Bakersfield’s Female Movers & Shakers

Meet Seven Women Impacting the Community


The Visionary

Karen Goh

Karen Goh graduated from Bakersfield High School and the University of Southern California where she received a degree in music. She then received a graduate degree in music education. After a career working for McGraw-Hill, Karen returned to Bakersfield in 2005 where she later became fifth district supervisor. In 2016, Karen was elected mayor.

Karen has an undying love for classical music. Since returning to Bakersfield, she has added Buck, Merle and Dwight to her regular playlist of Johann, Ludwig and Johannes.

She loves the caring, hardworking people of Bakersfield and envisions a city teeming with commerce, production and a lively arts scene, and with safe, clean and affordable neighborhoods governed by a responsive city government. Karen likes to say she’s always on the “Goh” and enjoys dining out—with an addiction to Killer Poke and local restaurants.


The Crusader

Colleen McGauley

Colleen McGauley has been executive director of CASA Kern County for 17 years. In that time, CASA has served more than 2,800 abused or neglected children. Her tireless advocacy and profoundly passionate voice have had a major impact on the lives of so many of Kern’s invisible children.

Colleen says that the experiences and paths of her early life, lead her to do what she calls her “God thing.” She has seen and felt the miracles that positive change can accomplish. Colleen is consumed with the mission to rescue children whose lives are at risk. Her wry Irish wit and infectious laugh punctuate some of her harrowing and tearful tales.

Colleen wants Bakersfield to know there are 72 children waiting for CASA’s help, and CASA is waiting for you.


The Groundbreaker

Laura Whitaker

Laura Whitaker is president of Castle & Cooke’s Mainland Communities Division where she oversees development of retail shopping centers, residential and active adult master planned communities, office developments, golf courses and water companies in several states across the country. Laura left her home state of Michigan after two years at the University of Michigan to join the Army during the Vietnam War, serving in Germany. She joined Tenneco and has worked for Castle & Cooke for 41 years.

Currently, she is a CSU Bakersfield Masters Alumna and serves on the foundation board of directors. She also is a charter board member of Honor Flights. She enjoys spending weekends with her son, AJ Whitaker, who is an aerospace engineer in San Diego, and with her rescue fur baby, Sophie.


The Woman in a Man’s World

Tracy Kiser

Tracy Kiser literally grew up in a man’s world. Her father, Herb Walker, started the men’s clothing store H. Walker’s in 1971 when Tracy was only 3. The family business was a home away from home for Tracy and her sister where she observed and learned the ropes.

Tracy knew that the road her father had forged during her childhood pointed to her future.

“It was really second nature to me,” she says about buying the business from her dad almost 20 years ago.

Tracy loves to cook, volunteer and spend time with her husband, Brian, and white Lab, Chloe.


The Doer

Erin Henderson

Erin Henderson is the creative tour de force behind eMedia Marketing Solutions. Erin followed the adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” She founded the advertising firm in 2010 and moved to the current location, 5016 California Ave., two years ago.

With a hand-selected creative team, eMedia services a wide range of clients. Erin has an invincible spirit and truly believes that anything is possible. She works hard to make things happen that will ensure success for her clients. Erin enjoys time with her family traveling to volleyball tournaments on weekends and time with furry child Maisie, a much-beloved labradoodle.


The Songbird-Entertainer

Kim McAbee-Carter

Kim McAbee-Carter has been an integral part of the Bakersfield music scene for almost 30 years as a featured vocalist with Buck Owens’ Buckaroos. She has recorded three albums with a fourth in the works.

Founders Kim and her husband, Kyle, wondered why Bakersfield didn’t have a music hall of fame. They wanted to honor the incredible musicians that played what became known as the Bakersfield Sound. They also wanted to build a first-class performance and recording venue with superb acoustics. Kim serves as director of the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, which recognizes and honors musicians of the past and hopes to inspire future artists.

“It has been a circuitous route, but God has led us here,” she says.


The Track Star

Shannon Webster, CPA

Shannon Webster was born and raised in Bakersfield with degrees from both Bakersfield College and California State University, Bakersfield. She serves as a director for Daniells Phillips Vaughn & Bock after starting as an intern in 2000. Shannon still loves her work and enjoys advising accounting clients on how best to meet the challenges that they face in today’s business climate.

She hails from a racing family, and her career is in Quarter Midgets—basically go-karts with a roll cage and seat belts. In 30 years of racing, she has compiled a long list of wins and was the first female driver to win multiple national championships in the Midget Division. Shannon is proud to serve on the board of directors of CASA Kern County.