Woman of Distinction Award 2022

Sharon Van Gundy

Presented by Marci Friedlander

 This year’s Woman of Distinction has been a long-term active member of the Santa Barbara Associates. 

I first met her in the mid 90’s when I first joined Santa Barbara Associates.  She was so outgoing and full of energy and kindness – I felt especially welcomed by her as a new member of the organization.

Nikki Ayers said the first time she met our recipient, it was at the Annual meeting where she was to be presented as the next SBA president.  She wasn’t supposed to chair the meeting, but the outgoing president at the time called her about a half-hour before the meeting started, and told her she couldn’t make it.  She handled the meeting with grace and style.  One of the members who was the event chair, guided her through the night.  In Nikki’s words, if she were put in our recipient’s position, “she would have passed out.”

During her three terms as president, our award recipient moved us along from having everything done on paper and sent by mail, to using technology to perform these time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks that included newsletters, ballots, and anything else members needed.  She invested a lot of her time setting up a new website, reaching out to new members, and keeping things together during one of many transitions of our organization. 

Due to some unusual circumstances, besides leading the organization as president, she had to take over the treasurer’s position.  At that time, I was the secretary.  I would pick up the mail at the P.O. Box, and leave it at my front door for her to pick up on her way to her office.  I was worried about how she would be able to do everything – she and her husband were raising 5 children, she worked full-time in high level technology positions, and at one point was sponsoring a musical group she invited to live with her family!

Along the way, she has enjoyed additional grandchildren, several job promotions, and has been an asset to the SBA Boards for many years after her time as president.  She is currently an Administrator of Information Technology Services at the Santa Barbara Education Office.

 It is my pleasure to announce our Woman of Distinction, Sharon Van Gundy