Women’s History Month
Celebrating Barbara Hannah, SBCERA’s Chief Counsel

March 28, 2024


As we continue celebrating Women’s History Month, we want to recognize our Chief Counsel, Barbara Hannah for making history as the first woman to serve as Chief Counsel at SBCERA.

Barbara’s journey to the role of Chief Counsel at SBCERA is a testament to her unparalleled dedication, expertise, and leadership. Breaking barriers, she became the first woman to hold this esteemed position in the organization’s history. Her journey is a testament to perseverance and passion, as she navigated a traditionally male-dominated field with grace and determination.

“Barbara’s guidance and sound judgment have been instrumental at SBCERA,” said Marc Bracco, SBCERA Board Chair. “She’s a trailblazer in both the legal profession and in San Bernardino County.”

Barbara is a long-term employee of SBCERA. Before becoming Chief Counsel, she joined SBCERA in 2005 in the Legal Services Department while attending the University Of La Verne, College of Law. After passing the California Bar Exam, she was promoted to Staff Attorney, where she was instrumental in implementing several procedures, and responsible for litigating appeals. In 2014, Barbara was promoted to Senior Staff Counsel, and in 2018, SBCERA appointed Ms. Hannah as Chief Counsel.

“I’m proud to lead as SBCERA’s Chief Counsel and understand the weight of responsibility entrusted in me,” said Barbara. “I’m determined to help pave the way for future women who I know will continue to shatter more ceilings in my lifetime.”

A native of San Bernardino County, Barbara is active in her community. In 2010, she became a founding member of the Inland Empire Legal Association of Women where she later served as the Chair of the By-Laws Committee and served on the Board of Directors.

Since 2008, Barbara dedicates time during the week as a volunteer attorney for the Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association (IELLA), a nonprofit organization that provides free legal aid serves to low-income residents of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Not only has she excelled in her profession, but she’s also become a symbol of empowerment and inspiration for women in the legal field and beyond. Barbara’s leadership at SBCERA not only embodies the spirit of Women’s History Month but also serves as possibility for future generations of women leaders.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means that I lead by example, but also growing with each experience. Above all, ensuring that each individual member on the team reaches their full potential while, importantly, achieving organizational goals. I am a firm believer that each person should be afforded the opportunity to expand their knowledge beyond what they do on a day-to-day basis. It is at this point that as a leader, I begin to unlock the potential of every person on my team and their ability to bring to the table more than what they thought they knew.

Throughout my time as a leader, the following quote has stayed with me:

“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” (President Barack Obama – July 12, 2006)

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the direction and growth of this organization over the last 18 years and to be a part of it all.

What drives you?

What drives me is to strive to make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of others.

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