We have some extraordinary women in North County making an incredible, positive impact! Today, thanks to a partnership with the American Association of University of Women (AAUW), I can highlight and recognize a few of these women for our Women of Influence North County (wINC) program. Earlier this year, the team and I asked our community to nominate a remarkable woman they knew, either due to her work, her volunteer activities, or her leadership roles. Wow, did you answer! Choosing just four for the prestigious Women of Influence North County nomination wasn’t easy with all the wonderful nominations. However, the following four women who received nominations are absolute trailblazers, leaving a positive mark on our community that can’t be ignored.

The inspiring stories of these four women will be shared first-hand during our Women of Influence North County Luncheon on September 28th from 12 – 1:30 PM at the Springhill Suites in Atascadero. Tickets are available until the 25th at noon or until they sell out! You can get yours by visiting the atascaderochamber.org site or by clicking here.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to four remarkable women.

Jennifer Adams, Lumina Alliance, Non-Profit CEO

Jennifer has made a profound impact in the gender-based violence field over her 25-year career. Her efforts have helped provide comprehensive services and support to survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. 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. She oversaw the merger between these two agencies through her vision and leadership, 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’s worked through many challenges with expertise and contagious optimism. Jessica regularly lends her vast construction expertise to Habitat SLO as the current board of directors executive committee secretary. Her knowledge of sustainable building practices has been invaluable to Habitat SLO and the local Atascadero business, Semmes & Company Builders, where she is President and Head of Sales.

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, 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 on all 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 Wendy’s hard work 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.

This is just the beginning. In collaboration with the Atascadero Chapter of AAUW, our wINC program will continue to spotlight and uplift the numerous women making waves in our community.

-Josh Cross, Atascadero Chamber CEO

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.