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Ten Rising Women Leaders Join Women for Social Impact

Thursday, November 29, 2018TOPICS: ChangemakerWomen Peacemakers

Kristian Krugman and Reyanne Mustafa, two Rising Women Leaders who are now members of the Kroc School’s Women for Social Impact.The 10 Rising Women Leaders who are now members of the Kroc School’s Women for Social Impact.
begin quoteEach RWL selected has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to creating social impact across many sectors in the San Diego community.

Four years ago, Women for Social Impact (WSI) was founded at the Kroc School with the vision of creating a diverse and connected community of women leaders in the San Diego-Tijuana region. On Nov. 8, 2018, that dream became an even greater reality when WSI launched its Rising Women Leaders (RWL) program. This program was designed to create an opportunity for 10 extraordinary young women to be included in the WSI community by sponsoring their membership fees through the generous support of many WSI members. Each RWL selected has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to creating social impact across many sectors in the San Diego community.

WSI held its annual Women Peacemakers experience on Nov. 8, entitled “A World of Change: What Happens When Women Have a Seat at the Table”, featuring the four 2018 Women PeaceMakers fellows in residence at the Kroc School and Gayle Tauber, founder of Kashi. A highlight of the evening was the introduction of the 10 RWLs. These remarkable young women are each involved in diverse ventures that have in common a mission to address overlooked needs and create positive change right here in the San Diego region. Each RWL is matched with a mentor from the WSI community who can provide insight, support, wisdom, and contacts to help her move towards her goals. Here’s a closer look at the incredible RWLs and what they hope to achieve.

The Foodies

Sterling Tran co-founded and helped launch City Heights Coffee House (CHCH), a nonprofit coffee shop fixed on giving opportunities to those with barriers to employment (including but not limited to those with criminal records, refugee status, transitioning out of homelessness). Through on-the-job training, one-on-one mentorship, and life development classes, CHCH aims to launch their employees into better career and social outcomes.

Kristian Krugman and Reyanne Mustafa are the co-founders of  SOULMuch Foods, a progressive health food enterprise that turns neglected resources into delicious snacks. The two were working at a restaurant where they noticed that pounds and pounds of nutritious grains such as brown rice and quinoa were being thrown away every single night - not the scraps on customers’ plates, but unserved grains straight from the rice cookers. Offended by this waste and conscious that the problem scaled way beyond one restaurant, they saw an opportunity to build a brand, educate the world about food waste, and show that profit and purpose can be two players on the same team. “It is our mission to ensure that good food never goes to waste, feeding people first,” they say. Now their healthful and delicious cookies can be found at specialty retailers around San Diego…and soon, the world!

Kristian Krugman and Reyanne Mustafa, two of WSI's 10 new Rising Women Leaders.

The Uplifters

Ebony Jones is a self-described “lived experience expert regarding domestic sex trafficking.” She is the founder of a new anti-pimp prevention curriculum, “Living Beyond the Hustle: Guided Principles to Transform Trauma and Lead in Your Community.” Jones understands that because she has experienced the work from the other side of the fence, she knows the barriers that need to be overcome to push through and make it. She was awarded a scholarship from the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund and attends Point Loma Nazarene University.

Jaimee Johnson is the founder of Sisters of the Streets. Based on her own experience as a survivor of domestic sexual exploitation and commercial sexual exploitation of children, her organization has educated over 1,500 youth on prevention of human trafficking, trained over 140 individuals, conducted over 40 public speaking engagements, created numerous social media awareness campaigns, created an outreach called "The Purse Project", and provided 24/7 emergency response services and advocacy to many women leaving their trafficking situations.

The Storytellers

Veronica Middlebrooks is the program director at Movement BE, a nonprofit dedicated to amplifying the voices of the millennial generation by providing students with the tools to develop their narrative for the classroom and beyond. The pillars of Movement BE are rooted in self-expression, leadership, and community. Their mission is to help students tell their story before someone else does, encouraging them to find the truth of who they are, and to challenge unhelpful stereotypes in favor of authenticity.

Petra Rich is founder and editor of at Old Dominion University and a Sales and Marketing Associate at Dimensions Learning. is the #1 new-media brand for the empowered college woman featuring national Style, Beauty, Health, Love, Life, Career, Entertainment, News, DIY, LGBTQ+, High School, and After College content supplemented by local content from 370+ campus chapters nationwide and in 11 countries. Running at Old Dominion University gave Rich the tools to segue into her role at Dimensions Learning, which offers a program of comprehensive, innovative sexual assault prevention and healthy relationship education for college students, driven by the belief that to reduce sexual violence on campuses, students need information that is relatable, useful, and transformative.

Nancy Tran is the Youth Services Outreach/Engagement Coordinator for Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT). A former foster youth herself, Tran helps to expand the reach and impact of foster youth by sharing their stories in powerful ways that “woo” both transition age youth and caring adults to fill the resource and relationship gap for over 700 young people each year. In the process, she assists in the growth of their community of investors and stakeholders to help those they serve to become confident, capable and connected so that they can break the cycle of foster care.

The Bridge Builders

Gabriela Ines Gonzalez is a program associate at the International Community Foundation (ICF),

a bi-national nonprofit that serves vulnerable populations and ecosystems in the Baja California region. She works with public, private, and nonprofit partners to research, advocate for, and fundraise for community organizations in the Baja California region. She is particularly excited to incubate initiatives to foster a more thriving cross-border community here in the Southern California-Tijuana hub.

Dominique Navarro is the development director of the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) and co-chair of the Latina Giving Circle of San Diego. Through organizing, leadership development, and advocacy, EHC works to protect the environment and improve public health in San Diego’s most underserved areas. Navarro supports the ability of the organization to effect regional change through fundraising efforts. The Latina Giving Circle redefines local philanthropy by centering the Latino community in leadership development, grant-making, and development of philanthropic capacities.

WSI was started by Patricia Márquez, Dean of the Kroc School, and Karen Henken, Professor of Practice, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Now in its fourth year, WSI’s November 8 Fall Experience enjoyed its largest attendance yet, confirming their vision of building a strong, multi-generational community of women from a variety of backgrounds and creating experiences where women can learn from each other and better support each other’s work for positive change.

Sign up for WSI Membership here! Please encourage other women to join. We also invite you to share ideas or topics you think would be relevant for our group. Please contact Karen Henken with your ideas or questions about membership.


Justin Prugh
(619) 260-7573

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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