The Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) Foundation announced the names and companies of the 33 businesswomen who are finalists in the 11 categories of the 2018 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards during its annual gala at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort on Friday, May 4, at 5:30 p.m.
The prestigious Rock Star: Life Achievement Award is presented to a successful female entrepreneur who has made an invaluable impact on the community. This year’s recipient, Lady Leslie Ridley Tree, the CEO of Pacific Air Industries and a leading philanthropist in Santa Barbara, was chosen unanimously by the SOE Foundation Board.
“Not enough people know that Lady Ridley-Tree is the CEO Pacific Air Industries + Air-Cert, Inc., a company founded by her late husband, Paul, in 1959,” says Cathy Feldman, Board Chair and CEO of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. “She commutes to their headquarters in Chatsworth every week to supervise the business.”
“We all know Lady Ridley-Tree for her countless contributions to the community, with the state-of-the-art Ridley-Tree Cancer Center being the most recent. This amazing woman, now in her nineties, is still actively running her business. Our board was enthusiastic about recognizing her because she is such an incredible role model for all of us.”
Lady Ridley-Tree has never been the one to shy away from challenges. Many years ago, when she lived in New York, she ran a shelter on the West Side helping get kids off the street, particularly girls. She started what would become the first Head Start program in the United States. And when it came time to move Pacific Air’s facilities from Santa Monica where it had begun, to a state-of-the-art facility in Chatsworth two years ago, she didn’t think twice — the move was a complete success.
She has a similar philosophy about her philanthropy, which has benefitted UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Cottage Hospital, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and many, many other organizations.
Along with Lady Ridley-Tree, SOE Awards will be honoring 11 outstanding women entrepreneurs from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, selected by an independent panel of judges.
Proceeds from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards benefit the winners of the SBCC Scheinfeld Center’s New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition for Santa Barbara County high school and college students. The winners of both tiers of the New Venture Challenge are given financial support in the form of seed capital and scholarships, and receive their prizes at the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards dinner on May 4.
For additional information about the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation or the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards please go to www.soefoundation.org, or call 805/682-8380.