March 20, 2024

Three Inspiring Orange County Leaders Honored as 2024 Women of the Year

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris marked Women’s History Month by honoring Joyce LaPointe, Annette Walker and Soledad Rivera as the 2024 Women of the Year. The 6th annual Women of the Year celebration helps shine the light on Orange County women that deserve recognition for their extraordinary contributions and leadership.

“We have so many incredible trailblazers in our community who are paving the way for future generations and building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “These three honorees are working each and every day to keep our communities healthy and safe, and they serve as inspiring role models for women and girls in Orange County to pursue their goals and ambitions.”

"Thank you to Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris for selecting me as the 2024 Costa Mesa Woman of the Year,” said Deputy Chief Joyce LaPointe, Costa Mesa Police Department. “This recognition is a tremendous honor, and I am truly grateful for the support. This award is not just a recognition for me personally, but a testament to the collective efforts of women everywhere striving for progress and equality. Together, we can make a meaningful difference. I appreciate the Assemblywoman acknowledging my 27 years of dedicated service to our Costa Mesa Community, where I am truly honored to serve and call home.”

“It’s a profound honor to receive this recognition from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris and represent the City of Irvine, said Annette Walker, President of City of Hope Orange County. “Congratulations to my fellow honorees who are using their talents for a greater good and are inspiring the next generation of women leaders. This reward is a reflection of the commitment of all of us at City of Hope Orange County who are advancing our mission of preventing, treating and curing cancer. Thank you too to the City of Irvine and to the Orange County community for welcoming us with open arms. We are blessed to be here.”

 “I’m grateful beyond words to receive the Women of the Year award from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris,” said Soledad Rivera, CalOptima Health community relations manager. “It is an incredible privilege to represent the outstanding women making a difference in our community with their unwavering work and commitment. My leadership roles in building and creating essential services throughout Orange County have been deeply rewarding, and this award only strengthens my commitment to the community I hold dear.”

This year’s event was hosted by the City of Costa Mesa in partnership with Vineyard Offshore, Girls Inc. of Orange County and Girl Scouts of Orange County.

About the Honorees:

Deputy Police Chief Joyce LaPointe, a 27-year veteran of the Costa Mesa Police Department, has made a positive impact on the community rising through the ranks as the first female captain and then the first female deputy chief in the history of the organization. She is a role model internally and externally; she is well known in the community and embodies the police department’s values and motto: Honored to Serve. Deputy Chief LaPointe attends many community meetings, and her outreach efforts make a positive impression on us all. She is a consummate professional and always goes above and beyond to serve the department and the community.

Annette Walker is the visionary President of City of Hope Orange County who has gained a national reputation for her industry-changing insights, outstanding leadership, and keen abilities to bring people together and achieve extraordinary results. Annette has been at the helm of many top organizations in her field. She considers her leadership at City of Hope among her most important roles as she is transforming cancer care for generations of patients in the nation’s sixth largest county. In 2022, Annette and her team fulfilled a promise made to Orange County to open City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine – Orange County’s most advanced comprehensive cancer center. Annette and team also broke ground on the county’s only specialty cancer hospital, opening in 2025. Committed to giving back, Annette has served on a wide range of boards for more than 20 years.

Soledad Rivera is the Community Relations Manager for CalOptima Health. CalOptima provides quality health care coverage for nearly 955,000 members in Orange County through a network of more than 10,400 primary care doctors and specialists and 43 acute and rehab hospitals. In partnership with community-based organizations, CalOptima provides education to increase understanding of CalOptima and Medi-Cal programs and services, leads and attends a number of community collaboratives and advisory groups to discuss health issues impacting the County and hosts events to keep communities informed and engaged. Before joining CalOptima, Soledad was Director of Business Development for Families Together of Orange County; Family System Director for the Family Solutions Collaborative; and, Community Liaison for Tustin Unified School District for 17 years. Soledad is often recognized for her passion and devotion to the community, and her many leadership roles with civic and nonprofit boards throughout Orange County.


Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris represents California’s 73rd District including Irvine, Tustin and Costa Mesa. She is the Chair of the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee. She is also a member of the Banking and Finance Committee; Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee; Revenue & Taxation Committee; and, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. After working her way through Yale University, where she double majored in Economics and English, Cottie had a successful 20-year career in finance and technology. She helped to build businesses and led teams at Fortune 500 corporations, small companies and start-ups. Follow the Assemblywoman on Twitter (@AsmCottie), Instagram (@asmcottie), and Facebook (AssemblywomanCPN).

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