Becoming a Fearless Communicator

A Conversation about Courage with Starshine Roshell and Dr. Judy Stevens-Long

Do barriers hold you back in your professional life? Need a better way to assess risk? Many of us share fears as women communicators  Learn to overcome these worries and express what you need to say? Starshine Roshell is famous for her column in the Santa Barbara Independent where she tackles topics that make others break out in a cold sweat. Dr. Judy Stevens-Long is an internationally known researcher with a deep understanding of adult development. Join them on Wednesday, March 6 for a wide-ranging conversation that will help you find the courage to conquer any fears that hold you back.

Wednesday, March 6, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor

Judith Stevens-Long received a Ph.D. from UCLA in developmental psychology and taught at the university level for the last 40 years. She started her career at Cal State LA, moved on to the University of Washington and then to Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara where she mentors Ph.D. students who are midlife practitioners. She has written dozen of articles on adult development and is the author of several text book in developmental psychology. She is also a published poet and has several plays that have been produced at a variety of venues in Southern California, one that won "Best of Fest" in the theater festival in Alberta, Canada.

Starshine Roshell is a an award-winning journalist, author and writing coach. Local readers have named her Best Columnist for 10 years in a row for her witty, honest and insightful column in the Santa Barbara Independent She has interviewed Gloria Steinem, Samantha Bee and Ellen DeGeneres among others, and taught news, feature and travel writing at UCSB and SBCC. She is an author at LinkedIn Learning, associate director of media and communications for Fielding Graduate University, and a 2011 Women of Achievement Award recipient.

Money, Money, Money: Cultivating the Courage to Speak Up

Money-talk can feel taboo—especially for women. But until we speak up with clarity about what we want and what we need financially, we will continue to limit our economic lives and pay a high price in our relationships. So let’s speak up! Join us on Wednesday, February 6 when we welcome two experts for an interactive workshop where you'll get guidance in what you need to know to talk gracefully and comfortably about money.

Wednesday, February 6, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

A financial professional for 30 years, Sharon Cox's experience includes serving as a financial planner, socially responsible investment advisor, small business consultant, and national conference manager. An award-winning speaker and author of materials published by the National Endowment for Financial Education, Sharon offers private and small group money coaching, interactive workshops, and speaking engagements through her business, The Money Dance,

Daisy Swan has been a Career and Executive Coach for almost 30 years helping clients discover, and be, their most authentic and productive selves. Daisy has worked with CEO’s, attorneys, producers and writers, sales professionals and executives in the media and technology sector, as well as those just starting their careers. She works with clients in one-on-one sessions, and teaches or presents in corporate and University settings.

AWC-SB Annual Holiday Party Review

By Valerie Anne Burns

Wine, food and conversation flowed at this year’s AWC-SB holiday party held at Crush Tasting Room and Kitchen, owned by Michael and Lisa Amador. A festive crowd turned out to enjoy the warmth indoors as a light rain softly fell outdoors. Platters of sushi, cheese, crostinis, flatbreads and gourmet panini’s paired sumptuously to wine of the guest’s choosing from a selection of Rose to Cabernet, all from small production wineries on the Central Coast. Rachel Sarah Thurston, AWC-SB member and photographer took photos throughout the evening of all the women communicators in holiday attire.

This year AWC-SB honored Jen Baron, Executive Director of Girls Rock and Hilary Soren Molina, who co-chaired the 2018 Women of Achievement Awards.

AWC-SB board member Lisa Osborn presented Hilary with the Member of the Year award. Hilary said, “I’m honored to be a part of this incredible group of women and want to encourage young women to get involved.” She then offered to sponsor a college student who wants to join AWC-SB.

Dr. Lois Phillips, foundering chapter President of AWC-SB, presented the Founders Award to Jen Baron. Lois mentioned the importance of creating a space for women to stand in their own light. Jen said, “Life is about authentic connection and teaching girls to be brave, which is something I do every day.”

Lots of chatter and cheer continued until the party wrapped up for the night. Everyone enjoyed appetizers, wine and catching-up.

Valerie Anne Burns is an Image & Design Consultant/Author & Blogger.

Wed, Dec 5: AWC-SB Annual Holiday Party

If you haven't experienced the new Crush Tasting Room & Kitchen yet, join us at the AWC-SB Holiday Party on Wednesday, December 5. We’ll celebrate the season and raise a glass to honor two special communicators. This year's AWC-SB Member of the Year. Hilary Molina, co-chaired the 2018 Women of Achievement committee and worked tirelessly to raise the bar on our signature event. Jen Baron, Executive Director of Girls Rock, will receive the Lois Phillips Founders Award for her efforts to help girls find their voices through music. AWC-SB plans to adopt Girls Rock SB as our 2019 Nonprofit of the Year. Several Girls Rock SB students will perform at the party.

Annual Holiday Party
Wednesday, December 5
6-8 pm
Crush Tasting Room & Kitchen
432 E Haley St

Downtown Santa Barbara
AWC-SB Members $25; Nonmembers $35
includes appetizers and $12 wine credit


Lois Phillips will present the Founders Award to Jen Baron, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Rock, a nonprofit that helps girls become more confident through music. Jen started the organization single-handedly, pitching her ideas to mentors, funders, board members, parents and the public. When she launched the first summer program in 2012, one hundred girls attended. Today, the organization has grown to a community of more than 4,000 students who participate in after-school programs as well as day camps and sleep away camps during the summer.

Jen graduated from Santa Barbara High School and Antioch University. Although her professional background is in marketing and public relations, she's written songs and played music most of her life. At her father’s urging, she followed her dream and recorded songs professionally.

She discovered her true calling in a graduate program at Antioch when a professor urged her class to design their dream jobs. Jen envisioned a nonprofit that used music to spark creativity and instill confidence in girls aged 7-17. Although she knew nothing about starting, much less funding, an organization, she spent a year researching the project which eventually became Girls Rock SB. Girls Rock programs bring together girls from diverse backgrounds. Under the guidance of mentors who are themselves musicians, girls learn to collaborate and communicate through music.

Hilary Molina co-chaired our 2018 Women of Achievement luncheon, an annual AWC-SB event that honors women who use their talents as communicators to improve the community. Hilary brings passion to everything she does. Thanks to her gift for strategic planning, she produced an inspiration event that exceeded the expectations of the AWC-SB board and attracted new sponsors and more public attention to the event.

Hilary is the Alumni Relations Director for Fielding Graduate University where she serves as the direct contact for over 5,000 alumni around the world. She's also responsible for programming that provides tangible benefits to alumni, students, faculty, board members, and donors.

Before joining Fielding Graduate University, Hilary worked as an account executive at Fidelity National Title, a Fortune 500 company which is the nation's largest provider of commercial and residential mortgage and diversified services. She earned a Masters of Science from Cal Poly SLO. Her current interest includes road cycling and supporting her family run junior development team Galaxy Cycling.

Wed, Nov 7: How to Recognize and Respond to Burnout

The 805 experienced a tough year in 2018. In addition to the usual pulls of balancing our personal and professional lives, we’ve dealt with the undertow of a stormy political climate and the lingering trauma from the Thomas Fire and debris flow. Even the strongest among us might need help recognizing our own limits. How do you determine when you—or someone close to you—has reached that breaking point? From stress management to suicide prevention, our panel of experts will answer some dark questions while shedding light and providing guidance about how to find help and relief when it’s needed.

Wednesday, November 7, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
AWC-SB Members Free; Nonmembers $20
Wine & Refreshments included



  • Simon Fox, Founder Adventures in Caring
  • Dr. Deborah Smilovitz Foster, PhD and NeuroPsychologist
  • Dr. Meridith Merchant, PhD and Psychologist UCSB
  • Mariana Harms, Manager of Clinical Training at CALM

Simon Fox has led Adventures in Caring for 32 years. He and his wife Karen, who founded the nonprofit, are internationally respected leaders in teaching compassion as a practice that supports the healing of the whole person. Their award-winning programs are used in hundreds of hospitals, hospices, and nursing schools. Simon is the primary caregiver for Karen, who has suffered from life-threatening illnesses her whole life. Simon is co-author of the book, What Can I Say? A Guide To Visiting Friends and Family Who Are Ill and co-producer of five video-based training programs on compassion, including The Medicine of Compassion which won the 2004 International Health & Medical Media Award for the best video in patient care. Simon has served on the National Advisory Committee for the American Trauma Society and produced its Second Trauma train-the-trainer program.

Dr. Deborah Smilovitz Foster, specializes in neuropsychology with a sub-specialty in children, trauma and balance. These specialties have provided a strong foundation about how physiological, neurological, and psychological processes interact. Deborah has studied and worked with children for over 20 years, first as an elementary school teacher and then as a nurse. Her clinical training includes working with gang members and teenage mothers, domestic violence and anger management groups, domestic violence shelters, County Mental Health as a certified member of the crisis team (certified to 5150)/assessment team and working with children and families. Her research at the internationally acclaimed Reiss-Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles is part of a group of child study centers that include the Yale and Harvard Child Study Centers.

Dr. Meridith Merchant is a licensed psychologist, advocate, consultant and speaker. She serves as a full-time psychologist at UC Santa Barbara Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). She also serves as a faculty advisor and Community Health Advocate with iDREAM for Racial Health Equity, focused on improving health outcomes for mothers and babies throughout the course of their lives. As a member of the California Department of Public Health's Maternal, Child and Adolescent Division's CA Community Birth Plan Task Force, Dr. Meridith gives voice to health disparities among Black women. Through her community commitments, personal and professional endeavors, and her role as a psychologist at CAPS, Dr. Meridith continues to use her personal maternal trauma as inspiration and fuel for her passion to increase awareness and activism toward equity, empowered health and wholeness for all.

Mariana Harms is a Spanish/English bilingual Marriage and Family Therapist at CALM, where she serves as the Manager of Clinical Training. A graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Mariana has over 6 years experience working with children and families who have experienced trauma. Professional burnout and compassion fatigue are topics regularly addressed at CALM, as the trauma-focused clinicians are at high risk for both.

Wed, Oct 3: Strategic Social Media

Local leaders Share Inside Secrets on Staying on Point and Keeping it Fresh

Aimless social media, without strategic thinking, results in awkward posts that damage your reputation. Used skillfully, social media becomes a powerful tool that draws attention to your brand. On Wednesday, October 3 AWC-SB will present a panel of local women who will discuss their success at using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms on behalf of themselves and their clients. These pros will share insights for creating authentic, engaging and--most important--effective social media communications. Bring a friend, bring your phone, and get ready to bring home a new set of tips and tricks for posting with purpose!

Leela Cyd is a food, lifestyle and travel photographer and storyteller. She’s authored and photographed her own books, Food With Friends: The Art of Small Gatherings, Tasting Hygge, Cooking Up Trouble and Styling for Instagram.

Carly Mask is an Instagram Strategist, Hearst Award-Winning Photographer and Managing Partner at Camp Digital, a boutique content studio that powers the creative needs of founders, small businesses, and growing brands.

Siouxsie Jennett is the CEO and founder of Mambo Media, a digital marketing firm that works with companies to maximize marketing strategies to drive revenue through digital marketing.

Samantha Wennerstrom is the creator of the fashion and lifestyle blog Could I Have That? Created in 2009, CIHT? provides readers with original content on living a stylish life and has grown into an established online publisher working with brands such as Barneys New York, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and many more. Samantha is also an ambassador for Who What Wear and is a member of Heymama Co.

Leela Cyd

Carly Mask

Siouxsie Jennett

Samantha Wennerstrom

Wed, Sept 5: AWC Connects – Building a Network that Works for You


Does your work involve communication? Do you have something important you want to do this fall? Could you use help clarifying your dreams and solidifying your goals? Then you'll want to attend the fall networking meeting of the Association for Women in Communication, Santa Barbara chapter on Wednesday, September 5, 5:30-7:30 pm at workzones in Paseo Nuevo.

Executive Coach and AWC-SB member Patricia Rachel Schwartz, MA, PCC, will lead a highly engaging, participatory mini-workshop on Achievement Acceleration. You’ll connect with other exceptional women in small groups using a proven, mutually supportive process that encourages reflection, discussion and accountability.

Wednesday, September 5, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
AWC-SB Members Free; Nonmembers $20
Wine & Refreshments included

You’ll walk away with new ideas about how to approach your professional goals and challenges, plus action steps that will move you closer toward what you want to achieve in the year ahead. As a bonus, you’ll be in the company of some of Santa Barbara’s most creative communicators.


Patricia Rachel Schwartz MA, PCC, BCC
Executive Coach and Facilitator

Maximize Positive Engagement and Thrive!

Her coaching approach is strengths-based and informed by the latest research in positive psychology. She specialize in stakeholder engagement to support strategic visioning and plan implementation, change leadership, and for nonprofits-major gifts coaching and training. Stakeholder engagement includes the engagement of employees, teams, funders, investors, boards, public officials and communities, among others.


  • 40 years experience in leadership development, business development and management - locally, nationally and internationally
  • Executive Coach for 20 years
  • M.A., International Administration/Intercultural Management, SIT
  • Worked with over 3,500 leaders across sectors and industries
  • Background in executive leadership in the business and nonprofit sectors
  • Created appreciative inquiry/positive psychology based Relationship Building for Prosperity℠ Stakeholder Engagement Model and Tools
  • Professional Certified Coach, Certified Mentor Coach, Board Certified Coach
  • Senior Faculty member of the College of Executive Coaching for twelve years
  • Faculty of the Cal Lutheran University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership for twelve years
  • Raised over 12 million dollars for nonprofits

Patricia has worked with leaders from (partial listing): Alpha Resource Center, Anthem, Antioch University, Coca Cola, DreamWorks Animation, Fielding Graduate University, Foodbank, Jr. Blind of America/Wayfinder Family Services, Mayo Clinic, PepsiCo, Reiter Affiliated Companies, Santa Barbara Foundation, Treebones Resort, US Navy, United Way, UC Santa Barbara, University of Chicago Booth School of Management, Ventura College Foundation, Ventura County Community Foundation, Verizon, and Women’s Economic Ventures.CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT

Wed, April 11: Comment/No Comment: Local Journalists Discuss Closing Online Forums vs. Keeping the Conversation Open

Please join us April 11 for “Comment or No Comment.” Media outlets such as Noozhawk and the Santa Barbara Independent recently eliminated reader comments online. Are such comments tiresome noise, providing little information or accuracy? Or are they an important part of the conversation? Local journalists weigh in.

Wednesday, April 11, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
AWC-SB Members Free; Nonmembers $20
Wine & Refreshments included

Starshine Roshell, award-winning columnist for the Santa Barbara Independent, moderates this panel of journalists including:
Lauren Bray, managing editor Ed Hat
Matt Kettmann, senior editor The Independent
Jim Lemon, news director KEYT News Channel 3
Tom Bolton, Executive Editor Noozhawk

Wed, May 2: Free Networking

Join AWC-SB for networking on Wednesday, May 2, 5-7:30 pm at Mulligans Cafe & Bar. Bring your business cards. Prepare your thirty second elevator pitch. Connect with leading women in local communications positions such as marketers, designers, writers, journalists etc.. This event is FREE so if you've never attended an AWC-SB meeting, or haven't in a while, this gives you an excellent opportunity to meet some of our local chapter members and learn what the organization is all about. Bring your friends and enjoy food and drinks at Happy Hour prices, not to mention free parking.

Wednesday, May 2, 5-7:30 pm
Mulligans Cafe & Bar
3500 McCaw Ave
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

No Host Bar
FREE to attend

Please Click Here to RSVP

Fri, June 8: Women of Achievement Awards

“Courageous Communicators” #WomenOfAchievement

Friday, June 8, 2018
11 am - 1 pm
El Paseo Restaurant
in downtown Santa Barbara.

Get Tickets
AWC-SB strives to empower women to attain greater outcomes by acknowledging exemplary women leaders in communications fields. Women of Achievement Award recipients serve as inspirational role models for those wanting to further their careers in journalism, public speaking, writing, public relations and related disciplines. Our chapter uses funds from this event throughout the year for the professional development of our members, our interns and the local community.

Both our honorees emulate our 2018 theme “Courageous Communicators” through their work addressing issues of social justice.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

Hannah-Beth Jackson is a former prosecutor and practicing attorney, educator, and small business owner. She was elected to the California State Senate in 2012 to represent the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

A graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, California with a joint major in government and sociology, she received her law degree from Boston University Law School before returning to California to work as a deputy district attorney for Santa Barbara County. Eventually, she became the managing partner for the Law Offices of Eskin and Jackson, with offices in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

From 1998 to 2004, she represented the 35th Assembly District in the State Assembly, where she worked with Democratic and Republican governors to author more than 60 bills into law. Hannah-Beth has also co-founded two nonprofit organizations, served as the first policy-maker in residence at UC Santa Barbara, and served as adjunct professor at Antioch University.

In the Senate, she is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves as a member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and the Senate Public Safety Committee. She is immediate past chair of the California Legislative Women's Caucus.

During her time in the Legislature, Hannah-Beth has become known as an effective advocate for protecting the rights and privacy of Californians, protecting the environment, advancing legislation to reduce gun violence, supporting access to justice for all Californians, championing equality for women, advocating for commuter rail, improving access to early childhood education, and supporting veterans and veterans treatment courts, among other issues. She is the author of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, landmark legislation to strengthen California's equal-pay law, and was named by Huffington Post as one of 11 women around the country "blazing new trails" in American politics.

Hannah-Beth has received Legislator of the Year awards from a wide range of organizations and is the recipient of the prestigious California Women Lawyer’s Fay Stender Award, given annually to an attorney committed to affecting positive change with “zest, humanity (and) personal courage” who serves as a role model for women. An advocate for justice for women, children, and victims of crime for more than three decades, she helped establish the Santa Barbara Shelter Services for Women (now known as Domestic Violence Solutions) and Women Against Gun Violence. She is also a founding member and past president of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.

Dr. Carrie Hutchinson

Dr. Carrie Hutchinson is the Chair of the Communication Department at Santa Barbara City College, where she has been teaching for 15 years since earning her doctorate from UCSB in Interpersonal Communication and Intergroup Psychology. She teaches courses in Interpersonal Communication, Leadership, and Social Justice, and enjoys taking students around the world on study-abroad programs to destinations such as Rwanda, South Africa, and Cuba. Carrie’s travels compelled her to become involved in advocating for marginalized people and groups across the globe. She leads a Santa Barbara chapter of the national organization Dining for Women, which meets monthly to support projects that foster economic and social empowerment of women and girls in developing countries.

After becoming involved in the national organization Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Carrie co-founded the Santa Barbara chapter in 2016. SURJ aims to compel people with racial privilege to join a multiracial movement for racial justice with passion, accountability, and effectiveness. Carrie works via SURJ under the guidance of local and national organizations led by people of color taking direct action against racism. As an intersectional activist, Carrie is a passionate writer and speaker not only about racial justice but also about other issues that intersect with racism. Her publications include textbooks, peer-reviewed research studies, popular-culture articles, and a blog entitled Notes on Racism and Social Justice from an Aspiring White Ally. Through her local, national, and international activism, Carrie aspires to do something each day that will positively impact the world.

Carrie is the mother of two future changemakers, Lilah and Cleo, and partner to her husband, James. During her free time she performs as the lead singer in a local rock band. Learn more about Carrie at

Special Guests

Starshine Roshell—Master of Ceremonies

Starshine Roshell is a an award-winning journalist, author and writing coach. Local readers have named her Best Columnist for 9 years in a row for her witty, honest and insightful column inthe Santa Barbara Independent She has interviewed Gloria Steinem, Samantha Bee and Ellen DeGeneres among others, and taught news, feature and travel writing at UCSB and SBCC. She is an author at LinkedIn Learning, associate director of media and communications for Fielding Graduate University, and a 2011 Women of Achievement Award recipient.

Perie Longo—WOA Poet Laureate

Perie’s love of poetry influences all aspects of her life. She was Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara (2007-09) and the president of the International Association for Poetry Therapy (INAPT) from 2005-07. She is a Registered Poetry Therapist (PTR), and Mentor/Supervisor for those seeking training in that field, a Marriage and Family Therapist, and a widely published poet. Perie received the Women of Achievement Award in 2012.

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