By: Ryan Guitare

The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to host the annual Women of Influence event, scheduled for March 7th, 2024, at Sunrider International, beginning at 12:00 noon. This event highlights the extraordinary achievements and leadership of women in the Torrance area, recognizing their significant impact on business and community life. The 2024 honorees include Colonel Mia Walsh, Fran Fulton, Elizabeth Schick, Councilwoman Bridgett Lewis, Gina Lee Mink, Minal Mondkar, and Karen Pryor.

Colonel Mia Walsh, Space Base Delta 3, Los Angeles Air Force Base will be awarded the Athena Award for her exceptional professional achievement, devotion to community service, and generosity in actively assisting other women in the attainment of professional excellence and leadership style. Her proudest accomplishment at Los Angeles Air Force Base is the way she and her team have built relationships with the amazing communities that surround the base.

Fran Fulton, Economic Development Manager for the City of Torrance will be awarded the Community Catalyst Award for her ties in the South Bay, partnerships she has forged between organizations, and dedicated service to the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. Fran’s proudest accomplishment related to her business is her role in supporting the creation of the Discover Torrance tourism business improvement district. This brought competing hoteliers together, along with the City and the Chamber, for a unified purpose of attracting more visitors to the city of Torrance.

Elizabeth Schick, Territory Sales Manager for Virco Manufacturing Corporation will be awarded the Dedicated Leader Award for leadership roles she has held in several different organizations, specifically the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. Her proudest Virco moment was when she won the President’s Award. This is the highest honor a sales representative can achieve. It is an annual award that goes to only one representative.

Bridgett Lewis, Councilwoman for the City of Torrance will be awarded the Government Excellence Award for being an active member on multiple boards and committees, and for serving the South Bay as an elected government official. Her ability to build consensus and navigate diverse opinions have resulted in impactful decisions that positively influence the city’s direction. Effective collaboration between different political factions has led to innovative solutions and policies that address the needs of a broader spectrum of citizens and promote a more harmonious and resilient community.

Gina Lee Mink, Vice President of American Illumination, Inc. will be awarded the Inspirational Leader Award for her innovation, growth, and success within her organization. Her biggest accomplishment is guiding American Illumination, Inc. through the pandemic and aftermath while expanding their products and services and increasing sales by double-digit percentages.

Minal Mondkar, Founder and CEO of Aura Seating, will be awarded the Small Business Award for the leadership she displays as a small business owner who inspires those around her. Minal’s proudest moment as a small business owner was an invitation from the White House on behalf of the SBA to recognize her accomplishments. Aura Seating was struggling during the pandemic, like every other business. In 2023, Aura Seating realized that they had fully recovered better than the pre-pandemic levels, and were able to bring the manufacturing and jobs back to Torrance and continue to do so.

Karen Pryor, Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional at Mutual of Omaha Reverse Mortgage, will be awarded the South Bay Spirit Award for her enthusiasm in the South Bay business community, and the partnerships she has forged between Chamber members. Karen is most proud of all the seniors she has helped by being a resource to them and their families.

Thank you to our sponsors of this event; Roadium Open Air Market, UCLA Health, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Aura Seating, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Dignity Health Sports Park, Immigration General Counsel, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Rose Equities and Torrance Bakery/Sandwich Shop.

CLICK HERE to register for Women of Influence.

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