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Three Inspiring Orange County Leaders Honored as Women of the Year

For immediate release:
Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris joined by honorees Jennifer Friend, Dr. Shaista Malik, Dr. Samar Aziz and Alteryx co-founder Olivia (Libby) Duane Adams

IRVINE- Marking Women’s History Month, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris has named Jennifer Friend (Costa Mesa), Dr. Shaista Malik (Irvine) and Dr. Samar Aziz (Tustin) as the 2023 Women of the Year Honorees.  

Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris hosted her 5th annual Women of the Year event on Thursday, March 9, 2023. It is an annual recognition ceremony where community members are invited to celebrate the extraordinary leadership and contributions of three incredible women, one from each city the Assemblywoman represents in the 73rd District.

This year’s event was hosted and sponsored by Irvine-based Alteryx, the world’s leading data science and analytics company serving the most influential global brands. Alteryx was co-founded by Olivia “Libby” Duane Adams, who also serves as the company’s Chief Advocacy Officer. During the event, Libby was also honored by the Assemblywoman for her accomplishments as one of handful of female founders to take a technology company public and for making transformational change within her workforce and through the business community.

The event was sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Orange County who led the opening of the program by presenting the colors, leading the pledge of allegiance and performing the National Anthem. Girls Inc. were also sponsors of this event which served as an opportunity for the young girls to meet and learn about the incredible women in their communities and to find opportunities for mentorship.

The event was attended by Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens, Irvine Vice Mayor Tammy Kim, and Tustin Council Member Rebecca Gomez, as well as corporate and non-profit leaders, educators and law enforcement officials.

The Assemblywoman opened the event by recognizing the incredible role women play in their communities. She said that the Women of the Year celebration is one of her favorite events because she enjoys shining the light on women that deserve recognition for their accomplishments and leadership.

“We have so many incredible trailblazers in our community who do so much work in our cities, making them a very special place to live.” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “These three honorees are working each and every day to find a solution. I walked away from this event filled with so much inspiration and hope.” 

"I am humbled by this recognition from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris,” Jennifer Friend said. “This award reflects the deep, transformational and generationally disruptive work being done by my colleagues at Project Hope Alliance everyday as they walk alongside our community's children & youth filling in the gaps and eliminating the barriers that homelessness causes in their lives. Because of them, and our partners like the City of Costa Mesa and Newport Mesa Unified School District, together we truly are ending the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time."

 “It is a profound honor to be recognized by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris for the work that my team and I have been deeply committed to: providing a whole-person approach to patient care,” Dr. Shaista Malik said. “Receiving this award is a testament to the importance of whole health and the contributions of women in this field. I want to use this recognition as an opportunity to continue advocating for healthcare quality, equity and access for all, and to inspire others to engage in integrative whole person health.”

 “I am very proud to be nominated and selected as the Tustin woman of the year representative on international Woman’s Day,” Dr. Samar Aziz said. “I’ve lived in Tustin for 30 years and it’s an honor to be serving my community and make a huge difference in families’ lives. I am truly honored to be visited by assembly member Cottie Petrie Norris and give her a tour of Sabil USA. Sabil is a health and human services nonprofit that strives to improve families’ quality of life by rapidly providing them with equitable food, health and financial security with dignity and respect.”

About the Honorees:

Jennifer Friend is Chief Executive Officer of Project Hope Alliance (PHA), which works to end the cycle of youth homelessness using a long-term, site-based model of providing whole-person care for youth experiencing homelessness in Orange County. When Friend became CEO after serving on the board for many years, PHA supported one school and 65 kids. Under her leadership, the organization now serves students attending over 40 schools in three districts, having built a nationally recognized model for ending homelessness, and achieving a high school graduation rate more than 30% above the national average. Her personal experience as a homeless child in Orange County which inspired the Broadway play Nomad Motel, fuels her deep-rooted passion and commitment to homeless children and youth, while her ability to cast vision, think strategically, and lead and direct broader systems change uniquely qualify her to serve as Project Hope Alliance’s CEO.

Dr. Shaista Malik grew up in Orange County, attended elementary through high school in Anaheim. She was raised by a single mom, who worked three jobs to support the family. She gained an appreciation for health and wellness as she saw her family struggle to have access to health care. She has been the founding director of the UCI Women’s heart disease program, founding medical director of the UCI preventive cardiology program, and the founding director of the UCI cardiac rehab program. In 2015, she became the director of the UCI Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. During this time, she led the expansion of integrative health at UCI which resulted in 2017 in the largest philanthropic gift in history given to UCI of $200 Million from Henry and Susan Samueli to make integrative health the mission of the UCI Samueli College of Health Sciences. As the Founding Associate Vice Chancellor of Integrative Health in the Samueli College and the Founding Executive Director of the new UCI Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, she has led cross-enterprise teams to innovate, transform and cement a science-based, whole-person approach to patient care.

Dr. Samar Aziz is a 30-year resident of Tustin, is a force of nature, has a heart of gold, and is called the hidden gem of Tustin. Dr. Aziz is not only an award-winning activist, pharmacist, mother of two to Zak and Dean, a loving wife but, most notably, the CEO of Sabil USA, a Tustin health and human services nonprofit that has served 18,000 individuals with food security, 5,000 individuals with rental assistance, utility assistance, and 600 individuals with free mental health services which include, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, teen, marital and family counseling in the past year. In the aftermath of the earthquakes that devastated Syria and Turkey in early February, Sabil partnered with several organizations, including the Sunrise Foundation, and raised millions to fill 11 containers with new clothes, blankets, winter jackets, and medicine for families impacted by the earthquake. Over the last 11 years, Dr. Aziz has helped 1.5 million people with food and financial security for their families through her tremendous fundraising efforts and community partnerships. Dr. Samar Aziz sees herself as a humble servant doing her part to make a difference locally and globally. She credits her parents and grandparents for inspiring her to give back to the community.

Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris received more than 80 nominations from members of the community who were invited to nominate women who inspired them.