Outstanding women in entrepreneurship are honored

Outstanding women in entrepreneurship are honored

By SBFLM Staff

Working in hospitality is not a 9-to-5 position, as Pamela Webber knows from her early days managing hotels in Santa Barbara. Webber can recall guests making late-night requests and can tell other interesting stories from life in Santa Barbara since the 1950s.

Webber and 11 other women won awards in various professional categories at a dinner in May organized by the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. The mistress of ceremonies was Lynda Weinman, co-founder and former executive chairwoman of lynda.com.

“My time in the hotel industry has been wonderful, and meeting people from all around the world coming to our little town to enjoy the scenery and culture,” Webber said.

Webber came to Santa Barbara with her husband and young daughter from England in 1956 and they became managers of the Hacienda Motel. Eight years later they bought the Pepper Tree Inn and now she is the owner of the Santa Barbara Hotel Group that operates five hotels in the area.

She also created the Santa Barbara Scenic Drive and co-founded the Visit Santa Barbara Committee. She helped establish the city’s waste reduction and cleanup program, Looking Good Santa Barbara.

Her video drew laughter and applause from the crowd as it showed her dressed up in fiesta attire and riding around in classic cars before she was announced as the Rock Star Award winnerat the 2017 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards at the Coral Casino at the Biltmore on May 5.

The foundation’s Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards are designed to recognize the contributions of outstanding women entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County to the economy as well as to support future economic growth through the recognition, financial support, and education of student entrepreneurs.

Cathy Feldman, CEO of Spirit of Entrepreneurship, said the 30 finalists’ businesses bring in “gross revenues that total approximately $32 million and employ 450 people, mostly in Santa Barbara County.”

The winners were chosen by a group of independent judges who do not live in Santa Barbara and who are not affiliated with the organization:

– Agriculture – Ashley Farrell, Ashley Farrell Landscape Design

– Emerging Business – Alexis Schomer, RepWatch

– Green/Social Entrepreneurship – Healther Hochrein, EVmatch

– Health – Emilee Garfield, The Loft: Emilee’s Pilates and Yoga

– Hospitality/Tourism – Tara Jones Haaf, Eat This, Shoot That!

– Media/Communications – Gillian Christie, Christie & Co.

– Nonprofit – Janet Reineck, World Dance for Humanity

– Professional Services – Alelia Parenteau, iSurf School

– Retail – Fay Doe, Underground Hair Artists

– Science/Technology – Payal Kamdar, vSolvit

– Wholesale/Manufacturing/Global Trade – Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet

A related effort is the Santa Barbara City College Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition for the county’s college and high school students to promote youth entrepreneurship.

Montecito Bank & Trust, Southern California Edison, Bank of the West, and many other sponsors helped underwrite student awards in which a total of $12,000 in cash prizes were given to the winning students.

Information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation is available at www.soefoundation.org or from Cathy Feldman, board chairwoman, at 805-682-8775, or info@soefoundation.org.