On the evening of May 6, 2016, at the Bacara Resort & Spa, Lynda Weinman, founder of lynda.com, will ask for “The envelope, please,” and reveal the 10 outstanding women entrepreneurs who have won the 2016 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.  

The winners were selected from a field of over 70 nominees in Santa Barbara County by independent judges who do not live in Santa Barbara and are not connected with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts this unique event.  

“It is exciting for everyone involved,“ says Cathy Feldman, board chair and CEO of the foundation. “We had an amazing group of candidates this year, and it was hard for our judges to narrow it down to the top three in each of the categories.”  

The 30 finalists will be recognized for their achievements at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner.

“These remarkable women have such a variety of enterprises that we think it is important to tell the community about them. In fact, every one of them deserves recognition,” Feldman said.

One winner was selected by the foundation board and announced prior to the Awards: Sara Miller McCune, who will be honored as the Rock Star: Life Achievement winner for 2016 at the gala dinner.

Miller McCune founded Sage Publications at the age of 24 and grew it into an international publishing company that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards will also honor high school and college student winners of SBCC’s Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition.  

Proceeds from the Awards dinner will go toward cash prizes, in the form of seed money, as well as scholarships for the winning student entrepreneurs.

Several sponsors also contribute directly to the student awards including Montecito Bank & Trust and Southern California Edison, fulfilling the foundation’s mission of supporting entrepreneurship at all levels in the Santa Barbara community.

Prior to the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner, the guests and public are invited to meet all the high school and collegiate finalists from the New Venture Challenge and learn more about their proposed businesses from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the Bacara Resort’s patio outside the ballroom at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Student Startup Showcase.

Tickets are available until May 1 and can be purchased by visiting www.soefoundation.org and clicking the Buy Tickets Here button.  

For more information, email info@soefoundation.org or call 805.682.8380.

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award Finalists

The finalists being considered for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards this May. (Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation photo


» Robin Bogue, William James Cellars

» Morgan Clendenen, Cold Heaven Cellars

» Clarissa Nagy, Nagy Wines

Emerging Business

» Norah Eddy, Salty Girl Seafood

» Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School

» Lisa Riolo,        workzones

Green/Social Entrepreneurship

» Randee Disraeli, Kanaloa Seafood

» Dr. Sharon Donohoe, Turbine Technology Partners

» Lisa Proctor, Firefly 180 Marketing


» Amy Hazard, Santa Barbara Health and Healing Center

» Jenny Schatzle, Jenny Schatzle Program

» Robin Walker, Core Fitness Training


» Nirasha Rodriguez, The Food Liaison

» Leanne Schlinger, Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals

» Sherry Villanueva, The LarkLucky Penny and Les Marchands de Vin


» Kristi Cooper, Pilates Anytime

» Holley Proctor Malia, Grey Matter Marketing

» Christina Songer, Pacific Press


» Dee Duncan, New Directions Travel

» Nathalie Gensac, Youth Interactive

» Hillary Hauser, Heal the Ocean

Professional Services

» Cate Buccellato, The Good Coaches

» Judy Hawkins, Ruby Road Leadership

» Petra Thom, Baratto, Sullivan & Co. Insurance


» Gina Andrews, Bon Fortune

» Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists

» Mahri Kerley, Chaucer’s Bookstore


» Kristin Denault, Fluency Lighting

» Heather Gray, Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering

» Andrea Neal, Blue Ocean Sciences

Rock Star: Life Achievement

» Sara Miller McCune, Sage Publications

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are designed to recognize the contributions of women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County to the economy as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition and education of student entrepreneurs.  

For more information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards, held Friday, May 6, from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Bacara Resort & Spa, visit www.soefoundation.org or call 805.682.8380.

— Cathy Feldman is board chair and CEO for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation.