This gallery of seven portraits celebrates some of the extraordinary Topanga women who are community and business leaders and activists. These women commit their time and energy to making this community and the world a better place, and they have shown up for us when we most needed it during the past 12 months of COVID-19.

Whether it was advocating for the environment and human rights or feeding our vulnerable neighbors; rescuing wildlife or raising spirits, thank you. We appreciate you. We see you. This community would not be the same without you. 

One of those women who holds down three plus full-time jobs at once, salary unknown. Market value: priceless. Very few communities have one of these, so make sure you appreciate her so she doesn’t take off! Kelly Rockwell, longtime President of the Topanga Community Center Board, along with her tireless team members Franka Diehnelt, Noni Shore, and Terri Moriarty; (Andy and Rick we’ll cover you guys some other day!) is mother of three young children, a most enthusiastic Topanga Days promoter and last, but not least, a triathlon athlete and winner. Whew! Photo by daughter Paige Rockwell
Dancer, social activist, Move the World founder and now community compost promoter with Full Circle Compost, and sustainability educator with her Drawdown series of workshops, Cecilie Stuart is non-stop in her passion to bring climate change solutions to children, families and communities. Photo courtesy of Cecilie Stuart
Formerly the Angel in Your Kitchen, Patrice Winter has solidly landed as the Canyon’s baker par excellence. Her woman-founded business Canyon Bakery, tucked away at the Theatricum Botanicum, is where locals find respite with delicious made to order baked goods, made from local grain. A true labor of love. Photo by Saori Wall
Appropriately delighted by this piece of art titled Waste to Art, by Moffat Takadiwa, sustainability guru Victoria Charles is a tireless advocate for corporate responsibility for waste they generate. She is an Associate Professor at Santa Monica College and a Sustainability Professor at UCLA. Photo courtesy of Victoria Charles’ Facebook page 🙂
Long associated with the name Flower Power, businesswoman and Topanga icon, Abigail Zapata also known as Gidget, continues to bring peace, love, wisdom and flowers to the community through her kiosk at Pine Tree Circle. Photo by Chloe Chapman
Generally camera-shy, Susan Clark goes further incognito during the rescue of a baby fawn. The red-haired dynamo can be seen and heard throughout the canyon as she deploys her intense empathy and nursing skills for wounded, sick or stranded fauna of all kinds through her decades-old organization Topanga Animal Rescue. Photo by Ken Mazur
Nonie Shore is a longtime Topanga Community Center volunteer and serves as TCC vice president of fundraising and events, working to raise funds to improve the playground and the community house for everyone. She’s been the driving force behind the last five Topanga Days, and she’s ready to forge ahead with the beloved canyon festival once the COVID-19 crisis is over. The TCC Board members have worked tirelessly over the past year to provide meals for canyon seniors and others in need and to find ways for TCC to continue helping the community during the crisis. Pictured here with another frequent community volunteer, Jenny Klemp, who happens to be wearing the proper mask that Nonie forgot to put on. Photo by Saori Wall