SF State president, 3 alums heralded as influential Bay Area businesswomen

Lynn Mahoney with campus in the background

San Francisco State President Lynn Mahoney

University represented in SF Business Times annual list

Each year the San Francisco Business Times recognizes 100 influential Bay Area women from diverse fields who are leaders not only in their organizations but also in their communities. This year’s list includes San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney and three alumnae: Patricia Siguenza (B.S., ’87), Sheila Dukas Janakos (B.A., ’87) and Emily Kirsch (B.A., ’08). Honorees will be recognized at a virtual celebration on Friday, Oct. 9.

For its 2020 edition, the publication paid special attention to how some of these women adapted and persevered during the COVID-19 health crisis. Not even a full year into her role as president of San Francisco State, Mahoney faced one of the most disruptive events in the history of higher education. What’s helped her get through the pandemic has been working collaboratively with University leaders, she told the San Francisco Business Times. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, she has never veered away from the cause she feels most passionate about: student success.

“I have every confidence that SF State will, as it always has, meet the challenges we face this semester directly and collaboratively,” she said in an August message to the campus community. “Thanks to many, many weeks of planning by faculty, staff and administrators, we are as ready as we can be to ensure that our students have a good fall semester.”

The alumnae on this year’s list represent the strength and diversity of the SF State community, Mahoney adds. Siguenza is vice president of bioanalytical science at Genentech, a leading biotechnology company. Janakos is CEO of Healthy Horizons Corporate Lactation Services, which helps support breastfeeding parents by providing resources and tools to their employers. Kirsch is CEO and founder of venture capital firm Powerhouse, which provides seed investments to clean-energy startups.

More about the 2020 alumni honorees:

Patricia Siguenza

One of Siguenza’s lifelong passions is education, she told the San Francisco Business Times. After trying to develop mentorship programs on her own, she realized she’d be more effective partnering with like-minded individuals and organizations. She volunteered with the San Mateo Community Colleges Foundation before becoming a trustee and later board chair.

Sheila Dukas Janakos

For 30 years, Janakos has helped more than 100,000 Bay Area families with breastfeeding, she told the San Francisco Business Times. Her company helps outfit major companies with lactation rooms. In addition to being a member of a number of state and Bay Area nursing coalitions, she’s also lectured on infant nutrition and breastfeeding at a community college. 

Emily Kirsch

Kirsch is dedicated to addressing climate change by helping emerging alternative energy companies secure financing. She told the San Francisco Business Times that clean energy, in addition to mitigating the effects of climate change, stands to be one of the biggest wealth-generating opportunities for a new generation.