distance from my family, as well as the need to chart my own path to succeed at Cal, helped me succeed. My first leadership positions after graduation were in alumni clubs, and I’ve continued to support Cal through clubs and serving as reunion chair for the Class of 1994. Simply put, I bleed blue and gold.

What are you looking forward to most as new co-chairs? 

I look forward to continuing to grow and nurture our community, and I so enjoy each program. I’m also excited about the small group dinners we’ve started, because they allow us to interact and discuss the issues more than some of our lecture series do.

What are your future goals and aspirations for WILC?

I want to continue to foster relationships among alumnae and strengthen our relationships with the university. I would also love to see if we can expand WILC to other areas in California.

What do you perceive to be the most impactful aspect of this program? 

Connections with each other and with Cal.

Who are some of the women leaders at UC Berkeley that have inspired you? 

I was lucky to study under Marika Kuzma, the long-time conductor of the University Chorus, for all four years at Cal, and the lessons she taught me about music and life are still relevant today. Carol Christ, now Chancellor, was Dean of the College of Letters & Science when I was an undergraduate, and it meant so much to see a woman in leadership and to know that there was a path for me.

Mindy Morton graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science in 1994 and received a JD from Yale Law School. Today, she is a partner with the Procopio law firm and litigates intellectual property, internet, and healthcare disputes. She is the proud mom of a 7-year-old daughter who already knows the words to the Cal Fight Song and the Stanford Jonah. Mindy is a long-time season ticket holder for Cal football and basketball, and attended her 34th consecutive Big Game in 2023.  Mindy sang with the University Chorus and the Glee Club at UC Berkeley, and she continues to sing with Schola Cantorum, based in Mountain View. She serves as the Reunion Chair for the class of 1994 and has not worn red for many, many years. Go Bears!

You can connect with Mindy through LinkedIn here.