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

Jan Mittermeier
“Here is a woman who is older, probably had the means to retire, go off and travel, do some fun things, and she was working,” says Matz. “She had a strong voice, a strong opinion. She was eager to serve her community, eager to give back, and eager to support and be a model for other women and people.”
In addition to Wieder, Matz names Jan Mittermeier, who served as Orange County’s CEO from 1995 to 2000, as a regional pioneer. She’s credited for successfully directing the county’s recovery from financial ruin – the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Before that, she served as director of John Wayne Airport, overseeing a $310 million expansion that doubled annual airport capacity.
Mittermeier currently serves as senior vice president for Irvine-based Cofiroute USA, operator of the 91 Express Lanes, and as an executive council member for Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

The price of success

Werner Escher, a respected player in Orange County’s business community for the last 45 years, has seen firsthand the key role women have played in shaping the region. His involvement in the development of South Coast Plaza placed him in the epicenter of the county’s growth as a hub of commerce.

“A career path for women is no longer just relegated to education, to secretarial positions in business or in health care,” says Escher, executive director of domestic and international markets for Costa-Mesa based real estate empire C.J. Segerstrom & Sons. “The responsibility that women have taken in business is much more high profile.”
But opportunity came with a cost, says Mary Gilly, a professor at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

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