The Association for Women in Communications – Santa Barbara (AWC-SB) is the premier 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. Members include authors, journalists, broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, executive & life 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.

Our History: 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. While the national organization of AWC dismantled in 2023, AWC-SB remains a strong local organization. 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 and get a head start on topics and trends in the industry. A few recent topics include Writing 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; Rock your LinkedIn Profile, Imposter Syndrome, What You Need to Get Started with Podcasting, and Inclusive Communication. 

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 communicators like Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses: Nine Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power. There are informal meet-ups throughout the calendar year and formal programming generally takes place September through June.

Special Events: The annual AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards is the organization’s  signature event. It honors inspirational 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 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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