2018 Finalists

2018 Winners...

Agricultural & Wineries



Marta Alvarez

YCE, Inc

[Ventura] YCE, Inc. is a full-service civil engineering and land-surveying firm that Marta founded in 1986. YCE is a nationally recognized Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise, and is focused on serving the agricultural community, architects, developers, contractors and other engineering firms, as well as individual landowners. Marta has a strong commitment to giving back to the community through educational outreach and a scholarship for female engineering and agri-business students.


Puck Erickson Lohnas

Arcadia Studio

[Santa Barbara] Arcadia Studio is a landscape architecture firm providing design and planning services for both the urban and rural areas of our region for residential, commercial, hospitality public and historic spaces. Founded in 2001 with two friends, now a team of 12+ who are inspired by nature and devoted to creating beauty and meaning through landscape design.


Jody Williams

Broken Clock Vinegar Works

[Solvang] A native of Santa Ynez Valley, 11 years ago Jody opened a wine bar with her husband at age 25: Wandering Dog Wine Bar. Voted Best Wine Tasting in SYV 3 years in a row. 2 years ago, they began to produce Shrubs, also called "drinking vinegars'' made of fruits. Often marketed as cocktail mixers, also great with just sparkling water or in dressings and marinades the same way you would use a culinary vinegar.

Emerging Business



Carey Bradshaw

Hooter Holster

[Carpinteria] Entrepreneurs see a need and provide the solution.  As a working mom, trying to balance it all, she needed a better solution for hands-free breast pumping. Not comfortable with her existing hands-free bra, Carey wanted one that was cute and comfortable, easy to use, and made her feel pretty while pumping. Unable to find what she was looking for, she created it herself and got it to market. Hooter Holster by Carey Bradshaw is a stylish, fun and high-quality hands-free breast pumping bra that makes life easier for new moms.


Raiza Giorgi

Santa Ynez Valley Star + Santa Barbara Family & Life Magazine

[Gaviota] Raiza started the Santa Ynez Valley Star in 2016 as a monthly and has grown it enough to publish it twice a month. In 2017 she took over SB Family & Life Magazine. They combine a bit of old school with new media, blending the print version with an online version. Her philosophy is that when we help our neighbors, we help ourselves.  Raiza’s goal is to tell the stories behind the stories.


Lele Miranda

Lele Patisserie

[Santa Barbara] Spending weekends baking alongside her mother was the beginning of Lele’s fascination with cakes. She followed her heart and attended The French Pastry School in Chicago, then in 2013 started her business making beautiful and delicious custom wedding cakes, desserts and celebration cakes, by appointment. She’s been featured in Martha Stewart Wedding and Flutter Magazines, and in several blogs.

Green & Social Entrepreneurship



Diana Pereira

Impact Hub of Santa Barbara

[Santa Barbara] Diana saw a need in Santa Barbara that no one else was filling: a place for people to come together and create positive change. Building on 20+ years experience in financial and operational management, Diana was the visionary for Impact Hub, a membership-based community, providing a collaborative work environment and event space for entrepreneurs, activists, creatives, and professionals who are taking action to drive positive social and environmental change. Launched in 2016, currently with 3 locations and 2 more planned.

Marine_Schumann_2018 LR

Marine Schumann

Brighten Solar

[Santa Barbara] Marine’s passion for nature and the commitment to protect it led her to start Brighten Solar, a Santa Barbara based company that develops and builds custom solar photovoltaic solutions for residential and commercial customers. In only a few years she has built a growing company with iconic clients. Along Marine is working hard to build a strong and sustainable business based on excellence, transparency, and customer service.


Cecilia Villasenor Johnson

Sun Pacific Solar Electric

[Santa Barbara] After operating her own successful marine canvas sewing business, Ceci and her husband equipped their trimaran with a solar array in 1996. They began building custom solar systems for others. In 2007 they opened this company to design and install solar electrical systems for the residential, commercial, and agricultural sectors, serving over 500 customers in the tri-county area. They have proprietary designs that allow customers to stop using fossil fuels.

Health & Wellness



Robin Long

The Balanced Life

[Santa Barbara] The Balanced Life is a Pilates and wellness website dedicated to helping busy women become the healthiest and most balanced version of themselves. Their monthly membership program, The Sisterhood, has grown in the past 2 years from 600 to over 7500 paying members from around the world. Robin is passionate about helping women transform their relationship with exercise and healthy living by choosing ‘grace over guilt’ and finding a balance that feels like freedom.   


Melodee Meyer

Martial Arts Family Fitness

[Santa Barbara] Melodee is an international best-selling author, speaker, radio host, and mentor who has taught thousands how to love themselves lean, fit, and healthy. Her Self-Mastery System empowers hungry leaders and passionate entrepreneurs (especially women) to create the life they want, in a body they love, so they can go out change the world. Founded in 2002, Martial Arts Family Fitness provides fitness and martial arts classes for the entire family from age 3 to 93, and they’ve taught 10,000+ people.


Marlo Tell

Marlo's Therapeutic & Sports Massage

[Santa Barbara] Marlo is an innovative body-worker and wellness provider, who has trained a team and built a business offering corrective and therapeutic bodywork to restore and enhance overall health and well-being. They use “The Marlo Method" and have helped hundreds of people live pain-free, and in many cases avoid surgeries and live better lives minimizing or alleviating pain.

Hospitality & Tourism



Nirasha Rodriguez

The Food Liasion

[Carpinteria] Chef Nirasha has a passion for food and a love of the farm to table approach! Founded in 2013, The Food Liaison is a community kitchen that brings locally sourced food, sustainable business practices, chefs and farmers, as well as K-12 schools, corporate and small businesses all together through their CATERING, lunch COUNTER, and cooking CLASSES. They manage and cater Food and Beverage Programs at local corporations, which has them feeding an average of 1,000-4,000 meals per day.


Diane Smith

Joy by the Spoonful

[Santa Maria] Diane wanted to support her family and rather than go back to work as an administrator and bookkeeper, she took the start-up plunge. She loves to cook healthy food and realized she could share her creations with others. A batch of Tomato Soup with Fennel for friends led to a growing business. Joy by the Spoonful is a local food delivery service for Santa Maria and nearby towns. Specializing in healthy, gluten-free and delicious soups and salads. She also offers the Joy Club, a weekly meal service with entrees that are cooked with love and delivered with a smile.


Tammy White

Grapes and Hops

[Ventura] In the location of Ventura’s first bar and speakeasy, Tammy has created a place where the quality is only out shined by the elegance. With the help of local vineyards, breweries, bakers, artists and musicians, Grapes & Hops creates a regional flavor that is unmatched. Tammy and her team actively support their community, e.g., during the Thomas Fire, those who were displaced could come to Grapes & Hops to get a change of clothes and hang out.

Media & Communications



Lindsey Carnett

Marketing Maven Public Relations

[Camarillo] Marketing Maven is an integrated communications agency helping companies generate revenue through PR, social media and influencer marketing. Lindsey started the business when she was just 26. Now with a team of ‘spirited trailblazers who get it done’, they service a wide range of clients. Lindsey is established as marketing and PR expert who speaks at high profile marketing and consumer products conferences, guest lectures at universities, and is often on national and local TV shows. She and the company have received many awards including, Top 25 Largest Women Owned Business by San Fernando Valley Business Journal.


Marjorie Large

WitMark Marketing & Branding Group

[Santa Barbara] Marjorie started her own agency in 2006 and then in 2017 merged with another to rebrand as WitMark Group. WitMark Group is a creative, powerful, strategic agency that combines analytical business consulting with fresh, witty marketing strategies. They work with clients across the country with a focus on best business practices to grow revenue with innovative, intelligent creative and the right advertising mix.


Emily Solomon

The Food Marketer

[Santa Barbara] Emily’s experience in the restaurant and wine industry led her to start The Food Marketer, a full-service digital marketing company serving the food & beverage and hospitality industry. They offer social media & email marketing, online review and website design to clients throughout So Cal. Emily managed the marketing for the first ever Restaurant Week in Santa Barbara earlier this year. This foodie event stimulated the local economy by encouraging locals to dine out and for tourists to visit, just after the Thomas Fire and Mudslide.




Anne Cremarosa

MIYB Ca / Santa Maria Business Development Center

[Santa Maria] Key resources for entrepreneurs were nonexistent in Santa Maria, so in 2014 Anne launched a for-profit B Corp that became a nonprofit full-service, business support center a year later. Currently home to WEV, SCORE and SPOKES for Nonprofits, among others, they foster collaboration and offer support services to entrepreneurs in the region, creating a richer entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Debra Manchester

The Family Therapy Institute of SB

[Santa Barbara] Debra started FTI 38 years ago, not only because she wanted to help make the world a kinder, more loving place and to be able to help people from every walk of life, but she also thought there was a way to build a financially independent, self-sustaining nonprofit. And she did it! Her team has helped thousands of people receive the help they need to recover from loss, hardship, illness, and trauma. FTI holds training workshops for mental health providers, and provides public education to promote healthy communication and conflict resolution.


Sarah Otterstrom

Paso Pacifico

[Ventura] Sarah is a conservation scientist and social entrepreneur. In 2005, after completing her Ph.D. in Ecology at UC Davis, she founded Paso Pacifico, an internationally recognized conservation nonprofit focused on restoring and protecting the forest and coastal ecosystems of western Central America, particularly Nicaragua. They work in close partnership with local communities and private landowners to protect and monitor endangered species, plant trees and manage forests, and provide training to support sustainable livelihoods in eco-tourism, aquaculture, and agroforestry.

Professional Services


Laurie_Gross-2018 2

Laurie Gross

Laurie Gross Studios

[Santa Barbara] Laurie is a nationally known artist recognized for her extraordinarily inspiring and spiritually based art. She reaches into biblical text and her Jewish tradition to create works embodying universal themes and rich metaphors. Her unique Art Studio specializes in commissions for the worship environment of religious buildings and other communal gathering places of meaning.


Terri Hilliard

Terri Hilliard PC Estate, Elder and Special Needs Law

[Westlake Village] Terri is an attorney and mediator whose practice centers on advanced estate and business succession planning, asset protection, special needs trusts, and family protection planning for seniors and others. They serve clients in Santa Barbara, Westlake Village and Burbank. She is also a private mediator focused on helping families, elders, individuals and businesses resolve disputes.


Ann Levine

Law School Expert, Inc.

[Santa Barbara] Ann helps people navigate the often stressful law school admissions game with expert help. She is the author of the bestselling guide, The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert and of The Law School Decision Game. Her blog (LawSchoolExpert) and Youtube videos, have helped hundreds of thousands of law school applicants plus more than 10,000 clients. Through her work she loves being able to help people do great things, to change the world for the better, and to serve others.




Claudia Cordova Papa

Aqua Skin & Nail Care

[Santa Barbara] Claudia has created a socially-conscious business to deliver beauty and self-care while creating economic empowerment for her employees. Aqua is a self-care oasis offering facial experiences, rituals for hands & feet, and other body treatments. Their mission is ‘to consistently delight our clients by providing a relaxing and revitalizing beauty and self-care experience in a beautiful, clean, and health conscious environment.’


Zdena Jiroutova


[Solvang] ZFolio surrounds people’s lives in beauty with contemporary designer jewelry and art glass, photography, wood sculpture, and wearable art. The store environment itself is a work of art. Walking through the door is like stepping into a wonderland of colors and shapes. Zdena, known as Z, and her partner/husband/photographer Michael Mendizza opened their first store in Solvang in 2007 and second in Monterey, 2009.

Johanna-Zlenko (Melamed)-2018

Johanna Zlenko

The Closet Trading Company

[Santa Barbara] Johanna was a freshman at UCSB looking for a way to make money while in school, so she started a consignment boutique in Santa Barbara. 15 years later The Closet Trading Company has a store on State Street and 3 more locations in Los Angeles. They sell a carefully curated collection of pre-loved contemporary clothing, shoes, and accessories for women and children, specializing in current, on-trend styles from designer and premium labels. Frequently voted “Best Consignment Shop”, Johanna was recently inducted into WEV’s Millionaire’s Club.

Science & Technology



Kristin Denault

Fluency Lighting

[Santa Barbara] Fluency Lighting Technologies, Inc. is an early-stage startup creating next-generation bright and narrow beam light sources from laser-based lighting. Kristin founded the company and their goal is to provide ultra-efficient light sources, surpassing the limitations of current lighting technologies, and ultimately leading to new functionalities from the traditional light bulb.


Jenny Du

Apeel Sciences

[Goleta] As a co-founder & VP of Operations of an innovative technology and environmental company, Jenny must navigate through ambiguity and the unknowns, and take one challenge and one opportunity at a time. Apeel Sciences works With Nature and takes inspiration From Nature to develop technologies that can help to solve some of our world's most pressing problems. For example, Edipeel™ doubles the lifespan of harvested fruits and vegetable—even without refrigeration.


Laura Nixon Miller

Redi Match

[Santa Barbara] Laura is the Founder/CEO of Redi Match, a data and analytics platform that empowers investors and institutions with proprietary technology to research and manage residential real estate investments, evaluating them against customized investment goals. Customers can evaluate hundreds or even thousands of properties in moments; significantly reducing decision time on investments. Started just 2 years ago, the company will soon be launching new tools to support customer investment strategies.

Wholesale, Manufacturing & Global Trade



Yvonne Erwin

Yard Card

[Oxnard] Yvonne is in the business of celebrations. She creates unique ‘front yard’ greetings in a box for events and celebrations that you can buy in a store – think happy birthday spelled out and showing up in your yard. Other occasions include baby showers, anniversaries, real estate events, welcome home, and holidays. Launched in 2016, carried by over 200 retail stores and online at Target, Walmart, and Amazon, to name a few.


Michele McDowell

Wiggins Lift Co.

[Oxnard] Michele is the 3rd-generation CEO of Wiggins Lift Co. a global manufacturer of forklifts founded by her grandfather in 1956. Wiggins lifts are shipped around the world and can be found working on the decks of Navy ships in rough seas, deep inside dark mining tunnels, handling nuclear waste in Canada, and transporting boats in marinas on lakes and oceans everywhere. She follows the slogan coined by her grandfather “Made for the owner, designed for the operator.”


Andrea Ridgell

Glop & Glam + Mishay Salon & Spa

[Santa Barbara] Glop & Glam filled the void in the market for kids’ hair products that are safe, natural, but still fun to use and fashionable! While running Mishay Salon, which she opened in 2006, Andrea and her husband Nathan, created and launched Glop & Glam Hair Products for the next generation. It has grown into a multi-national brand and leader in the children’s hair care market, offering alternatives to harsher adult products, while maintaining the same professional salon quality.

2017 Award Recap


Award Categories

2021 Finalists

2021 Finalists Arts & Entertainment FINALISTS nebuladance.org Devyn Duex Devyn started her…

2020 Finalists

2020 Finalists Arts & Entertainment FINALISTS www.sohosb.com Gail Hansen SOhO Restaurant &…

2019 Finalists


2018 Finalists

2018 Finalists 2018 Winners… AWARDS RECAP AWARDS VIDEOS AWARD PHOTO GALLERY Agricultural…

2017 Finalists

2017 Finalists 2017 Winners AWARDS RECAP AWARDS VIDEOS AWARD PHOTO GALLERY Agricultural…

2016 Finalists

2016 Finalists 2016 Winners AWARDS RECAP AWARDS VIDEOS AWARD PHOTO GALLERY Agricultural…

2014 Finalists

2014 Finalists 2014 Winners AWARDS RECAP AWARDS VIDEOS AWARD PHOTO GALLERY Agricultural…

2013 Finalists


2012 Finalists


2011 Finalists