(from left) MC Beth Farnsworth, Honoree Hilary Hauser, and Honoree Dr. Leah Stokes | Credit: Courtesy

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Santa Barbara, CA – The Association for Women in Communications Santa Barbara chapter (AWC-SB) will honor climate champions Hillary Hauser and Leah Stokes at the 15th Annual AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards presented by Women Connect4Good. The luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Cabrillo Pavilion. Beth Farnsworth, television journalist and 2019 AWC-SB Women of Achievement award recipient, will emcee the event. 

Tickets to the luncheon are available at www.awcsb.org.  

This year’s honorees are powerful women leading the way in changing how we view and respond to the climate crisis. Through their bold storytelling, they’ve transformed politics and policies, inspiring hope rather than despair and mobilizing communities into action for meaningful change. Their unwavering dedication pushes the movement forward, testifying to their leadership and earning them recognition as Women of Achievement. The event takes place just a few days before the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, founded in 1970 after a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara drew national attention and galvanized the environmental movement.

“This is an honor that takes every one of my words away!” Hauser said. “As a longtime writer/journalist, this feels like I’ve just been awarded the ‘Oscar of writing.’ I’m very humbled to be among the great women recognized by this association.” Hauser is an accomplished diving photojournalist who co-founded the nonprofit Heal the Ocean in 1998. As executive director, she has led the organization’s extraordinary success in protecting the ocean, focusing on wastewater infrastructure – sewers and septic systems – as well as ocean dumping practices that have contributed to ocean pollution. She is outspoken about climate change, and the urgent need to plan for sea level rise. 

Dr. Leah Stokes is an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara whose work focuses on energy, climate, and environmental politics. Her recent book, Short Circuiting Policy, was named the Best Energy Book of 2020 by the American Energy Society, listed as a Top 5 climate book from 2020 by The New York Times, and won three awards from the American Political Science Association. For her exceptionally engaged scholarship, Stokes was recently recognized on the 2022 TIME100 Next and Business Insider Climate Action 30 lists. Her academic work is published in top journals and is widely read and cited. She is quoted frequently in national media, has written for top outlets including The New York Times, and hosts a popular climate podcast, “A Matter of Degrees.”

“We are in a race to address the climate crisis and keep our planet habitable,” Dr. Stokes said. “Our greatest challenge is to transform politics and policy—effectively and equitably — so that climate solutions become our default choices. To do so, we need powerful storytelling that invites us to give up despair, find climate community, and take meaningful action. That’s why I devote much of my career to speaking, podcasting, and writing for a popular audience, and why I’m deeply honored to be recognized by AWC-SB this year.”

Presenting the Women of Achievement Awards is one of the ways AWC-SB strives to empower women. By recognizing exemplary women communicators, the event provides inspiring role models for women who are pursuing careers in journalism, public speaking, writing, public relations, filmmaking, photography, and related disciplines.  

Past honorees include former SBCC Public Affairs Director and Goleta Union School Board Member Luz Reyes-Martin, KEYT Journalist and Anchor Beth Farnsworth, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, retired Congresswoman Lois Capps, former mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara Independent Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder Marianne Partridge, Dr. Carrie Hutchinson, Paula Lopez, Lynda Weinman, Catherine Remak and Sara Miller McCune.

The 2023 Women of Achievement Luncheon is also supported by the Santa Barbara Independent, SBCC Foundation, CommUnify, Oshay Family Foundation, SoCal Edison, WEV, County of Santa Barbara, Above All Aviation.  Limited additional sponsorship opportunities are available — please email news@awcsb.org for more information.  

Tickets cost $75 for members, $85 for non-members. After March 17, prices rise to $85 for members and $95 for non-members. Funds raised at this event support ongoing professional development opportunities offered by AWC-SB throughout the year. AWC-SB hosts monthly meetings for its members and guests, featuring topics that help communicators hone their skills and stay up-to-date with important developments in the technology, practice, and ethics of communications. 

Read more information about AWC-SB and purchase tickets to the Women of Achievement Awards at www.awcsb.org


The Association for Women in Communications is a national organization that helps women develop and deepen the communication skills they need to succeed in a variety of fields. Communications consultant Lois Phillips, publisher Mindy Bingham, and producer Deborah Hutchison founded the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association of Women in Communications (AWC-SB) in 2006. They saw a need for a dynamic, local organization that cut across sectors to bring together professional communicators, solopreneurs, scholars, and corporate communicators as well as communications majors at local colleges and universities. Today, AWC-SB membership includes journalists and broadcasters, entrepreneurs, designers and marketers, authors, corporate communicators, photographers, coaches, and public relations experts. AWC-SB offers professional communicators and businesswomen an opportunity to network with colleagues who understand the challenges of contemporary communications. The national AWC organization is more than 100 years old, and AWC-SB is the only chapter in the state of California.  

AWC-SB is governed by an all-volunteer board. The 2022-23 Board of Directors is led by Lisa Osborn. Other board members include: Lauren Bianchi Klemann, Leslie Dinaberg, Carolyn Jabs, Monica Kunz, Hilary S. Lyn, Jennifer LeMay, and Joan Tapper. 


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