From left are Karrian Farrell Hinds, Esq, immediate past president of L.A. County Commission for Women; Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of MLK Community Healthcare; 2nd District Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, and Dr. Regina Smith, vice president of L.A. County Commission for Women. (Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Commission for Women held its 39th Annual Women of the Year Awards and Commemorative Celebration on March 18. The program was aptly themed “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.”

This year’s event honored 16 exceptional women who have diligently worked to better the lives of women in Los Angeles County. The awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles in downtown Los Angeles, recognized their work to bring about social and economic change.

Related Stories:

Each of the county’s five districts honored a “Woman of the Year” with the First District award going to Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, the first woman to lead the public transit agency. Wiggins was selected by First District County Board Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

“In the first district alone, Stephanie has led the Regional Connector’s construction, which opened three new stations downtown just last year. She is leading eight affordable housing developments in the first district representing hundreds and hundreds of units. Simply put, if you want to get something done, you get that shovel in the hand of Stephanie and she will make it happen,” said Solis.

“We are so proud to have gotten to know you over the years at Metro, at Metrolink, and now back home again at Metro. I’ve seen the transformative and caring work that you do every single day and to provide the best service, not only to my district, but to the entire county of Los Angeles. You model what it means to serve selflessly.”

1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis and Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. (Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors)

“All of these board members are uniquely bold and fearless,” said Wiggins upon accepting the honor of being recognized. “They help inspire, make it easy to fight for equity and uplift marginalized voices.  They make it easy to fight for climate change through understanding the incredible transformative opportunity we have with transportation.”

Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell selected Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of the Los Angeles County MLK Community Healthcare, as the Second District’s “Woman of the Year.”

“The reason that we thought it prudent to identify Dr.  Bachelor was to acknowledge and uplift her work leading a five-star quality hospital and healthcare system with a nationally recognized maternity program for our community,” Mitchell explained.

“She demonstrated how true authentic leadership can overcome incredible obstacles.  She’s devoted her entire career to reducing health disparities and expanding health care quality and access for those who are most vulnerable.  It is truly my honor to recognize a person who is leading an absolute gem not only in the Second District but in the county that provides such a vital service to those who needed it the most,” she added.

Mitchell recognized the community hospital’s commitment to improving maternal health. She also highlighted that although the hospital’s emergency  room  was  built  to  accommodate  25,000  patients  a  year, throughout the pandemic  and in the years since, more than 120,000  patients a year receive care while still maintaining  its five-star  rating.

“We are here because each of us decided to push forward against odds and expectations to succeed at our purpose.  We did this without a critical mass, but we did not do it alone.  Most of us can thank mentors, colleagues and friends who encouraged us and joined us in our work,” stated Dr. Batchlor.

“There are other women who would make this room even larger.  For me, these are the women of South Los Angeles.  The women who take two buses to find fresh produce to bring home to their families.  The women who pray for a healthy birth as they come to our hospital in labor.  They are the women who bring meaning to our work at MLK Community Healthcare.”

Other Black women recognized were Education honoree Dr. Yasmin Delahoussaye, chief program officer of Educating Students Together, and the honorees for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, who were Chanel Smith, executive director, Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative; Dr. Krishauna Hines-Gaither, vice president for Equity, Diversity and Justice, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles; and Star Manning, environmental health and safety coordinator, Kiewit.

Additional women honored included Kim Lamorie, president, Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation, Inc. of the Santa Monica Mountains; Karina Macias, vice mayor, City of Huntington Park; and Rlene Mijares De Lang, general manager and partner at Mijares Mexican Restaurant.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Commission for Women was created to represent the special interests and concerns of women of all races, ethnic and social backgrounds, religious convictions, sexual orientation, and social circumstances.