New column will focus on leaders in education, the arts, non-profit groups, and many other industries

By Kelly Barbazette

Kelly Barbazette

I’m excited to launch my new column highlighting women leaders in South County! When publisher Marty Cheek shared his vision for the column with me, I thought it was a fantastic idea. I’m honored to speak with women leaders in our community and share our conversations with the readership of this wonderful community newspaper.

It’s very fitting that the advent of the column correlates with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, which legally guaranteed women the right to vote. The fact that this is a very important election year in our country makes the timing even more fitting.

I’d like to share a little bit about me and why this column is close to my heart. I’m a former Bay Area newspaper reporter, having worked at three newspapers from 1995 to 2000. My last full-time journalism job was as city editor for The Dispatch in Gilroy from 1998-2000. My husband and I had just moved to Gilroy in 1998 — a few months prior to my working at The Dispatch. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the community as well as helping the paper be a resource for its residents. While I was there until 2004, I also wrote a lifestyle column sharing tidbits of my life in the Garlic Capital of the World.

I was a Leadership Gilroy graduate in 2001, which allowed me to learn the inner workings of the town and meet the people guiding many different areas of the community. For several years, I enjoyed being a features writer for Gilroy Today and later GMH Today. I’ve also become a parent of two girls, who are now 16 and nearly 18. I’m humbled and honored to be their mom. They inspire me every day to take risks, continue to learn, and share my talents and gifts.

I’m grateful that they grew up here, surrounded and nurtured by so many loving family members, friends and teachers. I love this community and how passionate all of you are about making meaningful connections with your neighbors and co-workers, and preserving what makes South County special. I enjoy learning more about all of you and sharing your stories with a broader audience.

I truly believe everyone has a story. Each individual is unique and layered with experiences that won’t ever be duplicated. I’m delighted to be entrusted to share the stories of the women leaders of this community.

I’ll be speaking to leaders in education, the arts, non-profit groups, and many other industries. They will represent a diverse range of backgrounds, generations, and experiences. If you know of someone who you think would be perfect for this column, please reach out to me or Marty!

Thank you again for your readership. I’m delighted to embark on this new column with all of you!


Kelly Barbazette, a former journalist for Bay Area newspapers, is a freelance writer. She lives in Gilroy with her husband and two daughters. She can be reached at [email protected]

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