UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Circle

The UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Circle is a group of Cal alumnae in leadership positions on the Peninsula dedicated to supporting each other and UC Berkeley.

The 2019 inaugural Circle has welcomed 75 Cal alumnae who are leaders in their respective fields, ranging from law, tech, medicine, non-profit, government, and others. The participants meet monthly for conversations and learning opportunities. They are passionate about Cal, their careers, their families, and the philanthropic causes they support


Jennifer Youstra ’88 is an independent advisor, investor, and consultant with a background in emerging companies and industries. She had founded the first student Credit Union at UC Berkeley. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics, Jennifer received her MBA from Harvard and is currently a co-facilitator for Harvard Circles. She is bringing her expertise with Harvard Circles to launch the UC Berkeley Women in Leadership group and has given funds to launch the first Women in Leadership Fund at UC Berkeley. Jennifer believes in creating community for all alumni, and is passionate about bringing Circles to Berkeley.

Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami ’94 is the CEO and founder of CellEd, a mobile-phone based education provider. Prior to launching Cell-Ed, she worked as a consultant for technology companies, international organizations, and governments. She co-authored the book Technology at the Margins: How IT Meets the Needs of Emerging Markets, and holds masters and doctoral degrees in economic geography and international studies at the University of Oregon in addition to her degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley. She had served as a post-doctoral researcher at Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE). In addition to her new role as co-lead of the UC Berkeley Women in Leadership Initiative, she is also the board chair of the girls' chorus ISING Silicon Valley, a board member of Master Peace, and an advisory board member of Equality Now. One of Jessica’s two daughters is completing her first year at UC Berkeley

Vision and Values

A strong and engaged Peninsula alumnae community that feels connected to each other and to UC Berkeley.

  • Action-oriented
  • Open-minded
  • Forward-thinking
  • Courteous
  • Empowering
  • Humane and humble

Our Mission for the Year Ahead

Our group will build a table together to be there for each other and for the next generation of leaders (male and female) graduating from UC Berkeley. We will take action to move the needle on causes that are important to us. We are dedicated to:

  • Preserving the Future of Democracy
  • Supporting Equity and Inclusion
  • Offering Mentorship and First Generation Student Support
  • Facilitating Professional Networking

Past Events

APRIL 2020
The Women in Leadership Group hosted a virtual career panel, connecting students with women in leadership positions providing essential career advice. WILP members have also offered to connect with students on a one-on-one basis to help students improve their resume and networking skills, and to connect them to potential job leads.

Newly-appointed Dean of the Social Sciences, Raka Ray, who is also leading Berkeley's Future of Democracy Campaign Theme spoke about her priorities in her roles and helped the group map out our strategy for the year ahead.

The inaugural event was hosted by Economics alumna Jennifer Youstra and featured UC Berkeley Psychology Professor Celeste Kidd, one of 2017 TIME Magazine Persons of the Year.

The Women who Built UC Berkeley by Dr. Gray Brechin