- Karie Portillo
SACRAMENTO – Every year, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus sponsors the annual “Woman of the Year” celebration as part of Women’s History Month. This year, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) named long-time Oxnard resident, Dr. Irene Pinkard, as her 2021 Woman of the Year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration was held virtually.
“As the first African American female to be elected to the Oxnard City Council – and to serve as Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Oxnard in that time, Dr. Pinkard brings lived experience on issues that affect our community and she does it with grace and integrity,” stated Assemblymember Irwin. “When thinking about a remarkable woman to honor for our district this year, Dr. Pinkard stood out among the rest. Her dedication to helping prepare young people to be successful community members through the Pinkard Youth Institute has improved the lives of hundreds of youth and their communities; that’s why I’m proud to honor her as the 2021 Woman of the Year.”
Dr. Pinkard and her husband, former Councilman Bedford Pinkard, have conducted Black College Tours for more than 25 years for young people in Ventura County. Dr. Pinkard observed that young people in our region were not aware of the opportunities available to them at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). She has encouraged students to attend historically black colleges and has noted that their experience has helped them gain confidence in themselves and their ability to learn. The institutions then take them from where they are to a level of proficiency that ensures their continued success.
Dr. Pinkard has worn many hats throughout her years of service to the community of Oxnard and surrounding areas. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Ventura County NAACP and on the board of the Ventura County Family Justice Center Foundation. She is an educator, past member of the Oxnard Union High School District Board of Trustees, and current Executive Director of Pinkard Youth Institute. She served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for Ventura County Community College District as well as Vice President of Administrative Services for Oxnard and Ventura Colleges.
“It is an honor to be acknowledged at the state level for my work in my local community,” said Dr. Pinkard. “It means a lot to have Assemblymember Irwin’s recognition, especially during such a challenging time for our community. I hope to continue my work in serving the youth of Ventura County for many years to come.”
Dr. Pinkard is a graduate from California State University, Long Beach, with a Bachelor’s in Business and a Master’s degree in Counseling. She received her Doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from Nova University. In 2020, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from California State University, Channel Islands, and currently serves on the CSUCI Foundation Board. Dr. Pinkard works as a consultant who conducts self-improvement, career development, stress management, social emotional development, complicit bias/race relations, conflict resolution and motivational workshops/seminars for organizations, youth, educational institutions, and community groups.
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin represents California’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Camarillo, Lake Sherwood, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Rosa Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.