They’re smart, driven, well-educated and at the top of their game in the business world.
State Senator Anthony Portantino used those words to celebrate exceptional women in his 25th District whose professional skills and commitment to their community have made them outstanding leaders and role models.
Forty-five inspiring women, including two from South Pasadena, were honored recently by Portantino during his Women in Business Legislative & Awards Luncheon at the Castaway in Burbank.
Recognized were those who “have paved the way for the next generation of leaders to follow in their footsteps,” said Portantino. “Innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and persistence is so often demonstrated by the women we are honoring.”
The senator noted that California is home to more women-owned companies than any other state in the nation.
Among the honorees were South Pasadena Chamber of President Laurie Wheeler, who earned the outstanding non-profit executive director award, and Samantha Montes, the co-owner of Beyond the Classroom, an after-school enrichment program, who earned the most inspirational award.
Wheeler, who received a degree at Cal State L.A. Northridge, has spearheaded the highly popular Eclectic Festival in South Pasadena, watching it grow from six bands and a couple of hundred attendee to an event featuring 60 musicians today that has grown to attracting more than 12,000.
Montes, who earned two degrees at UCLA, including a master’s in education, launched the school she founded to nurture the emotional intelligence of children in South Pasadena and surrounding communities.
Prior to the presentation of awards, audience members heard a message from keynote speaker Dee Dee Myers, who served as White House press secretary during Bill Clinton’s first term and was the first woman to hold the position. Today, Meyers is the executive vice president of Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The luncheon also featured music performed by the Wilson School Lion Heads Jazz Band, presentation of colors by Crescenta Valley High School Air Force JROTC, a legislative update and closing remarks by the state senator.
“The inspiring women we applaud today have paved the way for the next generation of leaders to follow in their footsteps,” he said.