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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2021
2021 Goleta’s Finest Winners Announced: Community Awards Gala will be held on December 4th
Goleta, CA – The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is excited to announce the 2021 Goleta’s Finest Award Winners. Goleta’s Finest is a 71-year-old tradition honoring remarkable individuals whose contributions have enhanced the Goleta community.
“We are honored to bring our Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Gala back this year, after taking a year off due to the pandemic,” said Kristen Miller, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “The Goleta community has an amazing history of volunteerism and philanthropy, and we are eager to honor those individuals and organizations who have shined over the last two years.”
The 2021 award recipients will be honored with a formal celebration on, December 4th (5:30-9:00 pm), at the beautiful The Ritz-Carlton Bacara. The evening will include dinner followed by the awards ceremony.
The 2021 Goleta’s Finest winners are:
Woman of the Year – Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons
Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr. Fitzgibbons has been front and center relaying important information and data about the COVID-19 pandemic to our community. Dr. Fitzgibbons is an infectious disease physician and faculty member with the Internal Medicine residency program at Cottage Hospital. In 2020 she transitioned to an administrative role as a member of the COVID Incident Command Center at the hospital and helps with infection control at Cottage Health. She worked very closely with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to connect our local hospitals with our government agencies and speak to our community. She has been a calm and steadfast presence for the business community throughout the pandemic, answering every call we made and every request to speak. The Goleta community would not have been the same without our local hero offering her comprehensive reports in a manner that was understandable and reassuring.
Man of the Year – Mark Ingalls
Mark Ingalls is a long time Goleta business representative and champion for community and education. Mark has been instrumental in the evolution of Goleta into a vibrant, professional community with an emphasis on community building and regional collaboration. As the head of Camino Real Marketplace, Mark was at the forefront of changes needed throughout the pandemic to keep our businesses open and successful, adhering to constant changes and curve balls. Supporting both the big box essential businesses that never closed, and nurturing family-owned restaurants like Anna’s Bakery and Los Agaves back to life with enhanced outdoor dining and creative business solutions. Mark is an advocate for education and has spent years helping raise funds for education efforts and important community efforts like Girsh Park, Ice in Paradise, and for the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation. Mark is a longtime community volunteer, serving on the boards of the Foundation for Girsh Park, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Education Foundation, the Friendship Paddle and more.
Educator of the Year – William Woodard, Dos Pueblos High School
As principal at Dos Pueblos High School, William (Bill) Woodard has continued to lead not just our high school students, but their families, the staff and teachers, and the Goleta community throughout the tumultuous effects of the pandemic. From shutdowns and remote learning, to coming back to campus with masks and temperature checks, Woodard has kept a positive attitude and persistent communication. He provided a steady and unwavering voice of support at the toughest times. Commiserating that the challenges were great and providing hope for a quick turnaround. The senior class of 2020 and 2021 faced unprecedented challenges, but Woodard continued to think out of the box. The class of 2020 had a unique drive-in movie style graduation with video cameos from local celebrities. Graduates missed out on several traditional senior year activities when the pandemic shuttered schools in 2020, but one of the highlights for both the class of 2020 and 2021 was getting to have their prom. The class of 2020 got a very belated but special celebration in August 2021 on the rooftop of the Canary Hotel. It was a one-year reunion and the prom they never got to have. In May 2021 in the final hour, the class of 2021 got to have an outdoor celebration as well. The class gathered at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for an outdoor prom as they prepared to graduate soon after. Woodard’s tenacity and focus helped bring back these special traditions for students.
Student of the Year – Isabella Mireles, Dos Pueblos High School
Isabella Mireles is a shining example of giving back to your community. Isa was diagnosed at age two with leukemia and is now cancer free. As a pediatric cancer survivor, she dedicates her time speaking about cancer, encouraging pediatric patients, and working closely with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation to put on special events. The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that aims to assist families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Isabella has been involved with the organization for years and over the last five years has planned a musical showcase to fundraise for the organization, raising over $20,000.
Volunteer of the Year – Lisa Gosdschan
Many people know Lisa Gosdschan from her day job with the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and prior to that, St. Vincent’s. But those who know Lisa well know her passion and energy for her community goes far beyond that. Lisa has dedicated her life to service. She regularly volunteers at Cottage Hospital, mentoring girls through The Fight Back Mentoring Program, Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara, the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, the American Heart Association, an active Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce, and serving as a Santa Barbara County Long Term Care Ombudsman, to name a few. Throughout the pandemic, you could find Lisa volunteering for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County as the need for food in our community grew exponentially and they had to serve the community in a new way. Lisa takes pride and ownership in every organization she works with. She treats the kids she serves at CADA as her own and works hard to find them qualified mentors. Lisa’s generosity and vigor continues to lead her to helping others.
Non-Profit Leader of the Year – Lori Goodman
Lori became Executive Director of Isla Vista Youth Projects in January 2018. Immediately she had big ideas on how to grow the organization and enhance their presence in the community. Isla Vista Youth Projects provides families with basic needs, such as food distribution and childcare, in addition to being a champion to help mitigate the effects of poverty, racism and trauma. Many families they serve are from Goleta. Under Lori’s leadership, IVYP continues to expand their services and reach. Throughout the pandemic, Lori has worked to connect local non-profits and the business community in new ways. She formed the Goleta Valley Partnership Network, bringing together non-profits with overlapping goals to make sure our area’s organizations are communicating and supporting one another. Lori spearheaded candidate forums for the Goleta Union School District election in 2020 as well as a community conversation with Goleta’s Mayor to help connect her families with government.
Innovator of the Year – Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital
Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital has worked diligently to lead our community through the pandemic. As vaccines began to roll out, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital moved swiftly to set up a drive-up clinic to serve residents across the South Coast. The hospital worked in accordance with state guidelines, starting with those 65+ and then essential workers, but by April the drive-up clinic was serving nearly 10,000 people a week. The clinic counted on many volunteers to help guide traffic and check in, as their licensed care providers administered vaccines. In total the clinic provided nearly 100,000 vaccines to our community. The hospital’s continued innovation and resilience has continued to lead our community through the pandemic.
Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s mission is to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition. Their services have been critical to helping provide relief to the most vulnerable in the community. During the pandemic, this need has become much greater. Over the last two years, the Foodbank distributed twice as much food as normal to twice the number of people in our community as widespread job losses expanded with every wave of shutdowns and case surges. The Foodbank used their experience from other disasters, such as the Thomas Fire, and had emergency plans in place to enhance their services. They knew people needed access to food closer to their homes. In the first 9 months of the pandemic, the Foodbank handled nearly 60,000 home deliveries and setting up and running more than 50 certified SAFE food distribution sites to serve all neighborhoods of the county. Counting on community partners for locations and volunteers for help, the Foodbank responded swiftly and in targeted ways that helped thousands in our communities.
Special Recognition – Her Festival 2020
Mia and Cami Chou helped found the student-run organization Voices of the Community (VOC) at Dos Pueblos High School. The group is entirely made up of Santa Barbara youth. They are all passionate about changing the community for the better by ensuring that the voices of underrepresented groups are heard. The group’s first big endeavor was the inaugural Her Festival. As co-presidents of the event, Mia and Cami worked tirelessly for months to bring the event to the community. The Her Festival celebrated the women in our community and empowered the next generation of female leaders. The goal of this event was to give everyone in Santa Barbara, regardless of age, race, or gender, a day to come together and celebrate the strength of the amazing women and girls in our community. Mia and Cami went above and beyond to showcase dozens of local non-profits and women-run businesses. The event also included children’s activities, food trucks and student performances. The event was a huge success and a great way for our community to come together and celebrate.
Please join us on this memorable evening. Tickets to attend Goleta’s Finest is $150 per person. A sponsored table for a group of eight is $1,750. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Please contact the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce at Chelsea@SBSCChamber.com or 805-967-2500 ext. 105 in advance to secure your seats!
The 2021 Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Gala is presented by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Thank you to our Platinum Presenting Sponsors: American Riviera Bank, Fauver, Large, Archbald & Spray, LLP, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Community West Bank, ExxonMobil, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Premier Bank, Plains All American Pipeline, and The Towbes Group.
We would also like to thank our Gold Sponsors: Cottage Health, Courtyard Marriott Goleta, Mariposa at Ellwood Shores, Marriott Residence Inn, and Southwest Airlines.
Silver Sponsors include: Atlantic Aviation, Brown & Brown Insurance, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Cox Communications, Deckers Brands, MarBorg Industries, Noozhawk, Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara Airport, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Zoo, Signature Flight Support, Teledyne FLIR, UCLA Health, UC Santa Barbara, and Village Properties.
For more information on sponsorship, please contact the Chamber at 805-967-2500 ext. 105, or Michele@SBSCChamber.com.