Luz Reyes-Martin, executive director of Public Affairs and Communications at Santa Barbara City College; and Barbara Ben-Horin, former CEO of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, will be honored by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications (AWC-SB) at the 13th Annual Women of Achievement Awards.
The honorees will receive their awards at a free lunchtime event, beginning at noon Friday April 30. In deference to public health protocols, the awards program will be held on Zoom.
Starshine Roshell, award-winning journalist and previous Women of Achievement Award recipient, will emcee the event, which is presented by Women Connect4Good. To receive a link to attend and a PDF program, register in advance at awcsb.org.
“So many people tell me they look forward to this annual luncheon. It’s a fun chance to catch up with friends and celebrate the accomplishments of our honorees,” said Lisa Osborn, AWC-SB president.
“While we look forward to a time when we can see each other in person, a virtual event has a silver lining because we can make it available at no cost to anyone who wants to join us,” she said. “These are inspiring women, and we could all use a little inspiration right now.”
Reyes-Martin identifies as a communications professional, advocate, mother and feminist. She has expertise in the fields of communications, public affairs, marketing and land use planning, which she uses in her role as executive director of communications for SBCC.
Reyes-Martin also serves on the Goleta Unified School District Board, and is president of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, a non-partisan organization that endorses candidates who support a feminist agenda that includes action opposing discrimination based on gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, age or ability.
“In my roles as School Board member, public information officer, and president of a political action committee, I think constantly about how to communicate effectively with different audiences,” Reyes-Martin said. “The essential ingredients are always authenticity, honesty, integrity and respect.
“At its best, communication bridges the gaps that divide us, connects with audiences with empathy, and makes constructive collaboration possible. As a woman of color, mother, leader and feminist, I use my voice to uplift marginalized communities, empower a new generation of communicators and pursue a society that is fully equitable and just for all women,” she said.
Ben-Horin’s professional commitment to communication intersects with her passion for advocacy and social justice. She has served in leadership positions for a number of organizations in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and New York, including the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, SBCC Foundation, Domestic Violence Solutions, Santa Barbara County Office of Education, Anti-Defamation League, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Most recently she served as CEO at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, which holds a vision of empowered girls in an equitable society.
“In both my personal and professional life, I have been committed to the concept of fair and just relations, which require mutual respect, civility and supportive language,” said Ben-Horin.
“The past year has made it even more clear that all of us hold the power to make a difference in the world both by taking action when something is not just, and by using words to convey kindness, support, courage, and empowerment,” she said.
The Women of Achievement event is a signature event for the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications.
“Like many other organizations in our community, we were disappointed when COVID forced us to postpone the event last spring,” Osborn said. “What we learned over the past year is that good communicators are resilient. If anything, it’s even more important to honor women who have used their gifts to encourage others.”
Funds raised through the Women of Achievement luncheon are used to underwrite networking and professional development programs for members of AWC-SB.
“We truly appreciate the sponsors who stuck with us even though we had to reschedule and restructure the event,” Osborn said. “We are especially grateful to our presenting sponsor, Women Connect4Good, and media sponsor The Santa Barbara Independent which has helped us get the word out about our monthly virtual events.”
Other sponsors include the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Natalie Orfalea Foundation, Southern California Edison, Fielding Graduate University, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Sanger Swysen & Dunkle.
During the past year, the Santa Barbara chapter has continued to have monthly meetings with are open to the public and free to members. “We’ve had meetings on everything from crisis communications to self-care,” Osborn said.
“I’m very proud of the way our members and our board have stepped up to support each other during this challenging year,” she said.
A biannual membership drive is now in progress. For information, contact Carolyn Jabs, membership chair, at email@example.com. For more about Association for Women in Communications – Santa Barbara, including upcoming events and benefits of membership, visit awcsb.org.