AWC-SB Honors Four Leaders in Education at 2024 Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon

AWC-SB Women of Achievement Honorees: (L to R) Katya Armistead, Yolanda Medina-Garcia, Susan Salcido, Wendy Sims-Moten (Courtesy)

By the Association for Women in Communications – Santa Barbara

The Association for Women in Communications – Santa Barbara (AWC-SB) recognized four outstanding leaders in education at the 16th annual Women of Achievement Awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 1: Katya Armistead, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Student Life at UCSB; Yolanda Medina-Garcia, retired Director of Starr King Parent-Child Workshop and SBCC educator; Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools; and Wendy Sims-Moten, Executive Director of First 5 Santa Barbara County. The event was presented by Women Connect4Good.

More than 150 guests, including AWC-SB members, public officials, and sponsors, filled the historic Cabrillo Pavilion to celebrate the honorees and their work that embodies this year’s theme, Lessons in Leadership: Connecting & Communicating as Education Evolves. Emcee Catherine Remak led the discussion, illuminating the communication skills that all of the honorees bring to their work on a daily basis.

“Celebrating our educational champions highlights the pivotal role of communication in their leadership journey,” said Hilary Lyn, AWC-SB Board President. “The impact of their work underscores the importance of effective dialogue in driving positive change and shaping future generations.”

The four leaders in education shared the joys and challenges of communication in their work. They had insights into a range of topics, including verbal and nonverbal personal communications, transparency, navigating social media, and using new technologies for messaging students, parents, and community members.

(L to R) Brooke Holland (AWC-SB Board Member and Women of Achievement Co-Chair), Hilary Lyn (AWC-SB Board President), Judith Smith-Meyer (AWC-SB Board Member and Women of Achievement Co-Chair) (Courtesy)

“Communication is key,” said Wendy Sims-Moten. “And learning and listening are evergreen.” All of the honorees highlighted the importance of being true to oneself, respectful, and “graciously honest.” They also said a few times that children should be encouraged to be creative, bold, social, and to go outdoors. Yolanda Medina-Garcia, who has worked with parents and young children for decades, mentioned the role of nonverbal communication and the importance of being real. “Children know if you’re being sincere.”

Toward the end of the discussion Catherine asked the honorees to give the younger generation recommendations for effective communication. Susan Salcido said, “I encourage young people to remain curious, and to take time to do research before coming up with quick answers and sound bites.” The other honorees expressed their hopes that adults will model civic engagement, and that those starting out will be honest, have positive dialogue, and become lifelong learners.

AWC-SB Board of Directors (Courtesy)

As individuals and collectively, this year’s honorees capture the essence of leadership recognized by the AWC-SB Women of Achievement event, which recognizes exemplary women communicators, providing inspiring role models for women pursuing careers in journalism, public speaking, writing, public relations, filmmaking, photography, and related disciplines.

The 2024 Women of Achievement Luncheon is supported by: the Santa Barbara Independent, Fielding Graduate University, Natalie Orfalea Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, La Boheme Dance & Productions, Santa Barbara Foundation, SBCC Foundation, Ken & Jo Saxon, Parent Square, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, and KCSB.

The Association for Women in Communications – Santa Barbara (AWC-SB) empowers women to develop and deepen the communication skills they need to succeed in a variety of fields. Members enjoy educational and networking opportunities to elevate their careers, enhance personal growth, and become agents of change. Now an independent organization, AWC-SB served for many years as the award-winning local chapter of the national Association for Women in Communications.AWC-SB members include journalists and broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers and marketers, authors, corporate communicators, photographers, coaches, and public relations experts. AWC-SB offers opportunities to network with colleagues, hosts monthly meetings (free for members) featuring experts on current topics, and presents the annual Women of Achievement Awards event. Visit to learn more about the organization, its all-volunteer board, and upcoming events.AWC-SB was founded in 2006 by communications consultant Lois Phillips, publisher Mindy Bingham, and producer Deborah Hutchison. They saw the need for a dynamic, local organization that cut across sectors to bring together professional communicators, solopreneurs, scholars, and corporate communicators as well as communications majors at local colleges and universities.

AWC-SB is governed by an all-volunteer board. The 2024 Board of Directors is led by President Hilary S. Lyn and board members: Leslie Dinaberg, Claudia Dunn, Jerrol Golden, Brooke Holland, Carolyn Jabs, Lauren Bianchi Klemann, Monica Kunz, Jennifer LeMay, Kim Ofilas, Lisa Osborn, Ana Papakhian, Judith Smith-Meyer, Joan Tapper, and Maisee Thao. 

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