Articles and Reports

  1. Democracy At Work Project:
    NAWBO OC Collaboration with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen ▪
  2. United Nations at Internet Governance Summit, India. NAWBO.
  3. The NAWBO Health Care Policy Working Group’s: Analysis of the Candidates’ Health Care Reform Plans.
  4. Partnering with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen
    August 2010
  5. CA Chamber Releases List of New Laws Affecting Businesses.
  6. NAWBO Public Policy Forum Launched.
    Report from United Nations -Commission on Status Of Women
  7. Public Policy Days Report – Sacramento NAWBO –CA Summit.
    NAWBO’s AB 1643 Measure Requiring Small Business Classification Study Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
  8. Legislative Key Contacts: What is a legislative key contact system?

Democracy at Work Project

NAWBO-OC Collaboration with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

The My Vote Democracy at Work Project invites businesses, state and local government, and nonprofit groups to help strengthen our democracy by engaging in nonpartisan outreach to encourage employees, customers and members to participate in elections. It offers ideas designed to spark creativity for spreading the word about voting, and recognizes the civic spirit of everyone who takes part by listing them on the Secretary of State’s website.

As the Election approaches; Secretary of State Debra Bowen is inviting you to join her to raise awareness about how easy it is to take part in elections. Following are some simple, nonpartisan ways you can communicate about registering to vote, voting and serving at the polls on Election Day.  You can visit website, email or text for info

Add a “MyVote Election Information” button to your website.

Link to Secretary of State’s voter page. Click on

Do you want to sign up to vote by mail? Visit

United Nations at Internet Governance Summit, India

Shaila Mistry represents NAWBO

Flying in two days after the Terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Public Policy Vice  President Shaila Mistry participated in United Nations Summit ,the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Hyderabad, India, She spoke on the Human Rights aspect of the internet .The main theme for the meeting was “internet Governance” for all. Despite many cancellation in light of the high alert declared in India and at all International airports, the Summit was well attended by 94 countries. An impressive array of world leaders and experts from the field presented insightful analysis on current issues surrounding the internet and cyberspace. There was a noticeable spirit of camaraderie and a determination to forge forward.

The IGF is a continuation of the World Summit on Information Society whose inception was in Geneva and Tunis in 2005 with the purpose of bringing together all the multi stake holders of Government, Private Sector and Civil Society to discuss internet as a resource. The other two summits were in Athens and Rio. The purpose of the IGF is a space for frank and enlightened debate, shaping and informing the decision-making processes.

The main themes in Hyderabad were: Reaching the Next Billion, Promoting Cyber-Security and Trust, Managing Critical Internet Resources and Emerging Issues – the Internet of Tomorrow and ‘Taking Stock and the Way Forward’. Following the usual format of parallel events with to the main sessions, were 87 workshops, best practice forums, dynamic coalition meetings and open forums.

Mistry’s particular interest is in the Human Rights element of the internet, particularly as it pertains to issues of privacy, security, accessibility and net neutrality. She notes that “The issues that we are concerned here in the global west are very different to those of the rest of the world. Being part of a global platform that shapes the future of such a critical resource truly brings home the privileges of access that we take for granted.” Mistry also notes ‘that for the first time the private sector is being heralded as a model for leading change and for policy development ” She will be publishing policy paper on The Internet and Human Right s. She has also been invited to speak at the United Nations, Commission on Status of Women, New York In March 2009. She will be speaking on Excellence in Governance from the view point of Internet as a resource for better governance and also on perspectives of leadership from the private sector. She may be contacted at

The NAWBO Health Care Policy Working Group’s Analysis of the Candidates’ Health Care Reform Plans

By Shaila Rao Mistry, VP Public Policy, NAWBO-OC, NAWBO National Health Task Force

The Health Care Policy Working Group has written this analysis with the goal of helping NAWBO members to better understand Senators Obama and McCain’s plans for expanding access to health insurance and reforming our health care system. Along with a summary of the key points, we have explained what we believe to be the positive and negative aspects of each plan. We have also suggested some bipartisan compromises that we hope could help reform move forward.

Material presented is a compilation of analysis emerging from task force discussion and other sources of published data. Readers are urged to purse points of interest with further research and study. Read Analysis (PDF)

Partnering with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

My Vote Democracy at Work Project

As the November 4 General Election is just around the corner, NAWBO-OC is invited to partner with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in a bid to get employers to lead with her in improving voter registration and turnout.

While 58 percent of the state’s registered voters took part in the February 5, 2008 Presidential Primary Election that represented only 40 percent of people who were eligible to vote. Since many Californians spend a significant amount of time at work, employers have a unique opportunity to help improve voter participation.

The MyVote Democracy At Work Project provides employers with simple tools they can use to spread the word about voting, including:

  • Nonpartisan, voting-related messages employers can add to the company newsletter, to emails or to employee paycheck stubs and inserts.
  • A “MyVote Election Information” website button employers can install on the company’s internal or external website.

The website button links to the Secretary of State’s voter education web page, where employees and customers can find out how to register to vote, vote by mail; be a poll worker on Election Day, get answers to frequently asked questions about voting, and much more. All this, plus the website button and instructions, is available at:

For a sampler of simple nonpartisan messages about voting employers can tailor to suit their needs, or to discuss other ways to inspire your employees and customers to take part in elections, please contact Arlene Pinzler of the MyVote Democracy At Work Project, at or call her at (213) 897-6225.

For more Information on Public Policy at NAWBO OC , please contact Shaila Rao Mistry or visit

CA Chamber Releases List of New Laws Affecting Businesses

The California Chamber of Commerce is urging employers to be aware of new laws now in effect or that will take effect in 2007. Business-related issues include discrimination, employment, health and safety, sexual harassment, state government; wages, wage deductions, worker’s comp. CLICK HERE for details.

NAWBO Public Policy Forum Launched

NAWBO’s new Public Policy Forum was launched at the national convention in San Francisco in June 2006. This forum seeks to leverage our credibility and expand our power and influence as women business owners. We can share the message that the nation’s 10.6 million women business owners are a powerful united force with significant economic influence and impact. But we do need to be willing to step up to the plate as an advocate. TAKE ACTION TODAY! The SBA has recently issued proposed regulations for a new program setting aside government contracts for women-owned businesses, the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Assistance Program. see RIN:3245-AE65 rule Our forum has been asked to develop a public comment about the proposed SBA rule. We are interested in hearing from you as we develop NAWBO’s comment. Please send your comments, concerns and opinions to Shaila Mistry, NAWBO–OC’s Public Policy Vice President.

Report from the United Nations (Commission on the Status Of Women)

Shaila Rao Mistry, NAWBO-OC’s VP of Public Policy and President of Jayco MMI, was an official delegate to the 50th Session of the United Nations Commission on Status of Women in New York. Shaila was part of a delegation of women representing 78 countries.

Her draft document on Women and Men in Decision Making (which is one of two main themes in discussion all week by 191 governments) was largely well received, but some key countries excluded her notations on “aging.”

She was able to include fundamental critical elements such as a women’s right to an independent vote free from duress. You may be interested in knowing that there are several European countries where women still do not have the vote. In many other countries there is a family vote and the head male casts this vote. Another key element that she crafted into the document was the participation of women in information and communication technologies both as a means and as a process to enable greater participation at high decision making levels. This comes from her background in participating in the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, Tunisia 2005. A report on Tunisia and the implications of ICT’s on the world will follow.

The document was prepared after reaching consensus among 150 official delegates from approximately 50 participating countries. As Chair of the Women and Men in Decision making Caucus, she reported daily to the Non-Governmental Organizations and Commission on Status of Women briefings in order to ensure due democratic transparency. She is still waiting on the outcome of the document.

All of the consensus building and discussion, reporting and document drafting were accomplished in FOUR days requiring 14-16 hour work days. During this time Shaila recalls the humorous story of her working in the UN library in desperate haste to meet the 12:00 p.m. governments’ deadline for this document. While in the act of working on two computers, the library terminal and her laptop, she was photographed. She was later told that her picture will be on the new UN library brochure with the caption “women and technology.” Contact Shaila for further information on Women in Trade and Business and on the efforts to reform the UN and appoint a woman as the next Secretary General.

Public Policy Update
by Shaila Mistry, VP Public Policy of NAWBO-OC

Influencing Public Policy is a challenging responsibility and privilege. As women business owners we bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, and we evaluate the implications of the distribution of power and resources differently. My mission is to influence core decision makers at the state, national, and international levels to create policies with greater sensitivity to business owners in general, and women in particular.

A practical example: Last month I was able to shape the policy and testify on the reform of the “restraining order” within the context of work place violence. Currently employers are required to take out an individual protection order for every employee that we are seeking protection for, which takes great administrative effort and expense. The reform, if passed, will mean that a whole work site may be defined as protected.

Public Policy Days Report

by Shaila Mistry, VP Public Policy of NAWBO-OC

Public Policy days in Sacramento this week was an amazing experience. At the guest speaker sessions I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Poochegian, the author of the Workers’ Compensation bill, some core questions on improving the philosophy underlying the business environment and workplace ethics. I also asked Director Henning, of the Employment Development Department, to describe the strategies used to ensure fraudulent applications for unemployment are weeded out.

During my visits to the State Capitol Building, I met with the staff of numerous legislators, including Margett, Huff, Ackermann, Benoit, Harmon, and Campbell. It was enlightening to have a personal meeting with Chang, and a conversation with Alercon. Many more legislators attended the reception in the evening, which was a huge success. I thought I was asking Legislator Saladan an interesting question when I pointed out that Indians from the subcontinent of India play a prominent role in all the key occupations—such as medical, business, and public accounting—but not in politics. Her response was turn the question around, and ask me why my people did not participate. Ladies, I will be entering into a dialogue with her.

Later, in the Governor’s offices, I posed this same question in a slightly different way to Richard Costigan III, the Governor’s Legislative Affairs Secretary. I asked him what he would say to a room full of erudite business women to convince us to run for election. I was delighted by the honesty of his answer in describing some of the hazards associated with political office.

The grand finale was the surprise visit by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. I was struck by his intelligence, sincerity and down-to-earth manner. He spoke very candidly about the polarization of the House on most issues, and his efforts to bring them together. He touched on the effort to reduce the hemorrhaging of public funds in California. He seemed very comfortable in his role, and was very complementary about what we were trying to do. We were truly honored to meet him.

NAWBO-OC appreciates the presence of Metropolitan Water District and other sponsors who were present in full support. For me, making friends at Public Policy Days was reminiscent of friendships made on the first day of school. I have returned with renewed plans to establish better links with the legislators and to keep contact with the Governor’s Office.

NAWBO’s AB 1643 Measure Requiring Small Business Classification Study Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger

Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation by Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) that is an important step in the State’s efforts to spur economic growth, job creation and expansion of small and micro-businesses. As small businesses are the backbone of California’s economy, it is imperative that the State pursue policies that make it easier to expand the number of small business opportunities for those with the entrepreneurial spirit. The Governor’s approval of this measure demonstrates his commitment to helping small business.

Assembly Bill 1643 requires the Employment Development Department (EDD) to conduct a study on the number of small businesses that have erroneously been classified as employees instead of independent contractors. AB 1643 requires EDD to analyze the impact of employee misclassification tax audits on small and micro-businesses. The analysis would be conducted at very minimal cost and findings and any recommendations would be reported to the Legislature by July 1, 2006. In addition, AB 1643 also requires EDD to develop small business educational events and materials that explain the department’s employee versus independent contractor determination process

“Studying the misclassification of the small business owners to evaluate the current determination process is a big first step in State administration and oversight of small businesses,” said the Assemblyman. “Resolving misclassifications takes a toll on entrepreneurs as they must spend a great deal of time to defend themselves during EDD audits, which causes their businesses to suffer.”

The misclassification of employees presents huge challenges for small businesses as the employee designation requires compliance with several State and federal anti-discrimination and safe workplace laws. In contrast, the independent contractor classification does not have the same legal requirements.

Sponsored by NAWBO-California, the measure also enjoyed the support of telecommunications giant SBC, Inc., the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Sacramento Urban League. AB 1643 will go into effect on January 1, 2005. For more information on this measure or any other legislation, please visit the Assembly’s webpage at

Legislative Key Contacts
What is a legislative key contact system?

This simply means that every Orange County elected official will be assigned one NAWBO-OC member to serve as their primary contact person for NAWBO-OC. The key contact’s role will be to establish and maintain communication with their assigned elected official. Over time, the member should become the “face of NAWBO-OC” to that particular legislator.

By establishing a Key Contact System, NAWBO-OC will be able to effectively mobilize its membership in regards to vital legislative issues and concerns (i.e., AB 1643) and have our voices heard! Advocacy is the only way to prevent future anti-business legislation from being signed into law. Because AB 1643 will be our legislative priority, we urgently need to assign a NAWBO-OC member to each of the State Senators and State Assembly members that represent Orange County.

Coming soon! Orange County legislators and their respective NAWBO-OC key contacts. If you’re interested in becoming a key contact for any of the legislators who don’t have one, or if you already have an established relationship with a particular legislator, please contact Shaila Mistry, 951-738-2000.