Recipients honored for overcoming barriers in achieving personal, professional success
(Carlsbad, California) – Timed to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and to celebrate its own milestone of serving 1,000 women through its programs, Leap to Success honors seven San Diego County women with its inaugural “I Leap Awards.”
Dana Bristol-Smith, founder and executive director of Leap to Success, says the awards are designed to recognize bold women in our community who inspire other women to break through barriers and take courageous action.
Leap to Success sought nominations among women who met the following criteria:
A woman who:
• Has achieved significant personal and career goals, possibly as the first woman to do so.
• Has overcome adversity/broken through barriers in her own life.
–Poverty, cultural, gender, domestic abuse, illness, homelessness, substance abuse, or other major life challenges.
• Is an inspiring role model to women.
• Is a leader in her community and/or her organization.
The 2016 winners announced today are:
• Dr. Sunny Cooke, Superintendent/President, Mira Costa College
• Laura Eubanks, Owner, Design For Serenity
• Ashley Hayek, President, Golden State Consultants
• Kristen Paruginog, Founder and Executive Director, Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence
• Jacqueline Reynoso, CEO and President, National City Chamber of Commerce
• Beth Thorp, Co-Founder, Mitchell Thorp Foundation
• Chief Shelly Zimmerman, San Diego Police Department
NOTE: See additional details about each recipient following the release.
In a departure from the traditional awards luncheon or dinner event, Leap to Success honored each award winner with a beautiful designed “I Leap Award” pin, presented to the recipient in a personal ceremony. Following the pinning, the recipient sat down for an interview with Dana Bristol-Smith, which was produced into a video featuring her advice to inspire other women.
The first video featuring Kristen Paruginog of “Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence” makes its debut today. Additional videos will be released every few days through the remainder of National Domestic Violence Month on the Leap to Success YouTube channel, website, and via social media including Facebook and Twitter @
See the video here.
“We have all been to many wonderful award events,” said Dana Bristol-Smith. “But this time, an event didn’t suit our broader purpose to offer these women as role models and examples for women everywhere. It is especially important to us at Leap to Success to offer the stories of our recipients as words of hope for the women we work with who are struggling to overcome their own barriers in life.
“What I didn’t expect was how much all of us at Leap to Success would feel newly energized and inspired by these amazing women. It has renewed our own sense of purpose and encourages us to work ever harder to reach our next 1,000 courageous women with our programs,” said Bristol-Smith.
Leap to Success was founded in 2008 to assist survivors of domestic violence build self-esteem, self-confidence and the communication skills needed to succeed in job interviews and in the workplace, and ultimately become self-supporting to break the cycle of violence. Since its first program with just six women, 1,000 women who have overcome life challenges including homelessness, addiction and mental illness as well as domestic violence have graduated from Leap to Success programs.