[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The Santa Barbara chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and Antioch University Santa Barbara rolled out the red carpet to celebrate their new partnership in high style.

On a balmy Thursday evening on the rooftop patio at Antioch’s downtown campus, NAWBO members staged a fashion show, displaying an array of apparel, jewelry and shoes while they and university representatives discussed a new program to educate and empower new women business leaders.

Awareness of the lack of women in high-power positions compelled NAWBO to sponsor one of its own members with a $9,000 scholarship to enroll in Antioch’s new Women & Leadership Certificate Program.

“Less than 20 percent of the positions in politics … CEOs, board of directors, are women,” said Judy Pirkowitsch, NAWBO chapter president. “We need more mentors, we need more women in those positions.”

The scholarship will cover full tuition for the 10-month program that is being launched in the fall.

At the fashion show, NAWBO members paraded down the red carpet showing off clothing, jewelry and shoes from sponsors Deckers Outdoor Corp., Jockey and Stella & Dot. Mary Kay provided cosmetics and helped the models with makeup for the show.

The sponsors, including the Arbonne cosmetics line, were all represented by women, and they gave away products, services or gift cards in a fund-raising raffle. Some of the companies also donated a part of the proceeds from the evening’s sales to the organization.

Around 40 women enjoyed the finger food, catered by Creative Services, and the wine, provided by Pascucci, while watching the show and strolling between the tables representing the sponsors.

Antioch representatives were there to provide more information about their new program, which is aimed at educating 20 new potential female leaders.

Partnerships like these are of great benefit to Antioch as well, school officials said.

“It helps strengthen our ties to the community which we are proud of,” said Sharisse Estomo, Antioch’s assistant admissions director.

She said the program was developed “in a thoughtful matter, assessing the needs of Santa Barbara” based on surveying local professionals to determine what their needs are.

“It seems that women as a whole felt like there needed to be strengthening of their voice,” Estomo said. “There’s an incredible need to give attention to the study of gender as it relates to leadership.”

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at gslabiak@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.