July 15, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Century City Chamber of Commerce Women of Achievement Focus

Deborah Marcus of Communities in Schools is one of the six recipients of the Women of Achievement awards in Century City. Courtesy Photo
Deborah Marcus of Communities in Schools is one of the six recipients of the Women of Achievement awards in Century City. Courtesy Photo

The annual Women of Achievement (WOA) dinner is drawing closer, with the Century City Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council (WBC) solidifying the six commendable award recipients and gearing up for the ceremony.

For over 25 years, the WBC has recognized inspirational women within the Century City community in order to publicly acknowledge their professional commitment and dedication to excellence.

Six professional career women were selected based on their devotion to making the community stronger, dedication to raising awareness and funds for non-profit and charitable organizations, and a commitment to mentoring others in their respective careers.

This year, the selected six women are: Cameron Benson of Watt Plaza, Gina Browne of Feldman Browne Olivares LLP, Cathy Campfield of Universal Protection Service, Sherry Cefali of Duff & Phelps, Deborah Marcus of Communities in Schools and Janet Neman of the Charles Dunn Company.

Century City News spoke with Sherry Cefali and Deborah Marcus about the awards and their contribution to the community.

Sherry Cefali works with Duff & Phelps as a business valuation and corporate finance advisor. She is highly knowledgeable about the intricacies of business valuations and holds an MBA from USC. Cefali has more than 24 years of experience under her belt and said that regardless of her accomplishments, she did not expect her WOA award.

“I was completely taken by surprise when Susan Bursk and Barbara Brekke of the Century City Chamber of Commerce showed up at my office with a beautiful flower arrangement to deliver the news,” Cefali said. “It was a very memorable and joyful experience for me.”

Sherry Cefali of Duff & Phelps is one of the six recipients of the Women of Achievement awards in Century City. Courtesy Photo
Sherry Cefali of Duff & Phelps is one of the six recipients of the Women of Achievement awards in Century City. Courtesy Photo

Cefali not only dove into the world of business valuations after graduate school and helped Duff & Phelps evolve into the financial advisor it is known as today, but she also carries values of generosity and compassion.

“One of my objectives as head of the Los Angeles office is to bring heart into the workplace,” Cefali said. “ A powerful way to do this is by coming together to make a different in other people’s lives.”

During the holidays, Duff & Phelps’ Los Angeles office partners with One Voice, a non-profit organization that helps families who live in poverty.

“Our office comes together in a heartwarming way,” Cefali said. “Each year we are able to provide these families with much needed items. This experience is very moving for all of us, and is an excellent reminder of just how fortunate we are.”

Deborah Marcus of Communities in Schools (CIS) was recognized for the award based on her selflessness and professionalism.

“I feel very proud to be honored in this way and also very touched that Nicole Buckman, a woman who I work with nominated me,” Marcus said. “The nomination came from an unexpected source – someone who I work with, but not on a daily basis.”

Marcus is dedicated to supporting high school students and addressing the issue of educational inequality. Having spent four and a half years as development director and executive director at CIS of Los Angeles, Marcus’ focus is on helping poverty-stricken students excel in school and prepare for graduation.

“The only way to transform communities and to help lift students and families out of poverty is through education,” Marcus said. “Roughly 80 percent of students attending public schools in L.A. are living below the poverty line. You can have the best teachers [and] the best technology, but when students are coming to school challenged by circumstances largely outside of their control, educational attainment is more challenging.”

Marcus knows firsthand “how important this work is.”

“I graduated from Hamilton High School – one of the schools that CIS serves here in LA,” Marcus said. “I know what gaps there are in the system.”

Marcus added that she believes in the significance of relationships, not only the programs.

“That’s what we do at CIS: build relationships with one student [and] one family at a time to best support their needs,” Marcus said.

The Women of Achievement dinner will be held on October 22nd. For more information, call 310.553.2222 or visit centurycitycc.com.

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