Business Journal celebrates SCV’s top women in business

Dr. Dianne Van Hook receives a standing ovation after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal's Women in Business Awards at Valencia Country Club on Thursday night. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal handed out 25 awards on Thursday night to the who’s-who of local women business leaders.

At its first Women in Business Awards, the SCVBJ recognized the difference-making contributions of Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Holly Schroeder, Mitzi Like and Cheri Fleming, to name just a few, during a celebration of the SCV’s woman power sponsored by LBW Insurance.

The honors were spread across nine categories – highlighted by a Lifetime Achievement Award for Van Hook, the longstanding chancellor at College of the Canyons who has guided the school’s rise to one of California’s most prominent two-year institutions of higher learning.

From left, Linda Hafizi, Marlee Lauffer, Sue Nevius, Holly Schroeder and Calvin Hedman were among the crowd of about 125 people on Thursday night at the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal’s first Women in Business Awards. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

“The thing, I think, that makes Santa Clarita different is the caliber of people we have here,” Van Hook told the crowd of about 125 guests at Valencia Country Club. “They’re compassionate, they use common sense, they’re committed, and they inspire me at every turn. I don’t know all of you, but I’ve worked with probably about 80 percent of you. You’ve helped College of the Canyons get where it is today. I’m very, very proud that I’ve been able to be at College of the Canyons, that I was able to do what my friends told me I couldn’t do, which was have a good idea and then do it, and I’m inspired that I’ve been able to hire all but three of the full-time 768 people at College of the Canyons.”

She later added, “I hope you realize what a great community you have created. I hope you realize that if you work together and if you help others even when you don’t necessarily agree and if you don’t give up and if you dream big, that this community will continue to be the very best in the state of California.”

The other 24 award recipients, by category:

Business Owners of the Year – Like, CEO of LBW Insurance and Financial Services; Jeanna Crawford, publisher of Inside SCV Magazine; and Laina McFerren, co-owner of Wolf Creek Brewing Company.

CEOs of the Year – Schroeder, president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp.; Nancy Gump, the third-generation CEO of Andy Gump Temporary Site Services; and Tamara Gurney, president and CEO of Mission Valley Bank.

Community Involvement – Ingrid Blanco, owner of D’wilfri DanceArt and Entertainment; Pam Ingram, a Realtor for RE/MAX of Santa Clarita; and Rhona Jukes, a mortgage advisor for American Family Funding.

Entrepreneur Awards – Tania Mulry, owner of Digital Detox and creator of the Steamwork Center; Denise Redmond, founder of Carousel Ranch; and Lindsay Schlick, co-owner, CEO and studio manager of SchlickArt.

Mentor Awards – Fleming, co-owner of Valencia Acura; Sue Reynolds Buckley, career development director for the William S. Hart Union High School District; and Kathy Norris, president and CEO of the Valley Industry Association.

Non-Profit Leaders – Amy Daniels, executive director of the William S. Hart WiSH Foundation; Tami Edwards, a Realtor with HomeSmart; and Marlee Lauffer, president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation.

Rising Stars – Kyanna Isaacson, a manager for Jersey Mike’s; Maggie-Mae Laufman, marketing director at Applied Resource Insurance Solutions; and Melanie Meyer, a wealth advisor for Thrivent Financial.

Small Business Awards – Kim Kurowski, owner of A-1 Party; Dr. Patrice Rifkind, owner of Audiology Associates; and Teresa Todd, president and CEO of Point of View Communications.

The SCVBJ, entering its 10th year, is a monthly product of the Signal dedicated to local business coverage.

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