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pioneers of women's business, continued ...Published: March 01, 2010

Harriett Wieder
“I never thought of them as obstacles I faced. It was just the way things were,” says Dunn. Women like Harriett Wieder broke the glass ceiling.”
Wieder, who died in January at the age of 89, set female precedents where none existed. She served as the county’s first and only female supervisor from 1979 to 1995, debating issues from health care to pollution to domestic violence, while simultaneously inspiring and infuriating her contemporaries.
“I am convinced it is because of Harriett that I went into land development – because of her strong leadership and the examples that she set,” says Dunn, who worked with Wieder on forming the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.
A Toronto-born and Detroit-raised mother-of-two, Wieder was a Republican who supported President Bill Clinton and staunchly opposed her party’s stance against abortion rights. She even beat a recall attempt in 1987. She faced more controversy when it was discovered that the journalism degree she claimed to have earned was a fabrication.
Despite it all, Wieder – who spent her later years involved in charity work – is still credited with aiding important reforms in the region, including a county ordinance in the early 1990s banning gifts to supervisors and their aides – a long-sought measure and the strongest of its kind in the state.
She also was a driving force behind Cal-Optima, the billion-dollar community-organized health-care system for the less fortunate, launched in 1995. And she was involved in the founding of a number of organizations still in existence today: the Orange County Water Task Force, the eight-county Southern California Water Committee, the first Visitor’s Guide to Orange County and the county’s Office of Protocol.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade & Investment Policy. Later, she served as president of Newport Beach- based private consulting business Linkage, and as vice president of the International Women’s Forum, among other influential posts.
Matz worked with Wieder on the California Corporate Board Registry from 1999 to 2001. While inactive now, it was created to match women and minority candidates with corporations that wanted to diversify their boards.

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