Southern California Gas Co. Senior Public Affairs Manager and Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast’s Board Member Maria Ventura was honored as 2022 Business Leader of the Year by the Ventura County Leadership Academy.
The distinction was based on Ventura’s community leadership and charitable service. She is the first woman of color to receive the recognition.
“Giving back to the community is the right thing to do and I am grateful to work for SoCalGas, which encourages my volunteerism,” Ventura said in a statement. “I am humbled and honored and consider this recognition as a testament of perseverance — my own and the generations of women before me. I often tell young people and community members I meet with that they can accomplish anything — sometimes, we just have to give them the opportunities and tools to do so.”
As senior public affairs manager for SoCalGas, Ventura manages community and government affairs on behalf of the utility throughout Ventura County. She joined the company in 2013.
In addition to the Girl Scouts, she serves on community boards for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura and El Concilio.
Ventura has provided charitable donations to local organizations such as Food Share, which fights hunger in Ventura County. She has also assisted with grants and donations directed toward affordable energy service for low-income families in the county.
“We honor distinguished business leaders like Maria Ventura – those who lead with heart and are committed to helping others succeed along the way,” Pattie Braga, executive director of Ventura County Leadership Academy, said in a statement. “Maria exemplified VCLA’s mission – local leaders working together to impact change in our community so that everyone can thrive.”
Ventura County Leadership Academy began as a special program under the United Way of Ventura County. It now operates as a separate nonprofit that runs a leadership development program with business, social services, education, government, and cultural organizations. It is Ventura County’s only countywide leadership training organization.