04.13.12

Rep. Schiff Honors 2012 Women of the Year

Pasadena, CA– Today, at a luncheon in Pasadena, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored outstanding women from each of the communities (Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, and Temple City) in the 29th Congressional District. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month.

Below is a full list of all the honorees this year:

Joanna Vargas (Alhambra), Carolyn Ingram Seitz (Altadena), Ellen Snortland (Altadena), Nancy E. Guillen (Burbank), Debra Suh (Glendale), Diane Gin (Monterey Park), Denise Houlemard Jones (Pasadena), Eleanor K. Andrews (San Gabriel), Kay Mouradian (South Pasadena), Gretchen Robinette (South Pasadena), Eva Arrighi (Temple City)

Row 1 (front): Arighi, Snortland, Jones, Guillen, Gin / Row 2 (back): Vargas, Robinette, Suh, Schiff, Andrews, Seitz, Mouradian

“It was a great pleasure to meet with the 2012 ‘Women of the Year’ awardees today, and to honor their tireless work and achievements throughout our communities,” said Schiff.“Each woman honored today has demonstrated an ability to bring people together, to get things done, and to really leave their mark. They serve as role models for all of us, and especially young people throughout the 29th Congressional District, and it was my pleasure to recognize them.”

Every year, during Women’s History Month, Rep. Schiff honors one outstanding woman from each of the communities in the 29th Congressional District. These women come from all walks of life and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our region. While there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks for women who — through their work or volunteerism — have improved the quality of life for our community.

Schiff entered a special tribute to each woman into the Congressional Record, which is also below.

 

 

Joanna Vargas (Alhambra)

 

A TRIBUTE TO JOANNA VARGAS

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR-2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Joanna Vargas of Alhambra, California, an accomplished woman who has brought multi-generations together and joy to the lives of many, through her extraordinary vision for the arts. Born and raised in Alhambra, Joanna is a graduate of Alhambra High School and opened her first dance studio at the age of 26.

Joanna’s passion for the arts has been evident throughout her career. She is the creator of an astounding number of projects and has an exhaustive list of accomplishments. Joanna has launched various dance companies for adults and teens, created Alhambra’s Monthly Mosaic Art Walk, Jayvee Dance Center, the Annual Maxt Out Dance Competition, “Streetease Fitness and Dance” classes and instructional DVDs, and the Alhambra Hot Spot, which is home to an annual art event that celebrates music, dance, art and fashion. She is also the Chief Executive Officer of Dance for Peace Charity, a non-profit she established two years ago.

In addition to her projects, it is noteworthy to mention Ms. Vargas’s unparalleled service to the community. Joanna is a Board Member of the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce, a member of the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce, charter member of the Rotary International New Generation Club, and President of the City of Alhambra Downtown Business Association.

Joanna is a charitable woman who gives back to her community through her invaluable service. She has awarded scholarships to deserving underserved teens and children, and to people who have the desire to further their dance training.  

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Joanna Vargas, for her exceptional service to the community.

 

Carolyn Ingram Seitz (Altadena)

 

A TRIBUTE TO CAROLYN INGRAM SEITZ

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR-2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Carolyn Ingram Seitz of Altadena, California. A zoning and planning consultant who has worked on many projects in Altadena for the last two decades, Carolyn moved to Altadena in 2000. 

Not long after she moved into Altadena, Ms. Seitz became involved in the community, advocating for community safety, and working with the Altadena Sheriff’s Department and community members on neighborhood nuisance and other issues. She worked with her neighbors to form a neighborhood watch, and helped other neighborhoods prepare and be organized for cataclysmic events or natural disasters. Carolyn has also assisted with organizing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainings, which offer drills, trainings and refreshers throughout the year. She is the Altadena Sheriff’s Station CERT Coordinator, a member of the Regional CERT working group and sits on the Los Angeles County Operational Area Disaster Corps Volunteers Advisory Council. When the Station Fire occurred, Ms. Seitz worked tirelessly for many hours to ensure that the community had updated information on the fire, and the probable impacts caused by the rain that would result in flooding and mudflows.

Carolyn was appointed as the Chairwoman of the Altadena Sheriff’s Community Advisory Committee in 2007. In 2010 she brought together the California Highway Patrol, American Red Cross, Pasadena Police Department and community members to a successful Neighborhood Watch Conference, which she organized at Loma Alta Park in Altadena. Along with her extensive volunteer work with the Altadena Sheriff’s Department, Carolyn contributes many hours to organizations such as the Quality of Life Center, Inc., Mentoring and Partnership for Youth Development, the Altadena Chamber of Commerce and the Central Altadena Little League. Recognized for her work in improving sheriff-community relations, Ms. Seitz has also been honored with the Altadena Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award in 2010.

I ask all Members to join me today in honoring an outstanding woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Carolyn Ingram Seitz.

 

Ellen Snortland (Altadena)

 

A TRIBUTE TO ELLEN SNORTLAND

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR-2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

I stand today to pay tribute to Ellen Snortland of Altadena, California, who is an inspiring and extraordinary individual. Ellen has spent her life following a variety of passions ranging from human rights to journalism to self defense. Ms. Snortland received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Irvine in Theater and Film, and later a Juris Doctor (JD) from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After graduating, Ellen decided that she could provide the most service to her community as an advocate for women and children, a teacher, performer and media professional.

Ms. Snortland is the author of Beauty Bites Beast, which has been translated in Portuguese and Spanish, featured on Dateline NBC, and sold around the world. Ellen has also performed “Now that She’s Gone,” a one-woman show, which is a touching piece about family and forgiveness, and in 2008, was nominated for a Pulitzer in Drama. She has performed this show in New York, Los Angeles, Kansas, and France among other cities, states and countries.

She is currently a Board Member and lead female instructor for IMPACT personal safety, and teaches young boys and girls how to defend themselves from predators, both physically and verbally. She provides valuable services to our youth which they can draw from for their entire lives.

Ellen’s accomplishments and roles in our community are innumerable. She serves on the Board of 50/50 Leadership and Consumer Watchdog, and is the Past President of the United Nations Association, Pasadena/Foothills Chapter. Ellen attended the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in the year of 2001, and the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women for many years as part of the U.N. Press Corps as well as a NGO delegate.

Today, Ms. Snortland is a columnist for the Pasadena Weekly and a blogger for Ms. Magazine and Huffington Post. Ellen’s work has been exceptional, and has proven that one woman can truly achieve all she sets her mind to.

I ask all Members to join me today in honoring an outstanding woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Ellen Snortland, for her exceptional service to the community.

 

Nancy E. Guillen (Burbank)

 

A TRIBUTE TO NANCY E. GUILLEN

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Nancy E. Guillen of Burbank, California. Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Nancy, who is the youngest of four children, immigrated to the United States in 1968 at the age of six, and became a U.S. citizen in the early 1980’s. Upon graduating from John Marshall High School, Nancy attended Glendale Community College.

Ms. Guillen is the CEO of True Integrity Insurance & Payroll Services in Burbank. Prior to this career, Nancy worked in the medical field for over two decades. Aside from being a dedicated career woman, Nancy has always found time to volunteer and contribute many hours of service to a variety of organizations, including Kid’s Community Dental Clinic, Glendale Noon Kiwanis, Family Service Agency of Burbank, The Salvation Army of Burbank, Ascencia, and Family Promise of East San Fernando Valley, where she also serves as a Board Member. Currently, Nancy is President of the Glendale Latino Association, and helps raise scholarship funds for Glendale Community College and Glendale High School students.

In addition to volunteering countless hours at homeless shelters, supporting families and children, and volunteering for nonprofit organizations, Nancy is also an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Nancy participates in cancer walks, is involved with the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life in Burbank and Fiesta of the Spanish Horse to help raise funds to cure cancer. Ms. Guillen’s commitment to help women who are battling breast cancer is admirable, and she always finds time to speak with them and support them in any possible way she can.

Nancy has two children, Juan and Cindy, and a granddaughter, Natalia, who she says are the greatest blessings in her life.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Nancy E. Guillen, for her exceptional service to the community.

 

 

Debra Suh (Glendale)

 

A TRIBUTE TO DEBRA SUH

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR-2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

I stand today to pay tribute to Debra Suh of Glendale, California, an extraordinary woman who selflessly works to strengthen our community and provide valuable resources where they are needed most. Debra worked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as an attorney, where she established the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Unit, geared towards increasing the low-income immigrant community’s access to legal representation and services. Debra has continuously pushed to provide this population with opportunities and a voice that might be denied them otherwise.

Since 1999, Debra has been the Executive Director of the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF) which is nationally renowned for its inspiring work to support immigrant Asian and Pacific Islander survivors of sexual and domestic violence. CPAF offers programs, which are imperative to women and children survivors, such as the 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, Transitional Shelter, Emergency Shelter, and Community Outreach programs. These provide a safe haven to people in need, and allow survivors to feel supported by their community.

Debra is an accomplished leader and dedicated volunteer, and has always found time to volunteer for various vital organizations. She served on the Board of Directors of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and was Board Vice President from 2008 to 2010. She is Past President of the Women’s Organization Reaching Koreans and Korean American Bar Association. Ms. Suh’s efforts have not gone unrecognized. She has been awarded the Durfee Sabbatical Award and the KCET/Union Bank Local Hero Award. Currently, Debra serves as Co-Chair of the California Emergency Management Agency’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council and is a member of the Los Angeles Emergency Food and Shelter Program Board, Blue Shield of California’s Foundation’s Strong Field Project Advisory Group, the Los Angeles County DPSS Welfare Advisory Council, and the Los Angeles City Mayor’s Nonprofit Advisory Group. In addition, Debra is a tireless volunteer at the local public schools where her two children attend; she teaches art, helps raise funds, and helps in the classroom.

Debra and her husband, Robin Toma, have two children, Nina Suh-Toma and Julian Suh-Toma.

I ask all Members to join me today in honoring an outstanding woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Debra Suh, for her outstanding service to our community.

 

 

Diane Gin (Monterey Park)

 

A TRIBUTE TO DIANE GIN

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR-2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

I stand today to pay tribute to Diane Gin of Monterey Park, California. Not only has Diane raised an incredible and successful extended family, she has also dedicated her life to improving the lives of the families around her. Diane grew up in Los Angeles, and attended California State University, Los Angeles, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. Since then, she has amassed an astounding thirty-five years of experience in the classroom, and is currently a 4th grade teacher in the City of South Gate at State Street Elementary School.

Ms. Gin has proven herself to be a leader outside of her own classroom, exemplifying a true dedication to improving the lives of our youth. She has served as President of the Mark Keppel High School PTSA, and President of the Alhambra PTA Council for the Alhambra Unified School District, and continues to serve the PTA Council as chair of the scholarship committee, although she has no children presently attending school. In addition, Diane has served as the parent coordinator for the Orange County Dance Association.

Today, Ms. Gin serves as President of the United Methodist Women at the Monterey Park Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church. She has chaired the Staff Parish Relations Committee and educational program, and currently teaches a Friday night youth group and Sunday school. Diane is also the Past President of the United Methodist Women of the Pasadena District, and has served on the Staff Parish Relations Committee for the District Superintendent of the Pasadena District.

Diane continues to reach out to our youth, serving as a Girl Scout troop leader for 25 years, where she currently sits on the Gold Award Review Committee, which interviews applicants for the Gold Award.

I ask all Members to join me today in honoring an outstanding woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Diane Gin, for her exceptional service to the community and to our nation’s children.

 

 

Denise Houlemard Jones (Pasadena)

 

A TRIBUTE TO DENISE HOULEMARD JONES

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Every year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Denise Houlemard Jones of Pasadena, California. A brilliant businesswoman with many years of experience, Denise is a Management Consultant at DMJ Consulting Services, a business she started, where she provides advisory services to companies, colleges, agencies and individuals. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a MBA from the University of Southern California.

It is noteworthy to mention Denise’s unparalleled volunteer service to the community, which includes an impressive list of accomplishments. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Chapter National Black MBA Association, National Association of Female Executives, Pasadena Talks, Points of View Committee, Women At Work Young African American Women’s Conference, Black Women’s Forum, City of Pasadena Intergroup Relations Advisory Committee, and the City’s Recreation Commission, among others. Ms. Jones has also been involved with the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena (CHAP), serving as a founding member, acting as President several times, and currently serving on the Marketing Committee. Presently, Denise is a member of the National Council of Negro Women, Saint Andrew Catholic Church, YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, American Association of University Women, City of Pasadena Northwest Commission, and the Pasadena Delta Foundation, Inc., where she is a founding member.

Along with being a successful career woman, Ms. Jones has devoted countless hours of her time volunteering for the Alkebu-lan Cultural Center, American Institute for Cancer Research, Foothill Unity Center Food Pantry, and the Latino History Parade and Jamaica. She is also an annual fiesta volunteer at Saint Andrew Catholic Church.

Some of the honors Ms. Jones has received include the National Merit Award, the William L. Blair Award for Service and Leadership, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Leadership Award, the YWCA Women of Excellence Award, and the Women In Action’s “Wind Beneath Wings” Award.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Denise Houlemard Jones, for her outstanding service to the community.

 

 

Eleanor K. Andrews (San Gabriel)

 

A TRIBUTE TO GRETCHEN ROBINETTE

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Gretchen Robinette, a tireless volunteer, advocate, and remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District. Born and raised in South Pasadena, California, Gretchen graduated from South Pasadena High School, attained a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gretchen served in the Peace Corps as an English language teacher in Malaysian Borneo for two years, along with her husband, Vic Robinette. Ms. Robinette was a teacher and librarian throughout most of her professional career for South Pasadena High School, Rio Hondo College in Whittier, and San Luis Obispo High School. Her commitment to education is also reflected through her willingness to be involved in school issues. She assisted in bringing the South Pasadena High School Library online, contributed her time to help design the school’s library when it was constructed, and served in the Academic Senate at Rio Hondo College. Upon her retirement from teaching a decade ago, Gretchen joined her husband’s CPA firm, where she holds the position of Office Manager.

Ms. Robinette has also served the community beyond the realm of education; a fact that she attributes to her years of service in the Peace Corps. She serves on the Board of Directors for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, chairs the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, in addition to serving as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. A co-founder and former president, she currently serves as a Board Member for Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISPPA), an organization that works to improve integrity, accountability and transparency in the city government of South Pasadena. Past volunteer activities include serving on the South Pasadena Public Library’s Board of Trustees and the Board of South Pasadena Beautiful.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an outstanding woman of the 29th Congressional District, Gretchen Robinette, for her extraordinary service to the community.

 

 

Kay Mouradian (South Pasadena)

 

A TRIBUTE TO DR. KAY MOURADIAN

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

I stand today to pay tribute to Kay Mouradian, EdD, of South Pasadena, California, who has provided the Los Angeles Community Colleges with strong leadership and dedication for many years. Attaining a B.S. from Boston University, an M.S. from University of California, Los Angeles, and an Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Mouradian served the Los Angeles Community Colleges as Professor of Health and Physical Education, and advocated in the California Teachers Association for the importance of physical education in California Community Colleges. In addition to her love of education and advocacy for health, Dr. Mouradian is also a very accomplished author.

Dr. Mouradian researched yoga in India for several months for her dissertation. She has published articles about yoga for magazines, with two much admired articles titled: Increasing Body Awareness through Yoga’s Relaxation Technique andDeveloping a Competency-based Syllabus in Yoga for the Community College Curriculum. Kay’s efforts did not stop there, as she also published a guide for yoga instructors who taught at the community colleges. In addition, Dr. Mouradian is planning to write books tailored to help people who want to and are interested in retaining a quality body, primarily during their elder years.

After several health crises, Kay’s mother asked her to write about her life. This opened a new chapter for Kay. Kay extensively researched the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by reading numerous books and traveling to Turkey. There, she visited the town where 25,000 Armenians, including her mother and her family, were ordered to leave their homes at the time of the Armenian Genocide. She journeyed through the deportation path, where over 2,000,000 Turkish Armenians had to march for countless miles through the desert. Her findings and experience led her to write A GIFT IN THE SUNLIGHT, An Armenian Story.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Dr. Kay Mouradian, for her exceptional service to the community.

 

 

Gretchen Robinette (South Pasadena)

 

A TRIBUTE TO GRETCHEN ROBINETTE

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Gretchen Robinette, a tireless volunteer, advocate, and remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District. Born and raised in South Pasadena, California, Gretchen graduated from South Pasadena High School, attained a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gretchen served in the Peace Corps as an English language teacher in Malaysian Borneo for two years, along with her husband, Vic Robinette. Ms. Robinette was a teacher and librarian throughout most of her professional career for South Pasadena High School, Rio Hondo College in Whittier, and San Luis Obispo High School. Her commitment to education is also reflected through her willingness to be involved in school issues. She assisted in bringing the South Pasadena High School Library online, contributed her time to help design the school’s library when it was constructed, and served in the Academic Senate at Rio Hondo College. Upon her retirement from teaching a decade ago, Gretchen joined her husband’s CPA firm, where she holds the position of Office Manager.

Ms. Robinette has also served the community beyond the realm of education; a fact that she attributes to her years of service in the Peace Corps. She serves on the Board of Directors for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, chairs the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, in addition to serving as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. A co-founder and former president, she currently serves as a Board Member for Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISPPA), an organization that works to improve integrity, accountability and transparency in the city government of South Pasadena. Past volunteer activities include serving on the South Pasadena Public Library’s Board of Trustees and the Board of South Pasadena Beautiful.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an outstanding woman of the 29th Congressional District, Gretchen Robinette, for her extraordinary service to the community.

 

Eva Arrighi (Temple City)

 

A TRIBUTE TO EVA ARRIGHI

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

 

I rise today in honor of Woman’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I stand to laud the tireless efforts of Eva Arrighi, a twenty-two year resident of Temple City, California, whose zealous approach to community service has benefited many people and organizations. Born in Cologne, Germany in 1931, Eva arrived in the United States in 1955 along with her husband Ivo, son Dan, and daughter Frances. After residing in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Ohio, and Rosemead, California, respectively, Eva and her family moved to Temple City.

Throughout the years, Eva has maintained an active spirit for all her passions in life, and is involved with the community as a member of many organizations as a dedicated volunteer. Ms. Arrighi has been a volunteer and member of the Boy Scouts of America, particularly with Troop 169 Temple City, where her grandson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Eva volunteers for church activities at St. Peter’s in Los Angeles, St. Anthony Catholic Church in San Gabriel, and St. Luke Catholic Church in Temple City, where she always lends a helping hand to assist at the St. Luke’s Fiesta. The School of Fashion & Design in Alhambra has also benefited from Eva’s devotion, as she contributes many hours working with physically and developmentally challenged students. Currently, Ms. Arrighi is an Ambassador for the Temple City Chamber of Commerce, where she assists in decorating for Chamber activities and provides food items and gifts for the Chamber’s social mixers. She is also a member of organizations such as the Temple City Women’s Club, Friends of Foster Children and the Historical Society of Temple City.

Ms. Arrighi is known for her generosity. She spends many hours knitting and crocheting countless items and selflessly gives everything away as gifts. Some of her creations include scarves, hats, baby blankets, slippers and socks. She donates to various fundraisers, community raffles, Chamber employees, Methodist Hospital Foundation and the School of Fashion & Design, to name a few.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an extraordinary woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Eva Arrighi, for her exceptional service to the community.

 

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