With its focus on empowering women on a global scale, Zonta International’s new president can’t get any more local than a member from the organization’s Santa Clarita Valley chapter.
Sharon Langenbeck was recently elected as the president-elect for Zonta International, which has representatives in 66 countries around the world. She was elected by the organization’s members at their June 29 to July 3 convention in Yokohama, Japan, said Phyllis Walker, second vice president, membership, of the SCV chapter.
“She’s achieved a lot,” Walker said. “All of her fellow Zontians are very proud of her.”
The organization works to bring together three tenets of its international efforts — service, advocacy and awareness — to better serve the community, according to the chapter’s SCV website.
A member since 1979, Langenbeck will be the organization’s second SCV member to be president, after Dianne Curtis served from 2010-12. Langenbeck has held multiple positions as a member, including vice president, international director and the Amelia Earhart fellowship committee chairman.
The Earhart fellowship is named after the famed aviator and former “Zontian,” a nickname for Zonta International members. It is given to women working in the aerospace industry, “awarded annually to up to 30 talented women, pursuing doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering around the globe,” according to the Zonta website.
Langenbeck previously worked as project management at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where she designed and developed spaceflight hardware, including the first rover on Mars. She retired in 2008.
Langenbeck will lead every branch of the organization stretched across those 66 countries, Walker said, adding that she is also positioned to work with the United Nations, which uses Zonta International as a consultancy group.
Langenback did not respond to a request for comment Friday.