Cathy Standiford featured on Giving Back Podcast


Cathy Standiford, a retired City Manager and Local Government Consultant, a volunteer mentor for Write Girl, is a 30-year member of Soroptimist International and a member of our club, Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach. As a woman of faith, Cathy believes it is her purpose to serve, mentor, and empower young women. On the Giving Back Podcast,  Cathy discusses the two organizations that are close to her heart and how it inspires her every day post-retirement! 

Cathy’s interview will be on the home page until Monday next week, and then it will be available in the podcast archives.

Congratulations to our very own, Cathy Standiford!

Image result for woman congratulating women






About the show:

“For people who want to hear about great work being performed by charities, personal stories of how and why our guests support their favorite charity, and learn different ways each of us can take action and get involved in a cause we are passionate about, this is the right place.”

The Giving Back podcast celebrates their heartfelt commitment and the great work of the charities they support. We’ll have three shows a week and you can expect three things on every show:

First, we shine the spotlight on a charity. We talk about both the problem they are solving and the impact they have on the people they serve.

Second, our guests talk about how and why they got involved with a charity or cause. They have some pretty amazing stories.

Third, we focus on you, our listener. You’ll walk away from each show with ideas and resources you can use to make a difference on a cause you feel passionate about.”

To hear Cathy and others, go to


Posted in charitable organizations, empowered women, empowering women, making a difference, member spotlight, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Empowered Women in History – April


It always amazes me how many empowered women in history I discover each month. (Thank you Google.) April is no different.

Here are a few of the women in history who have made a difference in changing how women are viewed.

Florence A. Blanchfield, U.S. Army Colonel and superintendent of the Army Nursing Corps from 1943 to 1947.

April 01, 1940COURTESY: TED
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize-winning Kenyan political and environmental activist.

Emmylou Harris, singer-songwriter and 13-time Grammy winner.

April 03, 1934© KARL AMMANN/CORBIS
Jane Goodall, legendary primatologist

April 04, 1928COURTESY: BET
Maya Angelou, acclaimed poet and civil rights activist.

Dolores Huerta, labor leader, civil rights activist and, along with Cesar Chavez, co-founder of United Farm Workers.

To see more movers and shakers born in April, go to 50 Badass Women Born in April.

Posted in charitable organizations, empowered women, empowering women, making a difference, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

9 Empowered Women Who Defied The Odds


They believed they could…and they did….9 Empowered women who defied the odds and succeeded in making a difference or changing the status quo…from Oprah Winfrey to Lydie Hakizimana.

“DESPITE the voices of skepticism, she believed in her instinct. She set up a book store despite the talk that it would not survive its first birthday in a country with a poor reading culture. But Lydie Hakizimana did not give up on her dream and indeed she stood out of the crowd. Today her book store serves over 3000 schools across the country.” (source:The New Times Rwanda’s Leading Daily)

Gaudence Mushimiyimana's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and closeup

“Gaudence Mushimiyimana, co-founder and the executive director of a Rwandan organisation of women with disabilities (UNAB), shared her experience and how far UNAB has gone in empowering more than 500 women with disabilities.

“Taking a bold action needs a strong reason to do so, seeing disabled women chasing their goals always motivates me to help disabled women wherever they are because I know behind their disability there is ability. That’s why I started a private company that provides them with skills to succeed. I would like you to take a bold action to help a disabled person as well,” she said.”  (source:The New Times Rwanda’s Leading Daily)

“Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American medical school, after overcoming several odds against her – including admittance to an all-male institution and financing medical school. With Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, and her sister Emily, who also became a doctor, she opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1856.” (source:

“Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the first elected female head of state in Africa when she took office as the President of Liberia in January 2006. She signed a Freedom of Information bill (the first of its kind in West Africa) and made reduction of the national debt a cornerstone of her Presidency. To investigate crimes committed during Liberia’s civil war, she established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and became a global icon with her commitment to fighting dictators, corruption and poverty through empowerment of women and girls.” (source

“Wangari Muaathai was a Kenyan scientist, professor, environmental and political activist. She was the first woman in East or Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and is credited with founding the Green Belt Movement, a community initiative that seeks to empower women through civic education and environmental stewardship. In 2004, for her work on sustainable development, democracy and peace, she became the first African woman, and first environmentalist, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.”(source:

“Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, human rights activist, and the first female judge in Iran. After Khomeini’s revolution in 1979 she was dismissed as a judge. She then opened a legal practice to defend people being persecuted by the authorities. In 2000 she herself was imprisoned for having criticized her country’s hierocracy. She won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially those of women, children and refugees. She is the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the prize.” (source:

“Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani advocate for girls education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. In 2009, when Malala was just eleven she began blogging about life under the Taliban, speaking out directly against their threats to close girls’ schools. (Pakistan has the second highest number of children out of school and two-thirds of them are female.) The blog on BBC Urdu garnered international attention while also making her the target of death threats. In October 2012, a gunman shot her and two other girls as they were coming home from school. Malala survived the attack and in 2013 published an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.” (

Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history.

Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history.  Born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee, she has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.[15]

Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school. By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news. Winfrey’s often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place,[16]she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

In 2004, Winfrey and her team filmed an episode of her show, Oprah’s Christmas Kindness, in which Winfrey traveled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS. During the 21-day trip, Winfrey and her crew visited schools and orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and distributed Christmas presents to 50,000 children,[209] with dolls for the girls and soccer balls for the boys, and school supplies. Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate money to Oprah’s Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa.

From that show alone, viewers around the world donated over $7,000,000. Winfrey invested $40 million and some of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The school set over 22 acres, opened in January 2007 with an enrollment of 150 pupils (increasing to 450) and features state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science laboratories, a library, theatre, and beauty salon. Nelson Mandela praised Winfrey for overcoming her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others. Winfrey, who has no surviving biological children, described maternal feelings towards the girls at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.[211][212] Winfrey teaches a class at the school via satellite. (source: wikipedia)


Posted in charitable organizations, empowered women, empowering women, making a difference, soroptimist hb news, women in history | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soroptimist Huntington Beach’s Day of Empowerment


On Saturday, January 26, 2019, Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach hosted 19 women to a Day of Empowerment.  The “day” included a continental breakfast, a shopping spree compliments of The Assistance League of Huntington Beach’s Operation New Beginnings, a workshop on balancing stress, lunch compliments of Jersey Mike’s in Westminster, sharing and a “swag” bag! Childcare, for those who needed it was provided by a licensed childcare provider.
To sum up our annual event in a sentence…Empowered women empowering women.Amazing volunteers and supporters….Soroptimist Huntington Beach, Soroptimist Westminster, Soroptimist Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs, The Assistance League of Huntington Beach, Golden West College Cosmetology Department, Golden West College CARE Program, Jersey Mikes, Joanne Filippi, professional hairdresser, Cindy Wortman, volunteer-at-large…We thank you all!!



Posted in charitable organizations, empowered women, empowering women, making a difference, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month


Image result for national human trafficking awareness month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Join with Soroptimists all around the globe in putting an end to human trafficking…especially women!

This January learn how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and where to report it.

We, at Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach, invite you to join us at our January 24th Program Meeting and listen to the experts talk about the demand right here in Orange County and what we can do as concerned citizens.  For more information, go to our Meetings & Events page or email us at

Here are some of the indicators:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

“Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.”

Knowing the key indicators and taking action may save someone’s life.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - January 11


Posted in charitable organizations, empowering women, human trafficking, making a difference, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Gender Equality Matters for ALL 17 UN Sustainability Development Goals


Gender Equality needs to be the norm globally not the exception and our work as Soroptimists to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment does make a difference.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That has been shortened to “2030 Agenda.” (source: Wikipedia)

“Turning promises into action” is UN Women’s global report on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It makes an urgent call to step up efforts to end discrimination against women and girls everywhere. (source:

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 1

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 2

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 3

Why gender equality matters to achieving SDG 4

For a complete listing of all 17 SDG’s and why our work to transform the lives of women and girls, please go to

Thank you Cathy Standiford for submitting this information and for connecting us with the Women’s UN Report Network. 

The Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN) “addresses the human rights, oppression, and empowerment of women and girls all over the globe.”




Posted in charitable organizations, empowering women, making a difference, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting My Blessings


Counting my blessings is something I do on a daily basis…I even own a “blessings” bracelet.  And, it seemed to me, at this “giving” time of year to share some thoughts and blessings with you.

But…before I begin, I want to take a few moments to thank some special people and companies whose generous giving to our club is enabling us to support more women and girls through our “dream” programs, our Dolly Wakeham, “adopted mom” program, our Day of Empowerment and more.

In no particular order…thank you:
Weikko Wirta & AES Huntington Beach
Alisa Armstrong & Big Bear Cool Cabins
Diana Perna & PK Real Estate
Jennifer Klein
Mary Sue Bowden
Walmart Huntington Beach
The Shenkman’s
The Huntington Beach Assistance League
Matt Liffreing Marketworks
Dan Ciscel & Jersey Mike’s
Christine Soresi
Cathy Standiford
Heather Menchine
and all of the other members of SI Huntington Beach, not mentioned above,  who devote time, energy and funds to make a difference in the lives of women and girls!

Our donation to Project Self Sufficiency’s Christmas Party 2018 – 6 Giraffe Big Wheels

And so…my blessings…again, in no particular order:
My health
My husband who supports me in everything I do
My friends…both near and far
My Soroptimist club whose generosity in all ways at all times never ceases to amaze me
My “fur baby”, Spirit, who constantly lives up to her name
All of the women who have come into my life because, I am a Soroptimist
All of the women we have served and their successes
Being able to laugh…even at myself
Our club’s belief in the Soroptimist Dream Programs: Live Your Dream & Dream It,
Be It and our knowing that our investment in these programs does make a difference in the lives we touch
I know I could go on and on with my list but will finish with what’s in my heart: I may not be a wealthy woman but, I am rich in blessings!

So, as we get ready to ring in a new year, instead of asking you what your resolutions are, I will leave you with this:



Posted in soroptimist hb news | Leave a comment

Empowered Women


“To be empowered means to be in control of your life, aware of your capabilities, and ready to take on even your biggest dreams.

An empowered woman is someone who knows her strengths and isn’t afraid to embrace them.

Empowered women aren’t perfect; in fact, empowered women mess up, a lot. But they learn from their mistakes, and they’re not afraid to get back on the horse after a disappointment. Empowered women take risks and they work hard to ensure that those risks pay off. They build their empire brick by brick, and they aren’t afraid to toss a brick at someone who tries to tear them down. Being empowered means being determined, confident, and fearless.

To be an empowered woman means not only believing in yourself, but also believing in those around you. Empowered women empower women. They lift up their peers, and they’re willing to help you lift that brick that’s a little heavier than the rest. A key to being empowered is surrounding yourself with hardworking, successful, empowered women who can encourage you and be an example for you when times get tough.” (source:

Dr Carolyn Heldman, PhD, chair of the politics department at Occidental College and the woman behind the Ted Talk, The Sexy Lie, was asked, “What does it mean to be an empowered female?”

She answered,  “I think for women it’s hard to be empowered today because we’re born into a culture that teaches women to view our bodies as projects. We make our bodies our primary value, and we’re taught to do that very young, well before we’re conscious of being thinking, acting beings.”

If you look at many of the commercials that air today on television, you will probably agree  with Dr. Heldman, as many continue to exploit women as “sexy” objects not smart ones.

The Me Too Movement, along with empowered women both past and present, are helping to change how women today perceive themselves and are perceived by others…otherwise strong women finding their voices and speaking out…that is, in the United States but, in other parts of the world, that freedom doesn’t exist.

Yesterday, I attended the Desert Coast Region District III Fall Meeting.  The keynote speaker, Shemayel, one of three 2018 Soroptimist International of the Americas Live Your Dream recipients, spoke of life in her native country, Afghanistan.  Women in Afghanistan do not have rights – they don’t even have the right to seek medical help when they are birthing their children, and certainly, they don’t have to right to an education.

Our Soroptimist mission, to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment, is a global mission…for women and girls here in Huntington Beach and for those around the world.

And so, today, I would like to end with the following about two women:

Image result for mary roebling imageOn October 28, 1958, Mary Roebling became the first woman governor of a stock exchange, The American Stock Exchange, and on May 22, 2018, Stacey Cunningham, age 43, became the first president of the New York Stock Exchange in its 226 year history.  The ultimate glass ceiling may not be broken yet but…it certainly is cracked.

Stacey Cunningham, standing in the Stock Exchange on 22 May, joined the NYSE as a summer intern 24 years ago.






Posted in charitable organizations, empowered women, empowering women, making a difference, soroptimist hb news, women in history | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October is National Violence Awareness Month


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Day of Unity to connect battered women’s advocates across the country.Image result for break the cycle image

“Every October, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle. Here are just a few ways that’s happening this month:

  • #VoicesHavePower: We partnered with HopeLine from Verizon to raise awareness through their #VoicesHavePower campaign through the end of October. For every message that contains the hashtag #VoicesHavePower, is submitted through the website or is texted to #94079, Verizon will donate $3 towards preventing domestic violence. Let your voice be heard and send a message right now!
  • It’s On Us: Take the pledge to keep women and men safe from sexual assault and avoid being a bystander. This simple commitment says you will recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault and will intervene in situations where consent hasn’t been given.
  • NFL and The Hotline: The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which helps service the loveisrespect peer advocate lines of communication, has helped over three million callers since it began. Now they’re teaming up with the National Football League, which will provide significant resources to meet demand for services. This means more people than ever will be able to call and receive support about their relationships.

Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Now is time to take a stand. Support survivors and speak out against domestic violence all month long.

If you need assistance or want to talk to someone about domestic violence, call 1-866-331-9474 to speak with a trained peer advocate.”

For more information, go to:

Young school girls organize themselves before the March to End Gender-Based Violence in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  One sign reads: "Refrain from using abusive language for Women and Children" Photo: UN Women/Deepika Nath

Posted in charitable organizations, human trafficking, making a difference, soroptimist hb news | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Time to Celebrate the International Day of Girls


Today, October 11, the women of SI Huntington Beach celebrate the International Day of Girls.

Image result for international day of the girl

International Day of Girls is an international observance day declared by the United Nations. Also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of Girls, October 11, 2012, was the first Day of Girls.

The women of Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach empower girls by participating in Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls, one of the two Soroptimist International of the Americas signature programs.  Dream It, Be It, a mentorship program, equips girls with the knowledge to reach their education and career goals.   As a result,  girls between the ages of 14 and 18 are better able to shape their futures with more self-confidence.

Did you know that millions of girls around the globe are being denied access to education? Without an education, girls are more susceptible to sex trafficking, living in poverty and entering into and remaining in abusive relationships.

The observation of the International Day of Girls increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based alone on their gender, something that all of the women who are members of Soroptimist International strive to eliminate.

The celebration of the day also “reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.” (source: Wikipedia)


“The International Day of Girls initiative began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates worldwide.[11] The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing Girls globally and in developing countries in particular. Plan International representatives in Canada approached the Canadian federal government to seek to the coalition of supporters raised awareness of the initiative internationally. Eventually, Plan International urged the United Nations to become involved.[12]

International Day of Girls was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly. Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution; a delegation of women and Girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution adopting October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of Girls.[13] The resolution states that the Day of Girls recognizes:
  (the) empowerment of and investment in girls, which are critical for economic                   growth, the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals, including                               the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty, as well as the meaningful                            participation of girls in decisions that affect them, are key in breaking the cycle                   of  discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and                         effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognizing also that empowering               girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and the                      active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and  care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community […] 

Each year’s Day of Girls has a theme; the first was “ending child marriage”,]the second, in 2013, was “innovating for girl’s education”, the third, in 2014, was “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.”]and the fourth, in 2015 was “The Power of Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030”. The 2016 theme was “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.”[5] The 2017 theme was “EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises”.

By 2013, worldwide, there were around 2,043 events for Day of Girls.] Theme for 2018: ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force'”  (source: Wikipedia).


Posted in making a difference, soroptimist hb news, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment