South Bay Womens Network



By the Bay

            In 1983, when Jean Brown worked at Security Pacific Bank, she believed the Los Osos area needed a networking organization for women in business to support their individual endeavors and share issues specific to working women.  

Brown persuaded Cathy Stalter, Judi Tewell, Connie Framberger, Rosa Metzler, Diane McClish and Linda Villanueva to join her on the first governing board of the South Bay Women’s Network.

            Last December the group celebrated 30 years of community support for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, including 2013 when $1,500 was raised at the annual Holiday Auction. Metzler reported the first holiday meeting was a wrapping party with each member donating a gift. Current president, Gila Zak, thanked her team of Metzler, Debra Angell and Peggy Zett for gathering community donations for their latest auction supporting the shelter.

             “Helping the Women’s Shelter continues to be our major fund raiser, but we also give three $500 scholarships annually for women at Cuesta College,” said Zak, owner of Quantum Wave Biofeedback. “Mainly our mission is to encourage and support each other.”

            Past-president Dawn Rodden, owner of Creative Design in Los Osos, explained the networking group commits to doing business with members, including helping women in transition. “One member’s car broke,” Rodden said, citing an example. “Another member helped this single mom replace her car so she could get to work.”

Rodden, who prefers being the quiet worker bee, said she “never thought I might lead the group as president, but with full support from the group, I had the confidence and a great experience.”

Sally Brooks, owner of The Great Skin Company said, “I joined in 1996 because of the great causes we support, then so many SBWN members support my business. The friendships are invaluable. For me it has been a win-win.”
            The group meets the first Tuesday of each month at noon at La Palapa in Baywood. Recently AJ Fudge, Vice President, announced an August fund raiser on By the Bay with Judy Salamacha on 97.3 The Rock, Estero Bay Community Radio, but said, “Ssshhhhhhhh, it’s a speakeasy so time and location can only be spread word of mouth…it will all be a surprise once you say you want in. I can tell you it is limited space and only $20 per person and lots of surprises once you are there. You have to go to and tell us you are interested. We’ll send you the particulars by email and then you have to send in your $20 per person. Only payment will secure your slot at the event. Flapper outfits and spats are encouraged but not required.” 

For more information about the organization go to

The group has maintained their dues at $45 so women can afford to join. This year, the group plans to continue raising money for the women’s shelter and support member Paula Ufferherdt’s efforts as a longtime commissioner with the Status of Women, a commission of women appointed by the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to advocate for women and girls and inform the supervisors of unmet needs in the county. This year both groups will celebrated women volunteers for their countless hours of volunteerism during a luncheon March 15 at the Madonna Inn.

Bloomin’ in Morro Bay with Morro Bay In Bloom

Community volunteers calling themselves Bloomies have spent each Saturday for nearly two years sprucing up Morro Bay. Project organizer, Walter Heath, indicated the mission of Morro Bay In Bloom (MBIB) is to organize people and like-minded groups to beautify public spaces. “We can be the volunteer labor force for projects that groups determine are needed.”

The Bloomies have high hopes for a fruitful visit from volunteer judges representing America in Bloom (AIB) July 10-11. Notables in their fields of horticulture and gardening will spend two days touring Morro Bay, including MBIB landscape projects. AIB is a national grass-roots urban renewal program focused on “gardening therapy” for the beautification of America’s communities.

Heath says although MBIB anticipates a positive assessment, participating in the AIB awards programs comes with broader benefits. “Before they leave we’ll get an extensive written report telling us how we excelled and what we can still do to beautify Morro Bay.” On the AIB website it states the awards program “intends to help communities harness untapped energy, talent, and resources to champion greening, enhance environmental awareness, promote economic development, and improve quality of life.”

“Early in his first term, Mayor Irons attended an all-county mayor’s meeting,” explained Heath. “Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara challenged the group to get involved with America in Bloom. I had asked Mayor Irons to find me a project that would be community affirming. I’d just been diagnosed with leukemia and was in a tailspin. America In Bloom matched my background. Growing up in San Francisco I came from a gardening family. My grandparents raised orchids and tuberous begonias. I started marigolds for my dad. I’m a retired chemist with some experience organizing people. I needed “gardening therapy” in my life.”

MBIB used Facebook to invite interested participants to come out and help with their first project, Morro Bay’s Library. “The landscaping was aging and overgrown. Next we took on the Chamber of Commerce. It needed major sprucing. Usually we get 10 to15 or as many as 25 people each Saturday from 9-11am. We are working with Joe Woods, (Morro Bay’s Recreation Director), on the Adopt a Park program. Community groups sign on to maintain a Morro Bay park. MBIB has adopted the Centennial Parkway project, which begins at the top of Centennial stairs on Market Street and runs out to the dock and water. We have big plans to stabilize the hillside and make it look nice. We’re adding succulents to the planters near D’Stacios. It’s amazing what ten people can accomplish in two hours.”

Bloomies are also promoting a public art project, Morro Bay Surfboard Art Festival benefitting Project Surf Camp and MBIB for November.

Starting Over in Morro Bay

What do you do when the love of your life for 25 years goes on a Harley road trip with his brothers, calls every day to check in, but then doesn’t come home? Since 2008, Claudia Wright moved to Morro Bay, published a book, and reached out to 482 new friends.

“While golfing, Jim told his brothers he was tired,” said Wright. “He was 51. He had a heart attack.” Although a successful graphic artist, his wife and family of three were unprepared financially. “I couldn’t afford the mortgage. At one point we were homeless, but together we made it. The boys had scholarships for college, but losing their dad was tough. We had to pay three years for Toby.”

Formerly in management with Starbucks of Chandler, Arizona, she was a stay-at-home mom working on a book concept. Toasted: The Perfect Toast for Every Occasion had an advance from a publisher. Memories of her grandparents’ toasts, sparked the entrepreneurial idea. Wright planned to publish traditional and custom toasts for all occasions. When her publisher was bought out, her book idea was shelved.

She doesn’t know how they got her resume, but Apple Store called. Their second offer was appealing with Jim gone. She accepted a district manager position that ultimately transferred her to Mission Viegjo, CA. She requested San Luis Obispo to be closer to her daughter in Monterey.

“I needed to jumpstart my life,” said Wright. “One night I discovered I thought there might be others around Morro Bay wanting to hike or go to the movies. I created the group ’50 Years Plus Active Singles.’ We are 482 members with no defined structure but to show up.”

Meanwhile, rights to self-publish her book Toasted were returned. She recently had a book signing and wine tasting at Coalesce Book Store where STAX Wine Bar pour three sparkling wines and Wright demonstrated several toasts for her attending friends and readers.

Living in the heart of wine country, Wright has pitched her book to other wine bars and wineries. “It’s a pocket-sized book and I’ve included pages where wine tasters can keep notes where they’ve tasted and which wines they prefer. I’m can customize the book for the wineries or a wedding party to have guest memory books of toasts.”

Besides STAX Wine Bar and Coalesce Book Store, Opolo Winery, Central Coast Wines, and Saucelito Canyon Winery are a short list of supporters.

“My children encouraged me to follow my dream,” said Wright. “My goal is to get the book into the hands of people celebrating life. Let me share my grandmother’s Scottish toast…Cheers to life, love, money and the time to enjoy it all.” 

Morro Bay Remembers Dan Reddell, Community Advocate

Dan Reddell, owner/broker of Bayshore Realty in Morro Bay, will always be remembered for his zest for life, yet on June 3rd he lost his battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it is an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, and ultimately, respiratory failure. From it’s onset, Reddell powered through persistent attacks to the part of his brain that directed muscle movement, while fully cognitive and powerless to reverse his decline.

He continued to go to the office daily, Morro Bay Rotary weekly and community activities on occasion, often accompanied by his brother, Dale Reddell. He would conduct business “talking” with his engaging smile and hand signals, or his smart phone and computer technology. He always sought a way to resolve a challenge or make it tolerable.

Reddell graduated from Coast Union High School and Cal Poly. He founded Bayshore Realty in 1997. A vocal community advocate for business development, he was active on numerous boards including president of the Morro Bay’s Harbor Festival, Police Foundation, and Rotary. In 2013 he was honored as Realtor of the Year by Scenic Coast Association of Realtors. Recognitions included Morro Bay Rotarian of the Year for 1988 and Morro Bay Citizen for 1987 and Living Treasure for 2013.

For several years he has helped Si Tennenberg distribute more than 1,200 care boxes for United States soldiers in Afghanistan. Through his office at Bayshore Realty and at Rotary meetings, he would tote packages ready to mail for those willing to take them to the post office and pay the small fee to shine a light from home for the soldiers oversees.

Instead of railing at his plight, he with his family and friends, led the charge to raise over $6,700 during the SLO Walk to Defeat ALS on April 12th. In an email, Reddell credited “Janne’ and daughter Donna, Jamie Boucher and Don Hudson for their brilliant ways of raising funds…”  

In a post to on November 5, 2013, Reddell told the story of a 1980 recall effort. He ultimately befriended one of the deposed councilmembers, Tom Cantine. He wrote, “…I had personally served him with his recall notice…The most memorable thing about the Recall Election for me was to become friends with a bitter enemy. It showed me that Morro Bay citizens may disagree, but they all have one thing in common–they love living in Morro Bay…They may disagree on what is best for Morro Bay, but they all believe in doing the best thing for our City…Working together would be working for the good of our community!”

A memorial was held June 20 at 3:30pm at the Morro Bay Community Center for a respectful stand-room-only community group. Let’s hope Reddell’s life lessons will become his community legacy?