Assemblymember Holden to Honor 41st Assembly District's Woman of the Year and Women of Distinction at Annual Open House

Published : Monday, March 12, 2018 | 3:32 PM

“Dr. Khubesrian continues to make a positive impact in her community both as a public servant and physician,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “She is a tireless advocate for the environment and public health, and is an inspiration to all.”

Answering the call to serve on the City Council from Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISSPA) in 2011, Marina Khubesrian, M.D. is the first woman to be elected to the South Pasadena City Council since 2003. Under Dr. Khubesrian’s leadership, the City of South Pasadena has enacted plastic bag and e-cigarette ban ordinances, launched South Pasadena Host Town for the Special Olympics World Games, helped secure more open space and parks for residents, and sponsored public art projects in the City’s business districts.

Women of Distinction from throughout the district include Jill Adler-Moore Ph.D. (Altadena), Christy Anderson (Claremont), Sylvia Whitlock Ph.D. (La Verne), Julie Gentile (Monrovia), Kathy Onoye Ed.D., (Pasadena), Kathleen Tiegs (Rancho Cucamonga), Rhonda Beltran (San Dimas), Joanne Harabedian (Sierra Madre), and Marie Sliney (Upland).

“The 2018 Women of Distinction are passionate leaders who improve the lives for thousands of individuals and families in the 41st Assembly District and beyond,” said Holden. “They demonstrate exceptional leadership that all of us should aspire to achieve.”

Assemblymember Holden’s District Office is located 600 North Rosemead Blvd, Pasadena CA 91107. To RSVP for this event, email


The 41st Assembly District’s 2018 Woman of the Year and Women of Distinction:

Kathy Onoye, Woman of Distinction, Pasadena – Dr. Kathy Onoye was an employee of the Pasadena Unified School District from 1971 to 2014, beginning as an elementary school teacher, appointed Principal of Willard Elementary School, and retiring as Executive Director of Elementary Education. Under her leadership Willard was awarded the Title I Academic Achievement Award for four consecutive years and received the International Baccalaureate authorization. Kathy has logged over 6500 volunteer hours at Huntington Hospital and has been a clerk and member of vestry at All Saints Episcopal Church for over 25 years. She served as region representative for Curriculum and Instruction with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). ACSA Region XV honored her as their Administrator of the Year in 2016 and 2010. Dr. Onoye became a member of the board for Pasadena Educational Foundation in 2004, and is currently its President for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. She is on the Advisory Board for Young and Healthy and San Rafael Library Associates Board.

Jill Adler-Moore, Ph.D, Woman of Distinction, Altadena – Jill Adler-Moore has had a distinguished 42 year career as a teacher and researcher in molecular biology and immunology at Cal Poly Pomona. Her invention of the drug AmBisome has saved thousands of lives world-wide since it was approved for use in 1990. Most recently, the benefits of the success of this product were manifested in La Verne, CA, where a new state-of-the-art facility was opened to produce the drug, providing quality employment opportunities for hundreds of local residents. As a teacher, she has distinguished herself by championing projects that provide opportunities for advanced degree education for economically challenged students such as the RISE program at Cal Poly. She was instrumental in developing the biotechnology major at the state university system when demand for specific skill sets in biotechnology was high. She has pioneered the successful collaboration of science in industry with science in academics, bringing over $14,000,000 to Cal Poly in research and education support grants over her prolific career.

Marina Khubesrian, M.D., 2018 Woman of the Year, City of South Pasadena – Answering the call to serve on the City Council from Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISSPA) in 2011, Marina Khubesrian, M.D. is the first woman to be elected to the South Pasadena City Council since 2003. She served as Mayor for the 2013-2014 term. Dr. Khubesrian was a faculty member and co-director of the Family Medicine Residency Training Program at Glendale Adventist Medical Center where she practiced medicine and taught medical students and residents from 1992 to 2010 before transitioning to private practice. The scope of her Family Practice spans from birth to death. She believes that to have healthy patients we must also have healthy families and communities. Dr. Khubesrian is proud to have launched “Beyond the 710,” an organization opposed to the 710 Tunnel that developed an alternative solution called, “New Initiative for Mobility and Community.” As a result of her steadfast dedication, she emerged as a leading voice in alternative solutions that relieve traffic congestion, connect communities, promote smart growth, and protect the environment. Under Dr. Khubesrian’s leadership, the City of South Pasadena has enacted plastic bag and e-cigarette ban ordinances, launched South Pasadena Host Town for the Special Olympics World Games, helped secure more open space and parks for residents, and sponsored public art projects in the City’s business districts. She also led efforts with Chris Holden and his 41st Assembly District Office to enact common sense regulation and local control of massage parlors. This joint partnership resulted in the passage of Assembly Bill 1147 which has had positive impacts statewide. When she was just 10 years old, Dr. Khubesrian and her family emigrated from Armenia. Education was always a top priority in her family and that fostered her big dreams. Dr. Khubesrian earned her B.S. in Biology from the UCLA School of Life Sciences, as well as her M.D. from the UCLA School of Medicine. She and her partner of 20 years, Dr. Mark Dreskin, have lived in South Pasadena since 1998 where they raise their two children, Sofie, 16, and Max,11. A dedicated “Public Health Champion,” Dr. Marina Khubesrian tirelessly advocates for policies that prioritize environmental health, public health, quality of life, as well as balance regional and local needs.

Christy Anderson, Woman of Distinction, Claremont – Christy Anderson founded Claremont Canopy – a grassroots organization that supports refugee resettlement in the Inland Empire. Claremont Canopy works to provide a community that is welcoming, affordable, and sustainable for refugees as they build new lives. In the last year Christy led a dedicated team of translators and a dozen volunteers to enable nine families, most from Syria, to resettle in the greater Claremont area. The families cared for by Anderson have all said they consider her part of their family.

Sylvia Whitlock, Ph.D., Woman of Distinction, La Verne – In 1987, Dr. Whitlock of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California became the first female Rotary club president in the world after her right of membership in the Rotary club of Duarte went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 4, 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Rotary Clubs could no longer exclude women from membership on the basis of gender. She has inspired women all over the world to join the Rotary. As a direct result of Dr. Whitlock’s pioneering endeavors, today there are more than 200,000 female Rotarians working to serve their communities. She has been involved in many Rotary activities including eradication of polio, disaster relief, founding an aids clinic in Jamaica, supporting orphanages in Mexico, raising $90,000 for education of girls in India, and organizing world peace conferences.

Julie Gentile, Woman of Distinction, Monrovia– Julie Gentile has been an active member of the San Gabriel Business community for over fifteen years. In that time she served on numerous boards for local charitable organizations, including the board of directors of the Foothill Unity Center, Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, The Duarte Chamber of Commerce, Santa Anita Family YMCA, and Monrovia Reads. She also provided monetary support to many other local organizations including Center Stage studios, the Monrovia Rotary Club, The Boys & Girls Club, Monrovia High School, The Arcadia Chamber, the Monrovia Knights of Columbus, The Arcadia Associations of Realtors, The Monrovia Library Guild, the Children’s Hospital Guild, and the Monrovia Firefighter’s Association. Gentile has served on the executive board of Kiwanis Club Monrovia, holding the positions of president, secretary and treasurer. She was instrumental in the club reviving Monrovia’s “Taste of Old Town,” and has made the event progressively more successful each of the last seven years.

Kathleen Tiegs, Woman of Distinction, Rancho Cucamonga– Kathleen Tiegs has a distinguished career in water resource management after working for a wholesale water agency for over 30 years. She was elected to the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors in November 2005. Kathleen serves as the past President of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She also was re-appointed as the Southern California Water Committee Vice-Chair for 2018. She is actively involved in special district advocacy and serves on the Legislative Committee for the California Special Districts Association.

Rhonda Beltran, Woman of Distinction, San Dimas – Rhonda Beltran is the Chief Development Officer of McKinley Children’s Center in San Dimas. She has been serving her community and the children of McKinley Children’s Center for over 20 years. Rhonda is currently an active Soroptimist, Chair of the San Dimas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the La Verne Chamber of Commerce and the La Fetra Foundation Board of Directors. She has also served in leadership roles for a variety of community organizations including La Fetra Site Council, Sandburg Site Council, TEAM Referral Network, Neighborhood Christian Fellowship, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Joanne Harabedian, Woman of Distinction, Sierra Madre – Joanne Harabedian has been the Principal at St. Rita Elementary School in Sierra Madre for 12 years. In that capacity, she has been an outstanding servant to her students, staff, and larger community. Under her leadership, the school has continued to improve and grow, while attracting a diverse set of families and students. She started teaching at St. Rita in 1991.

Marie Sliney, Woman of Distinction, Upland – Marie was a nurse for 35 years, working all over the country including northern California, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. After retiring from full-time nursing, she became a high school teacher at Upland High School, teaching students about the medical field. In addition to building the school’s Medical Pathway, and working to make her courses A-G approved by the University of California and California State University systems, Marie helps place students as interns in medical offices throughout the community, so they can get real, hands-on experience in the medical world. She also works with the Baldy View Regional Occupational Program to develop new teachers, and runs the CPR and HOSA programs at Baldy View, helping her students prepare for national competitions. She also volunteers at the HIV/AIDS Claremont Project, and at homes for abused women and children in the community.









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