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Archival News Release
This News Release is outdated and posted here for archival purposes only.​​​​​​​​​

May 15, 2014

Women’s Conference to Help Attendees Reach ‘Beyond Barriers’

The annual College of the Canyons Women’s Conference returns this summer with a lineup of inspiring presenters and empowering breakout sessions designed to help attendees reach beyond the barriers faced throughout their lives and achieve their dreams.

The 2014 College of the Canyons Women’s Conference ‘Beyond Barriers: Reaching Your Full Potential’ will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, located on the college’s Valencia campus (University Center Drive entrance).

The event is being sponsored by presenting sponsor Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, Valencia, the COC Student Development Office, Mellady Direct Marketing, Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company, KHTS AM 1220, Bake You Happy, and College of the Canyons.

Focusing on the variety of personality traits and lifestyle attributes which often lead to professional success and personal satisfaction, event organizers have focused this year’s Women’s Conference around the following key information strands: 
  • Balanced & Healthy Lifestyles
  • Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Motivation & Empowerment
“The ‘Beyond Barriers’ theme is about women reaching their full potential and striving for their dreams without limits,” said Dr. Diane Fiero, assistant superintendent/vice president, human resources at College of the Canyons. “Join us for a day of education, motivation and empowerment provided by inspirational women doing amazing things in our community and around the world.”

Serving as the keynote speaker at this year’s Women’s Conference is Kamala Lopez, an award-winning actress, filmmaker and executive director of the ERA Education Project.

Lopez launched her professional acting career while still in high school when she was cast on ‘Sesame Street’ as the recurring character Mercedes. The young actress would go on to attend Yale University, double majoring in philosophy and theatre studies, before returning to the silver screen and appearing in more than 30 feature films, including ‘Born in East L.A.,’ ‘Deep Cover,’ ‘The Burning Season’ and ‘I Heart Huckabees.’

In 1995, Lopez formed the production company Heroica Films with a mission to write, direct and produce media for women, about women and utilizing women both in front of and behind the camera.

Lopez is also the founder and executive director of the ERA Education Project, a new national media campaign dedicated to educating the public about the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. She is also currently directing the documentary film ‘Equal Means Equal,’ which examines the status of American women in society today.

Lopez is a 2011 National Women's Political Caucus Women of Courage Award winner, and in 2012 she was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews.

Rounding out the conference’s panel of presenters are:
  • Ana Pianca — Director of research and development, Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, and inventor on more than 100 U.S. and international patents and patent applications specializing in medical devices and tools
  • Alaina Percival — CEO and board chair at Women Who Code, a global organization dedicated to inspiring women to pursue technology career
  • Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman — Education outreach coordinator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and inventor of the Blissymbol Printer
  • Dr. Ebonee Williams — Managing director at the UC San Diego Gordon Engineering Leadership Center, and professional development director, National Society of Black Engineers
  • Suzuki Gurrola — Civil engineer, City of Santa Clarita
  • Elisha Kriis — Bollywood actress, film producer, and host for travelxp HD, India’s first high definition travel channel
  • Gloria Mercado-Fortine — Board member, William S. Hart Union High School District
  • Dr. Deborah Stote — Clinical psychiatrist and COC alumna
  • Susan Chapman — Certified vedic master, Chopra Center
  • Kelly J. Mobeck — President, CPC, CEF, Kelly J. Mobeck Coaching 
  • JoAnn Wabiska — Co-founder, Ekata Martial Arts & Fitness Center
  • Doris Marie Zimmer — Life/corporate coach, and chair of the COC Foundation board of directors
General admission tickets are $30 ($35 after June 6) or $20 for COC students/staff. Admission includes access to the entire conference, including a continental breakfast, three morning breakout sessions of the attendee’s choice, lunch and an afternoon keynote presentation. There will also be a variety of vendors on site and an exciting raffle to conclude the day.

For more information or to register to attend, follow the link below or contact the Women's Conference event desk at (661) 362-3426 or​

Kamala Lopez

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