Women’s Economic Ventures Honors Trailblazers at ‘Empowerment Is Priceless’ Breakfast

Women’s Economic Ventures Honors Trailblazers at ‘Empowerment Is Priceless’ Breakfast


noozhawkimage001_1432333717930_18701682_ver1.0_640_480From left, Renee Grubb, Village Properties co-founder; Marsha Bailey, Women’s Economic Ventures founder and CEO; Lynda Weinman, lynda.com co-founder; and Alethea Tyner Paradis, founder of Friendship Tours World Travel. (Alíz Ruvalcaba-Ventura photo / R&V Photography)


By Amy Bernstein for Women’s Economic Ventures | Published on 05.21.2015 10:42 a.m

On May 13, 300 women and men ventured to the Fess Parker Resort to attend the nonprofit Women’s Economic Ventures’ annual event, Empowerment Is Priceless.

The breakfast fundraiser recognized WEV’s 2015 Trailblazer, Business of the Year and Volunteers of the Year. WEV clients also shared stories of their personal experience with WEV’s continuum of programs, and they also discussed where their businesses are today.

This year’s fundraiser featured a generous matching gift from Lynda Weinman, co-founder of the online-learning site lynda.com. As a result, WEV surpassed their fundraising goal — raising $270,000 to support local women-owned businesses.

“Women start businesses with roughly half as much money as men,” says Marsha Bailey, WEV’s founder and CEO. “Women often won’t apply for a business loan because they assume they’ll be turned down. At WEV, we build both skills and confidence to help women think bigger.”

WEV has made four million dollars in small business loans and plans to increase its lending to one million dollars per year within the next three years.

“Lynda Weinman is a great role model for women, not just because she’s been so successful, but because of the way she has succeeded and given back to our community. Her leadership and generosity has inspired others and will help WEV expand our economic impact,” Bailey says.

The Trailblazer Award is typically presented to a woman who is a pioneer in her industry, exemplifying courage, vision and the tenacity to overcome barriers. This year, WEV honored Renee Grubb, co-founder of Village Properties, for her excellence in business, her community involvement and her philanthropy.

Each year WEV also honors a business owner who represents the visionary clients the organization serves. The award is not necessarily for the biggest or the fastest-growing business, rather, WEV recognizes the unique and inspiring nature of a business and the contributions it and its owner make to the community.

The 2015 WEV Business of the Year award went to Alethea Tyner Paradis, owner of Friendship Tours World Travel, a business dedicated to meaningful travel in countries recovering from conflict. Through her business, Paradis inspires students to engage with vibrant cultures of nations healing from war and to gain an experiential education rich in the living history and modern culture of now-peaceful locales. She exemplifies the ingenuity and passion of WEV business owners.

WEV also honored two Volunteers of the Year for their commitment and service to WEV clients: Santa Barbara County Volunteer Sara Caputo, owner of Radiant Organizing, and Ventura County Volunteer Timothy Weaver of California Lutheran University.

Major sponsors of the 2015 Empowerment is Priceless event were Union Bank, Silsbury Wealth Advisors, Pacific Western Bank, Rabobank, , Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet & Raney, LLP, and The Fess Parker Resort. All proceeds from the Empowerment is Priceless event will directly benefit client programs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties including: Self-Employment Training (SET), SET to Launch, Thrive in Five, WEV Loan Program, and  Nasif, Hicks, Harris & Co. LLP.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures



Women’s Economic Ventures Free Self-Employment Training Orientation

Women’s Economic Ventures Free Self-Employment Training Orientation

Upcoming nonprofit events found on the 

NPRN Community Calendar:



Links to: http://nprnsb.org/event/womens-economic-ventures-free-self-employment-training-orientation-3/

Women’s Economic Ventures Free Self-Employment Training Orientation

May 21 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

| Free

Event Navigation

Have you always wanted to run your own business, but don’t know where to start? Or do you already own your own business and want to expand? Learn how to make those dreams a reality with Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) Women’s Business Center. WEV is holding free, 1-hour informational orientation sessions in Santa Barbara County to help determine your readiness for the Self-Employment Training (SET) course beginning in September. Orientation is required to enroll.

Self-Employment Training (SET)

WEV’s Women’s Business Center offers a comprehensive 14 week, 56-hour Self-Employment Training (SET) program that is targeted to women (also serves men), and provides guidance on how to start, operate or expand a business.  Participants leave the course with a complete business plan including a marketing plan, a cash flow projection, an operations plan, and a core network to help sustain the business.  The program is offered in both English and Spanish, and provides week-by-week training on topics including finances, marketing and sales, public relations and advertising, legal and insurance issues, record keeping, and how to write a business plan.  After the 14 week course, WEV SET graduates emerge with the most important tools and resources they need to start a new business or grow their current business.

WEV is a nationally recognized, local non-profit that provides business training, small business loans, and many other resources. Since 1991, WEV has served over 12,000 clients, made over $3.5 million in microloans, and helped start or sustain an estimated 3,000 businesses supporting more than 4,000 local jobs

Location is subject to change. To find out more information or to register for the orientation, call (805) 456-2342 or visit the website at www.wevonline.org/set-orientations+ iCal Export





Rona Barrett: We Don’t Stop Laughing Because We Grow Old

Rona Barrett: We Don’t Stop Laughing Because We Grow Old

By Rona Barrett | Published on 05.20.2015 11:27 a.m.

gray matters

… we grow old because we stop laughing.

Welcome to spring, a time for birth and mirth. Or, as Robin Williams said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”

That’s why I thought now would be a good time to share this gray-tinted collection of quips, quotes, one-liners and a few examples of capital PUN-ishment.

Some are my own, others virtually fell into my lap … top.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes, come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?

The grandkids text me “plz,” which is shorter than “please.” I text back “no,” which is shorter than “yes.”

Then there are the grandparents who always offer sound advice — 99 percent sound and 1 percent advice.

I don’t trip over things; I do random gravity checks!

Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can — and the friends to post my bail when I finally snap!

I don’t have white hair; I have “wisdom highlights.”

If God wanted me to touch my toes, she would’ve put them on my knees.

I’m going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I’ll do that second week.

Of course I talk to myself, but only when I need expert advice.

At my age, “getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

Some seniors are no good at counting calories — and they have the figures to prove it.

An elderly man and an elderly woman each drive their cars toward the other in a narrow alley. Neither can pass. The older man shouts, “I don’t back up for a stupid idiot!” The older woman shouts, “Well, I do!” as she shifts into reverse.

Men of Pause: A difficult time in an aging man’s life, when you’re too tired to work and too broke to quit.

At our age, a synonym is a word you use when you forget how to spell the other one.

Forget Caller ID. When are they going to come up with Caller IQ?

Talk about getting the last laugh: An obituary described 83-year-old Norma Brewer, dying while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with her pets. The obit continued, “There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia after her dog ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks.” In fact, Mrs. Brewer was wheelchair-bound and died from a stroke. Seems the fun-loving grandma always enjoyed a good laugh and decided to fabricate her own whopper of an obituary.

Her son, Raymond Brewer, told a newspaper it had more to do with the way she viewed the world: While life is serious, it shouldn’t be taken all that serious. It was her way of having the last laugh.

Knowing when to laugh and when to be serious is the key. Tune in to my next column when we resume the serious subject of senior caretakers and PTSD.

Until the next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected] . The opinions expressed are her own



Review: Santa Barbara Symphony’s Porgy and Bess

Review: Santa Barbara Symphony’s Porgy and Bess

A Rousing Season Finale for the Symphony at the Granada on Saturday, May 16

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

By Charles Donelan


As maestro Nir Kabaretti enters his second decade with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the time feels right not so much for retrospection as for celebration. Last Saturday night, the symphony’s executive director, David Pratt, announced from the Granada stage that Kabaretti has signed a contract to conduct the orchestra for at least another three years, and that’s very good news. His blend of personal warmth, intellectual rigor, and consummate musicianship has moved the organization forward on a number of fronts throughout his tenure, and thus the next three-year stint — or decade for that matter — promises to be a rich one.

The symphony’s season finale concert featured one of the ambitious yet community-centered collaborations that have become a Kabaretti specialty. A version of George and Ira Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess brought the orchestra together with two outstanding vocalists, soprano Laquita Mitchell and bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, and the Santa Barbara Choral Society under the direction of JoAnne Wasserman. Wasserman and Kabaretti have developed into a formidable team, and Saturday’s program may have been their most spectacular success yet. The combination of heartfelt musical virtuosity and Broadway razzle-dazzle on display hit just the right spot with a large and appreciative audience.

The first half of the program showed off another aspect of what the Santa Barbara Symphony has become under Kabaretti’s leadership — an exemplary orchestra for teasing out what’s most poetic and sophisticated in the American music that has grown up around the motion picture industry. Both the Arioso for Oboe, Percussion, and Strings of Dan Redfeld and the Symphony No. 2, Op. 30 of Howard Hanson participate in the cosmopolitan yet accessible style pioneered by other Americans such as George Gershwin and Elmer Bernstein.

Speaking of the Gershwin brothers, Porgy and Bess remains their greatest single contribution to American music. There’s no better love duet than “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” and Mitchell and Sumuel swung it to the rafters. The chorus sounded magnificent, as well, especially on the encore, “Oh Lawd, I’m on My Way.”



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