2016 Women of Distinction Ceremony

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – On October 7, Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) partnered with the National Latina Business Women Association – Inland Empire to host the 12th Annual Women of Distinction Ceremony, recognizing 45 women from around the 23rd State Senate District for their work in the community.

Over 300 guests filled the hall at the Goldy S. Lewis Community Center to recognize the honorees, including local leaders and officials.

“Too often, quiet acts of service go unnoticed,” said Morrell. “The annual Women of Distinction Ceremony is a tradition that recognizes the positive impact made by women from across the 23rd Senate District. They are held in the highest esteem by family, friends, and colleagues and it is my privilege to shine a spotlight on their successes. I thank them for the work they do on behalf of others.”

Each year, the Women of Distinction Ceremony showcases the service of women from throughout the region who demonstrate a strong commitment to their communities. Mary Parks, Executive Producer and host of the weekly television series Exploring the American Spirit, served as this year’s mistress of ceremonies.

The 2016 ceremony highlighted the work of two “Women of the Year” – Yucaipa resident Sara Hector, representing San Bernardino County, and Hemet resident DeniAntionette Mazingo, representing Riverside County. (Biographies and photos of both women are included below).

Since the program began, over 500 women have been honored. Awardees are nominated by members of the public. A committee made up of various women’s groups and past honorees selects the Women of Distinction finalists and “Distinguished Woman” from each city.

Cities and communities in the 23rd Senate District were each represented by three Women of Distinction finalists for the honor of “Distinguished Woman” in their area. The finalists from a full list of honorees by city can be found here. For more information, contact Chris Odneal at chris.odneal@sen.ca.gov.

Senator Mike Morrell represents the 23rd Senate District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Los Angeles counties. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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San Bernardino County Woman of the Year – Sara Hector (Yucaipa)

Entrepreneur Sara Hector is the owner of three local businesses – Visiting Angels Non-medical Homecare, Redlands Fitness Training, and Pointed Toes Dance and Gymnastics Supply.

As owner and director of the non-profit Businesswomen’s Association of San Bernardino County (BASBC), Sara has sought to build a professional network for women in the county through creating opportunities to share experiences and support one another’s various business endeavors. The organization’s foundation provides scholarships to women in San Bernardino County and offers guidance and support to local high school students through various mentorship programs. This year, BASBC awarded $2,750 in scholarships.

Sara is a strong advocate for special needs children and adults. She coordinated “Paint Our Town Blue”, which invited special needs citizens to participate in a fun-filled day in downtown Redlands and featured an entire street painted blue in support of the special needs community. In the aftermath of the December 2nd terror attack in San Bernardino, Sara tirelessly coordinated and led the “Bonded and Strong” and “SB Strong Picnic” fundraisers to assist victims and their families, raising $74,000. Sara is a producer and sponsor of A Salute to America’s Veterans, an annual event held at Montecito Memorial Park in Colton, which brings friends and neighbors together in honor of the sacrifices made by military personnel.

Sara sits on several boards: Dignity Health Foundation, Women of Dignity Philanthropy (Founder and Committee Chair), Economic Development Advisory Committee – Yucaipa, and the Redlands Charitable Resource Coalition. She and her husband, Brandon, live in Yucaipa with their two children. Sara’s selfless acts of service are greatly admired and appreciated throughout the Inland Empire.

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Caption: Sara Hector of Yucaipa is recognized by Senator Mike Morrell as the San Bernardino County Woman of the Year at the 12th Annual Women of Distinction Ceremony.

Riverside County Woman of the Year – DeniAntionette Mazingo (Hemet)

Since moving to Hemet four years ago, DeniAntionette Mazingo has made countless contributions to the community, with a special focus on improving the lives of women and girls.

As a Third District Commissioner on the Riverside County Commission for Women, Deni established a program to educate young people about the dangers of human trafficking. She is an active member of Soroptimist International, living out the organization’s mission to aid women and girls through developing programs leading to social and economic empowerment. In this capacity, she has chaired a number of fundraising events to provide education grants and scholarships to women and girls, as well as worked to organize and host an annual Soroptimist Girl Power Conference for sixth and seventh grade girls to provide them with opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed.

Deni also tirelessly petitioned for the Hemet Valley Medical Center Board to resume operating a rape crisis center; it reopened in May of 2015. Deni is involved with several other community organizations such as Las Amigas, through which she has helped collect and distribute food and clothing to those less fortunate and raised $12,000 for the Children’s Defense Fund.

In professional life, Deni is a practicing attorney at law and provides free legal counsel to individuals who are unable to afford legal services otherwise. Deni will tell you that she strives to put her faith in the Lord first through earnest prayer. Her efforts in Riverside County continue to be a blessing to many.

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Caption: DeniAntionette Mazingo is recognized by Senator Mike Morrell as the Riverside County Woman of the Year at the 12th Annual Women of Distinction Ceremony.