Shaila Rao Mistry, AAUW Member

Personal Statement

My differentiating factor comes from leading my two entities Jayco MMI, an Aerospace company; and CEO/founder of STEM Institute. Concurrently my life’s mission is spearheading advancement of women, social impact, societal transformation and corporate social responsibility.

My experience includes strategic planning, finance, and budgeting, marketing, technology and governance combined with STEM experience of developing leaders and growing organizations, advocacy and fundraising. I bring these assets to achieving AAUW’s goals to attract funding, updating technology and building capacity to engage all sectors of members.

In collaboration with board and members, I will increase our influence and stature with high decision makers to earn recognition as the go-to organization. Together, we will attract much needed financial donors and engaged members, professionals, millennials and diversity. I serve on AAUW National Advancement committee and will own responsibility to open doors of opportunities for inclusive inter-generational leadership.

I bring extensive experience from serving on other boards including United Nations level, Signatory for Global Compact, CEO Steering group for SDG 6 Decent Work and Fair Pay, Internet Governance Forum for Internet Rights; State Department of General Services California; University of California; and UN Global CEO round table on Trafficking.  My advocacy includes passing legislation on Trafficking and later for Women on Boards. I have participated at every CSW since Beijing and spoken locally, statewide, nationally and globally.

I bring cutting edge role model leadership to the board, existing and prospective membership.

Exploratory Information

What is your vision for AAUW in the next 5-10 years?

My vision for AAUW is synergistic with my life’s work to advance the empowerment of women, both educational and economic. I see AAUW’s tremendous stature and opportunity to surge forward to meet the needs of growing numbers of aspiring professional women of all sectors.

By embracing innovation AAUW can build membership, infrastructure, and financial stability and make exponential progress in all our priority areas.  By updating and staying current with technologies and vision, we will attract more millennials, professional women and diversity, both existing and prospective members.  Implementing some of the following will move us from success to success.

 Vision Milestones:

  1. Clarify Mission, establish strong strategy, and execute
  2. Become the Number-One go-to organization for our priority areas
  3. Financial sustainability – overcoming the challenge of operational funding
  4. Build on our credibility, respect, and stature
  5. Stay current and innovating strategies and technology
  6. Partner education with economic empowerment and training
  7. Diversification to attract professionals, millennials, and diversity
  8. Become responsive to current trends for professionals
  9. Re-brand and becoming competitive in our core offering

Create solid strategies and map clear pathways to drive successful achievement of our goals.

As Board member how would you contribute to achieve AAUWs mission and Strategic plan

I bring innovation, cutting edge leadership and collaboration in the following ways:

  • My differentiating factor is the credibility I bring to the table through leading my technology entity, alongside my STEM-Institute experience to advance economic empowerment, social impact, humanitarian issues and advocacy. I am skilled in communicating critical issues on both sides to gain trust of potential donors, organizations, entities.
  • I am well versed in building partnerships and engaging different sectors, networking, and collaborating to earn support for AAUW. I bring my STEM-Institute experience, corporate partners, governance and advocacy committee and other high leadership service. I am bold in seeking support and funding.
  • I bring depth and breadth of experience, with a track record of consistent results in strategic development and organizational growth, building leadership, advancement – fund raising and public policy, governance, technology, and marketing.
  • I serve on the National Advancement Committee, and understand AAUW priorities and will work with AAUW leadership and members to engage professionals, millennials, and diversity to fast track our role as key influencers and number one go-to organization
  • As a technology and STEM leader I am innovative and collaborative on key projects such as updating technology platforms, websites, and accounting conversions.
  • I have excellent knowledge of current critical issues and savvy in advocacy and legislation.
  • Vision and strategic advancement of purpose, with ability to create strong programs and pathways to implementation.

Please describe your board and leadership experience

As Founder, President – CEO of two entities, I have extensive organizational experience in all aspects of leadership in strategy, finance, technology, legal, marketing, compliance, risk management, human resources, talent management, and accounting.

Jayco MMI – An Aerospace and Medical Device Company:  for 25+ years, a global entity serving Fortune 500 customers, with loyal suppliers and employees. STEM-Institute, a consulting entity, develops organizations and builds leadership, working with public, private, governmental, academia and NGO’s.

I serve on boards of notable governmental, significant nonprofits, university and public sector, bringing diverse compliment of perspectives. These include University of California, California State Dept. General Services California, National Association Of Women Business Owners, AAUW National Advancement Committee, UN Internet Governance Forum: Human Rights and Principles, Commissioner for City of Placentia; UN Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Additional Leadership highlights include

  • CEO Signatory and Participant – UN Global Compact: UN SDGs #8, #3 and #5
  • Worked on legislation on Trafficking , serve on CEO RoundTable on Trafficking
  • Worked on legislation on Women on Boards
  • Attended all CSWs since Beijing; including GEAR Campaign, UN Women
  • Global speaker on
  • Digital Literacy: House of Commons,  England
  • Human Rights and Digital Domain: UN IGF, India
  • Internet and the Millennials: UN WSIS, Tunisia
  • Social Responsibility and Social Impact: GSW, Australia
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Sacramento CA

Please describe your strategic planning, and finance and budget experience

I have cutting edge experience in all aspects of strategic planning, finance and budgeting. Leading both my business and social entrepreneurship entities meant full responsibility for strategic, financial and budget planning to innovate pathways with oversight and preparedness, for mission fulfillment.  All three are critical to staying successful and afloat. I have steered my entities through several economic cycles.

Concurrently I have held responsibility for these very functions on State and National boards, specifically serving on committees for corporate partners, governance, public policy and process audit, charged with raising funds for organizational and operational spend. I have consistent strong record of raising funds for nonprofit Foundation through developing partnership with private, public sector and non-profit entities. Working collaboratively, I can set objectives and strategize to achieve results.

Integral to strategic management are my other key responsibilities, including financial oversight and budget planning, governance, marketing & social media, public policy, fundraising and technology, each contributing factors of leading a successful organization.  Equally, I have experience in building infrastructure, managing loans, human resources laws, compliance and certification to ISO9001, AS9100 and ANSI 391.1, and global partnerships.

My two entities are synergistic in the mission for societal transformation, opening doors of opportunity for women, engaging millennials, and global and national advocacy.

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  1. Avatar Caroline Pickens says:

    Hi, Shaila–In your Vision Milestones, you have “Re-brand and becoming competitive in our core offering.” Could you tell us more about that and what steps you think AAUW should take to achieve that?

    • Avatar Shaila Rao Mistry says:

      Hi Caroline,
      As you know many of our communities of women are also members of other focused organizations offering specific benefits such as professional and career advancement, economic empowerment and also valuable peer-ship. AAUW already offers a lot in terms of education, scholarships and advocacy which are all key areas of interests for all these groups. However, AAUW is poised to embrace innovation as we face growing current challenges of return to work in the upcoming new normal. Whilst my suggested additions are not our core priorities, we may find that some expansion will enable us to rebrand and expand offerings to include:
      • Key elements of economic advancement and professional peer-ship and networking
      • Reaching out with intent to all diverse groups to attract/recruit showcasing our new offerings
      • Use of technology as a norm in communication and exchange of knowledge
      Thank you for both your questions. Shaila

  2. Avatar Caroline Pickens says:

    Could you tell us more about two of your Vision Milestones: (1) Diversification to attract professionals, millennials, and diversity, and (2) Re-brand and becoming competitive in our core offering? What steps do you think AAUW should take to achieve those?

  3. Avatar Michelle Higgins says:

    Membership seems to be an issue that many branches struggle with. Can you provide more details about your vision to attract more diverse potential members? In particular, a diverse membership that reflects the current population of women (e.g., socio-economic, racial, sexual orientation identities). Thanks!

    • Avatar Shaila Rao Mistry says:

      Hi Michelle,

      membership is vital to our future, given the intense competition we face from other focused organizations. We will advance in strides by becoming more relevant and providing critical voice and program to attract and retain members from all sectors including, millennial’s, diversity, socioeconomic groups, sexual orientations, differently abled and professionals. We do this with vision and foresight of current times, by embracing cutting edge technology and critically, combining this with the growing need for economic advancement. We add depth and breadth to our offerings and play an increasingly vital role in serving our communities during our current challenges and the upcoming rebuilding of the future.

      Diversity of thought is critical for the success of any organization. This is my vision, thought and action in running my entities, on the boards I serve and my community leadership roles. Leadership, education and diversity mean exclusivity in both decision making and participation levels. With transparent process, a normative shift and a mindset of understanding our leadership will
      mirror the membership and communities we serve.

      Thank you for your question !

  4. Avatar Deborah Simontacchi says:

    Would you advocate for men who identify as women, transgender women, to be allowed to participate In women’s competitive sports where their physiological advantages would give them an unfair advantage over biological females?

    • Avatar Shannon Wolfe says:

      AAUW Statement: AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity. Consistent with AAUW’s member-approved Public Policy Priorities (, AAUW strongly supports the Equality Act to ensure federal protections for all LGBTQ individuals. Our full letters supporting the Equality Act, as well as the statement we signed on to with several women’s organizations supporting full and equal access to participation in athletics for transgender people can be found here AAUW remains proud of our ongoing commitment to battle discrimination against all women and girls.

    • Avatar Shaila Rao Mistry says:

      Hi Deborah, as clarified in my response to the previous question, I believe in diversity, nondiscrimination, inclusiveness and participation by all. I believe in the AAUW mission goals and our AAUW policy priorities. Please also refer to the AAUW statement below clarifying the AAUW position on this important issue.
      Thank you for your question!

      • Avatar Deborah Simontacchi says:

        Thank you, Sheila, for your reply. I, too, believe in diversity, non discrimination, inclusiveness, and participation by all. Transgender women participating in women’s sports, however, is a different thing all together. Men are indisputably different physiologically than women, and many of those differences result in giving them an unfair advantage in sport competitions…more upper and lower body strength, larger lung/aerobic capacity, broader shoulders, heavier, taller, etc. That’s why there are separate competitions for men and women. Allowing men to participate in women’s sports is simply unfair. It deprives young girl athletes of wins, championships, scholarships, careers…it destroys their dreams. AAUW should be on the front line making sure that girls and women are treated fairly.

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