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2024 Awardees' Biography

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Founder & CEO of Bucket list

Cindy Lee

Cindy is such a giver and has a heart as Gold. She is involved with Surf Rider Foundation to give back to her community. She is always reminding us to acknowledge each other, to call or send messages telling each other we care, we are here for you and that they are not forgotten. She started the Bucket List Coaching, She had her Bucket List Travel and always helping organizations with fundraising, Ruffles and more. She's very inspiring and motivating. 

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President & CEO of Dowitcher Designs Inc.

Amber Wallace

Amber Wallace is President & CEO of Dowitcher Designs Inc., an award-winning integrated marketing agency helping purpose-driven organizations and public agencies thrive. A certified diverse supplier with over 50 design and marketing awards, Dowitcher leverages more than 17 years in business to create solutions to complex marketing, advertising, and technology challenges.

Amber holds a Bachelor’s in Creative Studies and an MBA from UC Irvine. In addition to running Dowitcher, she taught marketing and digital technologies at UC Santa Barbara for more than a decade and is passionate about educating and encouraging women to start and grow businesses. 

Amber is a Past President of NAWBO California, Past President of the NAWBO Santa Barbara Chapter, served nationally on the Presidents Assembly Steering Committee, and is currently a Director for NAWBO California, the NAWBO California Education Fund, and joining the NAWBO National board. Additional board experience and community involvement includes the International Women’s Festivals, Executive Committee for the Santa Barbara Equality Project, UC Irvine’s Deans Leadership Circle, Advisory Board for Santa Barbara City College’s School of Media Arts, Advisory Board for Women’s Economic Ventures, SCORE, and more. She’s received numerous awards, including Woman Business Owner of the Year from NAWBO, 40 under 40 from the Pacific Coast Business Times and Top 10 Best CEOS in 2021 from Industry Era Magazine. 
 

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Architect 

Elizabeth Carmichael

Elizabeth Carmichael, a California Licensed Architect and the visionary founder of ECOhouse, is dedicated to pioneering ecologically responsible architecture and development. Her commitment to minimizing environmental impact while maximizing benefits for occupants, communities, and developers defines ECOhouse's ethos. With a career marked by remarkable accomplishments and unwavering dedication, Elizabeth has left an indelible mark on both her field and her community.


From an early age, Elizabeth's nomadic upbringing, having lived in eight states, instilled in her a sense of adaptability and resilience. Embracing change, she thrived as the "new kid," cultivating an outgoing nature and the ability to forge connections effortlessly. This early experience laid the foundation for her career as a trailblazer in sustainable architecture.


As the founding Principal Architect of ECOhouse, Elizabeth has steered the firm to excellence in sustainable design, specializing in mixed-use spaces, infill multi-family projects, affordable housing, micro-units, and upscale custom residences. Her designs are ambitious yet grounded in a deep understanding of technical requirements and regulatory landscapes, including Development and Discretionary Permits, and California Coastal Commission guidelines.


Elizabeth's influence extends beyond the confines of her firm. Her expertise has been showcased at esteemed conferences like AIA National and The Living Future Conference, where she shares insights and best practices in sustainable architecture and biophilic design. Her commitment to advancing sustainability is further demonstrated by her role as President of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Green Building Council and now transitioning to USGBC-California a state wide organization, where she spearheads initiatives to promote environmentally conscious practices in the industry.


In addition to her professional achievements, Elizabeth is deeply engaged in mentoring programs, including the High Tech High mentorship program and the San Diego Green Building Council mentorship program. Currently in training to mentor in the Promises 4 Kids Guardian Scholar mentorship program for former foster youth, she is committed to empowering the next generation of leaders in architecture and beyond.


Through ECOhouse, Elizabeth envisions ECOlogical Habitats Of Urban Sustainable Experiences(TM), weaving a sustainable future for generations to come. Her story is one of inspiration, resilience, and unwavering commitment to creating a positive impact.  Elizabeth hopes to ignite a spark in others, particularly young women and girls, encouraging them to pursue their dreams fearlessly and make a meaningful difference in the world.

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Coach and Consult 

Kandi Lee

Trained in Neuro Change Solutions, Emotional Release, Energy Work, and Business and Organizational Development, she has been working with some of the most prominent business owners, executives, entrepreneurs and organizations in the world for over 30 years to help them reach massive levels of success. 

She has authored 4 books, worked with fortune 50 companies and is an international transformational thought leader. 

She believes that to be truly Full-filled, you need to be living at a 10 in every area of your life. . . having the career that makes you jump out of bed each morning, making the money that supports your desired lifestyle, having the free time to enjoy your life, being in optimal health to get through your day with energy and vitality, and having supportive loving relationships with deep and meaningful connection.
 

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A Guide to Choosing the Best Investment House for ADUs_ 5 Key Considerations
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President of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County

Geraldine Larson

Geraldine is the president of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. Although born in the Philippines, Geraldine is a California girl at heart, having been raised in Orange County. Growing up, Geraldine’s parents owned a small security guard and alarm company, hard work was instilled in her at an early age, working as her mother's assistant from the age of 12.

Geraldine has 30 years in the insurance industry and after many years in Corporate America, she has finally taken a step towards independence by starting her own insurance agency in 2017. As an independent broker, she helps individuals and business owners like you achieve their bottom-line, while still providing best in class service. Geraldine specializes in group employee benefits, individual medical including Covered CA, Medicare, and financial services products. Whether individual or business, Geraldine takes a holistic approach to help you prioritize both your fiscal and physical wellness today to help protect your tomorrow.

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Executive Director and Co-Founder

 Antoinette Naddour

Antoinette Naddour is Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Veterans Legal Institute® where she oversees and has responsibility for the overall management of the firm including business development, outreach, public relations, marketing, strategic planning and a light legal caseload. She comes to VLI with a long-held passion to serve homeless and at-risk veterans and service members and has dedicated her career to that end. Noticing an influx of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking shelter at a local National Guard armory, Ms. Naddour discovered that many issues that contributed to these veterans’ chronic homelessness were legal in nature and required the assistance of an attorney. So moved by the fact that the men and women who had served the country abroad were now struggling, she committed herself to the cause of removing “chronic” from “homelessness” and empowering veterans into self-sufficiency. This led her to be instrumental in the co-development of a veteran based project at a local legal aid, with over 700 veterans receiving legal assistance during her three year tenure. Since co-founding the Veterans Legal Institute in 2014, over 6,000 local low income veterans have benefitted from free legal services. Ms. Naddour was an officer with the California State Guard for over 6 years. She served in the rank of Major both as a Marketing Officer assigned to Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) as well as reserve JAG Officer assigned to Legal Support Command. She regularly lectures on legal topics affecting veterans where she is known for providing innovative solutions aimed at veteran empowerment and self-sufficiency. She sits on the military advisory boards for Supervisor Katrina Foley and Congresswoman Young Kim. In the past, Ms. Naddour was a law lecturer at UCI School of Law for its Veterans Law Clinic. Ms. Naddour is a graduate of the 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholars Class, a prestigious program that serves as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. During her tenure in this program, she focused on the improvement and further development of mobile legal clinics for low income veterans, a project that is shared freely throughout the nation to promote additional services for veterans in need. Ms. Naddour was a two term Director at Large with the Orange County Bar Association, a member of the Outreach and Pro Bono Committees and Co-Chair of its Military and Veterans Committee. She is a board member of the Orange County Women’s Lawyers Association and was named the OCWLA 2022 Attorney of the Year. She is also a Board Advisor for the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Naddour is a member of the OC Veterans and Military Families Collaborative, former multi-year Chair of its Legal/ Re-Entry Working Group, and for a long period of time served as Vice Chair of its Steering Committee. Ms. Naddour holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Management from Chapman University School of Business as well as a Juris Doctor with a special certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution and an LLM emphasized in Business and Economics from Chapman University Fowler School of Law.

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Director of Business Engagement

Rhonda Miller

Rhonda Miller is the Director of Business Engagement for the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest where she engages with Orange County businesses to advance marketplace trust. Rhonda currently serves on the Anaheim Workforce Development Board, the Santa Ana Workforce Development Board, and on the Advisory Board for the Small Business Diversity Network. Rhonda also serves on two advisory committees for the Sana Ana Unified School District and on the Community Engagement Council for the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the BBB, Rhonda was the Business Solutions Manager for the County of Orange, Workforce and Economic Development Division, providing direction, implementation, and evaluation of programs supporting regional workforce development for underserved populations. She held a similar position as Business Relations Manager for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in Colorado Springs and was responsible for long-range planning, development, and oversight of their employer-driven services.

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CEO founder of Abc Notary Loan Signing Broker

Karen Vuong

An Orange County resident since 1995, Karen is goal-driven, award-winning, mission oriented, customer-obsessed account manager-banking leader with over 17 years of enterprise class sales, commercial lending & E-Commerce.  Karen became a certified NNA/LSS and graduated from the highly esteemed National Notary Association & Loan Signing System-America's #1 Notary Public Loan Signing Agent Training Courses.  With experience in general notary work and all types of real estate transactions, Karen provides excellent customer service, attention to detail, superior communication and presentation skills to all levels of well-established organizations and business centers across Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

Karen’s education background in business management and her professional experiences in retail and commercial banking industry for almost 2 decades is the strong foundation for her notary signing work.
The ability to provide solutions with problem-solving skill and customer service are built right into her fundamental makeup.
In her tenure as a California notary public, Karen continually keeps updated on all notary laws and best practices.  Karen is insured, bonded, and is happy to provide any credentials upon request.

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Area Developer

Pooja Lahia

Meet Pooja, a trailblazer whose journey embodies resilience and ambition. Born and raised in Bangalore, a city in south India. Pooja’s passion for both athletics and technology set her on a remarkable path. She ventured to the United States on a tennis scholarship, seizing the opportunity to pursue her Master’s degree in Computer Science. After completing her education, Pooja dove into the corporate world, where she spent 13 years honing her skills as an engineer. Her dedication and innovative thinking propelled her career forward, earning her recognition as a leader in her field. However, Pooja’s entrepreneurial spirit and desire for greater autonomy beckoned her towards a new endeavor.

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Associate Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneur Programs

Samantha Scholl

Samantha Scholl is the Associate Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneur Programs for the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest. With a deep commitment to equitable access and opportunity, she champions diverse entrepreneurs and nurtures inclusive environments. Samantha designs and leads educational programs, fosters community relationships, and empowers small business owners through education, resources, and mentorship opportunities. Prior to her role at BBB, she spent 25 dynamic years in the hospitality industry, including becoming Partner in a local San Diego restaurant. Committed to advocacy, Samantha serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Equality Business Association and volunteers for local organizations. She mentors entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy from Northeastern Illinois University. An avid reader, adrenaline junkie, and travel blogger, she has explored over 65 countries on a budget.

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Director of YES Workforce Solutions

Pepper Russell

Pepper Russell, IOM, is the Director of YES Workforce Solutions, under the umbrella of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast. Ms. Russell’s responsibilities include execution of Workforce Development initiatives, particularly the YES Workforce Solutions Job Board, a dynamic hub connecting top-tier youth talent to local employers seeking to fill open internships, externships, apprenticeships, and entry-level positions. Further, she provides guidance for soft-skills training and curriculum across all tween and teen programming. Ms. Russell’s community service within Orange County includes participation on the High Roads Transition Collaborative (HRTC) of the California Jobs First initiative, formerly known as the CERF Grant, and she was recently recruited to the Small Business Diversity Network (SBDN) Leadership Advisory Board. She and her husband are life-long mentors to family, extended family, and Los Angeles and Long Beach area community members. They are both firmly wrapped around their rescue pup, Wednesday’s paw.

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Vice President

Lauren Sweeney

Lauren Sweeney is a keynote speaker and the Vice President at Rise Up For You. The company is a global educational and motivational Women-Owned Business that's programming is SHRM certified. Rise Up For You works with local non-profits, all the way up to clients like Google, LA Fitness, LexisNexis, Hewlett and Packard, and more. Their founder and Rise Up For You have been seen on Amazon Prime TV, Apple TV, Bloomberg TV, Global Canada and more. Lauren serves on two non-profit Boards, including a local Chamber of Commerce, and is passionate about emotional intelligence, values-based leadership and building career confidence. She holds a leadership degree from UCDavis and the SHRM-CP designation. She spent over 15 years as an entrepreneur and brings her business, leadership and strategic experience to executives worldwide with the Rise Up For You team.

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Executive Director

Elektra Fike-Data

Elektra Fike-Data is the Executive Director of Tree San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing San Diego's urban forest. She leads a skilled team, overseeing impactful projects that promote eco-conscious solutions throughout Southern California. Known for her team building and leadership skills, as well as her advocacy of addressing climate change, Elektra has mastered the art of collaboration and partnership amongst sectors and works passionately to make measurable change in her community. With a background in green business strategy and education, she brings her expertise to multiple roles including her position as a board member for the Green Build Council, regional representative for ASU's Barrett Honors College, and mentor for Infinite Family -- South Africa.

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CEO

Rachel Monet

Rachel Monet, Founder and Creative Director at Spot-On Marketing Solutions is all about creating solutions and win-win-win situations.  A lifelong artist, Rachel is also a commercial photographer and video producer with decades of experience. 

 

“We are Better Together”  After recognizing that so many of her creative friends also struggled to make ends meet because there’s not enough time in the day to create and deliver world-class digital and printed media AND do all the marketing and sales to keep things running, Rachel was inspired to help and so the agency came to be.

 

Rachel also brings decades of experience from the corporate world in the areas of leadership, operation, administration, marketing and sales to the table when meeting with prospective clients during the initial consultation phase. As a result, additional needs are discovered which, in turn, lead to more business opportunities for the team of creatives and professional service providers who are Power Partner Team members at Spot-On Marketing Solutions.

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Estate Planning & Asset Protection Attorney

Hanna Yang

Hanna is an associate attorney at BarthCalderon LLP. Her practice includes estate planning, asset protection, and probate and trust administration. Before establishing her estate planning practice, Hanna practiced law for over 16 years in the U.S. Air Force. Her past practice areas include criminal law and litigation, civil and administrative law, and operations law. Hanna has assisted many military members with estate planning in preparation for deployments, retirement, and other major life events. She has personal experiences dealing with special needs and critical illnesses and has walked alongside many families on similar journeys. In addition to her professional achievements, Hanna can speak Korean. She is committed to using her broad range of personal and professional experiences to build relationships and effectively represent her clients.

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A Guide to Choosing the Best Investment House for ADUs_ 5 Key Considerations
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Irvine City Councilmember

Tammy Kim

Tammy Kim is a mother, nonprofit leader, educator, community advocate, small business owner, and former corporate executive. Tammy was elected to Irvine City Council in 2020 and served her second year as Vice Mayor in 2023. Raised in difficult economic circumstances, Tammy has always been driven by a desire to help others. After successfully climbing the corporate ladder, Tammy chose to invest her resources to create a local non-profit to serve the immigrant community. Tammy is a well-respected civic leader who has served as Irvine’s Finance Commissioner, Chair of the Language Access Committee for the Orange County (OC) Registrar of Voters, a member of the City of Irvine Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census and the Committee for the Irvine Global Village Festival. Tammy currently represents Irvine on the boards of the Southern California Association of Governments, the OC Council of Governments; Irvine Community Land Trust; OC Public Libraries; OC Mosquito and Vector Control, and most recently elected to the League of California Cities, OC Division Board, where she serves on the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Policy Committee; OC Power Authority; and the OC Fire Authority. Tammy also serves on the Liaison Committees for two school boards.

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Vice President

Hafsa Fathima

Hafsa Fathima, a versatile Canadian writer and multimedia journalist, thrives on uncovering the stories often overlooked. Raised amidst the rich tapestry of Canada and India, her multicultural upbringing serves as a cornerstone for her insightful narratives. Armed with a Bachelor's and Master's in English Literature, along with a Masters of Science in Journalism, from prestigious institutions, Fathima's passion lies in shedding light on immigration, culture, and migrant communities. With an impressive portfolio featured by NPR, The LA Times, and more, she meticulously crafts narratives that bridge divides and amplify marginalized voices. Fathima's dedication to storytelling stems from a desire to challenge misconceptions and champion authenticity in representation. Through her work, she not only informs but also empowers, embodying the essence of dynamic, perceptive, and multicultural journalism.

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CISO

Jameeka Green Aaron

Jameeka Green Aaron is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Headspace. She is responsible for delivery technology while ensuring holistic security and compliance of Headspace's platform, products, and corporate environment. She is a recognized industry leader and brings 25 years of experience to the role, with a career that has spanned a wide variety of industries in both information technology and cyber security, Prior to her current role she was the CISO Customer Identity Cloud - Auth0, a product unit of Okta. She has worked across various industries including aerospace and defense, retail, and manufacturing, at both Fortune 100 and privately held companies—including Nike, Hurley, Lockheed Martin, and is a 9 year veteran of the U.S. Navy. She is committed to advancing women and people of color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. She has participated in the U.S. State Department’s TechWomen program, the National Urban League Young Professionals and the National Society of Black Engineers. She is an advisor to Bain Capital Cyber, a board member of Digital Brands Group, a member of Black Women on Boards and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Jameeka lives in Irvine, CA, with her husband Amilcar who serves as Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commissioner for the City of Irvine.

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Executive Director, American Red Cross of Orange County

Becky Firey

Becky Firey serves as the Executive Director for the American Red Cross of Orange County where she builds and maintains key relationships with donors and partners throughout Orange County to effectively deliver the Red Cross mission. She has worked for the American Red Cross for over 18 years and began her career in Biomedical Services as an Account Manager, where she secured community blood drive partners to meet local hospital needs. She later became the Donor Resources Development Trainer for Southern California. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Becky served as a Biomedical Services District Manager, first in North Orange County then South Orange County and San Diego. In this role she started the Aztecs for Life and Celebration of Heroes blood drives, the two largest single-day Red Cross blood drives in California. Becky received her undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.

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Founder 

Janet Woods Msc.d

Janet Woods, Best Selling Author, Award Winning Speaker and Media Personality., She specializes in helping clients unlock their potential and reach their goals. Her expertise lies in harmonizing individual energy with Earth's natural cycles. She utilizes the principles of neuro design and brain science to create positive and productive spaces, fostering personal development and professional success in a holistic manner. She is also a certified Life Coach and, providing her clients with the tools and resources needed to create a vision of success and manifest that into reality. Her commitment to making a positive difference in people’s lives is inspiring. In addition, she is a published author, having written five books on various topics. She is also a sought-after speaker and teacher, traveling all over the world to teach workshops and lectures on Neuro Design, Feng Shui, brain-based design and its many benefits. Janet has received lifetime achievement awards from the White House for her community and charitable service. She continues that work by being a member of Rotary International, and the Past President of the Rotary Club of Orange County Digital. Janet is on staff at Cerritos Community College, Continuing Education Department, and a former board member of the School of Multidimensional Healing Arts and Sciences. and HeartSpace Orange County.

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CEO/General Manager

Joone Kim-Lopez

Joone Kim Lopez is the General Manager and CEO of Moulton Niguel Water District, which provides six South Orange County cities with drinking water, wastewater, and recycled water services. Her leadership spans roles at Calaveras County Water District and Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, leading to the founding of the California Data Collaborative, a groundbreaking effort that unites water utilities across California. This initiative optimizes water management and policy for 21 million Californians by leveraging AI, big data, and technology. As a Board Member of key water industry associations such as the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), and as a Commissioner on the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission, Joone also dedicates her expertise to public service, including advocacy for diversity and inclusion within the water sector. Her role extends to supporting impactful non-profits, being a board member for organizations like the NAACP and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which underscores her broad commitment to community and industry advancement Her distinguished background includes a Master's Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Communications. Her bravery was recognized when she was awarded the Silver Medal of Courage for valor under fire as a Pasadena Police Officer, exemplifying a blend of courage, innovation, and leadership in addressing complex water resource challenges.

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Director Montessori Preschool Irvine & Lake,  Forest President OC India Association 

Dr. Seema Choudhary

Dr. Seema Choudhary has dedicated her life to service, leadership, and purpose. With a strong belief in community togetherness, she advocates for whole family involvement in a child's success and is deeply passionate about inspiring & empowering women. Drawing on her expertise in child development, STEAM education, art, diversity and inclusion, and project management, she approaches her work with a systematic and effective approach. Dr. Choudhary is known for her visionary work to bring people together, as well as her innovative approach and superb presentation skills. She has successfully coordinated numerous educational programs catering to children, youth, and adults alike. Through her mentorship and coaching, Dr. Choudhary has inspired countless individuals to unlock their full potential, leaving a positive impact on the lives of those she touches. As an immigrant icon, her contributions to society are immeasurable, serving as a beacon of inspiration for future generations to continue her legacy of service and leadership. Founder & Director of Montessori Preschool, Irvine & Lake Forest, grew from serving a family to more than thousands of families. Expert in Early Childhood Education. Provides Virtual Preschool & STEAM programs 2008-Current Founder for Indian Culture & Hindi Gurukul Program, Sunday School: 2013-Current Founder & Lead for OC Indian Women grp (#OCIW), Connecting 50K+ families: 2014-Current President for Irvine Indians & OC India Association: 2013-Current Vice Chair, Community Outreach SCORE OC: 2023-Current Influencer on Social Media with 5K+ followers for Irvine Indians Page, OC India Association Page & Montessori Preschool Irvine & Lake Forest Page Contributions Top 5 Leaders of Orange County Schools: Parenting OC, 2023 International Women’s Day Celebration, Recognized by County of Orange & City of Irvine, March 2014-Current Donation Drives for Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee, Inc. 2021-2024 Contributor of different languages & festivals at Diversity, Equity & Inclusion department, City of Irvine 2022-current STEAM activities for kids : Irvine Global Village Festival, Kids Village, 2022 Community Excellence Award, SBA, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2022 Advisory Committee Mayor Farrah Khan, City of Irvine, 2021-present Distinguished Citizen, Wall of Recognition, City of Irvine, 2020 Outstanding Professional Award: Orange County Early Childhood Professional: 2020 Team Council Member Farrah Khan: 2018-2021 Child Care Committee, City of Irvine: 2018-2021 Irvine Global Village Festival Committee, City of irvine : 2016-Current Active Performer at Irvine Global Village Festival for Montessori Preschool, Irvine Indians, OC India Association & Irvine Indians grp. Bringing thousands of Indian people to the festival: 2012-Current Active Performer at different events like Tree Lighting, Winter Wonderland, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, City Council Meeting etc.: 2012-Current Emcee for Irvine Global Village Festival: 2019 Received Proclamation from City of Irvine for Scouts Day, Asian Heritage Month, Hindu Heritage Month, Diwali, Festival of Light , Festivals of Color: Holi, Sikh Awareness Month 2014-2024 A distinguished & sensible citizen, attends lot of City Programs & events:2007-Current IUSD School Site Council: Irvine High School, Irvine: 2017-2021 GATE Program Coordinator: Lakeside Middle School, 2014-2016 SCORE (the Nationwide largest network of expert business Mentors): 2016-Current Orange County Science Fair (OCSF) Judge: 2007-Present Co-Founder for Ektaa Diwali Fest at City of Irvine: 2014 Lead Announcer & Prayer Coordinator for Chinmaya Mission of LA (Sunday School for Indian Families): 2014-Present Program Coordinator for Various events at Mandir, Hindu Temple in Irvine from India’s Independence Day, Festival of Colors, Holi, Republic Day of India and many more: 2007-Current Scout Troop 606: Parent Volunteer, 2017-2023 Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) member: Organized & helped in various activities from Talent Show to Multicultural Day Irvine High School, Irvine: 2017-Current Lakeside Middle School 2015-2018 Springbrook Elementary school 2009- 2015 Active participant for City of Artesia events like International Day, India’s Independence Day, Diwali celebration etc.: 2007-Present Active-Participant of OC Fair & Winter Festival OC: 2013-Present Active-Participant of International Festival at Soka University: 2013-Present Organization Participant: Small Business Diversity Network, UCI Women Empowerment Initiative, Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association of Orange County, CA Sikh Women, Surabhi-the Indian Students Association at UCI etc. on different time frames: 2012-Current Featured different articles in OC Register, India West, India Current, India Journal Newspapers & LA Vogue Magazines: 2006-Present Member : National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Attended professional development workshop in early childhood from Stanford University 2022-current Award Recipient SABAN, South Asian Business Award Nationwide for “The Best South Asian Academic Entrepreneur”: 2014 Mattern-Tyler Award in recognition of excellence in teaching for undergraduate pre-medical students: 2002 Organizer for Nepal Earthquake Relief Fundraiser at Soka University, Orange County: 2016 Award Nominee Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award one of the highest Indian diasporic award granted to Nonresident person of Indian Origin (NRI) by the NRI Welfare Society of India: 2018 Orange County Business Journal Family Owned Business Award: 2019 Orange County Business Journal Entrepreneurship Award: 2018 Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Award: 2017 Former Professor at University of California, Irvine (UCI), University of Indiana, Bloomington, Salem State College, Boston, MA & Miami Dade College, Miami, FL: 2002-2008 Ph.D. & Master’s: State University of New York: 1998-2002 Master’s : Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU, New Delhi, 1996

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Financial Agent

Susan Aumaier 

Susan has one son -- Joshua, and two bonus daughters -- Brenna and Devon. Susan is married to Deon … a man who can do anything he sets his mind to. In fact, Susan’s son, Josh, always calls him Superman! Animals hold a special place in Susan’s heart. Throughout her life, she has welcomed a diverse range of pets into her home, including cats, dogs, rabbits, chinchillas, rats, mice, lizards, and tropical fish. She has fostered animals and has even been known to risk her life rescuing endangered or injured animals. She was once caught running out into traffic to save a blind cat that had wandered into the street! Susan loves history and genealogy. As a result, she became a member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), the Jamestowne Society, and the Descendants of Physicians and Churigens (Surgeons). She’s traced her ancestry back to the 8th century, to Charlemagne (also known as Charles the Great, King of the Franks), and even earlier to 500 AD. Susan's commitment to community service is inspiring. She volunteers at the Long Beach V.A., serving pizza and pink lemonade to the vets and even calling out Bingo when her husband, Deon isn’t available. She has been active with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as the Veterans Committee Chairperson, past Chapter Historian, and past American Heritage Committee Chairperson. The DAR is a lineage society and a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Susan often volunteers to help with projects such as Toys for Tots, spending time with veterans, and more. Susan enjoys stand-up paddleboarding, river rafting, swimming, riding her bike, dancing, drawing or painting, reading, and writing, but nothing makes her happier than making a difference in the lives of others. Susan is a mentor with The Missing Pixel Project, a non-profit committed to supporting underserved youth in the foster system, or those who recently aged out of the foster system, by providing a welcoming and inspirational environment for all beliefs, backgrounds, identities, and tones. The Missing Pixel Project provides training and mentorship to underserved youth ages 13 to 30 in the foster system, those aging out of the foster system, and homeless youth, as well as underfunded schools with limited arts programs. Susan’s area of expertise is personal development, life planning, and teaching financial literacy. Having spent more than 25 years in the financial industry, Susan is dedicated to offering free financial literacy education to anyone interested. Her mission is to impart simple straightforward concepts capable of altering the course for current and future generations. As a young mother lacking financial knowledge, she was determined to spare others from the errors she made in her youth. While employed at a life insurance firm, she witnessed firsthand how the affluent utilized this expertise to further enrich themselves. These are insights she believes everyone should possess to attain wealth. Given Susan's extensive experience in caring for her mother and mother-in-law during their final years, it's perhaps unsurprising that her latest endeavor involves the development of a senior assisted living home in Fountain Valley. This establishment aims to provide seniors with a nurturing environment filled with love and respect, offering a range of enjoyable activities, including music and art therapy, swimming, walking, and dancing, provided their physical capabilities allow. Susan says she couldn’t have done any of this without the unwavering love and support of her husband and son. They are what makes life worthwhile.

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College, Career and Financial Coach

Cammy Wang

Cammy is a holistic coach providing tutoring, test prep, and comprehensive college, career, and financial planning. She applies the skills and knowledge she has acquired over 30 years in the field of education. Serving as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in K-12 schools and colleges, and currently as an educational consultant, she has helped her students and their families successfully navigate through the maze of the college planning process, gain acceptance to colleges of their choice, and prepare them in their transition from high school to college. Understanding how each individual differs in his or her strengths, goals, and interests, Cammy works directly with her clients in both admissions and financial aid planning, guiding them to make informed decisions about their future college education and career pathways. Cammy Wang is a lifelong educator and earned her B.A. in Communications (UCLA), M.Ed. (Harvard University), and J.D. (Loyola Law School). She has applied her degrees to multiple professional industries including law, education, finance, government, hospitality, and entertainment. Since 2016, Cammy has created and delivered a series of financial literacy and college admissions seminars to schools (especially at her alma mater John F. Kennedy High School and the prestigious Oxford Academy), libraries, churches, community centers, and non-profit agencies. In Summer 2021, she launched an online group coaching college admissions preparation program which had successful runs in the summers of 2021 and 2022. Cammy also has been featured as a guest speaker for numerous podcasts and virtual and in-person conferences, expos, and summits around the world.

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President of Rotary Club

Beth Fujishige

President and Founding Member of the Rotary Club of Orange County LA; Spirit of the Community Award recipient from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC); Lotus Award recipient by the Asian Women Entrepreneurs (AWE); Manager, Tomodachi Bento Project delivering Asian-inspired meals to homebound seniors in Orange County; Vice President, California Jaycee Foundation; Member, Board of Directors Orange County Buddhist Church, Graduate of UCLA and Claremont Graduate University.

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Mayor of Huntington Beach

Gracey Larrea- Van Der Mark

Gracey’s Van Der Mark is the daughter of immigrant parents, originating from Ecuador and Mexico. Her upbringing in a low-income community instilled in her a strong sense of determination and resilience. Despite facing challenges, including becoming a young mother, escaping domestic abuse and surviving homelessness, Gracey remained steadfast in her commitment to providing a better life for her children. Following a period of rebuilding her life, Gracey remarried and embraced the role of a dedicated stay-at-home mother. As her children grew older, she felt compelled to address issues within her local community, particularly in education. Motivated by her experiences and a desire for positive change, Gracey ran for a position on her local school board, driven by her discovery of concerning material. Though her initial campaign for the school board was not successful, Gracey refused to be deterred. Undeterred by setbacks, she made the decision to pursue a position on the council. In 2022, Gracey achieved a significant milestone by securing a seat on the Huntington Beach city council, marking a historic moment as the first Latina council member in the city's history then the following years went on to become the first Latina Mayor in Huntington Beach. Her journey exemplifies resilience, perseverance, and a dedication to making a meaningful impact within her community. Gracey is truly an inspiration.

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Founder and Owner of Your Money On Purpose Coaching

Dawnette Palmore

Dawnette Palmore, the founder and owner of Your Money On Purpose Coaching, is a dedicated financial coach, speaker, and podcaster. Her mission is to empower professional and entrepreneurial women who earn substantial incomes but struggle to manage their finances effectively. Dawnette helps these women take control of their money without compromising their lifestyle, enabling them to lead financially stress-free lives. Drawing from her own financial missteps, Dawnette discovered the power of maintaining a vision-focused approach rather than simply adhering to a budget. This shift allowed her to overcome debt, save, and invest for her future, all while enjoying the things she loves. Since 2015, Dawnette has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of women, guiding them to create thriving and profitable businesses, live life on their own terms, and achieve financial peace. Beyond her coaching endeavors, Dawnette is also a passionate podcaster and speaker. When she's not empowering other women, she can be found enjoying quality time with her family and friends.

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Urban Design and Drafting Services- San Diego & OC 

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