The Association for Women in Communications Santa Barbara Chapter (AWC-SB) recognized the outstanding contributions of two climate champions, Hillary Hauser and Dr. Leah Stokes, at the 15th Annual AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards luncheon on April 27, presented by Women Connect4Good. 

More than 140 guests, including AWC-SB members, public officials, and sponsors, filled the historic Cabrillo Pavilion to recognize the exemplary work of the honorees and their leadership as they change the way we view and respond to the climate crisis. Emcee Beth Farnsworth, television journalist and a past AWC-SB Women of Achievement award recipient, engaged Hauser and Dr. Stokes with intriguing questions, leading to an upbeat and lively discussion. Chaucer’s Books was on site, selling books by the two honorees. 

“It was exciting to celebrate these two courageous women who step forward, speak up, and use their talents to inspire people to take action toward a sustainable future,” said Lisa Osborn, AWC-SB board president and KCSB-FM news & public affairs director. “It was fitting that the event took place a few days before our community’s Earth Day celebration. The honorees drove home the importance of remaining hopeful and dedicated as our community works to address the climate crisis now, not in a few years or decades.”  

While the two climate champions have different professional backgrounds, they clearly have in common an unflagging optimism, determination, and a belief in the power of effective communication. Dr. Stokes shared that much of her success comes from holding fast to a positive vision for the future, and her response to naysayers telling her something cannot be done is “Just watch me!” When Hauser was asked what her motto might be, she said, “There’s no such thing as impossibility!”  

For those interested in getting more involved in climate action, Hauser recommended reading as much as possible and championed the power of writing to express one’s views. Dr. Stokes suggested joining local organizations that are successfully working on solutions, including the Community Environmental Council, Heal the Ocean, and the Environmental Defense Center. She also encouraged everyone to “electrify” by shifting to electricity and renewables to power their vehicles and homes. 

The 2023 Women of Achievement Luncheon is also supported by the Santa Barbara Independent, SBCC Foundation, Fielding Graduate University, Natalie Orfalea Foundation, SoCal Edison, Oshay Family Foundation, CommUnify, Farmers Insurance Robert Bianchi, Stacy Miller Public Affairs, California State Senator Monique Limón, WEV, County of Santa Barbara Office of Das Williams, Community Environmental Council, and Sierra Club Santa Barbara-Ventura.  

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