Today, we’re celebrating the remarkable women in our North County community! This year, you and the rest of North County nominated incredible local women. Four women were selected from those that were nominated for our Women of Influence North County (wINC) program. These women were able to share their stories at the wINC luncheon late last month. One of these women will go on to receive the award for Women of Influence North County 2023 at our Annual Awards Gala.

Who are these four phenomenal women making such a positive impact in our community? I’d love to introduce you to them!

Jennifer Adams, Lumina Alliance, Non-Profit CEO

Jennifer has made a profound impact in the gender-based violence field over her 25-year career. Starting as a volunteer on the crisis line for the Women’s Shelter Program, she went on to work at the local rape crisis center, then as a Victim/Witness advocate until she took the role of Executive Director at the Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center, and later lead the North County Women’s Shelter & Resource Center. Through her vision and leadership, she oversaw the merger between these two agencies, creating RISE in 2013. Recently, she led the efforts of a merger to create Lumina Alliance, a comprehensive dual services organization providing support to survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. This merger brought together resources, expertise, and services, resulting in a more cohesive and effective support system for survivors in San Luis Obispo County and the North County region.

Jessica Steely, Semmes & Company Builders, Inc., President

Working in a male-dominated industry of construction never slowed Jessica down. She lends her vast construction expertise to Habitat SLO as the current board of directors executive committee secretary. Her knowledge in sustainable building practices as been invaluable to both Habitat SLO and the local Atascadero business, Semmes & Company Builders where she is President and Head of Sales. However, she brings more than just her expertise, she brings an unyielding optimism that is contagious to both her team and colleagues in the industry.

Lisa Majors, Resilient Souls, President and Founder, Crisis Chaplin

Lisa Majors has saved people’s lives. Her ability to deal with mental illness and maladaptive behaviors is paired with her unwavering compassion and wisdom which are all skills critical for those in crisis. When called upon for an emergency to help someone in need, she races toward the situation regardless of how dangerous it may be and has a calming effect for all that are involved. She works hard, burning the candle at all ends to ensure that people in our community receive the help they desperately need.

Wendy Lewis, ECHO, CEO /President

The lives of those experiencing homelessness have been transformed by the hard work Wendy has done through ECHO Homeless Shelter. She expanded critical outreach programs to provide those in need with food, shelter, and medical assistance. No one is left behind on her watch. Her impact on North County doesn’t stop there – she has partnered and collaborated with many local businesses and community organizations to work towards helping our unhoused residents with more programs, volunteers, and funding. Under her leadership, ECHO has established new programs like job training, education, and housing assistance, supporting homeless individuals to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into our community.

These are just four of the countless women we have in our community that are creating a positive impact daily through their work, volunteer activities, or in leadership. So, the celebration for remarkable women doesn’t end here. Our Women of Influence North County (wINC) program, in partnership with the Atascadero Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), seeks to continue to build and support a brighter and more diverse future for everyone in our community. I want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate the women they knew for this program. Stay tuned for our announcement of who will receive the Women of Influence North County 2023 title!

-Josh Cross, Atascadero Chamber CEO

PS – We extend our heartfelt gratitude to 13 Stars Media for their unwavering support of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce and their dedicated involvement within our vibrant community.

Josh Cross

President & CEO of the Atascadero Chamber | Josh Cross

Josh Cross is a longtime Central Coast local, having grown up right here in Atascadero. He has a strong knowledge of governmental and community issues, in addition to economic development. Previously he worked as the Director of Economic Development for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and has always been passionate about the incredible work Chambers can do for their community.