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On the Town: Women at Work welcomes new executive director; third annual Heart of Business Expo and Luncheon; "Let Your Light So Shine" musical fireside

February 25, 2014|By Ruth Sowby
  • Welcoming supporters to a reception are, from left, new Women at Work Executive Director Camille Levee and Board President Uma Shrivastava.
Welcoming supporters to a reception are, from left, new… (Photo by Ruth Sowby )

Not only is Women at Work celebrating its 35th anniversary, it's also welcoming its new executive director, Camille Levee, who is the former executive director of Glendale Healthy Kids.

At a recent welcome reception at the Women at Work's Pasadena office, several dozen of Levee's best friends, supporters and fans showed up to congratulate her.

At the opening of a short program, Uma Shrivastava, board president of Women at Work, introduced Levee by listing her long history in nonprofits including Glendale Healthy Kids, Pasadena's Haven House and, most recently, Time Out in Payson, Ariz.

"I have collaborated with Women at Work over the past 12 years," Levee said. "The mission of providing clients the opportunity to reach their full employment and earning potential is critical, especially since women still earn only 77 cents to each [man's] earning dollar."

Also part of the celebration was the awarding of a certificate of appreciation to Ann Hight, founding member of Women at Work who has been on its board for 32 years. Hight was also Morgan Stanley's first female vice president. Former state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino presented the certificate drafted as a "resolution" from the California legislature.


The services available at Women at Work range from job counseling and resume critiques to computer-skills enhancement and interview preparation. In order to offer these services to more women, the organization has until the end of April to raise $50,000 to add to the $50,000 already donated.

Members of the American Business Women's Assn. recently presented their third annual Heart of Business Expo and Luncheon. More than 60 members and guests were treated to "Lunch with the Experts," during which experts in social media, marketing and financial planning visited each table to answer questions.

But it was an expert of experts, keynote speaker Betty Porto, who put the icing on the cake. Porto is the co-owner of Porto's Bakery and Café. After an introduction by Lori Hartwell, president of the association's Verdugo Glen chapter, Porto related her success story and how her mother, Rosa Porto, started her bakery business from her home in Cuba during the 1960s.

Rosa Porto's reputation for making wedding cakes, meat pies and guava cheese pastries spread rapidly through word of mouth. Often her customers paid her in chickens and bags of beans.

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