More Than 30 Women Discovered Their Zonta Zing

Thirty-two women, Zonta members long-standing and new, together with many interested potential members came together for Zonta Zing, the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley’s annual orientation meeting. Held at the Summit Clubhouse on Saturday, February 4th, 2023, this year the event was a tea party as 5 incredible hostesses decorated their tables and served tea and traditional scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as an array of other delicious treats.

The program included an inspirational presentation by Zonta’s immediate Past International President and longest-standing member of Zonta SCV, Dr. Sharon Langenbeck. She addressed the importance of Zonta International as an NGO working in partnership with the United Nations to develop and implement Zonta’s global service projects, and she showed some slides about her own trip as ZI President to Peru, assessing the effectiveness and impact of our project there, Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection Program. Sharon traveled to a remote village with access only by river and on foot. She found a great example of how the program has helped thousands of girls across the country of Peru through Zonta’s work with UNICEF USA.

President Nicole Miller, together with Past Presidents, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Darleen Lyons and Lois Bauccio, presented the group with information about how all aspects of Zonta’s International, Districts, Areas and Clubs work together to create a powerful force for making the world and the local communities better for women and girls.

There were plenty of opportunities for seeing old friends and making new ones. The impact of the information shared together with the fun and fellowship inspired us all to envision once again that world when women’s rights are considered as human rights, and the attendees definitely discovered their Zonta Zing!

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley Holds Installation for West Ranch Z Club

On January 25, 2023, the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley held a virtual installation ceremony for the West Ranch Z Club.  The presiding officer was President Nicole Miller, Zonta Club of SCV and District 9 Z Club Committee Chair.  Forty attendees including special guests from Zonta International, West Ranch High School, and the community, along with family and friends of the Z Club celebrated the new student club.  District 9 Governor Debbie Angwood acknowledged the Z Club’s official charter from Zonta International.  Zonta Past International President Dr. Sharon Langenbeck gave inspiring remarks and congratulations to the students.  Dr. Cherise Moore, Z Club Committee Co-Chair, discussed the connection to the International Day of Education and the role that Z Clubs play in Zonta’s investment in young people.  West Ranch Z Club Advisor, Andrea Sinclair, officially swore in the officers and the President’s gavel was virtually presented to the West Ranch Z Club President, Katherine King.  All members of the West Ranch Z Club were presented with a yellow rose, official certificate, and Z Club congratulatory gift.

West Ranch Z Club joins a network of two other Z Clubs, Golden Valley Z Club and Canyon High School Z Club, also sponsored by the Zonta Club of SCV.  The Z Clubs advisors, officers, and members were present to welcome and congratulate the new Z Club.

Young women and men are important to achieving gender equality and ending violence against women and girls around the world. To improve the lives of women and girls globally now and for generations to come, we must invest in youth development and mentor young leaders for gender equality.  These student Z clubs are intended to offer opportunities for young people to develop communication and leadership skills, promote career exploration and encourage members to participate in community, school and international service projects.

Zonta Club of SCV inducts six new members

Lt to Rt: Britt Vaughn, Zonta International Director, Ines Cadavid, Lois Bauccio, Membership Chair Zonta Club SCV, Cyndi Kleinfeld, Di Thompson, Selina Thomas, Tracy Taris, Nicole Miller, President Zonta SCV

Six new members were inducted into the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley at the club’s January meeting held at the lovely Mimi’s Café in Valencia.

Lois Bauccio, current club Membership Chair, individually introduced the diverse group of professional women who have dedicated themselves to Zonta International’s new theme: “Build a Better World for Women and Girls.” President, Nicole Miller, inducted the newcomers while International Director and honored guest, Britt Vaughan, “pinned” the ladies with their shiny new Zonta pins on a maroon ribbon amid a resounding chorus of approval from the audience. Each woman was invited to share their interest in joining Zonta, while each was presented with a token of Zonta SCV’s appreciation and a Zonta yellow rose symbolizing the new friendship.

Here is a brief overview of the six latest inductees to Zonta SCV.

Joining remotely via Zoom was former member and new inductee, Susan Reynolds Buckley. Sue is an independent businesswoman and a consummate volunteer having won the Carmen Sarro Award for Volunteerism and receiving nominations for SCV Woman of the Year many times. Sue now lives in Clovis where she participates in numerous community projects, especially those for Reedley College, where her husband, Dr. Jerry Buckley is the President. Sue joins the ranks of our eight “Distance Members”, now in 4 states and around California, who love Zonta SCV and want to remain part of its mission from a distance.

Ines Cadavid was the next inductee at the January 11 meeting. President Nicole wanted to personally induct Ines when meeting in-person, as Ines joined virtually in November. Ines first became interested in Zonta SCV through the late member, Betty Seldner. As did Betty, Ines has her own consulting business in environmental services helping local businesses and industries to handle hazardous substances and waste in an environmentally correct manner. When Betty introduced her to the Zonta mission, as enthusiastic as Ines was, she felt her children were too young for her to be an effective member. That was years ago, but she has remained interested as time went by. Now that her children are adults, she is ready to serve. Her passion is tackling issues of domestic violence, and she has volunteered for many years in the DV arena with other members of Zonta SCV.

Cyndi Kleinfeld has been working with Zontian, Lois Bauccio, for years on the Steering Committee of Nonprofit Leaders Network. In her volunteer efforts for the group, she has become indispensable to the group’s operations due to her outstanding communication skills and facility with the social networks. She has given her marketing services pro bono to struggling nonprofits in the SCV improving their visibility for maximum outreach. In her professional life, she has helped KHTS create some of their enormous community events, including the Home & Garden Show. She serves on the boards of the SCV Education Foundation and Mothers Helping Others, among others, and she has chaired the popular Touch-A-Truck family event. She is the mother of triplets, and since they are now out of high school, she is excited to have the time to fully support the Zonta mission with her talents.

Tracy Taris has been a volunteer speaker for Zonta SCV’s longest-running service project, LifeForward. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in private group practice with her own local clinic in Newhall. She specializes in helping people defeat negative thinking, heal from past abuse, and creat a better life. Her talks with the audience of LifeForward have helped single mothers and other women dealing with extraordinary stress to deal effectively with their psychological problems. She is a published author of a new book, “Many Voices, One Truth”, and a dedicated community leader. Her professional theme is “Healing the Mind and Spirit”, and she looks forward to helping women and girls to “Build a Better Life”.

Selina Thomas first heard of Zonta at a Women in Service celebration. She had a friend who was nominated for the Carmen Sarro Award, but while she was in attendance to honor her friend, she was intrigued by Zonta SCV and the Zonta mission. She and Lois Bauccio connected many times in the ensuing months, and Lois witnessed a force of nature at work. Selina started her professional life as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but she later transferred her considerable people and entrepreneurial skills into creating her own Human Resources business. “Six Degrees HR Consulting”, offers HR services to businesses so that they do not have to staff their own HR office. Her business plan is to franchise her business, an idea which was to be featured on Shark Tank; an effort that was scuttled during the global pandemic. Selina serves on numerous nonprofit boards in the SCV including the WiSH Education Foundation and the Santa Clarita International Film Festival, among others. She also is interested in community service through civic engagement and recently ran a close race for Council Member of the City of Santa Clarita. Her own personal story is one of remarkable courage, and as the proud mother of three fabulous daughters, she passionately wants to “Build a Better World for Women and Girls”.

Di Thompson is another incredible community leader. Zonta first became aware of her considerable talents and professionalism at a SCV Chamber of Commerce event, InfluenceHER, where she was a featured speaker. After that event, the Chamber enlisted her to be the Chair of its newest council, the Black Business Council which works to inspire, empower, and promote the economic growth and sustainability of black businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals within the SCV. In her own business, Di is an independent Realtor, with eXp Realty, based in the SCV. Di has been an effective volunteer for numerous SCV charities including SCIFF and VIA among others. Recently she was a model at the SIGSCV Fashion Show which raised money to improve the futures of girls. She has said, “My dream is to be a positive mentor for young women and to specifically be a positive role model for women of color who often times have unique obstacles and financial hurdles to overcome which can discourage them from seizing opportunities in real estate and investing.” She has two daughters and cares deeply about the future of women and girls.

Santa Clarita International Film Festival (SCIFF) Features Film Hosted by Zonta SCV

Lt to Rt: Dr. Cherise Moore, Serina Thomas,
Lisa de Souza, Lois Bauccio and Di Thompson

At the Laemmle Theater in Newhall, on the final day of Zonta’s 16 Days of Activism, the Zonta Club of SCV hosted the screening of a film which portrays the lifelong nightmare of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as part of Santa Clarita International Film Festival. The film, “Crushed Wings”, was written, directed, and produced by British Filmmaker, Lalit Bhusal.

Zonta SCV has been associated with SCIFF since last year through Zonta’s Women in Film. When she was selecting the films for the 2nd Annual SCIF Festival, Lisa DeSousa, Founder and CEO, immediately thought of Zonta when she viewed “Crushed Wings.” She understood Zonta’s mission to fight violence against women and girls, including international initiatives against FGM.


Lt to Rt: Di Thompson, Lois Bauccio and Dr. Cherise Moore

Zontians Dr. Cherise Moore and Lois Bauccio sat on a panel following the film to interview Filmmaker Bhusal who Zoomed in live from Britain for the event. The panel was beautifully introduced by SCIFF Board Member, Selina Thomas, and superbly moderated by Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Di Thompson. The conversation was enlightening. Bhusal explained that he had wanted to make a film about child abuse and people kept telling him about FGM as the ultimate example of such abuse which is entrenched in certain cultures and wrongly attributed to religion. He has created the story of Ria, an innocent and happy seven-year-old village girl who is led to her nightmare by her mother in ignorance. The film goes through her childhood, adolescence, marriage, and ultimate metamorphosis into a brave and independent woman. Some women acting in the film are survivors of FGM.

Lt to Rt: Dr. Cherise Moore,
Lisa de Souza, Lois Bauccio

Zontians Moore and Bauccio explained Zonta International’s initiatives to fight FGM and Child Marriage which also address global medical conditions such as obstetric fistula, crushing emotional health disorders and suicide, as well as the social problem of keeping women in a subservient permanent under-class in cultures which practice them. Zonta’s attention to health and education of girls and women throughout the world are strong antidotes to the scourges of FGM, child marriage and the misguided cultural ignorance which promulgate the practices.

The exciting event was a fitting way to conclude Zonta SCV’s 16 Days of Activism, and Zonta’s association with the Santa Clarita International Film Festival should be a long and fruitful on

Holiday Party Dec 2022

On December 11, 2022, members from the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley gathered with friends and family at our annual Holiday Party.  Helping us to celebrate the holiday season were members from far and near, including Past Zonta International President Dr. Sharon Langenbeck.  The posh potluck of appetizers, snacks, beverages, and delectable sweets was enhanced by the celebratory mood by all in attendance.  To spread holiday cheer, we signed over 100 holiday cards with messages of encouragement and thanks for veterans that were distributed at the Canyon Country VFW.  We would like to extend a special thank you to Darleen and Bill Lyons for hosting our party at their warm and inviting home.  Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a joyous success!

Past Zonta International President Dr. Sharon Langenbeck shares her visit to Peru

Past Zonta International President, Dr. Sharon Langenbeck presented pictures and shared stories about her site visit to the rural regions of Peru supported by the Zonta International service project in partnership with UNICEF USA. Zonta International notes about the “Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection in Peru” project that:

“Adolescents, especially girls, must have opportunities to empower themselves so they can speak up for their rights and develop the self-confidence and autonomy needed to take control of their lives and bodies. Significant inequities based on gender, age, geographic location, ethnicity and income persist for many Peruvian adolescents.”

 UNICEF is therefore supporting the development of protective and healthy environments for adolescents— particularly Indigenous adolescent females living in a rural area—including at schools. PIP Sharon shared parts of her conversations with the adolescent girls, noting that the impact made for these girls is so important and desired that they seek out these gender-sensitive and safe services on a regular basis.  When traveling to the remote regions, PIP Sharon their determination to visit the girls through her story of their vehicle getting stuck in the mud of the Amazon, and walking several miles to their destination.

PIP Sharon’s presentation, and the positive impact being made in these rural areas of Peru will not soon be forgotten by those lucky enough to hear it.

Zonta Club holds September in-person meeting

The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley held their monthly business meeting at the Double Trouble wine Room on September 14, 2022.  This was the Club’s first business meeting in person since early 2020 and was well attended with about thirty-five in person and virtual attendees.  The Club meeting, presided over by President Nicole Miller, hosted Past Zonta International President (PIP) Dr. Sharon Langenbeck, District 9 Governor Debbie Angwood, District 9 Lieutenant Governor Gloria Salas, and Area 3 Director Beth Heiserman in Zonta spirit for the evening.  The local Jersey Mike’s provided tasty turkey and veggie sandwiches for the attendees.  Many wine varietals from The Hoi Polloi Winery and Pagter Brothers Winery flowed during the evening, helping to create a light and lively atmosphere.  Club President Nicole Miller exclaimed that “it’s exciting to come together in person again” and thanked all participants for “taking the time to come together in fellowship and friendship.”

The excitement of the meeting continued during the installation of three new members into the Club.  Jessica Boyer, Linda Davies, and Dr. Carolyn Hoffman.  President Nicole Miller and Membership Committee Chair Lois Bauccio led the installation ceremony, and the Club had the honor of PIP Sharon presenting each new member with their Zonta pins.  The Club is thrilled to welcome each of these amazing women and looks forward to working together to build a better world for women and girls.

After the Club business was conducted, September birthdays were celebrated, and upcoming events were announced, the evening concluded with additional social time during the clean-up.  All expressed their gratitude for the wonderful evening of friendship, and expressed their excitement for our next Zonta get together.

Zonta Intl Convention Hamburg Germany July 2022

In June 2022, Club President Nicole Miller and Club Vice President Beth Ann Ryan attended the Zonta International 65thConvention in Hamburg, Germany. They were honored to represent the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley as delegates and served as proxies for two other clubs in all matters such as: voting on bylaws, resolutions, elections, international service projects, fundraising goals, and more!  Club involvement in Zonta International by participating in our biennial convention is critical to ensuring that all voices from around the world are heard through involvement in this process.  Attending convention is also a fantastic way to be immersed in the fellowship of Zonta and to make connections for collaborating when you return home!

Nicole and Beth Ann share, Hamburg welcomed us with open arms by hosting us for a private Senate reception where we were welcomed by the President of the Senate.  Zonta International President Dr. Sharon Langenbeck (from the SCV) also welcomed all Zontians and presided over our multiple days of convention business.  We participated in workshops covering a variety of topics such as: mentoring, the impact of climate change, child and forced marriage, gender equality, fundraising, women’s health issues, and more.  A highlight in the memory of each previous attendee is the Parade of Flags as convention is officially opened.  The parade showcased and honored the flag of each country and region in which there is a Zonta club.  It was impressive to see the diversity in Zontians all coming together for one mission.  We can’t forget the multiple business sessions of voting and elections, which prepares Zonta International for the upcoming biennium.  The Business Sessions were followed by Keynote Speakers on relevant topics for women, a reveal of the new Zonta motto “Build a Better World for Women and Girls,” fundraising goals, and an in-depth report on the international service projects.  While doing all this important work and gathering knowledge, we meet with our new Zontian friends in fellowship and to celebrate our successes and the impact made in our communities.  One of Nicole’s favorite events at convention was the “dine around” where members of local Hamburg clubs hosted groups in their homes and served a traditional German meal.  “I am grateful to have participated in this wonderful night celebrating friendship with the local Zontians,” she says.  On the last night of convention, the newly elected board was installed at the closing banquet, where attendees celebrated all that was accomplished and said their goodbyes (until next time!) to new friends.

As Zontians, we all want to build a better world for women and girls.  Convention allows us to come together to share ideas, participate in discussions, and learn more about the issues facing women around the world.  Returning to the SCV, we are invigorated and excited to use our Zonta spirit to make a difference for women here in our community.

Zonta Installation 2022

The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita recently held their annual installation of officers and board.  Zonta International District 9 Governor, Britt Vaughan, installed the new officers, board, and Foundation trustees. Also in attendance was Gloria Salas, Area 3 Director and Lieutenant Governor Elect.  Nicole Miller was presented certificates from the US Congress, State of California, County of Los Angeles and City of Santa Clarita recognizing her service and dedication to the club and Zonta International. Immediate past president, Beth Heiserman, was the host of this event held at Salt Creek Grille.

The incoming officers for the next biennium 2022-2024 are, President Nicole Miller; Vice President, Beth Ann Ryan; Secretary, Colleen Marrese-Reading; and Treasurer, Fran Fiel.  Also installed were board members Cherise Moore and Phyllis Walker. Foundation Trustees include Lois Bauccio, Alicia Estrada, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Barbara Meyer, Cherise Moore, Christine Sexton, Patrice Rifkind, Nicole Miller and Beth Ann Ryan.

Every year, the past presidents get together to create this event. They choose a theme that is befitting of the upcoming president. Nicole frequently talks about her backyard birds, and love of the outdoors, hiking and birdwatching.

This year’s theme was “The Zonta Trailblazers and Birdwatching Club." During the installation, the past presidents, Foundation trustees, and nominating committee wore orange bandanas tied around the neck for exploration and trailblazing, and to show their important status.  The incoming board wore the orange bandana to be visible on the hiking trail, as they help to blaze new trails.  In addition to the orange bandana, the secretary was presented a handbook identifying important species, and a diary for keeping notes. The treasurer sported the orange bandana of this special Club, a pocket calculator as well as a tiny pocket abacus to keep track of the number of the special birds she will see along the trail.  Our vice president will wear her new orange bandana to keep the President on track with her hiking and birdwatching, along with a trail map and a pair of binoculars to guide her along the trail.  Our Trail Leader and Supreme Bird Watcher, President Nicole Miller will need many tools to help her in her task to lead the Zonta Trailblazers and Birdwatching Club on track and secure in its mission to find as many rare SCV birds as possible. To that end, she received an easily identified backpack so that the Directors and Officers can see her as she strides ahead on point, a signature orange bandana, a Ranger Hat to mark Nicole as the leader, and a walking stick to keep her steady. Inside the backpack is a catalogue of local birds, a trail map of SCV trails, a pair of binoculars, a camera to photograph the birds found, some trail mix to snack on to keep up her strength, and some water to renew her stamina as she hikes the SCV Trails.

As Nicole begins her second term as President, her choice is unique, because Zonta SCV has recently changed to a biennial leadership format. That means that Nicole will serve an unprecedented three years. Hikers know that to be “on point” is to lead the hike. Nicole is ready and prepared to be on point for our committees, on point for our team and on point for our club.

Every president has had a theme throughout her year and Nicole’s theme is Positive Foundation, Healthy Growth. Combined together, Nicole holds the intention of Positive Foundation to refer to creating a space where we come together, in inclusion and support, where we are present, affirming and kind.  This space that we create will be our base upon which we will build up our members, our club, and our impact in our community. With a plan of healthy growth, we will utilize our positive foundation to benefit us in a healthy way.  We will do this by growing and developing as individuals, increasing our capacity and resources with additional club members, and evolving our committees and work in such a way that expands our reach and impact in the community.

Positive Foundation, Healthy Growth – this is Nicole’s vision for how we will reach our goals and build a better world for women and girls.

Every year, since 1993, we honor one member for the extraordinary service to our organization during this event. Cindy Kittle was honored as Zontian of the Year.  Cindy’s has been an active member many years and served as President 2009-2010. She has served as chair of numerous committees, but the highlight for our club is that she brought Lunafest to the SCV.  True to the title, “Zontian of the Year”, Cindy created a new event for our club in 2021 to celebrate our 10th anniversary of Lunafest. Literally from the ground up she developed and pulled off an outstanding fundraising event, Zonta Celebrates Women in Film, which included developing a new relationship with local women in our film industry and honored them in a glittering awards event, produced the screening of the 2021 Lunafest films at our local Laemmle Theater, and followed up the evening with a Saturday conference for local young women who want to get into the film industry which received unparalleled publicity for the club. We are so proud to recognize and honor Cindy as Zontian of the Year.

Zonta participates in Memorial Day 2022

It was a beautiful sunny morning, although a bit windy at times, and a perfect day to celebrate and honor those in the military who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
The Memorial Day Tribute 2022 "Remembering Our Fallen Heroes" event at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary was filled with patriotism, pride, and somber reflections of Santa Clarita Valley's local veterans. The Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band, conducted by Tim Durand, entertained the crowd.  The event was led off by local Vietnam Veteran and Navy Seal, Max Morgan, as the Master of Ceremonies.  Minutes into the program, the crowd was treated to two flyovers by the Condor Squadron, which fly classic World War II AT6 aircraft. The event's attendees comprised of veterans from every war going back to World War II, family members, and members of the community.  Claire Tester of Heart High School sang the National Anthem and later treated the audience to a beautiful a cappella rendition of "I'm Proud to be an American" during which the crowd joined in to sing the refrain.  Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army, Jerry Rhodes gave the acknowledgement of wreath donors, and included the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley in his thanks, even though the club was not listed in the program.  U.S. Navy Officer, Congressman Mike Garcia, stepped in as Keynote speaker within a week's notice, and gave a moving speech from a soldier's point of view.  He encouraged the crowd to not mourn the deceased soldiers, but to honor their sacrifice and support their families as they grieve.  The event was closed out by a Rifle Salute from the Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League, Simi Valley, the playing of Taps by Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps, Robert Martinez, and Benediction by Pastor David Hegg.