SUISUN CITY — Get a seat at the table and speak up.
That was the message for women to be heard and advance in the corporate world from Friday’s guest speaker at the sixth annual Women’s History Month Luncheon at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center.
The event is sponsored by the Solano County Women’s History Month Committee and raised $6,270 for the Solano County Library Foundation.
Patsy Van Ouwerkerk was recognized as the Solano County Woman of the Year for her work leading Travis Credit Union since 2002. State, county and city leaders lined up to hand out proclamations and handshakes to the CEO of the credit union.
“There’s so many fabulous women in this county, it’s hard to pick just one,” said emcee Sandy Person.
Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, said when she prepared to run for office to represent Solano County, she asked around for people to connect with and learn about the area. Wolk said she heard the same name several times.
“Patsy was always on that list,” Wolk said. “Everyone was absolutely right.”
“You don’t know how much this means to me,” Van Ouwerkerk told the crowd after a brief speech.
She earlier played off of a moment where Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert was referred to as chairman of the board.
“Chairman, chairperson or chairwoman,” she said. “It doesn’t matter, as long as we are chair of something.”
Keynote speaker Lois Kazakoff, deputy editorial page editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, talked to the large crowd about how issues that particularly affect women aren’t always seen that way by the public at large. She said it’s a woman’s job to be persistent and do what she can to be heard.
“Things I see as very important issues, they don’t get it,” Kazakoff said about some of her paper’s leadership. “They do after a while, but different than I do.”
Bonnie Katz, director of Solano County Libraries, received the check for $6,270. That amount was the most collected since the event was created. Katz said the money goes toward women-based resources at local libraries.
She said last year’s money went toward bringing in guest speakers such as authors, historians and writers. It also was put to use by providing quilting activities and buying books for the library.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.