Antioch Rotary Club works to empower high school girls with film, stories of local women

Angela Juarez Lombardi, Public Information Officer and Marketing Manager at Sutter Delta Medical Center, speaks to the Deer Valley High School girls, as part of a panel of local women, including Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson, attorney Amy Hilton and chiropractor Dr. Stacey Duckett, following the showing of the Empowerment Project film in October.

By Allen Payton

In order to motivate young women in Antioch on their own personal journey of empowerment, the Antioch Rotary Club sponsored the screening of the film “The Empowerment Project” to all female students at Antioch High School and Deer Valley High School, in October. The film, created by filmmakers Dana Michelle Cook and Sarah Moshman, follows the travels of them and two other female friends across 7,000 miles throughout the United States as they find strong, positive role models in a wide variety of industries.These role models include a Four Star Admiral in the U.S. Navy, social entrepreneur, pilot, professional athlete, chef and an architect.

All the girls at Deer Valley High School attended the special Empowerment Project event in October.

All the girls at Deer Valley High School attended the special Empowerment Project event in October.

Besides the film, the club members, lead by their President, Dr. Stacey Duckett, arranged for five panelists, each a positive female role model, to be at each screening to be available to discuss their professional careers and to answer any questions that students may have.

“We are very committed to the success of the youth in our local community of Antioch,” said Duckett. “We want girls to know that their options are not limited and that there is a wide arrange of careers available to them.”

Last year, Lindsay Wisely from Antioch High School started the concept of “Girl Power” with its theme of female empowerment and organized a group of 20 Antioch High School alumni to speak to the female population.  Deer Valley High School is exploring developing a club that would focus on empowering its female students, if they have an interest in doing so.

As part of the project, the Antioch Rotary Club worked closely with Antioch High School’s Vice Principal Lindsay Wisely and with Deer Valley High School’s Vice Principal Susan Ceballos. Panelists included Iris Archlutta, Mary Rocha, Lindsey Wisely, Jennifer Yu, Lynnette Giacobazzi, Amy Hilton, Sylvia High, Julie Haas-Wajdowicz, Christine O’Brien, Angela Juarez-Lombardi, Monica Wilson, Misha Dunford and Duckett, following the two showings.

Kimberly Sbranti, the daughter of club member Sal Sbranti, was the transcriber for the film, and was instrumental in bringing it to Antioch.

During the screening of the 54-minute film at Deer Valley High, attended by all of the school’s female students, the greatest response of applause was given to former Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether and Michelle Howard, the first female Four-Star Admiral in the Navy, and an African-American.

Following the film and a strong round of applause, four of the women panelists shared their experiences and thoughts with the teens, including Antioch Councilwoman Monica Wilson, the first African-American female elected to the council; Angela Juarez Lombardi, the Public Information Officer and Marketing Manager at Sutter Delta Medical Center and an Antioch High School graduate; family law attorney Amy Hilton, and Duckett, a chiropractor in Antioch.

In response to the question, what advice would you give to your teenage self, Lombardi told the girls “You have to live out of your comfort zone.” She also said “and this too shall pass,” whether things are going good or bad in your life.

“Find what you’re passionate about,” Wilson shared, and “be open to new ideas, new experiences.”

Hilton said the girls should “first, pay attention in your English class,” to laughter from the audience.

“I’m not joking,” she continued. “Learn grammar and how to write and you’ll be in the top five percent of your profession.”

“Do everything and enjoy yourself,” Hilton added.

“Don’t give up,” was Duckett’s advice. “Pick something different. Have a cub or start a club, like Toastmasters, to help you communicate.”

One more bit of advice she would give her teenage self was “You really should have taken Spanish, not French,” with a chuckle.

To learn more about the Empowerment Project, visit To learn more about the Antioch Rotary Club, visit

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DVH girls file in

Lombardi speaks & panelists

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