Farmers & Merchants Bank Salutes Orange County’s “Women of Courage”

Fourth annual awards program honors local business leaders and philanthropists for “Making the Leap.”

Orange, CA, November 03, 2012 --( Farmers & Merchants Bank celebrated 12 Orange County women at the fourth annual Women of Courage awards on Thursday, October 25 at Orange Hill Restaurant in Orange. This exclusive event celebrates courage and honors brave women who have made notable strides in business and community service.

The recipients, who were selected by F&M branch managers throughout Orange County, are women from a broad array of age groups, cultural backgrounds and professions, with each making a significant contribution to their business and community.

“One thing that has always made this event so rewarding is the diversity among our recipients, and this year was no exception. Each of the honorees had very different but inspiring stories,” said F&M president W. Henry Walker. “In selecting this year’s class of recipients, we recognized one consistent theme. All of our honorees dared to make the leap from successful to extraordinary,” said Walker, reflecting on this year’s theme for the event, Making the Leap.

F&M’s Women of Courage program has grown from the Bank’s ongoing involvement with the National Association of Women Business Owners-Orange County (NAWBO-OC) Remarkable Women event.

Farmers & Merchants Bank’s selections for the 2012 F&M Bank Women of Courage are:

· Fullerton - Leslie McCarthy, president and owner of Fullerton Insurance Services, a business owner and dedicated philanthropist known for her work with youth, women and families in her community.

· Garden Grove - Mallory Vega, executive director of Acacia Adult Day Services, which provides a safe and nurturing environment for older adults who require supervision, but whose families are unable to provide 24-hour care.

· Huntington Beach - Nouha Hreish, owner of Noal Jewelers and a tireless community leader renowned for her work with women and children.

· Laguna Hills - Saralyn Cohen, president of Able to Change Recovery, which provides treatment for substance abuse and alcoholism through a clinic and five homes throughout South Orange County.

· Lake Forest - Laurie Smith, owner of Smith Farms, a family business that has been cultivating delicious organic fruits and vegetables in Orange County for more than 20 years.

· Newport Beach - Lucy Santana-Ornelas, CEO of Girls Inc. of Orange County, an organization that helps young women build confidence, self-esteem and critical thinking skills through after school programs that teach academics and valuable life skills.

· Orange - Denise Bittel, a professional volunteer and owner of The Perfect Event. Throughout the week, she serves 12 different organizations and sits on nine different boards, all while running her own event planning business.

· Rossmoor - Judy Klabouch, founder and president of Green Street Interiors, which offers accessories and a full range of interior design services. Additionally, Judy is active in various community organizations including the National Charity League, Soroptomist, Hotline of Southern California, CASA Youth Shelter, the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary.

· San Clemente - Dawn Mednick, owner of The San Clemente Cellar, offering diners a taste of Paris in the heart of historic San Clemente, where customers can sample artisan cheeses, taste wines from around the world, enjoy a memorable meal, and take in live music.

· San Juan Capistrano - Maria Galindo, owner of Los Golondrinas deli-restaurants, serving fresh Mexican food with all-natural ingredients since 1984.

· Santa Ana - Susie Amster, executive director of Temple Beth Sholom and vice president and CFO of the Santa Ana Police Foundation. Susie is a recognized leader in synagogue management and a strong advocate for public safety.

· Tustin - Scharrell Jackson, chief financial and administrative officer at Squar Milner where she plays a pivotal role in the growth and success of the firm and also launched the company’s philanthropic team.

“It is our honor to recognize these outstanding women, who were able to take success to a higher level, displaying the courage to think big and the moxie to see their dreams through to reality,” said F&M CEO Daniel K. Walker.

F&M Orange County branch managers attended the breakfast, accompanied by their Women of Courage honoree. The event also featured a keynote speech from Loreen Gilbert, president of NAWBO-OC and president of Wealth Wise Financial Services.

About Farmers & Merchants Bank

Founded in Long Beach in 1907 by C.J. Walker, Farmers & Merchants Bank has 21 branches in L.A. and Orange counties. The Bank specializes in commercial and small business banking along with business loan programs. Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach is a California state chartered bank with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Member FDIC) and an Equal Housing Lender. For more information about F&M, please call the media contacts listed or visit the website,

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