Nominations Open for 2017 Women of Distinction Awards

Monday, April 24, 2017

Each year, Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) hosts the annual Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony & Dinner to recognize extraordinary women from around the 23rd Senate District who have positively impacted their community. The nomination window for this year’s event is now open through August 1, 2017.

Acknowledging remarkable women for their contributions to California has been an annual legislative tradition since 1987. Celebrations include weekly recognitions of women’s accomplishments on the floors of both houses and the passage of resolutions commemorating Women’s History Month (Senate Resolution 19). This local event will also be an opportunity to discuss legislative and public policy issues.

Nominees are women who have made or are making a difference in their community through acts of service, philanthropy, and other efforts. They must also live or work within the 23rd Senate District, which includes Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Highland, Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, Yucaipa, Big Bear, Cedar Glen, Cherry Valley, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs, Hemet, Homeland, Menifee, Nuevo, San Jacinto, Phelan, Piñon Hills, and Wrightwood. See a complete map here.

Individuals should try to nominate someone who has not been previously chosen. Honorees will be selected by a committee, so it is important to include all pertinent information and attach a biography if one is available.

An online nomination form can be found at Paper applications can also be requested by contacting Melissa Boyd at or (909) 919-7731. Forms must be complete and submitted by August 1 to be considered.

This year’s Women of Distinction event will be held at the Goldy S. Lewis Community Center located in Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, November 3, 2017.  For questions or additional information, contact Melissa Boyd at (909) 919-7731.

To see video highlights from the 2016 event, click here.

For a list of past Women of Distinction, please click here.

# # #

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.

Photo for publication:

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.

Photo for publication:

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.