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Posted on April 4, 2014 | 10:34 a.m.

Fielding’s Women in Leadership Panel to Feature HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Source: Hilary Edwards for Fielding Graduate University

Fielding Graduate University and the Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment will present "Women in Leadership: Motivations, Experiences and Reflections" at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St. in Santa Barbara.

Kathleen Sebelius
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Fielding faculty member and WNGE founder Anna DiStefano will moderate an engaging conversation between highly accomplished women leaders from government and education sectors. This dialogue will be structured as a conversation around women’s ways of leading and will share their stories about compelling national and global issues.

The panel will feature Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services; Peggy O'Brien, director of education at the Folger Library; and Katrina Rogers, president of Fielding Graduate University.

Members of the public are invited to this insightful dialogue, which will open a window into the world of women involved in the compelling issues of our time, both nationally and around the globe. Students with a valid student ID are free.

For the past 40 years, Fielding Graduate University’s commitment to research and action in support of knowledge and change in relation to women's and gender issues has always been a top priority.

In alignment with Fielding’s values and through her personal commitment, DiStefano took action on this initiative and founded Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment, a virtual community which serves as a resource for connecting diverse individuals and as a collaborator with other emerging and established networks interested in gender empowerment.

It is with the intent to share the importance of and dedication to women’s and gender initiatives that Fielding Graduate University and WNGE are pleased to be hosting such a special gathering of women in leadership.

Click here for registration and for more information.


Sebelius was sworn in as the 21st secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on April 28, 2009. Since taking office, Secretary Sebelius has led ambitious efforts to improve America’s health and enhance the delivery of human services to some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including young children, those with disabilities and the elderly.

Peggy O’Brien
Peggy O’Brien

As part of the historic Affordable Care Act, she is implementing reforms that have ended many of the insurance industry’s worst abuses and will help 34 million uninsured Americans get health coverage. She is also working with doctors, nurses, hospital leaders, employers and patients to slow the growth in health-care costs through better care and better health.

Under Secretary Sebelius’ leadership, HHS is committed to innovation, from promoting public-private collaboration to bring lifesaving medicines to market, to building a 21st century food safety system that prevents outbreaks before they occur, to collaborating with the Department of Education to help states increase the quality of early childhood education programs.

Sebelius served as governor of Kansas from 2003 until her Cabinet appointment and was named one of America’s Top Five Governors by Time Magazine.

Peggy O’Brien is a veteran educator, entrepreneur and media expert. With deep experience in public and commercial media, O’Brien has held leadership positions in educational publishing, public broadcasting, the cable industry and academia. She was most recently recruited by the Folger Shakespeare Library to create groundbreaking digital work in teaching Shakespeare and the humanities.

Prior to that, she completed three years on the DC Public Schools leadership team as Chief of Family and Public Engagement, leading work with families and community engagement for perhaps the nation’s most controversial school reform effort.

Katrina Rogers
Katrina Rogers

With a Ph.D. in education from American University and a recipient of many national awards including an honorary degree from Georgetown University, O’Brien teaches, speaks and publishes on education, Shakespeare and the power of media.

Katrina Rogers is president of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, a distinguished graduate school known for adult learners in the fields of clinical psychology, human development, organizational leadership and education. In the course of her career, she has served the international nongovernmental and educational sectors in many roles, including executive, board member and teacher.

She led the European campus for Thunderbird School of Global Management in Geneva, Switzerland, for a decade, working with international organizations such as the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Development Program and the European Union. She has doctorates in political science and history.

In addition to many articles and books focused on organizational leadership in sustainability, Rogers serves on the boards of the Toda Institute for Global Policy & Peace Research and the Public Dialogue Consortium. She received a presidential post-doctoral fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation and was a Fulbright scholar to Germany where she taught environmental politics and history.


Anna DiStefano joined the doctoral faculty of the School of Educational Leadership & Change at Fielding Graduate University in 2010. Before that, she served as provost (chief academic officer) for Fielding from 1996 to 2010.

Anna DiStefano
Anna DiStefano

She has been a part of the Fielding community since 1983, serving in several senior executive capacities, including vice president of Academic Planning & Program Development, and dean of Human and Organization Development. She currently serves on Fielding’s Senate Leadership Committee and also as chair of the Faculty of ELC.

DiStefano received her Ed.D. and her Med, both in counseling, from Boston University. Her undergraduate degree, AB in history, was received from Trinity College, D.C. She was also selected as an American Council of Education Fellow (1987-88).

DiStefano's specialized areas of interest are: higher educational leadership and governance, accreditation, educational equity, new learning environments and feminist research.

Her most recent work includes: “Quality Improvement in Nursing Education,” King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2013); “Spreading the Culture of Quality in Higher Education through Accreditation,” King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia (2013); commissioner and chair, Policy & Planning Committee and Handbook Revision Steering Committee, Western Association of Schools & Colleges (2006-2012); co-author, (2010) Leadership and Management of Online Learning Environments in Universities; in K.E. Rudestam and J. Schoenholtz-Read (Eds.) Handbook of Online Learning, 2nd edition; symposium speaker (October 2009), Leadership and Change in the Global World of the 21st Century at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia; keynote presentation (April 2008), Gender Equity in Education: Looking Back and Moving Forward, Ventura County Women’s Forum on Educational Justice, California State University-Channel Islands.

— Hilary Edwards is the manager of university relations for Fielding Graduate University.

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