New Member Profile
The “Member Profile” column focuses this month on Vivian Clecak, one of our many members who have accomplished amazing and transformative services affecting others. She is a shining example for future generations women who found their potential and used it for the greater good.
Vivian lived in Laguna Beach for 27 years and is a life and executive coach as well as a psychotherapist located in Lake Forest. Though she does not live in town now, she says, ”My heart is still here.”
As a child of the sixties she was passionate about empowering the powerless and became active in civil rights and the anti- war movement in the sixties.
She says,” I was a feminist before the word was in use.”
Living her passion and working with wonderful people, she helped to break the cycle of abuse and empower the next generation as the founding executive director of Human Options: Alternatives for Abused Women and their Families. She opened the first Human Options shelter in Laguna in1982 leading the agency from its grassroots beginnings through successive stages of growth and directing Human Options for over 34 years including a capital campaign which modeled a unique collaboration with the public and private sectors.
She has also mentored a second generation of leaders and community activists leading to a seamless transition of leadership.
As a CEO, Vivian has always been on the cutting edge of learning and leading. She was a Hesselbein Fellow of the Peter Drucker Leadership Institute in 1998 and received a scholarship to the first Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders sponsored by Stanford University Business School in 2001. She was certified as an organizational transition consultant through the William Bridges Institute.
Vivian is a licensed clinical social worker and marriage family therapist with 30 years of experience working with individuals and groups. She has merged her clinical and organizational leadership skills in her current coaching practice. She had developed workshops on Nurturing the Nurturer, transition management, board development, and revitalizing the leader. Vivian has developed a leadership network for nonprofit executives. She facilitates two leadership groups and provides individual coaching.
As an honors graduate of Stanford University, she received her MSW at UCLA. She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of four.
AAUW is privileged to highlight Vivian and AAUW-LB is fortunate having her as a member of our branch and a shining example of life-long dedication, empowering opportunities, and community involvement in Laguna Beach, speaking to current concerns, Vivian offers, ” I would love to have an opportunity to speak on the issue of date abuse, domestic violence and paths to build women’s empowerment and self confidence.”
New Member Profile
Interview by Leah Vasquez, Membership Co-chair
Sonia Marsh enthusiastically joined at the 2018 Literary Luncheon and quickly inspired her friend Heidi Horn to join – so welcome to Sonia and Heidi!
New member Sonia Marsh shares a brief but amazing trajectory of an adventurous life and taking risks. From her early beginning at age 3 months being raised by Danish mom and English dad in Nigeria, she left Africa and then thrived in France, England, Scotland and Belgium. With just two suitcases in tow, and now an adult, Sonia migrated to California, married, and had 3 sons.”
She said, “In 2004, we packed six suitcases and relocated to a hut in Belize.” When my 28-year marriage concluded in 2015, I joined the Peace Corps and served teaching orphans in Lesotho. Always open to new adventures, my life journey brought me back to a dream career. I’m now a Safari consultant leading focused tours to Africa called, “Women Travel with a Purpose.” I write two blogs and have published a memoir. www.SoniaMarsh.com ; www.HoldenSafaris.com.”
Wow…what a ride! As many of you, Sonia and I share our love of travel that gives understanding about the beauty, complexities, struggles and future of Africa. With her experience, I’m sure Sonia is a marvelous travel coordinator and would make a fascinating guide for those who are equally adventurous!
We welcome and delight in knowing a little bit about one more new member, Sonia Marsh, and look forward to sharing with her and other new members the many opportunities, accomplishments and connections that support and inspire women through AAUW.
We love to highlight our members; if you have a story and photo to share please contact me: Leah Vasquez, email@example.com (949) 494-5787.
Joy Dittberner, Executive Director Laguna Dance Festival, moved to Laguna Beach in 1999 with her husband Tom and quickly became involved in the community. For eight years she served on the Board of Friendship Shelter, a homeless shelter for adults. She spent a year as a docent at the Marine Mammal Center sharing all she knows about pinnipeds with visitors. Joy functioned as Volunteer Coordinator for the Laguna Dance Festival for four years prior to joining the board. Joy brings more than twenty years of experience in business development, marketing, sales and professional relations working in the pharmaceutical industry to the table. She loves yoga, travel, hiking and scuba diving. She is excited and honored to be involved with the Festival as it continues to bring world class dance to Laguna Beach. She is a graduate of UCSB in biology and earned an MBA from the University of Utah.
Long-time Laguna Beach resident Linda Young joined AAUW in 2015. Her passion: continuing to learn and find new challenges. She is a world traveler, family therapist, and art enthusiast, reflected by her contemporary art collection housed in an iconic modern home designed by Chris Abel.
While still a student at the University of Illinois she began traveling and recalls her exposure to the work of American abstract expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler, saying, “ It left a lasting impression …” Following graduation with her continuing interest in the arts, Linda lived in Chicago attending art lectures at the University of Chicago and after at UCLA and UCI . She became involved with the Orange County
Museum of Art in Newport Beach in the Sales and Rental Gallery working with volunteers and chief curator of exhibitions, Paul Schimmel, learning about art selection and installation. She returned to graduate school receiving her masters in psychology. In keeping with her interests, she and her late husband, Doctor Jay Young, lived for several years in Germany traveling extensively in Eastern and Western Europe and later, throughout Asia, South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands. As a therapist she volunteers in a clinic where she continues to learn more about her field.
Interviewed by Leah Vasquez
LCAD’s AAUW College/University Partner
Robin Fuld grew up in Massachusetts on Cape Cod with a love for summer and art inspiring her to head west for year-round sunshine in an arts community. After a 22 year career in the visual arts, with extensive experience in corporate and residential art consulting and in gallery management working in cities noted for art, such as Vail, Los Angeles, Palm Desert and Laguna Beach, Robin became Laguna College of Art + Design’s Director of Career Services. At LCAD she seeks employment opportunities for students, graduates and alumni and teaches Professional Practices. Robin is a past president and current board member of Laguna’s First Thursdays Art Walk and created the first fine art student mentoring program effectively partnering Laguna Beach galleries to mentor senior LCAD students. She also gives her time to other nonprofit organizations dedicated to enriching people’s lives through promoting art education and appreciation. With a bubbly and gracious personality and a deep passion for arts and education, she adds the “A” into STEM creating STEAM, nurturing the next generation of creative professional women.
More Profiles below…..
After attending the Laguna Beach AAUW Poetry Appreciation group as a visitor for many years, Rena Konheim and her husband Jon permanently moved to Laguna Woods four years ago and is now able to participate in more branch activities. Rena attended Penn State University receiving a B.A in Comparative Religion and Speech. She is the owner of R B Saffren Design consulting on room planning, downsizing and all aspects of Interior Design as well as development of a Graphic Design specialty creating original book covers for California authors. She also volunteers for the Laguna Hills-Saddleback Group of Hadassah and is currently serving as Ways and Means Vice President. We are fortunate to have another talented and experienced woman adding to the conversations, diversity and varied interests that continue to attract others to our branch.
To All Branch Members,
We’d love to know more about you. As Membership Chair, I would love to feature a member a month in our newsletter and on our website. If interested, please submit a brief bio in a paragraph in your best third person voice with a high-resolution photo for publication in the Waves, our newsletter, which is due the 15th of the month. My contact information is Leah Vasquez, 606 Bluebird Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 or firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 494-5787.
Membership Profile-March, 2017
It is a privilege to present Rachelle Cano who epitomizes a new era of professional women bringing excitement, freshness, energy and professional savvy to AAUW-LB; we welcome her into our branch! With a resume too voluminous to list all her accomplishments, Rachelle is truly a renaissance women combing outer and inner beauty, education and multiple career experience.
Her talents include music, theater, advertising and communications and the drive to continue broadening her interests and hone her skills. In her own words she shares her spirit and a wealth of information with us: “I love the idea of women empowering women; there is something truly beautiful about being a part of a group of women of all ages, and from all walks of life who are so focused on helping each other and the next generation of scholars. As sophisticated as some of us may be, it is still in our nature with or without an education to help each other. Call it compassion, call it a tribal instinct, call it knowing how it feels to have a dream or desire burning inside you, but that dream can be blurred by fear, or by economic barriers. There is something mystical and powerful about bonding together as human beings, behind our talents and our dreams. If we can become a source of support for each other, then we will surely help each other get to the next level, whether it’s just starting out as a young person, or recreating a new career later in life. Throughout my life I have had mentors: some who encouraged me on my artistic path, others in academics, or senior-level women in business. I value those kinds of mentoring relationships and always try to give back whenever possible with the various young women I meet and befriend.”
Working in digital marketing and real estate, Rachelle relocated to be with her aging mother in south Orange County. She adds, “Although much different from other fields I worked in, I am passionate about it and enjoy helping people find properties that will improve their lives. I like the challenge of helping people get into their dream property. I also like sharing, and why I offer 5% of my commission to charitable causes selected by my clients.” Seeking like-minded people and being a part of local and national causes that enrich the lives of women, Rachelle wants to inspire them to keep reaching for whatever it is they want to do or accomplish. “Being with women at AAUW from various educational and personal backgrounds makes it exciting; I look forward to being with and learning from such a large group of accomplished women and being involved in helping others, we receive the gift of becoming a better person and make new friends along the way.” While recognizing AAUW is about policies, she does not shy away from writing political Op Eds. Some examples include her article on “Marriage Equality” published at Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and another is a ‘Christmas Cup Chaos” published before the Paris attack and “America Burning,” an opinion piece.
Rachelle raises funds for both pet and human causes and collected donations for Irvine Animal Care and OC Animal Care during the holiday through a retail pet drive. Read more about her philanthropy online at www.ocrivierahomes.com.