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Congratulations to Our 2021 National Women of Influence Award Winners!

Evelyn Pacheco Pic

Champion of Women Award Winner

Evelyn Pacheco made history as Nevada’s first Black Female to be  licensed as a Plumber, Army Veteran, Mother and Grand Mother.

While working at Fitzgerald Casino in the Engineering Department a co-worker told her about a Union Apprenticeship Training  Program with the Plumbers, Pipefitters & HVAC UA Local Union 525. She applied and after five years of working as an Apprentice while taking care of her family, Evelyn finally made history as Nevada’s first licensed Black female plumber. Letting women know that it does not matter how hard your life is or was, you can still make something of your life. She has leveraged her experience to help all Women through her “Nevada Women in Trades” organization, a non-profit organization formed specifically to increase the number of Women in trades.

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Leaders and Legends Award Winner

Robbie Motter has been empowering women since 1976 with her work as the founder & CEO of the Global Society For Female Entrepreneurs since 2017, and prior to that for 29 years as the NAFE Global coordinator serving women all over the world.

Her passion is to empower, inspire, mentor, educate and connect women so they become successful entrepreneurs and soar to greater heights than even they imagined.

Robbie is the author of a #1 US and International best selling book “It’s All About Showing Up and the Power is in The Asking” with 46 co-authors al members of gsfe. She has also been a co-author in 27 other books over the years and is working on her own book about achieving to be published on her 86th birthday, March 8th 2022, which is also International Women’s Day.

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Gamechanger Award Winner

Angela Huskey is a dynamic cross functional leader with over 15 years o patient care, pharmaceutical and biotech / life science industry experience, accomplished in building and leading medical affairs teams through growth and change. Stemming from her personal experience of caring for a loved one with substance use disorder (SUD), Dr. Huskey has made it her mission to help improve the care of patients suffering from pain, mental illness, and addiction. Today, that passion, combined with access to talented colleagues and the latest research, has continued to push her to excellence in these areas of medicine.

The ongoing surveillance and reporting conducted by Dr. Huskey and the Millennium Health team have resulted in numerous publications and trend reports, including a study co-authored with The US Department of HHS and published in JAMA that identified significant changes in illicit drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study supports the critical role that novel data sources can play in understanding the impacts that public health emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, can have, particularly for those vulnerable to substance use.

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Catalyst for Change Award Winner

Marc McGinnis is Senior Vice President of Sales and Strategic Client Management at Word & Brown. He manages all sales across the general agency’s six regional offices in California and Nevada, while providing strategic oversight of key agency and high-profile partnerships.

Marc also supervises leadership for the Underwriting, Plan Maintenance, Broker Services, and Account Management departments. These teams work collaboratively to provide sales, enrollment, case review, and other assistance to brokers in their delivery f employee benefits products and services to employers, employees, and dependents.

He is the keystone of the sales organization, and his 2020 promotion to Senior VP reflects an ongoing commitment to broker support. Marc returned to Word & Brown in 2015 to serve as Director of Compliance and Partnership Relations. Previously, he was Regional Vice President at CONEXIS, the benefits administrator formerly a part of The Word & Brown Companies. He first joined Word & Brown in 1996 as a benefits consultant and sales representative.

Marc earned his Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fullerton, and has a Certified Financial Consultant designation from the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation.

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Woman to Watch Award Winner

I’m Tanya Torres.I believe that managing wealth extends far beyond investment advice. It means connecting, collaborating, and building relationships with clients to understand what they want to achieve and how to best help them get there.

My role is to make sure all of my client’s financial needs are understood, planned for, and getting done. I don’t see achieving financial independence as an option but as a necessity. i focus on working with women in the beauty and cosmetic industry as well as women who are business owners to provide personalized, goal-based wealth management strategies including portfolio construction, cash management and lending solutions through Bank of America.

I realize that working women, seek a balance between finances and their career, often all in between starting a family striving to obtain the wealth they desire. i strongly believe no goal is unattainable, and by creating a roadmap that addresses the biggest concerns of my client, i can help ensure that they remain financially secure at all stages of their life.

I focus on offering a comprehensive approach to managing wealth that begins with listening to a client’s needs and helping to ensure every strategy is grounded in understanding what each client wants to achieve. I provide access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and banking convenience of Bank of America to help address the various aspects of clients’ financial lives. I am driven by my passion for delivering excellent service, and helping clients pursue their goals.

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Chebra Dorsey Pic

Woman Breaking Barriers Award Winner

Chebra Dorsey known as “OCHEA is the owner of Ochea Fashion Boutique in Lemon Grove, CA and soon will be launching another exclusive Boutique in Lake Elsinore, CA which will be called “OCHEA EXQUISITE FEATURING GAO YAN”. GAO is her partner and will be importing beautiful material from China that Ochea will be creating into her fashion masterpieces.

Her whole life she has always had an eye for fashions, what looked great on any bodies of any size and what jewelry went with the design to make it stand out event. Looking at a client she knows exactly what design is best for them and when she shows it to them their response is “Ochea you are amazing. That color, that design, is perfect for me”. That is why they keep coming back for more as every time they wear one of her designs they feel beautiful and get so may compliments. Ochea is a San Diego native. She began her career as a licensed Cosmetologist more than 20 years ago. Because she has such and eye for beauty, for more than the past decade she had been designing women’s clothing fashions for women all over the world.

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Toni McMahon Pic

Women’s Advocate Award Winner

Toni McMahon has distinguished herself as a marketing leader and has shared her expertise by serving as Marketing Director on the CREW ( Commercial Real Estate Women) San Diego board for several years. Toni is an active committee member of Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) San Diego chapter of Women’s Leadership Initiate and the BIA North County Legislative Council. SMPS (Society of Marketing Professional Services) San Diego honored Toni with its AEC (Architecture Engineering Construction) Marketing Award for her Social Media Marketing proficiency and CREW San Diego awarded Toni as their best connector.

Toni was recognized by the Daily Transcript as one of San Diego’s Top influential women. She sits on the local board of Home Start, a non-profit organization that is committed to helping women and their children overcome the challenges of homelessness. Toni is active at her parish and leads the marketing efforts for the Women’s Auxiliary Ministry. Her reputation in San Diego is that of an influencer, advocate for women and charitable contributor to causes involving women and children in need.

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Ellen Anreder Pic

President’s Award Winner

Ellen Anreder is president and chief executive officer of Bleiweiss Communications Incorporated (BCI), specializing in publishing, multimedia, advertising and public relations services for Taft-Hartley trust funds, labor unions and other non-profit organizations.

From offices in California, Massachusetts and Oregon, BCI publishes dozens of periodicals that are mailed to the homes of hundreds of thousands of employees and Taft-Hartley trust fund participants monthly, bimonthly and quarterly.  The company also produces videos, brochures and educational conferences. BCI is the only company of its kind that is 100% Union, including Ellen, the owner, who has been a Union member since 1984.

Products created during her leadership of the company have won dozens of national awards for excellence in writing, design and multimedia production.

Ellen is the Managing Director of CORPATH, an international alliance of pension trustees, consultants, asset managers, administrators, elected officials and other stakeholders committed to secure retirements. CORPATH’s primary focus is promoting, protecting and perpetuating defined benefit pensions.

Ellen is founding president of the Coalition to Advance Working Women, a vice president of the International Labor Communicators Association, a trustee of a Taft-Hartley benefit fund and a member of the Board of Directors of the Loveall Foundation for Children. She chairs three scholarship committees as well.

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Deborah Shames Pic

Author of Influence Award Winner

Prior to co-founding Eloqui, Deborah Shames was an award-winning film and television director. She founded the only female owned production company in Sausalito, California–Focal Point Productions, which she ran for 15 years. Deborah specializes in presentation and communication skills which she delivers to Olympic athletes, authors, CEO’s and Sales professionals.

She is frequently engaged prior to national sales meetings or product launches as a keynote speaker and for leadership development training. Her clients include Northern Trust, CUNA Mutual, Ochsner Health Care, {Prolacta Bioscience, Amgen, Mattel, Samsung, and the NPD Group, as well as law, financial and insurance firms. Deborah coaches individuals to identify their strengths, utilize their authentic voice, and drive business. Deborah led a business group in Calabasas for 13 years. She received a “Consultant of the Year” award by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Deborah and her partner David Booth wrote Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage, and Get Results. It was published by McGraw-Hill, is not in it’s third printing, and is considered a business bestseller.

And Deborah’s book for women speakers was released in mid-January, 2017 by BenBella Books, Out Front: How Women Can Become Engaging, Memorable, and Fearless Speakers.

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Emerging Woman Owned Business Award Winner

Starting from scratch in 2019, Meghan Medlin launched Medlin Workforce & Reentry Solutions LLC< a consulting agency specializing in reentry and employment for nonprofits, employers and government agencies. In 2020 she grew the company 270% and so far in 2021 is up another 50%. she had added two consultants to her team and provides services nationwide. MWRS is unique in its field in that they are the only consulting agency that specializes in these areas together. The growth of MWRS led to Medlin launching a nonprofit organization called the Hub for Integration, Reentry & Employment (H.I.R.E.) in late 2020 so that she could also provide direct service to those coming out of incarceration by linking them with the services and employment opportunities they need to succeed.

Medlin represents community based organizations on a number of boards and initiatives including the Stepping Up Initiative, Proposition 47, Juvenile Justice Coordination Council, AB109, Recidivism Reduction, homelessness and SB823. Her voice has brought on considerable change and accountability among county process3es so that community voices are heard and represented, and so that county agencies are held to an appropriate level of accountability to the community. her involvement has increased services and resources for underrepresented populations in Orange County and both of her organizations are dedicated to creating, improving, and growing services and resources for the reentry population, which in turn creates a safer community for us all.

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Saundra Pelletier Pic

Lifetime Legacy Award Winner

Saundra Pelletier is the Chief Executive Officer, President and Executive Director of Evofem Biosciences, Inc., a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing innovative products to address unmet needs in women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Since joining the Company in 2015, Ms. Pelletier has been responsible for Evofem’s rapid growth and evolution, including the Company’s transition to the public market in January 2018 and multiple equity financing rounds that have raised in excess of $491 million.

Ms. Pelletier is a published author, skilled moderatora nd coveted keynote speaker. She has appeared at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Davos World Economic Forum, the Clinton Globlal Initiative, the International conference on Climate Change, the MAKERS Conference, Women Deliver, the International Conference on Family Planning, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the University of Oregon’s Lundquist School of Business, and the University of California, San Diego. Recent podcast appearances include Pharma Voice Woman of the Week, FemTech Focus, Breastcancer.org, HERmd, and the Skinny Confidential.

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Melissa Washington Pic

Veteran of Influence Award Winner

Award-winning advocate, speaker, author, entrepreneur, CEO, publisher, and proud Navy veteran, Melissa A. Washington wears many hats. Yet woven throughout her diverse pursuits is a mission of service-and a passion to empower her fellow woman.

In 2015, Melissa founded Women Veterans Alliance-a national organization that seeks to empower and positively impact the lives of women veterans. Three years later, she established the nonprofit wing of WVA, Women Veterans Giving. Both entities offer women veterans opportunities to gain valuable career experience and successfully integrate back into civilian life. WVG also helps fund women veteran-owned businesses, which are often overlooked by other organizations.

In 2021, Melissa expanded her role in the community by co-founding Women Veterans Magazine-the first publication of its kind to serve California’s more than 165,000 women veterans. Launching in January 2022, the annual magazine speaks to the issues that affect women veterans, while providing them with local and national resources.

Additionally, Melissa is the author of Get Back to Work : Smart & Savvy Real-World Strategies to Make Your Next Career Move (FriesenPress, 2014). She is currently working on a new book, based on her experiences with WVA, which will offer practical advice on creating a meet-up group and becoming an influencer within one’s community.

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Connected Woman of Influence Award Winner

Analia Mendez is the founder of Signature Careers, who brings over 20 years of career and workforce development experience for teams around strengths, employee engagement, professional development, and designing sustainable educational programs for organizations throughout the country.

Ms. Mendez has been a featured speaker at the U.S. News STEM Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow (2017), Univision, National Association of Colleges and Employers, and Connected Women of Influence. A few coaching clients that Ms. Mendez has served include University of California San Diego, U.S. Marine Corps, The Honor Foundation, Ivory Bridges Foundation, CSU San Marcos, and SUE Talks-Connected Women of Influence.

In addition to her extensive career in academics and career coaching, she has an entrepreneurial spirit. Ms. Mendez is the San Diego Soar Evangelist and became part of the founding team for Soar.com-a Paul Allen company and founder of Ancestry.com.

Since obtaining a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Counseling from San Francisco State University, it has been her desire to inspire those in career transition.

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Abigail Manning Pic

Resilience Award Winner

Abigail Manning is an innovative voice in enhancing healthy workplace cultures and dynamic leadership.

Through her international workshops and keynotes, she delivers professional and personal development programs to companies and the United States military. As the Founder of Create Awareness, Change Lives, she combines business insights, an Indiana University double major in Cognitive, Social and Behavioral studies, and firsthand resilience skills learned by overcoming childhood abuse, domestic violence and PTS> She is a proud mom of U.S. Marines, daughters and son, and has a heart-felt passion for serving and empowering others.

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NextGen Award Winner

Sophia Righthouse is currently a Freshman attending Norwich University (NU), The Military College of Vermont. She earned an academic scholarship from NU, an Army ROTC scholarship, a Navy ROTC Scholarship, and an Air Force ROTC scholarship. Sophia selected to attend NU on an Army ROTC Scholarship and will commission into the United States Army as an officer upon graduation. She is majoring in Political Science. Sophia is also in the Corps of Cadets, a member of the Corps Calvary Unity, and a co-founder of the new NU Cheerleading Team. Sophia is a Norwich Ambassador participating in their social medial efforts. Young Marines Young Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Sophia M. Righthouse officially retired front he program after serving either years and graduating from Westview Hight School. She was the senior Young Marine in the Miramar Unit based on MCAS  Miramar and was billeted as the Training Chief.

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ian mausner

Impact and Influence Award Winner

Ian Mausner has 36 years of experience in the financial advisory / money management industry where he owns and runs 3 businesses: a money management firm and hedge fund, a Crypto Currency Fund and a Cannabis Fund. In addition, for the past 16 years he has guided couples and singles through their divorces and into vibrant singles lives by way of his Divorce & Relationship Consulting business. Philanthropy has been a major driving force in Ian’s life for the past 20 years and now all profits from his businesses go to the three children related charities Ian has been devoted to since 2005: Promises2Kids, Voices For Children, and the New Children’s Museum of San Diego, where he is a lifetime Board member.

In January of 2021, Ian has embarked on an additional new philanthropic business initiative to empower women by heling them start their own entrepreneurial women’s athleisure clothing business. The initiative involves selling very high end athleisure clothing made by Savvi, a product which almost every women is buying and wearing, and combining that incredible business opportunity with some philanthropic help to get each person or each organization started. The clothing is extremely popular, Savvi has not penetrated the market much yet though it is growing at 20%a month, and so many women have lost their jobs or been otherwise hurt by the pandemic. It’s a perfect storm of opportunity with an easy to understand product that almost every woman is buying anyway!

Ian’s best selling book, Getting Back On Top: The Uncensored Guide to Sex, Dating and Relationships After Divorce.

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National Women of Influence Award Past Winners

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