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Now Accepting Nominations for the

2019 Trailblazers Awards!

The Trailblazers Awards recognizes people in Santa Cruz County who, through their professional or personal efforts, are making extraordinary differences in the lives of women or girls. Honorees are people who have worked to make a significant impact on and improve the lives of women or girls, as well as inspiring and encouraging them.

Those that are recognized as Trailblazers may have a focus in (but are not limited to) areas such as criminal and economic justice, education, prevention of violence against women and girls, women’s healthcare, political participation, and/or various organizations that support the interests of women or girls. 

Recipients of a Trailblazers Award will be recognized during the March 26, 2019 Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting, followed by a special recognition gathering. You can nominate more than one person.

To nominate someone for this award, you can:



If you would like to be on the email mailing list for information about the Trailblazers Awards and upcoming Commission meetings and activities, please send an email to with the words "Please add me to the Women's Commission Email List!" in the subject line.


2018 Trailblazers Awards

On March 20, 2018 the Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission presented Trailblazers Awards to five local women who had demonstrated great commitment to improving the lives of local women and girls in one of the six focus areas identified by the Status of Women and Girls in Santa Cruz County Report (SOWAG). The six focus areas include Health Care, Criminal Justice, Violence Against Women, Education, Economic Justice, and Political Participation. Awards were presented to the recipients by the Women’s Commission and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors during the March 20th Board of Supervisors meeting. Pictures of the event can be found here.

2018 Trailblazers Awardees were:

Heidi Boynton (Focus Area: Health Care)

Heidi Boynton, Co-Founder of the Mini Mermaids Running Club, is a role model for girls and women all over the County. She encourages us all to listen to the authentic, strong, resilient voice inside all of us, or what she calls our “inner mermaid.”

Kristen Petersen (Focus Area: Political Participation)

As Community Action Board Treasurer, Kristen Petersen supports their efforts to eliminate poverty and create social change through advocacy and the provision of essential services. She helped to organize the Capitola Women’s Leadership Mixer and is working to stimulate youth membership in Capitola City’s advisory boards and commissions.

Susan Greene (Focus Area: Criminal Justice)

As Director and Co-Founder of the GEMMA program, Susan has worked to provide support to women transitioning from incarceration. She has been conducting and publishing studies on women and the justice system for more than twenty years. In 2017 she published “Gender Matters”’ a profile of women in the Santa Cruz County correctional system.

Maria Campos (Focus Area: Violence Against Women)

Through her work with Monarch Services, Maria Campos has been a powerful advocate for victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking for more than twenty years. She has empowered and continues to empower many women and girls in Santa Cruz County.

Gina Gallino Cole (Focus Area: Education)

Gina Gallino Cole has been an educator and an advocate for health, safety and the empowerment of girls, women and families in South Santa Cruz County. She has advocated for girls and women in athletics, and a community advocate assisting parents (particularly mothers) to become more connected, active and impactful in their children’s schooling.

Linda Skeff (Focus Area: Political Participation)

As creator and Executive Director of the San Lorenzo Valley Habitat Restoration Program, Linda has been a mentor for young citizens interested in the preservation of healthy ecosystems and watersheds. Her successful AmeriCorps grant proposals resulted in teams of 18 to 24-year-olds contributing more than 14.000 hours towards the restoration of native habitat at parks and non-profit sites.











Santa Cruz County Women's Commission Members - March 20th, 2018

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