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Diane Papan Recognizes Unsung Hero & Long Time San Mateo County Leader Nicole Fernandez as the 2024 Assembly District 21 Woman of the Year

For immediate release:
Assemblymember Papan and Nicole Fernandez Woman of the Year Photo

SAN MATEO – This year, Assemblymember Diane Papan (D-San Mateo) honored San Mateo resident Nicole Fernandez as the 21st Assembly District Woman of the Year.

“Nicole is a dynamic, results-driven, exceptional public servant and leader who has dedicated her talents and skills to serving the community for over 20 years.", said Assemblymember Papan. “It is my honor to recognize Nicole for her varied and selfless efforts.”

To mark Women’s History Month each member of the California Legislature elevates a woman for her outstanding achievements and contributions in their district. Fernandez was honored at the inaugural Women’s Power Breakfast hosted by Assemblymember Papan on March 1, 2024 at Skyline College.

As a kick-off to Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Diane Papan is thrilled to acknowledge, Nicole Fernandez. A lifelong San Mateo County resident, born at Mills Hospital and raised in Belmont, CA Nicole has dedicated herself to local public service. Fernandez is a first-generation American and the first person in her family to graduate from college.

A public servant having worked in or helmed the offices of Assemblymember Ira Ruskin, Senator Jerry Hill, and currently for Senator Josh Becker, Fernandez has led efforts to address numerous community priorities and in particular is a champion of elder abuse prevention services.

Nicole also serves on the Board of Directors for Samaritan House–the largest anti-poverty nonprofit in San Mateo County. Previously, Fernandez served as the first AAPI and Millennial chair of the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee and remains an elected member. Fernandez is a past member and chair of the City of San Mateo's Community Relations Commission.

In 2023, Fernandez was named one of the National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs 40 under 40, and was also previously named as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Fernandez is a graduate of the 2022 Coro’s Women in Leadership Program; 2020 graduate of the Chamber San Mateo County Leadership Program; a 2017 graduate of the Asian Pacific Islander Regional Leadership Academy; and the 2016 Community Leadership Academy for Green Foothills.

“It is an honor to be selected by Assemblymember Papan as the 2024 Woman of the Year,” said Fernandez. “San Mateo County raised me, it gave me everything I have today - my career, my friendships, and my support network. I am so lucky my amazing parents decided to settle in San Mateo County when they came here as immigrants in the early 80s, and it means everything to me that I’m being recognized for my service to San Mateo County.”