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DWP all-female board provides historic leadership

The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners oversees and sets policy for the nation’s largest municipal utility, serving more than four million residents of Los Angeles

Cynthia McClain-Hill

Celebrating Women’s History Month

The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners oversees and sets policy for the nation’s largest municipal utility, serving more than four million residents of Los Angeles, its businesses and visitors. In October 2020, the Board made history as the first all-female board to lead the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). In 2023, the Board continues to be composed of female members: President Cynthia McClain-Hill, Vice President Cynthia M. Ruiz, and Commissioners Nicole Neeman Brady, Nurit Katz and Mia Lehrer. All five women are impressive leaders in their own right and bring their own distinct skills sets and experience to their roles on the Board.
Selected as Board President in 2020 after serving as Vice President since 2018, McClain-Hill is a highly regarded and widely respected attorney, and is lauded as an astute and skillful public policy strategist with an outstanding record of service and accomplishments on a significant array of public-sector and non-profit boards and commissions. She has also been honored repeatedly by business and civic organizations for her leadership. “This is a time of unprecedented challenges as we work to build a stronger Los Angeles by achieving our goals for clean, reliable and sustainable water and energy,” said McClain-Hill. “I am confident that working together, LADWP can surmount these challenges and come out a stronger, more inclusive organization that provides equity and fairness for our customers, communities, and employees in everything we do.”
Ruiz joined the Board as Vice President in 2022, and is the first Native American Commissioner. She is a professor, best-selling author, executive coach, inspirational speaker and leadership expert. Her experience on the boards and executive teams of multiple city organizations has given her a deep background in public service. “In my life, I have been in the position of being a trailblazer on many occasions. It comes with a lot of responsibility. Many times, there is not a roadmap, so blazing the trail comes with hard work and perseverance. It also comes with a great sense of pride and honor when you are able to accomplish things which have never been done before,” said Ruiz.
Appointed to the Board in 2019, Commissioner Neeman Brady is the CEO and a Director of Sustainable Development Acquisition I Corp (SDAC), and is also a Principal and member of the Investment Committee at Renewable Resources Group. She has significant experience in the water and energy industry.
Lehrer has been a Board Commissioner since 2020, and is President and founder of Studio-MLA, a landscape architecture, urban design and planning practice dedicated to advocacy by design with a vision to improve quality of life through landscape. She has also served as an advisor to numerous public agencies.
The Board’s newest Commissioner is Katz, appointed in 2022. Katz is an educator and sustainability professional who cares deeply about creating a sustainable, resilient and healthy region for all Angelenos. She has served in a number of public sector and non-profit advisory capacities, and is currently Chief Sustainability Officer for UCLA.
The Board has continued to guide the Department in meeting its mission statement: Supporting the growth and vitality of the City of Los Angeles, its residents, businesses and the communities LADWP serves by providing safe, reliable and cost-effective water and power in a customer-focused and environmentally responsible manner. However, the Department and the City of Los Angeles face new, unprecedented challenges in the modern era, including transforming water and power supplies to more sustainable resources, investing in infrastructure and creating equity within the organization and the communities LADWP serves. To assist the Department in building a stronger Los Angeles, the Board has championed and supported several causes and initiatives to help LADWP focus on its core tenants of service, innovation and opportunity.