2019 Heart & Excellence Awards

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2019 Heart & Excellence Honorees

Marisol Espinoza was introduced to YWCA Glendale as a child when she took gymnastics and dance classes there.  Her strong connection to the community has fostered a passion for civic engagement, including public policy and how it affects people receiving vital services. As the Public Affairs Manager for SoCalGas, she is responsible for the representation of SoCalGas in several cities throughout the western portion of Los Angeles County.  She serves as the community liaison in Glendale, interacting with City stakeholders, local media, and elected and business leaders. Her sensitivity and commitment to understanding and helping organizations such as YWCA are exemplary of how big business, nonprofits and the community can partner.

Stela Fejtek believes in giving generously of herself to make a positive difference in the lives of those around her. Her relationship with YWCA Glendale started in the 1970s when she initiated the association’s first gymnastics program – giving girls confidence and a strong community connection. She has continued to serve the Glendale community for the past 25 years as a speech communication and lip-reading teacher for hearing impaired adults. Her work empowers those around her every day as she helps to improve her students’ ability to communicate, allowing them to better enjoy our vibrant community.

Elissa Glickman serves as the CEO for Glendale Arts and the Alex Theatre. Since its founding in 2008, Glendale Arts has grown beyond the walls of the Alex Theatre and launched several community-based programs including the Open Arts & Music Festival and Taste Walk Glendale. Her efforts help to ensure access to the diverse cultures, art, and food that are locally represented. Throughout her career, Elissa has worked in both the public and private sector, developing programs and services that benefit communities and support artists, businesses, children and their families. She is currently a partner for YWCA Glendale’s summer programs, which expose camp kids to arts and culture.

Linda Offray is the founder of Shepherd’s Door, a local resource center providing assistance and support to victims of domestic violence. She works to prevent the cycle of domestic violence through youth education, public awareness and collaboration with community partners such as YWCA Glendale, and she has helped thousands of individuals in our community. Linda’s inspiration started at the City of Pasadena’s Public Health Department, where she worked with pregnant women, mothers and families. She recognized that domestic violence was a critical issue that often goes unnoticed and silent in the community. For this reason, she is passionate about providing visibility and education to local high schools, middle schools, churches, universities, community agencies, support groups, counseling sessions and workshops.

Karen Swan has served the community for over 35 years as a Glendale Unified School District elementary school teacher. Since retirement, she has continued to focus on supporting the emotional, social, and academic strengths of children from diverse backgrounds. She does this through her work with nearly a dozen local nonprofits. Her work with YWCA Glendale has included tremendous fundraising efforts to help women and children who need safe housing, as well as educational, social and emotional support in diverse situations.

Sue Wilder is a leader and mobilizer. She is very passionate about the City of Glendale and serving vulnerable populations.  She has served as the President of the USC VHH Women’s Council which raises funds to support women’s health initiatives at USC VHH. She retired after 24 years of work in human resources at the Walt Disney Company. Today she is the chair of the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the hospital’s Governing Board and is the incoming chair of the Community Advisory Board. Sue is also an active member of Soroptimist, an organization that plays a key role in funding the YWCA Glendale’s Camp Rosie, a no-cost girls empowerment camp for 7th-9th grade girls.

The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA is part of a worldwide humanitarian organization that serves the social and educational needs of individuals and communities that are most in need, both locally and internationally. ARS provides valuable support to low-income community members in need of case management, employment assistance, immigration issues, and senior services. The partnership between ARS and YWCA Glendale is critical to the community’s ability to provide culturally responsive and expedient services to victims of domestic violence.

Past Heart & Excellence Honorees


Georgia M. Abelmann – 2003
Joan Allan – 2016
Mary Alvord  – 2000
Toni Beck-Espinoza – 2013
Yasmin Beers – 2015
Wanda Bistagne – 2004
Laurie Blieck – 2007
Sue Boegh – 2001
Mary Boger – 2008
Lena Bozoyan – 2013
Ginger Bremberg – 1996
Carol Ann Burton – 2018
Marilyn Kay Butler – 2018
Rabbi Carole L. Meyers – 2000
Fran Buchanan – 2012
Phyllis Campbell – 2002
Ruth Charles – 2009
Sister Lucille Dear, S.P. – 1999
Susie & Richard Dell – 2006
JP O’Connor – 2017
Paula Devine – 2012
Lina Petrossian – 2017
Dr. Zuzka Eggena – 2005
Andrea Farestveit – 2010
Miryam Finkelberg – 2015
Jeannie Flint – 2017
Lois Frederick – 2001
Rosa Frommer – 2007
Anita Quinonez Gabrielian – 2012
Roberta “Bobbi” Gangi – 2014
Eileen Givens – 2000
Laura Guillory – 2014
Marilyn Gunnell – 2008
Nancy Guillen – 2017
Ruth Hale – 1996
Silva Hameline – 2011
Janet Hamilton – 2017
Lina Harper – 2003
Lori Hartwell – 2011
Ann Herrmann – 2011
Debbie Hinckley – 2007
Susan Hunt – 2007
Mary Lou Howard – 2004
Dr. Frieda Jordan – 2004
Carole Jouroyan – 2008
Glady I. Kabateck – 2003
Cathy Keen – 2005
Georgina Wu – 2017
Lorelei Kelley – 2001
Armineh Khanbabian – 2007
Seda Khojayan – 2014
Janet Killian – 2009
Dale Kristien – 1996
Eleanor Largent – 2005
Kathy Lefkovits – 2012
Louise Lewis – 2004
Linda Malmquist – 2002
Jean Maluccio – 2004
Elizabeth Manasserian – 2011
Joan McCarthy – 2008
Brooke Bentley Moore – 2016
Valery Moorhead – 1998
Sandra J. Moreno – 2010
Gertrude Ness – 2014
Mary Alice O’Connor – 2002
Alice Petrossian – 1999
Sonia Bedrossian Peltekian – 2003
MaryAnn Plumley – 2010
Jory Potts – 2013
Kathleen Powers – 2009
Lynne Raggio – 1996
Maria Rochart – 2010
Mary Lou Rhodes – 2015
Diane Russell – 2000
Sandy Schultz – 2009
Ellyn Semler – 2011
Julia Burroughs Shermer – 2001
Officer Sue Shine-Carter – 2008
Monica Sierra – 2012
Sue Stamper – 1998
Linda Stude – 2005
Nancy Stone – 2017
Genevieve Sultenfuss – 1996
Mary Margaret Smith – 2013
Sona A Tatiyants – 2018
Sharon Townsend – 2014
Kathryn Van Houten – 2016
Mercy Velazquez – 2009
Joylene Wagner – 2013
Lynne White-Shelby – 2015
Karen Whyte – 2010
Katherine Yamada – 2005
Donna Ziel – 2007


Avon Breast Care Foundation – 2006
Capital Group Companies – 2006
Glendale Community Foundation – 2006
National Charity League, Inc. Glendale Chapter – 2006
Soroptimist International of Glendale – 2006
Wells Fargo Foothill – 2006
Agape Circle of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church – 2018