For immediate release:
Woman of the Year
Woman of the Year, Woman of Distinction 2021


IRVINE — Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris has named Laura Suk (Costa Mesa), Lynne Suzanski (Huntington Beach), Carol Choi (Irvine), Dawn Price (Laguna Beach), Margaret Pearlman (Laguna Woods), and Peggy Fort (Newport Beach) as the 74thAssembly District’s 2021 Women of Distinction. 

Woman of Distinction is an annual recognition ceremony held during March in honor of Women’s History Month. Community members are invited to nominate women who have shown extraordinary work, mentorship and leadership.

“I am so pleased to be able to recognize six extraordinary local Orange County women,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “This year’s Women of Distinction represent the wonderful diversity of leadership in our community. Their efforts – whether it is supporting the veterans, or ensuring fellow neighbors have something as simple and important as lighting – these exceptional women remind us that each of us has a powerful role to play, in helping our communities grow and thrive.”


Laura Suk (Costa Mesa)

“Community outreach and engagement are crucial to the wellbeing of every city, and Laura Suk has played a critical role in Costa Mesa with her non-profit, NorthEast of the Well, providing various resources and building relationships with those experiencing homelessness, people in rehabilitation centers and transitional programs. Laura has been a light in the community, providing the tools to transform people’s lives.”

Lynne Suzanski (Huntington Beach)

“As a member of the OC Realtor Board of Directors, Lynne Suzanski has given back to the Surf City community through programs like Orange County Realtors (OCAR) CARES, assisting people experiencing financial hardships, and the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), dedicated to ensuring sustainable homeownership. I greatly appreciate all of Lynne’s service.”

Carol Choi (Irvine)

“The UC Irvine Anteater community is thrived as a result of Carol Choi’s commitment to supporting education equality through her service on various boards and with the Irvine Public School Foundation. Carol also serves as a member of the Council of Korean Americans, acting as a public voice for the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. I am thankful as a legislator, for all the work that Carol has done in Irvine and throughout Orange County.”

Dawn Price (Laguna Beach)

“Dawn Price had extensive experience in non-profit management, having served in leadership positions for the Friendship Shelter, Ronald Mcdonald House Charities and Planned Parenthood. In her most recent capacity as the Executive Director for the Friendship Shelter, Dawn provides resources and aid for individuals experiencing homelessness. Her positive impact in Laguna Beach is truly profound.” 

Margaret Pearlman (Laguna Woods)

“Well-versed in both political advocacy and the arts, Margaret Pearlman has been a long-time member of the Concerned Citizens of Laguna Woods and the Laguna Woods Potters and Sculptors Club. Her leadership and continued work in fighting for environmental protection, peace, and social and economic justice deserves recognition. Margaret is also a centenarian, whose dedication to the Laguna Woods community is truly inspiring.”

Peggy Fort (Newport Beach)

“As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Peggy Fort has been instrumental in uplifting the business community of Newport Beach. Her role as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Newport Beach Restaurant Association, has allowed her to focus on ways to protect and elevate local restaurants. She’s also done phenomenal work as a consummate marketer for various charity and fundraising events.”

There were more 150 nominations for the Women of Distinction. These six women were recognized in a special virtual ceremony with our Woman of the Year, Dr. Barbara Finlayson-Pitts of UC Irvine on March 25, 2021 on the Assemblywoman’s Facebook page.


Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris represents California’s 74th District including Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Woods and parts of Irvine and Huntington Beach. She is the Chair of the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee and a member of Banking and Finance Committee; Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee; Revenue & Taxation Committee and Veterans 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. Cottie lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, Colin, their two sons, Dylan and Hayden, and their rescue dog, Flounder. Follow the Assemblywoman on Twitter or on Facebook