Up Front With OWL Award Recipients: Christine Devine & Jacqueline Seabrooks

Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 9:07:00 AM

Brenton Garen

FOX 11 news anchor Christine Devine and Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks will be honored with ‘Owlie’ Awards in Santa Monica on March  7.
Courtesy photos
FOX 11 news anchor Christine Devine and Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks will be honored with ‘Owlie’ Awards in Santa Monica on March 7.

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women, and Organization of Women Leaders (OWL) will host their annual networking breakfast in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month on Friday, March 7.

This inspirational event will gather the top women business leaders from around Santa Monica from 7:15 am to 9 am at the Le Meridien Delfina for mixing and mingling and the OWL Award ceremony.

Celebrating courage, character, and commitment, the organizations will honor Santa Monica Chief of Police, Jacqueline Seabrooks, and Channel 11 news anchor, Christine Devine, with ‘Owlie’ Awards.

Seabrooks will be recognized for her outstanding achievements in reducing Santa Monica’s crime rates and for her hard work as a leader in the community.

Devine, who has received 16 Emmys for her work as an anchor, reporter, and producer at KTTV Fox 11 News, will be honored for her news casting and for her commitment to philanthropy as the founder of the adoption segment, “Wednesday’s Child.”

Attendees will network, hear from the honorees, enter to win fun raffle prizes, receive a goodie bag with items from Santa Monica’s favorite stores like Whole Foods and Tikkun Spa and join together to celebrate women in Santa Monica.

Tickets are $35 for Chamber members and  $45 for non-members. Tables for 10 people are available for $450.

This year’s sponsors include The Bob Gabriel Insurance Company, Southern California Gas, The Water Garden, MetroCab, 
NMS Properties Santa Monica College 
and more. For more information, visit www.smchamber.com/OWL.

Christine Devine

As one of the honorees and speakers at the upcoming International Women’s Day networking breakfast in Santa Monica on March 7, why do you think it is important for women to come together at an event like this?

I credit much of my career success to my team. I have a team of people who know me inside and out, through the thick and the thin. I met one of them at a networking event. Emily Card, attorney and former congressional candidate, and Santa Monica resident, has helped guide me from a scared rookie journalist to a veteran anchor at Fox 11 News. Networking allows you to meet dynamic driven people and lifelong friends.  

Another power person in my life is retired Santa Monica police officer Cristina Coria. She’s among my best friends and sure to tag along at the Women’s Day breakfast. I tagged along with her when the Santa Monica Red Cross honored her. I now emcee their red tie gala.

Santa Monica is such a pivotal part of the greater LA area. Fox 11 has a live camera shot that overlooks the Santa Monica Pier. It is one of my favorites with its inviting ocean view.

As for eating, whether it’s shopping at the farmers market or dining at restaurants like Tiato, run by my good friend Catherine An, Santa Monica seems to offer it all.

So many of the women who make Santa Monica thrive are sure to be at the breakfast.

Can you touch on a couple of the points that you will be speaking about at the event?

When my mentor asked me in my 20s what I would want my epitaph to say I responded, “She made a difference.” How appropriate it is the theme of the breakfast recognizes “women making a difference everywhere and in their communities.”

I’ll talk about how to make a difference big or small.

You don’t have to be on television or the head of a large agency to touch someone’s life. I’ll talk about the unrealistic expectation that we can have it all. I’ll talk about the importance of your own empowerment team. I’ll talk about taking care of oneself first so you can best serve others.

Why are you so passionate about this event/cause?

I feel very honored to be in such good company. I am a big fan of women coming together to network and empower one another. I still remember the time when there where no women anchors. In fact, our news ladies Good News Foundation named our scholarship after the first L.A. woman on air, Ruth Ashton Taylor.

I have to admit 7 am for this night shift gal is a tad early, but I’m so looking forward to the event.

I am thrilled to receive this recognition along with Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks. Santa Monica PD has been a friend to our “Wednesday’s Child” adoption program allowing us to do a dream day with a girl who wanted to be an officer. I applaud Chief Seabrooks and her accomplishments. I can only imagine the strength and leadership it took to rise through the ranks as a woman, and as a woman of color.

Do you have any advice for young women who are trying to move ahead in their careers?

Watch what you put on Facebook! Photos on the internet live forever! That is one issue I never faced while trying to move ahead, but it is certainly a sign of the times.

Study your craft. Go to seminars, find a mentor, read biographies. Live with drive, but also acceptance. Know the theory “this too shall pass.” Make mistakes, thrive, learn, grow, rest, relax, rejuvenate. Just like in the news, the next day is a new day, and new news day.

Find balance in your life with a healthy mind body and spirit. Go to the gym, or just walk or run. Limit fast food and drink lots of water. Go to church, meditate or find something for spiritual support.  Take “my” time so you can be better at “we” time.

Save your money. Invest in more than shoes. Plan for the future by saving a little out of every paycheck.

Time flies when you’re having fun in L.A. and climbing that career ladder. Don’t forget time for friends and family, and if you want to be a mom, don’t forget that fertility fades with age. I just won a Gracie Award for my series “Fertility Over 40” where we focused on women waiting too late to have children.

Have fun when you’re young, but also know, at least for me, some of the drama dies down as you age with grace.

Who was the most influential woman in your life and what lessons did she teach you?

My mother was the most influential woman in my life. Not just because she was a mom, but how she lived her life. My mother was born in a tiny town in upstate New York and sickly with asthma. Still she had a greater pursuit and world vision.

She joined the Peace Corps, learned Portuguese and headed for Brazil. That is where she met my birth father. My mother worked as a nurse in the favelas, the slums.

After that, she returned to upstate New York and chose to teach in Buffalo’s inner city schools.

My mother’s love for those who might need a little extra help never waned. My mother was our girl scout leader. My parents fostered and adopted children. Always creative,  she was voted science teacher of the year for the state of Arizona.

I credit the philosophy I live by, “to whom much is given, much is expected” to my mother’s teachings. When you live in the slums of a third world country you realize for most of us in America “much is given.”

Jacqueline Seabrooks

As one of the honorees and speakers at the upcoming International Women’s Day networking breakfast in Santa Monica on March 7, why do you think it is important for women to come together at an event like this?

Besides being an event speaker and honoree, I believe it is important for women to come together to enjoy an event like this because both individual and group strength is reinforced through the acknowledgement, celebration, and commemoration of the many achievements of women in so many facets of our society.  This event provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on the significant progress that has been made toward gender equity.  And of equal importance, an event like this affords us an opportunity to recommit to continuing the volume of on-going work that continues to be necessary to promote gender equity on a broader scale; we know and understand the pace, scale, and progress of equity is quite different in many areas of life, both here and abroad.

Can you touch on a couple of the points that you will be speaking about at the event?

My comments will be in line with the 2014 theme of character, courage, and commitment. This theme is quite fitting because I have never met any woman whose personal narrative was not shaped in some way by these three words. Because these three simple, but yet so complicated words are so much a part of so many women’s individual journeys, I hope to be able give the theme and the women who are attending this important event their due.

Why are you so passionate about this event/cause?

How could I not be passionate about celebrating and promoting the achievements of women, the progress toward gender equity, and the efforts to expand the benefits of gender equity more broadly?  

As a black woman in America, I am energized by the opportunities that are now available to increasing numbers of women; however, I am astute enough to understand that for many women, these choices – these options – are far more limited. Anything that brings attention to the positive strides already made, while serving as the siren call for continued effort, is worth being passionate about.

Do you have any advice for young women who are trying to move ahead in their careers?

Over the years, I have frequently been asked this question. My advice to anyone, particularly women, is to (1) work hard; (2) expand the mind through a commitment to life-long learning; and (3) rather than be disheartened by negativity and less than optimal or hoped for outcomes, be inspired and motivated all the more. And of importance, be willing to challenge oneself by stepping away from the status quo imposed by your comfort zone; the greatest rewards come when you challenge yourself in new ways.

Who was the most influential woman in your life and what lessons did she teach you?

Over the course of what now is a bit more than five decades, I have been and continue to be influenced by a significant number of wise and learned women.

But it certainly is more than fair to say that the singular most influential woman in my life was my mother. She taught me social graces, the value of a dollar, the value of hard work, the importance of continuing education, and not to under estimate the rewards that come from kindness, compassion, and forgiveness... lessons which have proven to be quite valuable over time.  

Were she alive today, given her story, she would very likely be in attendance at this event celebrating and networking for such a important cause.

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