Commission For Women

COMMISSION MEMBERS

JoEtta Brown, Chair, Term 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term
JoEtta Brown, Chair, Term 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term
National Association Commission for Women Board of Directors

Douglas County advocate and activist JoEtta Brown of Gardnerville was recently elected executive vice president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.


After 30 years of corporate banking experience and significant community involvement, JoEtta put her skills and interests to work with the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans in 2007, working as their Treasurer. JoEtta joined the Alliance Regional Board for the Western Region in 2010 and led trainings in the western states.

As Executive Vice-President for the Alliance for Retired Americans Community Advocacy Network, JoEtta's professional skills have translated seamlessly into developing Alliance activists into leaders through trainings as well as forming community alliances.

When JoEtta began her career in banking, few women were found in management. She found herself advocating for equal pay while working in the executive offices at American Savings Bank.

JoEtta was appointed to the Mayors Council under Mayor Bradley in Los Angeles where she conducted community block grant funding and urban development projects.

She has testified before the United States Congress regarding Affordable Housing and Urban Development and had her work in the area of affordable housing referenced in the “Lending and Diversity” handbook used in the USC School of Business Management.

JoEtta also assisted with the creation of a community-based bank and helped to write over 275 business plans resulting in over $10 million in loans for small businesses. She served as the Governor of Soroptimist International of the Americas, Desert Coast Region, which services 62 clubs and over 2900 members and works to improve the lives of women and girls.

Jo Etta has served 12 years as a Douglas County Planning Commissioner, she helped to determine age standards for seniors, resulting in the first affordable housing project for seniors in the area.

Jo Etta Brown's awards and recognition include: Official Seal to the City of Los Angeles from city Council for Community Service; the Olive Crest Leadership Award; the American Dream Coalition Award for Affordable Housing; the Girl Scouts Badge of Honor; and the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee's Maggie L. Walker Woman of the Year Award.

 

Durette Candito, Vice-Chair, Term 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2021 Second Term
Durette Candito, Vice-Chair, Term 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2021 Second Term

 

Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Durette always aspired to be a professional designer. By the age of 15, she was designing her own line of clothing and jewelry and published a catalog with her items for sale. At 22, she found herself with a storefront business employing 5 seamstresses, designing custom clothing as well as supplying local boutiques in Santa Fe and Albuquerque New Mexico with haute couture clothing lines. She has designed for many famous stars and recording artists including Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Always desiring to reach and professionally expand, Durette went to TVI in Albuquerque and completed the Architecture program. She worked at her own design business for a few years specializing in restaurants and commercial kitchens. She went to work for Gene Law at Charles David Interiors in Santa Fe. There, she honed her skills in Interior Design, as well as furniture design and manufacturing.

Durette worked almost 10 years for English Architect Malcolm Worby. Here she specialized in residential interior specification. She worked on more than 30 custom homes in Santa Fe and the surrounding area, including the Governors Mansion. Her love of decorative hardware was born, as she imported hardware from Italy and England for her clients. Durette has extensive knowledge in building “safe houses”. Homes that are free of chemicals and allergens for her clients that are allergic to the environment.

Ballroom dancing was always a passion for Durette, and she became a professional dancer and instructor. This led to her opening The Ballroom Dance Club studio in Santa Fe.

Upon moving to Las Vegas with her husband in 2001, Durette opened her design business, Durette Candito Design, LLC. Specializing in residential interior design and specification, she currently owns a design showroom as well, Urban Ranch General Store. The showroom carries door and cabinet hardware from around the world, lighting and interior accessories.

Always one to give back, Durette has volunteered and supported several charities throughout the years in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and now Las Vegas. She was an advocate for the Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center, as well as the Girl Scouts of America, and the Boys and Girls Club. Since moving to Las Vegas, she has been president of NEWH (raising scholarships for students in the hospitality industry), on the board for ALS of Nevada, and board member for the Las Vegas Arts District. She currently sits on the advisory board and is Editor for BLVDs H&D Magazine, and is Art Liaison for Forgotten Song Foundation (raising scholarships for students of music and art).

Richann Bender, Term 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term
Richann Bender, Term 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term
National Association of Commissions for Women Board of Directors

Richann served as Chair of the Nevada Commission for Women from 7/1/2017-6/30/2018, after serving as the Commission's Vice-Chair. January 2018, Richann was elected to the National Association of Commission for Women (NACW) Board of Directors and has been selected by NACW's President to serve on the National Task Force 2020 project.

 

Richann is a retired City of Las Vegas employee with more than 27 years in public service. During her tenure Richann held a variety of positions in the City of Las Vegas.

Richann was a Senior Economic Development Officer in the Office of Business Development where she served as a liaison to the Downtown Cultural Corridor, Downtown Arts District/ First Friday and assisted in the development of these districts. Richann also played an important role coordinating with the entrepreneurs who established the Fremont East District. Richann was also responsible for securing the air rights for the City which was a critical factor in the construction of the Fremont Street Experience Canopy. She coordinated efforts to transfer the Downtown Post Office ownership from the federal government to the City Of Las Vegas which lead to the establishment of the Mob Museum. Richann also served as the Executive Director for the State Commission for the California-Nevada Super Speed Train (Maglev high speed rail project connecting Las Vegas to Anaheim, California).

Richann was transferred to the Office of the City Manager where she was instrumental in establishing the City’s Council Liaison office. Ultimately, she became the first official City Council Liaison assisting the City Manager and City Council in addressing constituent and Neighborhood Association requests and concerns. In this capacity she also coordinated with Metro in implementing the Downtown Community Policing program. In 1997 Richann was assigned as a City Lobbyist in Carson City for the 1997 State of Nevada Legislative Session.

In 2005 Richann was assigned to work on the 2005 Las Vegas Centennial Celebration, a year of commemorative activities. She helped develop and implement Downtown Las Vegas historic markers, coordinated “Once upon 100 Weddings” (arranging to marry 100 couples on Fremont Street), and coordinated financing for a Las Vegas float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Her efforts also helped recognize long-time Las Vegas families, to celebrate 100 year old residents, and to bring Las Vegas Centennial recognition to Washington D.C. Richann’s efforts also resulted in the reenactment of the famous Las Vegas Land Auction of 1905 and she assisted in building the “World’s Largest Birthday Cake.”

Richann’s passion is world travel, with her highlight having visited the seven continents. In her spare time Richann has appeared as an “extra” in several movies and commercials filmed in Las Vegas.

Flor Bernal-Gonzalez, Term 1/29/2020 to 6/30/2021 First Term
Flor Bernal-Gonzalez, Term 1/29/2020 to 6/30/2021 First Term
Director of Operations and Finance, LVMPD Foundation

After nearly 20 years in the beverage and hospitality industries, Flor Bernal found her calling in the nonprofit sector, as Director of Finance & Operations at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation (LVMPD Foundation). Today, her mission is to support programs that help keep our community safer by raising funds to supplement the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. During her tenure in the beverage industry, Bernal held positions with beverage marketing and consulting agency Back Bar USA, the Internal Revenue Service, Hakkasan Group and Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits.

Most recently, as President and CFO at Back Bar USA, Bernal championed strategic leadership and business development within the hospitality and food-and-beverage industries. She also directed robust national account marketing programs and special event operations, events, fundraisers and strategic partnerships locally and nationwide for clients including MGM Resorts, Kimpton Group, Landry's, Diageo NA, Pernod Ricard and Bacardi USA to name a few. At Back Bar, Bernal represented the agency in non-profit developments, mentored and recruited a corporate team, and implemented the development of infrastructure.

Bernal moved to Las Vegas as a student in the early '90s. English being her second language, catching up with other students was a challenge that required hard work, dedication and help from others to overcome. Bernal earned a degree in Accounting from UNLV, followed by successful participation in the Emerging Leaders Accelerated MBA program from the Small Business Administration, also earning her numerous commendations and honors from State of Nevada Government Dignitaries. Bernal subsequently oversaw the creation of the Back Bar USA scholarship at UNLV for honors-level Hospitality students.

A passionate contributor, Bernal is deeply rooted in the Las Vegas community and takes an active role in a number of organizations, including Saint Anne Catholic School, the Junior League of Las Vegas, Make-A-Wish of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Bowl's #Huddle Women Group, and has assisted organizations, such as the UNLV Foundation, Aid for AIDS of Nevada, the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and Women of the Vine & Spirits, to further their mission.

Bernal married her best friend, Alvaro Gonzalez, in 2003. Flor and Alvaro enjoy spending time with their two children, a freshman at Bishop Gorman High School, and a seventh grader, with a leadership position in Student Council Member at Saint Anne School. As a family, they travel the world to introduce the children to new cultures.

Recently appointed as Commissioner for the State of Nevada Commission for Women, Bernal will further their mission by focusing on advancing women toward full equality in all areas.

 

Heather Engle, Term 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term
Heather Engle, Term 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term
CEO, Las Vegas Rescue Mission

A Nevada native, born in Elko and raised in Carson City. Heather Engle has spent her career giving back to residents in need across the state through her extensive involvement in community service. She is a pioneer for women after taking on her most recent role as the first female executive in the 48-year history of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. Her focus has been women's empowerment, addiction/recovery, human trafficking and young people's addictions.

Currently, the CEO of the Mission, a nonprofit that provides aid to the homeless and hurting members of Las Vegas community, Engle oversees all aspects of the organization including, but not limited to, government and community relations, procurement of donor gifts, the management of special events, major gift cultivation and management, as well as resource development planning.

Previously, she served in various positions within community organizations, such as the director of the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center for HELP of Southern Nevada, the director of WestCare Nevada's Women & Children's Campus, as well as the chief of staff and director of resource development for WestCare Foundation. Her experience gained through numerous roles passion and commitment to those who call Nevada home.

Before embarking on her career path, Engle studied business, marketing and psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Diane Fearon, 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2021 Second Term
Diane Fearon, 7/1/2018 to 6/30/2021 Second Term

Diane Fearon has an extensive background in banking and nonprofit management, including serving as the founding President for Lexicon Bank in 2019 and the founding President/CEO of Bank of George in 2007. Community banking is a passion for Diane, who was also in executive level roles with Bank of Nevada/BankWest of Nevada and American Bank of Commerce.

Community involvement has always been very important for her, which led Diane to hold executive level roles with Community Schools Nevada, HealthInsight Nevada and the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation. Additionally, she currently serves as a board member for Bridge Counseling Associates and previously served as a volunteer board member for Habitat for Humanity, Nevada Public Radio Investment Committee, The Shade Tree Endowment Board, The American Diabetes Association, LVCVA Host Committee, HealthInsight Nevada, Las Vegas HEALS and has worked on several committees over the past 25 years for Leadership Las Vegas. Her appointment by Governor Sandoval to the Nevada Commission for Women in 2015 is truly an honor.

Ms. Fearon has been in Las Vegas, since 1979 and is a 2001 graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School, a master's level program in partnership with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Washington.

Brenda Hughes, Term 7/1/2017 to 6/30/2020 Second Term
Brenda Hughes, Term 7/1/2017 to 6/30/2020 Second Term

 

Brenda Hughes serves as a Senior Economic Development Specialist for the city of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Department (EUD). Her primary responsibilities include redevelopment projects, marketing and community relations for the EUD’s Redevelopment Division.

With an emphasis on creating jobs, the EUD coordinates efforts with the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency to promote and encourage new development and redevelopment throughout the city of Las Vegas, particularly in the downtown area. The EUD strives to increase and diversify the city’s economic base through business attraction, retention and expansion programs. It also works to reverse and eliminate urban decay.

A native of Clarinda, Iowa, Hughes began working for the city in November 2005. Prior to joining the city’s EUD team, she handled international marketing duties for the Travel Industry Association of America in London and the Nevada Commission on Tourism in Carson City.

Hughes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Nevada State College.

In her spare time, Hughes enjoys traveling throughout the United States and the world to experience new cultures, customs and cuisines.

Jennifer Lopez, Term 8/9/2018 to 6/30/2020 First Term
Jennifer Lopez, Term 8/9/2018 to 6/30/2020 First Term
Senior Public Relations Account Executive, R&R Partners

With more than 14 years of public relations and political communications experience, Jennifer has worked with numerous clients across a variety of industries spanning from government, health care, consumer protection, and food, to develop and execute impactful corporate and grassroots communication programs.

As the senior public relations leader at R&R Partners, Jennifer personally directs a handful of companies in creating and implementing programs that have consistently met and surpassed client objectives.

Jennifer led the 280,000-member Health Services Coalition for three years and developed communication programs for American Medical Response and Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Furthermore, after only a few short months at R&R Partners, she was handpicked to chair the company's Employee Board Foundation, with a $1.6 million fund balance, across its nine-offices. The selection was a result of her work ethic and passion for ways to positively impact the community. Subsequent to completing a two-and-a-half-year term as chair, she joined the Public Education Foundation Board.

In 2018, Jennifer was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to serve on the Nevada Commission for Women.

Previously, Jennifer served as the public information officer for Nevada's attorney general's office, under Catherine Cortez Masto, where she developed, implemented, and coordinated all public outreach, website and information programs both internally and externally. Formerly, she served as the Nevada deputy political director for Obama for America, Nevada state director for Organizing for America (a project of the Democratic National Committee), and as the Nevada deputy press secretary for U.S. Senator Harry Reid.

Jennifer, the daughter of Colombian and Nicaraguan immigrants, earned a B.A. in communication studies and a minor in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and a M.A. in public communication from American University.

As a student at UNLV, she founded Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc. - Alpha Zeta Chapter, the first Latina community service sorority in Nevada; 15 years later, she remains active by providing guidance to the students of the thriving sorority.

A 22-year Las Vegas resident, Jennifer graduated from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce "Leadership Las Vegas" (class of 2014), a premier community leadership program in Southern Nevada. Jennifer enjoys volunteering for various nonprofits, camping, and spending time with her family.

Ann Silver, Term 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term
Ann Silver, Term 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term
CEO, Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce

Since December 2016, Ann has been CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organization in northern Nevada with 1,870 members that employ over 85,000 residents.

Prior to this position, Ann was the Executive Director of J.O.I.N, the WIOA-funded career training organization that serves 13 counties in Nevada. In this capacity, she founded the "Workforce Consortium", now consisting of over 90 employers, training organizations, educational institutions and non-profit groups that meet monthly to identify critical workforce issues, employer needs, training programs and ready-to-work candidates.

Ann's professional career includes serving as the Sr. VP & General Manager of Radio City Music Hall in New York City where she produced the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" for seven (7) seasons, negotiated collective bargaining agreements with stagehands, electricians, costume makers, the orchestra, and famous Radio City Rockettes.

Ann later served as Sr. Vice President of Human Resources & Labor Relations for Compass Group, an international food service and public restaurant company.

Ann is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana and maintains Sr. Certification as a Human Resources Professional. She serves on the Governor's Workforce Development Board, the Governor's Commission for Women, the Board of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, the Board of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, and the TMCC Foundation Board.