Commission For Women

COMMISSION MEMBERS

Chair Jo Etta Brown, 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term

Chair Jo Etta Brown, 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.

 

Vice Chair Ann Silver, 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term

Vice Chair Ann Silver, 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term

CEO, Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce

Since December 2016, Ann has been the CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organization in northern Nevada with 2,000+ members that employ over 85,000 residents.

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 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, as the Vice‐Chair of the Reno‐Sparks Visitors & Convention Authority and the Co‐Chair of the Workforce Consortium.

Commissioner Dionne Proper, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term

Commissioner Dionne Proper, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term

Dionne is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner for Southern Glazer’s Wine, Spirits and Beer. During her time at Southern Glazer’s, she has advocated for and participated in community relations partnerships and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives nationwide. She is a founding member of CHEERS to Diversity, Nevada Chapter and CHEERS to Black Excellence, National Chapter. Prior to joining Southern Glazer’s in 2014, Dionne held similar roles at Downtown Grand & Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The foundation of Dionne’s professional background comes via an extensive career in retail sales management.

Dionne attended The George Washington University and was born and raised in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Dionne has been a proud resident of Las Vegas since 2000 and married her hometown sweetheart here in 2002. Since relocating to Las Vegas, Dionne has been an active member of our community most recently participating in Leadership Las Vegas class of 2020 and joining the Dress for Success Southern Nevada Board of Directors. As a proud mom of two teenage girls, she considers education and elevating women in the community as not only her passions, but her legacy.

Fun Facts: Dionne enjoys sports and music. She can be heard cheering our Vegas Golden Knights from afar and has an ongoing game of music “tag” with several fellow music lovers.

Commissioner Heather Engle, 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2022 First Term

Commissioner Heather Engle, 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.

Commissioner Jennifer Rogers Markwell, 7/10/2020 to 6/30/2023 First Term

Commissioner Jennifer Rogers Markwell, 7/10/2020 to 6/30/2023 First Term

President of Platinum Wealth Management

Emmy-nominated journalist, Jennifer Rogers Markwell, changed gears in her television career when she realized the need to help women and their finances. It started at home for Jennifer after her grandfather passed away and she wanted to help her grandmother make sense of investing.

Jennifer launched Platinum Wealth Management; a woman-run and women-led wealth management firm. She regularly hosts educational workshops to empower women to take charge of their investments. Her financial pedigree includes formerly being key financial advisor to more than $300 million under management. She is also very active in both state and local communities.

In addition to acting as President for Platinum Wealth Management, Jennifer currently serves as a State Commissioner for the Nevada Commission for Women and volunteers on the board for Girls Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. Jennifer Rogers Markwell was voted Sierra Nevada’s Top 20 Most Powerful Women by Northern Nevada Business Weekly in both 2018 and 2019.

Commissioner Mishon Montgomery, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term

Commissioner Mishon Montgomery, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term

Director, Diversity & Inclusion Program/Superintendent, Integrated Resilience Program, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
 
Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Mishon is a retiring United States Air Force (USAF) servicemember with 20 years of honorable service. Enlisting in 2002, she held numerous positions around the world. It was early in her career that she realized her thirst for developing innovative ways to educate the force’s leaders. In 2009, she leaned into her passion for public speaking, creating the first Toastmasters International Chapter at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida.

In 2014, the USAF recognized her calling and selected Mishon to serve as an Instructor of Professional Military Education at the accredited Aviano Air Base, Italy, Airman Leadership School. During her time, she delivered 2,400 hours of curriculum and awarded 1,500 credits to 280+ students. Additionally, she redesigned the curriculum, creating a unique interactive learning environment, which was adopted by Air University and implemented across 68 schoolhouses worldwide. Upon arriving at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in 2018, Mishon quickly established herself as a trusted leader and skilled facilitator poised to help fellow Airmen define their own awareness and resilience journeys. It was no surprise when she was sought to lead the installation Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative. Leading the D&I commitments for 12K+ military and civilian Airmen, Mishon operates at the center of the USAF’s cultural transformation. She steers organizational growth through inclusive people strategies, while simultaneously creating cultures of belonging.

She has been honored with many prestigious awards for her dedication to military leadership and development, including: The Bob Hope Spirit of Hope Award; NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award; Brigadier General Wilma Vaught Visionary Leader Award, and The Blacks in Government Military Leader Award.

Mishon holds a Bachelor of Arts in management and a Master of Public Administration (Public Policy & Governance) from Capella University. She holds a D&I Certification from Cornell University, maintains a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, is a Certified Motivational Speaker, Master Resilience Trainer, Life Transformation Coach and more.

She remains passionate about normalizing female leadership for the present and for the rising generation. Using her new appointment as commissioner, she intends to study the changing and developing roles of women in society, understand the socioeconomic factors that influence the status of women and recommend proposed legislation to bridge the gaps. Mishon is an eternal optimist, consistently marveling in the deliciousness of life.
Commissioner Nichole Loar, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term

Commissioner Nichole Loar, 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2024 First Term


Nichole grew up in Los Angeles County and was raised by a mother in economic disparity. In 1999, Nichole’s mother moved her to Fernley, Nevada where she graduated Fernley High School with Honors and then went on to the University of Nevada, Reno where she earned three degrees, a Bachelors of Science in Economics, a Bachelors in Finance, and then a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accountancy. During her time in academia, Nichole was a member of and worked for the TRIO Scholar’s Program as a Mentor, Tutor, and Administrative Assistant to low-income, first-generation college students.

From the TRIO Program and graduate school, Nichole entered into State service as an Auditor for the Department of Motor Vehicles. From there, she went on to Kafoury Armstrong & Co. as a Staff Accountant and then as a Gaming Agent for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. She continued State service at the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada where she currently works in the capacity as an Auditor, Financial Analyst, and Expert Witness. During her tenure at the Utilities Commission, Nichole has testified in Administrative Court for numerous hearings, two of which were escalated to the Nevada District Court and subsequentially to the Nevada Supreme Court. 

With 14 years of public service for the State of Nevada and now being a long-term resident of South Reno, Nichole is proud to have put down roots in Nevada by marrying a fellow Nevadan and raising two beautiful sons in this great state. Systemic from her past, Nichole’s passions are for women raising children alone, who are or plan to be first-generation college students, and come from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Commissioner Richann Bender, 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2022 Second Term

Commissioner Richann Bender, 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.

Commissioner Victoria Ruiz-Marin, 8/01/2020 to 7/31/2023 First Term

Commissioner Victoria Ruiz-Marin, 8/01/2020 to 7/31/2023 First Term

Organizing Specialist, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains

Victoria Ruiz-Marin is an organizing specialist under the Raiz program at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Planned Parenthood is a nationwide trusted provider of reproductive and sexual health care, sex education, and a passionate advocate for policies that enable people to access lifesaving health care. In Las Vegas, the Rocky Mountains affiliate serves approximately 17,000 patients every year.

In her role as a Raiz organizing specialist, Victoria works with the Las Vegas community to bring attention to the issues that affect Latinxs, the barriers they face in accessing health care and sexual education, and to push public policies that protect access to health care for the vast identities within the Latinx community. This includes education through electoral, legislative, and local advocacy efforts.

Victoria grew up in the coastal state of Veracruz, Mexico, and has called Nevada home since her arrival to the United State at the age of eight. She is a student at the College of Southern Nevada studying to become a registered nurse.

In her spare time, Victoria enjoys taking her dog on hikes and spending time with her family and close friends.

 

Commissioner Marla Turner, 4/01/2022 to 3/31/2025 First Term

Commissioner Marla Turner, 4/01/2022 to 3/31/2025 First Term

Marla Turner is a native of Las Vegas who was raised in a musical family. A gifted classical pianist, she began performing at the age of six and teaching at the age of eleven. Although music was in her blood, community service was her calling. She began volunteering in the community at the age of nine and hasn’t stopped since.

She enjoyed a professional career as an oncology researcher and consultant for nearly 25 years. During that time, she served on the Nevada Cancer Coalition, which made the recommendation to use Nevada’s share of a national tobacco award to create the Millennium Scholarship. The scholarship program was enacted into law in 1999 and remains a staple for Nevada students to this day.

She has worked on many projects including women’s rights, reproductive rights, health care reform, marriage equality, the arts, education, public health, and more. In 2008 she co-founded Nations for Change, a grassroots training program that provided free or low-cost training/mentoring in the art of activism. She spent seven years as a volunteer for Aid for AIDS of Nevada “Buddy” to someone living with HIV/AIDS.

Marla is past-President of Emerge Nevada which trains women to run for public office. One hundred percent of her students won their legislative races in 2017, allowing Nevada to become the first female-majority legislature in the nation. She has worked on more than 100 political campaigns and helped the bill's sponsor secure Nevada’s passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in March 2017 and Equal Pay for Equal Work Act in March 2019. Additionally, Marla has served on numerous boards for both Clark County and the State of Nevada.

Today she is a Victim’s Advocate for Signs Of Hope, (formerly known as the Rape Crisis Center of Las Vegas), where she works with victims of sexual assault/harassment and provides them with the resources for healing, compensation, and prosecution.

Marla is the mother of two children and Grammy to three grandchildren. She loves music, crafting, gardening, photography, and dogs. She lives with her husband in North Las Vegas.