Tuesday, May 02, 2006

13th Annual Women of Distinction Awards

The Women of Distinction Awards event is held each year to honor outstanding women in the community who have made a strong commitment to Hollywood. Along with these awards, the Golden Award and the Mary Pickford Award honor notable figures that have made a lifetime contribution to improving numerous aspects of Hollywood.

Women of Distinction 2006 have been chosen and will be honored on Tuesday, May 23 at 12:00 p.m. [registration and reception begin at 11:30 a.m.] at the Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood. For reservations or more information, call 323.469.8311 or make your reservation online to honor 2006 Hollywood's women at the 13th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon.

Two well-known celebrities will participate at the Hollywood 13th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 23 at the Globe Theatre at Universal Hollywood.

Actress Stefanie Powers will be presented with the prestigious Mary Pickford Award. She makes the term “well-rounded” a severe understatement. Her acting credits include 28 feature films, three television series, and several mini-series including “Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun,” which she also produced.

However, Stefanie’s charming and thoughtful real-life personality may most closely resemble stunning renaissance woman Jennifer Hart, the character she portrayed on the hit television series “Hart to Hart.” She has combined a natural curiosity and passion for knowledge, world travel and diverse cultures into both an award-winning acting career and an equally active life of heartfelt philanthropic work.

The cornerstone of that work is the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, a public charity dedicated to the preservation of wild animals, which Stefanie helped to found in honor of the late actor and for which she serves as president. The William Holden Wildlife Education Center, which currently serves 10,000 students a year, is located near the Mount Kenya Safari Club and the Mount Kenya Game Ranch started by Holden in the late 1950’s before conservation became a popular issue.
Stefanie is also involved with several American zoos (among them, the Cincinnati Zoo, Zoo Atlanta and the Los Angeles Zoo, for which she is a Fellow) where she works with species survival programs and has released four home videos, one on horseback riding, “Stefanie Powers’ Broadway Workout” and the recent “Power Pilates” and “Power Pilates2.” The pilates videos spawned the new book, “POWERS PILATES—Stefanie Powers’ Guide to Longevity and Well-Being Through Pilates.”

Also, acting as Emcee for the 13th Annual luncheon is Ann Martin, acclaimed journalist who joined CBS 2 in May 1994 as a news anchor. She currently co-anchors the KCAL 9 News at 4 and the CBS 2 News at 6 p.m. Since joining the duopoly, she has also been the host of two CBS Network primetime special editions of "Beyond Belief - Amazing True Stories!" In addition, Ann co-hosted the First Annual "What's Right With Southern California," Community Service Awards, which aired in primetime in March 1997. Throughout her broadcast career, Ann Martin has been honored with many awards and recognitions. She has earned three Emmy’s and two Golden Mike Awards.

Ann Martin was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up in Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. Martin and her family are actively involved with several community and philanthropic organizations including The Mary Magdalene Project, a rehabilitation program for prostitutes. She has also been involved with The Lincoln Training Center, a workshop for the mentally handicapped, as well as The Southern Area Foster Effort, which helps place children into foster families.

Mary Ann Barnes is the Senior Vice President and Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara Service Area, comprised of the Santa Clara Medical Center and associated Medical Office campuses in Campbell, Mountain View and Milpitas. She joined Kaiser Permanente in 1974 as a staff nurse in San Diego and has been holding progressively responsible positions as a member of the leadership team since that time.

From 2000 to 2006, Mary Ann was the Medical Group Administrator for the Los Angeles Medical Center, and associated medical offices in East Los Angeles, Glendale and Pasadena, serving more than 260,000 members. LAMC is the tertiary care center for Kaiser Permanente members throughout Southern California, providing services in Cardiac Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Transplant Programs, Neurosurgery and Pediatric Intensive Care, to name a few.

As a member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Mary Ann made her mark by creating the Health Care Committee. This committee addresses important health care issues facing Hollywood healthcare providers and educators, both legislatively and within the community. She has also served on the board of directors and as treasurer of the South Central Family Clinic since 2000.

Mary Ann earned her BS degree in Nursing from Arizona State University and her MSN in Administration from San Diego State University. She is married with three children.

Diana Derycz-Kessler was an Elite fashion model who received her masters from Stanford with her law degree from Harvard Law School. After becoming the youngest and first female corporate legal counsel in Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s international division, Diana joined the Bristol investment companies as an owner, investment manager, and general counsel. There, she was dedicated to providing investment capital to companies.

Diana’s ongoing interest in film led her to her next challenge. She currently acts as one of the owners and the CEO of two prized assets, The Los Angeles Film School, and The Los Angeles Recording School, private post-secondary educational institutions dedicated to teaching its students the craft of filmmaking and the art of music recording. Under her direction, The Los Angeles Film School has become one of the most renowned film schools in the world. Diana and her partners recently purchased The Los Angeles Recording School (formerly known as The Los Angeles Recording Workshop) and Diana became CEO of that school as well in 2005. The owner partnership that Diana is involved in subsequently purchased two high-rise buildings on Sunset Blvd.

As CEO and part owner of The Los Angeles Film School and The Los Angeles Recording School, Diana has expanded the schools’ curriculum as well as their capacity. She is currently executive producing her third feature film, “The Naked Run,” which is slated to begin filming this summer.

Marian Gibbons first became interested in historic preservation in Elm Grove, Wisconsin where a group formed a preservation society. So, in 1978, when Hollywood Boulevard was not an appealing place, she thought a solution might lie in a historic preservation group to alert the citizens and politicians of the historic treasures located here. With John Anson Ford and four dedicated ladies, they became Hollywood Heritage, Inc., a 501c3 organization proudly helping to save many artifacts of Hollywood’s local history. They restored and still maintain the Hollywood Heritage Museum in the DeMille-Lasky barn, where “The Squaw Man”, Hollywood’s first feature length film, was made. Today they are restoring “Jualita”, the Wattles mansion, which is the last of the midwesterner’s summer estates located in Hollywood.

Marian’s activities have drawn world-wide publicity because of the fame of Hollywood, even having been honored by the President of the United States, but she is quick to point out that she is, “just one of the volunteers who loves our town enough to work to protect its history and the great future it deserves.”

Marian is an old Ohioan, born and educated in the Cleveland-Akron area. Her business life has been as a manufacturer’s agent along with her husband. They were blessed with two wonderful children, who sadly, preceded them in death, but left behind three wonderful grandchildren. She has wonderful memories...so many that she is writing a book about the grand times her family shared.

Well known as a leader in travel and tourism management and marketing, Anastasia Mann is the founder, Chairman and CEO of renowned West Hollywood, California-based Corniche Group, Inc. Corniche is well recognized for providing exclusive corporate and leisure travel management, tourism and hotel marketing consultation, and meeting and event planning, as well as entertainment personal management services. In December 2004, Anastasia and Corniche Group successfully launched a new division called Anastasia’s Africa, specializing in private, customized safaris.

Following a childhood acting career, which spanned more than 70 films, Anastasia graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California. She started her tourism career in hotel sales and marketing originally as the first female corporate sales manager for Hilton Hotels Corporation based in Los Angeles.
As a founding member of the California Travel & Tourism Commission, she served two terms as the sole representative for all travel management agencies in the state. During both her terms she sat on the Executive Committee. Anastasia is currently serving her second term on the board of CalTIA (California Travel Industry Assn).

Anastasia is active in local community government affairs. She is currently the President of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council representing over 45,000 individual stakeholders (residential and business) including the Hollywood Bowl; Universal Studios and the Hollywood-Highland/Kodak Theatre complex. She has frequent interaction with the LA City Council and LA County Board of Supervisors on behalf of her constituents and community events.

Kim Sudhalter is a communications and public relations expert who offers more than 16 years experience in corporate branding and in creating consumer products campaigns for major media and entertainment companies such as Time Warner, Microsoft, Sony and GameWorks (Dreamworks, Sega and Universal). She has also developed brand identity campaigns for corporations such as Intel and IBM.
Eight years ago, Kim formed Urban Legend PR and she still serves as its President. Kim’s current client list includes the Hollywood Entertainment District (the Business Improvement District revitalizing Hollywood Boulevard), the Oxnard Downtown Management District, the Academy for the Advancement of Children with Autism and the Broughton Hospitality Group. She also works with TV personality Jimmy Kimmel on the annual Feast of San Gennaro LA , a Los Angeles version of the 77-year New York tradition. Kim is also co-owner, along with Gina Kimmel and Lynette Carolla, of LushSpa, the “fun spa” in Studio City, CA.

In her former position as Vice President of Entertainment in the Motion Pictures Department at Rogers & Cowan, Kim was responsible for creating a new division devoted entirely to promoting interactive entertainment products.
Daughter of a former UPI foreign correspondent and marketing executive, Kim was born in Europe and raised in London and New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston University.

Baydsar Thomasian is a 12-year veteran of Council District 13. As the Hollywood Field Deputy for former Councilmember Jackie Goldberg, and now the Senior Field Deputy for Council President Eric Garcetti, Baydsar works tirelessly and conscientiously on behalf of the residents and business owners in Hollywood.
Prior to joining the Council office, Baydsar attended California State University of Northridge where she received a degree in Political Science and Business Administration.

Baydsar has distinguished herself by working with residents, community organizations, Hollywood BIDs, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and area business owners to improve quality of life in Hollywood. Baydsar has worked on every major project that has been developed in Hollywood during the past 12 years.
She helped start the Los Angeles Center for Education and Research (LACER) after school program with Councilmember Goldberg. LACER’s after school program has directly affected and improved the academic, education, and personal growth of over 2,000 children in the Hollywood community.

Baydsar Thomasian is a positive role model for women. She is a professional career woman who is a dedicated mother and wife, who volunteers her personal time to non-profit organizations in her community, and mentors young adults seeking to improve their academic skills. She is also an active member of the PTA at Rose and Alex Pilibos School in Hollywood.

April 29, 1992 will be forever remembered as a day of fear and upheaval, as Los Angeles was shaken by citywide riots that altered the way many people viewed the structure and stability of our society. Once the fires and turmoil died down, most went back to their daily routines, feeling that someone else would fix the problems. However, for commercial TV producer, Dorothy Thompson, the event made an impact that caused her to alter her life and to create the Streetlights Production Assistant Program, an organization which is helping to change the face of the Entertainment Industry.

Dorothy is the founder and Executive Director of Streetlights. After the riots, by using her savings and credit cards, she formed the organization whose mission is to create ethnic diversity within the entertainment industry. She and her staff accomplish this by providing job training and placement to economically and socially at-risk young men and women. Streetlights’ training programs provide talented minorities with entry-level work as production assistants in film and television, as well as career advancement opportunities.

Though donations were few and far between at the start, Dorothy secured a hard won Federal grant, with Hollywood not far behind in rewarding Streetlights’ efforts. Companies such as Universal Pictures, DreamWorks/SKG, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Crossroads Films, Sony Pictures, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation have acknowledged the program with their highest praise, jobs for the trainees and funding for the program.

The Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon benefits the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation, which has given over $300,000 to Hollywood charities since 1998. The Foundation would like to thank all the sponsors for this event. At the Friend level are Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP, Capitol Records, Honda of Hollywood and Ramsey Shilling. At the Silver Level are Iron Mountain Film & Sound Archives and Paramount. Finally, at the Gold level is Kaiser Permanente!

To RSVP for this event please visit Chamber events at www.hollywoodchamber.net or contact Mick Barrett at the Chamber at 323-469-8311 x14. Sponsorships are still available! Inquiries should be directed to Elizabeth McDonald.

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