Posted by

Outstanding Women of Monterey County 2015

IMG_5102The Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women named ten Outstanding Women of Monterey County for 2015. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the resolutions officially recognizing the honorees at the March 17, 2015 Supervisors meeting.

Members of the public, including numerous elected officials, attended a March 22, 2-4 p.m. ceremony and reception honoring these women. The ceremony took place in the Irvine Auditorium, McCone Building, Middlebury Institute of International Studies (formerly the Monterey Institute of International Studies), 499 Pierce Street, Monterey.

Keynote speaker was Blanca Estela Zarazúa, an immigration attorney and the Honorary Consul of Mexico for four counties in the region, including Monterey County.

Outstanding Women of Monterey County

for 2015, from the five Monterey County Supervisors’ districts

Andrea Manzo
Cheryl Camany
Isabella Rose Shake
Janet Van Balen
Jayanti Addleman
Mary Jane Anton (posthumous award)
Nancy Fountain
Rose M. Vasquez
Selwa Said
Sonia Chapa

Also: Eugenia “Genie” Dolores Jimenez, Lifetime Achievement Award.
Read a summary about each of these women at the end of this post.
Along with acknowledging the valuable contributions each one has made, Bicycling Monterey especially wants to recognize directly below Selwa Said and Andrea Manzo, two individuals we have been grateful and honored to work with.

Selwa Said, an Outstanding Woman of Monterey County

Selwa Said is a widely renowned instructor and facilitator of Effective Communication and Relationship Building,  since 1978.

What she teaches and how she facilitates are based on respect for oneself and the other person, and communicating from the heart. Her specific methods and approaches, developed over many years, are unique and highly effective.

She does not “use” communication skills, she lives them. It is not possible to separate the skills Selwa teaches from who she is.  And her goal in teaching is to help her students integrate the skills into who they are.

Selwa has positively impacted many thousands of lives directly, as well as indirectly leaving a mark for good on the lives of far more. She has positively influenced people’s relationships with family, friends, business associates, community groups, large organizations, and others.

Selwa has also generously donated many, many hours in private facilitation, group presentations, and instruction so that money not be an obstacle for anyone in obtaining her services.

Selwa has lived her life and given herself as a model of respectful, loving communication. She has been of tremendous benefit to society.

We are honored and grateful to have had the benefit of studying with Selwa regularly since 1990.

As Selwa nears retirement, we are delighted that the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women recognizes that Selwa Said is an Outstanding Woman of Monterey County.

Andrea Manzo, an Outstanding Woman of Monterey County

Andrea Manzo is on the staff of the Action Council, serving as a program specialist for the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities-East Salinas. Among other accomplishments, Andrea’s support was key to the successful launch of Monterey County’s first Open Streets, Ciclovía Salinas.

Andrea serves as the key contact person for Ciclovía Salinas, and her communications with other community members contributes greatly to our county’s Open Streets. Andrea’s helpfulness has been vital to fuller participation and support for Ciclovía Salinas. As a result, she has helped connect often disconnected neighborhoods, providing new opportunities to bridge barriers to tourism along with other interactions and benefits to the community.

Ciclovía Salinas strengthens personal health, community relationships, and youth violence prevention efforts. It has multiple benefits to our county, and beyond.

Bicycling Monterey is honored and grateful that in our volunteer work with Ciclovía Salinas, we have had the pleasure of many interactions with Andrea Manzo.

We join the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women in celebrating that Andrea Manzo is an Outstanding Woman of Monterey County.

Ciclovia Salinas logo

Learn about all 10 Outstanding Women of Monterey County, 2015

Thank you to the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women for providing the following summaries.

Andrea Manzo has served the communities of Monterey County in multiple capacities. She has served as a volunteer for COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action) taking an active role in its formation, the Salinas Measure V Campaign ensuring that libraries and critical city services would be preserved, and as a teacher for children and youth on Folkloric Dance in Salinas and Gonzales. Andrea has devoted her time to develop opportunities for building youth leadership and capacity through Ciclovia Salinas as a member of the backbone for the initiative. Andrea works to develop youth leadership and capacity for civic engagement and community advocacy. Andrea has tirelessly devoted her time to youth, community, and to women of all ages. She has displayed a passion for building resident leadership and empowerment through preparing and equipping parents for navigating the complex educational system when advocating for equitable educational opportunities for all in her community.

Mary Jane Anton (posthumous award) – Devoted her skills time, and energy to serving Monterey County as a volunteer for several community-based organizations. For 29 years, she volunteered to help the homeless at Dorothy’s Place; she was intricately involved in the creation of the Women Alive Emergency Shelter Program and was a consistent contributor and promoter of the House of Peace Transitional Living Program. Jane was also a constant volunteer at her faith community, promoting mission efforts locally and internationally. She led groups of young people on mission trips to Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico teaching bible study and building houses. Her church, Northminster Presbyterian, has been consistently involved in homeless programs under Jane’s leadership. Perhaps the most significant impact of Jane Anton was her influence on others, modeling and leading others to service. Whether at school, church, IHELP or Dorothy’s Place, she continually promoted the value of service in others. Jane’s commitment to service extended from the time she relocated to Salinas to her fatal illness in 2014. Even as she struggled with illness, she remained concerned that the service to others continue. The Commission on the Status of Women congratulates the family of Jane Anton on her selection as a 2015 Outstanding Woman.

Cheryl Camany– has served the communities of Monterey County for 27 years as an educator. Additionally, she has committed herself to raising awareness about the plight of the homeless student population in Monterey County while also volunteering on several boards and commissions, including board member, YOSAL (Youth Orchestra Salinas-El Sistena/USA) board, member, Shelter Outreach Plus, member of the Leadership Council for Lead Me Home- Game Plan for Housing Homeless in Monterey and San Benito Counties, volunteer for the Monterey County Homeless Census, educator for the National Steinbeck Center Community Advisory Committee and Children’s workshop, Monterey County Ag Education Farm Day, and many more. Cheryl’s efforts were instrumental in accomplishing the Winter Warming Shelter in Salinas. She is there on a regular basis ensuring that needed services are available for homeless individuals and families accessing the emergency shelter. She has assisted in reorganizing the system and bringing the Salinas interfaith community on board to provide dinner and breakfast at the shelter seven days a week. Cheryl refers to the Salinas shelter members as family. She has in her work with young women and as a volunteer helped hundreds of homeless women one by one. Cheryl is an example of going above and beyond the call of duty to help youth, adults, and families in need.

Rose M. Vasquez– Has led a life of dedicated service to community and working to improve the lives of others. Rose has served on various boards and committees that she felt would be impactful and enable her to be a part of positive change. She strives to empower others to find themselves and their voice, advocating for them to do the right thing when no one is looking. When Rose encounters a problem she will work to find a solution which has led to great outcomes such as advocating for seat belts on special education buses, which were installed after her letter campaign to highlight the problem. Rose also recognized a shortage of little league coaches for PAL Jr Giants and the City of Salinas Little League and volunteered to coach a team for both. Rose engages others in helping and collaborating to get the job done. All you have to do is ask, and she is there. Volunteering is what she loves most which has led to her involvement as a former vice-president of Salinas PAL, 2010 U.S. Open volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club, Salinas High School Sober Grad Committee, 2005, 204, Salinas Air show volunteer and a YWCA Board Member.

Sonia Chapa– Sonia Chapa has served the communities of South Monterey County for decades. She is a collage artist who utilizes a variety of recyclable materials with students to create name flags, vision boards, mosaics, and jewelry. Sonia also imparts the intention and techniques of famous artists in their mediums and covers the basics relating to line, shape, form texture and color. Repurposing materials encourages student creatively and inspires innovation. Sonis is also one of the founders of Sol Treasures. For six years Sol Treasures has functioned as a small community center for children of King City interested in the arts. The founders all helped in bringing the community center together, but it was Sonia who initially conceived of it. Sol Treasures mission is to awaken and nurture appreciation and passion for the arts in people of all ages in South Monterey County and to provide a home for creative and inspiring opportunities to unify the community through art and culture.

Sonia relates that she was inspired while walking the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds one day and came up with the idea to have a place where kids could come and learn about the arts, which seems a wonderful approach to arts programs being defunded in schools. Students involved in the arts are four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs in schools and three times more likely to win attendance awards. By offering kids the chance to take art classes outside of school, Chapa and the founders of Sol Treasures have, put art back into kids’ lives.

Janet van Balen-has not only been an inspiration to her family but to many, many individuals throughout this community and beyond. She has motivated others to follow in her footsteps and, has volunteered in her community for over 40 years. As President, she worked for many years on a Salvation Army fundraising event named “The Doll Tea Party”. Janet became involved with the Vietnam Veterans of Monterey County through her husband, a retired Army veteran. She coordinates and spearheads the annual Christmas Party, including auctions, gift tables, and gift bags for the veterans and their families. She recognized that many Native American children receive no Christmas items due to their very low-incomes. She organized a drive that resulted in over 1,000 toys for the children of a local Native American community. She donates regularly to local women’s shelters and has provided hundreds of shoe boxes of school supplies to underserved children through the yellow bus campaign. In addition to contributing from her personal resources, she has racked up hundreds and hundreds of miles on her van delivering these much needed items.
Selwa Said– Has served the community and beyond for decades through teaching and facilitating effective communication and relationship building. Her work is based on respect for oneself and the other person, and communicating from the heart. Her specific methods and approaches, thoughtfully developed over many years, are unique and highly effective. Selwa has positively impacted many thousands of lives directly, as well as indirectly. She has positively influenced people’s relationships with family, friends, business associates, community groups, and more. Selwa has lived her life and given herself as a model of respectful, loving communication. She has been of tremendous benefit to society. It is often said by her students that she could singlehandedly negotiate world peace, given the arena. She has become a highly respected role model and a mentor to many.
Isabella Rose Shake– has volunteered her time and dedicated herself to philanthropy for more than 60 years. As the matriarch of her family, she has guided the Sabu shake Sr. Memorial Fund that donates all proceeds to The Salvation Army. She is a long standing member of San Carlos church and donates substantially to them and the The Hermitage by providing money, food, clothes. She also donates to several churches and schools that are located in poor, rural, areas around the world. Isabella Shake also donates to the Run Away Youth Dinner program administered by Community Human Services. Isabella Shake is a religious, caring and humble person that has overcome tragedies and hardships in her life. She has always encouraged everyone around her to pitch in and help the poor and needy. She has provided money, food, and services to help the less fortunate, the homeless, the hungry or the sick. She funded a school in India to help the underprivileged. When her health was better, she would visit the senior care facilities to uplift the lonely elderly people.

Jayanti Addleman-Jayanti volunteered as Chair of the Monterey Peninsula chapter of the AFS Cultural Exchange program, as a member of the Board of Trustees of York School, as a volunteer librarian at Montessori School, and as a volunteer for the Rice Plus Project. She has also served as Chair of the Monterey County Equal Opportunity Commission and has challenged the glass ceiling of women’s accomplishments by becoming one of the first minority female department heads in the County as the Director of Monterey County Free Libraries and serving as the first Indian American President of the California County Librarians Association. She has been a tireless advocate for children, youth and families serving on the board of the Literacy Campaign for Monterey County, advocating for literacy needs and poverty in her role as a member of the Children’s council and the Monterey Gang Violence Prevention Initiative, both of which have made improved literacy a priority focus.

Nancy Fountain– has served as a mentor and support for youth as a volunteer at the Safe Place, runaway and homeless youth program. She provides strength, wisdom, humor and a positive attitude that guides her work as a volunteer. She has a passion for working with the youth in crisis that she comes into contact with, immediately making a connection with them. She is able to intuitively feel hesitation or withdrawal and will give space as needed and she is almost always able to gain their trust and confidence in the long run. Her commitment to spreading the word about what is done at Safe Place is more like a full-time job than as a volunteer. Her commitment is displayed by her willingness to walk up to virtually any stranger, initiate a conversation educate them on local runaway and homeless youth, and part ways having made a new friend. Nancy is also a an outspoken advocate for homeless women in recovery from substance abuse. She can clearly articulate unacceptable gaps in services and specific need when discussing issues with potential donors and potential clients. She demonstrates an ability to connect with virtually anyone regardless of age, social standing, or gender, which makes her a unique talent and individual. Nancy thinks Big! Her enthusiasm and sincerity shines through like a beacon and it’s the rare person that doesn’t have a smile on their face after listening to her speak.

Lifetime Achievement Award- Genie Jimenez– Eugenia Dolores Jimenez worked in a variety of legal capacities as an attorney with private law firms but found her niche as a community liaison for the Santa Monica Attorney’s office fighting for women’s rights and consumer rights. Upon her retirement, she moved to Carmel Valley and immediately became involved in continuing to help people through her work with the Alliance on Aging. Genie would drive the Alliance on Aging’s Community van throughout all of Monterey County to hundreds of events each year to help seniors and also to provide them with information on benefits. You would always see Genie around the community with her trademark smile, vibrant colors, and can-do attitude. Genie brought that same spirit and passion to her work as Chair of the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women and the many other boards, commissions, and public service organizations she worked with. The Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women posthumously recognizes Eugenia (Genie) Jimenez for her commitment and efforts to make the community a better place for all.

To share this post

on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media,

you may wish to use this shortlink:

For those on Facebook, visit the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women’s “Outstanding Women’s Event” page for 3/22/15:

Special thanks to Rosemary Soto, Glorietta Rowland, Yolanda Cervantes, and the many others whose efforts made this such a successful celebration.

* * *

For all Outstanding Women of Monterey County, 1987-2014, click here. Among them is another Ciclovía Salinas advocate, Natalie Oliver.

This post was published on 15 March 2015. One or more changes last made to this post on 11 June 2017.

Leave a Reply