Women in Leadership Bay Area (WiLBA)

Women in Leadership, Bay Area (WiLBA) is an independent student club at UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Bay Area MBA Program.

Our Mission

WiLBA is a sister club of the UC Davis main campus (WiL) that promotes similar interests and carries out projects in the Bay Area.

Our mission is to convene, connect, support and develop the GSM’s future women leaders and equip them with the tools to succeed through professional, educational and social activities.

WiLBA values diversity and inclusion, therefore membership is open to all GSM Bay Area students who want to participate and support the club.

WiLBA will execute the following programs:

  1. “Leading Ladies” is a group mentoring program designed to foster professional development among women leaders. Mentor/mentee groups will be formed to help empower women to greater competency through information, advices, coaching and counseling.
  2. Women Warriors” speaker events are held quarterly (virtually or in person). These activities are designed so women can learn and engage in discussions with women in leadership positions about personal change, management, work/life balance, networking and other relevant topics.
  3. “Neighborhood Love” are fundraising and charity events that cater to the needs of women and children. We also consider environmental and animal charity programs.
  4. Happy Hour Handshakes” are held quarterly to bring together WiLBA members for networking and fun. This program may include sports, cooking, motherhood, wine events, etc.
  5. “Manager Makers” are quarterly one-hour workshops designed to cultivate women leaders by providing the information and tools needed for career advancement. Topics include interviewing, public speaking and management.
  6. "Man Up!" is an ironically named program to get men involved in our gender-inclusion efforts. This program will create a partnership between women and men so they can learn and support each other in the workplace.

Meet Our Board

Headshot of Lavanissa Aquino
Lavanissa Aquino

Lavanissa is a 2021 MBA candidate focused on strategy and corporate finance. She has over 15 years of experience in the managed care industry and financial billing practices. Her natural leadership skills and strong team-building abilities are assets she currently uses as a senior financial analyst at Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit health plan dedicated to providing Californians with access to high-quality healthcare at an affordable price. She creates innovative new processes and reporting mechanisms using her Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt skills.

Prior to Blue Shield, she was a revenue analyst at Brown & Toland Medical Group. She was also a dance instructor, coaching women to be fiercely beautiful and empower them through dance and fitness. Lavanissa is a frequent traveler across the USA, Asia and Europe who loves to explore different cultures through food and music.

Lavanissa’s mantra is: Living without pretense, loving without dependence, speaking truth without offense.

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Headshot of Christine Dillman
Christine Dillman

Christine is a 2021 MBA candidate interested in marketing and organizational behavior. She has over 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and has held several positions, including Director of Counseling and Sexual assault services. She is currently the Director of Nonprofit Development at Tri-Valley Haven, an organization dedicated to serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and poverty.

Christine served as a board member at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and is also on the board of directors at the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, a local nonprofit that offers industry-relevant seminars, collaborative discussions and networking opportunities for the nonprofit sector. In her spare time, she loves to hike, exercise, travel and spend time with her kids.

Christine’s lifelong passion is ending violence against women and children.

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Headshot of Brooke Banning
Brooke Banning
Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Brooke is a 2023 MBA Candidate focused on Organizational Behavior and Strategy. She is an Executive Assistant at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. a leading global investment firm that manages $222 billion in assets. In her role at KKR, she is heavily involved with training, employee engagement, and team building events. As a member of KKR’s Executive Assistant Development Committee, she plans training initiatives, professional development, and wellness programs for the broader supportive staff. 

Brooke received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley where she was a member of the Cal Cheerleading team and held philanthropy and marketing leadership positions in the Chi Omega Fraternity. Brooke is passionate about female empowerment, personal development, and social equality. Brooke has had a hearing disability after undergoing cancer treatment as a young child. She hopes to provide a perspective to her classmates of the experience of having a disability, dealing with disability bias, and how to appreciate and not underestimate their coworkers’ potential.

As the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the WiL Club Bay Area, she is focused on ensuring the club creates and maintains its standard of diversity and inclusion and planning D&I events. She is looking forward to continuing the GSM and club’s reputation and efforts for an inclusive culture.

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Headshot of Olivia Thomas
Olivia Thomas
Vice President, Internal Affairs

Olivia Thomas is a 2021 MBA candidate focused on business analytics. She is an environmental engineer at Valero Energy Corp. at their refinery in Benicia, Calif. A production facility is an exciting and dynamic work environment, and this fast-paced and challenging environment pairs well with Olivia’s personality. She is involved with advocacy with various government agencies, reporting, event responses, and various process improvement projects. She hopes to make the oil and gas industry more accessible to women.

Olivia is passionate about volunteering in the community and dedicates many hours each month volunteering at the Food Bank of Contra Costa County. She also loves hiking and traveling with her husband.

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Headshot of Lindsay Laughlin
Lindsay Laughlin​
Director of Marketing and Communications​

Lindsay is a 2022 MBA candidate that is passionate about the improvement of healthcare worldwide, especially for those that are most underserved. She works as Marketing Operations, Senior at Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit healthcare plan dedicated to providing Californians with access to high-quality healthcare at an affordable price. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. As the Director of Marketing and Communications for the WiL Bay Area Club, she is focused on enhancing the awareness of the club to all existing and incoming cohorts and developing opportunities for both women and men to gain valuable experience in the corporate world. She also serves as a Fellow of the Board of Directors with YoloArts that links children and seniors to art resources in their community. 

Lindsay is originally from British Columbia, Canada and is a dual citizen to Canada and the US. She now lives in Walnut Creek with her husband, Jim, and they are expecting a new baby girl to arrive soon! They love spending the holidays visiting with family, getting outside to hike, bike and camp as well as traveling to distant countries like India, Belize and Scotland, when they can. 

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Headshot of Sheena Tsang
Sheena Tsang
Director of Outreach & Engagement

Sheena Tsang is a 2022 MBA candidate that is passionate about closing the gender gap in occupations such as corporate B2B sales and education. She feels that there is an overwhelming number of men in the B2B sales sector and that there is an overrepresentation of females in the education sector. In order to achieve maximum productivity, it is important to level out gender representation in these fields. She currently works as an Account Executive at T-Mobile for Business, overseeing existing accounts and acquiring new business in her assigned territory in the Bay Area. She also received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis. 

As the Director of Outreach and Engagement for the WiL Bay Area Club, she is focused on recruiting both men and women who embody the mission statement and values of this club. As such, she is also focused on promoting, hosting, and coordinating events for the WiL Bay Area Club in order to facilitate engagement and interest. In the summer, she volunteered as a case study coach and mentor for the Summer Institute of Emerging Leaders (SIEML) where she assisted a team of undergraduates from different universities across the nation in crafting business plan proposals for their competition. Lastly, she also serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications of the Bay Area Ambassador Program that also focuses on recruiting a diverse pool of applicants for the future Bay Area MBA cohorts. 

Sheena is originally from San Jose, California, and is a first-generation Chinese-Vietnamese-American. Her mother and father immigrated from Vietnam and Hong Kong respectively. She now lives in South San Jose with her adorable British Shorthair cat. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, getting outside to hike, reading, blogging, working out, trying out new foods, learning new organization hacks, going to car shows, and traveling. 

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