By Raiza Giorgi

A series of evening classes on leadership for women in business will begin March 12 in Solvang as part of a partnership between the nonprofit Women’s Economic Ventures and the Buellton, Solvang and Santa Ynez chambers of commerce.

A television commercial airing this month will promote the sessions, which are the first classes that the Santa Barbara-based WEV has conducted in the Santa Ynez Valley.

 “We really want to focus on growing women business owners in the valley and helping them succeed. The grant for the commercial was sponsored by WEV, and we are excited to host a program with them in the valley,” said Tracy Beard, executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce.  “All the chambers are partnering to put this course together and help our local businesswomen thrive.”

The six-class program will be led by local business coach Patty DeDominic and WEV instructor Nicki Parr. Classes will continue through August with discussions about visions and values, resilience, “money mindset,” communication and marketing, and time mastery.

All sessions will meet from 5:15 to 7 p.m. in the banquet room of the Landsby Hotel at 1576 Mission Drive in Solvang. The course is free for any chamber member in the valley and $10 for others.

DeDominic founded PDQ Personnel Services Inc. and later acquired CT Engineering, which grew into a powerhouse staffing agency. She sold those businesses in 2006 and she now operates DeDominic & Associates, a specialized business consulting firm that offers professional services to enterprise builders and philanthropists.

She serves on the board of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and many nonprofits, including SCORE and the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce. She is also a co-founder of the International Women’s Festival.

Parr is trained in forensic accounting and fraud-risk management. She has more than 20 years in business finance and operations.

“It’s exciting to bring a program to the valley and promote women in business, which we hope will help a lot of businesswomen,” Parr said.

In the past five years WEV has provided more than $2 million in loans and helped start or expand more than 1,400 small businesses. It has helped clients create 1,584 local jobs and an estimated $10.1 million in tax revenue for the local and state economies, WEV leaders said.

The nonprofit organization reports a success rate of 93 percent of their clients still in business, and 53 percent of those with high annual household incomes. Some 82 percent of their clients have moved out of poverty levels, according to WEV’s 2018 annual report.

“Any businesswomen in the valley should consider coming to this to further their goals,” Beard said.

To sign up, call the Solvang Chamber at 805-688-0701 or send email to

For more information on WEV, log onto or call 805-965-6073.


Women’s Leadership Series

All meetings will be from 5:15 – 7 p.m. at The Landsby Hotel, 1576 Mission Drive in Solvang.

March 12: Vision Values and Overview

April 16: Business Resilience

May 15: Your Money Mindset

June 11: Communication and Marketing

July 9: Leadership – Getting More Out of Every Hour, Time Mastery

Aug. 20: Your Network is Your Worth; Putting it all Together