I am proud to be included in this group of women in business from Orange County Business Journal. What an amazing group of accomplishments in one list.
THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS PROGRAM is designed to recognize Orange County women who have made impactful contributions to their professions as well as within their communities. Their tenacity and drive have established, nurtured, guided and transformed countless successful businesses. Women are influential members of the OC business community, whether in the corporate, entrepreneurial or not-for-profit sector. With 93,406 women-owned businesses in 2007, Orange County ranked 6th among counties nationwide according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
This is the perfect opportunity to recognize clients or business associates who have distinguished themselves through their determination, resolve, and achievements.
I'd like to share the list of nominees with you:
Stephanie Adriana is an award-winning photographer, author and speaker. Her work has been featured in magazines and can be found in galleries throughout the country. Outside of her continued quest for the perfect picture, she shares her knowledge and her expertise with others through her books, classes and workshops. Her passion is “capturing true emotion.” In addition to her professional duties, Stephanie is active in the Orange County community acting as a crusader for numerous nonprofits including Project Spirit, Alzheimerʼs Association, and Mission Hospital.
Aylin Aker, President Aylin Aker Inc., Newport Beach
Aylin Aker has been a private fine jewelry designer in Newport Beach for 20 years, designing and manufacturing spectacular one-of-a-kind pieces for her private clients and celebrities such as Halle Berry and Barbra Streisand. Following her extensive training in the industry as a GIA graduate gemologist and artist, Aylin has concentrated her efforts in building her sought-after wholesale and referral-only jewelry design firm. She vehemently refuses to charge her clients retail prices by keeping her company private. In addition to her work with jewelry, she seeks out small, productive charities that are close to her heart. Sheʼs raised funds for and donated to nature and wildlife conservancies while starting her own grassroots organization that takes a hands-on approach to stopping the poaching of wildlife in foreign countries.
Kristen Allison, President Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, Irvine
When Kristen Mauger Allison acquired Burnham Benefits Insurance Services in 1995, she initiated a strategy that would allow her to become a Southern California market leader providing Fortune 500-level resources while retaining the expertise and creativity of a boutique consulting brokerage. Kristen and her staff manage more than $400 million in premiums and the company has grown an impressive 20% annually for the past ten years, adding offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, Oregon and the Washington, DC, metro area. Attesting to Burnhamʼs focus, client retention is over 97% compared to the industry standard of 85%. Kristen gives generously to the community in Orange County, where she lives and works. As a self-made woman, sheʼs always conscious of her ability to help others follow in her footsteps to achieve success. Burnham has charitable work built into its core, both in financial and participatory projects. The company matches employee donations to charities up to $500 to encourage the entire staff to take an active role in making Orange County a better place.
Gina Alshuler, President Rauxa Direct, Costa Mesa
Gina Alshuler began her career with Rauxa in 2001, and during her tenure has guided the advertising and marketing agency to $75 million in annual revenue for an average year-over-year growth rate of 39%. She has been a key player in the growth and expansion of the agency. Under her leadership, the agency has grown from one office with 20 employees to three offices with more than 140 employees. As president, Gina oversees agency sales and operations. She has generated substantial growth for her clients, including a more than 50% sales growth for Verizon Wireless South Region. In addition to establishing paid volunteer leave benefits for employees at Rauxa, Gina is active in the charitable events in which the agency participates, including the Orange County Arthritis Walk. She also contributes to the American Red Cross of Orange County. Rauxa is an integrated marketing agency that has represented some of the most well-known brands in the country, including Verizon Wireless, Chase, Disney, Sears, Farmers Insurance, and DirecTV.
Diane Altwies, CEO Core Performance Concepts, Inc., Mission Viejo
Diane Altwies is the CEO of Core Performance Concepts, Inc. (CPC), a training and consulting firm, whose focus is on making quality curriculum available to everyone for life-long learning through strong business partnerships with universities and training organizations. Diane has over 25 years managing software development projects, and a proven track record of delivering completed projects to the marketplace through effective leadership of multi-disciplinary teams with a strong customer focus. Her expertise is in evaluating business processes to determine and quantify the value-added and non-value added processes. She creates achievable plans to eliminate waste in operations taking into consideration the total cost of delivery to the customer. She is an author of three books and has developed PMP® exam preparation materials which are licensed to PMI Chapters throughout the U.S and to individuals and corporations around the world. She is an active member of PMI Orange County, where she served as the marketing director in 2004 - 2005 when the PMI-Orange County chapter was awarded the PMI-Chapter of the Year.
Marisa Alvarado, Director of Advanced Estate and Gift Taxation Haskell & White LLP, Irvine
Marisa Alvarado is a great example of a woman achieving high-level career growth in business and accounting. Not only has she served as managing director for RSM McGladrey and McGladrey & Pullen, she has also run her own successful estate and gift taxation practice prior to joining Haskell & White. Marisaʼs greatest strength, and consistently her primary focus, is the ability to artfully blend 25 years of investment portfolio, insurance policy and entity structuring experience with a sound knowledge of tax techniques to produce the best results for her clients. Marisa has served on the board of directors for the California State University Fullerton Family Business Council, as the secretary of the Greater Palm Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the Latin Business Association and has volunteered for Girls Inc. of Orange County. Haskell & White LLP is one of Southern Californiaʼs largest independently owned accounting, auditing and tax consulting firms.
Kerry Johnson Anthony, President Susanʼs Healthy Gourmet/LifeSpring Nutrition/Xan Confections, Irvine
Kerry Johnson Anthony is successfully managing and growing three companies as president of Susanʼs Healthy Gourmet, LifeSpring Nutrition, and Xan Confections. An integral part of Susanʼs since the company started delivering fresh, healthy calorie controlled meals to homes and offices in 1996, she worked in nearly every position before being appointed president. Under her leadership, combined annual revenue for the three companies has exceeded $10 million. Kerry is also responsible for fostering a collaborative company culture, creating an exceptionally high employee retention rate. She has made marked contributions to the healthy food and chocolate industries, including playing an integral role in the formulation and marketing of Xanʼs new line of CocoXan “chocolates with benefits,” upscale truffles infused with fortified ingredients such as DHA and CoQ10. Kerry is also a fledgling philanthropist, committed to helping various local causes, such as CHOC Follies, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and organizations benefiting disadvantaged women and girls.
Lily Arevalo, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Corporate Ingram Micro Inc., Santa Ana
Lily Arevalo is a key legal advisor and business leader for Ingram Microʼs finance/controllership, treasury, tax and legal, HR, investor relations and corporate communication teams. Lily is a key business leader often called upon for counsel on strategic business projects even outside her day-to-day responsibilities because of her demonstrated intelligence, creativity and being a voice of reason and calming influence amidst storms and challenges. Her impactful contributions have led to multiple regional and corporate awards of excellence from Ingram Micro. Along with her professional duties, Lily is a supporter of Ingram Microʼs philanthropic activities in the Orange County community. She volunteers at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and provides pro bono legal advice for the American Corporate Counsel SoCal Onsite Pro Bono Clinic. Ingram Micro is the worldʼs largest wholesale distributor of IT products and services, with sales exceeding $34.5 billion in fiscal 2010.
Belinda Bain, President California Hazardous, Santa Ana
Belinda Bain started California Hazardous Services out of her garage, and now 23 years later, the company hauls several different hazardous waste streams including, but not limited to, oils, flammables, acids, corrosives and solids. California Hazardous also performs compliance testing on the entire fueling systems and handles repairs to them including the piping and removal of underground fuel storage tanks. As a visionary and contributor to the industry in many different ways, Belinda has also designed and patented “The Soil Surgeon,” a hydro excavating tool, and a second product called “The Miracle Sump Sealing Kit.” More than 2,000 Soil Surgeon hydro-excavation tubes now are in use by contractors and local governments throughout North America, helping users to safely and efficiently pothole for inspection of buried cable, valves and pipe and excavate for new construction and repairs.
Ellen Bancroft, Partner Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Irvine
Ellen Bancroft is a partner and head of the California Corporate department at the global law firm Dorsey & Whitney. Ellenʼs practice includes a broad range of corporate and securities transactional matters, Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory matters, NYSE and Nasdaq compliance matters, general corporate counseling, and corporate governance compliance. She represents issuers and underwriters in initial public offerings and registered follow-on and secondary public offerings. In her career, Ellen has worked on more than 35 public company offerings, helping raise more than $1 billion. She has worked on more than 50 public and private acquisitions ranging in size from several million dollars to over $1 billion. Ellen dedicates her time to serving her clients and giving back to Orange Countyʼs business community. She is a member of the University of California, Irvine, CEO Roundtable. In addition, she is a member of the Orange County Bar Associationʼs Corporate Section, the Association for Corporate Growth, and Forum for Corporate
Mirna Bard, Instructor & Consultant NuReach Global, Costa Mesa
Mirna Bard is more than a highly regarded marketing expert. She is a consultant, a mentor, a coach, an educator, an entrepreneur, an author, a keynote speaker and a tenacious learner. Her dedication to herself, her business and the people who surround her has resulted in incredible things. Within the last 14 years, she has achieved important milestones without allowing obstacles to deter her success. She has a thirst for knowledge and a passion for learning. Her success is due in part to her loyalty and commitment to the people with whom she works. A social media/search engine optimization guru, Mirna educates many companies globally on the ever-changing world of social media and SEO. Her clients increase their online transparency and see a minimum 30%-100% increase in monthly website visitors, resulting in new business. She’s also an instructor of social media at the University of California, Irvine.
Corinne Baughman, Partner & Office Tax Leader Moss Adams LLP, Irvine
As the office tax leader at Moss Adams, Corinne Baughman is responsible for personnel development, risk management, sales and marketing, and other administrative requirements of department. Corinne is deeply involved in the coaching and counseling of the staff in the tax department, ensuring that people are continually giving and receiving performance feedback, providing recognition, setting their goals and progressing appropriately. Corinne is also an important role model for the women in the office. The sole female partner in the Orange County office for some time, she is a great mentor to other women as they face challenges presented by the public accounting profession. Corinne is an avid philanthropist; she not only sits on the board of the Moss Adams Foundation, but is also the founder of the Moss Adams Team for Charity in the Orange County office. Independently, Corinne frequently takes a hands-on approach to community service, spending time with students and speaking with them at the university and high school level.
Leah Beal, Vice President, Financial Center Manager Citizens Business Bank, Laguna Beach
Leah Beal has been in the financial industry for over thirty years. Her current position as financial center manager for Citizens Business Bank holds the responsibilities of developing private and commercial clients and managing relationships for the top echelon of principals and companies within Orange County. Prior to joining Citizens Business Bank, Leah was a district manager for Comerica Bank in Irvine, a senior vice president and division manager for the HOA Division of Sunwest Bank and spent nearly thirteen years at Union Bank. Leahʼs professional accolades include Chairmanʼs Circle, Presidents Club and Business Person and Business of the Year in San Juan Capistrano. Leah has been actively involved as both board member and president of the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce. Leah remains deeply involved in the local community, serving on the many Human Optionsʼ committees. She has a true allegiance to nonprofits focusing on the education and growth of young women and families.
Ruth Bedi, Co-owner Prego Ristorante, Irvine
Husband-and-wife team Tony and Ruth Bedi took ownership of Irvineʼs Prego Ristorante in hopes of restoring its status as one of Orange Countyʼs top dining destinations. From replacing the floors and changing the upholstery to adding a sports bar and new restrooms, they remodeled and refurbished the entire space. Since that time Prego has received fine dining awards from the Restaurant Writersʼ Assocation and the Wine and Food Society of Southern California. While attending Colorado State University, Ruth studied abroad at La Varenne, a famed culinary school in France. There, she had the opportunity to learn some cooking techniques and have lunch with Julia Child. Under Ruthʼs leadership, Prego has once again turned into an Orange County culinary destination.
Zaynab Behzadnia, Principal Lucid Fusion, Irvine
Zaynab Behzadnia has a rich and diverse background with more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and public relations. She joined Lucid Fusion in 2005 as partner and executive vice president of marketing and business development to grow the company to a full-service new media marketing agency that fuses traditional and digital marketing solutions. Her experience allowed the company to grow organically from two entrepreneurs and a foldout table to a talented team of 20, providing a loyal clientele with award-winning strategies. Zaynab has directed and developed numerous award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for clients including the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, Research in Motion, Sage, BaccHus Development, UCI and PowerBalance. In 2007 she spearheaded the launch of Lucid Fusion Public Relations. A resident of Irvine since 1984, Zaynab serves on the board of directors of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.
Jessica Pakzad Bennett, Owner & Founder Jessica Bennett Interiors Inc., Costa Mesa
Newport Beach native Jessica Pakzad Bennett is known for a style that reflects her constantly discerning eye and her commitment to making quality interior design accessible to young professionals and families. Jessica excels at maximizing the potential hidden in her clientsʼ homes, creating a place they can live, work, and play in ultimate pride and comfort. Spending her childhood and teen years tagging along with famed designerbuilder parents Fari and Melinda Pakzad, Jessica undoubtedly knew one day she would follow in their designing footsteps. Jessica attended USCʼs Marshall School of Business, graduating Magna Cum Laude with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial Studies. Throughout college, Jessica worked at family-owned Ebanista, a nationwide chain of high-end-to-the-trade home furnishings showrooms. Ultimately she took over as their business and operations manager and ran the business for four years. Jessica remains grounded in her everyday life, carving out time to give back to the community through organizations such as the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Girls Inc. of Orange County.
Anna Lisa Biason, Director of Fund Development Legal Aid Society of Orange County and Community Legal Services in Southeast Los Angeles County, Santa Ana
As the director of fund development at LASOC, Anna Lisa Biason manages the organizationʼs resource development and marketing initiatives. She identifies, develops and manages local, statewide and nationwide strategic partnerships with the private, public and nonprofit sectors. In addition, her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, creating new program initiatives that fulfill LASOCʼs mission and overseeing all aspects of an aggressive annual grants program. Due to her various efforts, LASOC saw a 27% increase in revenue in 2010. In the community Anna Lisa has served as a member of many organizations including the Social Enterprise Leadership Forum, Orange County Department of Education Academic Decathlon Board of Directors, and the the Orange County United Way. LASOC has been providing free and affordable legal services to eligible low- and moderate-income individuals and seniors in all 34 cities and unincorporated areas in Orange County and 18 cities in southeast Los Angeles County.
Kathryn “Kathie” Bloomfield, Business Development Director Hill Partnership Architects Inc., Newport Beach
As business development director at the architectural firm Hill Partnership Inc., Kathryn Bloomfield has spent the past 11 years helping to form key alliances with individuals who lead and influence the industry – including individuals who may be difficult to reach. Equal parts assertive, optimistic and professional, Kathie draws upon her communications background to develop unique marketing ideas and garner new business for the more than 30-year old company, which focuses primarily on institutional projects and service to public clients in the healthcare, education and civic arenas. She attends regional and national industry conferences and continues to develop positive recognition for HPI. Kathryn continually challenges herself, and she recently earned her Certified Professional Services Marketer certification. Her passion for fulfilling oneʼs potential also is evident in her service as president-elect for the Orange County chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, a national group dedicated to education and mentorship of young people who want to explore careers in the architecture, engineering and construction industries.
Jennifer Irrgang Bojorquez, Partner Troutman Sanders LLP, Irvine
Jennifer Bojorquez counsels lenders, developers and investors on a variety of real estate and real estate finance transactions, including loan originations, loan modifications and workouts, note sales and purchases and REO sales and purchases involving resorts, residential developments, master planned communities, and commercial and industrial buildings. Through her experience representing clients on complex development and redevelopment projects and on troubled loan transactions, Jennifer has gained an invaluable understanding of structuring, negotiating and documenting acquisition, disposition and finance transactions. Jennifer was recognized for her work in her selection as a Southern California “Rising Star” in Real Estate by Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine in 2007. In Orange County, Jennifer frequently presents seminars to clients on a variety of real estate and real estate finance issues and also serves on the Board of Directors of Human Options. Troutman Sanders is an international law firm with more than 650 lawyers and 16 offices in North America, Europe and Asia.
Sherri Bovino, President & CEO Global, a 1st Flagship Company, Irvine
As president and CEO of 1st Flagship Company, Sherri Bovino ensures her companies deliver competency, innovation and superior performance to all her customers. 1st Flagshipʼs diverse businesses include Global Government Services, Global Human Resources Outsourcing, and Global WalkStyles. These businesses provide quality service contracting to the Navy, Air Force, Army, Department of Labor, as well as private commercial companies. The company brings a legacy of 40 years of high performance in over $700 million of contract work since 1964. Sherri built her business, with over $40 million in revenue, by servicing government contracts. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Sherri also enjoys her philanthropic work in the community. Currently, she co-chairs Orange County United Wayʼs Womenʼs Philanthropy Fund and supports several other organizations that focus on helping women and children achieve self-sufficiency. In 2010, Sherri was honored by the Orange County Girl Scouts, and was named the Orange County Entrepreneur of the Year.
Pat Bush, President Apricot Lane of Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
After a successful career in the corporate world in a variety of industries including healthcare, hospitality and technology, Pat Bush entered the world of retailing. Looking for new frontiers, and armed with experience from the demanding challenges of her previous business ventures, she decided to conquer a new industry. Those who know her will attest to the fact that this has been Patʼs modus operandi throughout her business life: test the boundaries, try new things, and follow your inspiration. Apricot Lane is the only specialty retail franchise to offer branded fashion apparel, jewelry, handbags, accessories and gifts in the styles and trends customers are looking for. Apricot Lane provides the most cutting-edge, celebrity-inspired designs for women of all ages. As socially-aware corporate citizens, many of the brands found at Apricot Lane are made using sustainable fabrics.
Missy Bystrom, President The Organized Connection, Ladera Ranch
Missy Bystrom is an author, speaker, and leading personal organizer in Orange County. For more than 24 years, Missy has been putting things in order in homes and businesses. The key to her success is in understanding and intentionally creating balance in all that she encounters. The Organized Connection was born in 2006 when Missy and her family moved to Orange County. Since then she has had the opportunity to serve a wide range of households, high-profile clientele, businesses and groups. Within her community, Missy has been involved and supportive of numerous nonprofit groups including the American Cancer Society, World Vision, Ladera Ranch Education Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She is also a member of National Association of Professional Organizers, the Womenʼs Speaker Association, For You Network, the Ladera Rancho Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Female Executives.
Lee Ann Canaday, Owner & Broker Canaday Group RE, Laguna Beach
With more than 30 years of experience in the business of luxury residential real estate, Lee Ann Canaday has sold well over $1 billion in property. Her annual sales have soared as high as $175 million and, during the peak of the market several years back, she closed more than $45 million in sales over a two-week period. As the owner of RE/MAX Fine Homes, a franchise with locations in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, Lee Ann has led her team to its place among the top 20 real estate producers in the United States and the top four producers in California in 2010. She is also the recipient of RE/MAXʼs highest honor, the Diamond Award. Within the community, Lee Ann serves as a member of the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce, the Sales and Marketing Council of Southern California and the Daughters of the American Revolution, among many others.
Antonella Castro, Associate, Real Estate Department, Paul Hastings, Costa Mesa
Antonella Castroʼs professional practice at Paul Hastings includes a wide variety of real estate transactions, including construction, development, leasing, acquisition and disposition, project finance and joint ventures. Antonellaʼs client list includes public companies, institutional investors, private equity firms, developers, tenants and individual investors. Antonella is active in the Orange County community, currently serving as a member of organizations such as KAP7 International and Canyon Acres Children and Family Services. She is also the vice chair of Orange County United Wayʼs Women Looking Forward. In addition, Antonella provides pro bono legal services to Mercy House and serves as an attorney mentor to UC Irvine School of Law students. She is also an active member of the Urban Land Instituteʼs Young Leadersʼ Group and NAIOP.
Jennifer Cavender, CPA Haskell & White LLP, Irvine
Jennifer Cavender, CPA, remains a consistent and notable asset of Haskell & White LLP, one of the largest independently owned accounting, auditing and tax consulting firms in Southern California. As the engagement manager, Jennifer is responsible for supervising staff and delivering exceptional service to clients. Having been with Haskell & White for more than a decade, Jennifer continues to demonstrate her commitment not only to the firm, but also to her clients in the life science, manufacturing and nonprofit sectors by providing them strategic support and guidance. Jennifer supports future accountants by serving on the board of directors for the accounting chapter of the CSUF Alumni Association and the American Society of Women Accountants Orange County Chapter. Jennifer goes beyond merely contributing accounting services, but also is actively involved in several nonprofit organizations, including March of Dimes, Abundant Life Church of God and the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Daphnie Chakran, CEO & President Spectrum Scientific Inc., Irvine
Daphnie Chakran is the CEO and president of SSI – a small business manufacturing holographic gratings and spectrometers and R&D engineering for next-generation nano-technology devices. Daphnie has been a fixture in the photonics industry for over 15 years holding positions in organizations such as the OSA (Optical Society of America). She also volunteers and helps with organizing events/training within the community, in efforts to introduce optics/science to kids. Daphnie has a degree in optical engineering from the University of La Verne.
Nomi Channapragada-Bui, CEO One Stop Beauty Supply & Salon Inc., Huntington Beach
As CEO of One Stop Beauty Supply & Salon, Nomi Channapragada-Buiʼs list of accomplishments is long. She has expanded payroll budget over 430% since 2001, grew one storefront location to three in just six years time, and increased sales per year by a double-digit percentage. In effort to help others realize their dreams, Nomi has also implemented three programs to launch young talent into careers. The programs are Apprenticeship to Learn, Internship to Earn, and Jr. Entrepreneur. In addition, she initiated continued educational courses to the community through complimentary hands-on events for teens, women and men. She has also been a guest speaker on Critical Mass for Business: The Radio Show, which is hosted by Richard Franzi to educate the public on the principles that guide her business. Nomi gives back to the community by supporting organizations such as Women Helping Women, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Human Options.
Michelle Chavoor, Marketing Manager Real Office Centers, Newport Beach
Michelle Chavoor is the marketing and sales manager for Real Office Centers, a new executive suite located in Newport Beach. Michelle has been in the executive suites industry for the past eight years, being previously employed by the largest executive suite company in the world. The expertise she brings to Real Office Centers is an asset not only for the company but for the suiteʼs members as well. Cognizant of the fact that people are the most valuable part of any organization, Michelle will be the first to say that the most important part of her position is not just to lease four walls and a desk, but to lease a place that embraces the human component. She believes in creating an environment that fosters support, genuine concern and care.
Melinda Clark, CEO Luxuriant LLC, Santa Ana
Born and raised in a small town in Oregon, Melinda Clarkʼs family always focused on recycling, gardening, canning their own foodstuffs and making soap. With more than a decade of natural-based product formulating experience, Melinda now acts as CEO of Luxuriant. Before starting the company in 2004, Melinda began a privatelyowned business, Luxury Body Products, selling mainly to spas and salons. With this experience Melinda has formulated customized natural products for some of the largest cosmetic companies in the world, including Estee Lauder, all with a unique eye for natural, organic, efficacious products that todayʼs savvy customer wants, while incorporating consumer-friendly containers and skin-friendly ingredients. Melinda has been featured on the Discovery Channel, the radio show Critical Mass, and has been published in Hands On Image, Hollywood Beauty Secrets, and Critical Mass: The Guiding Principles.
Ronda Clark, Executive Vice President Jones Lang LaSalle, Irvine
With more than 20 years of commercial real estate market experience, Ronda Clark serves as executive vice president for the Orange County office of Jones Lang LaSalle, a leading global financial services firm specializing in real estate. In this role Ronda specializes in corporate services for both account representation and complex corporate requirements. Rondaʼs strength is her ability to deliver consistent service and results to her clients including KPMG, CalOptima and Cox Communications. She is one of Orange Countyʼs most active commercial real estate brokers, having completed more than 200 deals since 2009. Ronda is active in the industry currently serving on the Board of Directors for the SoCal Chapter of NAIOP. She is also an active participant of CoreNet, attending educational classes, regional meetings and the National Summits. Ronda is an avid supporter of Providence Speech and Hearing in Orange County, Habitat for Humanity, The German Shepherd Coastal Rescue and the American Cancer Society.
Lorraine Conaway, Partner Conaway & Conaway, Brea
Lorraine Conaway began her career in the financial-planning industry in 1990 and has survived as well as thrived in what long had been a male-dominated environment. Over the years, the financial strategist has invested a significant amount of her time and money learning and developing cutting-edge wealth-management strategies for clients at her and her husbandʼs firm, Conaway & Conaway, whose client base includes entrepreneurs, real estate investors, charitable organizations, families and individuals. Lorraine obtained certification in Planned Giving from Cal State Long Beach and designation as a Certified Retirement Counselor; and in 1995 she established her Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow. Lorraineʼs partner in life also is her partner in business, and together they have raised millions of dollars for charity, with strategies to redirect to charitable groups what normally would go to the IRS. Lorraine is also a past advisory board member of United Care, Inc., a foster-care agency.
Nicole Conniff, Vice President of Marketing Irvine Company Apartment Communities, Irvine
Nicole Conniff is responsible for all marketing and advertising within the Apartments Division, which has a portfolio of more than 40,000 apartment homes located in desirable coastal California cities. While serving at Irvine Company, Nicole successfully launched 26 brand new apartment communities, mobile websites and mobile apps, social media strategy, internet advertising strategy, email marketing program, event marketing discipline and a robust customer relationship management (CRM) program and new technology implementation. Concurrently, she optimized and reallocated advertising budgets resulting in a reduction in the average cost per lease of 28%. Since joining the company more than seven years ago, Nicole has blazed new trails and established a new benchmark in the multifamily industry for the marketing discipline, process, measurement and effectiveness. Nicole has been formally recognized by several multifamily industry associations and web marketing associations for her contributions. Nicole is a marketing and advertising instructor at the Art Institute of California and serves on the marketing board for St. Edward the Confessor Parish School.
Rosemarie Correia, President & CEO Systems Source Inc., Irvine
With $5,000, one product line, and a vision, Rosemarie Correia founded Systems Source in 1982. As president and CEO of Systems Source, Rosemarie is solely responsible for the companyʼs day-to-day operations. In her position, she is known for effectively communicating ideas and creating enthusiasm and motivation among both clients and employees. The list of awards Rosemarie has received for her work is extensive and includes recognition as the #1 dealer in the nation by the Kimball Office. Within her community, Rosemarie is active with various charities which include, but are not limited to, The Friends of Dorothy Guild-AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, American Red Cross, Adult Day Services of Orange County, and Best Buddies International. Today, Systems Source has an annual turnover in excess of $80 million in office furnishings and services and represents over 300 manufacturers and thousands of product lines.
Kathy Dahl Crifasi, Founder Hipzbag, San Clemente
A shift in the world – namely, the worldʼs attachment to cell phones – inspired Kathy Dahl Crifasi to create a fashion-forward answer to the fanny pack. Tired of misplacing her mobile phone, Kathy wanted a way to keep it close by, but not at the expense of her fashion sensibilities. The Information Technology entrepreneur soon saw the dilemma as a business opportunity. Kathy spent a year bringing her idea to fruition and launched Hipzbag at a gifting suite for the 2010 Academy Awards. Kathy knew she was onto something when her daughtersʼ teenage friends began clamoring for the compact bag. The Hipzbag, which comes with a waist strap and also hooks onto the wearerʼs belt loops, is now available in stores and at Hipzbag.com. The product was featured as a celebrity pick in OK! Magazine and was a recent favorite at QVC. Plans are underway for Hipzbags to be available for sale at Targetʼs website, Target.com.
Barbara DʼAmato, President & CEO Trilogy Capital Corporation, Newport Beach
Ever since starting her own company, Barbara DʼAmato has had a mission to focus most of her work on funding transactions that are of global significance. Under Barbaraʼs guidance, Trilogy Capital completed a $400 million transaction which funded six large water facilities in Iraq, part of a “historical milestone” in providing the first bottled water manufactured and produced for the United States Military in the Middle East. As a result of this transaction, the owners have redeployed project cash flows to help rebuild 14 schools in Iraq, employed thousands locally, fueling the reconstruction efforts in the region and providing for a better standard of living. Barbara is also working on bio-agriculture and farming projects to end famine in Ethiopia. Locally, Barbara is an avid supporter of organizations such as Orange County Financial Forum, Childrenʼs Museum of Orange County, and the United Way among many others. Trilogy Capital is a boutique investment banking firm providing mid-sized and large companies with superior corporate financial solutions.
Laura Davick, President Emeritus, Director of Public Affairs & Founder Crystal Cove Alliance, Newport Coast
As founder and president emeritus of the Crystal Cove Alliance (CCA), Laura Davick spearheaded a campaign to prevent a planned luxury resort from taking over Crystal Cove. Laura proposed an alternative to keep the Coveʼs cottages totally intact through restoration and included a combination of affordable overnight rentals and educational uses. Today, CCA has become one of the most successful publicprivate partnership models in the history of the California State Park system. As the director of public affairs, Laura continues to fight for sustainability of the Cove – CCA now has 13 new educational programs, launched the Park & Marine Research Facility to build critical conservation programs and raised $4.8 million for the second phase of restoration within the historic district. Her dedication and perseverance has brought tremendous success for the Cove and has bolstered the mission to by preserve the past, enjoy the present and educate for the future.
Lidija Davidson, Principal Sift, Cipher & Bloom LLC, Laguna Niguel
Lidija Davidson launched her business, Sift, Cipher & Bloom, just one short year ago, and yet within that time she has already helped over half a dozen clients grow their businesses by helping them speak to their customers with ideas and products that their customers understand and desire. Lidija has helped one 700-restaurant chain develop, position and test a brand-new line of desserts, which has been so successful in testing that the company has significantly accelerated its rollout of this initiative. A review of Lidijaʼs accomplishments would not be complete without including the work she has done forTaco Bell. As a consultant for a former employee of the company, Lidija developed, tested and launched over 30 new products, including a value menu which helped Taco Bell gross over $600 million in sales in its first six weeks post-launch. Outside of her professional duties, Lidija has dedicated her time and efforts at Share Our Selves, repackaging and distributing bags filled with produce, meats, dairy products, breads and canned goods to those in need.
Kathy Dawson, President Dawson & Dawson Inc., Mission Viejo
Kathy Dawson started the professional staffing and recruiting company Dawson & Dawson from a spare room in her Aliso Viejo home in 2008, servicing local placements. The company has since relocated and expanded in scope to support regional and national market searches and placements, providing staffing support for all levels of company positions and departments. Kathy has spent nearly three decades in the staffing/recruiting industry and is a common fixture in many networking organizations that help provide employment to people in transition. She currently is president of the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, one of the largest such chapters in the country. Kathy also supports Working Wardrobes, a group that helps people prepare to enter the workforce and to dress the part.
Linda Dixon, Associate Vice Chancellor of Advancement Brandman University, Irvine
Linda Dixonʼs duty as associate vice chancellor of advancement is to communicate to the community the importance of a college degree and the challenges faced by adults who seek to obtain a degree or augment their education while working full time and raising families. Working with Chancellor Gary Brahm, Linda pioneered the advancement initiative at Brandman University. Before her time at Brandman University, Linda spent 13 years in fund raising for organizations including Chapman University, Planned Parenthood, and the Ocean Institute and Pacific Symphony. Linda vibrantly serves her community through volunteerism and has served on the board of the Costa Mesa Senior Center. An animal lover and humane advocate, Linda found support and was able to receive approval to build a dog park in Costa Mesa. Linda is currently serving or has served on the board of many organizations including Girls Inc., Environmental Nature Center, the Library Foundation, and the Irvine Chamber of Commerce among others. Formerly known as Chapman University College, Brandman is a private, nonprofit university for nontraditional students – adult learners.
Martis Duarte, Owner Mars Hair Studio, Costa Mesa
Martis Duarte is an accomplished hair colorist and educator who is driven by an incredible passion for self-expression. According to OCʼs Daily Pilot, Martis “brings a little color not just to hair but into peopleʼs lives.” A born fashionista, Martis is inspired by everything from sitting front row at a fashion show to looking out her window from her car as she zips around town. Mars Hair Studio is a salon that individualizes the look of each of their clients. Each stylist specializes in their craft. Their services include cutting, styling, coloring and different hair treatments which include everything from relaxers to keratin treatment.
Barbara Eidson, Community Relations Manager Island Hotel Newport Beach, Newport Beach
Barbara Eidson, a seasoned hospitality executive, has been a stalwart of the Newport Beach community for over 20 years. Known for her unwavering enthusiasm and enduring community spirit, she currently is the dedicated community relations manager for The Resort at Pelican Hill and Island Hotel Newport Beach, where she directs all community outreach for both luxury properties, monitoring community activities and maintaining crucial relationships with countless important organizations. Barbara serves on the advisory board of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and on the boards of directors of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, Children’s Bureau of Orange County and the Women of Chapman, an organization supporting student scholarships directed toward the development of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. She also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Linda Elder, President Mattson Resources, Costa Mesa
Linda Elder has over 25 years of experience in the staffing/recruiting industry. As president, Linda is responsible for Mattsonʼs overall day-to-day operations and executive oversight. Prior to founding Mattson, she served as the executive vice president of West Coast Operations for Headway Corporate Resources. Beloved by many clients, she is known for putting herself in the clientʼs shoes and for not having the word “no” in her vocabulary. Dedicated to her co-workers, Linda always makes herself available to mentor recruiters. Dedicating her time and efforts in the community, Linda is constantly giving back. She strongly supports local school and sports teams in Orange County, and is always the first to donate anything that is needed or asked of her. Beyond Orange County, Linda is also an advocate for many health & wellness support groups nationwide. Mattson Resources provides premier staffing solutions for businesses throughout Orange County and Southern California.
Sharon Epps, National Facilities Manager Advantage Sales & Marketing, Irvine
Sharon Epps joined Crown Sales and Marketing (eventually acquired by Advantage Sales and Marketing) in 1994 and worked as executive assistant to the chairman and CEO. She has since served as executive assistant to the chairman and CEO of ASM. In addition to her responsibilities as executive assistant, Sharon successfully led the corporate relocation project in 1996, moving 195 employees to a new location. Sharon implemented and managed every aspect of the relocation including conceptual design, project development, logistics, and project budget. In 2009, ASM relocated its national headquarters to a new office under her direction. Since that time, Sharonʼs role has expanded to include managing all of ASMʼs office moves and closures across the nation, as well as creating new office standards for office design, construction, and furniture. Sharon has been involved in charity work with the Olive Crest in Santa Ana for over 20 years. Annually she organizes a company effort to provide the Olive Crest children with Easter baskets, Halloween candy, and Christmas presents.
Kelly Fallucca, President & Consultant Kelly A. Fallucca Consulting, Newport Beach
Kelly Fallucca started her consulting company after several years of working with entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and small to medium-size companies spanning many different industries. She discovered a true passion for collaborating with like-minded people to create new and dynamic solutions for everyday business challenges. Kelly is unique in the fact that she has expertise in multiple disciplines. For the past several years Kelly has utilized her marketing and business development talents as a consultant for companies such as Non Surgical Medical Group, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, and Tustin and Huntington Beach Mazda. In addition to marketing and business development projects, Kelly has a sincere commitment to training. In the past Kelly has developed and delivered sales training programs to audiences ranging from small collaborative groups to forums of over 500 people. In the community, Kelly offers free motivational training sessions to organizations to increase productivity and morale of their employees.
Annette Feliciani, President AEF Systems Consulting Inc., Orange
Annette Feliciani is president of AEF Systems Consulting, a professional consulting firm that specializes in providing a full range of management consulting services to both the public and the private sector. She started the firm in January of 1992 and since then has successfully managed a staff where the focus has been on a balance of work and family life. In effort to promote this balance, Annette created the “Family First” program to allow employees to have the best of both worlds – a great work environment while enjoying a wonderful home life. Annette is an active alumna of Cal State Fullerton and is currently chair of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation. She has also donated her time and efforts as a volunteer at numerous organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Susan G. Komen, Working Wardrobes and Second Harvest.
Trina Fleming, Director of Operations WHW (Women Helping Women/Men2Work), Santa Ana
Trina Fleming started as the director of operations at WHW in July 2010 after making the decision to pursue a career within the nonprofit sector. As director of operations, she is charged with enhancing and maintaining internal organization processes, as well as developing mutually beneficial relationships with community partners that will allow WHW to fulfill its mission. During her time at WHW, Trina has made numerous impactful contributions. Some of her accomplishments include updating processes for database management to ensure that constituent information is captured accurately and efficiently, managing a $70,000 relocation and construction project that increased square footage of facilities from 4,000 to 8,000, and increasing the organizationʼs donor base by 40 individuals in six months. While working in the nonprofit industry, Trina has also been instrumental in helping generate tremendous exposure for two of the nonprofit organizations where she volunteers, the National Association of Women Business Owners and Executive Womenʼs Golf Association. WHW is a non-profit organization that empowers low-income individuals to attain economic self-sufficiency through employment success.
Kerstin Florian, Founder & President Kerstin Florian International, Lake Forest
Kerstin Florian, a native of Sweden, has a rich and varied background in the art of well-being. At 12 years old, Kerstin knew that her life would involve the synergy of beauty and nature and finding a way to provide this for others. Acting upon her goals of bringing beauty and nature together and being far ahead of its time in the field of mind/body fitness, Kerstin built her own day spa at the Surf & Sand Hotel in 1978. Nearly ten years and three expansions later, Kerstin began to focus on teaching others the real source of inner health and outer beauty. It was then that she began a spa consulting business with a client list that included Sonoma Mission Inn, the Bonaventure Spa, and the Marriott Desert Springs. Today Kerstin Florian International has proven its success with the top spas in the United States and around the world. Kerstinʼs success has garnered her several prestigious awards and recognitions. Kerstin is an active member of the Orange County community, supporting several local charities, schools and shelters.
Lisa Fox, Communications Director, Executive Producer American Correctional Solutions & Dash to Freedom LLP, Orange
Born and raised in Southern California, Lisa Fox returned to Orange County to begin her career in media at the Orange County News channel. Moving into network news she was able to learn the business of television production and media relations. As a publicist, Lisa represented a variety of clients including the Malibu and Santa Monica Film Festivals. Serving as the communications director for her fatherʼs company, American Correctional Solutions, Lisa has been able to garner ACS high accolades, including top spots on the Orange County Business Journal and INC Magazineʼs Fastest Growing Private Companies lists. Recently Lisa has also gone back to television production with her company, Dash to Freedom. As executive producer, she is developing shows based on Californiaʼs correctional institutions and the men and women of law enforcement.
Shannan Gardner, Tax Partner Moss Adams LLP, Irvine
In addition to her duties as tax partner in the Orange County office of Moss Adams, Shannan Gardner is the leader of the officeʼs Forum_W initiative, a critical initiative focused on attracting, developing, retaining, and advancing talented women. Shannan has successfully driven this initiative by developing programs, and planning events and training sessions that focus on important areas like networking, mentoring, leadership development, and work/life balance. Shannan is also the head of the Tax departmentʼs Continuing Professional Education program. Training and development has been a passion of Shannanʼs throughout her career, and she has helped the Tax department make positive strides in this area. Shannan is devoted to giving back to the community. She is an active participant in the Moss Adams Team for Charity (MATCH). Through MATCH, she has participated in various events like the Donate Life Run/Walk, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Sheri Geoffreys, Founder Sheri Geoffreys Photography, Dana Point
Sheri Geoffreys is an owner and a photographer of Sheri Geofffreys Photography, which specializes in corporate photography. She takes time to support numerous charity foundations including the Heart Gallery, Girls Incorporated, and The On Purpose Book & Scholarship, which she founded. Her business started accidently from a hobby over ten years ago that she took up after recovering from HodgkinʼsLymphoma Cancer six weeks after the birth of her child in 1999. She discovered her passion for taking pictures of people and that she could make a positive impact in peopleʼs lives with it. Determined and driven, she focused on learning by taking professional photography classes from world-renowned photographers. In doing so she found that she has a natural artistic eye in addition to technical talent and a remarkable ability when it comes to advance retouching. Today she enjoys her photography business more than ever.
Sisay Getahun, Marketing Specialist Henkel Electronic Materials, Irvine
Sisay Getahun has a proven history of improving efficiency and effectiveness. Known among her colleagues as a fast learner with a successful record in diversified areas of responsibility, she skillfully undertakes difficult mandates and meets tight deadlines. Currently pursuing a Masters in Management and Business Administration at the University of Redlands, Sisay is achieving academic and professional experience that is supplemental to realizing her dream of integrating community development with business initiatives in efforts to bring substantial economic growth to the community. As an active member of the community, Sisay dedicates her time and support to groups that help women become self-reliant through job opportunities, market opportunities and knowledge sharing. On an international level, she is involved in research work on socioeconomic development through small-scale business initiatives in Ethiopia. Henkel operates worldwide with leading brands and technologies in three business areas: Laundry & Home Care, Cosmetics/Toiletries and Adhesive Technologies.
Loreen Gilbert, President WealthWise Financial Services, Irvine
Loreen Gilbert is an experienced wealth manager who has spent the past 20 years creating successful wealth strategies for her clients. Upon graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Business Administration, she launched her career at Fidelity Investments, where she assisted clients with investment management services. Loreen has been in private practice as a wealth manager since 1997, and is currently the president of WealthWise Financial Services, which offers securities and investment advisory services to individuals, business owners and corporations through Loreenʼs affiliation as a registered principal with LPL Financial. Loreen is actively involved in the community. She is a member of Womenʼs Philanthropy Fund as well as Impact Giving and serves on the Board of Directors for International Princess Project (IPP), a nonprofit organization that holistically restores and empowers minor girls out of forced prostitution in India. In 2006, Loreen received the “Big Heart Award” from the Samueli Foundation on behalf of her work with IPP.
Michelle Rose Gilman, President & Founder Fusion Academy and Learning Center, Huntington Beach
In her twenties and armed with a special education teaching credential and a desire to change the world, Michelle Gilman left Florida for California in the 1980s to serve as the director of education at a day treatment psychiatric program. Six months later, the program lost its funding and Michelle offered her apartment as a temporary solution for the students and staff of psychiatrists and family therapists. It was then, working one-to-one with students in a small environment, that the roots of Fusion Academy and Learning Center took hold. As she became a confidante, tutor, case manager, surrogate parent, homework supervisor, and an all around go-to family resource, Michelle had local professionals referring their kids to her at an encouraging pace. On a barely-there budget, Fusion opened its doors to its first high school student more than eight years ago. Now, Fusion Academy and Learning Center offers students an alternative to the traditional classroom and special education setting through one-to-one teaching and individualized academic programs.
Linda A. Grace, Proprietor Giracci Vineyards and Farms, Silverado
Linda Grace has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, business consulting and business management for the health care industry. She is a registered nurse with a BS in Health Administration. Along with her husband, Linda owns and operates several businesses including a business consulting group, a business management company, a retail pharmacy, a pharmaceutical homecare and infusion service organization and Giracci Vineyards and Farms, a full-service equestrian training facility and winery. Lindaʼs lifelong goal is to “make a difference,” and she is an ardent supporter of philanthropic causes in Orange County, and is involved in several charities on different levels. She has always felt a strong sense of compassion and empathy for children who are disadvantaged or involved in family situations where abuse, neglect and violence exist. Her home even became a safe haven for several teenage girls who grew up in abusive households. Since joining the Board of Directors for Lauraʼs House, a state-approved comprehensive domestic violence agency, Linda has been a tremendous advocate and enthusiastic fundraiser for the organization.
Tammy Guadagno, Owner & Operator Chick-fil-A, Santa Ana
Tammy Guadagno operates the Chick-fil-A at Bristol and MacArthur in Santa Ana. Tammy is not an ordinary business owner; running her business with grace, dignity, compassion and drive, she is a think-tank that desires to expand her business and the brand of Chick-fil-A. Tammy grew up as a Chick-fil-A team member and once worked as a manager for her brother who also owned a Chick-fil-A franchise. Tammy models the service in her restaurant based upon the philosophy of “Every Tray, Every Table,” with Chick-fil-A guests having their trays brought to them, something unheard of in quick-service restaurants. Tammy has contributed to Orange County in countless ways. She hosts many fundraisers for families, students, and the underprivileged. She also is an avid supporter of many nonprofits that include, but are not limited to, Human Options, SPIN, Orange County Rescue Mission, and CHOC Follies. Over the past several years, she has been involved with The Hope Place shelter and has helped raised money and resources to feed over 15,000 people in 2010. Because of these efforts, Tammy was nominated and was a top finalist for the Orange County Registerʼs Holiday Spirit Award for Kindest Orange County Business Owner.
Margaret Hakanson, President Hakanson Construction Inc., Brea
Hakanson Construction, a leading Southern California firm within the concrete tilt-up construction industry, was founded by Margaret Hakansonʼs late husband, Mike, in 1976. After working for other companies, Margaret joined her husbandʼs company full-time in 1984. She had no construction experience and began to learn the industry by spending time with Mike on the job sites where she helped him with various activities including marking the footings, the billing process, preliminary notice filings, calculations on the job bids and doing the manual entries for the ledgers and payroll. With her husbandʼs passing in 1998, Margaret had to reassess the challenges facing her so that she could run the entire company. The challenge of running a busy construction company, typically a manʼs domain, was daunting but Margaret was focused, determined and adept at managing employees and sub-contractors in order to keep the company competitive. Today, although the current recession has caused a downturn in construction, the company is financially strong and continues to build while looking to the future.
Rebecca Hall, President and CEO Idea Hall, Costa Mesa
Rebecca Hall is the founder, president, and CEO of Idea Hall. She built the agency with an energetic team of talented professionals who take pride in the results they deliver. Specializing in media relations and integrated marketing campaigns, she has developed and implemented international, national and local public relations and marketing programs, image-building campaigns, and new product introductions. Rebecca manages a team of 12 professionals in design, public relations, marketing and website development. Outside of her professional duties, Rebecca is a frequent guest lecturer at Chapman University Dodge School of Film & Media Arts and mentors public relations professionals seeking accreditation in public relations. She is also a board member at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange and a member of the 2011 CHOC Follies.
Elizabeth Hattox, President Hattox Design Group LLC, Irvine
Hattox Design Group is a full-service commercial space planning and interior design firm founded in 2003 by Elizabeth A. Hattox. Elizabeth founded the firm based upon the belief it takes a combination of business experience, knowledge of sustainability and artistic vision to create effective design solutions. Hattox Design Group has all three. They blend strong technical, problem-solving and creative skills to design work environments that promote business and inspire people to reach their full potential. Integrity, excellence and personal commitment are at the foundation of their work. People and relationships are at the center of every project. Elizabeth and her team successfully meet construction budgets and schedules by providing complete senior-level attention through each phase of their clients’ space planning, interior design and tenant improvement projects.
Susan Heriford, Founder & Owner California Cove Gourmet and Jumpinʼ Jackʼs, San Clemente
Susan Heriford takes “giving” seriously and has compassionately turned her retail stores in San Clemente into successful vehicles through which funds flow to benefit animals in need. Susan opened her two shops, California Cove Gourmet and Jumpinʼ Jackʼs, so that she could make money for those in need while pleasing customers in a manner that encourages them to give as well. As a result, Susan has made “giving” contagious within her community. Susan has used the knowledge she gained from 20 years of court reporting to come up with a business model that makes everyone feel good. Susan not only creates the over-the-top gift baskets sold in her stores, but also handcrafts the luxurious soaps and candles that are sold in the shops, bringing more profit than common retail models. With a passion for animals, Susan donates 100% of her profits from both stores to help abused and neglected animals.
Shelley Hoss, President Orange County Community Foundation, Newport Beach
The innovation of the corporate world and compassion of the nonprofit world strike a perfect balance in the leadership of Orange Countyʼs philanthropic powerhouse, Shelley Hoss. Her commitment to collaboration and community has garnered impressive and inspiring results. Shelley is currently serving in her eleventh year as president of the Orange County Community Foundation. In this post, she advises and provides expertise to donors as well as creates innovative solutions to provide for community needs. Under her leadership, OCCFʼs revenue has grown 188%. Beyond the numbers, the greatest product of OCCF is improved lives, and under Shelleyʼs leadership, $161 million has been channeled into the local community, providing a service to all of us – particularly to those in greatest need. Shelley possesses the executive skills to successfully run any company, but she has chosen to dedicate herself to serving the community. Shelley also co-founded the Orange County Funders Roundtable, a collaborative of the 20 largest funders in Orange County, committed to promoting effective philanthropy and strengthening the local nonprofit sector.
Julie Hudash, Founder & CEO Team Kids Inc., Irvine
Julie Hudash started a nonprofit in her garage ten years ago that has grown to inspire thousands of young children to help others. Julie, a devoted child advocate, is founder and CEO of Team Kids, which runs school-based and community- wide service programs. In 2001,when Julieʼs family moved back to Irvine, she heard about a young student who desperately needed heart surgery. Julie inspired the children at her kidsʼ elementary school to help save his life. The children embraced the opportunity, and Team Kids was born. Team Kids honors the philanthropic goals of the children by donating 100% of all kid-raised funds to another charity. Since 2001, thanks to Julieʼs efforts, over 25,000 public school students in Orange County have volunteered, and contributed over $275,000 in value to youth-serving charities. Julie also engages students outside school walls in local and national causes. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Julie coordinated a citywide “LemonAID” Project to raise money for the youngest victims of the disaster. Over 1,200 children set up 220 “LemonAID” stands throughout the city of Irvine.
Kay Hunter, Image and Etiquette Consultant Imagine…The Possibilities, Tustin
Kay Hunter is a corporate consultant, motivational speaker, educator, and transformation artist. Kay works with leading corporations and individuals, training them on how to polish their professional appearance, and refine workplace and business dining etiquette. She began her career 20 years ago as a senior vice president of human resources with a large global corporation. In this post, Kay was asked to find an image consultant to work with specific high achievers and top prospects in the company. The challenge was to find an image consultant who understood both corporate America and image. Kay recognized the need, and the idea was born to develop a business to fill this void. Kay uses a one-on-one customized approach to provide her clients clear guidance and practical techniques to create their personal brand. She has successfully worked with business executives, politicians, entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers. An ardent supporter of many charities, Kay volunteers her time to work with teenagers at Orangewood and is also actively involved as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children.
Jo-E Immel, Director of Marketing Snyder Langston, Irvine
Jo-E Immel joined Snyder Langston in 2006 as a business development associate. She was promoted to director of marketing with direct responsibility for the firmʼs client relations and marketing across all platforms including retail, healthcare, office and education, among others. Today, she oversees the marketing and business development for Snyder Langston, a 52-year old construction services company. She brings ten years experience in the architecture and construction industry to her role. Jo-E is also the 2010-2012 president of the Southern California chapter of CoreNet Global. The chapter is focused on advancing real estate knowledge, connecting people, and promoting personal excellence through programs. Jo-E is actively involved in the Orange County community and has been a team captain for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure since 2001 and has mentored at University of Southern California for the Marshall School of Business since 2007.
Nikki HM Jackson, President Goldranking Website Marketing Agency, Newport Beach
Founder of Goldranking Website Marketing Agency, the leading Orange County SEO eCommerce and lead-generating firm, Nikki HM Jackson has been involved with a wide variety of clients and projects from international charities to academic institutions to public companies such as Kiwanis International, UC Irvine Extension, The Brown Shoe Corporation and Cedars Sinai Hospital. Nikkiʼs experience as an entrepreneur and mother of three young children led her to specialize in assisting women in balancing their home and business careers. As president of Goldranking in Newport Beach and instructor/director at the UC Irvine Extensionʼs Womenʼs Opportunities Center, Nikki produced a training program that helps women succeed in starting a successful web-based business. Exceptionally hard working, she carved out successes for her web marketing company increasing yearly sales and profits consistently since 1999. Nikki has served on the Board of Directors for numerous non-profit organizations including as executive vice president for the Forum For Women Entrepreneurs representing the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
Scharrell Talley Jackson, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer Squar Milner CPAs, Newport Beach
Scharrell Jackson is the chief financial and administrative officer of Squar Milner. Scharrell distinguished herself as the sole woman member of the leadership team in her company for seven years. Since joining the company, she has played a major role in the growth and success of the firm overseeing two mergers, while managing the accounting, human resources, technology, and administrative departments. She also teaches a leadership training program at Squar Milner. Scharrell is a member of the National Association Women Business Owners and the Institute of Management Accountants. In addition to her duties as CFO, Scharrell has also launched a philanthropic team at Squar Milner to help better the Southern California community by fundraising and working with several organizations including but not limited to – Girls Inc., Working Wardrobes, Human Options, Pink Ladder, and Orangewood Children’s Foundation. Squar Milner is one of the nation’s 100 largest accounting firms as well as one of the largest independent accounting and advisory firms in California.
Charlene Jessup, Founder & Medical Director Mission Center for Longevity, Mission Viejo
Charlene Jessup and partner James A. Heinrich MD founded the Mission Center to offer a state of the art facility for enhanced executive physicals in Orange County. Located on the Mission Hospital campus, the Center utilizes the latest technology to determine the quality of the patientʼs health, lifestyle and potential longevity, combining an extensive physical with features including exercise tolerance and pulmonary function testing, complete cardiac screening, biological age analysis, skin cancer screening, comprehensive explanation of test results, communication with oneʼs primary care physician, and a quarterly follow up for one year to assist with the patientʼs progress. Planning began in 2007, before the financial crisis caused severe cutbacks in discretionary spending. Charlene and James persevered, personally funding their venture to maintain control, and moving forward with equipment purchases, hiring, training, web development and marketing. The Center opened in the spring of 2009 and the client base continues to grow.
Lisa Johnson, Owner LBJ Floorings, Corona
When Lisa Johnson started LBJ Flooring in 2003, she brought 15 years of experience in the industry with her. As a member of both the National Wood Flooring Association and the National Flooring Association, Lisa is dedicated to ongoing continuing education about her industry. At LBJ Lisa instructs both the companyʼs retailers and the contractors in order to pass the information on to the end consumer, ensuring that the customer has all of the information possible to make the decision that is right for their home and budget. LBJ Flooringʼs clients come entirely from referrals and the company provides the highest level of service and quality in the industry. LBJ Flooring has had the same staff since the company started eight years ago, allowing the consistency of their installation and service to continue at such a high level. Lisa also ensures that each member of staff goes above and beyond the job requirements on each project, taking that extra step to provide every client with service that exceeds their expectations.
Colleen Kareti, General Manager Hyatt Regency Irvine, Irvine
Colleen Kareti has been with Hyatt for 27 years and has worked in a variety of capacities at thirteen different hotels across the continental United States and Hawaii. Colleen has risen through the ranks of the Hyatt, beginning as a restaurant food server and working her way up through food and beverage management. Colleen has developed a reputation as a “turn-around” specialist within the company and has been nominated for “General Manager of the Year” by Hyatt Hotels five times. Colleen has been a member of Hyatt Hotels Diversity Council since 2001. This select group reviews and maintains Hyattʼs commitment to diversity and inclusion. Colleen was also invited by her company in 2007 to be a founding member of “Women at Hyatt” which promotes Hyatt as the employer and hotel brand of choice for women around the world. Among her colleagues, Colleen is considered to be one of the hardest working, humble and generous general managers who will do whatever it takes to ensure our events are a success.
Melinda Morgan Kartsonis, Principal Morgan Marketing & Public Relations LLC, Irvine
Melinda Morgan Kartsonis, APR, is the principal of Morgan Marketing & Public Relations, a public relations firm founded in 1991. Melinda has grown her company to a public relations firm that is highly recognized nationally. Under Melindaʼs leadership, the agency has developed a competitive position with a roster of stellar local, regional and national long-term client relationships including Wienerschnitzel, Panda Restaurant Group, and Wildfish Seafood Grille. Recently the agency has acquired several new clients including Daphneʼs California Greek, Lugano Diamonds, Sapphire Laguna and True Food Kitchen, among others. Led by Melinda, employees at Morgan Marketing & Public Relations enjoy a community- focused workplace making significant donations to several charitable causes. Collectively, her agency has donated thousands of hours to pro-bono campaigns and charitable contributions to more than 100 causes and organizations to schools and nonprofit organizations. Melinda has also received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from American Lung Association and has held board and executive committee positions with various local organizations.
Inna Kassatkina, President Global Language Solutions, Aliso Viejo
Inna Kassatkina is the president of Global Language Solutions, professional translation and interpreting firm assisting international companies with conference interpretation, translation, creative writing, software localization, web site adaptation, and cross-cultural consulting. Since its inception in 1994, GLS has built a strong clientele of government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and emerging international ventures. Inna continues to strengthen and grow the business by expanding the range of services, utilizing newest technologies and applying aggressive and innovative marketing strategies. She has grown the business revenue each year since inception, with 2010 ending as the firmʼs best year to date. Specifically, from 2009 to 2010 she was instrumental in doubling GLS revenues from under $5 million to $10 million in sales. Calling Orange County home for both her company and her family, Inna is an ardent supporter of the community. She is a proud UC Irvine alumna who supports the university via guest lectures. She also recently joined the local Orange County chapter of the Young Presidentʼs Organization.
Hilary Kaye, Founder & President HKA, Inc. Public Relations, Tustin
Hilary Kaye is the founder and president of HKA, Inc. Public Relations, an awardwinning agency with a 27-year track record of success. Hilaryʼs company has gained respect for its dedication to helping its clients grow and prosper, serving both the corporate sector and the nonprofit community. The agency provides integrated strategic and tactical programs, with special focus on traditional media and the full range of todayʼs dynamic social media tools. Hilary provides a creative, supportive environment for her team members and hands-on, results-oriented service for her clients. Hilary has won numerous awards in the public relations and journalism fields, yet she is most proud of receiving the 2008 Ethics in America “Business Pillar Award” and the 2004 “Remarkable Women Award” from the National Association of Women Business Owners. A founding member of the Womenʼs Philanthropy Fund, Hilary strives to give back wherever she can: on non-profit boards, providing pro bono services and continuing to captain the Rubyʼs Raiders team, in her motherʼs memory, at the annual MS Walk.
Brittany Kelley, Director of Business Development Konvert Golf Marketing, Irvine
The list of impactful contributions Brittany Kelley has made to Konvert Golf Marketing is long and varied. As director of business development, she has conducted educational seminars to help golf course managers understand how to reach specific demographics though various sales programs, online strategies and online reputation management; developed a marketing solution for private golf courses that is focused on the psychology of womenʼs buying behavior in relation to purchasing a country club membership; implemented comprehensive survey programs to help golf courses understand the strengths and weaknesses of their property and brand; and led seminars that teach nonprofits how to fundraise by hosting golf tournaments. Brittanyʼs passion for technology, entrepreneurism and golf merge together to help educate and create strategy for the golf industry. She is a key figure in creating new programs and strategies to help grow the game of golf and build technologies to assist golf course operators. Outside her professional role, Brittany serves as an advisor to several nonprofit organizations in LA/Orange County and sits on several boards and councils.
Lynda King, Owner & President King Size Bows, Newport Beach
Lynda J. King is the designer of “The Worldʼs Most Famous Gift Bow.” King Size Bows, founded in 2001, provides custom and in-stock large ornamental ribbon gift bows for all types of displays and special presentations. The idea for King Size Bows was born when Lynda was unable to find a bow grand enough for a car that was being presented as gift for her daughter. Lynda spent months designing prototypes before manufacturing began on the Signature Monarch Bow, which remains the companyʼs best-selling bow. Some of the companyʼs most well-known corporate customers include ABC Studios, American Express, CBS Studios, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, Ketel One Vodka, MGM Grand Resort & Casino, NBC Studios, HARPO Productions, and Paramount Studios, among many others. Lynda and her family have lived in Orange County for 31 years. She is founding president of the National Charity League Irvine Chapter, and mentors young entrepreneurs. To show support for breast cancer awareness, King Size Bows has developed large pink ribbons and donates 10% of the sales to the Susan G. Komen Orange County Chapter.
Tania King, General Counsel, Ethics & Compliance Officer, Corporate Secretary Advantage Sales & Marketing, Irvine
As a key member of the Advantage Sales & Marketing senior executive team, Tania Kingʼs accomplishments have been invaluable to the company. Recently, Tania spearheaded the successful $1 billion plus buyout of her company by a global private equity firm. Even as the company encountered several obstacles during the course of the buyout, Tania garnered the respect of the numerous critical stakeholders and was able to drive for consensus and consummation of the transaction, leading to bright opportunities for ASM. She oversaw all legal issues, negotiations, contracts, litigation, communications and finalization of the deal; led her internal team of professionals, outside consultants and counsel with a clear direction and strategy; and relentlessly ensured all elements of transaction were on course. In the Orange County community, Tania has been an active member in numerous professional organizations, contributing to her industry and mentoring other female attorneys and future leaders. Advantage Sales & Marketing is the premier consumer packaged goods sales and marketing agency in North America, committed to building brand value for its clients and customers.
Lisa Klasky, Principal Progressive Community Management, Mission Viejo
Since 1993, Lisa Klasky has been co-owner of a successful community management firm in Orange County that employs 17 staff members. In addition to overseeing the successful day-to-day business operations, Lisa has built a company that provides incentives and motivational programs for its staff, resulting in a superior service model. In turn, the Progressive Community Management staff coordinates and actively participates in charitable functions and activities in the local community. Lisa firmly believes in giving back to her local community as a business owner, citizen, and parent. For the past four years she has served in a leadership role on the Executive Leadership Council for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Societyʼs Light The Night Walk. In addition to connecting many local companies to the cause, Lisaʼs own corporate team has raised more than $100,000 over the past seven years. Lisa is also highly involved in her sonʼs school, volunteering in the classroom and coordinating school-wide programs and events.
Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government Affairs Orange County Business Council, Irvine
The Orange County Business Council represents the largest, most diverse businesses with over 2,000,000 employees worldwide. The council advances Orange Countyʼs economic prosperity while protecting a high quality of life. As vice president of government affairs, Kate Klimow actively reviews hundreds of bills that are introduced each legislative session, at both the state and federal level and then winnows down to the top 50 to track and advocate for on behalf of OCBC members and Orange County. Kate translates the government language(and political agendas) from the proposed new legislation into easily understandable summaries, including how the proposed laws would affect business. She then communicates that to OCBCʼs Board and membership to garner support for action on issues important to all of Orange County. In the industry of Public Affairs, Kate has 20 years of experience bringing a record of success in implementing strategic business initiatives and building strong alliances with key stakeholders. Kate volunteers at a variety of organizations in the community, actively educating the community about the issues that impact their lives and encouraging them to get involved.
Kimberly Kovacs, CEO OptionEase, Mission Viejo
As an experienced chief financial officer, OptionEase co-founder Kimberly Kovacs recognized a need for advanced accounting tools with the enactment of the FAS 123 (R) auditing standard. The widely used method of intense and detailed spreadsheets would not be enough to track stock options or stand up to the new audit guidelines. Kovacs quickly assembled a team with deep industry expertise in accounting, finance and web-based software tools to develop a game-changing application for stock option accounting. The first OptionEase investor was the accounting firm, Kieckhafer, Schiffer & Co., which also recognized the same need for a true compliance management solution. With the addition of a second investor, Jan Scholes, OptionEase was on its way. Scholes, wife of Myron Scholes, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, also saw the need for excellent compliance solutions. Now in its fifth year of operations, OptionEase is the compliance solution of choice for more than 500 companies.
Caren Lancona, CEO B Scene Advertising Agency, Newport Beach
Caren Lancona has owned her own business for over 25 years and has many accomplishments within the advertising, marketing, public relations, event planning and strategic planning areas. Over the past years, Caren has helped over 200 companies reach their success including a leading national bank, aviation clients, sports teams, a robotics and automation company, and clients in the television and film industry. Also a serial entrepreneur, Caren has started over 12 successful businesses. Caren has won an Addy award for her campaigns with Washington Mutual in 2004, numerous awards for funniest TV commercials, and a prestigious award for her designs in the aviation industry. Caren has been a resident of Orange County her entire life and has contributed to numerous charities through her philanthropy and as a volunteer. Additionally, she continues to support her community through lunch events, restaurant promotions, and charity work. B Scene fuses exceptional ideas with innovative and compelling communications strategies. The agency specializes in campaigns that spark attention, drive market share, fuel revenues, and captivate audiences.
Colleen Langner, Vice President of Marketing and Sales Cox Communications, Rancho Santa Margarita
Colleen Langner is vice president of marketing and sales at Cox Communications. Colleen joined the company in 1995 as a marketing manager; soon after she was promoted to director of marketing and sales, and eventually she earned her current position in 2003 with responsibility to develop marketing strategies for Cox residential solutions. During her 16-year tenure at Cox, the companyʼs revenues have quadrupled, due in no small part to her passion for business, team collaboration, and partnerships with other businesses. Colleenʼs motto is “Do right by the customer and your team, and you will succeed.” Outside of her role at Cox, Colleen is a board member of The Juvenile Diabetes Association and mentors women inside and outside the telecommunications industry. A mother to three boys, Colleen is also active in her childrenʼs education and sports, serving as team mom for Pop Warner Football and Little League Baseball teams. Cox Communications is a telecommunications company serving nearly 1 million residential and commercial customers in Orange County, Santa Barbara, Palos Verdes and San Diego.
Megan Lavender, COO INK, Irvine
Serving as COO and co-founder of INK, Megan Lavender has helped to lead the company from its modest beginnings in 2007 to one of Orange Countyʼs fastest growing and most respected advertising agencies. She built INKʼs infrastructure, tools and processes and trained the hand-picked teams in account services, media and PR departments. Under Meganʼs expert guidance, INK has been distinguished with numerous awards by Rockport Publishers, MarCom Awards and the OC Ad Federation. Managing and growing INKʼs largest client relationships is one of Meganʼs core competencies. She has a proven track record of building lasting relationships with some of the countryʼs most recognizable brands including Vizio, Quest Software and Chapman University to name a few. As an active member of the community, Megan devotes her time to making sure Orange Countyʼs children have access to all of the wonderful and scenic attractions the community has to offer. Megan also participates as a volunteer at Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach to care for the animals and educate the public.
Katherine Le, President Stearns Companies, Santa Ana
Katherine Leʼs personal story has led to the three benchmarks of her personal and professional philosophy – be resilient, resourceful, and self-reliant. Born and raised in Vietnam, Katherineʼs character and courage were put to the test as a teenager when she was captured and interred trying to escape her homeland in the aftermath of the war and communist regime. Today, she is at the helm of the second largest privately owned mortgage company in California (fourth largest privately held in the United States). Under Katherineʼs expert leadership, Stearns Lending has had its best three years in its 20-year history in 2008, 2009, and 2010. During a climate of soaring unemployment, Katherine has also managed to grow Stearns from 30 employees to over 1,000 in the past few years. Katherine is very active in the Orange County community and with philanthropy on both national and international levels. For more than 20 years, she has assisted with youth ministry and community service through her church. She is also one of the founders of Hope Today and Companion of Grace.
Julie Lim, President OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar, Irvine
Julie Lim had the foresight and vision to turn an old and neglected liquor store into an upscale wine boutique and tasting bar. Her boutique was the first in Orange County to have a state of the art self-serve Enomatic Wine System which allows customers to try up to 24 wines starting at just $1 per taste. The concept of “try before you buy” was well-received and her boutique has become the most popular wine tasting bar in Orange County. In addition, clients can utilize the store to host special events at no charge. The wine boutique also offers concierge service to help find the best wine for any particular occasion to pair with food or cheese. Julie and her staff are committed to make their wine tasting and purchasing experience as pleasant as possible. In addition to her passion for wine, Julie is also passionate about helping people and her community. She has hosted many charity fundraiser events and actively participates and attends charity events all throughout Orange County.
Jenna Lobos, Founder BEAUTYMARK~Organics, Corona Del Mar
Jenna Lobos has always had the drive to be successful and happy simultaneously. After having a very successful career as a realtor, she found herself yearning for something more than a career, but rather a pursuit, one that would define her goals and ambition. Jenna started her own business, BEAUTYMARK, an organic airbrush tanning business, in May 2009 after she signed with PEAK Models and Talent and obtained certificates in TV, commercial and film. Currently, Jenna is working with an ecofriendly chemist on the beginning stages of an organic, chemical-free skin care line. As of today, her first product has been announced, with several new products in the works. Jenna also has plans to start an international online business, offering only the highest quality of skin care. Outside of her business, Jenna is active in her church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, and sings in the choir.
Jaclyn Lusk, Owner You Got Served – YGS Legal, Chino Hills
Jaclyn Lusk began You Got Served (YGS) Legal in 2009 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton. With no prior funding, she has researched, owned, and operated YGS on her own. Jaclyn began in the legal field as a receptionist before moving on to becoming a legal assistant and finally marketing director of a prestigious Orange County law firm. YGS Legal provides low-cost legal services and document assistance to less fortunate individuals and small businesses throughout Southern California. The company also assists students and entrepreneurs by communicating the importance of being independent business owners. In addition to operating YGS, Jaclyn also participates in conferences and speaking engagements in and throughout Orange County.
Joanna Madenburg, Marketing Team Lead Stantec, Irvine
As a business leader for one of North America’s top architecture and engineering design firms, Joanna Madenburg spearheads the strategic marketing plan for the companyʼs California offices. Leading a team of marketing professionals located in Irvine and throughout the state, Madenburg has helped build an enviable reputation for leveraging creativity to raise the companyʼs profile, especially in pursuing new clients. Seeking to develop the next generation of marketing professionals, Madenburg routinely mentors local college students who have shown a demonstrated interest in the industry. She also regularly engages in volunteer work, having contributed time to the Philharmonic Design House and the Professional Employment Network through the Orange County Employment Development Department.
Paula Malone, Vice President of Human Resources Universal Services of America LP, Santa Ana
As vice president of human resources at Universal Services, Paula Malone manages all aspects of human resources for a company with over 10,000 employees. Paula is involved in all major policy decisions and implementation of guidelines and procedures. She is an executive leader within the organization and a key member of the strategic planning committee. Paula acts as an advocate for both the company and its employees, striking a balance between the two. She plays an active role in negotiating collective bargaining agreements which impact many service providers within the industry. As part of her role she has initiated several community support efforts, including Shoes for Crews, which provides low-cost footwear to employees in order reduce injury. Founded in 1965, Universal Services of America combines an innovative mix of tradition with advanced technology to keep pace with the evolving security and janitorial needs of todayʼs businesses.
Priscilla Marconi, Executive Director Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids, Tustin
Priscilla “Bo” Marconi is not a woman who takes life sitting on the sidelines. From her experience as a driver in the male-dominated world of Formula Ford racing to the demanding nature of world-class equestrian competition, Priscilla demonstrates a passion for life that would be hard to surpass. Originally from Indiana, Priscilla arrived in California with her husband and their 18-month-old son with $500 to their name. From those beginnings, the Marconis started The Marconi Automotive Museum and Foundation for Kids in 1994. The foundation is committed to giving a large percentage of its net proceeds, generated from special events and tours, to local childrenʼs charities. Through the many corporate and individual client partnerships, the museum will continue to strive for the goal of helping to raise $1 million a year for at-risk youth.
Phyllis Ann Marshall, CEO FoodPower, Costa Mesa
With more than 40 years of experience in every aspect of the restaurant industry – from chef and restaurateur to consultant and coach – FoodPower founder Phyllis Ann Marshall is unequivocally energized by the power of food. As a restaurant coach, her passion is to work side-by-side with restaurateurs to help them grow every aspect of their business – from menu and decor to service and operations. She strives to “polish the potential,” which may mean boosting profits, expanding locations, responding to changing trends and consumer tastes, or simply connecting in a more powerful way with guests. FoodPower can help an established restaurant achieve new levels of success or set a new venture off on the right foot. A graduate of Cornell University and a student of culinary schools around the world, Phyllis’s education has served as solid foundation for her many accomplishments which include working with some of the country’s most respected restaurants. Founder of the Restaurant Management Certificate Program at UC Irvine and guest lecturer at UCLA, Phyllis also serves as contributing editor for several publications. From cofounding and operating the award-winning Mr. Stox in Anaheim to starting her own culinary academy in San Marino, there is not a cuisine she has not experienced intimately.
Mandana Massoumi, Partner Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Irvine
A partner in Dorseyʼs employment department, Mandana Massoumiʼs practice is focused exclusively in this area of law. She represents employers at trial and arbitration on complex employment litigation, wage and hour class actions, multi-plaintiff and single plaintiff cases involving various employment claims, including discrimination and harassment, wrongful discharge, unfair competition, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Mandana regularly advises a wide range of corporations – public and private, large and small – on labor and employment-related issues. Mandana also designs and conducts wage and hour audits, investigations and training on every aspect of the employment relationship. She has given numerous presentations on a wide array of employment and management training and seminars. In 2010, Mandana was recognized as a “Rising Star,” by Los Angeles Magazine. She is a frequent Labor and Employment Law Contributor for the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Mandana earned her undergraduate degrees in Economics and Political Science from UC San Diego. She later earned her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Monnie McGaffigan, Vice President, Wireline Services Sprint, Irvine
Monnie McGaffigan is an Orange County businesswoman held with great regard, a contributor to her community and role model for other female leaders. From her Irvine office, Monnie – a top female executive at Sprint Corporation – leads a team of 148 employees responsible for driving growth across all of Sprintʼs lines of business. While maintaining personal relationships with her clients, Monnie empowers her team through mentorship. In her nearly 25 years at Sprint, Monnie has held several roles, from sales manager to regional director of sales. In her last post, Monnie fostered strategic business relationships with major corporations while maintaining a base of $2 billion in annual billed revenue. Outside of her professional life, Monnie makes time to serve her community by volunteering at Santa Anaʼs Working Wardrobes and teaching her daughters to do the same through the National Charity League program. Sprint offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services to bring the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users.
Nicole McMackin, Managing Partner Irvine Technology Corporation, Santa Ana
Nicole McMackin has been with the Irvine Technology Corporation (ITC) for over seven years, initially serving as vice president of sales. In addition to overseeing the Profit and Loss Statement, Recruitment and Sales Staff, she implemented dayto- day leadership and management of supporting departments. Under Nicoleʼs strong leadership, ITC opened eight new offices on a national level. She is also credited with the establishment and development of a strategic sales and delivery plan that increased revenue and net profits by 92%. Now as managing partner, Nicole is responsible for overall management and operations of providing customized business solutions to both internal and external clients. Nicole is also an active member of the community, serving on a number of boards and participating in various events throughout Orange County. She is a part of several executive groups and advisory boards including the UCI Executive Committee and CHOC Childrenʼs Hospital among many others. ITC is a national resource for IT solutions and personnel, providing single-point responsibility for securing IT professionals at all levels and within every specialty.
Andrea Memenas, Founder & Customer Experience Architect Lightswitch, Laguna Niguel
Over the past eight years, Andrea Memenas has built her marketing practice to include local, national and international clients. Her success is rooted in her unique ability to show clients their business through the eyes of their customers. She also helps them find positive ways of connecting with people to increase sales as well as customer satisfaction. Andrea knows that to succeed in todayʼs marketplace, companies need to focus on what their customer is experiencing, because without customer satisfaction and loyalty, companies will fail. Andrea is a thought leader in the customer experience and marketing space, writing and microblogging about trends in customer experience, branding, marketing, advertising and social media. Andrea blogs about the excitement, trials and tribulations of small business in her Adventures in Small Business blog.
Heidi A. Miller, President Tight Assets & World Newsstand, Laguna Beach
Heidi Miller’s life has revolved around health and fitness for as long as she can remember. A nursing major in college, she remains deeply concerned with creating a better quality of life for herself and others. While pursuing her degree, she was offered a lucrative and exciting job as a regional sales representative for numerous major sporting goods manufacturers. This job propelled Heidi into the field of sales, commencing a long and successful career revolving around her love of being healthy. Miller sold a highly successful frozen yogurt chain in 1989 to pursue her current venture, Tight Assets, which is a retail chain of women’s exercise, active and street wear boutiques. Tight Assets has three stores, located in Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa and Carlsbad. In 2007, Miller reopened the world famous World Newsstand in Laguna Beach.
Maria Minon, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Vice President, Medical Affairs CHOC Childrenʼs Hospital, Orange
Maria Minon, M.D., has devoted her professional career to transforming the delivery of pediatric medicine to children and families in Orange County. As CHOCʼs chief medical officer and vice president, medical affairs, she is responsible for medical quality and patient safety at the countyʼs only pediatric healthcare system, in addition to overseeing the activities of the medical staff, clinical medical directors, the Psychology Training Program, the Graduate and Continuing Education programs, and the Clinical and Basic Science Research departments. Her contributions have been critical to CHOCʼs achievement of numerous accolades for performance excellence. Clinical advances at CHOC – made under Mariaʼs purview – include the opening of the CHOC Childrenʼs Urology Center, the only comprehensive pediatric urology facility in Orange County. Mariaʼs contributions have left an indelible mark on this region; yet there is even more she wants to accomplish with the opening of CHOCʼs new patient care tower in 2013. CHOC is a regional pediatric health care hospital which provides preventive medical care, education, and state-of-the-art pediatric biomedical research.
Lisa Monette, President & Creator ON LOCATION ARTISTS Inc., Irvine
In 1999, Lisa Monette created her product line, OLAmakeup.com. Lisa has developed a unique way of teaching makeup skills to clients and to professional makeup artists and those who desire a business plan to earn substantial income. Born in Hollywood, Lisa grew up studying dance and psychology. She has had a long and storied career that includes everything from serving as a flight attendant for ten years to designing looks for celebrities and attendees at the Emmys and Academy Awards. With a client list that ranges from Olympic sport figures to billion -dollar CEOs, Lisa touches everyone with her endless knowledge, creative talents and motivational spirit. Her endless energy and dance skills even led her to be chosen to dance on stage in front of 2,000 attendees at Tony Robbinsʼ seminars, where she was on staff for two seasons.
Darlynn Morgan, Founding Attorney Morgan Law Group, Newport Beach
As the founder and leader of Morgan Law Group since 2005, Darlynn Morgan has built an estate planning practice which is dedicated to helping clients empower themselves and leave a legacy for their families and their community. Darlynn founded her firm from a desire to create meaning. She had been a business attorney when her life was struck by tragedy: her husband died of cancer in 2001. As Darlynn set about putting her life back together she realized that many people probably were as unprepared for loss as she and her husband had been. She was determined to make a difference and shifted the focus of her practice from business to Trusts and Estates. In 2007 and 2008 Southern California Lawyer named Darlynn a “Super Lawyer.” Darlynn is a member of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Women Lawyers Bar Association and serves on the board of Human Options. Morgan Law Group handles estate planning, probate, trusts and wills for families throughout Southern California.
Lillian Mrdjanov, Maitre dʼ The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, Tustin
Lillian Mrdjanov is in a class of her own as a female Maitre d’ in Orange County. Not only is she a minority in the field, but she has earned quite a reputation for being among the best. She has been with The Winery since its 2007 inception, and played a great part in helping it earn the “Restaurant of the Year” designation by the Orange County Concierge Association in 2008 and 2009. Prior to opening the restaurant, she spent two years with its partners at Morton’s South Coast Plaza, where she gained the valuable experience that has helped her to rise to the top today.
Lynda Mulley, Director, Business Development & Marketing HBLA Certified Public Accountants Inc., Irvine
Lynda Mulley has worked for HBLA CPAs for three years and has brought over 25 years of business development experience to the table. When she joined HBLA, she was charged with creating and executing its first corporate-wide marketing program, a new website, e-newsletter and establishing a stronger presence for the firm in its vertical industries and within Orange County. In 2010, Lynda created a business plan to launch a new line of business for HBLA and kept the firm focused on new opportunities. Through Lyndaʼs efforts, the talents and expertise of HBLA continue to be promoted through her contacts and relationships within the Orange County business community. Lynda has resided and been a part of the Orange County business community for over 30 years. She is an avid supporter/member of the Orange County chapters of Association for Corporate Growth, Society for Marketing Professionals, Business Development Association, Working Wardrobes and the National Association of Women Business Owners, among many others.
Cara Mungo, Co-Founder & President DealGooder, Costa Mesa
Cara Mungo is co-founder of DealGooder.com, a fast growing online platform that gives people the dual opportunity to save money while giving back to their local community. Founded in November of 2010, DealGooder has quickly gained traction in the group buying industry. Cara has taken the daily deal site phenomenon and applied it to the nonprofit sector by giving an unprecedented 50% of each deal sold to local nonprofits. DealGooder brilliantly provides a win-win-win situation, giving consumers savings on the best things to do in their city, adding sales and new customers for local businesses, and giving nonprofits much needed donations and exposure. Prior to founding DealGooder, Cara brought over ten years experience in public relations, brand and marketing communications, partnership marketing, special events, corporate contributions and social media. Cara attended the University of Southern California, earning a BA from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism with a minor in Television and Film. Cara has served on many nonprofit boards including the Orange County Boy Scouts of America, Womenʼs Foundation and The Fragile Hearts Foundation.
Kay Napier, Chief Executive Officer Arbonne International, Irvine
When Kay Napier joined Arbonne in 2009, she brought three decades of experience in general management, marketing and international and strategic planning. Due in no small part to this experience, Kay successfully led the company to restructure its debt. This allowed Arbonne to have a great balance sheet moving forward. Kay also assembled a new management team that has now rallied around a five-year strategy that will position the company for continued success. Immediately prior to joining Arbonne, Kay served as the senior vice president of McDonaldʼs, where she spearheaded the launch of the healthy lifestyles initiative and led marketing efforts designed to appeal to women and families in both the U.S. and Europe – an important part of McDonaldʼs legendary corporate turnaround. A new resident to Orange County, she was named to OC Metroʼs “Top 20 Women to Watch” in 2011. Since 1980, Arbonne has been changing the face of the skin-care industry with its high quality products.
Alyson Noel, Monarch Beach
Alyson Noel, New York Times Bestselling Author Author Alyson Noel is an Orange County native who left home after high school to travel the world. Visiting locales from Paris to Marrakesh, Alyson lived for extended periods in Mykonos and Manhattan, and has worked as a babysitter, sales clerk, office manager, jewelry maker, T-shirt painter, hotel front desk clerk and flight attendant. She found her niche as a writer, and is now a best-selling, award-winning author with over 5 million copies in print. Her books have been published in 36 countries, have hit the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NCIBA, and Walmart bestsellers lists, and won many awards including the National Reader’s Choice Award.
Following the international success of her young adult paranormal Immortal series, the author signed a seven-figure deal for her new four-book Soul Seeker series. Her only adult novel, Fly Me to the Moon, was optioned for development by Ridley Scott. Noel now lives in Orange County, where she is working on her new series.
Kristi Oates, Partner Squar Milner CPAs, Newport Beach
Kristi Oates is many things to many people, but above all else, she is a profile of courage and strength. Kristi exceeded company expectations from the beginning of her career at Squar Milner. After she had her first child, Kristi inquired about a reduced schedule and the company made sure to do everything it could to retain her in some capacity. Kristi remained on a reduced schedule until her third child was comfortably in school. With her energy and drive, it did not take long before she was promoted to partner of tax services. In August 2007, everything changed when Kristiʼs eldest child, Danny, was riding his bicycle to school and was struck by a vehicle going over 70 mph. He was killed instantly. Somehow, through this tragedy, Kristi found the strength to breathe and come to work. When she returned, getting through each day was an accomplishment. Today Kristi plays an active role in Mothers Against Drunk Driving, helping families who have lost children. Squar Milner is one of the nationʼs 100 largest accounting firms as well as one of the largest independent accounting and advisory firms in California.
Joyce Pardue, Healthcare IT Division M.E. Weaver and Associates LLC, Irvine
In her role at M.E. Weaver and Associates, Joyce Pardue is responsible for the leadership and development of the Healthcare IT Division. With her 360-degree view of the Healthcare IT staffing industry and her years of expertise in leading and staffing high-profile projects, Joyce builds a network of candidates and clients to assist with the employment growth in Orange County for this segment of the industry. Joyce has acquired expertise in working with technology such as Eclipsys, Affinity, Choridiant CRM, Pivotal, and Lotus Notes among many others, making her a valuable source of information and a knowledge leader within the IT community. Joyce is a board member for the American Institute of Information Management (AIIM) and is also a contributor to Working Wardrobes. M.E. Weaver & Associates, a well-respected IT staffing firm, has successfully placed qualified IT professionals with top-notch companies throughout Southern California since 2004.
Gabbi Patrick, Executive Chef & Owner Gabbiʼs Mexican Kitchen, Orange
Since the grand opening in 2006, Gabbiʼs Mexican Kitchen has become recognized by numerous publications including Zagat Survey, as one of the best Mexican restaurants in all of Southern California. Chef Gabbiʼs menu is constantly evolving to incorporate local, seasonal produce with the latest in Mexican gastronomy. In the past year, Gabbi launched a five-item gourmet Mexican product line that is currently on sale regionally as well as nationally. Gabbiʼs signature series is available at Whole Foods Markets and sold nationally at Dean and Deluca. Gabbi is one of a handful of executive chefs working to change the perception of Mexican cuisine. Stereotypically perceived as a lower echelon cuisine compared to French or Asian cuisines, Gabbiʼs Kitchen has proven that a Mexican restaurant could be upscale and compete with the best in Orange County. Extremely passionate about supporting local farmers, Gabbi has donated her time to teach a course that raised over $1,000 for Slow Food OC. The funds paid for consulting services for a local nonprofit, Orange Home Grown.
Michelle Patterson, Founder & CEO Event Complete, Ladera Ranch
Since the inception of Event Complete, a full-service event marketing company, Michelle Patterson has created countless successful events. Michelle’s passion for helping others led her to create the Taste of Ladera, where local restaurants and businesses combine efforts to fundraise for nonprofits organizations. The Taste of Ladera, held every May, has spun into South Orange County’s biggest party, celebrating local cuisine and music, attracting well over 30,000 attendees. The Taste of Ladera has also raised more than $300,000 for charity and has been featured in such news outlets as The Orange County Register, Coast Magazine, and OC Metro. From her days as student body president organizing the University Speaker series hosting the President of the United States to creating a Southern California music and food festival for 25,000 people, events have been Michelle’s passion and the inspiration for her entrepreneurial spirit.
Cathy Pavlos, Chef LUCCA Café, Irvine
Cathy Pavlos is a driving force behind one of Orange County’s most unique and dynamic eateries, LUCCA. The Irvine-based restaurant is known for its one-of-akind menu, reminiscent of a Euro bistro, complete with an exquisite wine bar, wide selection of cheese and charcuterie offerings, seasonal tasting menus and monthly Sunday Suppers. Though educated as an architect and an art historian, and despite more than 20 years in architectural practice and as a college professor, Chef Pavlos has always been drawn back to cooking. Together with her husband, Cathy has led LUCCA in Irvine to become among the best in the region for its one-of-a-kind dining, off-site catering and wine bar.
Kathy Payne, Vice President of Sales and Marketing The Dot Printer Inc., Irvine
With a career that spans almost 30 years at Dot Printer, Kathy Payne has served in variety of roles from top sales person, mentor and most recently, vice president of sales and marketing. Kathy started with the Dot Printer just out of high school and quickly became a valued member in a male-dominated industry. Kathyʼs willingness to take charge has led to the company starting up new sources of revenue that have helped it stay ahead of the curve. She was instrumental in launching the Dotʼs Web and fulfillment divisions which now account for a large portion of the printerʼs business. Kathy has been an active member of the commercial printing community helping with Printing Industries Association of Southern California, a trade association for the graphic arts community. She is also an active grandmother and mother of two daughters. Started in 1980, the Dot Printer is a company offering high quality lithographic services in three major West coast markets.
Rhonda Nicole Polk, Business Banker Pacific Premier Bank, Costa Mesa
The only female business banker at Pacific Premier Bank, Rhonda Polk has quickly risen to the top 10% of business bankers at the company. She has raised the bar in customer service and relationship management. Rhonda receives most of her referrals from clients and repeat business, a testament to her hands-on approach. Outside of Pacific Premier Bank, Rhonda is a member of Future Leaders of Our Community, an organization focused on bringing civic-minded young professionals together. A longtime Orange County resident, Rhonda volunteers at the Laguna Beach Art Museum, Zero Trash Laguna, Art for Aids, and is a member of the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Southern California. Pacific Premier Bank is a state-chartered commercial bank offering a full complement of deposit and loan products and services for commercial businesses, nonprofit organizations, and consumers.
Melissa Pollard, Vice President – Western Market, Orange County Middle Market Lending Comerica Bank, Costa Mesa
Melissa Pollard has been in middle market lending for 23 years and has held senior- level positions in middle market, business development and strategic execution of client service. During her tenure with Comerica Bank, she co-founded and chaired the Comerica Bankʼs Western Market Womenʼs Initiative. She also created the Comerica Bank Womenʼs Business Symposium. The Pennsylvania native holds a BS in psychology, a BA in communications and a minor in business from the University of Richmond in Virginia. She serves as an active director on the Board of Directors of Girls Inc. of Orange County. Mellissa has also put on the Womenʼs Business Symposium for five years, and through her generosity, Girls Inc. has received $80,000 over the past two years.
Rebecca Procsal, Partner KPMG, Irvine
Rebecca Procsal has made numerous valuable contributions to KPMG and its clients along the way. With two decades of tax consulting and compliance experience, Rebecca has a reputation as a professional who provides quality service to her clients in KPMGʼs consumer markets practice. She has experience serving clients in the restaurant, retail, manufacturing, and service industries. Rebecca is a mentor to KPMG colleagues in both the Irvine and San Diego offices, providing guidance in the areas of career and personal development and encouraging her mentees to take advantage of the firm resources that are available to help them. She is the lead campus recruiter for Federal Tax Services and regularly speaks at campus recruiting events regarding topics such as KPMGʼs diversity groups. Rebecca is also a regular classroom volunteer at Don Juan Avila Elementary School, assisting students in developing strong math and reading skills. KPMG provides audit, tax and advisory services and industry insight to help organizations negotiate risks and perform in the dynamic and challenging environments in which they do business.
Sunny Rajab, CEO Business Communications Solutions, Irvine
Sunny Rajab is the founder and CEO of Business Communications Solutions (BCS). The company is a top seller of telephone systems in Orange County and has achieved a 100% growth in revenue since it was launched in 2004, and recently moved into a new corporate headquarters. Sunny has enjoyed the distinct honor of being selected as a semi-finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for her success as a businesswoman. Also, she graced the pages of OC Metro as the CEO Centerfold and as one of the top 40 executives under 40. Sunny is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and promotes the growth, stability and profitability of women-owned businesses in Orange County. Since its inception, BCS has built a solid and fast-growing business by providing small to medium-size businesses with an efficient, single-source contact for all telecommunications and data connectivity needs.
Kalpana Ramakrishnan, Partner KPMG LLP, Irvine
Partner Kalpana Ramakrishnan is the advisory practice leader in KPMGʼs Orange County office. Kalpana joined KPMG over 15 years ago and played a pivotal role in kick-starting the IT advisory practice in Los Angeles before moving to the Orange County office 12 years ago. Kalpana incubated the KPMG Sourcing Advisory Service practice in 2006 and over three years grew that practice to gain market recognition, assisting large global companies with their sourcing initiatives. Kalpana has led large IT projects at several of KPMGʼs marquee clients. Kalpana has more than 23 years of broad-based strategic enterprise-wide transformation and technology experience with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies across several industries. Thanks in part to Kalpanaʼs contributions the firm was named to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionalsʼ Worldʼs Best Outsourcing Advisors list. A proponent of maintaining work/life balance, the Orange County resident also volunteers at her sonʼs school and leads KPMGʼs volunteer efforts for the MS Societyʼs Orange County chapter.
Monica Rebella, President Rebella Accountancy Corporation, Tustin
Monica Rebellaʼs professional accomplishments include ten years with PricewaterhouseCoopers where she was a director in the Tax Department before acquiring her own CPA practice in 2006. Although her practice supports many types of small businesses and individuals, she has expertise in the area of dental practices. She provides services such as practice valuation, practice building, financial planning, retirement planning, monthly accounting and tax to her dentists and other clients. Monica has been an honored speaker at meetings sponsored by many dental associations including the Orange County Dental Academy, South Bay Study Club, UCLA Dental School, and the American Dental Association conference. Monica is past president of the California Society of CPAs Orange County/Long Beach chapter and has served on various committees for the California Society of CPAs both at the local and state levels. She is also heavily involved in promoting community support by serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Council on Aging Orange County and as vice president for the Cal- State Fullerton Alumni Association and Accounting Alumni Chapter.
Kelly Reeves, President & CEO KLR Communications Inc., Newport Beach
With over 15 years of marketing and media relations experience, Kelly Reeves has multi-industry knowledge that ranges from fashion, lifestyle and entertainment to technology and automotive. Kelly has worked with well-known companies including Barrett-Jackson, Targus, Kingston, Memeo and Buffalo Technology. She has successfully launched a variety of consumer electronics and B2B brands and executed highly successful PR and social media campaigns. Kelly has placed clients in leading newspapers and magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LAPTOP and PC Magazine; placed products in leading tech blogs such as TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget and Mashable; and landed spots on high-profile programs such as the Today Show, and Good Morning America and at ABC News and CNN. Outside of her professional duties at KLR Communications, Kelly gives back to the community as an ardent supporter of various charities including Canyon Acres and the ASPCA.
Casey Reinhardt, Owner Caseyʼs Cupcakes, Laguna Beach
Founded in 2009, Caseyʼs Cupcakes is a confection boutique offering an assortment of fresh cookies, classic candies and fluffy gourmet cupcakes. Wildly popular in Orange County, Casey Reinhardtʼs cupcakes have also won on the national show Cupcake Wars, on the Food Network. In 2002, Casey founded the C.A.S.E.Y Foundation, Childrenʼs Alliance for the Success and Education of Youth in need, which was established in effort to realize Caseyʼs long-time passion for helping children to build self-esteem and stay focused on their academics and extracurricular activities. Casey was recognized for her work by Olive Crest Childrenʼs when she was awarded the honorary youth chair at their annual fundraiser event, The Black & White Ball. Casey is currently attending Pepperdine University working towards a degree in Psychology.
Rochelle Reiter, Vice President, New Business & Partner Orange
Label Art + Advertising, Newport Beach Rochelle Reiter has made remarkable contributions to Orange Label Art + Advertising. Having started at Orange Label fresh from earning her bachelorʼs degree from California State University, Fullerton, Rochelle moved from a talented employee to dedicated agency partner. Throughout her 13-year commitment to the agency, Rochelle has had incredible accomplishments and helped to successfully lead one of Orange Countyʼs longest-standing, privately-held advertising agencies. Rochelleʼs accomplishments include earning a F.E.M.B.A. degree in International Business, participating as a dedicated member of Vistage for over ten years, and giving back to her alma mater by starting the well-known and highly successful Business Networking Breakfast to assist undergrad students in networking and landing full-time careers upon graduation. Orange Label Art + Advertising is a full-service advertising agency that provides a comprehensive set of advertising, marketing and public relations services for clients that span a wide range of markets.
Candace Rice, SVP, Chief Accounting Officer Thompson National Properties, Irvine
Candace Rice has been an integral part of the growth at Thompson National Properties. The company opened in April 2008 with Candace joining in December of that year. She helped build, manage and mentor the property accounting team before taking on the larger role of chief accounting officer. Candace is responsible for all of the financial reporting and accounting functions, including setting up the systems, infrastructure, policies and procedures, and hiring and developing the financial and accounting team. There were no properties managed in-house when she started, but the team quickly grew to manage 66 properties nationwide within three months. The department now handles the accounting for a portfolio of 133 commercial properties, totaling more than 20.1 million square feet, on behalf of over 4,000 investor/owners with an overall purchase value of $2.6 billion. For the past two years, Candace has been actively involved in the Pacific Coast Chapter of the MS Society, personally raising more than $10,000 through organized walks. She has also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.
Annette Richardson, Managing Director/Managing Partner One Medical Group, Newport Beach
Annette Richardson brings over 14 years of experience working in the Medical Esthetics industry to TLC Cosmetic; after reorganizing and reestablishing the company, she created One Medical Group. Annette has worked hard to make it a hugely profitable corporation as part of NVision Laser Eye Centers, formerly TLC Vision. The numbers speak for themselves, and Annette brought the company into the black by substantially increasing net profits. Annette continues to expand One Medical Group, with plans to open centers in Ontario, Beverly Hills, Burbank and Las Vegas. Annetteʼs vision for One Medical Group will keep it a vital and growing force within the industry. Annette looks to give back to Orange County every chance she gets. She has donated her time and several items and services to fundraising events for charitable organizations, including Talk About Curing Autism among others. One Medical Group provides the latest non-invasive, anti-aging and rejuvenation procedures with its highly experienced team of doctors, registered nurses and clinical estheticians.
Kelly Rogers, Chief Development Officer Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County, Santa Ana
Possessing natural leadership skills, Kelly Rogers gains the respect of her colleagues through her insight, innovation, and her ability to collaborate effectively and efficiently to accomplish a critical goal. Recently, Kelly was promoted from the director of education to chief development officer. She is now responsible for all strategic planning, program development/evaluation, marketing and grant writing. Kelly is unwavering in her commitment to using her knowledge and leadership skills to provide service and guidance to her the industry. She serves on Experianʼs Consumer Council Board for Financial Literacy and on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Financial Literacy Committee. Outside of her professional duties, Kelly is working towards her Ph.D. in Educational Studies at Chapman University and has also written a childrenʼs book series, Aron With One A, that helps children understand critical concepts related to personal finance and saving money. As a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Consumer Credit Counseling Service is the nationʼs oldest and largest credit counseling organization.
Jerri Rosen, Founder & CEO Working Wardrobes, Costa Mesa
Jerri Rosen has led the nonprofit Working Wardrobes in providing career development services and professional wardrobing to men, women and young adults emerging from life crises for the past 20 years. As founder and CEO, Jerri is an advocate of self-sufficiency and independence, helping Working Wardrobesʼ clients re-enter the workforce armed with the necessary tools for success. The organization has served more than 50,000 people in Southern California in partnership with more than 50 local shelters and social service agencies. To assist in financing the programs, Jerri initiated a chain of successful resale boutiques (The Hanger) operated by Working Wardrobes that accounts for 35% of revenue. In 2010, Jerri was presented with the Outstanding Founder Award at the 25th annual National 2011 WOMEN IN BUSINESS NOMINEES Philanthropy Day Awards for her vision in providing charitable services to the community and improving the quality of life for individuals and families in Orange County.
Jenny Ross, Executive Chef & Owner creative blend/118 degrees, Costa Mesa
Jenny Ross has been preparing raw foods for over five years. Her first restaurant, Taste of the Goddess, opened at the beginning of the raw food rush in Los Angeles; after serving up Hollywood’s celebrity clientele she felt that it was time to bring the show down to her hometown, Orange County. 118 degrees – open since 2007 – empowers OC diners with fresh, organic living cuisine thatʼs presented in an artful context. In January 2010, Ross took her original recipes and pioneering spirit to Whole Foods Market at The District in Tustin where she opened the Raw Bar, a new counter featuring a full menu of raw delights and made-to-order salads, entrées and desserts. Jennyʼs food has been enjoyed from Los Angeles to San Clemente and can also be found pre-packaged at Motherʼs Markets under Jenny’s Raw and Organic.
Jennifer Rottenberg, Chief Marketing Officer USA Water Polo, Huntington Beach
Since starting at USA Water Polo Jennifer Rottenberg has brought in several new sponsors, tripling the organizationʼs corporate sponsor roster. This includes sponsors in key areas such as lifestyle and nutrition. In her position, Jennifer has launched a new venue branding program developing key graphical intellectual property while also starting many new initiatives to support member development including voicemail blasts and partner discounts. She reduced the cost and increased revenue within the marketing department and also gained extra exposure for the sport by producing a cable television broadcast of a National Team game. Jennifer helps to promote an active lifestyle along with like-minded sponsors and continues to have a positive effect on Orange County residents of all ages. She has also been a longtime advocate for women in the sports business field, having started the Los Angeles chapter of Women in Sports & Events and serving as president for two years.
Kelly Ruggirello, President & CEO Pacific Chorale, Santa Ana
Since 2004, Kelly Ruggirello has served as President and CEO of Orange Countyʼs nationally lauded and award-winning resident professional choir. Kelly has transformed the Pacific Chorale into a fiscally stable company worthy of its artistically superior reputation. Due to Kellyʼs organizational restructuring, Pacific Chorale has enjoyed a balanced budget for the past six fiscal years, with an 85% increase in contributed revenue and a 64% increase in ticket revenue. Under her leadership, the organization has erased a $340,000 carry forward deficit, increased endowment contributions by $162,000, launched a new Planned Giving campaign, and grown the Board of Directors from 12 to 28 members. Kelly has served the Orange County community for 18 years, making a profound impact in her profession of arts and education and leaving a legacy for many Orange County generations to come. Kellyʼs passion, energy and determination are infectious and the reason for her continued success as she devotes her heart and soul to building, saving and maintaining Orange Countyʼs finest arts institutions.
Janice Salmon, CEO JustPressOne Inc., Fountain Valley
A serial entrepreneur, Janice Salmon has started five businesses since 1972. Her first business was a data entry service bureau. The following business ventures included a consulting firm for programming services to IBM clients, a fuel tax accounting firm – Econotax, which led to the purchase of KeyProcessors, another data entry service bureau. Finding a niche market in consumer electronic paper claims, she built the data entry company into a claims processing and validation service, winning clients that included Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba and Hitachi. Today Janice is CEO of JustPressOne, a voice broadcasting service that replaces the costly, inefficient burden of manual, repetitive telephone calls with pleasant, nonintrusive automation tailored to fit consumersʼ businesses. In the community, Janice serves as vice president, public relations, of Toastmasters in Fountain Valley.
Lynn Salo, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Allergan Inc., Irvine
Lynn Salo is a 23-year veteran of Allergan; her career has provided her with strong strategic and commercial experience across global healthcare, pharmaceutical, and device markets in Canada, Europe, and the United States. She is currently vice president of sales and marketing for a division of Allergan Medical that serves plastic and reconstructive surgeons with implant devices for post-mastectomy reconstruction and aesthetic correction. Prior to her current position, Lynn held various business unit leadership positions throughout her storied career at Allergan. Outside of her professional duties, Lynn is a board member of the Allergan Foundation, Allerganʼs independent philanthropy organization; Girls Inc. Orange County; and she is a Womenʼs Philanthropy Fund Member. Allergan is a global, technology-driven multi-specialty health care company pursuing therapeutic advances to help patients live life to their fullest potential.
Sandy Salty, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development Trace3, Irvine
Sandy Salty has spent the past five years promoting the Trace3 brand as vice president of marketing & business development. These efforts have landed her numerous honors including Everything Channelʼs CRN Magazine: Power 100 & Most Powerful Women in the Channel 2010 and 2009. Since Sandy has taken over marketing, Trace3 has tripled revenues. Now in her business development role, she is helping launch the company into adjacent markets that will increase client value and retention. With her successful creation and implementation of Trace3ʼs new PR Division, Trace3 has increased its public visibility, which has opened up a new revenue stream and paved the way for Trace3 branding. With a strong belief in giving to those who are in need, Sandy is passionate about making the community she lives and works in a better place. Her most recent venture with 4halos & Trace3 is The Project Hope School Foundation, which focuses on the education and outreach of homeless children in Orange County. Trace3 provides solutions that reduce complexity within their clientsʼ IT infrastructure by simplifying data management, simplifying virtualization and accelerating the network.
Inga Sanders, Founder & Managing Partner Sanders Law Group, Corona Del Mar
Inga Sanders, founder and managing partner of Sanders Law Group, is the leading advocate for children ʼs educational rights in Orange County and throughout the state. Her practice focuses on assisting families in their efforts to obtain free and appropriate education for their children with special needs throughout Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area and extended Bay Area. Inga serves as a legal advisor to numerous charter schools, local advocates and service providers working to improve the lives and education of children with disabilities. Inga also serves on the educational panel of the Los Angeles Dependency Court and was recently named to the Board of Directors of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County, an organization that provides quality advocacy for children through a unique one-on-one relationship between a trained and supervised court-appointed volunteer and an abused, abandoned or neglected child.
Sherri Scheck-Merrill, VP Business Development & Product Design Amenity Services Incorporated, Tustin
Sherri Scheck-Merrillʼs expertise on lifestyle trend analysis has evolved the infrastructure of Amenity Services Inc., a company that designs, develops, produces and distributes concepts, products and brands geared towards elevating the guestroom experience. Sherri has become the eyes and ears of the hotel industry nationwide when renovations and remodeling budgets are approved at the chain level. An expert at property differentiation, she is passionate about developing products consumed by guests daily. Some of Amenityʼs chain accounts include Hilton, IHG, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels Worldwide among others. Sherri is known for licensing Wolfgang Puck into millions of hotel rooms via a product launch of estate-grown coffees and teas, and her bedding graces 50,000+ beds and accessories in 19,000 rooms. As an active member of the Orange County community, Sherri supports numerous charities, is the co-founder of Fashionomiks and oversees the Young Ambassador and Mentor Program.
Deborah Schneider, Executive Chef & Partner SOL Cocina, Newport Beach
Lauded by Bon Appétit magazine as “the reigning queen of San Diego chefs” and nominated for a coveted 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for her second cookbook, Chef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her newest venture as executive chef and partner of one of OC’s most popular hotspots, SOL Cocina. She draws upon her rich culinary background to bring the wonderful tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula to Southern California. Deborah’s fourth cookbook Amor y Tacos debuted 2010. As the first SOL-inspired book, it puts an exciting spin on modern Mexican food and cocktails. She also coauthored Williams-Sonomaʼs Essentials for Latin Cooking, also published in 2010.
Rochelle Segobia, Event Manager The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, Tustin
Rochelle Segobia, private events manager at The Winery, is responsible for maintaining the restaurant’s image and integrity with events ranging from intimate dinners and private celebrations to holiday gatherings and corporate receptions and meetings. In addition, she coordinates all Winemaker and Cigar Maker dinners as well as holiday events for the restaurant. Rochelle has been with The Winery since it opened its doors in 2007, playing a part in helping it earn the Restaurant of the Year designation by the Orange County Concierge Association in 2008 and 2009. Prior to that, she spent five years with The Winery’s partners at Morton’s South Coast Plaza.
Lili Shadab, President Elite Productions International, Laguna Niguel
Elite Productions International is a full-service event and environment design company. Specializing in event production and environment design for fashion, charity, corporate and all special events, the company offers event design, planning and management nationwide and globally. Lili Shadab has over 25 years experience in the special events industry with a background in fashion, floral and environment design. Lili started Elite Productions International in 1991 and the company has grown every year, producing more and more special events in the U.S. and internationally. Lili has a passion for superbly executed special events and her goal is to have each event she produces exceed her clientsʼ expectations.
Mona Shah, President Moxxe PR Inc., Laguna Beach
Mona Shah, owner of Moxxe, has found her niche as an Orange County restaurant publicist and has created a reputable name for her company, which works with some of the area’s top restaurants, including The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, LUCCA, SOL Cocina, Haven Gastropub, and the historic Don the Beachcomber. In addition to serving as publicist for Orange County Restaurant Week, Mona has taken a leadership role in the OC chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and sits on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Restaurant Association; has coordinated an event with Laura W. Bush in OC; and is a member of the OC Press Club. Mona’s events are as dynamic, energetic, hip and sophisticated as she is, and have spanned the gamut and raised funds for many charitable organizations, including Susan G. Komen, CHOC Children’s Foundation, and The Marconi Foundation for Kids, among countless others.
Sue Shaver, Director of Operations Event Complete, Ladera Ranch
Sue Shaver is the director of operations for Event Complete. She is an event creator and producer specializing in operational excellence. Her attention to detail has ensured the success of scores of events. For the past four years Sue has led a team that successfully put on over 20 annual events for the community of Ladera Ranch, varying in size from 200 attendees to 15,000. Her corporate event background includes two years as the executive travel manager for the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson Corp. (now Target Corp.), negotiating air, hotel, and car rental contracts for the employee business travelers as well as coordinating many corporate-wide meetings. While a playing member of the St. Paul Civic Symphony, Sue coordinated the extremely detail-laden travel arrangements for the 75-member orchestraʼs trip to Japan. No detail is too small or challenge too big when executing the perfect event. Currently at Event Complete, Sue handles the logistics, operations and many of the numerous details for each workshop.
Jocelyn Sheltraw, Marketing and Accounts Manager Textopoly Inc., Costa Mesa
Jocelyn Sheltraw started with Textopoly in 2009 as an account coordinator and has since become Textopolyʼs marketing and accounts manager. She is responsible for managing over 30 active mobile and social client campaigns at a time including Yamaha, Newport Beach Film Festival, Blue Fly, and many more. A seasoned marketer, Jocelyn is dedicated to improving Textopolyʼs marketing and PR efforts though social media management including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Textopolyʼs blog, as well as creating analytics to track efforts. Through her recent marketing efforts, Textopolyʼs website traffic has increased over 80% within the last four months. Jocelyn is also an active volunteer for the AgaKhan Foundation and recently put together an event hosted at Textopolyʼs office to inform and educate attendees about the organization and volunteer efforts. Founded in 2006 Textopoly has been a pioneering mobile engagement agency in the U.S. through projects with brands including Food Network, Kaplan, Walmart, Burger King, NBC and many more.
Delia Snyder, Co-Owner & Executive Chef Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach
Under the ownership of Delia Snyder, Don the Beachcomber is experiencing a rebirth with its first new restaurant in 20 years. Don the Beachcomber originated in the 1930s in Hollywood and grew to incorporate 16 restaurants. Founder Donn Beach (now deceased) is credited with creating the “tiki culture” defined by a relaxed ambience, tropical décor, and exotic rum-based cocktails including the famous Zombie and Don’s Original Mai Tai. None of the early restaurants exists today but Delia and her husband have owned the brand since 2007. Delia’s family was close to Donn Beach, and itʼs important to the couple to make sure that all elements of their restaurant maintain the integrity of the original brand.
Sharon Stevenson, Co-Founder & Managing Director Okapi Venture Capital LLC, Laguna Beach
In her role at Okapi Venture Capital, Sharon Stevenson is responsible for the companyʼs life science investments. She is a scientifically and financially trained senior executive specializing in innovative strategic problem-solving across functional and industry boundaries. Sharonʼs clinical training was in veterinary surgery and she is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). She has also served on the governing boards of the ACVS and the Orthopedic Research Society. Sharon is the author of over 132 publications, including two guest editorships and has made more than 57 presentations to professional audiences. She is a member of the National Venture Capital Association and a member of OCTANe, serving on the Biomedical Leadership Team. Okapi Venture Capital provides long-term capital and management support to start-ups, partnering with exceptionally talented entrepreneurs and operational executives to develop their emerging businesses.
Cara Stewart, Principal Remarx Media, Costa Mesa
Cara Stewart is the founder and chief rabble-rouser of Remarx Media. She is a fearless leader and entrepreneur with more than 17 years of experience in journalism, marketing communications and public relations. Cara stands out in the workplace with her intricate knowledge of B2B social media and PR. News outlets such as the Orange County Register, Orange County Business Journal, MSNBC and KTLA 5 News have considered her a go-to media resource on the topics of business branding, the use of social media in PR, and the role of corporate social responsibility in brand-building. Stewart co-founded WunderMarx PR in 2002 and grew it into one of the top four PR agencies in Orange County, as ranked by the OCBJ. Always at the forefront of technology and business trends, she identified the importance of social media and content development for B2B technology companies and founded Remarx Media in 2010 to focus on these specialties.
Christi Haley Stover, Managing Director & CEO Platinum Resource Group Inc., Santa Ana
Christi Haley Stover is the managing director and CEO of Platinum Resource Group (PRG), a professional- level, boutique staffing firm providing results-oriented, cost-effective and timely work force solutions. Christiʼs vision was to develop a company with a results-oriented approach, helping businesses achieve and do their “next new thing.” By shifting to this approach, the most experienced professionals can be engaged for the appropriate amount of time and focused on the most critical work. Within this vision is a company that values personal long-term relationships and conducts business with warmth, integrity and trust. Christi has been in the professional staffing industry for over six years. She started PRG during a down economy and grew the business exponentially in just one year. Growing up in Orange County, Christi actively gives back to the community. She has been a regional trustee of Olive Crest and also co-chaired the 2011 “Harvesting Hope” event. She is also a member of the Association for Women in Technologyʼs (AWT) 10-person governing board and is the director of AWTʼs Charitable Foundation.
Autumn Strier, President Miracles for Kids, Tustin
Miracles for Kids is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Autumn Strier established MFK as a comprehensive, program-based organization that has developed aid programs with CHOC, Fund-a-Family Program, and Basket of Miracles to aid families in medical and financial crisis. To date MFK has provided aid to several hundred Southern California families. MFK also operates a research program that donates funds to cutting-edge clinical trials in pediatric cancer. Since Autumn took charge as president in 2005, MFK’s revenue has increased more than 1200%, from $60,000 to over $730,000 in 2009. Autumn has raised the organizationʼs profile and stature, and heads its program design, strategic planning, grant writing and fundraising efforts. Under Autumn’s leadership, the board hopes to launch MFK’s programs in SoCal children’s hospitals within the next few years. Autumn has worked as a staff member and volunteer within the nonprofit and public sector through most of her adult life.
Miranda Su, Executive Vice President The Joy Factory, Irvine
Bringing more than 13 years of experience in the technology industry, Miranda Su has been responsible for overall corporate operations at The Joy Factory. Her responsibilities include strategic product development, launch-to-market initiatives and the companyʼs current product suite including iPad™, iPad 2 ™ and iPhone® specialty and other digital device accessories. In less than five months, Miranda has led the companyʼs growth and solidified distribution agreements with Amazon.com, Buy.com, SKM Distributors and D&H Distributing and Airport Wireless to expand the companyʼs product reach both domestically and internationally. Miranda was also honored as a finalist in the “Outstanding Woman in Technology” by TechAmerica during the 16th annual “High Tech” awards in 2009. The Joy Factory was founded by “gadget fanatics and innovators” who have more than 40 years of experience in the consumer electronics industry. The firm makes accessories for digital consumer devices; its flagship product suite for the iPad, iPad2 and iPhone includes cases and stands, mounting systems and charging devices.
Winnie Sun, Founding Partner Sun Group Wealth Partners, Irvine
Winnie Sun has proven herself to be a strong, fair leader with intense determination. She recently established a new independent boutique wealth management firm, Sun Group Wealth Partners, powered by LPL Financial. She leads the firm as founding partner and serves the unique needs of small business owners, senior executives, celebrities, and established families throughout the West Coast. Her firm manages an impressive $140 million in assets through LPL Financial. With more than 12 years of experience in the financial services industry, Winnie began her investment advisory practice with Salomon Smith Barney, where she was awarded their highest honors for being a high-producing member of the firm and delivering superb client satisfaction. In the community, Winnie and her firm recently established a relationship with the Orange County Fire Authority to support fallen firefighters and their families. Sun Group Wealth Partners donates toys, gifts, and money to grieving families. In addition, Winnie works with the Chinatown Service Center, the nationʼs largest Asian non-profit.
Mary Christine “M.C.” Sungaila, Partner Snell & Wilmer LLP, Costa Mesa
Mary Christine “M.C.” Sungaila joined Snell & Wilmer in December 2010 to continue to build the firmʼs appellate practice in Orange County. Prior to M.C. joining the firm, her pro bono work in the areas of human rights and womenʼs rights included a win last year in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called “one of the most important legal victories for international womenʼs rights in decades” against Mexico for the unsolved killings and disappearances of young women in Ciudad Juarez. In 2009 alone M.C. won every published decision she argued or briefed, including one of the most important international womenʼs rights victories in decades. She is also active in community organizations in California. She recently concluded back-to-back terms as board president of Break the Cycle – teen dating violence organization. In 2011, she will continue her work as a California Ambassador to the Vision 2020 Equality in Sight Conference, state coordinator for Justice Sandra Day OʼConnorʼs online civics education program iCivics, and on the American Bar Association.
Stasha Surdyke, Actress, Writer, Chef & Publicist Coastal Food and Wine, Costa Mesa
Stasha Surdyke wears many hats and these multiple pursuits have resulted in a multi-faceted, rich career that continues to grow and flourish. After studying journalism and music at University of Maryland, Stasha traveled the world working as a personal chef on renowned private yachts. After a successful culinary career, Stasha shifted gears and auditioned for the University of Washingtonʼs School of Drama, where she received her BA in Drama and a minor in Communications. Stasha honed her PR and marketing skills at Passage Records in Seattle, where she promoted local jazz musicians on a national level. She moved to California to pursue her music and acting career, and has appeared in numerous commercials, films, television shows and theatrical productions. Despite her busy career, Stasha finds time to give back to the community. She works with CoachArt Organization and is an advocate for Breast Cancer awareness. She has served for several years on the committee for Expedition Inspiration: The Hike For the Cure, the sister organization to Susan G. Komenʼs Race For the Cure.
Anais Tangie, Owner SpecialEatsOC, Costa Mesa
Anais Tangie is founder and owner of SpecialEatsOC, making Nutritious+Delicious meals for clientsʼ homes or catered events. Anaisʼ mission is to heal, nourish and inspire with freshly prepared meals & customized catering. Food is her passion and she loves sharing it with others. Originally from Canada, Anais has faced many struggles. Finding her way out of an abusive and controlling environment, she came to California to pursue her education and start a new life. A proud Cal State Fullerton Alumna with a BA in Business, she launched her business last July. The concentration in entrepreneurship and Anaisʼs professors at CSUF were instrumental in guiding her down the path to launch SpecialEatsOC. Upon discovering the local Farmersʼ Market, and asking what she could do to help, she was given the job of assistant manager. Since then she has been dedicated to helping support local farmers and vendors, managing the market, its vendors and its gourmet food trucks.
Dr. Carol Taylor, President Vanguard University, Costa Mesa
Carol Taylor joined Vanguard University as vice president of academic affairs in 2007. In January 2009, Carol was asked to serve as acting president when the school was in crisis and at risk of losing its regional accreditation with the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. In February 2009 Carol presented a plan to the WASC Commission and asked for a deferral on decision until the Commission would meet again in June 2009. She then led aggressive efforts to turn the school around that included reducing the operating budget by $3.5 million and establishing new Board Bylaws to create an independent board with the necessary range of expertise to govern a university. For her efforts, in July 2009, the new Board of Trustees named Carol as president. In the community, Carol supports multiple organizations and programs that include City Serve, Vanguardʼs theater program, and Vanguardʼs nationally renowned music programs.
Betsy Thagard, Founder B. toffee, Newport Beach
For years Betsy Thagard has created handmade delectable toffee confections for family and friends. Perfecting different recipes until she could call one her own. With rave reviews and constant encouragement from loyal enthusiasts, B. toffee was formally founded in January 2009. The first two specialty stores that tasted B. toffee suggested it be entered in the Fancy Food Shows in New York and San Francisco. They have carried B. toffee on their shelves since that first meeting. With the business ever expanding, B. toffee can now be found in specialty food stores, exclusive corporate gift companies, gift basket proprietors, as well as the B. toffee company website. Recently featured in the Business Section of The Orange County Register, B. toffee has experienced consistent growth since the company was founded and is on track to continue that growth in 2011. Sales for the first quarter of 2011 have already surpassed over half of the entire sales for 2010.
Donna Thiessen, Vice President, Human Resources Allergan, Irvine
Donna Thiessen is the human resources leader for Allerganʼs research and development, global technical operations and corporate administration organizations. In addition, she previously led the internal communications team and global talent development initiatives including Allerganʼs annual succession planning and executive leadership development programs. Donna has more than two decades of growth in progressively responsible human resources positions in Fortune 500 companies. Prior to her current position, Donna was an HR director supporting Allerganʼs North America commercial organization. In her community, Donna serves on the advisory board for UC Irvine Executive Education. She is also a past president of both the National Human Resources Association and the Orange County affiliate of the NHRA organization.
Cathy Thomas, Owner Cathy Thomas Cooks!, Huntington Beach
Cathy Thomas is an award-winning columnist, author and on-air host with a deep passion for the culinary world. She created her namesake business to share this passion by educating the public and exploring delectable dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. Her quick-to-prepare recipes showcase flavorful ingredients, relying on fresh fruits and vegetables to make each dish colorful and delicious. She has pioneered the use of culinary-based videos on the Web, taping in her home kitchen with legendary chefs such as Thomas Keller, Steven Raichlen and Marcus Samuelsson. Cathy conducts international and domestic culinary tours on a regular basis, seeking new ingredients, techniques and ideas as she explores world cuisine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from USC and has studied at cooking schools around the world.
Jessica Spaulding Thompson, President Spaulding Thompson & Associates Inc., Aliso Viejo
As president of Spaulding Thompson & Associates, Jessica Spaulding Thompson leads business development, brand strategy, media relations and strategic development of multi-layered PR and marketing communications campaigns. The firm handles start-up entrepreneurs, global corporations, public agencies, as well as large scale commercial, multi-modal transportation and residential projects. Clients include City of Ontario, County of San Bernardino, Discover IE, Faris Lee Investments, Auto Club Speedway, NAIOP SoCal, ORION Property Partners, among others. A 20-year industry veteran, Jessicaʼs legacy of work has garnered more than 50 awards from the Public Relations Society of America among other high profile organizations. Jessica also continues to seek ways to mentor & coach; she regularly meets with young professionals and college students regarding their career paths. She is also an ongoing supporter of the Coastal Shepherd Rescue Society. Founded 2009, Spaulding Thompson & Associates creates communications strategies for businesses and public agencies that differentiate them from the competition in order to gain greater market share and leadership positioning.
Elizabeth Toumajian, Manager of The Goodwill Fitness Center Goodwill Industries of Orange County, Santa Ana
As manager of The Goodwill Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art 12,000 square foot facility designed especially for people with disabilities and chronic illness, Elizabeth Toumajian works with Goodwillʼs leadership team and is a major contributor in the creation of the primary mission and philosophical purpose of the center. In her role, Elizabeth participated in the structural design of the 12,000-square foot facility, researched and purchased $350,000 of accessible equipment, and is financially responsible for the $6 million facility and an annual operating budget of $750,000. As a contributing member of the Orange County community, Elizabeth participates in charitable fundraising for a number of health related nonprofits. She also mentors and works with individuals that have physical disabilities, chronic illnesses and psychological disorders.
Mickey Troxell, CEO & President Pegasus ECT, National Association of Certified Professionals of Equine Therapy, Certified Therapy Horse Association, Centaur University, Costa Mesa
Mickey Troxell is a compassionate and dedicated addiction therapist, level II equine assisted therapist, addictions counseling professor and speaker. Mickeyʼs private counseling practice, Pegasus Experiential Counseling Techniques, has been helping adults and teenagers for over a decade. Mickey uses cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, spiritual perception, and equine therapy to teach her clients how to develop new perceptions and overcome negative behavior patterns and beliefs. Mickeyʼs passion for helping others has driven her to open her own nonprofit Addictions Counseling Certification University, and two nonprofit Equine Therapy Certification boards. After training with the founder of Equine Assisted Therapy, Mickey established The National Association of Certified Professionals of Equine Therapy and the Certified Therapy Horse Association. All profits from NACPET and CTHA go toward scientific research, other organizations that can contribute to Equine Therapy, and populations who can specifically benefit from this type of therapy including veterans and Native Americans.
Julie Chapman Vandermost, President Vandermost Consulting Services & Native Grow Nursery, San Juan Capistrano
Julie Vandermost is president of Vandermost Consulting Services (VCS), a 12- member firm with offices in California and Arizona specializing in environmental regulatory strategic planning and permitting related to “waters of the U.S. and State” including wetlands, endangered species and water quality. She is also co-owner of Native Grow Nursery, a plant nursery specializing in California native and low water use plant materials. Julie is a business owner with proven ability to build consensus, provide common sense solutions and protect clientsʼ bottom line within regulatory and political structures. Julie is also a member of The Association of Environmental Professionals, Building Industry Association and National Association of Wetlands managers. She holds a BA in Sociology from California State University Fullerton.
Lisa M. Varga, CEO & Co-Founder Phoenix Energy Technologies, Irvine
In a challenging economic climate, Lisa M. Varga, has not only weathered the proverbial storm, she has also successfully built an organization committed to excellence and primed for continued growth. As businesses have moved out of California, Lisa relocated the Phoenix headquarters from New Jersey to Irvine. Phoenix currently manages a $2 billion in energy spending across thousands of buildings for many Fortune 500 Companies. Clients include NBC Universal, Office Depot, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Caltech University. Phoenix has experienced consistent growth year after year; with the 2010 launch of EnterpriseDX, Phoenix expects to double its revenue in 2011. In addition to her significant contributions to her company, Lisa also volunteers at Marinerʼs Church in Mission Viejo and is actively involved with the House of Hope for Women. Founded in 2004, Phoenix Energy Technologies is a leading provider of Enterprise Energy Management software and services.
Pamela Waitt, President OC Restaurant Association, Aliso Viejo
Waitt founded OCRA to promote, market and inform the Orange County restaurant industry, creating networking, mixers, events and marketing opportunities for Orange County. The association is the company behind OC Restaurant Week, Happy Hour Week, and Kid’s Restaurant Week. Waitt believes in showcasing Orange County’s dining scene as a whole, and enjoys creating innovative, fun events that appeal to all palates. She is also passionate about ending childhood hunger and is on the board of nonprofit S.O.S.
Sherry Weinmeier, Principal Stantec, Irvine
Sherry Weinmeier has more than 25 years experience in a civil engineering career that began in the mid 1980s, a period when there were far fewer women in the industry. Today as a principal for Stantec Consulting Services, she oversees a professional staff that provides engineering and design services for top-tier public and private infrastructure projects throughout Southern California. Sherry’s extensive experience includes preparation and supervision of conceptual and final designs for roadways, highways, residential subdivisions, private golf communities, community recreation and sports parks, and drainage systems for clients such as The Irvine Company, OCTA, The Mission Viejo Company, and the cities of Laguna Beach, Irvine and Anaheim. Sherry created a company training program to mentor and orient first-year engineers through the initial challenges of their careers. She is an accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) practitioner, and an advocate for industry professionals holding memberships in the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Building Industry Association and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Nicole Whyte, Founding Partner Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara LLP, Newport Beach
In 1997, Nicole Whyte co-founded Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara LLP. Today the firm employs 141 people, with offices in Northern California, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Nicole has successfully handled hundreds of complex, multi-million dollar lawsuits. In a survey conducted by Los Angeles Magazine and Super Lawyer Magazine, Whyte was named a California “Super Lawyer” in 2005. She is a member of the Civil procedure and Evidence panels of the Orange County Bar Associationʼs Resolutions Committee, responsible for invoking constructive changes in the legislation. Nicole ensures that the firm gives back to the community through more than 30 nonprofit organizations such as CHOC Foundation, The Smile Train, March of Dimes, and the American Cancer Society.
Kandy Williams, Esq. Williams Law Firm, Irvine
Formerly a litigator in Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLPʼs corporate and securities group, Kandy Williams negotiated venture capital financings on both the venture capital fund side and the company side in the high technology and emerging growth sectors. After taking some time off to be at home with her two children, Kandy relaunched her legal career by consulting with entrepreneurs and start-up companies, and eventually started her own law firm. She currently advises and represents entrepreneurs and start-up companies in business entity formation issues, trademark registrations, and other general corporate or limited liability company issues. Kandy recently participated in the Trial Attorney Partnership program with the Orange County District Attorneyʼs Office where, as a Deputy District Attorney, she successfully prosecuted a jury trial and argued numerous preliminary hearings, motions, and other evidentiary matters. In addition to her legal career, Kandy sits on the Board of Directors and the Governance Committee of Hope University, which provides an arts-centered curriculum for adults with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Carol Wintermute-Anzis, President/CEO, Doctor of Chiropractic HealthXL, Irvine
Dr. Carol Wintermute is founder, president and CEO of HealthXL, specializing in stress reduction and relaxation realignment for over 25 years. She was recently interviewed on KTLA Channel 5 for her nutritional expertise and on the radio regarding Caregiver Stress Syndrome. She is a Charter Member of The National Institute of Chiropractic Research, Diplomat of National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, member of American College of Sports Medicine Member, and an active member of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Carol is a National Charity League patroness, a six-year Mother-Daughter philanthropic commitment. She currently is Team Leader for American Cancer Societyʼs Race for the Cure to occur in June 2011. In addition she is a contributor to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Irvine Senior Center, Families Forward, Working Wardrobes, Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation among many others. HealthXL offers the most cutting edge LASER therapy along with traditional ancient treatments and everything in between, tailored specifically for each individual patient.
Gabrielle Wirth, Partner Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Irvine
Gabrielle Wirth is one of the leading labor and employment lawyers in Orange County. Lauded as one of The Best Lawyers in America, Gabrielle is known for representing well-established companies with a variety of labor and employment issues including class actions related to sexual harassment, race, age, sex and disability discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, unfair competition, WARN Act, misappropriation of trade secrets, alter ego and invasion of privacy. Gabrielle has an extensive track record of representing private and public companies with their complex labor and employment issues. In addition to her extensive legal career, Gabrielle has an impressive track record of giving time and energy to the community. She is a member of the Orange County Womenʼs Philanthropy Fund, a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society, a member of the Orange County Bar Association, a board member of the Orange County Bar Foundation, and a mentor at America Works for Kids.
Diane Wittenberg, Audit Partner Haskell & White LLP, Irvine
Diane Wittenberg, CPA, is an audit partner at Haskell & White LLP, one of the largest independent owned accounting, auditing and tax consulting firms in Southern California. She serves both privately held and public middle-market companies in audit requirements, as well as consulting on SEC transactions and SOX compliance projects. Diane goes beyond her management and accounting role by being a mentor, both formally and informally, and contributing to the growth of Haskell & White employees. She developed and implemented a flexible work policy for Haskell & White, demonstrating that professionals can achieve a balance between their professional and personal commitments. She also leads the firmʼs training program, ensuring that professionals are up to date on the latest regulatory developments. Additionally, Diane serves on the board of directors and on the finance committee for Mariposa Women & Family Center, and she volunteers as the audit committee chairman for the Discovery Science Center.
Lisa Wolter, Executive Director Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Costa Mesa
As executive director of the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Lisa Wolter leads the organization in its mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Lisa has established OC as one of the most successful affiliates nationally and globally, breaking into the top five among all Komen affiliates. Recently, OC was one of just two affiliates out of 124 across the country to be awarded the 2011 Spirit of Innovation Award at the Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference for the “Pink Tie Guy” program, an initiative that Lisa created and led. Lisaʼs vision has helped the OC Affiliate break new records of both raising money and awareness, with efforts such as the annual Race for the Cure, now entering its 20th year, and Unidos Contra el Cancer de Seno, a collaborative of organizations working with the OC Affiliate to improve the breast health of the countyʼs Latino community.
Dr. Tammy Wong, CEO Fostering Executive Leadership Inc., Irvine
Dr. Tammy Wongʼs professional career spans over three decades of sales, marketing, and strategy experience in Fortune 500 companies. She is known for her demonstrated leadership abilities and her commitment in developing leadership in others. She is the CEO of Fostering Executive Leadership, an international business results executive coaching firm. The firm consists of over a hundred leadership coaches worldwide. The coaches work with leaders by improving leadership capability, capacity, and have established a proven record with a ROI through our coaching engagements. Before starting her own company, Tammy worked in the technology industry for companies that included IBM, Xerox, and Sun Microsystems advancing into many leadership roles. At Sun, she founded and was the president of the womenʼs organization that included over 2,000 women worldwide. Tammy currently serves on the board of several not-for-profit organizations and leads a select group of executive women who meet regularly to discuss leadership and business issues.
Karen Wood, Executive Director The Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach
Under Karen Woodʼs direction, the 90th Anniversary of The Laguna Playhouse offers a season of engaging plays and renowned youth education programs. These are challenging times for all arts organizations, but Karenʼs new business model provides fiscally sound guidance for this valued institutionʼs operations. For her transformative efforts in realigning the theatreʼs business model, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce honored The Laguna Playhouse with the Premier Business of the Year award at The Chamberʼs annual “Spirit of Laguna” Awards. In addition, Karen was nominated for a 2011 Art Star Award in “Innovation and Leadership in the Arts” by Laguna Beach Arts Alliance. Karen is an active member of Laguna Playhouse Women, an outreach and support organization for the theatre; the Regional Arts Initiative funded by the James Irvine Foundation; and the Arts Orange County among others. The mission of The Laguna Playhouse is to enrich lives through the magic of live theatre, to provide educational opportunities for children and adults, and to create experiences that stimulate cultural and social interaction and inspire our community.
Greer Wylder, Founder Greer’s OC, Costa Mesa
For over 14 years, Greer Wylder has written about fashion, dining and trends in Orange County, first as a columnist for the Daily Pilot and now as founder of Greerʼs OC, a website and free daily e-mail newsletter, Daily Dose of OC. Greerʼs OCʼs origins are rooted in a tragic episode for Wylderʼs family. In 2005, one of her four boys was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, changing the course of her life forever. She stayed closer to home to take care of her son and, in the process, was able to tap into the then-young world of social networking and online media. Having worked hard her entire life, she decided to take advantage of the Internet and build a presence for her many loyal readers. She could never have predicted what was to come – her online platform became a viral sensation that spread throughout Orange County and beyond.
Melissa Yoon, Senior Counsel Thomas Whitelaw & Tyler, Irvine
Making a mark and differentiating oneself in the competitive and elite litigation counsel world is no easy feat and, for a woman, it is all the more challenging. This has never discouraged Melissa Yoon, who achieved success in employment and complex business litigation at leading firms including Jones Day, Morrison & Foerster, and Kirkland & Ellis. Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit and the chance to build an outstanding practice of her own, Melissa left the comforts of the big law firm environment to join Thomas Whitelaw. In just one year, Melissa has managed to start a growing Labor & Employment (L&E) practice at Thomas Whitelaw, which is driving non-L&E business to the firm as well. Melissa is a vice president on the advisory board of Beta Foster Care. She is active in supporting the organizationʼs efforts to train and certify qualified adults for foster care under state regulations and manage the appropriate placement of children into these Orange County foster homes.
Laurie Zagon, Founder & Director Art & Creativity for Healing Inc., Laguna Niguel
Under Laurie Zagonʼs leadership, Art & Creativity for Healing has been responsible for initiating numerous ground-breaking programs. In 2006, the organization launched the “Art for Healing Certificate Program” with Chapman University College, now Brandman University. The first in the nation, the program is designed for counselors, teachers, therapists, medical professionals, artists, and others interested in learning the Art for Healing method and using the exercises in their own work with children and adults suffering from abuse, illness, grief or stress. Laurie has been instrumental in fostering the growth and prosperity of Art & Creativity for Healing. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2010, the organization has served more than 25,000 children and adults, and partnered with more than 35 hospitals, treatment centers and nonprofit agencies throughout Orange County. Much of the success that Art & Creativity for Healing has had would not be possible without Laurieʼs vision, leadership and drive.
Wende Zomnir, Founding Partner & Executive Creative Director Urban Decay Cosmetics, Newport Beach
Fifteen years ago, Wende Zomnir, one of the original founding partners and continuing executive creative director of Urban Decay Cosmetics, began a journey that would lead to the building of an internationally renowned cosmetic company that has taken the world by storm. As executive creative director of Urban Decay, Wendeʼs chief priority has been to keep Urban Decay as one of the hippest, most aggressive niche players in the burgeoning cosmetics industry. The constant innovation in products, design and approach has truly kept Urban Decay ahead of the pack and firmly in position as a leading cosmetics company worldwide. Under Wendeʼs creative inspiration, Urban Decayʼs product line has grown since that first modest offering in 1996 – currently, Urban Decay product line consists of hundreds of innovative and trend-setting products sold in luxury retailers worldwide including Macyʼs and Sephora. Wende has been interviewed almost daily by magazines all over the world, has served as guest editor at several magazines, and takes an active role in countless charity events.
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