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County celebrates Women's Hall of Fame inductees at Pleasanton ceremony

Hundreds turn out to fairgrounds to honor this year's 12 recipients

Some 500 people gathered in Building B at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton last weekend to recognize 12 female leaders from throughout the county as they were inducted into the 2017 class of the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame.

The honorees last Saturday were singled out for their impact, influence and inspiration across individual fields such as business, philanthropy, education, justice, environment and youth.

"Our inductees this year bring a multitude of uplifting stories that inspire pride and bring us hope in these uncertain times," Alameda County Administrator Susan S. Muranishi, co-chair of the Women's Hall of Fame, said in a statement.

"It is an honor to be able to celebrate the achievements of each of these amazing women," added Dr. Stacy Thompson, chair of Alameda County's Commission on the Status of Women. "Their stories inspire us to do what we can to make Alameda County a better place."

Hosted by the commission and the county's Board of Supervisors, the 24th annual Women's Hall of Fame luncheon helped raise funds for local nonprofits serving women and families in the county and for scholarships to support local girls' academic pursuits in addition to sharing the stories of the 12 inductees.

The honorees included Catherine (Suárez) Dunbar, a Livermore resident who teaches Spanish at Las Positas College and educates and empowers people inside and outside of the classroom, according to county officials.

This year's recipient in the Education category, she also co-created a self-esteem program for Latina girls, produced the La Semena Cubana cultural event and launched a nonprofit providing food and other necessities to Tri-Valley residents and communities in Cuba and Mexico.

The class of 2017 also featured:

* Linda Mandolini, president of Hayward-based Eden Housing Inc.; Business and Professions category.

* Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank; Community Service.

* Ayodele Nzinga, a longtime leader in the East Bay theater community; Culture and Art.

* Emily Kirsch, co-founder and CEO of the world's first incubator and accelerator dedicated to solar and intelligent energy; Environment.

* Patricia Aguilera, former CFO of La Clinica de La Raza and safety net health care advocate; Health.

* Kathie Barkow of Union City, co-creators of the Alameda County Homeless and Caring Court; Justice.

* Aeeshah Clottey, co-founder of Attitudinal Healing Connection, an Oakland nonprofit that works to build peaceful and loving communities; Non-Traditional Careers.

* Audrey Yamamoto, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund; Philanthropy.

* Katherine Yelick, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley, an international leader in computational sciences and the advancement of STEM education; Science, Technology, Engineering.

* Hel Say, who came to the United States from Burma as a girl and now coaches a girls' soccer team composed of newly arrived refugees and immigrants; Sports and Athletics.

* Lauryn Nguyen, a senior at Berkeley's Maybeck High School with a strong commitment to community service and deep devotion to four younger siblings; Youth. She received a $3,000 scholarship.

Additionally, four organizations benefited as nonprofit community partners of the awards ceremony: child advocacy center CALICO; Magnolia Women's Recovery Programs, Inc.; OneChild, a nonprofit supporting disadvantaged children; and Dublin's School of Imagination and Happy Talkers for children with special needs.

To learn more about the Women's Hall of Fame and its class of 2017, visit whof.acgov.org.

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