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International Women’s Festivals in Santa Barbara to Honor Kathy Ireland

Supermodel turned entrepreneur will receive the 'Gutsy Gals Inspire Me' award

South Coast resident and supermodel turned businesswoman Kathy Ireland will receive the “Gutsy Gals Inspire Me” award at a VIP reception during the 2012 International Women’s Festivals in Santa Barbara.

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Kathy Ireland

With the theme “Live, Love, Learn,” the fifth annual Women’s Festivals will be March 9-10 on SBCC’s West Campus.

“The model from the last century,” as Ireland once called herself, is chief executive officer of kathy ireland Worldwide. “Finding solutions for families, especially busy moms” is the motto of her company, which has been described as a $1.5 billion firm that designs and markets 45,000 items, including furniture, clothing, accessories, skin care products, real estate, music and publications in 50 countries.

A mother of three children, Ireland is married to Greg Olsen, a Santa Barbara emergency room doctor and lobster fisherman.

Starting her career by delivering the local newspaper, Ireland says she has made the “journey from the beaches of Santa Barbara to the boardroom.” From1984 to 1996, Ireland was a featured model in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Her TV and movie acting credits include Melrose Place, Boy Meets World, The Larry Sanders Show, Muppets Tonight, Side Out, Mr. Destiny, Necessary Roughness, Mom and Dad Save the World, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon1, Once Upon a Christmas and the sequel Twice Upon a Christmas.

The International Women’s’ Festivals are held in March to coincide with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which is March 8. The event addresses issues facing women while providing ground for networking, referrals and resource sharing.

Proceeds go to founding nonprofit organizations, including the National Association of Women Business Owners, Girls Inc., Future Women CEOs, SCORE and Women’s Economic Ventures.

Festival speakers include Lynda Weinman, co-founder of Carpinteria-based Lynda.com, the rapidly growing online educational service; Heidi Kuhn, founder of Roots for Peace, which helps remove land mines; Marilyn Tam, former Reebok and Adidas executive; diet and fitness television and book guru Robert Ferguson,  poet Lucia de Garcia; and Marsha Brown, author of The Million Dollar Conversation.

Returning sponsors of the nonprofit event are DeDominic & Associates, Lynda.com and Montecito Bank & Trust, among others.

Business sponsorships are available. Click here for more information.

— Patty DeDominic is the founder of International Women’s Festivals.

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