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‘Legal briefs’ adorn Zonta installation

Attorney Cindy Kittle takes reins of Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley

Posted: June 10, 2009 6:59 p.m.
Updated: June 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Nancy Albrecht, a member of the club for more than 25 years, was named Zontian of the year.

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There were "legal briefs" scattered around the banquet room of Le Chene French Cuisine in honor of the installation of Cindy Kittle as incoming 2009-10 president of Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

In keeping with the Zonta tradition of fun and frolic at the club's installation dinner, these weren't the kind of briefs you read - but rather the kind you wear.

Kittle, who in her professional life is senior regional counsel for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, took the good natured "theme" in stride.

In addition to Kittle, others installed during the evening included: President-elect Karla Edwards, First Vice President Jorja Harris, Second Vice President Karen Maleck-Whiteley, Treasurer JoAnn Rodriguez, Secretary Susana Coronel and Immediate Past President Chris Miller.

Members installed to the board of directors included Peggy Edwards, Alicia Estrada, Dianne Goddard, Barbara Stearns-Cochran and JoAnne Lindsey.

Laura Peters, Zonta Lt. Governor, District 9, served as the installing officer.

Also installed were trustees of the Zonta Foundation, which recently awarded more than $16,000 in grants to nonprofits in the SCV.
Jo Ann Rodriguez chaired the installation committee of past Zonta presidents. She said she was warned it was a rowdy group.

"I heard it was a group that was hard to keep under control and most of all, hard to keep quiet. I was ready, with my shipping tape in hand, and I warned everyone that if they got off subject they would be taped shut," she said, as the audience laughed. "Actually, this probably was the easiest committee I've ever had to chair. They've been doing this for so long, everyone has the process down, they know their responsibilities, their assignments and look, it just happens."

The most emotional moment in the program came when Lois Bauccio announced Nancy Albrecht as Zontian of the Year. Albrecht covered her mouth in surprise and welled up with tears.

Bauccio explained that the Zontian of the Year Award represents a body of work and members are nominated by their Zontian sisters. The judging panel is made up of past winners of the award from the last three years. This year's judging panel included Bauccio, Chris Miller, and Barbara Stearns-Cochran.

Bauccio listed Albrecht's many accomplishments as past president, treasurer, foundation trustee and her passion for her Mac computer.

"She is credited with winning international awards for the club for the quality of the group's newsletter and Web site," said Bauccio.

Albrecht, a Zontian for more than 25 years, made her way to the podium to accept the large "Z"-shaped award which she clutched tightly as she spoke movingly to her assembled Zonta sisters.

"I can't even begin to find the words to tell you how much this means to me, as well as my membership in Zonta," she said. "My Zonta friends are more like family. Thank you so very much, it is such an honor."

Also honored during the event was DaAnne Smith who earned an award, presented by Darleen Lyons, for the most community service hours earned during the past year. Smith is currently the executive director of Single Mothers Outreach. This was the first year the award was presented.

Lyons said Zontians are asked to turn in community service hours each month for the various nonprofits in the SCV where Zonta members volunteer.

Lyons said 47 members turned in hours, with many members turning in more than 100 hours of community service in the past year.

"I know that many others have also earned hours but they didn't turn in their sheets," she said.

Among the nonprofits that have benefited from the efforts of Zonta members are the SCV Boys & Girls Club, Child and Family Center, SCV Committee on Aging, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, SCV Hunger Defense Fund, SCV Food Pantry, SCV Literacy Festival, American Cancer Society, Red Cross, Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, Single Mothers Outreach and others.
Lyons said Smith earned the award by racking up more than 1,000 hours of community service.

Outgoing president Chris Miller recounted moments from the past year during her final remarks including a trip to Rotterdam for a Zonta Convention and the challenges faced with raising money for the Zonta Foundation in the face of the current economic crisis.

"To everyone who supported our events, a huge thank you," she said. "I don't think mere words can express my thanks to all the committee chairs and members."

A role call of past Zontian presidents brought the women to the front of the room to take a bow and read like a "who's who" in SCV volunteer and philanthropic circles. Among the living past presidents honored - though not all were in attendance - were Jo Anne Darcy, Moana Steinberg, Alice MacWhirter, Jackie Nichols, Carolyn Callison, Ruth Clark, Victoria Oren, Sharon Langenbeck, Dianne Curtis, Ethel Wilson, Pat Allen, Jami Kennedy, Carleen Lyons, Barbara Stearns-Cochran, Adele Macpherson, Lois Bauccio, Judy Penman, Cathie Kincheloe, Alyce Huff, Pat Warford, Pat Willett, Peggy Edwards, Nancy Albecht, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Darleen Lyons and Jo Ann Rodriguez.

Curtis is currently the President-elect for Zonta International and will be installed for her two-year term July 2010 at the 2010 Zonta International Convention to be held San Antonio, Texas.

After each of the officers and board members was sworn in Kittle was presented with the president's gavel and pin and then took the podium to give her incoming president's speech.

During her incoming remarks Kittle spoke movingly of her mother.

"I am dedicating this year to honor the memory of my mother and the example of service and doing something for other people that she set for me," said Kittle, her voice breaking with emotion.

Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

The Zonta Club of SCV meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Hilton Garden Inn, 27710 The Old Road in Valencia. 6 p.m. social time; 6:30 p.m. meeting. For information call (661) 252-9351 or visit www.scvzonta.org.

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