Photo courtesy: California State Legislature (larger version)
(from left to right: Senator Bates; Donna Kalez; Senator Connie Leyva, Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus; and Senator Toni Atkins, Senate pro Tem designate).
SACRAMENTO – Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has honored Donna Kalez, the managing partner of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching (Dana Wharf), as the 36th Senate District’s Woman of the Year during today’s Senate session in Sacramento.
“Donna Kalez’s work to promote environmentally responsible sportfishing and whale watching exemplifies an entrepreneurial spirit that is worthy of statewide recognition,” said Senator Bates. “Through her company, Donna has introduced the wonders of the Pacific Ocean and the California coast to countless families, creating positive memories that will last a lifetime. I am proud to honor Donna as the 36th Senate District Woman of the Year for helping to make our state a better place to live.”
Donna Kalez was born and raised in San Clemente, and is the daughter of Dana Wharf’s founder, Don Hansen. Kalez manages Dana Wharf’s daily operations and community relationships. In 2015, Kalez opened the business’ second location in Oceanside called Oceanside Adventures to serve North San Diego County residents.
Kalez and Dana Wharf have hosted several free community outreach events such as Halloween Kids Boo Cruises, Santa Boat Rides, fishing trips, fishing clinics, whale watching trips and more. She has cultivated partnerships to support many local non-profit organizations who work with military families, veterans, children, seniors and those with special needs. She is also an active member of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce, Oceanside Visitors Bureau, Wyland Foundation, Dana Point Historical Society and National Charity League.
In accepting the recognition, Kalez remarked, “It’s a privilege to share my passion for the coastal environment with the community through fun and educational activities. I believe that helping people to enjoy the unique wonders of our coastline will help preserve it for future generations. I thank Senator Bates for recognizing the work that my family, staff and I provide to our customers and the communities we serve.”
Given annually by each California legislator in their districts, the Woman of the Year award celebrates California’s extraordinary women. The first recognition was held in 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History Month. The award has become an annual Capitol tradition to salute women who have done outstanding community service. Honorees are presented with a framed certificate from the Legislature recognizing their outstanding contributions.
Click here to view the Senate presentation today.