Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Representative Adam Schiff Honors 2023 Women of the Year

Seated left to right: Alexa Iles Skarpelos (Hollywood), Patricia Lombard (Larchmont Village), Dr. Marie Levine (Pasadena), Chanchanit Martorell (Park La Brea), Barbara Howell (Los Feliz), Barbara Meltzer (West Hollywood), Delores Shine Kerr (Miracle Mile/Mid-Wilshire), Evelyn Serrano (Sunland-Tujunga). Standing left to right: Dr. Joanna Chikwe (Hollywood Hills), Isabel Omero (Burbank), Dr. Christina Ashjian Garabedian (Glendale), Congressman Adam Schiff, Rhonda Reynolds (Echo Park), Barbara Monderine-Williams (Atwater Village), Barbara Poppy Kwong (Silver Lake). Not pictured: Maria Herrera (Elysian Valley) and Carolyn Ramsay (Hancock Park).

At a special luncheon this week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored 16 inspiring women from communities in the 30th Congressional District, including Atwater Village, Burbank, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glendale, Hancock Park, Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, Miracle Mile/Mid-Wilshire, Larchmont Village, Los Feliz, Park La Brea, Pasadena, Silver Lake, Sunland-Tujunga, and West Hollywood.

“It was great to meet with extraordinary women from my district who have worked tirelessly to make our communities a better place,” said Rep. Schiff. “It was an honor to recognize their invaluable work in the 30th District, and a pleasure to thank them for their outstanding service to the community.”

The luncheon was held at female-owned Terroni Restaurant, soon to open a new location this fall on Larchmont Blvd., offering the honorees an opportunity to talk with the Congressman on a wide range of subjects.

Three local residents – Buzz co-publisher Patty Lombard, Delores Kerr, and Carolyn Ramsay (who was not able to attend) – were among Schiff’s honorees, with each telling her personal story…all of which centered around giving back to others and their local communities. Kerr, at the age of 88, particularly inspired the group by sharing her personal journey of community involvement, including decades of service to the California Science Center.

Congressman Schiff with Delores Kerr, Dr. Maria Levine and Alexa Iles Skarpelos

The 30th Congressional District Women of the Year honored at the luncheon included:

Barbara Monderine-Williams 

Barbara Monderine-Williams, a passionate baker and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California, co-owns The Village Bakery and Café with her husband. From a humble hobby, she turned her love for baking into a thriving neighborhood establishment serving breakfast, lunch, pastries, and bread. During the pandemic, the bakery adapted to serve the community’s needs and through her “One Cookie At A Time” drives, Barbara has raised significant funds for various charitable causes.

Isabel Omero 

Isabel Omero, a proud transgender woman, has called Burbank, California home for over four decades. With a distinguished career in television and a deep commitment to non-profit work, she actively supports LGBTQ causes. Isabel’s efforts led to the successful organization of Burbank’s first-ever LGBTQ celebration “Family Pride in the Park.”

Rhonda Reynolds 

Rhonda Reynolds is an enthusiastic entrepreneur from Echo Park, Los Angeles who owns the beloved Masa of Echo Park Bakery and Cafe with her husband. Dedicated to her community, she actively engages in local organizations and donates to nonprofits.

Maria Herrera 

Maria Herrera, from Elysian Valley, Los Angeles, advocates for high-quality education and justice. Her involvement in the Parent Council Board and the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) showcases her commitment to improving educational opportunities for underserved students.

Dr. Christina Ashjian Garabedian

Dr. Christina Ashjian Garabedian is a Glendale resident. She is a dedicated pharmacist and Medication Safety Officer at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. Her passion for volunteering led her to work with the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) and participate in local high school science fairs.

Carolyn Ramsay 

Carolyn Ramsay of Hancock Park, Los Angeles, had a diverse career as a journalist and public servant. Her roles as a magazine writer, Councilman Tom LaBonge’s communications director, and Chief of Staff have left a lasting impact on the community. Passionate about volunteering, Carolyn served as board president of the Windsor Square Association and on the board of advisors of Hollywood Wilshire YMCA.

Dr. Joanna Chikwe 

Dr. Joanna Chikwe resides in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. She is the Irina and George Schaeffer Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a Professor of Clinical Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Chikwe’s clinical focus is robotic mitral repair, and her research centers around therapies for valvular heart disease. Her achievements include prestigious fellowships, leadership in top-ranked cardiac surgery programs, and numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Alexa Iles Skarpelos 

Alexa Iles Skarpelos is a dedicated community leader in Hollywood, California. She is dedicated to creating opportunities for civic engagement by developing meaningful partnerships between community and government officials. As an active volunteer, she organizes successful annual community events. For several years, she has led the Hollywood Dell Summer Block Party and Pet Parade, and the Hollywood National Night Out event. Among her numerous achievements, Ms. Skarpelos led the effort to preserve cherished neighborhood spaces like the La Rocha Trail

Delores Shine Kerr 

Delores Shine Kerr is an extraordinary woman with an impressive career in education, performance, and humanitarian work spanning nearly seven decades. Originally from Alabama, she excelled as a nurse, fashion model, and performer. Delores has founded significant organizations and held leadership positions in various non-profits, dedicating herself to humanitarian efforts.

Patricia Lombard 

Patricia Lombard has worked as a communications consultant and writer since moving to Los Angeles in 1988. As the editor and co-publisher of the Larchmont Buzz, she highlights local news and community issues. Her dedication extends to various civic organizations, including the Fremont Place Association and the Hancock Park Garden Club.

Barbara Howell 

Barbara Howell is a resident of Los Feliz, Los Angeles. She has an impressive career in non-profit organizations. As the executive director of the Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC), she has played a crucial role in its success. Barbara’s commitment to the community is evident through her involvement in various organizations and her dedication to giving back.

Chanchanit Martorell 

Chanchanit Martorell is from Park La Brea, Los Angeles. She is a dedicated social activist and Executive Director of the Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC). She works tirelessly to improve the lives of Thai immigrants through services that promote economic self-sufficiency and cultural adjustment. Chanchanit’s advocacy efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, and she is a leading expert on modern-day slavery.

Dr. Marie Levine

Dr. Marie Levine is an engineer in Pasadena, California. She works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and played a crucial role in the success of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). For her remarkable achievements in her field, Marie has received many awards during her 32-year career at JPL, and she is currently involved in early formulation plans for a new space telescope mission. Apart from her career, she is active in her community, volunteering for projects like the drought-tolerant garden at the Sheldon Reservoir.

Barbara Poppy Kwong

Barbara Poppy Kwong is a dedicated resident of Silver Lake, Los Angeles, with a passion for environmental causes. She actively cleans and picks up trash from the streets, removing over 4,000 pounds of trash in three years. During her 31-year career at Disney, she championed recycling efforts and encouraged her co-workers to participate. In addition to her environmental causes, many cultural institutions in the local Los Angeles landscape have benefited from Barbara’s volunteer efforts. She is a lifelong supporter of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC), the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), the Los Angeles Zoo, and has become a very active volunteer at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants.

Evelyn Serrano 

Evelyn Serrano is a Cuban immigrant, artist, educator, and community volunteer in Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles. She co-founded Sunland Tujunga Forward, a non-profit focused on equity, anti-racism, and community engagement. Evelyn is also involved in various art-centered initiatives and transformative justice projects. Her work has been recognized and supported by prestigious organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts.

Barbara Meltzer 

Barbara Meltzer is from West Hollywood, California. She has had a successful career in television production and public relations. She is a passionate advocate for people aged fifty and older and is actively involved in various organizations focused on aging-related issues. Barbara also serves her community through the Human Services Commission and the Friends of the West Hollywood Library.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Congratulations Patty! Not only are you a caring and active organizer in our hood , you are also an excellent pickleball teacher.


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