Women United Luncheon Co-Chairs Leanne Neilson, Erin Simqu Planning Powerful Event Benefiting Independent Women

Women United Luncheon co-chairs Erin Simqu and Leanne Neilson at the 2nd Annual Women United Luncheon (Photo credit: Society Social Calendar Magazine)

United Way of Ventura County’s (UWVC) Women United will recognize some unsung local heroes during its 3rd Annual Luncheon May 10, featuring acclaimed social psychologist and author Dr. Aida Hurtado.

Event co-chairs Leanne Neilson and Erin Simqu are busy putting the final touches on the 2019 luncheon, but they aren’t the only women who have been working hard leading up to this special gathering of changemakers. One of the highlights of the event is the awards presentation, honoring local single mothers looking to continue their educational journeys. 

“The Women United team is really building positive momentum and continuing to create change in Ventura County,” said Women United Chair Leanne Neilson. “This event presents on opportunity to shine the light on some incredible women who are working nonstop to better themselves and put their families in a position to succeed. It’s an honor to recognize these community heroes and see hardworking single mothers pursue and achieve their dreams.”

The 3rd Annual Women United luncheon will recognize Ventura County single mothers who are pursuing their education and supporting their families in the process. Recipients of the Women United Educational Award are single mothers who are completing their associates degree and transferring to a four year university or technical program, and have children under the age of 18 living in the home. The financial award may be used to offset any costs associated with efforts to attain higher education, including tuition, books, childcare, and transportation.

“Inspiring doesn’t even begin to describe these women,” said Women United Event Chair Erin Simqu. “Hearing what they are doing to improve themselves and the lengths they’ll go to see their children thrive makes me so proud to be involved with Women United. Congratulations to all of the 2019 Women United Educational Award recipients. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.”  

Erin Simqu has been working with Women United since they founded the Ventura County chapter four years ago. This is her third year chairing the luncheon and she has served as an acting member on the board since shortly after the chapter’s inception. Erin also works with Catholic Charities/The Moorpark Food Pantry. She and her husband Blaise (CEO of SAGE Publications) take great joy in supporting many local charitable organizations. She’s also a proud mother of two wonderful children, Isabelle and William.

Leanne Neilson has served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at California Lutheran University since 2008. Previously, she served as Associate Provost overseeing graduate programs, accreditation, and assessment. She was a faculty member for 11 years at Cal Lutheran in the department of Psychology, and during that time served for six years as the Director of the Psychology graduate programs. Dr. Neilson earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology, master’s in psychology, and doctorate in clinical psychology, all from Pepperdine University. She worked for 3 years as a Staff Research Associate at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) in the Clinical Research Center for Schizophrenia at Camarillo State Hospital.

Dr. Neilson is chair of the board for the Thousand Oaks Alliance for the Arts, and chair of United Way’s Women United in Ventura County. She was on the Board of the United Way of Ventura County for 6 years, serving one year as Board Chair. She was recognized with the United Way’s Milton M. Teague award for Volunteer of the Year. Neilson served for five years on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Substantive Change Committee, including two years as co-chair. In 2018, she was appointed to serve a three-year term on the WASC Senior College and University Commission. 

Women United 3rd Annual Luncheon

Time and Date: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 10

Location: California Lutheran University, Gilbert Sports & Fitness Center

Luncheon Tickets: $100 each.  After May 1, 2019, price increases to $125.

Luncheon Tickets are available online at https://vcunitedway.org.

For sponsorship opportunities contact Mitchel Sloan at Mitchel.Sloan@vcunitedway.org  

For more, visit https://vcunitedway.org.

About Women United

Women United’s mission is to mobilize the power of women as change-makers, creating a community where women, families and communities thrive. Women United aspires to transform local, organize growth into exponential, enterprise-level growth, by rallying our strong and passionate women leaders around and enthusiastically positive vision of the future.

About United Way of Ventura County

Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We support local services and programs that are more than just ‘stop gap’ measures, but rather solutions that help create lasting change. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit www.vcunitedway.org.

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