The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) is the premier national organization for empowering professional communicators with the strength, support, and communication tools they need to elevate their careers and become agents of change in their fields. The Santa Barbara l chapter includes authors, journalists, and broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers, and marketers, corporate communicators, coaches, and public relations experts. AWC-SB offers the opportunity to network with colleagues who understand the challenges of contemporary communication and are genuinely interested in helping other women reach their potential.

Background: In 2006 communications consultant Lois Phillips, publisher Mindy Bingham, and producer Deborah Hutchison founded the Santa Barbara chapter of AWC. They saw a need for a dynamic, local organization that brings together professional communicators, solopreneurs, and corporate communicators as well as scholars and communications majors at local colleges and universities. They affiliated with AWC, which has been empowering women for more than 100 years. Professional Development: Today AWC-SB is the only AWC chapter in 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 also feature speakers and panel discussions designed to help communicators stay at the top of their game. A few recent topics include RWriting Op-Eds: How to Get Your Voice Out There; Truth Decay: The Battle to Prevent Misinformation from Overwhelming Reality; and How to Get your Message Across On Camera. . ock your LinkedIn Profile, Imposter Syndrome, What You Need to Get Started with Podcasting, and Inclusive Communication. During  the COVID-19 pandemic and health officer orders prohibiting large indoor gatherings, monthly AWC-SB meetings took place on Zoom, providing a safe environment for our members to stay connected, learn, and support each other. They have since resumed in person.

AWC-SB has also sponsored public screenings of movies like Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins and Miss Representation, 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 year there are monthly informal coffee meet-ups, and in summer, members meet to discuss books relevant to communicators over Books for Breakfast.

Special Events: The annual AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards is the organization’s  signature event. It honors inspirational local communicators who have made a profound difference in the Santa Barbara community.

AWC-SB also hosts an annual holiday party at which we recognize a Member Of-theYear. The organization has also celebrated local communicators with the Founder’s Award. Past recipients include Kristine Schwarz (social responsibility executive), Beth Pitton-August (filmmaker), Teri Jory (community activist), Jen Baron (founder of Girls Rock SB, Guille Gil-Reynoso (co-founder of the Santa Barbara Latina Leaders Network), Anna Laura Jansma (communications liaison at UCSB), Kate Carter (founder of Life Chronicles), and Becca Claasen (spokesperson for Citizens’ Climate Lobby).

AWC-SB has also supported local nonprofits. A few of the local organizations that have benefited  include Girls, Inc, Friendship Center, Storyteller Children’s Center, Domestic Violence Solutions and Santa Barbara Women’s Fund.

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