By Joni Kelly
Those in the ballroom at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort on the evening of May 4 will hear, “The envelope, please,” and 11 outstanding women entrepreneurs will receive the 2018 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.
The winners to be revealed that night were selected from some 115 nominees in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties by independent judges who live outside the tri-county area and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) Foundation.
Three Santa Ynez Valley women — Puck Erickson-Lohnas, Jody Williams and Raiza Giorgi — are among the finalists.
“It is exciting for everyone involved,” said Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman and CEO of the foundation. “We had an amazing group of candidates this year, and it was difficult for our judges to narrow it down to the top three in each of the categories.”
The 33 finalists will be recognized for their business achievements at the SOE awards dinner.
“These remarkable women have such a variety of enterprises that we think it is important to tell the community about them. In fact, every one of them deserves recognition,” Feldman said.
One recipient — Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree — was unanimously selected by the foundation board and announced prior to the awards for the indelible community impact she has made as a woman business owner and philanthropist.
She will be honored at the event as the Rock Star: Life Achievement winner for 2018.
She is CEO of Pacific Air Industries, a company based in Chatsworth that supplies airplane parts to airlines and companies around the globe. Lady Ridley-Tree is a very hands-on entrepreneur, traveling to the office several days a week.
The awards will also honor high school and college student winners of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition.
Proceeds from the awards dinner will go toward cash prizes, in the form of seed money, as well as scholarships for the winning student entrepreneurs.
Several sponsors also contribute directly to the student awards, including Montecito Bank & Trust and Southern California Edison. This fulfills the foundation’s mission of supporting entrepreneurship at all levels in the Santa Barbara community.
Before dinner, guests and the public can meet the high school and collegiate finalists from New Venture Challenge and learn about their proposed businesses.
For the first time this year, the students will be joined by previous winners of the SOE awards to help these businesses recover from the recent floods and mudslides.
Tickets are available until April 30 and can be bought by visiting www.soefoundation.org and clicking on the red banner at the top. For more information, email Cathy Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-682-8380.
The 33 finalists for the 2018 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are:
Agriculture & Wineries:
Marta Alvarez, YCE Inc., www.YCEinc.com
Puck Erickson-Lohnas, Arcadia Studio, www.arcadiastudio.com
Jody Williams, Broken Clock Vinegar Works, www.brokenclockvinegarworks.com
Carey Bradshaw, Hooter Holster by Carey Bradshaw, www.hooterholster.net
Lele Miranda, Lele Patisserie, www.lelepatisserie.com
Green & Social Entrepreneur:
Diana Pereira, Impact Hub of SB and Balance Financial Management, www.impacthubsb.com
Marine Schumann, Brighten Solar Co., brightensolarco.com
Cecilia Villasenor Johnson, Sun Pacific Solar Electric, sunpacificsolar.net
Health & Wellness
Robin Long, The Balanced Life, www.thebalancedlifeonline.com
Melodee Meyer, Kickboxers/Martial Arts Family Fitness, www.kickboxers.com
Marlo Tell, Marlo’s Therapeutic & Sports Massage, marlosmassage.com
Hospitality & Tourism
Nirasha Rodriguez, The Food Liaison, www.thefoodliaison.com
Diane Smith, Joy by the Spoonful, joybythespoonful.com
Tammy White, Grapes and Hops, www.grapesandhops.org
Media & Communications
Lindsey Carnett, Marketing Maven, www.marketingmaven.com
Marjorie Large, WitMark Marketing & Branding Group, www.witmarkgroup.com/
Emily Solomon, The Food Marketer, thefoodmarketer.com
Anne Cremarosa, MIYB California/Santa Maria Business Development Center, www.santamariabdc.org
Debra Manchester, Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara, ftisb.org
Sarah Otterstrom, Paso Pacifico, pasopacifico.org
Laurie Gross, Laurie Gross Studios, www.lauriegrossstudios.com/
Terri Hilliard, Terri Hilliard PC Estate, Elder and Special-Needs Law, www.terrihilliard.com
Ann Levine, Law School Expert, www.lawschoolexpert.com
Claudia Cordova Papa, Aqua Skin and Nail Care, aquaskinandnailcare.com
Zdena Jiroutova, ZFolio, www.zfolio.com
Johanna Zlenko, The Closet Trading Company, theclosetsb.com
Science & Technology
Kristin Denault, Fluency Lighting Technologies, www.fluencylighting.com/
Jenny Du, Apeel Sciences, www.apeelsciences.com
Laura Nixon Miller, Redi Match, www.redimatch.com
Wholesale, Manufacturing & Global Trade
Yvonne Erwin, YARD CARD, www.stakeastatement.com
Michele McDowell, Wiggins Lift Co., www.wigginslift.com
Andrea Ridgell, Mishay Salon & Spa; Glop & Glam, glopandglam.com