2012 TOUCHING LIVES Award Ceremony Set for Today

November 15
12:30 2012

Nina Van Tassell started as a model in New York before coming to California. She owned and operated seven men's clothing stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles before if settling in Hollywood Hills in 1979. She also worked as a designer of ladies clothing both wholesale and high end retail for her two clothing salons. From 1991 to the present, Nina has found herself involved with her many real estate holdings in the canyon. She is also a freelance architectural designer and décor consultant. Nina has an active and obvious love for historic preservation. She is very involved in her community and takes pride in helping to better her surroundings. Nina Van Tassell has served on the Board of Directors of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association for two years. She has even been known to personally fill potholes on several streets. Responding to sick neighbors, attending public hearings, testifying before the City Council, the L.A. Police Commission, concerning environmental issues are only a few of the activities that Nina has championed. As president of the Woman's Club of Hollywood, Nina devoted countless hours and contributions to restoring the club for future generations to come. Her love for people and kindness to others is outstanding.

Larry Haynes joined Mercy House in May of 1990 as its original employee, and continues to serve as the organization's executive director. He is also an adjunct sociology professor at Vanguard University where he teaches on poverty and homeless issues. In addition to developing all of Mercy House's programs, shelters and housing projects, Larry has also founded several other programs including the Interfaith Shelter Network and the Shelter Provider Forum, and has served as a consultant to a variety of cities and non-profit corporations. Larry was one of the co-authors of Orange County's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and currently serves on its Board of Directors. He is also currently a Board Member of Orange County Partnership, and the local Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Larry has previously served on many other boards and public task forces, and has with Mercy House, received dozens of recognition awards. He has also been a speaker at numerous local, state, and national workshops and conferences focusing on homeless, housing, and leadership issues.
Larry was also a long-tenured lay preacher at Trinity Episcopal Church, and is an unapologetic rabid Soccer Dad!

Madhu Sridhar is the President and CEO of the Akshaya Patra Foundation USA, an organization which feeds midday meals to 1.2 million underprivileged children each day in schools across India at a cost of $28 per child for an entire year. Under her leadership, Akshaya Patra established 14 grassroots chapters across the United States to help raise awareness of the program's mission to eradicate hunger and promote education simultaneously. She has also helped Akshaya Patra garner support from many major corporations and foundations. During her tenure, the organization has received praise for its groundbreaking model and pioneering efforts from several noted dignitaries, including President Obama, the late Senator Kennedy, Senators Kerry, McGovern and Dole, and US Representatives McGovern and Sprague. Since her joining Akshaya Patra in 2007, Akshaya Patra has received many awards and accolades, including the prestigious 2009 Tech Award as well as being named a 2008 Top 5 Finalist for American Express Members Project. Prior to joining Akshaya Patra, Sridhar served for four years as the President of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts with 60 chapters spread throughout the state. In January 2008, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts appointed Sridhar to The Commonwealth Corps, an eleven member commission he initiated that engages Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds to rebuild communities. She is a former Commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, which aims to provide a permanent, effective voice for women across Massachusetts. She has served on the boards of ACLU, WGBH, Andover Community for Education, and Chinmaya Mission. She has worked as the Director of Actuarial Department for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and as a consultant for Peat Marwick & Mitchell and New England Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Holmes Stoner served as the Senior Vice President and Founding Partner of Artesa Marketing Group of Studio City, California and personally manages the China National Tourism account and simultaneously assists in all other international operations of URI International, specializing in China and most of Asia. Mr. Stoner serves as the Chairman and Executive Director of the Pacific Rim Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Stoner serves as Member of Advisory Board at Healthy Coffee USA, Inc. He serves as an Advisory Board Member of Healthy Coffee International Inc. Mr. Stoner has also served on many executive panels and committees, where he provided insights on multi-cultural international business relations. He has been received national recognition for his expertise in these areas and has been interviewed in major publications like Venture Magazine, L.A. Business Journal, San Francisco Business Journal, Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Examiner Seattle Times, CNN, and CNBC's Wall Street Report. Mr. Stoner has a degree in Marketing and Marketing Communications from UCLA and is a graduate of the KIIS Broadcast Workshop.

G. Webster Smith's untimely death this year was the primary reason for Kathy Bee to produce the Touching Lives TV Award Show. As a recurring guest on Touching Lives, Web provided the audience with great stories of courage and how he often overcame great odds. "When you are a pioneer in your field, you are paving the way for others to succeed. Sometimes you endure hardships. Overcoming the obstacles is how you succeed!" was Web's message to us. G. Webster Smith was the first African American to receive a Master Rating from the Professional Skating Association, in 1991 a Master Rated Figure Skating Coach for Competitive Ice Skaters, an accomplished dancer in Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, a Staff Skating Coach at the University of Denver. In 2010, Smith was head coach of the Icelandic national team of the Bjorninn Skating Club, inspiring his students to winning Iceland's first-ever international medals at figure skating. Web was also working with the Jamaican ice hockey team so that they could compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia. He never gave up! This spirit and quest for perfection…Web handed to us…Touching Lives and always Helping People. His sister Judith Smith carries on his legacy.

Touching Lives began as a cable TV show that aired in 14 Southern California cities, from 1998-2008, produced and hosted by Kathy Bee. (250 shows aired.) Due to the fact that many lives were touched and affected by viewing uplifting positive collaborative programs, Bee decided to not only to revise the show, but to form an advisory board of like-minded people, to expand the market place and to host live events that will serve the community.

The award show is scheduled for today, Nov. 15, 2012 at the Woman's Club Of Hollywood, 1749 N. La Brea Ave Los Angeles, Calif. at 7:30 PM. A VIP Receptions will precede and follow the show. Entertainment will be the musical presentation of The Tin Can Showcase. This event is open to the public…seating will be limited (black tie optional).

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