Venus Johnson, 32, deputy district attorney
Johnson serves on the Sexual Assault Unit, a four-person team that handles the county's most sensitive and serious child sexual assault cases. Over the past six years, she has put on more than 50 preliminary hearings and tried multiple felony cases to verdict, including a special circumstance murder case, as well as robbery, rape, residential burglary and assault with a firearm cases. Misdemeanor cases she's tried to verdict include those involving child abuse, domestic violence, prostitution, driving under the influence, stalking and possession of stolen property. Johnson co-founded the Oakland family child-care center, Betty's Children's Academy, where she remains on the board. She is currently the president of the Charles Houston Bar Association, which represents the African-American legal community throughout Northern California.
Word that best describes you?
Most interesting place you've traveled?
England. Because there is such value placed on the enjoyment of simple living, it constantly made me reflect on my life here in the United States and all that we have to be appreciative of.
What you'd do if you could take a year off?
For the first few months I would travel throughout the continents of Africa and Asia. I would then spend the greater part of the year in Liberia, my family's native country, with my mother to open a preschool that would hopefully become a model for education throughout the country.
Most unusual hobby?
A lawyer you admire?
Charlotte E. Ray. She was the first woman to graduate from Howard University School of Law, the first African-American woman lawyer in the United States and one of the first women admitted to the D.C. Bar. She was also the first woman permitted to argue cases in front of the United States Supreme Court. Her determination and fight in the 1870s have opened the doors for our present-day women leaders and will continue to open doors for future leaders for decades to come.