AWC-SB – The First Ten Years

The Association for Women in Communications is a national organization that helps women develop and deepen the communication skills they need to succeed in a variety of fields. Our local chapter includes authors, journalists and broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers and marketers, corporate communicators, coaches and public relations experts. AWC-SB offers professional communicators and businesswomen an opportunity to network with colleagues who understand the challenges of contemporary communication.

Background: In 2006 communications consultant Lois Phillips, Publisher Mindy Bingham, and Producer Deborah Hutchison founded the Santa Barbara chapter of the Association for Women in Communications . They saw a need for a dynamic, local organization that cut across sectors to bring together professional communicators, solopreneurs, scholars and corporate communicators as well as communications majors at local colleges and universities. They affiliated with the Association for Women in Communications, a national organization that has been empowering women for over 100 years. They wanted to provide opportunities for professional communicators to encourage each other, be inspired by successful role models, and learn skills and multi-media strategies through a range of professional development opportunities.

Professional Development: Today AWC-SB is the only AWC chapter in the State of California. Our membership includes women at different stages of their careers and with different backgrounds and skill sets. Regular networking meetings allow women to deepen their professional friendships, often leading to collaborative opportunities.

Monthly meetings feature speakers and panel discussions designed to help communicators stay at the top of their game. A few of the topics from recent meetings include "How to Handle Online Criticism", "Becoming an Influencer", "Building Your Brand", "To Pod or Not to Pod", "From Crisis to Calm with Effective Communication" and "Managing Information Overload".

AWC-SB has also sponsored public screenings of movies like Citizen McCaw and Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroine as well as receptions for prominent local communicators like Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power. During the summer, we choose books relevant to communicators and discuss them over Books for Breakfast.

Special Events: The annual Women of Achievement Awards honors inspirational local communicators who have made a difference in the Santa Barbara community. Women who have been honored include:

  • 2017 Helene Schneider, Mayor of Santa Barbara & Patty DeDominic, Founder International Women’s Festival
  • 2016 Lois Caps, Congresswoman & Dr. Lois Phillips, Communications Consultant and Founder AWC-SB
  • 2015 Sigrid Wright, Earth Day Festival & Marilyn Tam, author The Happiness Choice
  • 2014 Nancy Leffert, President Antioch University & Marianne Partridge, Editor in Chief, Santa Barbara Independent
  • 2013 Kathleen Sharp, author of Blood Medicine & Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO of Women Economic Ventures
  • 2012 Perie Longo, Poet & Paula Lopez, television journalist
  • 2011 Linda Weinman, founder of & Starshine Roshell, syndicated columnist
  • 2010 Sarah Miller McCune, publisher Sage Communications & Marcia Meier, author
  • 2009 Catherine Remak, radio host & Ann Louise Bardach, journalist
  • 2008 Producer Deborah Hutchinson and reporters at the Santa Barbara News Press including Jane Hulse, Melinda Burns, Dawn Hobbs, Melissa Evans, Anna Davison,
AWC-SB also hosts an annual holiday party at which we recognize a Member-of-the-Year and support a Nonprofit of the Year. A few of the local organizations which have benefited from our generosity include: Girls, Inc, Friendship Center, Storyteller Children’s Center, Domestic Violence Solutions and Santa Barbara Women’s Fund

The organization has also celebrated local communicators with the Founder’s Award. Recent recipients include Anna Laura Jansma, (communications liaison at UCSB), Kate Carter (founder of Life Chronicles) and Becca Claasen (spokesperson for Citizens Climate Lobby).

Radio Interviews to Promote AWC-SB and the Women of Achievement Awards

"In The Public Interest": host Jim Siriani interviews Women of Achievement honoree Patty DeDominic and AWC-SB President Lisa Angle. Originally aired on AM 990 KTMS, 99.9 KTYD FM, K-LITE 101.7 FM, KFYZ FM 94.5 May 27-28.

"Arts & Antiques Radio Show": host Elizabeth Stewart interviews Women of Achievement honoree Helene Schneider, AWC-SB President Lisa Angle, and AWC-SB President Elect Carolyn Jabs. Originally aired on KZSB AM 1290 May 26-29.




Thirteen Ways to Make the Most of Your AWC-SB Membership

  1. Attend meetings. Our monthly meetings feature panelists and speakers who can take you to the next level as a communicator. Members attend program meetings for free.
  2. Submit your business for inclusion on Our Professional Services Directory is a great way to let other members know about your special areas of expertise
  3. Join a committee. We can always use help with Membership, Marketing, Programming and the Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon. Meetings are fun and a great way to get to know your fellow AWC-SB members.
  4. Make use of the job board. AWC is a national organization with a job board that lists opportunities all over the country. Check it out if you’re looking for a change or just want to know what’s happening in your field. Members get a discount when posting a job opening.
  5. Sign up for a free Webinar.  The Know to Grow Webinars cover timely topics ranging from making better use of LinkedIn to Growing Your Leadership Brand.
  6. Make a suggestion for a meeting. Is there an area where you could use a little Professional development?  Or do you have professional skills you can share with other members? Make a suggestion for a panel or a presentation and we’ll work it into the schedule.
  7. Find (or become) a mentor. Our members are top-notch professionals willing to share their expertise. If you’re looking for advice or have advice to offer, we’ll help you make a connection.
  8. Get Discounts. On hotel rooms, office supplies and ...... Go to to learn more.
  9. Be inspired. Our annual Women of Achievement Awards luncheon honors women who have used their powers of communication to strengthen our community. Members save $20 on 2017 tickets.
  10. Get a great photo. A professional photographer covers AWC-SB meetings. You’re welcome to share event photos on your social media.
  11. Compete for awards. Members get a discount on entrees for the AWC Clarion Awards, a national award which recognizes excellence in over 100 communication categories ranging from books to websites.
  12. Network and collaborate. AWC-SB members often discover new clients and find referrals at meetings.
  13. Unwind.  AWC-SB meetings include a glass of wine and an opportunity to socialize. You work hard as a communicator so you deserve to relax with those who appreciate what you do.

Wed, April 5: AWC-SB After Dark

Join AWC-SB for a LIVE storytelling experience on Wednesday, April 5, 5:30-7:30 pm. Sit back while you’re entertained by people sharing personal stories and enjoy wine and cheese at workzones, transformed into a cozy coffeehouse.

Wednesday, April 5, 5:30-7:30 pm
Paseo Nuevo
351 Paseo Nuevo 2nd floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
AWC-SB Members Free; Nonmembers $20; Full-time Students $10
Appetizers and wine provided

Storytellers include:

Carolyn Butcher - "To Whom it May Concern"
Carolyn, who wrote her PhD dissertation on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, teaches critical thinking through literature at Santa Barbara City College. She has published numerous memoir pieces in print and online journals, in addition to performing personal stories three times with Speaking of Stories at Center Stage. "To Whom it May Concern" was sparked after President Trump’s “Pussy” comments, when women of all generations began sharing their own experiences of past sexual harassment or abuse.


Adele Menichella - "Naked Eye"
Adele is an independent writer-editor whose work has appeared in print, radio, television and film. She has been a diarist since the age of seven.



Natalie D-Napolean - "I Used to Believe in Magic"
Natalie  is a writer, singer-songwriter, and educator from Fremantle, Australia who now lives in California. She is currently working as a Laboratory Teaching Assistant at the SBCC Writing Center while also working on songs for a new album of original material.



Elaine Gale - "Red Cabbage Rising"
Elaine Gale is a California-based writer, performer, humorist, professor and journalist who loves art, artists, building community, giving back, healing, border collies, Hendry's, fish tacos and pedicures. She will perform her one-woman show, ONE GOOD EGG, directed by Rod Lathim, at Center Stage Theater May 5-7.For more info and tickets:


Valerie Burns -  "Organic Warrior"
Valerie, a style consultant for home and wardrobe, and graduate of the Hollywood school of hard knocks, is a recent breast cancer survivor. She’s currently writing a book, Caution: Mermaid Crossing, about her warrior ride, and blogging about this and much more.



Maggie Mixsell, Artistic Director of Speaking of Stories, provided performance coaching for our five storytellers. We look forward to hearing your story.

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President’s Letter – April/May

Can you believe it’s almost May already? We’ve had a spring full of fabulous presentations. I hope you’ve enjoyed the diversity of speakers and topics so far this year. I know I have!

I’m excited about the upcoming panel in May. Our topic is “Women in Radio and Podcasting”. The presenters are a diverse group with many years of experience among them. Please join us on Wednesday, May 6 for what promises to be an excellent discussion on the role of radio and podcasting in the field of communications.

I’m delighted to announce we have two new board members who will co-chair the membership committee: Carolyn Jabs and Jennifer Blaise Kramer. Be sure to say hello and thank you to them when you see them at our May meeting. I’d also like to thank Sandy Delos who’s not only joined the board as our programs chair but has stepped up to help with our Women of Achievement event as well.

We still have a couple of spots open on the board for women interested in helping AWC to grow locally. We’re also working to establish several committees for membership, hospitality and events. If you’re interested in joining a committee or learning more about what the Board of Directors does, please email me at I’d be happy to buy you a cup of coffee and share more.

Finally, I want to remind you now is the best time to reserve your seat at this year’s Women of Achievement luncheon. Take advantage of the early bird price of $50 for members before May 1. The board had breakfast recently with our two honorees, Marilyn Tam and Sigrid Wright. They really impressed me with their stories and their rich history in the field of communications. I look forward to learning more about them at this year’s event. Click here to buy your ticket.

See you there!

Minette Riordan, Ph.D.
AWC President

February President’s Message

Happy New Year!

I’m proud to serve as AWC-SB President for 2015. Let me share what the Board of Directors has worked on for the past couple of months. In part, the purpose of AWC-SB is to:

  • Create a supportive environment for women to share experiences and exchange information and opportunities for success in their work as professional communicators.
  • Provide access to role models and leaders in the communication fields, explore current trends, and learn related technologies.
  • Provide educational seminars and access to professional development in the Santa Barbara region to help members stay abreast of trends and shifts in the global economy, occupations, and communications fields.

Our monthly programs play an important role in our purpose. We’ve planned an exciting agenda for the next few months. We begin on February 3 with "Leadership & Diversity". Please note we meet on Tuesday evenings for February and March due to room availability at Antioch University. Other upcoming topics include "Women in Public Affairs" and "Women in Radio & Podcasting". I look forward to seeing all of you at our events in 2015.

In order for AWC to continue to grow and thrive in Santa Barbara, we need your help. We’re looking to fill several board positions as well as committee positions. All members are invited to attend our monthly board meeting. I encourage you to join us to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes and see if participation might benefit to you. Our next meeting is Friday, February 10, 12 noon-1 pm. Please email me at if you’re interested.

Some positions we seek to fill include:

  • Co-chair Membership: someone who is detail-oriented, who can help with membership applications, new member follow up, updating our directory, etc..
  • Membership Committee members: work with the board and the Membership Co-Chairs to help us grow AWC-SB membership.
  • Hospitality Committee members and Chair: set up refreshments at meetings, help at registration table and make new guests feel welcome.
  • Event Committee members: help with annual June Women of Achievement Awards banquet.
  • Programs Committee members: brainstorm ideas for programs, help plan future AWC-SB events.

AWC-SB is a volunteer organization and it takes a village to create a thriving membership. Please consider joining us and donating your time and talents to AWC-SB.

- Dr. Minette Riordan