Empowered Women in Industry



Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District’s Women in Industry Forum hosted at El Dorado High School inspired many women to persevere and take on challenges to find success.

Magdalena Aparicio, Photojournalist

This last Wednesday, the Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District introduced a powerful group of women to the annual Women in Industry panel.

This event hosts many inspirational and hardworking women, from scholars to athletes. This year’s keynote speaker, Kelly Inouye-Perez, is the head coach of UCLA’s softball team. In her time as head coach, her winning percentage of .788 ranks fifth amongst active head coaches in NCAA Division 1 softball. On October 7th of 2022, Inouye-Perez was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame. 

The panelists consisted of Ruchi Acharya (physical therapist), Asha Bhattacharya (area manager and Amazon logistics), Cindy Caporona (television writer, performer, and producer), Michel Granger (Olympian and pastry chef), Kelsi Kleinow (engineer), Gisele Nguyen (Co-Founder of LifOpps Learning Labs), Beth Nunn (COO of St. Josephs’ and St. Jude Heritage Medical Groups), and Bonnie Saunders (Senior Vice President, Sales Support Leader at Wells Fargo). 

This event is more than networking; it provides a chance for students and girls to connect to impactful women on a personal level. Student moderators represented various aspects of successful students. From schools all around the district, these students represented the digital design, publications, photography, filmmaking, medical sciences, law studies, and culinary arts talent within their school. Moderators were able to ask questions to the panelists and explore their inspirations, setbacks, liberations, and advice. ”The Women in Industry event inspired and empowered me, making me feel like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to,” says Yorba Linda High School’s moderator, Hunaina Hirji (11). “The panelists were all professionals from a multitude of industries, and each one of them proved to me that no matter the situation, no matter the challenges, no matter the failures, we women can thrive.”

The Women in Industry event inspired and empowered me, making me feel like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

Hunaina Hirji (11)

Although the panelists came from largely different backgrounds, audience members witnessed a sense of unity between these successful women. After being in a nearly lethal car accident, business owner Gisele Nguyen was left paralyzed. She found herself relearning to walk in less than half the time expected after. Beth Nunn, COO of St. Josephs’ and St. Jude Heritage Medical Groups witnessed and reported wage gaps into the hundreds of thousands. Ruchi Acharya, physical therapist, moved into a foreign country halfway across the globe with only her husband to pursue fulfillment. 

Between the wide range of success, all these women have at some point failed. Mentally or physically, these strong women faced adversity, discrimination, and pain – but they persevered. Before introducing all the panelists, Inouye-Perez enlightened the audience of students and parents with a guide to failure: “Shoulders back, chin up, and bring it on.”