On the Town: Liu hosts 'Women of the Year' celebration; Glendale Soroptimists' award luncheon

Last Friday, state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) opened her La Cañada home for a reception to honor five "Women of the Year" in celebration of Women in History Month. The awardees, Sister Terry Dodge, Jan Sanders, Caron Nunez, Margaret Mgrublian and Anita Quinonez Gabrielian, all live within Liu's 25th Senate district.

"Each woman being honored has contributed to her community in significant ways," Liu said.

The only hometown girl of the bunch is Nicaraguan-born Gabrielian, who makes Glendale her home. She has served as a member of the board of trustees of Glendale Community College since 2002. She recently earned a fourth term on the college board after running unopposed.

After Liu presented her with the Senate certificate of appreciation, Gabrielian announced that after 35 years as an executive with AT&T;, she is retiring this week. That gives this busy leader more time to spend with family members.

Proud husband, Leo Gabrielian, joined his wife at the reception along with daughters, Lauren and Ana Bella Gabrielian. Daughter Jessica Gabrielian had commitments out of town.

Congrats to the Liu crew including district director Talin Mangioglu and new communications specialist Daniel Cedeno, who saw that everything went off without a hitch.

For 15 consecutive years, the hard-working ladies of Soroptimist International Glendale have presented their "Accolades — Live Your Dream" awards luncheon. This year's theme, "Women — Our History and Our Future," was carried out in stylish form.

Recently, some 200 Soroptimist members and their guests filled a ballroom at the Embassy Suites Hotel. President Susan Hunt gave an enthusiastic welcome to her audience. Sandy Schultz followed with the Pledge of Allegiance. Mary Boger lent a spiritual touch with her inspiration message of community cooperation.

The fast-paced program began with honoring the five awardees. First on the dais was Ruby Award winner Cathy Keen, who has served the Glendale community for many years. A past president of Las Candelas, Keen also chaired Glendale Healthy Kids' popular "Guess Who is Coming to Dinner" evenings and served on their board for six years.

Keen is a past president and lieutenant governor of Kiwanis Division 3, having received the organization's Distinguished President Award and International Life Membership.

The Violet Richardson Award went to Crescenta Valley High School student Allison Zadravecz. A Girl Scout for 11 years, Zadravecz is also a member of CV High's string orchestra, the Autism Speaks Club and the California Scholarship Federation.

The Women's Opportunity Awards went to two winners. Shanesha A. Franklin is a single parent of a 5-year-old son. She is a former foster youth who grew up as a ward of the court for 18 years. After a five-month stay at the Ascencia Homeless Shelter, Franklin and her son moved into an apartment through Ascencia's housing program. Last year, she graduated from Pasadena City College and plans to attend Cal State University Los Angeles for a bachelor's degree in sociology.

Melissa C. Gonzalez was the second Women's Opportunity Awardee. She is a single parent of a 6-year-old son and is in recovery from substance abuse. Gonzalez attends Los Angeles Mission College to earn her associate's degree in sociology. She plans to transfer to Cal State University Northridge. Her career goal is to provide guidance to women and children at-risk.

Kudos must be given to Accolades program committee members Bobbie Brundige, Carol Ann Burton, Dolly Carl, Val Douglas, Hunt, Mary Lotz, Debbie Mallon and Lou Rhodes.

The program ended on the dot at 1:30 p.m. These busy Soroptimists had their day jobs to go to.

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RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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