ACE Women's Network - Southern California



Welcome to ACE Women’s Network of Southern California (ACE WNSC). My name is Olukemi Sawyerr. I am the state chair for the ACE WNSC. I am a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration, and I currently serve as the associate vice president for Academic Innovation at Cal Poly Pomona. ACE WNSC is part of a national system of networks with the goal of advancing and supporting women in higher education.  

The past few years have challenged us all. The COVID-19 pandemic threatened our physical, mental, financial, social, and cultural well-being. We have and continue to weather trauma related to racial and social injustice, political schism, and challenges to the very pillars upon which our democracy was founded. The pandemic also provided opportunities for us to grow and learn to be better, stronger leaders. We developed greater empathy, we developed trauma informed leadership to support each other, and we leveraged technology to continue our work. We developed systems that improved our efficiency and effectiveness. We flexed, we adapted, and continue to adapt. 

Dr. Shanthi Srinivas served as the network state chair from June 2019 to May 2021. In June 2021 we began the process of formalizing the structure of the Network. We developed bylaws and a strategic plan, both of which were passed in summer 2022. The Board of Directors was seated in September 2022.  

In March through May 2022, we conducted a member needs assessment. We will use the results of the survey to design events and programming to meet the needs of network.  

We invite you join us as we continue the journey to actualized the goal to identify, develop, encourage, advance, link, and support (IDEALS) women in higher education careers within the state of California. 

Dr.Olukemi Sawyerr
State Chair and Board Chair

Olukemi Sawyerr, Ph.D., is the State Chair and Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education Women’s Network Southern California. She is the inaugural Associate Vice President for the Office of Academic Innovation (AI) and professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Cal Poly Pomona. AI curates opportunities for experiential learning, discovery, and innovation. Dr. Sawyerr is leading the career and professional readiness initiative to prepare Cal Poly Pomona students for the future of work, human and civic engagement. She is the Principal Investigator on Cal Poly Pomona’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Site grant, and the NSF CPP INVESTS grant. Her current research interests focus on entrepreneurship education and its impact in higher education and has appeared in multiple peer-reviewed journals and national and international academic and professional conferences. She holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Texas Woman’s University and a doctoral degree from the University of North Texas.