Six years ago, Malia Cohen was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch of the City’s local government. She represents the southeast corner of San Francisco, District 10, home to more than 70,000 constituents living in neighborhoods like Bayview Hunters Point, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and Visitacion Valley. District 10 also served as home to Malia, who grew up in the area she now represents.

In her job Malia also serves as county supervisor (as San Francisco is both a city and a county). Her job is simple, yet complex: Solve problems. One of those problems? Along with her other 10 elected colleagues, determine who gets how much of San Francisco’s $9 billion budget.

Malia also serves as chair of the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, as vice chair of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System, as a member of the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee and on the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board. During her tenure she’s spearheaded efforts to develop policies and legislation that provides improved transparency with limited services pregnancy centers, regulated background checks by employers and affordable housing providers, led homeownership investment for San Francisco’s middle class and also authored ordinances for firearm regulation.


  • A Moment Like This: The moment (in third grade!) when Malia just knew she was meant to work in public service.

  • What Running In A Political Campaign Feels Like: “You kind of have to be tough about it,” she says, “and I would encourage any woman that is interested in running for office to definitely not talk herself out of it.”

  • Political Warm-Up: Malia discusses her involvement in Emerge California, an organization she discovered in 2003 while working on the first mayoral campaign for Gavin Newsom. She credits the organization, which helps women who identify as Democrat with a crash course in politics, for helping her get her start.

  • Discipline And Delayed Gratification: Find out how this instilled philosophy applies to where Malia is now.

  • Yes, You CAN Get Involved: “I don’t want people to get caught up in, ‘I don’t have the education. I don’t have the background, or the connections or the network. Or, I don’t have the pedigree.’ I mean I don’t come from any of that. I don’t come from a wealthy family. I don’t come from a well-connected political family in San Francisco. I am a woman of color that really worked hard developed a strategy early on and really implemented the strategy.”

  • Kitchen Cabinet: Why you need a strong advisory board.

  • Cross-Industry Career Advice: “You can’t be afraid to ask questions.”

  • On Women In Politics: “We need to lift as we climb,” Malia says.

  • On Legacy: Malia hopes to be remembered for her time serving as Supervisor as being fair, compassionate, approachable and extremely thoughtful – a person who did not shy away from conflict, fear or intimidation.

  • On Twitter: Follow her @MaliaCohen.