Dianne McKenna, a native of Pennsylvania, moved to the Silicon Valley in the 1960's. In 1977, she received her Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from San Jose State University. In that same year, McKenna was elected to the Sunnyvale City Council, where she served until 1984, with exception of the terms 1980-1981 and 1982-1983, when she was elected as the Mayor of Sunnyvale. In 1985, McKenna became the fifth woman elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, a position that she held until 1996. She led the successful merger of the Congestion Management Agency and the Transit District Board, and served as a guide for regional projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. McKenna was a founding member of Kids in Common, a collaborative children's advocacy program, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Children's Shelter, and chair of the Children and Youth Services Joint Conference Committee. She initiated recycling efforts as the Chair of the Solid Waste Commission of Santa Clara County, and in 1994, led the General Plan Review Advisory Committee to complete its work of reviewing and updating land use plans and policies.