2015 Finalists

The winners of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards, the most prestigious awards for women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County, will not be announced until the gala Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Awards dinner on Friday, May 8, 2015. They were selected from a field of over 90 outstanding nominees in Santa Barbara County by independent judges not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Foundation, the non-profit that hosts these unique Awards.

As a first step, the top three nominees in each category were selected as the finalists. Because they are all so remarkable, we wanted to share their stories here. While the Foundation will only be handing out one Tiffany award per category, we believe every one of these women is a winner.

The winner in one category has already been selected by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship™ Foundation. Dorothy Largay will be the recipient of the 2015 Rock Star: Life Achievement Award.

Rock Star: Life Achievement

dorothy largay Dorothy Largay, Linked Foundation
www.linkedfoundation.org

Trained as a psychologist, Dorothy was quickly drawn to management training and joined Apple in the 80s. She became their Director of Worldwide Leadership Development and set up all their independent offices in Europe. Dorothy happened to be in Berlin in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and realized that professionals in Eastern Europe would need help in learning how to work in a free market economy. So she went home, quit her job and returned to help.

Dorothy has been very involved in our community: from serving as Board Chair of Direct Relief to being on the board on Cottage Hospital to founding the remarkable Linked Foundation. Her foundation focuses on developing and scaling social enterprises that improve the health of rural communities throughout Latin America where they focus on women and children.

 

Agricultural/Wineries:

Robin Bogue, William James Cellars
www.williamjamescellars.com

Robin, owner and winemaker of William James Cellars, began in 2003 with two varietals, Chardonnay and Syrah. Named for Robin's father, Bill, who was involved with vineyards as she was growing up, and her son, James, Robin has added a dozen more varietals to her wine-making portfolio. William James has won many awards for her wines. Robin's children have also personally made wines under their label called, St. James, in honor of Katherine, Laurel and James. You can visit William James Tasting room in Orcutt.

Iris Rideau, Rideau Vineyard
www.rideauvineyard.com

Iris Rideau moved to the Santa Ynez to retire and instead started Rideau Vineyards in 1995. From growing her own grapes to producing her own wine and sharing it with the world in their Tasting Room in a restored historic landmark built in 1884, Rideau combines outstanding wines with true Southern hospitality. Her philosophy is to be the best at what she does and her wines are her passion. You can visit the Rideau Vineyard tasting room in Solvang.

Kimberly True, True Nature Design
www.truenaturedesign.com

True Nature is a full service landscape architecture and environmental consulting practice. Kimberly runs the architecture division and frequently consults with senior biologist Jonathan True. They provide planning and landscape services from concept through construction. All of their design works seeks to respect and/or enhance ecological systems, conserve resources, promote healthy watersheds and bring a sense of natural beauty to our community.

 

Emerging Business:

Robin Elander, Global Good Impact
www.globalgoodimpact.com

Global Good Impact strengthens individuals, businesses and communities through leadership workshops, educational insight tours, community building events and specialized consulting services. In addition to supporting individuals' personal and professional growth, we help businesses that are seeking to build stronger employees, coalitions, advocacy networks, events and campaigns that promote long term positive impacts in communities locally and globally.

Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School
www.surflessonssantabarbara.com

Founded in 2013, iSurf is the Central Coast's only surf school dedicated to getting women in the water and surfing. Alelia's goal was to break down the barriers that prevent women from surfing, whether they be emotional, physical or financial. Since it started over 150 women surfed with iSurf, many becoming annual members. iSurf also started a Watergirl program in 2014 that raised funds to start a surf program at Girls Inc. Through this effort iSurf provides 100% free surf programming to 10 girls per quarter.

Dr. Elizabeth Wisniewski, Genuine Chiropractic
www.genuinechiro.com

Dr. Elizabeth Wisniewski is the co-owner of Genuine Chiropractic Inc.and a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic, inspirational speaker, author, and community mover & shaker. She opened her practice with her business partner, Dr. Jacob in May 2013. Dr. Elizabeth has undergone over 30 eye surgeries due to a rare retinal disease. Through these experiences she has become sensitive and compassionate to her patients' needs. She also enjoys teaching others, through writing and speaking engagements, on how to turn their challenges into their greatest assets.

 

Green/Social Entrepreneurship:

Marge Cafarelli, Alma Del Pueblo/The Public Market
www.almadelpueblo.com

Margaret Cafarelli is the entrepreneur and developer responsible for the Santa Barbara Public Market (SBPM) in downtown Santa Barbara. It houses 14 local artisan merchants and a demonstration/entertainment kitchen. It is part of Alma Del Pueblo (which means soul of the city), a mixed-use project with 37 elegant homes. The development has achieved the Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes rating system.

Dr. Sharon Donohoe, Turbine Technology Partners
www.turbinetechpartners.com

Turbine Techonology Partners provides engineering consulting services to the wind industry because it has unique expertise in wind turbine design and operation. We are focused on supporting our goal of generating cost effective and reliable carbon-free renewal energy for the world. The team leverages its many years of experience in new turbine design, manufacturing, project development and fleet operations to provide cost effective solutions for our customers.

Ellen Strickland, LivinGreen
www.livingreen.com

As an exhibit designer, founder Ellen Strickland became concerned about the hazardous nature of many of the materials she was specifying into her construction projects. That led to her starting Livingreen, which she founded in 1999. Livingreen has grown into educational programs, retail stores, product development, B2B sales, and an online web commerce and social media presence. Livingreen's mission is to provide the best products and information about home health and green products.

 

Health:

Sandra Hirsch, Isolite Systems
www.isolitesystems.com

Sandi started Isolite Systems with her husband and brother-in-law fourteen years ago. The system they designed made the company the pioneer and leading provider of dental isolation systems, which enables clinical practitioners to perform better quality dentistry while emphasizing patient comfort and safety. While they initially thought about licensing the product, they instead decided to control their own destiny. Their soft flexible one-piece construction maximizes ease of use and speed in every procedure making it popular with dentists and patients. Sandi is President & CEO of Isolite Systems.

Jenny Schatzle, Jenny Schatzle Program
www.jennyschatzle.com

In January 2013, after 2 years of running boot camps, Jenny developed and created the Jenny Schatzle Program and opened her own fitness facility. Since then she has grown her business from a staff of 3 to 11 offering over 50 classes, 7 days a week. She created the hugely successful "Real People Real Stories Real Results" campaign and her tag line is, "Don't just change your body, change your life." She also supports numerous charities and organizations, raising both awareness and donations.

Marlo Tell, Marlo's Massage
www.marlosmassage.com

Marlo's Therapeutic & Sports Massage provides corrective and therapeutic bodywork that focuses on restoring and enhancing overall health and well-being. Marlo has designed and continuously improves a therapeutic modality that repairs and heals injured and/or stressed bodies, and targets correcting posture issues. She has also taught her team these techniques and together they have helped hundreds of people live pain-free, and in many cases avoid surgeries.

 

Hospitality/Tourism:

Julia Crookston, Goodland Kitchen
www.goodlandkitchen.com

After 30 years in the hospitality industry Julia took a small inheritance, Julia launched the Goodland Kitchen & Market in 2011 as a place to produce and sell her homemade jams, Bona Dea Jams, but the business soon grew to include a rental and production kitchen and a successful neighborhood cafe. Four years later, the business has created nine jobs and the kitchen has approximately nine tenants, offering a home for other food entrepreneurs, several of whom have gone on to successfully grow their own businesses. The quick serve cafe is has become a local staple in Old Town Goleta.

Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering
www.purejoycatering.com

Starting with one big stockpot, Lynette built her company from the ground up 14 years ago. Eight years later she got her first loan and bought her building that now includes a beautiful commercial kitchen, two-story warehouse, five offices and a conference room all right downtown. Pure Joy Catering is a full-service, special event planning, production and catering company. Their venue website helps local and destination event planners and brides find creative venues in this area. They have always emphasized local and seasonal foods and make everything from scratch.

Sherry Villanueva, The Lark/Lucky Penny/Les Marchands de Vin/Santa Barbara Wine Collective
www.thelarksb.com

Sherry Villanueva is Managing Partner of Acme Hospitality that owns three hospitality-based businesses in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone – The Lark, a 135 seat full-service family style restaurant/bar, Lucky Penny, a takeaway wood-fire pizzeria, Les Marchands, a wine bar and retail shop, as well as the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. All Acme properties are dedicated to delivering the highest quality experience to their guests through outstanding service, delicious food/wine/spirits and an atmosphere that is casually sophisticated, warm and inviting.

 

Media/Communications:

Gillian Christie, Christie Communications
www.christiecomm.com

Christie & Co./ Christie Communications is a full service agency that provides research based marketing strategies and branding communication services, a global growth resource network, investor relations to support growth of ethical companies worldwide. Gillian started her business in 1993 and the company's mission and business model is defined as "Making Peace Profitable," building the success of ethical, sustainable companies to build a better world.

Amber Wallace, Dowitcher Designs
www.dowitcherdesigns.com

Amber started Dowitcher Designs almost 9 years ago and has grown the company from a small corner-of-the-bedroom side project to a busy business with multiple employees. In this process the company has navigated an ever-changing media environment, helping clients adapt to the evolving web world and create marketing and engagement strategies that span multiple communication channels. The company works with numerous local business and non-profits and also services international accounts for large corporations. Amber is active in many community projects and non-profits, and teaches web marketing classes through UCSB Extension.

Kim Wiseley, Flutter Magazine
www.fluttermag.com

Flutter Magazine is a high-end, niche, print + digital publication dedicated to couture wedding and event artistry. Flutter is taking the bridal market by storm and is quickly becoming one of the most sought after wedding magazines by brides and pretty party purveyors alike both nationally and internationally. From the beginning, Kim and her team realized that they could set a new platform for the modern wedding industry worldwide. Kim is the driving force behind the magazine that began in Santa Barbara as almost an experiment and now is carried in print at all of the Barnes & Noble Bookstores in CA, OR, WA, HI and now PA. The next few issues will be released nationwide.

 

Nonprofit:

Marcia Bailey, Women's Economic Ventures
www.wevonline.org

Marsha Bailey is the CEO and Founder of Women''s Economic Ventures which she started in 1991. Since its inception WEV has helped more than 2,000 businesses start up or expand. To date, WEV has loaned $3.5 million to pre-bankable businesses and trained 4,000 male and female clients, 74 percent of whom come from low- to moderate-income backgrounds. Over 96% of businesses started by WEV's clients are still in business 5 years after they begin. Marsha's belief in 1991 and the credo of WEV today is that economic empowerment is really the basis from which all other equity, equality, and power emerges.

Devyn Duex, Nebula Dance Lab
www.nebuladance.org

Nebula Dance Lab is a nonprofit professional forum for choreographers to produce new and existing works. It also strengthens the dance arts by supporting emerging choreographers and by promoting dance performance and entertainment to the general-public. Additionally, Nebula encourages appreciation for dance arts and persons to enter the dance profession by providing workshops and outreach to the community. Devyn founded Nebula Dance Lab in 2010 and so far it has created six original works through the collaboration of twelve choreographers and other artists.

Nathalie Gensac, Youth Interactive
www.youthinteractive.us

Nathalie started Youth Interactive in 2012. It is a creative entrepreneurship academy serving students ages 14-24 from low-income families. From biscotti that the students make and sell to local business to student-made arts and craft that are sold in their Funk Zone storefront, Youth Interactive has been very successful in re-engaging "drop out youth" back to learning and on to a responsible, positive pathway to adulthood. It is now is operating at full capacity and has a waiting list. YI also does outreach throughout the county.

 

Professional Services

Lisa Darsonval, Santa Barbara Matchmaking
www.santabarbaramatchmaking.com

Santa Barbara Matchmaking is a discreet upscale matchmaking and date coaching company for successful commitment-minded singles in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara Matchmaking offers Matchmaking, Date Coaching, Genetic Matchmaking and Events to locals living within forty miles of Santa Barbara. Lisa started Santa Barbara Matchmaking in 2012 and it has doubled in size every year since. Her company's logo is: We make love everyday.

Lisa Grossmann, Nannies2Go
www.nannies2go.net

Lisa ran a childcare program for 35 years before coming up with the idea of providing her clients and other parents with affordable home nanny service. That was always their biggest concern. She started Nannies2Go in 2011. The nannies are students at SBCC's Early Childhood Education Department of Nursing Program as well as other program, and Lisa works with them so they can keep up with their studies while working. She also provides nannies for visitors who come to Santa Barbara with their children.

Diana Pereira, Balance Financial Management
www.balancefm.com

Balance Financial Management is a full service back-office consulting company that provides accounting, HR, payroll, operational and regulatory management capabilities for businesses and non-profits. We have worked with non-profits with less than $50,000 in annual revenues to public companies with a market cap of over $50M. Diana started the business five years ago with the goal of building strong foundations in the financial and operational infrastructure of businesses and nonprofits they work with to help them manage their growth, mitigate risks and enable future success.

 

Retail:

Anne Pazier, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets
www.santabarbaragiftbaskets.com

Santa Barbara Gift Basket designs unique gifts featuring the finest gourmet food, wine and craft beers from the Santa Barbara area. Anne and her husband founded the company for Anne to run in 2007. They specialize in designing custom corporate gifts that combine our client's branded or personal items with local goodies to create memorable gifts that truly represent them. They recently opened a showroom and tasting room in Old Town Goleta. And with the Foodback Holiday Basket, they donate $25 from each basket to the Foodback of Santa Barbara.

Pam Rowan, Coffee a la Cart
www.coffeealacart.com

Pam set up Coffee a la Cart two years ago as a mobile coffee/tea/pastry service on wheels. She had been provided the service for her church for many years on Sunday, which was doable as a stay-at-home mom with five children. She realized there was enough interest to start a business. She also loved doing it. She has implemented an online ordering system that allows her to simply go to a business and start delivering. Recently she opened a real coffee shop on Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Rori Trovato, Rori's Artisanal Creamery
www.roriscreamery.com

Rori's Artisanal Creamery is the only organic ice cream company manufactured in the central coast. She makes and develops all the flavors, using local organic products and all the cookies, brownies and baked goods are house made as well as her now famous, cinnamon cones. Rori started her wholesale business in 2011 with a 1-quart machine that led to Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, Gelson's and other to carry her line. Her first retail store opened in Montecito in 2012 to rave reviews, and she now has a store in The Public Market downtown and is opening one in LA soon.

 

Science/Technology:

Heather Gray, Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering
www.gecellc.com

GECE is a team of electrical engineers, consultants, and drafting professionals collectively working together to serve California with quality electrical engineering services. Their services include Consulting Engineering, Commissioning of Electrical Systems, Sustainability Consulting, Lighting System Design, Power System Design, and Utility Coordination. They offer full service electrical engineering, supporting schematic design through construction documentation, master planning, in-field observation, construction administration, as well as system preventative and predictive maintenance planning.

Andrea Neal, Ph.D., Blue Ocean Sciences
www.blueoceansciences.org

Blue Ocean Sciences creates solutions to some of our toughest environmental problems through a highly accelerated process of working with scientists, physicists, engineers and others. Andrea co-founded the company in 2012. This process allows for development of ground breaking environmental technologies by eliminating the bureaucracy of current systems and supporting the intellectual creators from multiple disciplines while keeping to a production schedule. What makes this special is that all involved become a team working together to create a healthier planet for future generations.

Anupama Vaid, ParentSquare
www.parentsquare.com

ParentSquare is a communication platform that provides an easy way for schools to inform and engage today's parents, building sustained relationships that result in increased parental involvement and create a positive impact on student learning. Anupama created the company from the ground up in her kitchen less than two years ago using her technology background. She employs working moms who all support the vision of making a positive difference in our education system by helping schools and families work together to support their children's success.

 

Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade:

Kristin Fraser, The Grapeseed Company
www.thegrapeseedcompany.com

The Grapeseed Company wholesales and retails organic skincare products made in Santa Barbara from the antioxidant rich byproduct of wine. Kristin started the company ten years ago and works with winemakers in California and Oregon to acquire their red-wine waste after the Fall harvest. That is turned into over 100 skincare products that Kristin formulates herself. The Grapeseed Company has two retail stores, an online business and wholesales their products around the world.

Louise Gerber, Closets, Etc.
www.closetsetcsb.com

Louise started Closets, Etc. 31 years ago and is still running the successful company. It is the only closet company with a factory and showroom in Santa Barbara. Closets, Etc builds office, garage, kitchen and bathroom cabinets in addition to closets and creates custom configurations in all kinds of finishes. Louise has been the designer for the company since it began. She is also an accomplished artist.

J'nelle Holland, Hot Cherry Pillows
www.hotcherrypillows.com

J'nelle started her business four years ago. She and her team produce pillows filled with recycled cherry pits. When they are heated they not only deliver moist heat, they also smell like cherry pie. The pillows come in five sizes and two fabrics, from eye pillows to body pillows. They are great for easing the pain of sore muscles and other aches and pains and terrific for keeping your feet warm. J'nelle is very proud that Hot Cherry Pillows are manufactured using American workers using green, recycled materials and they help people feel better.