Women Involved in South Pasadena political Activism (WISPPA) announced on Tuesday the appointment of a new President and Vice President, with founding members Mary Urquhart and Ellen Daigle being voted in for the respective positions during a November 14 meeting.
“We are very grateful that two of our founders will be shepherding WISPPA through the next difficult year”, said sitting President Emirhanian in a public statement.
They have served intrinsically as WISPPA members since its 2010 incarnation, being a part of the 5 original pioneering women who started the group “in response to a lack of transparency in our city government at that time.”
Urquhart, a resident of South Pasadena for over 20 years, was married to the late attorney Bill Urquhart, with whom she hosted fundraisers for nonprofit organizations and political campaigns, WISPPA included, often opening up their home for such occasions. A brief list of the many they supported are: SPARC, the Rotary Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Ability First, Planned Parenthood, and the Pasadena Art Alliance.
Daigle — who founded the Mission St business which shares her namesake, Ellen’s Silkscreening, in 1978 — is no stranger to supporting various causes as well. She has been a leader in local business coalitions and has devoted her time serving on the boards of South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Parks & Recreation Commission, Public Safety Commission, and SPIRG. Daigle also previously served WISPPA as a Founding Advisor and the Events Chair in 2017.
Urquhart’s and Daigle’s roles as consistently active and revered members of the community, who have noticeably influenced causes which affect South Pasadena — internally and externally — led to both being favored picks to head the organization this year.
Over the last decade, WISPPA has been instrumental in facilitating open discussion by hosting forums with “South Pasadena Mayors and Council Members, South Pasadena City Managers, Pasadena City College Board of Trustees members, the Water Council Chair and Vice Chair, Police Chiefs, the School Superintendent, documentary film makers, South Pas Water Conservation Analysts, Moms for Family and Community, the League of Women Voters, Representatives from the Teen Center, and many others” according to its website.
As the changing of the guard commences, so too will the organization say goodbye to one of its founding members, Bianca Richards and board member Lisa Roa. Richards, a venerable supporter of the arts, is a past President and Vice President. Roa had been a member for years, and was host to the 2019 Annual WISPPA Cocktail Party that welcomed the 2020 Tournament of Roses President, Laura Farber.
Emirhanian praised both exiting members, saying Richards “gave so much to the WISPPA organization through the many years she was on the board. We will miss her dearly!” and giving a heartfelt “thank you to Lisa Roa, whose input as a board member at large was invaluable.”
Moving forward, WISPPA will begin their year-long hiatus which was announced in October, stating that “No one has stepped up to volunteer to be on the board next year and our current board needs a break.”
Additionally, Emirhanian stated, “Ellen Wood and Dollie Chapman have been reinstated as Treasurer and Membership chair respectively. I will also remain on the board as past president and newsletter guru.” They all will be part of a custodial board scheduled to meet four times during the upcoming year