Following tradition, Laura Farber was given the opportunity to make two choices that no one could take away when she took over as president of the Tournament of Roses.
“The first was to pick a theme, one that I’m extremely proud of, and the other was to pick the grand marshals for the parade,” explained Farber, a South Pasadena resident.
She made “The Power of Hope,” the Pasadena Tournament of Roses’ 2019-2020 theme.
And, well, it’s proven to be pretty powerful.
“The theme has been incredibly well received at a time when our country and our world is so divided,” said Farber. “We wanted America’s New Year’s Celebration to bring everyone together with the Power of Hope.”
She was born in Argentina and her husband, Tomás Lopez, came from the Dominican Republic “and our families both left their countries because things were going on in that world that were not good,” Farber, a longtime volunteer with the Tournament of Roses, noted. “They were actually really bad. So they both made really difficult decisions to leave everyone they knew to come to start new lives in this country because the United States presented a beacon of hope – hope for a freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom to pursue religion, freedom to pursue economical and educational opportunities.”
It doesn’t stop there.
“Hope is so powerful,” she continued. “It is dignity and respect, joy and happiness and it never quits,” “In fact, everything is possible through hope.”
Her second big choice after becoming TOR president came when Farber named Rita Moreno, Gina Torres, Laurie Hernandez as the grand marshals for the parade.
Moreno has received four of the most prestigious awards in show business; an Academy Award, a Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, and a GRAMMY award. Her credits span more than six decades, beginning on Broadway at age 13.
Well-known for her roles on “Suits,” “Alias,” “Firefly” and “Westworld,” Torres, an American television and movie actress, was born in Manhattan to a close-knit Cuban family and raised in the Bronx.
Hernandez earned Olympic Gold and Silver medals as a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team.
“Through their talent, efforts, persistence, and dedication, they all have achieved excellence and have given back to the world stories of hope, dreams fulfilled, dignity, respect and inspiration,” said Farber, who promises the “131st Rose Parade and 106th Rose Bowl Game are “are going to be fantastic.”
What’s in store “are some very exciting attractions at his year’s parade including the largest number of international bands from all over the world joining us,” she continued. “You will enjoy every part of this celebration.”
No stranger to the Tournament of Roses Association, Farber has been a volunteer member of the organization since 1993. She was elected to the executive committee in 2012. Over the years, Farber has served on and chaired various committees including Formation Area, Decorating Places, Judging and Membership Development.
Farber is also a member of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Advisory Board and the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Museum Committee and in the community serves on the board of directors of the non-profit Clazzical Notes, a four-year member of the board of directors for the YWCA. Locally, she is a member of the school site council at Marengo Elementary School in South Pasadena, and supports the South Pasadena Middle School Booster Club.
“My parents have always believed in and encouraged involvement in our community and giving back,” said Farber. “So, every opportunity I have had to get involved in my community, I have taken.”
Farber is only the third female president of the Tournament of Roses and the first Latina, saying she likes the progress the organization has made as Gerald Freeny, her predecessor, was the TOR’s first African-American president, and Richard Chinen, the president in 2015, was the first Asian-American to be in the highest leadership role.
Farber, who enjoys music, tennis and reading in her free time, is a partner in the Pasadena law firm of Hahn & Hahn, where she practices civil litigation with an emphasis in employment disputes. She and her husband have two children – Christopher and Jessica
“I’m very happy to represent this organization and its 935 volunteer members,” said Farber. “If not for the commitments made by our predecessors, I would never have had this opportunity and our association would not have had the opportunity to begin to reflect the diversity of it community both in its membership and its leadership.”