Women's Hall of Fame

This year, the Commission on the Status of Women is proud to announce that three women and one young woman will be inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 21st, 5:30 PM at the San Mateo County History Museum – 2200 Broadway in Redwood City.

A Supreme Court Justice who began her legal career in San Mateo County, a distinguished community advocate from East Palo Alto, a dedicated non-profit leader from the Coast, and a Mills High School Junior with an impressive history of service and volunteer work, will be inducted into the 2014 San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame, the county’s premier showcase for women who make a difference every day in our community.

“It is the great privilege of the Commission on the Status of Women to recognize the contributions and achievements of these exceptional women and young woman,” said Christine Padilla, President of the Commission. “We are delighted that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be joining us this year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary, especially given that San Mateo County was the first place that she engaged in the practice of law.”

The permanent Women’s Hall of Fame Exhibit will be showcased at the event. This interactive iPad display highlights the remarkable endeavors San Mateo County women and provides historical context for understanding the significance of their accomplishments.
For information about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, please email the Commission on the Status of Women at cswinfo@smcgov.org. A list of past inductees is also available on the website csw.smcgov.org. Tickets may be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/569660

About the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame
In 1984, the Commission on the Status of Women established a permanent Women’s Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding women for their contributions to the well-being of San Mateo County. Impartial judges selected from outside our county read the numerous nominations with names redacted to ensure a fair and unbiased process, before selecting the finalists. The women are honored for their outstanding contributions to their profession, their generous work as volunteers, or both.
In 1992, a second category, “Young Women of Excellence” was added to the Women’s Hall of Fame. To be nominated, “young women” must be high school juniors or seniors or the equivalent. The award aims to give visibility to young women’s accomplishments in community service, academic achievement, and acts of courage in their daily lives.

About the 2014 Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees
The information below briefly summarizes highlights of their achievements; additional information about their many contributions and photos are readily available.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of Arizona was the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981 and went on to serve in that capacity until her retirement in 2006. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1952, Justice O’Connor had difficulty finding a law firm willing to hire a woman. She convinced the San Mateo County Attorney to hire her — even going so far as to volunteer for a time, and worked as a deputy county attorney for a year. Following that, she served as a civilian lawyer for the Quartermaster in Germany, where her husband was stationed and went into private practice upon her return home to Arizona. Justice O’Connor was Arizona’s Assistant Attorney General for four years, served in the Arizona State Senate and was elected as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge in 1974. She was appointed to the Arizona State Court of Appeals in 1979 and served there until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor was awarded the highest civilian honor in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barak Obama in recognition of her lifetime accomplishments in 2009.

Dr. Faye McNair-Knox of East Palo Alto is the Executive Director of One East Palo Alto Neighborhood Initiative which focuses on developing the leadership skills of East Palo Alto youth. She is known as the “outreach queen of the city” and has worked tirelessly to revitalize East Palo Alto through numerous collaborative ventures including Start Up, a micro-business initiative, and the Small Business Development Initiative. A 1988 Fulbright Senior Scholar with a Stanford PhD in Education, Dr. McNair-Knox has been the recipient of numerous honors recognizing her significant role in improving the quality of life in East Palo Alto. In addition to being named the California 21st District’s Woman of the Year in 2010, Dr. McNair-Knox was previously honored with the 2007 Youth Community Service Kay Philips Award for Community Leadership and Strategic Partnership. She was recognized by Hewlett-Packard as a Bronze Level Sponsor Honoree at the 2003 National Philanthropy Day and was inducted into Stanford University’s Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame in 2001. Through her work leading efforts to improve the social, physical, spiritual and economic health of the community, she gives hope and creates opportunity for the next generation in East Palo Alto.

Fatima Soares of Half Moon Bay has been working for the non-profit, Coastside Hope since 1977, first as a social worker and then as Executive Director for the past seven years. She helps provide critical services, food, and a safety net to low income members of the Coastside community and is passionately dedicated to her clients. In her free time, she volunteers at other Coastside non-profits including the Rotacare Free Clinic, the Seton Coastside Advisory Council, the Coastside Health Committee, and a local senior center, to name a few. This tri-lingual community leader who came to the U.S. as a young girl from Portugal has dedicated herself to a life of service and continually strives to “give back”. She has been recognized by AAUW of Half Moon Bay as a 1988 Woman of Excellence, and was honored with a 2006 proclamation from the City of Half Moon Bay for her role in the community. In 2013, Ms. Soares was recognized with a Plaque of Appreciation by the Seton Coastside Advisory Board for 18 years of service. She is referred to as one of the Coastside’s greatest assets who achieves her work with grace, humor, dedication and love.

2014 Young Woman of Excellence
Nina Luo of Millbrae is a student at Mills High School who spends the majority of her time outside of school tirelessly working for the community. During her freshman year of high school, she interned with the Office of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, where she wrote, edited, and organized the monthly newsletter. She is presently interning with Sunset Youth Services, where she works with at risk youth, and volunteers for StarVista, as a peer counselor dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention. At her high school, she is involved with the school newspaper, is a member of Model UN Club, runs cross-country, and leads the Christian Club.

Apply for Press Credentials by March 20
Members of the media from recognized print, broadcast and online outlets who wish to cover the event must register by March 20, 5 PM by emailing cswinfo@smcgov.org for a media credential. No members of the media will be permitted to attend the event without preregistering.

The organizers reserve the right to limit the number of media outlets that may attend the event.
Those requesting a media credential may be required to:

  • Present a company business card with editorial title and picture identification.
  • Provide a letter of assignment from the assigning editor at a recognized media outlet and two relevant, bylined articles written by the applicant and published within the past six months.
  • Provide a copy of a publication or a link to a publication’s Web home page that includes bylined editorial content reflecting coverage of issues relevant to the Commission on the Status of Women’s purpose and mission or coverage of legal affairs or public affairs.
  • Provide broadcast station identification and proof of assignment for camera/sound crews.

Members of the media granted access will be assigned to a designated area. Members of the media will not be permitted to leave the designated area during the event.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will NOT be available for interviews or questions. She will give a 30 minute speech during the ceremony. The other honorees may be interviewed at the conclusion of the ceremony at a designated location.

About the Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women is a non-partisan advisory body to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors that seeks to improve the quality of life for women of all ages in San Mateo County. Through strategic partnerships and collaboration, the commission identifies women’s needs, advises the board of supervisors, and educates the community on matters concerning women. More information about the Commission is available at csw.smcgov.org