Community leaders grace us with their presence, perseverance and ability to achieve their dreams while making a positive difference in the lives of others. Here, we celebrate a handful of incredible local women who inspire with their service, accomplishments and commitment to succeed.
Talley Hutcherson, Connemara Ranch Malibu
Words to Live By: "Service is its own reward." "I would rather be loving than right."
Owner of Connemara Ranch in Malibu, Talley Hutcherson has been serving the community for over 30 years, providing equine therapy and private ocean view horseback riding experiences on local trails.
Serving all ages and abilities, Talley holds a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica and trained in equine-assisted psychotherapy at the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, a nonprofit organization that provides education, standards, innovation and support to professionals in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
The first in Malibu to offer equine therapy, Talley is also leading community efforts to recover and revive local horse-related businesses that were devastated by the Woolsey Fire last November. Raging through the hills of Malibu, the Woolsey Fire caused both structural and emotional devastation, greatly impacting several women-owned public recreational horse businesses that were closed for months after the fire and lost 100% of their income.
Talley and Malibu native Laura Toston, owner of Malibu Riders combined efforts and shared resources for moral support, and their efforts have developed into both a fundraising and community outreach to highlight the challenges of business owners after natural disasters. If they are forced to closed and can’t recover after the fire…public trail riding will likely end in Malibu.
More than five months after the fire, many of the local trails are ruined, dangerous or impassable. One focus of the organization is getting the Santa Monica mountain trails reopened to horseback riders, mountain bikers and hikers, another is financially helping women-owned businesses with the horse expenses and an extensive array of animal responsibilities. Both women have GoFundMe accounts and are still in need of funding: GoFundMe.com/Support-for-Connemara-Ranch-Horses and GoFundMe.com/MalibuRiders.
Thanks to the efforts of MalibuLove.org, these women have received assistance from celebrity supporters in Malibu, including Cher, Tracy Bregman and Mallory Lewis. Other sources of financial support have come from several women-owned businesses (Sami Gros’ “Taillights,” a start-up that lights the tails of horses for night riding safety; Darlene Geekie of “Veterinary Angels,” a small and large animal vet clinic and “The Little Angels Project,” a nonprofit that rescues animals in need of aid; and Claudia Bakker “OYA,” an app connecting women-owned businesses). This is an ongoing long recovery process for these cherished women-owned businesses.
Talley’s work with equine therapy includes assisting individuals in recovery and ocean view trail riding with top-level celebrity clients, such as Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Richard Gere, Cindy Crawford, Olivia Newton-John, Emma Thompson and Billy Crystal.
Appearing in national and regional publications (Los Angeles Times Magazine, New York Times, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Malibu Times and American Way) and on television (“Dateline,” Channel 7, “Eye on LA,” Channel 9 News, “Animals are People Too” and “Vacation Living”), Talley and her business were also featured in a 2017 documentary “Malibu Stories” (MalibuStories.com).
Greatest Accomplishment: Being inclusive and working with anyone interested in learning about relationship with horses. I have worked with special needs adults and children, people dealing with addiction and trauma, veterans with PTSD, gang members and inner city kids and teens, local Malibu school children, adults who want to learn recreational riding skills—the list is long and varied—anyone who feels better being in the company of horses is invited and encouraged to come; if they lack resources they are encouraged to be of service and offer their time.
Inspiration: The power of loving to heal. I have rescued dozens of horses in the 30-plus years I have had my business—many were misunderstood and abused. When they were offered loving and listening, they forgave and offered a purpose-driven life of service.
R&R: Riding in the Santa Monica Mountains connecting with nature and sharing my love of horses with others.
Gina Jakel & Nancy Niles, Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club
President Nancy Niles and Vice President Gina Jakel began their terms, along with the rest of the newly elected officers of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, on April 1 of this year.
Longtime friends who both have had careers in the aviation industry—Gina retired from Delta Airlines as a customer service representative, and Nancy retired as the Community Relations Director of Los Angeles World Airports at LAX—the duo look forward to a “High Flying” year leading the PPWC in its numerous charitable endeavors.
The PPWC touches nearly everyone in Pacific Palisades, holding community events at their newly remodeled clubhouse, with its unequaled view of the Santa Monica Mountains. An annual PPWC grants program, funded in part by proceeds from their annual Holiday Home Tour event, provides financial support to over 20 nonprofit groups to enhance their charitable work.
The newly elected officers also include Maureen Roth, Secretary; Terri Webb, Assistant Treasurer; Linda Andrews, Clubhouse Director; Cindy Heydt, Events Director; Emily Scheid, Fundraising Director; Jennifer Jones, Communications Director; Dorothy Richards Parliamentarian; and Immediate Past President Robin Weitz.
Regan Harwell Schaffer, Pepperdine University
Words to Live By: “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” —The Avett Brothers
Regan is a Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior in the Business Administration Division of Seaver College at Pepperdine University. In addition to serving on the faculty she fulfills several other roles, currently serving as director of the Service Leadership Project, a required capstone course for undergraduate business, accounting, international business majors and nonprofit management minors that applies the principles of servant leadership to team consultancy projects with local nonprofit organizations. She is also the executive director of the Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative, which includes an academic minor, fellowships, community-based research initiatives and an annual Nonprofit Leadership Institute hosted at Pepperdine. Finally, she is the Faculty Director of Service-learning and collaborates with numerous faculty on curriculum design and assessment.
Dr. Schaffer completed her undergraduate degree at Abilene Christian University and her MS in Educational Psychology and EdD in Management from Pepperdine University. She has served on Pepperdine’s faculty since 1999 and has taught in their London, Lyon and Lausanne overseas programs. Her research interests include curriculum design and assessment, nonprofit management practices and leadership development. Her passion, however, is her teaching.
Her course titles reflect her research interests: Service Leadership, Community-based Research in the Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Leadership and Management and various topics through Pepperdine’s First Year Seminar program. She has been honored with the Center for Teaching Excellence Innovative Teaching Award and is a twice recipient of the highly selective Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence.
Dr. Schaffer is actively involved with numerous nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles having served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, Let’s Start Talking International, Made in the Streets and in an advisory capacity to several others. Together with her students she has partnered with hundreds of nonprofit organizations to address community needs. She consults secondary and higher education institutions on service-learning pedagogy and conducts workshops for both faculty and nonprofit leaders on effective community-based initiatives.
Greatest Accomplishment: In my role as a professor at Pepperdine, I would consider the impactful work of my students in their partnerships with over 800 nonprofit organizations throughout our region. I’d like to think that people’s lives are better and our community is healthier because of our collaborative projects during the past 20 years. Personally, I don’t think of my family as an accomplishment per se, but I am grateful for our shared love and commitment to helping one another be our best selves and the joy that brings. They may be more accurately described as my greatest fulfillment.
Inspiration: The unexpected grace and kindness of others.
R&R: I most enjoy a day spent with my husband and sons hiking, at the beach or exploring new places. Malibu provides us many opportunities to appreciate the beauty of people and place.
Summer Crosley, Ocean Conservationist, Malibu
Words to Live By: Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present and make it beautiful.
When she is not traveling the World of Fashion, Summer devotes her life to supporting environmentally friendly causes, such as Ocean Life Conservation to help protect our beautiful oceans and keep our beaches clean. Dedicated to doing her part to help decrease pollution and protect wildlife, Summer has influenced the public to join the eco-friendly movement, encouraging others to clean up our beaches and reminding everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle to conserve the beautiful ocean life. She is passionate about educating others on the importance of protecting our environment.
While many do not realize the importance of ocean life conservation in protecting our planet, Summer reminds her peers and the youth community that littering puts wildlife—dolphins, whales, sea turtles and tropical fish—at risk of endangerment and extinction. Summer has traveled to the world’s top beach destinations to raise awareness throughout Fiji, Bali, Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica. She continues in her mission to influence thousands to join the eco-friendly movement and help protect our beautiful ocean life from extinction.
Greatest Accomplishment: During the past decade I have devoted most of my time to my passion of being involved in numerous ocean conservation awareness charities, groups, beach cleanups and missions all over the globe. Our universe is only getting more and more populated and that population increase is causing our oceans to become more polluted with trash and plastics. Living in California, we are at the forefront of influencers to the rest of the country in green alternatives, such as banning plastic bags, straws, GPS tracking of whales and other ocean life, and many other achievements we have made to influence other states to get involved in what they can do to help our planet be as healthy as possible. Being able to travel the world and work with multiple environmental groups has been a big achievement for me as I care so much about Mother Nature.
Inspiration: Meeting people from all different parts of the world inspires me; it is so beautiful to me to learn of different cultures and the people that come from all of these amazing countries. That is what makes this world so inspiring. I love the people of Africa and Indonesia—it is eye-opening to see how they live, what they eat, what motivates them, and learn their worldviews. I think just really getting out there and exploring this vast universe we live in is truly inspiring.
R&R: I love to hike. Malibu has the best hiking and when I am out there hiking, I just take in deep breaths of air and the gorgeous views and just unwind. It’s good for the body and mind.