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Roya Alt Photo Credit: Viktor Budnik

Featured Article

Fabulous Women

These fabulous, accomplished women make our world a better place!  

Roya Alt, Executive Director, California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks (CMATO)

Lives in Newbury Park; Hometown: Los Angeles

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

“As CMATO’s Executive Director, I’m especially excited to engage our community with even more extraordinary exhibitions and programs to help people see the world in inspiring ways through the visual arts,” says Roya, pointing to the power of the arts to cultivate connection and community.

“As we’ve moved to more virtual interactions than physical ones, I believe human connection is more vital than ever,” she says. “While it seems like we are always connected because of social media and our smartphones, I’m not sure that ‘digital togetherness’ actually brings us closer to one another.

“The pandemic reminded me, again, how integral art is to our lives. We need the humanity, expression and community that the arts create. Art may not always be top of mind for everyone, especially during difficult and challenging times, but we should never forget its fundamental importance to our lives. Art is essential!”

Roya also finds inspiration in youth activists like Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai and Emma Gonzalez “who stand their ground and do outstanding work to inspire change,” her family—three sons and her husband—and her career.

“There are so many upsides to being part of an organization like CMATO, especially introducing children to art and seeing their imaginations take flight. Our team works together proactively to collaborate, share knowledge, communicate and support each other. The staff are not simply pleasant and friendly to one another; they love what they do, and they do their job in the best possible way. Our motto is, ‘We take care of CMATO and each other’.”

She advises people beginning their careers to be a team player and “learn from everyone.”

“Get to know your colleagues and be generous in helping them when needed. Be the person who amplifies the voices, ideas and accomplishments of others—it helps the team and will help shape you into a leader.”

Roya appreciates the community spirit in the Conejo Valley.

“Our community has heart,” she says, as evidenced after the 2018 Borderline tragedy and the wildfires. “People were united in their grief but also in their resolve to help support victims, their families and one another. We are a community of compassion and of hope.”

Roya’s 20+ years of experience in external relations, marketing and project management for the nonprofit, entertainment and tech industries include positions at City of Hope Cancer Center, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and Bender/Helper, Inc. She holds a BA in Latin American History from UCLA and cites Caravaggio, Marcel Duchamp, Luz Donoso, Gronk and Louise Bourgeois among her artistic influences.

Emily Barany, CEO & Founder, VISIONALITY Partners

Lives in Ventura; Hometown: Loveland, CO

If you’re not afraid, you’re not risking enough.

“Speak up and don’t wait to be invited. Claim your literal and symbolic seat at the table. If there isn’t room, ask someone to scooch over because you belong here. Act like a CEO everywhere you go—sit at the front of the room, speak up and remember that your perspective is valuable,” Emily advises career newbies.

The CEO and Founder of Visionality speaks from experience, moving from Colorado to California at 18, with “no car, no friends and I had to ask someone what a ‘cone-joe’ was (true story!)” She quickly found her home at California Lutheran University, obtaining the education she needed to run a successful business for over a decade.

“CLU continues to build me up in ways I could have never predicted,” says Emily, noting the mentors and advocates she developed at the university. “Without CLU, I would not be the woman, business owner and leader that I am today.”

Emily also discovered the best thing about the Conejo Valley—"the people!” Pointing to the community support during the wildfires and Borderline tragedy—"We found ways to support one another in large, small and amazing ways”—she finds it inspiring that “Our collective ability to make the world a better place is limitless. All it takes is collaboration, kindness and a little trust.”

As a business owner, Emily aims to empower her employees and clients.

“Treating your people well is the best thing you can do for your bottom line,” she says. “Protect the thing that makes you money. And in every business, that’s the people… Without my team, I don’t have a business, and we are more profitable and produce stronger outcomes when we are happy, trusted and supported.”

She reflects how collaboration has helped grow her business.

“Looking back over the past 11 years, what I truly did, over and over again was: replace myself. I started as a one-woman-show, doing all the things myself. I quickly replaced myself with some professional services—an attorney, bookkeeper and graphic designer… Today, I have a team of brilliant people whose abilities have entirely eclipsed mine. My job is to find and hire the very best people. To nurture them. To solve problems for them. To empower them. To make them smile. And most importantly, to get the hell out of their way!”

Looking forward, says Emily, “I’m excited to continue to grow our company so that we can be a great employer to many, help more clients make the world a better place, and make a measurable impact in our community.”

Emily Barany is a serial social entrepreneur launching businesses aimed at improving the world. In 2011 she launched VISIONALITY with a mission to help organizations dream big and a commitment to transform their dreams into reality.


Lynnette Coverly, Founder/CEO, Coverly Professional Services, Inc., Winner of 2021 Adaptability BRAVO Award

Lives in Ventura; Hometown: Dublin, CA

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

“THINK BIG, plan accordingly and know your worth!” advises Lynnette, who overcame self-limiting beliefs and fears to grow her business during the pandemic.

“One of the most challenging things for me as a business entrepreneur was thinking I could do it all,” says Lynnette. “Thinking that my clients expected me to do it all by myself. It was self-limiting. All this small thinking kept me just that, small—and tired, so very tired, as I worked long hours to keep securing clients, deliver services and handle invoicing.

“I was also afraid. Afraid of hiring employees and all that I thought that entails,” she says, noting that joining NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) in 2014 opened her eyes to the possibilities. In 2018, she transitioned her sole proprietorship into an S-corp. and hired her first employee in 2019.

“I now jokingly say that I'm a recovering sole proprietor,” she laughs, noting that collaborating with others has resulted in immeasurable returns.

“In the summer of 2020, I hired a business coach. This was a big step for me. I had not really invested in myself in any significant way as a business owner. The results have been quick and inspiring,” she says, adding the confidence she gained empowered her to grow her company. “Today, I'm proud to say that with a new perspective and establishing growth systems—which included hiring more employees and a bookkeeper—I'm well past the limiting 20% growth mindset and closed out 2021 year-end with 84.55% revenue growth” and recognition from NAWBO as winner of the 2021 Adaptability Award.

Today, “My new ethos is, ‘I’m building the company I’ve always wanted to work for’,” Lynnette says, encouraging other entrepreneurs.

“Don't make the mistake I did and wait eight years before embracing business entrepreneurship in an impactful way! Surround yourself with a team of trusted advisors instead of trying to do it all yourself. Join the ranks of being an employer, not just a business owner, so you can free up your time to grow your company. And please ... be a quality employer and strong empathetic leader. At the end of the day, we are all humans holding different yet integral roles that intertwine to keep this world spinning. Let's be good to each other.”

Coverly Professional Services, Inc. is a proactive, hands-on, full-service marketing project management firm based in Ventura, California. Applying her 30+ years of marketing leadership experience, Coverly has created a thriving company of passionate employees.

Karyn Hagy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County Big of the Year for California

Lives in Westlake Village; Hometown: Old Greenwich, Connecticut

“A child cannot be what they cannot see.”

“Never underestimate the power of human connection and the importance of letting people know how much you care about them,” says Karyn, who is doing her part to create a world “where every child knows they matter and is given the opportunity to be successful. That is the secret sauce!”

As a Big Sister to Little Sister Marcie for the past 10 years, Karyn cherishes the experience. 

“I love seeing Marcie’s growth into a beautiful and confident young woman with a bright future. It is so enjoyable introducing her to new experiences and opportunities,” says Karyn, adding, “I must always remember that change does not happen overnight and that there will continue to be peaks and valleys. Patience and perseverance are always key.”

Inspired by “the resiliency and strength of the human spirit, and the desire and responsibility to help one another,” Karyn encourages others to get involved.

“I look forward to the day when we have no more Littles on our waitlist! BBSVC currently has 80 Little Brothers and Sisters waiting for their Big,” she notes.

Karyn loves “the people and the everyday beauty that surrounds us” in the Conejo Valley, where she enjoys being out in nature and hiking the Los Robles Trail near her home.

She looks forward to living each day to its fullest. Her goals include “watching my Little Sister Marcie realize her dreams, having fun with my grandchildren and traveling!”

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County Big of the Year is a recognition awarded to volunteer mentors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to their “Littles” (youth mentees) and who have gone above and beyond in their efforts for the agency as well as the greater community. The Big of the Year for California Statewide recognition nominates Karyn as Big of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. BBSVC will formally recognize the 2022 Bigs of the Year on Thursday, May 12, at BBSVC’s Open House. For more information, call 805.484.2282 or email

Debora Silva, Chief Nursing Officer/Los Robles Health System

Lives in Camarillo; Hometown: Washington DC & Luanda, Angola

“Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses…we must be learning all of our lives.”
—Florence Nightingale

Debora acknowledges the critical role nurses play in our lives.

“This is the 20th year in a row that nursing has been voted the most trusted profession in America,” says Debora. “It speaks to their dedication, expertise and professionalism during wars, shootings, natural disasters and pandemics. Our Los Robles nurses demonstrate the same commitment, have earned the trust of our community and inspire me every day.”

Lauded for her efforts during the pandemic, Debora notes that her career brings both rewards and challenges.

“As a nurse, I see people at their best and their worst. Being part of their healing journey or acute event is a privilege and gives me a sense of purpose. As a nurse leader, it is challenging at times to ‘shield’ nurses and other health care providers from the impact the business of health care has on the art of caring.” 

To overcome the hard times, Debora offers this advice: “Always remember your why—why you chose to be a nurse. Use it to make a connection with your patients, use it as a guide for all your clinical decisions, use it as the motivation to come back the next day after a tough shift.”

She also encourages people to never give up.

“Failure is part of the growth journey. Learn from it and try again. Everyone has a story that makes them who they are. It’s great to learn from them and their experiences, as it helps me appreciate all that I have.”

Debora highlights the importance of a living a balanced life.

“Life is short, don’t be too serious and have fun,” she says, adding, “Self-care is a must! Running is overrated as you get older—your joints will thank you later!”

She looks forward to reconnecting with family and friends and visiting the Galapagos Islands. She spends her free time hiking—Mugu Peak is a favorite spot—eating at local restaurants and visiting dog-friendly beaches with her partner and the best dog in the world, Zuri.

Debora was born and raised in Luanda, Angola, a port city off the west coast of Southern Africa. She attended George Mason University where she earned her BSN and then attended Jack Welch Institute at Strayer University for her MBA. Prior to joining Los Robles, she was the Nursing Director for Transplant and the Left Ventricular Assist Device Program at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, in Washington DC. Debora is fluent in Portuguese Spanish and English.

Kristin Bell, Entrepreneurship Educator – Oaks Christian School and California Lutheran University’s Executive MBA program in Europe

Thousand Oaks

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it's better to listen to what it has to say.”

―Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Kristin leverages an MBA in Enterprise Innovation & Entrepreneurship and 10+ years’ experience in marketing strategy and implementation in work with early-stage and growth-stage ventures. She is passionate about the entrepreneurial ecosystem and supporting entrepreneurs.

Kristen is “incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation and am actively involved across the entrepreneurial ecosystem in a variety of ways.”

I have a deep passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, including working with startups, investors, mentors, organizations, and other integral parts. I want to continue to create and implement educational programs that nourish the local startup community and help entrepreneurs develop their ideas. My goal is to contribute to the development of a robust startup community in the Conejo Valley that is driven by collaboration, entrepreneurial thinking, exceptional talent, and innovative technologies. It is incredibly exciting and rewarding being a part of a community that is making a significant impact in our world. 

It’s really special to be a part of an entrepreneur’s journey. Sometimes, I meet with entrepreneurs who are on fire and excited about their idea, and their energy is electric and infectious. And other times, I meet with entrepreneurs who are stuck, defeated, and pretty burnt out; and then there will be a moment in the program where something clicks, and I see their eyes light up and witness that fire reigniting. It’s incredibly inspiring to work with entrepreneurs and see their grit and determination, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to play a role in their journeys.

Graduating over 120 entrepreneurs from various entrepreneurship programs in June, including over 50 young entrepreneurs at Oaks Christian School. I work with a couple hundred entrepreneurs every year, and it’s such a joy to see them complete their programs having made significant progress not only on their startups, but also on their mindsets and problem-solving skills. 

I love the two-way learning. As an instructor, my goal is for students to learn; however, the best part of my job is that I’m constantly learning from my students – which is also probably the most challenging aspect. In any program, I could be working with an entrepreneur looking to power renewable energy with lithium-ion batteries, another developing a social platform for women over 50, and another tackling crypto self-custody. There’s never a dull or boring moment!

  • Debora Silva
  • Emily Barany
  • Karyn Hagy & "Little" Sister
  • Karyn Hagy & "Little" Sister
  • Karyn Hagy & "Little" Sister
  • Karyn Hagy & "Little" Sister
  • Lynnette Coverly
  • Kristen Bell