WEV presents Trailblazer Awards at event
- Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:44 p.m., updated April 5, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.
From left to right: Michelle Hirrel, owner of Shell’s Petals and 2012 WEV Business of the Year award winner; Marsha Bailey, CEO and Founder of WEV; Barbara Meister, owner of Barber Ford, Volkswagen, Subaru and RV, who was one of WEV’s 2012 Trailblazer Awardees.
Non-profit Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) recently held its annual Empowerment is Priceless event at the Sterling Hills Country Club in Camarillo. The breakfast fundraiser featured WEV client speakers and recognition of the 2012 Trailblazer Award recipients. WEV 2012 Volunteers of the Year and WEV Business of the Year were also honored.
The 2012 Trailblazer Awards honored five inspirational women who have succeeded in what was once considered a man’s world. “Trailblazers are no less important than they’ve been throughout the millennia,” said Marsha Bailey, Founder and CEO of WEV. “Trailblazers are people who come to realize that no matter how far they go there will always be another horizon out in front of them. Trailblazers are important because they show us what we are capable of.”
The five honorees leave lasting legacies as successful businesswomen, role models and philanthropists. This year’s Trailblazer Award recipients were: Betsy Blanchard Chess, Ann Deal, Myra Harrison, Barbara Meister, and Lynda Weinman.
Chess, owner of Blanchard/Chess Associates, was selected for her work in sustaining and promoting agriculture and the arts in Ventura County. Editor and Publisher of Central Coast Farm & Ranch Magazine, Chess has helped to establish and sustain a long list of organizations, showing the impact one woman can have in her community.
Deal, the founder of Fashion Forms, an intimate apparel company, was recognized for her inventive products that have kept women everywhere comfortable and confident. Fashion Forms gives what used to be called “Ladies Foundations” a new meaning.
Harrison co-founded Harrison Industries, one of the nation’s oldest and largest family-operated trash collection businesses. Nan Drake, Harrison Industries’ Director of Government Affairs and Public Relations accepted the Trailblazer Award on Mrs. Harrison’s behalf.
Meister, CEO and President of Barber Automotive Group and co-founder of the Women’s Legacy Fund at Ventura County Community Foundation, was recognized for her community activism, philanthropy and achievement in business.
Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com and author of the first industry book on Web design, was honored for her innovation and commitment to helping women in the community believe in themselves and create their own paths to success.
Michelle Hirrel, owner of Shell’s Petals was named WEV 2012 Business of the Year. WEV also honored two Volunteers of the Year for their work with WEV clients: Maggie Dennison, marketing consultant and writer, and Pat Sweeney, small business consultant.
Major sponsors of the March 20th Empowerment is Priceless event were Fashion Forms and lynda.com Additional sponsors included Barber Ford, Volkswagen, Subaru and RV, Limoneira, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones & Schneider, LLP..
All proceeds from the event will directly benefit client programs in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern Counties including: Business Ready, Self-Employment Training (SET), Business Plan Intensive (BPI), Business Roundtables, Thrive in Five™, and Small Business Loan Fund.
WEV is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. Since 1991, WEV has been providing self-employment training, technical assistance and microloans to primarily low-income women. WEV offers a continuum of programs to help both women and men start, stabilize and grow small businesses. WEV’s service area includes Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties, with offices in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Frazier Park. WEV’s Small Business Loan Fund provides start-up and expansion loans of up to $50,000 to pre-bankable microenterprises. For more information, visit WEV’s Web site at https://www.wevonline.org.
This story is contributed by a member