RENO, Nev. — Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada recently honored six powerful Northern Nevada female business leaders and several other important women at its “TRIUMPHANT: Celebrating Women in Leadership Dinner."
Christina Pacifico, Lara Ritchie, Cari Herington, Carolyn Cowan Barbash, Kenia Orellana and Katrina Loftin were recognized at the 17th annual dinner on Nov. 21 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
The event also recognized the nonprofit's 2019 G.I.R.L. Champions, and it featured a keynote speech by Girl Scout Emilie Rodriguez.
Below are brief bios on the six "Women in Leadership" honorees, in addition to the categories in which each was honored, and photos of each:
S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics): Christina Pacifico, Production Engineering Associate Manager of Tesla, Inc.
After studying mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pacifico continued her journey at General Electric Power division as a manufacturing engineer, supporting the initiative to bring power to countries in need. In her spare time, she joined their women's network, helping girls in STEM outreach initiatives.
She advanced her professional career at Tesla where she facilitated the production ramp of the Model 3 vehicle. There, she joined Women in Tesla's leadership board as Community Service Chair, supporting volunteer opportunities such as Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts, Sierra Nevada Journeys and more.
She is currently Reno's Women in Tesla President, promoting professional and personal development opportunities, as well as community service outreach programs.
Entrepreneurship: Lara Ritchie, Culinary Director of the Nothing To It! Culinary Center
Ritchie received her formal culinary training at the New England Culinary Institute in Essex, Vermont. She honed her culinary skills at La Folie in San Francisco, Flying Fish in Seattle, and the Four Seasons in Seattle and Atlanta. Ritchie's food styling has appeared in such magazines as Art Culinaire and Southern Living. Ritchie has also hosted a weekly cooking segment on Fox 11 since 2014.
In her role as the culinary director and lead instructor for Nothing to It! Culinary Center, Ritchie has taught thousands of home chefs the secrets of cooking like a pro. Ritchie has shared empowering cooking experiences with many local organizations including Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation, Awaken, the Boys and Girls Club, the Children's Cabinet, and Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada.
Healthy Living: Cari Herington, Executive Director of the Nevada Cancer Coalition
For the past eight years, Herington has helmed the Nevada Cancer Coalition (NCC) as Executive Director. NCC works with healthcare partners throughout the state to build programs focused on cancer prevention, early detection, survivorship, and to change policy to improve access to cancer care.
A personal connection to cancer – the loss of her father to melanoma – spurred Herington to help NCC create its signature program, Sun Smart Nevada. This CDC-recognized skin cancer education and prevention program is used in schools across the state and has helped change Nevada's policies on sunscreen availability and use in schools and parks.
Herington also serves on the Huntsman Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board and the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition and volunteers through the Sierra Nevada Chapter of National Charity League with her twin teenage daughters.
Community Service: Carolyn Cowan Barbash, Vice President of Business Development and Community Strategy at NV Energy
Barbash accepted her current role as Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at NV Energy in February. She has led grid operations, planning, major project management, and implementation of NV Energy's participation in the western Energy Imbalance Market.
Barbash holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, and is a licensed Professional Engineer.
She currently serves on the boards of the Nevada Women's Fund, the University of Nevada College of Engineering Advisors, and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. Barbash has also served on the board of the Western Electric Coordinating Council, the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada, the Boys & Girls Club of Carson Valley, and the Western Nevada College Foundation.
Environmental Leadership: Kenia Orellana, Recycling Coordinator of Waste Management
In her position, Orellana helps people understand how to sort single-stream recycling. Orellana speaks with students at local schools, leads tours at the Reno Ecocenter and represents Waste Management at events throughout the community. She is currently working toward improving outreach to Spanish-speaking residents.
Over the past year, her efforts have reduced contamination in Reno's single-stream recycling by five percent. Helping the community become more sustainable through better recycling practices is more than a job for Orellana.
Minimizing waste, recycling and reducing water and energy consumption are values she holds dear at work and at home. She believes safeguarding the environment is essential for a healthy lifestyle, which is something she prizes as the mother of two young girls.
Financial Literacy: Katrina Loftin, CBI, M&AMI, Co-founder/Managing Partner of M&A Business Advisors
Loftin has been involved in business sales and acquisitions in both Nevada and California since 1992. In 2017, she and her business partner founded M&A Business Advisors (M&ABA) recognizing a need for highly-trained, experienced brokers.
Their goal was to shatter the industry standard of businesses that actually sell, which is currently 25%. In their first year, M&ABA sold 58% of their listings and are striving to improve that record. M&ABA has now grown to six offices throughout Nevada and California.
Loftin co-hosts Bosma on Business with Mike Bosma on 780 KOH. Katrina has also served on the Business License Task Force Committee for the City of Reno and the Business Broker License and Test committee for the State of Nevada. In 2017, she was awarded the Deal Maker of the Year for Nevada from the M&A Insider.