2023 Women of Excellence

2023 Legacy Award

2023 President's Award

Elizabeth McGiffin

Liz McGiffin, originally from Lakewood, California, has embarked on an inspiring journey of personal and professional growth. After moving to Silver Lakes/Helendale in 1988 and becoming a single mother, Liz worked tirelessly to balance her family responsibilities while advancing her education, ultimately earning an MBA at the age of 40. In 1995, she married Dave, and together they built a loving family together. Professionally, Liz is grateful to Choice Medical Group, where she aids cancer survivors and patients through the High Desert Cancer Connection and the Senior Kicks Club.

Heidi Battaglia

Heidi Battaglia is a devoted mother of five, with a primary focus on caring for her son Timmy, who has autism. She also works part-time as a Life Skills Educator at the Rock'n Our Disabilities Foundation Learning Center, and also volunteers with the same foundation, leading the Soaring Eagles Club during bi-monthly sessions. Heidi founded a Cub Scout Pack for children with special needs in 2016, and in 2017, she received the Special Needs Service Award, becoming the first person in the California Inland Empire Council for Scouts BSA to achieve this honor.

2023 Women of Excellence

Ambar Palacios

Ambar Martinez Palacios, a wife and a mother of four defied health challenges and limited savings in 2018 to establish a successful business in Victorville. After successfully running various businesses such as tax preparation, notary public services, and sales, today she along with her husband runs a highly successful automotive business called Cali Autoglass. Ambar is passionate about community involvement and improving her small business's quality and competitiveness.

Cheryl Sislo

Cheryl Sislo, a California native married for 19 years and proud mother of her son Dylan, has made significant achievements as a dedicated volunteer for God's Hand Extended. She plays a pivotal role in securing beds for children, supporting the Food Pantry Ministry, and connecting families and individuals to local resources. Cheryl's work, fueled by her passion for serving others and sharing the message of Jesus, brings hope, love, and kindness to the underserved, advocating for those in need.

Christina Kennedy

Christina has been happily married for 34 years and is a mother of six children. In her professional life, Christina serves as the President of the High Desert Second Chance Food Bank, overseeing 11 impactful programs aimed at supporting families in the region. She is also actively involved in initiatives to combat food waste and collaborates with Azusa Pacific University to develop accessible health and wellness classes for the public, earning her recognition as a Woman of Excellence in her community.

Heather Brown

Heather is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a wealth of achievements. She has seven years of experience as a Behavioral Health Counselor at the Desert Mountain Children's Center, providing therapy to children aged 8-21. She also specializes in Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS). Her journey to success was shaped by overcoming numerous childhood adversities, and she takes pride in her role as a supportive parent, guiding her children to achieve Eagle Scout status.

Karen Sanchez

Karen Sanchez is a multi-state Realtor and dedicated volunteer with a history of leadership in various real estate organizations. Her proudest achievements include her loving family, extensive volunteer work, and commitment to serving clients in their real estate needs. Beyond her professional life, she enjoys travel, family time, exploring BBQ restaurants, and delving into Presidential History as she aspires to read biographies of every U.S. President and visit their museums.

Linda Titus

Linda J. Titus has achieved remarkable success in her life journey. She holds multiple degrees in nursing and Healthcare Administration. She has 21 years of experience as an adjunct professor at Mount San Antonio College and active involvement in organizations supporting senior affairs and workforce development. Her proudest accomplishments include working with foster children, and volunteering in hospice care reflecting her unwavering dedication to community health and wellness.

Dr. Sarah ShaBazz-Ugwumba

Dr. Sarah ShaBazz-Ugwumba, an experienced educator with a PhD in Special Education, teaches at Barstow Community College and is active in her community. She coaches girls' basketball and leads women's organizations while mentoring girls through scholarships and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She's also an author with seven published books and helps aspiring authors that are interested in publishing their works.

Sylvia Romo

Sylvia excels as a Case Manager and Housing Advocate, specializing in helping families affected by domestic violence, showcasing her dedication to their recovery and resilience. Outside of her professional achievements, Sylvia reached the significant milestone of becoming a first-time homebuyer. She also actively volunteers and instills values of compassion and community engagement in her children while pursuing her creative passions as a wedding event designer and photographer.