Phenomenal women: 8 nominees announced for 2011 Athena Award

From left: Deana Ward, Patricia Shaw, Vickie Ryan, Bridget Razo, Sandra Johnson, Ann Hill and Sue Dell. Not present: Dayle DeBry.

LANCASTER – The Zonta Club of the Antelope Valley announced Thursday the nominees for the coveted 2011 Athena Award.

“The award goes to an individual who excels in her profession, gives back to the community, and helps to rise up others in leadership, especially women,” said Zonta Club President Elizabeth Weaver. “Since the program was established, more than 6,000 awards have been presented in over 500 communities in the United States, Canada, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The Zonta Club AV held a press conference Thursday to present the nominees for this years Athena Award for the Antelope Valley. The organization will host a cocktail reception and dinner to announce the 2011 Athena recipient on Friday, November 18th at 5:30 p.m. at the Hellenic Center at 30th Street West and Avenue K-4 in Lancaster.  Cost for attending the event is $75 per person.

Introducing the nominees…

The nominees for the 2011 Athena Award are Dayle DeBry, Sue Dell, Ann Hill, Sandra Johnson, Bridget Razo, Vickie Ryan, Patricia Shaw, and Deana Ward. The following is background information on each nominee, as provided by the Zonta Club of the Antelope Valley.

Dayle DeBry, local historian and author, is the manager of Lancaster Cemetery District.  She is a director with the nonprofit Friends of the Lancaster Cemetery and organizes events at the cemetery and other venues pertaining to the honoring of veterans and the pioneers of the Antelope Valley.  The Wreaths Across America program to honor veterans during the holiday season was implemented by DeBry in conjunction with Arlington National Cemetery.  DeBry serves as a director with the West Antelope Valley Historical Society; is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Sue Dell

Sue Dell, Attorney-at-Law, is the founding Chair of the Tapestry Human Relations Commission for the City of Lancaster.  Sue also serves on the Board of The OUTreach Center, which provides support services, community advocacy, and professional resources to the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community.  Sue has been a Dependency Court Attorney in Los Angeles County for over 15 years and has represented the legal needs of almost 1400 court-appointed AV residents.  She is also a certified mediator and has finalized almost 100 child adoptions.  Sue brings conscientious dedication to her efforts to end bullying and support equality in the Antelope Valley.  Sue and wife Jo co-parent nine precious pets.

Ann Hill

Ann Hill is the Marketing and Community Relations Director for Antelope Valley Healthcare.  Ann is a Division A Governor with Toastmaster’s and a director for the Lancaster and Rosamond Chambers of Commerce.  Since 2002, Ann has been on the board of directors of Penny Lane Centers, a foster care agency and in 2005 was elected Secretary-Treasurer.  Her other volunteer affiliations include:  Women in Management; Professionals Plus Networking Group; St. Mary’s Church and the AV Literacy Coalition.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson, CEO and co-founder of the University of Antelope Valley (UAV), immigrated to Lancaster from Santiago, Chile in 1970.  Since 1997, Sandra has overseen her company’s transformation, from a small CPR startup company, into a nationally accredited educational institution. Today, the University of Antelope Valley graduates more than 1,000 students a year, with programs ranging from master’s level to career-specific certificates. Sandra was recently appointed to Lancaster’s City Council, where she plans to focus her efforts on such things as education, housing, and the arts/entertainment.

Bridget Razo

Bridget Razo is the Executive Director for Institutional Advancement and Foundation at Antelope Valley College.  During her tenure, the AVC Foundation has increased its net assets in support of education from $400,000 to nearly $3 million. Razo is a member of the Board of Directors for the Network for California Community College Foundation, Antelope Valley Chapter of the Red Cross, the Lancaster Museum and Public Arts Foundation, and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.  She has served as a board member for the Leona Valley Improvement Association, an assistant coach for the Quartz Hill AYSO, and is currently a leader in the Girl Scouts.

Vickie Ryan

Vickie L. Ryan, a Realtor at Prudential Troth Realtors, has been with the company since 2001. She received the Community Service Award in 2007 from the Prudential Troth office and the Community Service Award from the Greater Antelope Valley Board of Realtors in 2009.  Vickie has been involved in Rotary International since 1993, where she has held several positions on the board of directors. She is the current president of the AV Sunrise Rotary club for 2011-2012.  Vickie is also involved in the Amigos, the MHA Advisory Committee, and the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce.

Patricia Shaw

Patricia Shaw, Planning Commissioner for the City of Palmdale, is a community advocate who serves as a driving force for many worthwhile projects, including the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Antelope Valley Mall and the annual Kiwanis Rubber Duck Race in Palmdale. Her many accomplishments include serving as President of the Palmdale Woman’s Club, Director of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Boosters, President and Co-Founder of the League of Women Voters Antelope Valley and Director and Treasurer of the Antelope Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Deana Ward

Deana Ward, a resident of Palmdale, is the owner of Deana’s Equipment Rental. Deana has contributed countless hours to many community organizations including the Rodeo Queen committee, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Ducks Unlimited, the NRA committee, the Miss Antelope Valley committee, the California Dump Truck Owners group, and the Antelope Valley Fair Board. In her role as Chair for the Miss Antelope Valley committee in 2000, Deana personally established a scholarship program by soliciting $5,000 for the initial fund.  Since its inception, this scholarship has awarded $195,000 to qualified young women and has continued to grow, with eight young women to date, ultimately obtaining their college degrees through this opportunity.

About the Athena Award

The Athena Award is presented to a woman who has attained and embodies the highest level of professional excellence in her business or profession, has devoted time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and actively assists women in realizing their leadership potential.  ATHENA is an international non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, developing and honoring women leaders. Its purpose is to inspire women to achieve their full potential – creating balance in leadership worldwide.  This year, the National Athena Award recipient was Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for her professionalism and passion in community service endeavors while overcoming great obstacles.

Antelope Valley individuals that have won the honor in the past are:

  •  Rosemary Dispenza – 1995
  • Susan Hogrefe – 1996
  • Sharon Tremain – 1997
  • Janice Kimrey Anderson – 1998
  • Anne Aldrich – 1999
  • Alis Clausen – 2000
  • Lou Bozigian – 2001
  • Ingrid Chapman – 2002
  • Judy Cooperberg – 2003
  • Lea Butterfield Vanderstok – 2004
  • Sherry Lasagna – 2005
  • Vivian Komori – 2006
  • Linda Jones – 2007
  • Berna Mayer – 2009
  • Jane Frye – 2010



  2 comments for “Phenomenal women: 8 nominees announced for 2011 Athena Award

  1. October 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Tough group this year. Good luck ladies!

  2. Miffed American
    October 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Oh boy! all are lovely and dedicated Antelopians. Good luck ladies you are all winners regardless.

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