On the evening of May 8 at the The Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, Lynda Weinman, co-founder and executive chair of lynda.com, will ask for “the envelope, please” and reveal the 11 outstanding female entrepreneurs who have won the 2015 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards.

The winners were selected from a field of more than 90 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,” said 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 33 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 pointed out.

One winner was selected by the Foundation board and announced prior to the Awards: Dorothy Largay, who will be honored as the “Rock Star: Life Achievement” winner for 2015. Dorothy has had a remarkable entrepreneurial career, founding the Linked Foundation and serving as chair of the Direct Relief board and on the board of Cottage Hospital. She will receive her award at the gala dinner.

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. Their donations have helped fulfill 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 at the Fess Parker Resort’s Plaza del Sol, where the first Spirit of Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase will be held.

Tickets are available until May 1 and can be purchased online by clicking here. For more information, email info@soefoundation.org or call 805.682.8380.

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award Finalists

The 33 finalists being considered for the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards this May. (Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation photo)


» Robin Bogue, William James Cellars

» Iris Rideau, Rideau Winery & Vineyards

» Kimberly True, True Nature Design

Emerging Business

» Robin Elander, Global Good Impact

» Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School

» Elizabeth Wisniewski, Genuine Chiropractic

Green/Social Entrepreneurship

» Marge Cafarelli, Alma Del Pueblo/The Public Market

» Dr. Sharon Donohoe, Turbine Technology Partners

» Ellen Strickland, LivinGreen.com


» Sandra Hirsch, Isolite System 

» Jenny Schatzle, Jenny Schatzle Program

» Marlo Tell, Marlo’s Massage


» Julia Crookston, Goodland Kitchen

» Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering

» Sherry Villanueva, The Lark/Lucky Penny/Les Marchands


» Gillian Christie, Christie Communications

» Amber Wallace, Dowitcher Designs

» Kim Wiseley, Flutter Magazine


» Marsha Bailey, Women’s Economic Ventures

» Devyn Deux, Nebula Dance Lab

» Nathalie Gensac, Youth Interactive

Professional Services

» Lisa Darsonval, Santa Barbara Matchmaking

» Lisa Grossmann, Nannies2Go

» Diana Pereira, Balance Financial Management


» Ann Pazier, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets

» Pam Rowan, Coffee a la Cart

» Rori Trovato, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery


» Heather Gray, Gray Electrical Consulting + Engineering

» Andrea Neal, Blue Ocean Sciences

» Anupuma Vaid, ParentSquare

Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade

» Kristin Fraser, The Grapeseed Company

» Louise Gerber, Closets, Etc.

» J’nelle Holland, Hot Cherry Pillows

Rock Star: Life Achievement

» Dorothy Largay, Linked Foundation

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, click here or call 805.682.8380.

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