Gil Mansergh – MAN of ACTION™


A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this awakened male energy who tells us:

‘I believe that being a Man of Action™ is in my genes.’

I have worked to improve opportunities for children and families.





Gil Mansergh


‘I believe that being a Man of Action™ is in my genes.’

As annotated in my novel, The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill, my short, spectacle-wearing mother was raised to be ladylike by her suffragist, feminist mother�but not to take any guff.

At the same time, her foot-doctor father not only taught her to hunt, fish, swim, and smoke a cigar, but also insisted that she could do anything she set her mind to do. So when the seventh grade schoolyard bully wouldn�t stop taunting her best friend Tibby Bloomberg, Virginia used the uppercut she learned in secret boxing lessons, to lay the bully out flat on the sidewalk.

Raised by my parents to �not just stand by, but make things better,� I have worked to improve opportunities for children and families throughout my adult life.

This has been aided by the help, encouragement and training of some truly amazing women.


My mentor at Stanford was the dynamic educator Dr. Edith Dowley, Director of the Psychology and Education Departments� on-campus laboratory�the Bing Nursery School. Starting with an �observation class� (where my fellow psychology students and I watched children and adult interactions through one-way mirrors).

I ended up as a researcher and teaching assistant at the school. Dr. Dowley was a pioneer of child-centered architecture, multi-aged classrooms of children from diverse cultures, and mainstreaming children with special needs. She also advocated parenting classes for all families in the school.

In March of my Junior year, I fell in love with Karen Millis and since she was at Mills College in Oakland, I courted her with weekend visits and telephone calls. After we got married in December, opportunity knocked when the fledgling Head Start Program began a pilot project in nearby East Palo Alto. Since a male teacher was rare in preschool settings, Dr. Dowley made sure I was involved from the start in this groundbreaking Federally funded program.


After earning my BA in Psychology, I became the Director of the Migrant Day Care and Head Start/State Preschool facility run by the San Benito Board of Education in Hollister, California. One of the things I quickly learned is how 4-or5-year-olds were often the best English language speakers in a migrant family, and often served as the family�s translators. With parents working from sunrise to sunset six days a week, the center was open from 5:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Breakfast, lunches and two snacks were provided, children took naps after lunch, and I implemented many of the ideas pioneered by Dr. Dowley at the �Flash Peak� Day Care Center.

The brand new building had tables, chairs, a commercial kitchen and a nurse�s office, but supplies were limited to hundreds of reams of colorful construction paper, and dozens of cans of poster paint. Resourceful, my Head Teacher Mariana Pilario and the other teachers and I collected cardboard cartons to make play structures, shopped garage sales for arts and crafts supplies, toys, and musical instruments, and solicited donations from local churches. Through creativity and hard work, Hollister�s �Flash Peak Center� was named one of the �Top Ten Federally Funded Child Care Programs� in the country. But this honor was topped by the birth of my first son, Daniel.


I returned to school to earn my Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology. Working as a teacher/instructor at the SFSU on-campus, laboratory preschool while pursuing my degree, I was fortunate to have Human Life Span Specialist Dr. Becky White Loewy as an advisor for my thesis measuring childhood creativity in multicultural preschool children.


With Governor Ronald Reagan�s signature still wet on my diploma, my wife and son and I headed east to Indiana University at Bloomington.

I chose this school for my doctoral studies because I was able to create a multidisciplinary curriculum by taking classes from different schools and colleges on campus. I taught preschool administration and co-wrote textbooks as an instructor my first year, and was a researcher/staff writer at the IU Institute for Child Study the last three years.

At the same time, I became the founding director of the innovative Bloomington Developmental Learning Center (BCLC), which is still operating today.

My dedicated and politically savvy Head Teacher Roberta McClosky and I worked with Indiana University to place students from such diverse majors as Music, Dance, Film, Physical Education, Philosophy, and Gender Studies to offer their unique skill set as work/study teachers, at the BDLC.

Other multicultural experiences and educational programs were provided with support from the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Rundraranda Ashram, the Monroe County 4Cs, the City of Bloomington, the State of Indiana, and several Federal (CETA) training grants. When my wife told me she wanted to have our new baby girl in San Francisco, we moved back to California as soon as I completed my doctoral exams in Educational Psychology/Human Development.


I was hired as Executive Director of a 41 classroom Head Start/State Preschool program in the South Bay/Harbor Districts of Los Angeles County. I consolidated the three kitchens and two administrative offices to a single, centrally located facility in Carson, CA, opened two of the classrooms as demonstration/teaching laboratories, created a Head Start /ECE teacher certification program in conjunction with Harbor College, and once again earned a �Ten Best Federally Funded Child Care Programs� accolade. I became an advocate for Head Start children and families through orchestrated lobbying efforts with Local, State and Federal Agencies and Politicians, and was elected to the Board of the National Head Start Director�s Association.


After TV�s 60 Minutes investigated our regional funding source, the LA County Schools temporarily took charge of all 38 Head Start State Preschool programs in the LA basin and I became an independent consultant to several nonprofit agencies in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. One of these was the YWCA-LA, whose CEO, Winifred Hessinger, hired me as their Program Development Officer.

Over a nine year period, I created programs and wrote funding grants with the YWCA-LA Staff, Members, Board, and Volunteers to create: The Women�s Career Development Training Project, the Infant Care Center at San Fernando High School, the Job Corps refunding and expansion to the Hollywood Studio Club, garnered ongoing State Dept. of Education Funding for child care programs at the Angeles Mesa and North Valley Branches, created a pilot program in the West LA Branch teaching women and girls self-defense techniques to thwart predators, and wrote the grant, developed, created, tested and trained facilitators for the role-playing, teen-sexuality education program Choices or Chances?

This multi-faceted program became the basis for an Emmy nominated, ABC-TV Documentary entitled Sweet 16 and Pregnant, and I was featured facilitating the game on camera with students at Vallejo High School.

When the National Board of the YWCA adopted Choices or Chances for use at YWCAs and YMCAs across the country, I travelled to regional offices to train facilitators, implement the program, and revise the educational manual in response to the AIDS crisis. Just before I moved my family north to Sebastopol, Winifred Hessinger presented me an Honorary Lifetime Membership in the YWCA�one of a very select number of men to earn this accolade.


When Sarah and (four years later), Seth, were infants, my wife became actively involved in the local La Leche League, the volunteer-based support network for breastfeeding mothers. I attended the �for fathers� meetings and potlucks, volunteered for the Redondo Beach/South Bay Branch, and served on a father�s panel at the Southern California/Nevada LLL Conference in Anaheim.

Launched in 1956 by seven Chicago-area mothers, the LLL organization had grown to become the largest volunteer self-help group in the world, but the now aging founders needed some assitance. Recuited by Jody Nathanson as a paid consultant to the LLL International Board of Directors, I facilitated making structural changes, including recruiting a CPA as the organization�s CFO, and establishing consistent fiscal guidelines for all Branches. These policies insured continuation of the LLL�s 501c3 nonprofit status as an educational organization in the USA, and eventually provided the fiscal safeguards so UNICEF could invite LLL to be their breastfeeding consultant worldwide.


Now living and working from Sebastopol, I joined Redwood Writers, the local branch of the California Writer�s Club. Inspired by club president, Barbara Truax, I entered a writing contest and won first prize�a weekend at the CWC Conference at Asilomar.

It was there I learned that the fourteen books and manuals I created for the YWCA-LA made me a writer and I immediately changed my business cards to reflect this skill. I became very active in the CWC, serving as President of the Redwood Branch and on the CWC State Board of Directors where I drafted new bylaws that expanded the membership categories to include youth members as well as self-published authors, bloggers, columnists, and technical writers.

I was hired by the CWC as director of their prestigious Asilomar Writers Conference for five years in row. With support from the CWC Board, I made the conference more diverse, female-friendly, and international in scope with writers, editors and publishers from several continents.

Faculty included Pulitzer Prize winning biographer A. Scott Berg (Lindbergh), NYTimes bestseller Olivia Goldsmith (First Wives Club), psychologist and sex educator Lonnie Barbach. (The Erotic Edge, The Pause: Positive Approaches to Premenopause and Menopause), Disney cartoonists, screenwriters and Oscar winning directors John Musker and Jon Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), and PEN Award winning novelist Gail Tsukiyama (Women of the Silk, The Samurai�s Garden).

I was honored with a Jack London Service Award by the CWC in 2004.


Starting as the Educational Correspondent for my local newspaper, in 1995, my editor asked me to become their movie columnist. The first movie I wrote about was the Australian feminist filmMuriel�s Wedding, and since then, I have championed films and movie themes impacting women in print and on the radio.

My Cinema Toast mini reviews were broadcast on KRSH-FM for over ten years, and now appear as weekly newspaper columns and an online blog. With Barbara Truax�s recommendation, the entrepreneurial psychotherapist Patti Nolan, approached me to give the keynote address at a conference for licensed MFTs and LCSWs. Patti�s concept was to share the powerful imagery of Hollywood films in mental health settings. Labeling her new business FilmTX (TX is shorthand for therapy), the multi-media presentation I gave on �How Alfred Hitchcock�s Childhood Fears Shaped His Films,� was featured in the SF Chronicle and other Bay Area newspapers.

A year later, Patti hired me as her new firm�s Director of Education, and I quickly worked with the CA State Office of Mandatory Continuing Education for Psychologists (MCEP) to offer CE certification for licensed Psychologists as well as MFTs, LCSWs and Mental Health Nurses. At the same time, I successfully began the multi-year application process for certification ofFilmTX seminars by the American Psychological Association.

By combining my experience as a psychological educator and encyclopedic knowledge of films, I researched, wrote, and presented thirteen different day-long seminar curriculums utilizing Hollywood film clips as clinical vignettes. I trained additional faculty members to present my curriculums, and thousands of licensed mental health professionals attended FilmTx seminars at colleges and universities across California. Topics included: Professional Ethics and the Law, Parenting Teens, Spousal/Partner Abuse, Eating Disorders & Body Image, and Aging & Long Term Care.


In 2007, KRCB-FM station manager Robin Pressman offered me the opportunity to host and produce the hour-long Word By Word: Conversations With Writers show on the Sonoma County NPR affiliate.

Since the very beginning, I have carefully chosen the authors and books featured on my show. Astute listeners are aware that more than the lions-share of featured writers are women, and the list of authors reveals that diversity of subject-matter is also important.

I have been fortunate to have conversations with: award-winning children�s authors Megan McDonald, Gennifer Choldenko and Terri Sloat, Jamaican-born fantasy novelist Margaret Cezair-Thompson, Chinese-born, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Yiyun Li, pioneer news broadcaster Belva Davis, end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it novelists Karen Thompson Walker and Jean Hegland, biographers Karen Abbott, and Michelle Moran, filmmakers Emiko Omori, and Nancy Kelly, first time authors Amanda McTigue and Patricia V. Davis, and the professional actors who read winning essays written by local elementary, high school and college students from the �Books are�� contest I created and judged for KRCB and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.


As mentioned above, one of my guests on my Word By Word radio show was the visionary and energetic, author, blogger and publisher Patricia V. Davis.

I first met Patricia after a �Hitchcock’s 13 Writing Secrets� presentation I gave to Marin Writers.

She invited me to the launch of her Harlots Sauce memoir, and I invited Patricia to talk about her book on my Word By Word: Conversations With Writers broadcast.

We subsequently worked on several projects including the Redwood Writers Conference in Santa Rosa, the California Writers Club 100th Anniversary Celebration at Book Passage, the Capital City Young Writers Conference, and the first Women’s Power Strategy Conference.

Impressed with Patricia’s drive, vision, energy and creativity, I chose her, and Harper Davis Publishing for my first novel, The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill.

As an added honor, Patricia has invited me to be the only male on the committee for the 2nd annual Women�s PowerStrategy Conference.

Scheduled for June 15th at Santa Rosa�s Wells Fargo Center for the Arts to benefit Girls Inc.

The conference is once again gathering leaders from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise to educate and inspire women of all ages to believe and invest in their own talents, skills and potential.

What’s Being Said About this “Marvelous” Debut Novel:

“I read The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill with my 57-year-old eyes and sensibilities. I have no doubt I would have loved it as much had I been 17, or 77. Young Virginia – known as Ginny, or “Pet” – chronicles a year of her life, in 1921-1922 Massachusetts, in the form of class essays. Her voice is as full of commonsense, personality, humanism and care as it is free from sentiment or smugness.

Getting pulled into Pet’s world, as she goes from precocious child to awareness of herself becoming a woman, made me understand why so many people are fascinated by genealogy: I came out the other end with a visceral sense of the years leading up to where she begins her journals. Pet’s memories of the horrors of 1918, with its pandemic of Spanish Flu and the miseries and deprivations of the First World War, are as real and evocative as her memories of sharing secrets with her best friend. Even more vivid is her need to hide her greatest secret: her possession of the Sight, the ability to foretell love, birth and death.

This book is like stepping into a classic Saturday Evening Post cover, or a painting by Andrew Wyeth: a lost America brought to breathing life with a loving and assured hand. It’s a rare novel that manages to combine a vivid world view, an exquisite glimpse into an earlier time, and a narrative voice that’s as clear and consistent as it is engaging. To find that mixture in a first novel is nearly unique in my experience as a reader. With The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill, first-time novelist Gilbert Mansergh has pulled all that off, and more.”

Deborah Grabien, author of The Haunted Ballad series and the JP Kinkaid Chronicles

Photo by Traci Wrycza

Gilbert Mansergh interviews A Band of Wives founder Christine Bronstein at the first Women�s PowerStrategy Conference in March, 2012.


Prolific writer, novelist, psychological educator and international expert on utilizing Hollywood film clips as educational tools,Gilbert is also an accomplished keynote speaker, master teacher, seminar leader and workshop facilitator.

Gilbert Mansergh
• Writer of family stories based novels The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingill and Hollywood Beau
• Co writer of bestselling A Short Course In International Trade Documentation for World Trade Press
• Writer and creator for a dozen different APA-certified Continuing Education curriculums presented to thousands of licensed Psychologists through FilmTX
• Director of the prestigious California Writers Club Conference at Asilomar for five years.
• Writer and developer of the innovative “Choices or Chances?” teen sexuality education program used by YWCA’s nationwide

Gilbert is also a syndicated film columnist and blogger, and the host, writer and producer of Word By Word: Conversations With Writers on Sonoma County NPR affiliate, KRCB-FM.

Profile photo – Gilbert Mansergh in front of 1901 oil painting by G.T. Margesen, Photo by HL Zinda

A Celebration of Women™

is honored to welcome this powerhouse into our Alumni of MEN of ACTION™

and are elated to have him now here to help the Women of our World, ( and the men, too!)



Bravo Gil!


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