5 Central Coast Women of Distinction to be honored for civic contributions

Posted at 8:09 AM, Mar 20, 2019

Five Central Coast women will be recognized for their professional and civic contributions in a ceremony on Thursday.

The recipients of the 2019 Women of Distinction awards will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Cuesta College San Luis Obispo Campus in building 5400, room 5401.

Both Cuesta College and The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County’s Women’s Legacy Fund selected the five who showed contributions in the areas of volunteerism, professionalism, and philanthropy.

Honorees are nominated by their peers and chosen by a selection committee.

The awards ceremony is open to the public. Tickets cost $25 and are available for purchase on The Community Foundation SLO County’s website or by calling (805) 543-2323. Parking is complimentary for attendees in Lot 2. Food, wine and coffee will be served at the event. Music will be provided by the Cuesta College Music Ensemble.

Below is a summary of the five women selected, written by Ritchie Bermudez.

Simone Y. Hosey – Community and Public Service, Professional

Awarded to a woman who has, by virtue of her profession, distinguished herself by providing outstanding professional service to the community.

Cal Poly Graduate and U.S. Navy veteran Simone Y. Hosey has devoted herself to the California National Guard Grizzly Youth Academy for 18 years. The academy is dedicated to helping youth who are at-risk of or have dropped out of high school. Hosey is always working to ensure the success of the cadets, serving as a role model and mentor at the academy — especially to female cadets. She not only provides her own support but has sought out speakers to come to the academy and encourage young cadets. Hosey currently serves as the academy’s Community Outreach Coordinator and National Youth Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. (Pictured above: first)

Jessica L. Lorance – Community and Public Service, Volunteer

Awarded to a woman who has distinguished herself as a volunteer by providing outstanding service to the community.

Dedicated to making the community a better place, Jessica L. Lorance founded CommUNITY Connection Events to provide underrepresented groups by providing them free access to medical, housing, food, haircuts, and housing assistance. These services greatly provide for veterans, civilians, and families in San Luis Obispo County. Lorance serves as the Homeless Services Program Review Specialist for the SLO County Social Services Department, manages the administration for Homeless Services Oversight Council, and is a district committee membership chair for Boy Scouts of America. (Pictured above: second)

DJ Pittenger – Susan Dressler Educational Leadership

Awarded to a woman whose commitment to a particular program or issue of special relevance to women has helped to improve the quality of life for women.

As a local educator and agent of change, DJ Pittenger has contributed to San Luis Obispo County for over three decades. Dedicating her life to vulnerable students and their families, she has built programs such as the AUSD Lighthouse Drug and Alcohol Program and the Coastal Valley Academy, a rehabilitation program for incarcerated youth. Pittenger inspires students and colleagues, offering a safe place and mentorship to anyone who might need it. Pittenger has taught at all levels, served as the Alternative Education Principal in Atascadero, and is currently the Assistant Superintendent at San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. (Pictured above: second from right)

Eve Vigil – Grace N. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement

Awarded to a woman with distinguished service and dedication to women in more than one of the three categories, and over an extended length of time throughout her professional or volunteer career.

Described as a “garden fairy godmother” Eve Vigil has devoted much of her life to creating, preserving, and caring for the over 150-acre San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. The garden features plants of the five Mediterranean climate zones in the world and is visited by 250,000 people annually. Vigil founded the nonprofit Friends of San Luis Botanical Garden over 30 years ago and since 1991 has volunteered her time as the Garden Manager, a Board Member and Officer, Docent, and Supervisor. She has poured her heart, soul, and funds into the SLO Botanical Garden and without her the community would not have such a wonderful public garden. (Pictured above: last)

Janet Wallace – Progress for Women

Awarded to a woman whose commitment to a particular program or issue of special relevance to women has helped to improve the quality of life for women.

Janet Wallace is an advocate for gender parity locally, nationally, and globally. Wallace is a partner at O’Leary Wallace LLP in San Luis Obispo and is committed to helping improve the workplace for women in the legal profession. She served as the Vice President of M.S. JD, a nonprofit dedicated to helping aspiring and early career women lawyers succeed nationally and globally through scholarships and mentorship. Wallace is also a sought-after writer and speaker on women’s parity in the legal profession. She participates in the “Gender Bias Against Women in Law” program and was a contributing author to a book on women’s success titled Her Story. (Pictured above: center)

For more information on the Women of Distinction Awards event or the Community Foundation, please visit www.cfsloco.orgor call (805) 543-2323. For more information about Cuesta College, please visit or call (805) 546-3100.