Five extraordinary women will be recognized at this year’s Women of Influence virtual event on Wednesday, November 18th at 12:00 noon.  Colonel Becky Beers, Commander 61st Air Base Group, Los Angeles Air Force Base will be the keynote speaker.  

“The Women of Influence is always such a nice event.  It honors the exemplary work of women in the community,” stated Kirk Rossberg, Chairman of the Board.  This year’s honorees include Karin Baker, Laurie Latham Brandt, Debbie Hays, Latrice McGlothin, and Terry Ragins.

Karin Baker, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will receive the Dedicated Leader award.  Karin joined American Honda’s Corporate Community Relations team in 1997 where she coordinated the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM). Throughout her 23- year career at American Honda, she has had the opportunity to expand her role to work with the local South Bay community, as well as on national and global initiatives.  Karin has had the opportunity to work as the Honda project leader for the company’s Tournament of Roses Association sponsorship and on a variety of other programs including.

Laurie Latham Brandt, co-owner Red Car Brewery & Restaurant, will receive the Inspiration Leader award. Since the day Red Car opened for business Laurie has been guided by the desire to create a warm, friendly, and unpretentious place for the community to feel at home.  She has also made it a point to actively involve herself and her business to make the community stronger through charitable giving and volunteerism. Laurie’s civic involvement culminated in both she and her husband being selected as the recipients of the Katy Geissert Award for Excellence in the Arts award in 2013 and the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year 2014. Her business was recognized by the Chamber during its Centennial celebration as one of the top 75 influential businesses in the Torrance’s history.  

Debbie Hays, Torrance Historical Society, will receive the South Bay Spirit award.  Debbie lives by the motto, “Everyone can make a difference.” It is with this belief she devotes her boundless energy to making the City in which she lives, works, and plays a better place. Her event planning and marketing skills keep the members of the community informed and involved with the organizations for which she serves. Debbie currently serves on the Boards of the Torrance Historical Society, Old Torrance Neighborhood Association, and the Torrance Unified School District Strategic Communications Initiative Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel.  She is also the Neighborhood Watch Captain and Co-founder of Secret Hearts – a non-profit organization who has been adopting poverty-stricken families every Christmas for over 30 years.

Latrice McGlothin, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, will receive the Community Catalyst award.  With more than 25 years in community engagement, Latrice McGlothin has partnered with and supported hundreds of organizations throughout Northern and Southern California, including the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center, Richstone Family Center, Volunteer Center of the South Bay, Friendship Foundation and the Estelle Van Meter Senior Center.  Latrice is passionate about empowering youth, serving the aging population, and providing resources to underserved communities.

Terry Ragins, Torrance Unified School District Board of Education, will receive the Athena Award. 

Terry began her school and PTA involvement in 1992 when her first son began kindergarten and has continued her volunteer efforts to the present as a classroom volunteer, school-wide then school district-wide.  

Terry was first elected to the TUSD School Board in November 2003 and is currently President of the TUSD Board of Trustees for the third time. She was proud to expand access to Advanced Placement classes for all students as well as to be part of the campaign to pass the four school facility bond measures to improve all TUSD school facilities.  Terry is a strong vocal advocate for public education and investment in the youth in our community.

Terry has been recognized for tens of thousands of hours as a volunteer in and around Torrance schools including managing School Libraries, Odyssey of the Mind, Academic Decathlon, Career Days, College and Career Fairs, and Torrance Education Foundation to name a few.

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