AWC-SB Honors Six Women of Achievement at Luncheon Event

County Communicators Guided Santa Barbara Disaster and Pandemic Response

Honorees Suzanne Grimmesey, Terri Nisich, Jackie Ruiz, Van Do-Reynoso, Mona Miyasato, & Gina DePinto

Santa Barbara, CA – The Association for Women in Communications Santa Barbara chapter (AWC-SB) recognized the outstanding contributions of a team of six public communicators at the 14th Annual AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards presented by Women Connect4Good. 

More than 140 guests, AWC-SB members and sponsors filled the historic Cabrillo Pavilion for the luncheon on Friday, April 29th to recognize the exemplary work of Van Do-Reynoso and Jackie Ruiz with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Mona Miyasato and Terri Nisich in the County Executive Office, Suzanne Grimmessey in Behavioral Wellness and former County Communications Manager Gina DePinto.  

“These six exceptional communicators have guided our community through fires, the Montecito debris flow, and most recently, the pandemic,” said Lisa Osborn, AWC-SB board president and KCSB FM news & public affairs director. “We wanted to acknowledge their tireless efforts to spread the information needed to keep people in our community safe and healthy under very difficult circumstances.” 

Osborn noted that this is the first time AWC-SB has honored six exemplary communicators in one year as Women of Achievement.

“It was clear to all who heard the honorees talk at the event that they work as a team, they depend on each other and support each other,” said Lauren Bianchi Klemann, AWC-SB board member and 2022 event chair. “Through their relationship, we heard how each of the honorees showed up every day despite facing their own doubts and adversities during back-to-back crisis events to create a sense of normalcy for the community in some of our darkest moments.” 

Honoree Mona Miyasato, county executive officer with the County of Santa Barbara agrees. “Personal and organizational resiliency lies within our ability to connect and communicate in an open way that reveals our whole selves – be it about race, gender, or other challenging topics,” she said. “I am deeply honored to be recognized this year by AWC-SB along with my County colleagues as we strive to engage, empower and create a better future for and with our community.” 

Paula Lopez, a ninth generation Santa Barbara native, Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and 2012 Women of Achievement recipient emceed the event. Perie Longo, Santa Barbara poet laureate emerita, continued an AWC-SB tradition by writing and reciting a poem inspired by the honorees.  “Trust In One Another was their anchor, their strength,” said Longo reciting her poem. “Today, harbored alive and well, fortified by their resolve, we salute these six women.”  

AWC-SB is the premier organization for communicators on the Central Coast. Its membership includes journalists, broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, authors, corporate communicators, photographers, coaches, and public relations experts. AWC-SB meetings offer an opportunity to network and learn from colleagues who understand the challenges of contemporary communications. Memberships are available at several levels; a $50 registration fee will be waived during the organization’s spring membership drive which ends on May 20th. For more information, visit awcsb.org. 

Women of Achievement is AWC-SB’s signature event, which celebrates the accomplishments of top communicators in the Santa Barbara area. Honorees over the years include former SBCC Public Affairs Director and Goleta Union School Board Member Luz Reyes-Martin, KEYT Journalist and Anchor Beth Farnsworth, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, retired Congresswoman Lois Capps, former mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara Independent Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder Marianne Partridge, Dr. Carrie Hutchinson, Paula Lopez, Lynda Weinman, Catherine Remak and Sara Miller McCune.

Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, Founder of Women Connect4Good, Inc., returned as the presenting sponsor for the 2022 Women of Achievement Awards. Other premiere sponsors include SBCC Foundation, Santa Barbara Independent, Southern California Edison, La Lieff Wines, Natalie Orfalea Foundation, Oshay Family Foundation, Above All Aviation, County Supervisors Joan Hartmann and Gregg Hart, Cox Communications, Cottage Health, Frank Ochoa, WEV Women’s Economic Ventures and Planned Parenthood of California Central Coast. 

More information about the Association for Women in Communications Santa Barbara and the Women of Achievement Awards can be found at www.awcsb.org

ABOUT AWC-SB  

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. Communications consultant Lois Phillips, publisher Mindy Bingham, and producer Deborah Hutchison founded the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association of Women in Communications (AWC-SB) in 2006. 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. Today, AWC-SB membership includes journalists and broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers and marketers, authors, corporate communicators, photographers, coaches, and public relations experts. AWC-SB offers professional communicators and businesswomen an opportunity to network with colleagues who understand the challenges of contemporary communications. The national AWC organization is more than 100 years old, and AWC-SB is the only chapter in the state of California.  

AWC-SB is governed by a volunteer board. The 2021-22 Board of Directors is led by Lisa Osborn. Other board members include: Lauren Bianchi Klemann, Lisa Danhi, Christine DiBerardino, Leslie Dinaberg, Carolyn Jabs, Monica Kunz, Erica Schweitzer, and Joan Tapper.

Poetry Dedicated to Our WOA Honorees