Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.
2022 Women of Vision Honorees
1. SAMANTHA TRADELIUS, Executive Director of the Sparkle Foundation
Samantha Tradelius founded Sparkle 6 years ago. Sparkle is a non-profit serving over 5,000 single mothers and children through enrichment programs, scholarships, back-to-school backpacks, gratitude boxes, and holiday gift drives in 2021. With the support of 70+ businesses and 400 volunteers, Sparkle raised over $1,000,000 in the last 6 years with 100% going back to the communities they serve.
2. LINDA WITONG, Soroptimist UN Delegate
Linda, a retired prosecutor, who now spends her life as a speaker, researcher, volunteer, and moderator regarding human rights, human trafficking, climate change and water crisis at the United Nations and other forums. As both a prosecutor and NGO UN delegate, she is also a strong advocate of victims' rights. She is a member of the United Nations Women’s National Committee-San Francisco Bay Area group. She will be the president of our club next year.
3. JENNI DOHERTY, Founder, Daraja Academy
Jenni believes every girl has the right to an education that will improve her life, her family, and her community. She welcomed her first class in 2009, as a secondary boarding school for girls with the mission to educate and empower girls from poverty to become community leaders. The school was named Daraja, which means bridge, and she sought to fill it with girls from all over Kenya whose potential would otherwise be lost. Today, the Kenya Ministry of Education ranks Daraja Academy in the top 10% of private secondary schools in the country.
4. JUDY ARNOLD, Supervisor District V, Marin County
Judy was elected to the Marin County Board of Supervisors representing District 5 (Novato) in 2006. Before that Judy served on the Novato City Council from 2003 to 2006 and was involved in many civic and non-profit organizations. As Supervisor, Judy founded the Marin Economic Forum to focus on a local sustainable economy, authored a resolution adding education to the Board’s priorities, and launched the SMART passenger service.
5. DR. MARY KAY SWEENEY, Executive Director, Homeward Bound
Mary Kay has been leading programs to end homelessness locally and nationally for 28 years. Homeward Bound provides shelter, transitional and permanent housing for over 1,100 men, women, and children each year. She has been inducted into Marin Women’s Hall of Fame and has been recognized with a Heart of Marin Award for Excellence. She feels very fortunate to have found a “home” for her passion and purpose at Homeward Bound. Mary Kay is a also a published poet and enjoys riding her bike daily.
6. BENITA McLARIN, Director, Marin County Department of Health and Human Services
Benita oversees the largest county department, with over 800 employees that addresses the health and welfare of our Marin County residents. Using her 35 years of healthcare and public health leadership experience, collaborative management style, and a focus on equity, Benita has successfully met the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our community safe and healthy for over two years. She is a combat veteran, and has had many overseas assignments, and is now retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with the United States Army. In her “free time”, Benita enjoys mentoring and supporting young people in their professional growth, and serves as a Bay Area advisory board member and mentor with the National iMentor Program.
7. DENISE ATHAS, Council Member, City of Novato
Denise is a current Novato Council Member and has served on Council since 2009. She also served as Mayor for three terms during this period. Denise is actively serving in the Novato community in various leadership capacities. In the past she has served as President of the Novato Chamber of Commerce, President of Downtown Novato Business and is currently on the State Board of Directors for the League of California Cities. Denise was named Novato Woman of the Year i 2009 and strives to make Novato a great place to live and work.
8. MARIAN HUNTINGTON, Founder, Executive Director, NovatoSpirit
For 17 years Marian’s passion is helping Novato’s most vulnerable children improve their mental and physical health through 5-year athletic scholarships with mentors in taekwondo, dance, and horse therapy. She’s been honored by the Marin Independent Journal’s Giving Marin Program and has been nominated for the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame and the Heart of Marin’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
9. DONNA GARSKE, Executive Director, Center for Domestic Peace
Throughout her 40+ years as a pioneer in the movement to end gender-based violence, Donna has cultivated peace through hands-on work and constructive dialog at the local, statewide, national and international levels. Donna was influential in drafting numerous pieces of state and federal legislation including the Federal Violence Against Women Act. With determination and persistence, Donna has grown the Center for Domestic Peace to become a comprehensive organizational response to domestic violence both at the response and prevention level. In 2010, Donna convened the Bay Area Domestic Violence Shelter-based Collaborative as a vehicle for problem-solving domestic violence at a regional level. Most recently, during the peak of COVID – Donna facilitated weekly meeting of the Collaborative to conduct “in the moment” problem solving to address safety and housing needs for hundreds of domestic violence victims throughout the Bay Area during the Shelter-in-Place Order.
She was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997, awarded the Agent of Change Award by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence in 2017, and bestowed the Sufi International Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2018.
10. CHERYL PADDACK, CEO, North Marin Community Services
Cheryl has dedicated her career to advocating for critical causes such as anti-poverty, human services, independence for the visually impaired, energy efficiency, and environmental clean-up. She led the pivotal merger of Novato Youth Center/Human Needs Center, which now delivers safety-net services to 11,000+ people in need. Cheryl received the Jefferson Silver Award 2021/KPIX and Multiplying Good, Excellence in Leadership 2018/CVNL’s Heart of Marin, Pivotal People, and Novato Proud/Sept 2017.
11. LORI FRUGOLI, District Attorney, Marin County
Lori, our Marin County District Attorney, brings her lifetime of experience to keeping Marin safe and connecting the community to the courthouse. She has served 30 years as a deputy district attorney. Lori has earned many prestigious awards and recognitions in her career including; Police Officer of the Year from the Santa Rosa Police Department, Jeanette Prandi's Champion for Children Award, and Outstanding Prosecutor Award. She has a built a reputation in the community for treating all people with respect and professionalism.