“I’ve met a lot of quality people and made friends in this organization,” said Linda Blue, a longtime local honored as NAWBO’s Santa Barbara Member of the Year. Blue has 23 years of experience in photography, operating Linda Blue Photography to capture life’s biggest moments.
The Rising Star of the Year Award went to Tally Dajo Darsonval, a 19-year-old instructor at Santa Barbara’s Martial Arts Family Fitness, where she’s taught since she was 16. She hopes to one day open her own martial arts school and thanked family and friends for giving her support to see that dream through. “It’s like my biggest passion in life,” Dajo Darsonval said. “This award is less about me than the people who got me here.”
Also taking home awards were Jane Honikman, Education Advocate of the Year; Sherry Villanueva, Innovator of the Year; Kandy Luria-Budgor, Philanthropic Champion; Brita Womack, Entrepreneur to Watch; and Marlys Boehm, who was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Going home with the ceremony’s final award for Woman Business Owner of the Year was Dr. Cynthia Copeland, who owns and operates Whole Health Dentistry at 1824 State St. An Idaho native, Copeland moved to Santa Barbara about 10 years ago and decided to start her own dental practice for teens and adults — a scary process, she said, considering they don’t teach you business in dental school. NAWBO has helped Copeland bounce ideas of fellow female business owners, who seem to take a more creative and caring approach to doing business, she said. “There are a lot of demands on our time,” Copeland said, noting many members are single parents or are in charge of the household in addition to their day jobs. “It’s a good group.” She thanked members for their support and had to add a piece of advice from a dentist — “Brush your teeth like your Wi-Fi depended on it.”