Women's Leadership Council

Community Woman of Distinction

We are proud to recognize Julie Packard as our current Community Woman of Distinction Honoree.

Julie Packard is founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a leading voice for science-based policy reform in support of a healthy global ocean.

Under her leadership, the aquarium has pioneered innovative exhibits and education initiatives, and engaged on ocean issues ranging from sustainable global fisheries and aquaculture to plastic pollution, climate change, and science-based conservation of marine wildlife and ecosystems, including sea otters, sharks and bluefin tuna.

She is a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and chairs the board of the independent Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a leader in deep ocean science and technology. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she has received the Audubon Medal for Conservation, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Hero award. She is featured in the National Portrait Gallery.

She serves on the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, working to implement comprehensive reform of U.S. ocean policy. She has addressed ocean issues at international conferences, including the World Trade Organization and Global Climate Action Summit.

Packard earned bachelors and master’s degrees in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on marine algae.


The Women's Leadership Council inaugurated the distinction in 2017 to honor a woman in the tri-county area who:

  • Represents the mission and goals of the Women's Leadership Council
  • Demonstrates support to CSUMB
  • Serves as a model to students
  • Demonstrates a commitment to community service

Members of the Women's Leadership Council nominate and the advisory committee reviews and selects.

Past recipients

  • Bertie Bialek Elliott (2020)
  • Helen Rucker (2019)
  • Anna Caballero (2018)
  • Mary Kay Crockett (2017)