On Saturday, March 13, 2021 JLSJ hosted: Championing Women: A Leadership Summit.

Our inspiring Keynote speaker was Natasha Mascarenhas Wright, a powerhouse leader who is simultaneously working at Google, running her own nonprofit, and parenting three children; she shared her own leadership journey and lessons learned in “doing all the things,” as she says. 

We were also joined by two speakers who specialize in teaching transformative skills that specifically support you in becoming a more resilient leader: 

  1. Emotional Fitness, led by Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu
  2. Adaptive Leadership, led by Melissa Jones, MPA

Emotionally Fit Leadership: As ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders, we can face unrelenting stress that can interfere with quality work & personal relationships. In this talk, you’ll learn to treat your mind as a muscle with the 7 traits of emotional fitness. Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu will explain the 7 traits of emotional fitness to help you be more resilient and improve your ability to deal with stress, anxiety, & self-doubt. You’ll walk away feeling more prepared as a leader, and ready to kickstart your emotional fitness regimen.

Adaptive Leadership: Learn how to apply this practical framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of change.

Keynote: Natasha Mascarenhas Wright, founder of Chai for Charity, will share her own leadership journey and lessons learned in leading through change. Natasha works part-time at Google and runs Chai for Charity when she’s not parenting her three kids or being a wife, sister, daughter, cousin, or friend. She loves speaking with women and reminding them that they can do anything – but that they don’t need to do everything.



Session 1: Emotionally Fit Leadership with Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu

Session 2: Adaptive Leadership with Melissa Jones, MPA

Special Guest: Cindy Chavez

Keynote: Natasha Mascarenhas Wright

Closing Activity


Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu

Vaneeta Sandhu is the Head of Emotional Fitness at Coa where she leads the creation of Coa’s class experiences and curriculum. Through her background in clinical psychology and facilitation, she brings an engaging and down-to-earth approach in helping people prioritize mental health through the practice of emotional fitness. With more than 10 years of experience, Vaneeta has worked with teams across the world to help managers and executives develop core leadership competencies. Her expertise includes principles of behavior change, interpersonal dynamics, and adult learning.


Melissa Jones, MPA

Melissa Jones, MPA, is the Executive Director of BARHII. She is passionate about creating the conditions that increase quality of life and makes life fairer for more people. Her work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, social inequity, and well-being. Her experience includes work in municipal government and non-profits, in the Bay Area’s large and small cities. Melissa is an active community member in Oakland and also serves on the Association of Bay Area Government’s Regional Planning Committee, which advises on regional planning issues. Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative. The initiative works to ensure that residents of Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods benefit from the rising tide of transit and other public investments. During her tenure, RCRF engaged several thousand residents and non-profits in neighborhood planning. The program has invested millions of dollars to fund affordable housing, leadership development, Family Financial Opportunity Center programs, and a local entrepreneurship pipeline program to ensure residents’ financial lives are improving. She was awarded the LISC’s President’s award in 2014 for her work on comprehensive community development. Melissa has additional experience funding and implementing programs focused on community economic development, family financial stability, education, and civic empowerment. Specifically, she has served in youth empowerment organizations, as Program Specialist for the City of Alameda, and as Program Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Early in her career, she served as Director of Professional Development for Partners in School Innovation where she trained staff to support school reform efforts in San Francisco Unified, San Jose Unified, and Oak Grove Unified school districts.


Natasha Mascarenhas Wright

Natasha Wright is the Founder and Executive Director of Chai for Charity. She created Chai for Charity to connect donors eager to invest in their community with nonprofits who are pouring their love and energy into advocating for the underserved. The mission of Chai for Charity is to inspire people to give in creative ways by expanding how we think about giving. Natasha’s day job is managing development programs for Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services team, and leading Colorado’s women@Google effort.  Natasha has been with Google for 14 years, and previously worked in the nonprofit affordable housing sector in Los Angeles where she also earned Sociology and Urban Planning degrees from UCLA.  She and her husband are raising 3 small men in Lafayette, Colorado.






The 2020-2021 JLSJ Board of Directors

Mary & Lance Werthman