2021 Nominees

PAULA BAHAMON
Vice President-Community Development Officer, Mission Valley Bank
Nominated by MEND (Meet Each Need With Dignity) and Janet Marinaccio

Paula serves as secretary on MEND’s board of directors where she is valued as a “connector” who brings others who share her values to contribute to MEND’s mission of helping others in need. Her mix of compassion and keen business sense have helped the organization tremendously. Other organizations she has contributed to include Woodbury University, where she has been a board member, Boy Scouts of America in Van Nuys, where she has been a committee member and chair as well as the Episcopal Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Charles in Granada Hills and the Valley Economic Alliance.

CINDY CHERNOW
Chernow Consulting
Nominated by April Lindh and Alejandra Hernandez

Since 2010, Cindy has been an active volunteer at Chrysalis, the organization that provides resources and support to find and retain employment for homeless and low-income individuals. There she has taught job preparation skills and has helped its clients gain the confidence they need to succeed. She hosts multiple fundraisers a year for causes such as the Tuberous Sclerosis Walk Campaign and CSUN Scholarship Campaign. Over the years, she has been involved as a school volunteer and in organizations such as AIDS Walk Los Angeles, Habitat for Humanity, Christmas in April, Los Angeles and with Rotary International projects.

TIMOTHY GASPAR

CEO, Gaspar Insurance Services Inc.
Nominated by West Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce, West Valley YMCA.

Tim is known as someone who delivers results for the volunteer organizations in which he is involved. He has been involved in youth programs, beautification projects and other events for the West Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce. He lends his business acumen to business district and economic development projects. He is a hands-on volunteer and has been active with the West Valley YMCA, Discovery Cube of Los Angeles, Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley, LAPD Topanga Boosters and Valley Cultural Foundation. He says he’s a big believer in being “the change you want to see in the world.”

KIM GUARD
Owner, Express Employment Professionals
Nominated by Ascencia and The Campbell Center

Kim has actively participated in countless ways for the organizations in which she is involved by offering time, money and resources from chairing committees to staying late to clean up at events. Officials at The Campbell Center credit her acumen and ingenuity in their fundraising efforts for being an integral part in helping them achieve a 47 percent increase in fund development dollars in a year. Kim has also been a board officer for The Valley Economic Alliance, Ascencia and the Kiwanis Club of Glendale. Kim believes that her purpose in life is to help others and to encourage others to volunteer.

TAMARA GURNEY
President, CEO, Mission Valley Bank
Nominated by Charles Crumpley and Marianne Haver Hill

The founder of Mission Valley Bank, Tamara has helped countless small businesses in the Valley stay in business by offering financing when they couldn’t get it anywhere else especially during the recent pandemic. This has not only helped these businesses but also the local economy. She helped establish the Community Foundation of the Valleys (CFV) which has distributed grants to smaller non-profits in the area. Tamara has also been actively involved with The Valley Economic Alliance, Valley Economic Development Corp. and Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita.

CAROL LOWEREE
North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
Nominated by Nancy Cartwright and North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce

Carol is a big part of the North Valley Regional Chamber’s efforts to connect its members with the schools in the community and has tutored hundreds of at-risk kids in the North Valley. She has volunteered with several local organizations and causes including the LAPD Jeopardy, PALS and Jr. Cadets programs, San Fernando Valley Coalition on Gangs and the Parents Center at Glenwood Elementary and East Valley High. Carol feels a responsibility to help at-risk youngsters who are falling behind in school and give them the confidence to succeed in life.

JERI DYE LYNCH
Conor Lynch Foundation
Nominated by Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and Nicola Khan.

Jeri has worked tirelessly to make our streets safer through her work with the Conor Lynch Foundation and Families for Safe Streets and has captured worldwide attention in this cause with her push for road safety legislation. Her work has also educated hundreds of thousands of teens and adults on street safety and distracted driving. She also works for the general welfare of women and girls in the Valley and greater Los Angeles. Jeri has also been involved in volunteer efforts for Notre Dame High School, Holy Cross Mothers Guild, LA Walks, the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and Shane’s Inspiration.

LOUISE OLIVER
Regional Operations Officer, Goodwill Southern California
Nominated by The Valley Economic Alliance and San Fernando Community Health Center.

Louise has many decades of service at many local non-profits not only at her employer Goodwill of Southern California but at other organizations where she has volunteered her time. She has leveraged and shared her relationships as the result of this service for the benefit of all. Her role as a mentor at the San Fernando Community Health Center, a young non-profit, has helped that organization grow. The organizations who owe Louise gratitude for her service include The Valley Economic Alliance, Century Housing Corp., Salvation Army, Shelter Partnership, Harry Pregerson Childcare Center, Mission Community Hospital and Boys & Girls Club Los Angeles.

KASHMIRA OMAR
CEO, Unique Individuals
Nominated by Moses T. Olamiti and Patricia Khayyam

The list of causes and organizations that have benefited from Kashmira’s 30-year service in the community is long and diverse. Her causes include at-risk youth, homeless women and children, the elderly, domestic violence victims and the terminally ill. Organizations she has worked with include the Special Olympics, Los Angeles Public Library, Country Villa, Reading Partners, School on Wheels, Beauty Bus Foundation, Union Rescue Mission, Downtown Women’s Center, Penny Lane Centers, Catholic Charities and Haven Hills. Kashmira says she loves her community and serving it is necessary and spiritually rewarding.

JORGE RABASO
Office of Jorge Rabaso
Nominated by New Economics for Women and Alex Guerrero

Jorge is the founder of the Hispanic Business Network, an association of Hispanic entrepreneurs in Los Angeles made up of immigrants from different countries. Among his many community efforts, Jorge has given financial, insurance and motivational talks to businesspeople. He is a champion on bringing people together helping them learn from each other through networking. He has been involved with MEND, Valley Presbyterian Hospital and founded one of the most well-known bilingual Toastmasters groups in the U.S. He has also served as a volunteer advisor to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles where he has worked with thousands of parishioners on the importance of financial planning.

DIANA SANCHEZ
Public & Community Relations Director, Los Angeles World Airports-Van Nuys
Nominated by Encino Chamber of Commerce and Mid-Valley YMCA.

Diana believes in enriching the lives of all residents of the Valley and is always first to volunteer for a project or event especially when it involves kids. According to one associate, Diana is “the consummate volunteer that every organization wishes they could clone.” She gets heavily involved in an event and shows up early and stays late. Diana has been involved with many organizations for many years including the Mid-Valley YMCA, Encino Chamber of Commerce, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Valley Family Center, Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, The Valley Economic Alliance, Greater Van Nuys Rotary and Valley Cultural Center.

TAMMY SCHER
Owner, Forgotten Treasurez
Nominated by Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club of Entertainment Industry Group.

Tammy is a true community leader. Despite owning her own business, she stepped up and did the job of acting CEO for the past year at the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce when it had to let go its paid staff due to the pandemic. She’s also an advocate for youth in the Valley, helping form CHAMPS, a charter high school for the arts, because she knew the arts are important for the mental health and well-being of students. Tammy believes volunteering is a two-way street. She says it helps her, among other things, grow as a person, and familiarize herself with the community.

KATHLEEN STERLING
Publisher, Valley News Group
Nominated by Sherry Keowen and Gail Brow

Kathleen is a great communicator. Through her four newspapers, Sterling supports almost every nonprofit in the Valley — donating both ad and editorial space to promote their programs and events. She gets the word out about important issues and fights for things in the community. She has also been a great volunteer with her time for local organizations such as Valley Cultural Center, American Heart Association, Louisville High School, Valley Women’s Center and Pacific Lodge Boys Home. As she records the history of the West Valley, Kathleen says she sees many needs locally and finds opportunities to help.

IRENE TOVAR
CEO, Latin American Civic Association
Nominated by California State University, Northridge and Richard McMillan

Irene’s community service goes back decades and the list of organizations and causes she has been involved with is long and varied. Some of her noteworthy service has been with our local educational institutions particularly California State University, Northridge and Los Angeles Mission College in many volunteer capacities. Other organizations Irene has been involved with include Comision Femenil of the San Fernando Valley, National Urban Coalition for Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Redistricting Commission, LAPD Christopher Commission Reform Task Force, National Women’s Political Caucus, Rebuild L.A., United Way and Pacoima Enterprise Zone.

DAVID TUCKMAN
U.S. Federal Officer, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Nominated by Ali Tuckman and Jeremy Sonenschein

David lives and breathes Red Cross. He gives almost every weekend to Red Cross Youth leading them on preparedness projects, fire safety, preparedness puppet shows, Sound The Alarm, training in first aid and presenting at youth leadership summits and co-leading a regional retreat session on planning and teambuilding. He is also on call each week as a Disaster Action Team Leader & Mass Care Supervisor and Public Information Officer. David sees himself as a role model who strongly believes we all need to make our world a better place and that we can all find ways small or large to make a difference every day

GUSTAVO VALDESPINO
President & CEO, Valley Presbyterian Hospital
Nominated by ONEgeneration and Tori McNees.

Gus has been a vital resource for ONEgeneration and other organizations in the Valley. At the start of the pandemic, he ensured that ONEgeneration had the help and support it needed to expand its services by providing volunteers and hospital staff to assist the vulnerable with the need to get food support and other community-based services. He understands the challenges the community faces and has helped in many ways with his support of The Valley Economic Alliance, Meet Each Need With Dignity, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, YMCA and Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission.