The 2021 Goleta’s Finest Award Winners have been announced by the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Goleta’s Finest is a 71-year-old tradition honoring remarkable individuals whose contributions have enhanced the Goleta community.
“We are honored to bring our Goleta’s Finest Community Awards Gala back this year after taking a year off due to the pandemic,” said Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “The Goleta community has an amazing history of volunteerism and philanthropy, and we are eager to honor those individuals and organizations who have shined over the last two years.”
The 2021 award recipients will be honored with a formal celebration from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. The evening will include dinner followed by the awards ceremony.
The 2021 Goleta’s Finest winners are:
— Woman of the Year: Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons.
Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Fitzgibbons, who chairs Cottage Health’s infectious disease division, has relayed data about the COVID-19 to the community and has worked closely with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to connect local hospitals with government agencies and speakers in the community.
— Man of the Year: Mark Ingalls.
As head of Camino Real Marketplace, Mr. Ingalls was at the forefront of changes needed throughout the pandemic to keep businesses open and successful, according to the chamber’s news release.
He supported both the big box essential businesses that never closed and nurtured family-owned restaurants like Anna’s Bakery and Los Agaves back to life with enhanced outdoor dining and creative business solutions.
— Educator of the Year: William Woodard, Dos Pueblos High School.
As principal at Dos Pueblos High School, Mr. Woodard has continued to lead students and their families, staff and teachers and the Goleta community throughout the pandemic. The chamber noted that from shutdowns and remote learning, to coming back to campus with masks and temperature checks, Mr. Woodard has kept a positive attitude and persistent communication.
— Student of the Year: Isabella Mireles, Dos Pueblos High School.
Isabella is known as a strong example of someone giving back to the community. She was diagnosed at age 2 with leukemia and is now cancer-free. As a pediatric cancer survivor, she dedicates her time speaking about cancer, encouraging pediatric patients and working closely with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation to put on special events.
— Volunteer of the Year: Lisa Gosdschan.
Many people know Ms. Gosdschan from her day job with the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and before that, St. Vincent’s. But those who know her well realize her passion for her community goes far beyond that, the chamber noted in its news release.
In addition to serving as an ambassador for the chamber, she has been a Santa Barbara County long-term ombudsman and is a regular volunteer at Cottage Hospital. She also has helped the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and the American Heart Association.
Throughout the pandemic, she volunteered for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
— Nonprofit Leader of the Year: Lori Goodman.
Ms. Goodman became executive director of Isla Vista Youth Projects in January 2018. Immediately, she had big ideas on how to grow the organization and enhance its presence in the community. Isla Vista Youth Projects provides families with basic needs, such as food distribution and childcare. Under Ms. Goodman’s leadership, IVYP continues to expand their services and reach.
— Innovator of the Year: Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.
As vaccines began to roll out, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital moved swiftly to set up a drive-up clinic to serve residents across the South Coast, the chamber noted. The hospital worked in accordance with state guidelines, starting with those 65 and older and then essential workers. By April the drive-up clinic was serving nearly 10,000 people a week.
— Nonprofit Organization of the Year: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
Over the last two years, the Foodbank distributed twice as much food as normal to twice the number of people as widespread job losses expanded with every wave of shutdowns and COVID-19 case surges.
In the first nine months of the pandemic, the Foodbank handled nearly 60,000 home deliveries, setting up and running more than 50 certified food distribution sites to serve all neighborhoods of the county.
— Special Recognition: Her Festival 2020.
Mia and Cami Chou helped found the student-run organization Voices of the Community at Dos Pueblos High School. The group is made up of Santa Barbara youth who are passionate about changing the community for the better by ensuring that the voices of underrepresented groups are heard.
The group’s first big endeavor was the inaugural Her Festival. As co-presidents of the event, Mia and Cami worked for months to bring the event to the community. Her Festival celebrated the women in the community and empowered the next generation of female leaders.