Thoughts to Ponder


Here are some thoughts to ponder as we end 2017 and begin 2018

This one from our amazing Recording Secretary, Leslie Miller:

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If you have a favorite quote (your own or someone else’s) that has a tie in to our mission of improving the lives of women and girls that you would like included in an upcoming post, please email it to me.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!



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T’is Better To Give Than To Receive


This is the time of the year when we all think…”presents”!!!!  What should I buy for my husband…my children…my parents…my friends….and so on but, giving is not all about “just presents” and giving, in my opinion, should not be a one-time event that happens once a year but something that you do daily.

So….at this time of year when the stores live for “Black Friday” or “Shop Small Saturday” or “Cyber Monday.” take a moment to think about giving something less material.

Think about giving of yourself…your time, like babysitting for a single mom who is going to school and working so that she can have an “adult” evening out with friends or going grocery shopping for someone who is home-bound or volunteering to serve meals at a homeless shelter or think about giving an experience, like a picnic in the park or a campfire at the beach, that will live for years in the memory of the person you give it to.

And while you’re at it, whether you are a Soroptimist or are just reading this blog because you think it is interesting, remember these other days of December:

December 1: UN World Aids Day

2017 Theme: My health, my right

Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, has a right to health, which is also dependent on adequate sanitation and housing, nutritious food, healthy working conditions and access to justice. The right to health is supported by, and linked to, a wider set of rights.

Ending AIDS as a public health threat can only happen if these rights are placed at the centre of global health, so that quality health care is available and accessible for everyone and leaves no one behind.

This year’s World AIDS Day campaign focuses on the right to health.

The #myrighttohealth campaign will provide information about the right to health and what impact it has on people’s lives. It will also aim to increase the visibility around the need to achieve the full realization of the right to health by everyone, everywhere.

Almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals (link to SDG website) are linked in some way to health, so achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending the AIDS epidemic, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health.

Remarkable progress is being made on HIV treatment. UNAIDS has launched a new report showing that access to treatment has risen significantly. In 2000, just 685 000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy. By June 2017, around 20.9 million people had access to the life-saving medicines. Such a dramatic scale-up could not have happened without the courage and determination of people living with HIV demanding and claiming their rights, backed up by steady, strong leadership and financial commitment.


December 10: UN Human Rights Day

Let’s stand up for equality, justice and human dignity

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.


December 10: Soroptimist International President’s Appeal

Every Soroptimist International (SI) President proposes a ‘President’s Appeal’: a project Soroptimists worldwide, across all four federations, are called upon to raise funds during the President’s two-year tenure. The 2017-2019 President of Soroptimist International is Mariet Verhoef-Cohen. Her appeal is “Women, Water & Leadership” – supporting projects that educate, empower and enable women and girls, ensuring they have the capacity, experience and education needed to manage water resources and gain careers in water-related professions.
As SI President Mariet launches her appeal let’s take the opportunity to learn and share information about “Women, Water & Leadership” by utilizing the tools provided below to raise awareness about this program to improve the position of women and girls as experts and leaders on the topic of water.
Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA) clubs and members can help fund the 2017-2019 President’s Appeal by sending donations to SIA Headquarters with the completed federation financial transaction form.

To read more about the 2017-2019 President’s Appeal: Women, Water & Leadership:

And so as we enter the biggest “giving” month of the year, I wish you, your families and friends, a happy, healthy holiday season and hope for peace in the world.


and there is more…..

The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)

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T’is the Season to be Thankful!


“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.

Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.”

It’s the beginning of November….Halloween is over….and although some stores show signs of Thanksgiving, most are already promoting the Christmas season.  Do we ever stop to take a breath?  Do we ever slow down to smell the roses, or smile at a stranger or reflect on our lives or are we so caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of daily living that we forget to do little things for ourselves…and others?

Did you know that aside from Thanksgiving, November is a very important month?

November 11th is Veteran’s Day.  My father was a veteran.  Do you have or did you have a veteran in your family?  If you did, take a few minutes to talk with them (if they are still around) or at least think about them and send them love no matter where they are.

A little history: Veteran’s Day is a public holiday held on the anniversary of the end of World War I (November 11) to honor US veterans and victims of all wars. It replaced Armistice Day in 1954.

“While many realize that Veterans Day, which always falls on November 11, is a day to honor our Veterans, few realize the historical significance behind the day. Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and marked the end of hostilities of World War I that occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.”

November 15th is the deadline for Live Your Dream applications to be turned in…and we begin our quest for (yes…5 this year) amazing women who are going to school and often working to honor.

November 20th is UN Rights of the Child Day. “United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.

November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals as well as young people and children themselves can play an important part in making Universal Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.

Universal Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.” (source:

November 23rd is Thanksgiving.

November 25th is UN End Violence Against Women Day.  From the UN website:

“Why This International Day?

  • Violence against women is a human rights violation.
  • Violence against women is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women.
  • Violence against women impacts on, and impedes, progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
  • Violence against women and girls is not inevitable. Prevention is possible and essential.
  • Violence against women continues to be a global pandemic.

One of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is the substantial funding shortfall. As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking. Frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls, offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.

From 25 November through 10 DecemberHuman Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites you to “Orange the world,” using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Organize events to orange streets, schools and landmarks!”

I encourage you to wear orange…or make an orange ribbon and wear it from November 25 through December 10 to show your support and raise awareness.

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And so I leave you today with a Image result for thankful quotesfew quotes….


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Getting To Know You…Spotlight on Stephanie Lewson


Not everyone becomes a Soroptimist at first blush….And so it was for Stephanie Lewson.  Stephanie found out about Soroptimist by googling volunteer organizations in Huntington Beach and was impressed by our website (YAY) and our mission of women helping other women and girls but…she did not join right away.

In fact, Stephanie became an official member of SIHB in July 2017 after attending meetings and programs since February 2017.

In Stephanie’s words, “After attending several meetings and events and meeting various members in the group, I felt it was a good match for me and wanted to be part of this amazing group of women.”

Although Stephanie feels she is still getting to know us and all we do, being a Soroptimist to her is a new opportunity to “give back to the community and make a difference in someone’s life.”  And, along the way she is enjoying getting to know us and to making new friends.

It has been said by many seasoned Soroptimists that we join for the mission and stay for the friendships we make.

Stephanie hasn’t held any board positions yet but, we won’t hold that against her.  After all, she just really joined in July. ♥

So…as Stephanie gets to know us a little better, let’s take a few minutes to get to know Stephanie a little better too!

Stephanie began her career as a social worker working with developmentally challenged adults but retired early when she and her husband, Sam, began their family.

And speaking of Sam, I think it must have been love at first conversation…. Stephanie met Sam when she rsvp’d for an event he was leading for the Orange County sierra Club Singles group.  They talked on the phone for 3 hours and met in person 2 days later and as Stephanie says, “have been together ever since.”

Stephanie and Sam have lived in Huntington Beach for 27 years which is where their two sons were raised.  When both of her sons, now 25 and 21, respectively, were attending Huntington Beach High School, Stephanie was a very involved and active band booster and held various positions in the Oiler Music Guild for 8 years.  Is Stephanie hiding a talent from us?  A musical talent, maybe??

However, when I asked Stephanie about her hobbies, she only mentioned cooking and developing new recipes for people with severe food allergies.  Hopefully, we will get to see some of Stephanie’s culinary creations in the future.  She also enjoys shopping (a woman after many of our hearts) and exercising….especially when it is with my friends….Yes, exercising is always more enjoyable (I think) with friends.

Back to Stephanie’s and Sam’s children.  Her older son is a software engineer in the Silicon Valley, and their younger son is a Biotechnology major in his third year in college.

For those of you, like me,  who don’t know what Biotechnology is, here is a brief description from Wikipedia:
“Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use” .  Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the (related) fields bioengineering, biomedical engineering, biomanufacturing, molecular engineering, etc.”

But…do they play instruments…or sing???? You will need to ask Stephanie to find out the answers to those questions.

In conclusion, I asked Stephanie to describe herself in one word but, she came back with two: “Good Listener.”

Thank you Stephanie for choosing Soroptimist International Huntington Beach as the organization in Huntington Beach that you want to be involved with.  We are excited that you joined us, and we look forward to getting to know you better and better!





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International Day of the Girl Child – October 11, 2017



Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”
                           -United Nations Resolution 66/170

Did you know that October 11th was the International Day of the Girl Child?

Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.  Does that sound like Soroptimist?

International Day of the Girl Child (Day of the Girl) is celebrated annually on October 11 to highlight issues concerning the gender inequality facing young girls. This year’s theme is “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”

There are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential, however they are disappearing from public awareness and the international development agenda. Between inequities in secondary education to protection issues, adolescent girls are uniquely impacted and should benefit from targeted investments and programs that address their distinct needs. Investing in adolescent girls can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030. On this International Day of the Girl, join us in highlighting the unique challenges and potential of adolescent girls.

Day of the Girl-US is an 100% youth-led movement fighting for gender justice and youth rights. Our work to dismantle patriarchy and fight for social justice is rooted in girl-led activism across the country, using October 11th as a day of national action. We are outraged by the neglect and devaluation of female-identifying youth. We are committed to examining these issues within an intersectional framework, the inclusion of girls’ voices in the movement for social justice, and grassroots activism – and thus we advocate, educate, and organize. Day of the Girl-US is the United States arm of the global Day of the Girl movement, beginning in 2011.  It’s great to have such a day but in some respects sad that it took so long to have such a day, wouldn’t you agree?

October 11 is not just a day; it’s a movement.

A worldwide revolution.

We want ourselves, and girls everywhere, to be seen as equals, in the eyes of others and in our own eyes.

These are their beliefs:

  • Girls are the experts on issues that affect girls. The solutions to these issues must come from girls. Their voices need to be centralized and elevated in social justice conversations.
  • Girls from marginalized communities must be central in conversations about social justice issues involving those communities.
  • Truly effective social change cannot come without girls’ leadership.
  • Girls’ issues are intersectional. We must intentionally include people who are different from ourselves in our social change work. Otherwise we will not be able to make a meaningful impact – in fact, we could even do damage to huge populations of girls.

How did it begin?

In early 2011, members of School Girls Unite, an organization of students and young female leaders advocating for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, specifically gender equality, universal basic education, child marriage prevention, and other human rights issues, were sitting at a meeting, and someone brought up that countries around the world were beginning to organize to have an internationally recognized Day of the Girl. They began to search through the internet to see if anyone in the United States had begun organizing around this, but came up short. After discussing the idea, the young activists decided that our country was in need of a national day of action focused on girls’ rights and began to organize.

In December 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” You can read the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child for yourselves!

We continued organizing as the United States portion of this global movement. We began the Proclamation Project, where we had girls across the country prepare Day of the Girl proclamations and lobby their local government officials to pass them. Hundreds of counties across the country issued declarations after young activists utilized our Proclamation Project toolkit to aid them in their advocacy. In addition to encouraging girls across the country to proclaim the Day of the Girl in their communities, we worked hard to meet with members of the White House Coalition on Women and Girls and the U.S. State Department. It was this level of pressure that led to U.S. President Barack Obama proclaiming Day of the Girl in 2013 – a huge accomplishment that is credited to every young activist who took part in the Proclamation Project.   Source: 

This UN Day and event is so in concert with our mission to improve the lives of women and girls and in particular, our Dream It, Be It Career Support for girls in secondary schools.  Let’s remember October 11th…the Day of the Girl Child!

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Women in History – October


In many states in October, the leaves begin to turn beautiful colors of red, orange and yellow before turning brown and falling to the ground.  And…at the end of the month, we celebrate Halloween when we carve pumpkins and call them “jack-o-lanterns” and  children dress up in costumes and go trick or treating for sweet treats.

But did you know that October also marked some significant events for women?

Here are some of the highlights:

  • October 3, 1904 – Mary McLeod Bethune opens her first school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida
  • October 23, 1910 – Blanche Stuart Scott is the first American woman pilot to make a public flight
  • October 16, 1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the U.S.’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York
  • October 15, 1948 – Dr. Frances L. Willoughby is the first woman doctor in the regular U.S. Navy
  • October 24, 1956 – Reverend Margaret Towner is the first woman ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church
  • October 28, 1958 – Mary Roebling is the first woman director of a stock exchange (American Stock Exchange)
  • October 4, 1976 – Barbara Walters becomes the first woman co-anchor of the evening news (at ABC)
  • October 10, 1983 – Dr. Barbara McClintock receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her discovery in genetics about mobile genetic elements
  • October 11, 1984 – Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan is the first U.S. woman astronaut to “walk” in space during Challenger flight
  • October 4, 1993 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the U.S. Supreme Court as its second woman Justice
  • October 8, 1993 – Toni Morrison becomes the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

And, in case you are curious, many notable women were born in the month of October, many you many not have heard of and some you have but all who have made a contribution to improving the lives and status of women and girls.

  • October 11, 1884 (1962) – Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights advocate, feminist, author, world diplomat, former First Lady (1933-45)
  • October 10, 1888 (1980) – Dorothy Ferebee, finally gained medical internship at Freedman’s Hospital despite rampant sexism, then built a 47-year association with Howard University hospital and the District of Columbia
  • October 10, 1900 (1993) – Helen Hayes, actress and “First Lady of the Stage,” began in stock companies, at 17 starred as Pollyanna, in 1930s starred as Mary Queen of Scotland and Queen Victoria, won first Tony award in 1947
  • October 9, 1892 (1992) – Abigail Eliot, founding member of the National Association for Nursery Education (1933), helped monitor quality and establish standards
  • October 9, 1884 (1982) – Helene Deutsch, psychoanalyst, wrote 2-volume The Psychology of Women (1944-45) with emphasis on motherhood
  • October 2, 1895 (1990) – Ruth Streeter, when Marines recruited women she became a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (1943), recruited men and women for active service
  • October 3, 1897 (1982) – Ruth Bronson, Bureau of Indian Affairs official who got loans for Indian students, National Congress of American Indians forced authorities to honor treaties (1944), wrote Indians are People, Too
  • October 2, 1919 (1997) – Shirley Clarke, filmmaker, produced avant-garde films in 1950s and 60s including “Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World,” which won an academy award for best feature documentary
  • October 6, 1914 (1997) – Mary Louise Smith, Republican Party committeewoman and chair (1974-77), supporter of ERA and pro-choice
  • October 6, 1917 (1977) – Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights leader and voting rights crusader, helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964)
  • October 7, 1913 (2005) – Elizabeth Janeway, social analyst of 20th century women’s equality drive, wrote Man’s World, Women’s Place (1971) and Powers of the Weak (1980)
  • October 7, 1920 (1994) – Kathryn Clarenback, founding member of the National Organization for Women, executive director of the National Committee on the Observance of International Women’s Year (1977)
  • October 1, 1935 – Dame Julie Andrews, versatile film and stage actress, won an academy award for “Mary Poppins” (1964)
  • October 5, 1959 – Maya Lin, artist and architect of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. (1980-82) and other public sculptures, author of Boundaries (2000)
  • and more…

For more information, go to the National Women’s History Project.

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UN International Day of Peace – September 21, 2017

UN International Day of Peace
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political.

On the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, people around the world take part in various activities and organize events centered on the theme “peace”. Events vary from private gatherings to public concerts and forums involving large audiences. Activities include:

  • Interfaith peace ceremonies.
  • A toast for peace.
  • A peace choir.
  • Lighting candles.
  • Peace prayers.
  • A peace convoy of vehicles.
  • Tree planting for peace.
  • Art exhibitions promoting peace.
  • Picnics for peace.
  • Peace walks.


    A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The assembly decided in 2001 that the International Day of Peace should be annually observed on September 21 starting from 2002. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

    By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal. Since its inception, Peace Day has marked personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people worldwide and many events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate this day.


    The peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak is one of the most commonly featured symbols for the day. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam a white dove is generally a sign for peace. The dove can also represent “hope for peace” or a peace offering from one person to another, hence the phrase “to extend an olive branch”. Often, the dove is represented as still in flight to remind people of its role as messenger.


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A Woman of Action…Spotlight on Sylvia Harsin


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Her smile is a warm, winning smile and that is exactly the feeling you get when you first meet Sylvia Harsin!

Here is how Sylvia, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, describes herself: “I have been a professional Realtor in the Huntington Beach area for over 25 years. Combining my years of industry sales with solid knowledge of the California real estate market, I try and create a positive buying and selling experience for all of my clients. I understand the true meaning and value of integrity and service, I believe my adaptable personality brings a host of market information and industry skills to the table…”and she adds, “There is nothing that I enjoy better than helping people reach their Goals!”

Sylvia joined Soroptimist in July 2017 after meeting Anne Gillespie, who she says is an “awesome neighbor.”  And…she immediately began to give back.  Sylvia generously paid for the meeting room we used for our retreat but, that’s not all….She provided each of us with a water bottle and a beautiful bookmark but…that’s not all…when Cathy Standiford asked if anyone wanted to be the Assistant Treasurer, Sylvia quickly volunteered.

She also joined our Fundraising Committee and joined us at our first committee meeting on Saturday, September 9, to help plan our first FUNdraiser, our annual Wine Tasting.

When asked what made her decide to join Soroptimist, she said that “once Anne explained to me what Soroptimist was all about…I knew I wanted to be a part of this great organization.”  (Author’s aside: Anne is our VP of Membership….perfect position for her, don’t you think??)

Sylvia is my kind of girl…..When asked if she had a hobby, she responded, “I enjoy exploring different restaurants, and I appreciate Fine Wine!”  (something many club members also enjoy!)

She travels for fun when she can and has seen most of Italy including the Tuscany area and the South of France.

Currently she is enjoying “being by myself” but her 9 nieces and nephews have always been a “huge part of her life” and now their children are the same.

On a sad note, Sylvia lost her mother 3 years ago and more recently, her nephew, Jason Christopher Finan (Navy),  who was a Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician out of Mobil Unit 3 (San Diego) who had been deployed with his platoon to Iraq in support of SEAL Team Five and Special Operations Task Force-Iraq as an EOD Supervisor and Platoon Leading Chief Petty Officer (October 20, 2016).  We know you are very proud of him, Sylvia, and must miss him very much.

On a happier note, when I asked Sylvia to describe herself in one word, she said, “Fun!!”

We are so excited that you decided to join us, Sylvia!  We welcome you with a great big SIHB hug!

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A Woman of Beauty and Grace…Spotlight on Margie Bunten



We can thank Pat Davis, a longtime member, for Margie Bunten joining SIHB in September, 2002.

Margie said she joined SIHB “because of the women who were involved and the hands-on community involvement” and giving back to the community seems to be what Margie Bunten does best!

Margie & her husband of 49 years, Charlie, have resided in Huntington Beach since 1975 and, as well as her current membership and involvement with Soroptimist International Huntington Beach she has served on the Huntington Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau, Project Self-Sufficiency and the El Viento Foundation.  She was also a director on the Advisory Boards for the Huntington Beach Assistance League and the HB Council on Aging.

In 2011, the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce honored Margie as the Huntington Beach Outstanding Citizen of the Year.  In her nomination letter, Norma Brandel-Gibbs wrote, “Her tireless enthusiasm in support of those in need is an inspiration to us all.  Our community has benefited from her dedication, and her visionary leadership has opened doors for many disadvantaged individuals and organizations.”

Margie was also the recipient of the Athena International Award from the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, which is presented to a woman, or man, who is honored for attaining professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their achievement of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Prior to retiring, Margie spent over 20 years as a member of the Golden West College Community and for 18 years, she was the Executive Director of the GWC Foundation, Public Information Officer and Community Liaison.  In that position, she was on many boards including those mentioned above and  also the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital & Medical Center Governing Board and the Golden West College Patrons. As the Foundations’s Executive Director, she oversaw the operations of the Foundation office, its scholarship program and its fundraising events as well as community relations.

Margie’s position was made for her. She  graduated from Chapman University and went on to achieve a certificate in fundraising from UC Irvine and complete the Fund Raising School from Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy.

And speaking of Chapman University…and Charlie…As I mentioned earlier Margie & Charlie have been married 49 years.  They began dating as seniors in high school, dated through Chapman University and then got married.  In Margie’s words, “We are still crazy about each other!”

Margie & Charlie are proud parents to two grown sons: Dave, a Family Medicine Doctor in Irvine who is married to Jen and father to Allyson, 8, and Josh, 4, and Tom, a Senior Sales Executive, who is married to Sheila, a Spanish teacher who teaches at her alma mater, Fountain Valley High School, and father to Katie, 8, and Michael, 6.

These days, Margie is trying to limit her community work (to SIHB, Golden West College Patrons & Fountain Valley Regional Hospital) to allow time to travel the globe for fun and spend more time golfing at their Palm Springs condo “retreat”.

Last year, Margie & Charlie, cruised from Venice to Barcelona and took many road trips, the most recent was to Mammoth, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Paso Robles and back home,  but their true passion is being “Grammy and Gramps” to their four grandchildren.

And, when Margie isn’t traveling, spending time with her grandchildren or doing community work, she enjoys “having fun with good friends…walking and golf, lots of golf.”

I asked Margie to describe herself in one word and she replied with, “an optimist who enjoys being around people….that was not one word.”

Thank you for making Soroptimist International Huntington Beach special, Margie Bunten.  We love you!

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A Native Californian Who Loves Cooking and Horses….Spotlight on Vera Austin


vera austin

It took Vera Austin 27 years from when she first heard about Soroptimist until she joined in June, 2017.

When asked what made her decide to become a Soroptimist, Vera said, “It is time to give back”, and that she is “proud to be part of such a professional organization.”

So…who is Vera…and how does she fill her days?

Vera is a Sr. Benefits Analyst for Bowermaster and Associates for the last 34 years.  she specializes in self-insured medical plans for employer-sponsored groups. But, Vera’s involvement with the insurance world didn’t begin with Bowermaster.  The following was taken from Vera’s profile on Bowermaster’s website.

“Vera has been involved in the insurance business for more than 40 years and in 1972, she started her own insurance agency. There she met friends who looked to her for answers for how to best protect themselves – answers that, as time went on, helped her gain more and more expertise. Vera sold her insurance business to Bill Bowermaster in 1983, someone with whom she found a shared vision of how best to provide this vital service. She has been very happy with that decision – and so are her friends.”

While Vera doesn’t claim to have any hobbies, she says she is a representative for SEARET, a wellness company.  To learn more about SEARET, you will need to ask Vera!

Since Vera is a brand new member, she hasn’t held any Board positions yet but, who knows what the future holds???  She says the last year has found her “close to home” but does that mean that travel is not in the foreseeable future??  And…is there a significance to her email…antiquevera?

Please take the time to get to know Vera and welcome her into our club!

Thank you for joining us, Vera!  Looking forward to learning more about SEARET, your love of cooking and horses!

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