Marj Plumb, DrPH, MNA Plumbline  
Home Services Philosophy Background

Director, Women's Policy Institute

“It is hard to imagine the Women’s Policy Institute without Marj. Her depth of knowledge, understanding of groups and how they function, and her fabulous sense of humor made the Institute one of the most valuable experiences I have had the pleasure of participating in. I learned so much from her--and it was so much fun besides!”

— Karen Shain, Co- Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Oakland, California

Having spent more than twenty- five years in senior management positions in nonprofit organizations, Marj was frustrated by public policy that was disconnected from real community need and by nonprofit leaders who mistakenly believed that "it was illegal for nonprofits to lobby." Marj found kindred spirits at the Women's Foundation of California and helped create the Women's Policy Institute (WPI).

Each year since 2003, the Women's Policy Institute has trained up to 30 California women community leaders to become skilled agents of statewide policy change.

Women's Policy Institute fellows are a diverse group by design. Each class reflects the geographic, racial, age, class, and sexual orientation diversity of California. Fellows bring varied advocacy experience working on a range of issues including: health, reproductive rights, environmental justice, and economic justice. Under Marj's leadership, a skilled faculty equips the fellows with expertise on the inner workings of the public policy process. Fellows learn how to research and draft legislation, testify at public hearings, and influence the state budget process. Marj also enhances fellows' skills in collaboration and team building.

During the program, women work in teams to develop and lobby California state legislation of their choosing with a mentor who is experienced in public policy work. The Women’s Policy Institute has yielded tremendous success. In the first eleven years, fellows have contributed significantly to the passage of twenty new laws in the areas of women’s health, safety and economic prosperity. And we’ve only just begun. But success for Institute fellows is measured less by the fate of these policy projects and more by the invaluable experiences gained from navigating the complex legislative process and building enduring relationships with elected and appointed officials.

Marj worked with organizations in five other states (New Jersey, Rhode Island, Georgia, Illinois and Wisconsin) to replicate the WPI in their states.

Plumbline Consulting & Coaching, Inc.
California & Nebraska
(510) 928-1959 • email



bills passed

state transformed

Watch this inspiring 6-minute video about the Women's Policy Institute
Listen to powerful personal and community change that happens when women learn how to write a bill, influence legislators and mobilize communities to pass proposed legislation.

Marj is interviewed, along with Kim Carter, Women's Policy Institute Fellow and Executive Director, Time for Change Foundation, Diana Spatz, Executive Director, Lifetime, and Judy Patrick, CEO, Women's Foundation of California.