Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis,  honored and Elece Hempel of Sonoma County and Dr. Geni Bennetts of Napa County as the Third Senate District’s Women of the Year.

Every March, the Senate celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring women whose contributions improve lives in their communities, a tradition dating back to 1987.

Hempel who was recognize last year by Assemblymember  Levine, Tenth District shared,  “what an amazing honor again this year to be named California Woman of the Year”. She went on to share “this can’t be done with out the many people in my life helping to make life better for others”.  “Thank you to Senator Wolk, each and everyone of PPSC employees, all our loyal volunteers and donors, all of my fellow board members, all of our collaborative partners and my amazing support system at home made up of great friends and family”  Hempel gushed.  She also credited her family for always loving her, making her laugh and they never let her get away with anything.

Hempel, is  Executive Director of Petaluma People Services Center.  PPSC is dedicated to improving the social and economic health of our community by providing programs that strengthen the dignity and self-sufficiency of the individual.  A 22-year Petaluma resident, Elece joined PPSC in the spring of 2004. A 1983 graduate of Washington State University, she has enjoyed a rich career creating new business while growing and restructuring already established business. Prior to joining PPSC, Elece served as Chief of Staff for a venture capital firm in San Francisco.  She has an extensive background in sales, marketing and general management gained from over fifteen years of experience in the software and services industry. In 2012 she was honored by the North Bay Leadership Council with the “We’re All in this Together, Community Building Award”; and was named California Woman of the Year for 2014, for District 10.  She also holds a seat on the Petaluma Health Care District Board and was elected to serve as president for 2015, is a past president of the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce and a current board member, and also sits on many other county and local boards.

Both were honored at a reception at Robert Craig Winery Tasting Room in Napa on March 28, 2015.  Picture left to right.  Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, Senator Wolk, Elece Hempel, Petaluma City Council Members, Chris Albertson, Michael Healy.  California Woman of the Year 2015