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September 2020 BPWNC Newsletter

Wednesday, September 19, 2020 at 6 p.m.



From Cowgirl to Congress


Mila Johansen is a public speaker, writing coach, teacher, and writer. She is the author of twenty-two plays and musicals that circle the globe along with five books.

Mila teaches social media, screenwriting, creative writing, herbology, and public speaking. She is also a writing coach and has a new book coming out—21 Surprising Tips to Promote Your Book. She loves giving people permission to write their Short Book and teaches them how to do it. The Short Book can be used by entrepreneurs to become the expert in their field, to be a calling card or the outline for a longer book.

Mila has just finished a book, From Cowgirl to Congress, available on Amazon, about her famous suffragette grandmother, Jessie Haver Butler, for the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in August 2020. Jessie was on the front lines of the suffrage movement in Washington D.C. with Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul as the first woman lobbyist. Before that, in 1912, she helped organize the Pulitzer School of Journalism at Columbia University. She later spoke alongside Bernard Shaw, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas.

Mila lives on her organic citrus ranch in Northern California with her husband, four dogs and a cat.


Topic: September BPW
Time: Sep 16, 2020 06:00 PM

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SPOTLIGHT on Grass Valley Entrepreneur
Melissa Hannebrink, owner of Quietech Associates

Please tell us about your early years.

I was born in New Jersey, and my family moved to Nevada County when I was a young girl. As a kid, I thought I would grow up to be an interior designer… until I got into computers! Once I found out how much I loved technology, it was a no brainer that I would be doing something involving tech for a career.


Assuming you were not raised in Nevada County, what influenced you to live here? or if you were raised here what is special to you in this county?

Love the nature aspects of living here. The lakes, the rivers, the hiking trails, and the wildlife all are fantastic, and we are close to many other beautiful locations as well.

When did you get into computers?

My relationship with computers was really “love at first sight”. As a young kid, I loved playing computer games on my dad's computer, and watching how he worked on it. Later on, when I got my own computer, I was absolutely hooked. I got a programming book at twelve and learned how to make websites, and later started a website design business for my senior project.

Who or what inspired you to get into computers?

I like to think that having a tech superstar for a father (who eventually passed his business on to me), and having a mother who’s an amazing teacher (and passed her love of education on to me) was the perfect recipe for me to get into this business. I love to educate people on technology and try to make it accessible to all.

Tell us about Quietech.

Quietech is a technology support company that has been in business since 1985, and I have run since 2013. My website design business morphed over time into a tech support business, and when my father retired it was the perfect fit to merge my company with the amazing business he had built. My goal is to take the fear out of computers for my clients. I love being people’s go-to for all their tech concerns, and keeping their tech up and running for them. I am so proud of the staff I have and their mutual desire to go above and beyond to serve those in our community who need us.

As a business woman, what were your biggest challenges prior to the virus?

I think I probably face all the same challenges as any business owner-operator. Being the field technician as well as the accountant & administrator of Quietech brings its own special issues from a time management perspective, but I can say I am never bored!

Please share your words of wisdom for young women who want to get into business.

I don’t believe gender plays a part in whether a person is suited for going into business AT ALL. So my advice would be… “If this is your passion… What’s stopping you?!”

What is your favorite word?

I don’t think I could pick just one! I love learning new words (and their etymologies).

Which 4 people would you invite to be at your dinner table (living or not)

At any other time, I would probably say Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Yutaka Katayama, and Tomoyuki Tanaka. Right now, I would just love to share a meal with my family, since COVID has kept us from gathering together for months now and I miss them!

Which 3 books would you recommend we read?

I typically stick with sci-fi type books like the Myst trilogy (by Rand and Robyn Miller), which were some of my favorite childhood books (and are directly related to an old computer game that I loved as well!). I also love Michael Creighton’s old classics, like Jurassic Park, Congo, and Sphere.  

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Things change so quickly in my field that it’s hard to say exactly where I’ll be, but I can’t wait to see where technology goes (and takes me with it!)

-Melissa Hannebrink
Quietech Associates, Inc.
Voted Best of Nevada County 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019*
309 Neal Street
Grass Valley, CA  95945 
Open Monday-Friday, 9:00 to Noon, 1:00 to 5:00

From Our BPWNC President:

Business and Professional Women of Nevada County seeks to engage, educate, and encourage members of the Club as well as the local community. This time in our lives has been unique in that we have to try harder to reach out to each other.

Members of the Board and Education Fund have called and emailed our members to keep in touch. You may always reach out to any of us if you have questions or concerns or just have an idea for a future program or fundraising venture.

We hope you have been able to attend our virtual meetings via Zoom. Tracy Pepper of Color Me Human presented in July. While Janet Rankin was to present in August her presentation was canceled due to the Jones Bar fire but she has been in the process of a film collaboration with The Union newspaper regarding women’s suffrage. The film is to be released in February 2021. Mila Johansen, author of 'From Cowgirl to Congress' will be presenting this month. You may obtain her book through amazon or order locally from The Book Seller in Grass Valley or Harmony Books in Nevada City. We try to educate people about important issues regarding women in the present day or to celebrate the past.

We do seek to encourage women to pursue their education or advance in their career. We do this through our Ed Fund. We have provided scholarships this year but haven’t fully been able to celebrate the recipients in the manner we are accustomed to. We would like to grant additional scholarships and encouragement awards but our funds are dwindling. If you feel you can make a contribution please do so by clicking on our paypal donate button on our website - click here.  or click on button below:

Thank you for sowing the seeds for our future!

Moving Forward, Mary Sivila, President

Do you want to help get out the vote on November 3rd?
Here’s a safe way to reach voters all over the country.
Vote Forward is a well-organized, non-partisan effort to mail letters to preselected potential voters. It’s easy to sign up, to print out letters, address them, put a stamp on each envelope and send 5-20 letters (your choice) to people in the state(s) you choose. A great way to participate in the electoral process!
Here’s where to register to help out:
We can all be proud of our successes in advancing pro-women legislation in California.  That is especially true for those bills that will directly help working women during the current coronavirus epidemic.  So, I’m happy to report that three such bills passed – one just minutes before the session ended at midnight, August 31st.  As of September 3rd, they are in the process of being sent to the Governor, hopefully to be signed and made into law.
One is a major expansion of workplace leave policies (SB 1383).  It would extend job protection to 6 million more workers when they take time to bond with a new child, or to care for a seriously ill family member, or themselves.  That means that people taking time off for family or pregnancy-related leave no longer need fear that they will lose their jobs.  And, family is more broadly defined, for example, to include domestic partners and parents-in-law.  Job-protected leave is important to our public health. It is essential to ensure that nearly all working Californians are not forced to risk losing their jobs and livelihood in order to care for their families, during an epidemic or afterwards.  Most workers will be able to receive Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance – worker-funded benefits --  to care for family members or themselves.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, it is estimated that 40% of workers are at risk of being fired for taking leave to care for a loved one or themselves, simply because they work for a small employer. Those excluded are disproportionately low-wage workers of color, the same workers who are often in essential jobs and, too often, with preexisting conditions that make them especially vulnerable to falling ill with COVID. SB 1383 would address that inequity by ensuring that these low-wage workers of color have the job-protected rights of higher-wage workers.
Another success story is the passage of a bill (AB 3216) that provides recall and retention rights for certain workers laid off due to a state of emergency, such as for COVID.  It applies to workers in heavily COVID-impacted industries, such as hotels, airports and event centers, and for those providing commercial building services.
A third bill (SB 1159) serves similar purposes to those of a bill we supported that failed (AB 196).  SB 1159 provides presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits for most frontline workers who contract COVID-19.  For police, firefighters, certain healthcare workers, and frontline workers such as those in homecare and IHSS, contracting COVID-19 is presumed to be due to workplace exposure.   And, it codifies the Governor’s executive order creating a rebuttable presumption for critical workers that illness or death related to COVID-19 is an occupational injury eligible for workers compensation benefits.
I will be monitoring these and our other bills that passed through the legislature.  I’ve sent letters on our behalf to the Governor on several, already, urging him to sign them and make them the law in California.  They all will help promote equity for women.  I’m proud of us for supporting them throughout the legislative process this year.
Elaine L. Sierra
Advocacy Chair
It takes each of us to continue keeping BPWNC strong and active so please renew your annual dues which are $25.00
Renew online now by clicking HERE
send a check to:
BPWNC Treasurer
PO Box 291
Grass Valley  Ca  95945
Club Business
Now that we have more home time help get the word out. Please send names and email addresses of your friends and family to Phyllis to join the growing list of friends of BPWNC. They will receive our monthly newsletter which will inform them of all the good stuff happening  with our organization. No need to be living in Nevada County
Thank  you
~ Membership, Deb Armanino 415-786-1160
*** Please add Phyllis Orzalli e-mail ( to your address book to ensure it does not go to junk!
Mission Statement
The mission of the Business and Professional Women of Nevada County
is to support and promote equity for women in all aspects of their lives.
~To promote personal and professional development for working women.
~To advocate on National, State, and Local legislative issues of importance
to working women.
~To support the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
~To promote the education of our members and the community in matters of women's equality as it relates to economics, employment, health, education, housing, civil rights, and other issues of equal opportunity.
Interested in joining our dynamic group of women?
Want to take on a lead role in our organization?

We need active members who have time and interest
in being a board member: president, vice president, secretary,
treasurer or program committee.

For only a few hours a month you can guide future endeavors of our great group. Please contact Mary Sivila at 530-346-7192 or email her at to discuss the great possibilities!
Our meetings are now held via ZOOM the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
Mary Sivila - 530.346.7192
Vice President
Shirley Hall - 916.826.8944
 Shirley Zeff - 530.273.3010
Deb Armanino LeBlanc

Our members - Submit an idea to the board.
Lynn Wenzel - 530.477.0746
Judy McCarrick - 530.478.0677
Elaine Sierra - 530.274.0738
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Patricia Wolf - 530.273.0605
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