College hosts O.C. Global Women's Conference
Close to 600 women gathered at the Hilton Anaheim on Friday, March 1, for the first-annual Orange County Global Women’s Conference. The event—hosted by the Coastline Foundation which supports Coastline Community College—featured successful women speakers from a variety of backgrounds.
“It was a wonderful experience to gather so many accomplished women in one place,” remarked Mariam Khosravani, Executive Director of the Coastline Foundation. “We spent the day sharing our stories, learning from each other, and creating new friendships and connections we can utilize to further our success,” she continued.
Incorporating a diversity theme into each session, the one-day event featured creative discussions and presentations led by notable women, including Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State; Susan Samueli of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrated Medicine (SSCIM) at UC Irvine; Kay Napier, CEO of Arbonne; and CNN anchor and HLN writer Asieh Namdar. Other notable guests included session moderators Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez and Mary-Christine "M.C." Sungaila of Snell & Wilmer, LLC; panel speaker Lucy Dunn (President, OC Business Council); Consul General Maria Hellen Barber De La Vega, Consul of the Philippines; and Consul General Alejandra Garcia Williams, Consul of Mexico. (The complete speaker list can be found at www.ocglobalwomen.org.)
At a breakout session called “From Passion to Paycheck,” thriving female entrepreneurs shared their advice with those interested in starting their own business. Tina Aldatz—who founded Foot Petals, Inc. and recently sold a majority share of the business to R.G. Barry for $14 million—shared the following advice for aspiring business owners: “It’s good to know what you’re good at. It’s better to know what you’re not good at.” She recommended hiring out the work that may not be your specialty—be it publicity, accounting, or graphic design—so you can focus on the overall business. Aldatz also recommended side-stepping the traditional banks when it comes to financing your idea, seeking out private “angel investors” instead.
During lunch and following an internationally-focused fashion show, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen took to the stage to give an entertaining speech highlighting her history as a successful, professional, and sometimes single, woman. “I remember when they listed me on the deed to my home as ‘Debra Bowen, Spinster.’ A spinster!” she shared with an amused audience. “Back then, it was acceptable for the government to label you a spinster if you were unmarried and buying a house.” She then recalled other incidents where she felt bullied or dismissed as a women working in the legal field or in the legislature. Undeterred, she remained focused on “what is right,” telling the audience, “It’s never wrong to fight for what is right.”
As a special highlight to the event, O.C. Global Woman awards were bestowed upon five outstanding women who were nominated by their peers. The winners were:
- Humanitarian of the Year: Valisha Savage of Med4Nicaragua
- Trailblazer of the Year: Aileen Sun of the United Chinese Learning Center in Huntington Beach
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Parisima Hassani of Westgroup Designs
- Rising Star: Lafaye Butler, community college student
- Global Impact: Karen Wilson of Impact Giving
“The gathering of women from diverse backgrounds brought so much enthusiasm and joy, and shined a spotlight on the exceptional work of women benefitting their families and communities-- both locally and nationally,” said Dr. Loretta P. Adrian, President of Coastline Community College. “At the end of the day it was fulfilling to see and hear the attendees energized and impassioned to continue to grow, pursue their dreams, and serve their communities,” she concluded.
For more information on a future event, bookmark www.OCGlobalWomen.org or call (714) 241-6154.
Interim Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Coastline Community College