The Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI), the brainchild of the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee, was introduced at the political action committee’s 10th anniversary celebration in April of 2002.

Although conceived by the political action committee, LAAAWPPI is a separately organized, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the goal of preparing women for leadership in business, government and the community.

Hosted on the campus of the University of Southern California, LAAAWPPI offers a 10-week comprehensive educational institute for women interested in becoming more engaged in the public policy process and in pursuing careers and opportunities as government, civic, corporate and nonprofit leaders and members of boards and commissions.

The instructors for the classes include individuals who have distinguished themselves in the corporate, public policy and government arenas. LAAAWPPI graduated its inaugural class of 11 women in April 2004. It is now celebrating its fifth graduating class, and expresses pride in its more than 130 distinguished alumnae.

The organization recently held its Women in Action 10th Anniversary Celebration where it honored five women who exemplify the LAAAWPPI mission: Kristen Johnson, editor-in-chief of the UCLA Law Review; Fran Jemmott, principal and CEO of Jemmott Rollins Group Inc.; Areva Martin, founder/president of the Special Needs Network; Dr. Juanita Watts, regional coordinator of women’s health for Kaiser Permanente Southern California; and Natalie Cole, publisher and CEO of OurWeekly newspaper and founder of the Urban Media Foundation.

Radio personality Adai Lamar served as the mistress of ceremony.