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Athena honors go to health advocate, architect

Sherri Sager and Elaine Uang to be recognized by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce

The two women selected as Palo Alto's most influential leaders by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce have dedicated countless hours to helping children and families with serious medical conditions and to diversifying the city's housing stock.

Sherri Sager, chief government and community relations officer at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, and Elaine Uang, an architect and co-founder of the grassroots housing and transportation group Palo Alto Forward, will be feted at the 2018 Athena Awards on Oct. 30, hosted by the Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto.

The Athena Awards are given to women and men who strive toward the highest level of accomplishment and who excel in their chosen field and, through their accomplishments, open paths so others may follow, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

"Among all the outstanding women in business in the Palo Alto area, these two women are being especially recognized as role models for other professionals for the generosity and impact of their community service," Judy Kleinberg, president and CEO, said.

Sager is receiving the Athena Leadership Award and Uang Athena Emerging Professional Leadership Award.

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As Lucile Packard Children's Hospital's chief government and community-relations officer for more than 24 years, Sager has traveled to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to advocate for the work done at Packard hospital and for patient health, including asking Congress to pass legislation to aid children with medically complex conditions. She's helped shape policy locally as a board member of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley. And at Packard, she has developed community-education programs.

"I am very mission focused and want to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I think of myself as a pragmatic idealist," she stated in an email.

Sager was raised in San Jose, earned a degree in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's degree in public administration from San Jose State University.

She worked for presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey at the 1972 Democratic Convention, where she learned "that if you want to change the world, you have to change it from the inside," she stated in her Joint Venture biography.

She is a current and former director of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the board chair of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, co-vice chairperson of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce and board liaison for the Ravenswood Family Health Center.

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It's hard to list just one most gratifying aspect of her work, she said.

"The work that I do in government and community relations can make a difference for our patients to be able to get to the right provider at the right time and in the right place. I can cut through red tape for them," she said.

"The advice I would give to folks is ... know that everyone can make a difference. One rock can create ripples that can create other ripples. And never give up. Sometimes you have to break things down to small bites and for every two steps forward there may be a step backwards, but don't give up. Lasting change is worth taking the time and patience so don't get discouraged," she wrote.

Uang, an architect and founder/owner of Architarian Design, said her work in grassroots organizing through Palo Alto Forward hasn't necessarily been easy.

"The most satisfying thing about my civic contributions is helping to create safe spaces for people to talk about important issues. When I started housing advocacy in 2013, Palo Alto was full of voices opposing Maybell and 'dense,' low-income senior housing," she stated in an email.

"Housing was not something you could publicly support without being vilified by the most vocal anti-housing voices," she said.

This year, her two greatest achievements were garnering support for the city's affordable-housing overlay and helping Pastor Rick Mixon and his community partners obtain the city's permission to use First Baptist Church as a community center, she said.

"The affordable-housing overlay reaffirms support for housing policy and new laws/standards that help make future affordable housing projects more feasible in Palo Alto. We haven't seen any 100 percent below-market-rate housing approved or built in nine years," she said.

Building community is important to Uang, which is why she worked with others to help First Baptist Church create a space for people to come together in shared activities, she said.

In 2017, she championed reforms to the city's accessory-dwelling-unit ordinance and parking programs, both of which the Palo Alto City Council passed.

Uang earned a bachelor of arts degree in human biology from Stanford University and a master's degree in architecture from the University of Virginia. She is a 2015-2016 Leadership Palo Alto fellow.

The Athena Emerging Professional Leadership Award recognizes a woman who "is newer to the professional world and who already demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her business or profession and the community," according to the Chamber.

The Athena Awards will begin with a networking reception from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by the awards luncheon. Sponsorships are available by calling 650-324-3121 or [email protected] Individual tickets and table sales are currently available at paloaltochamber.com/athena-awards.

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The Palo Alto Weekly is a co-sponsor of the Athena Awards.

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Athena honors go to health advocate, architect

Sherri Sager and Elaine Uang to be recognized by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 7, 2018, 8:06 am

The two women selected as Palo Alto's most influential leaders by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce have dedicated countless hours to helping children and families with serious medical conditions and to diversifying the city's housing stock.

Sherri Sager, chief government and community relations officer at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, and Elaine Uang, an architect and co-founder of the grassroots housing and transportation group Palo Alto Forward, will be feted at the 2018 Athena Awards on Oct. 30, hosted by the Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto.

The Athena Awards are given to women and men who strive toward the highest level of accomplishment and who excel in their chosen field and, through their accomplishments, open paths so others may follow, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

"Among all the outstanding women in business in the Palo Alto area, these two women are being especially recognized as role models for other professionals for the generosity and impact of their community service," Judy Kleinberg, president and CEO, said.

Sager is receiving the Athena Leadership Award and Uang Athena Emerging Professional Leadership Award.

As Lucile Packard Children's Hospital's chief government and community-relations officer for more than 24 years, Sager has traveled to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to advocate for the work done at Packard hospital and for patient health, including asking Congress to pass legislation to aid children with medically complex conditions. She's helped shape policy locally as a board member of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley. And at Packard, she has developed community-education programs.

"I am very mission focused and want to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I think of myself as a pragmatic idealist," she stated in an email.

Sager was raised in San Jose, earned a degree in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's degree in public administration from San Jose State University.

She worked for presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey at the 1972 Democratic Convention, where she learned "that if you want to change the world, you have to change it from the inside," she stated in her Joint Venture biography.

She is a current and former director of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the board chair of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, co-vice chairperson of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce and board liaison for the Ravenswood Family Health Center.

It's hard to list just one most gratifying aspect of her work, she said.

"The work that I do in government and community relations can make a difference for our patients to be able to get to the right provider at the right time and in the right place. I can cut through red tape for them," she said.

"The advice I would give to folks is ... know that everyone can make a difference. One rock can create ripples that can create other ripples. And never give up. Sometimes you have to break things down to small bites and for every two steps forward there may be a step backwards, but don't give up. Lasting change is worth taking the time and patience so don't get discouraged," she wrote.

Uang, an architect and founder/owner of Architarian Design, said her work in grassroots organizing through Palo Alto Forward hasn't necessarily been easy.

"The most satisfying thing about my civic contributions is helping to create safe spaces for people to talk about important issues. When I started housing advocacy in 2013, Palo Alto was full of voices opposing Maybell and 'dense,' low-income senior housing," she stated in an email.

"Housing was not something you could publicly support without being vilified by the most vocal anti-housing voices," she said.

This year, her two greatest achievements were garnering support for the city's affordable-housing overlay and helping Pastor Rick Mixon and his community partners obtain the city's permission to use First Baptist Church as a community center, she said.

"The affordable-housing overlay reaffirms support for housing policy and new laws/standards that help make future affordable housing projects more feasible in Palo Alto. We haven't seen any 100 percent below-market-rate housing approved or built in nine years," she said.

Building community is important to Uang, which is why she worked with others to help First Baptist Church create a space for people to come together in shared activities, she said.

In 2017, she championed reforms to the city's accessory-dwelling-unit ordinance and parking programs, both of which the Palo Alto City Council passed.

Uang earned a bachelor of arts degree in human biology from Stanford University and a master's degree in architecture from the University of Virginia. She is a 2015-2016 Leadership Palo Alto fellow.

The Athena Emerging Professional Leadership Award recognizes a woman who "is newer to the professional world and who already demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her business or profession and the community," according to the Chamber.

The Athena Awards will begin with a networking reception from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by the awards luncheon. Sponsorships are available by calling 650-324-3121 or [email protected] Individual tickets and table sales are currently available at paloaltochamber.com/athena-awards.

The Palo Alto Weekly is a co-sponsor of the Athena Awards.

Comments

Elizabeth
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:36 am
Elizabeth , Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:36 am

Congratulations, Elaine! Lots of people want more housing in Palo Alto, but you're one of the few willing to dive into the nitty gritty of the issue: local code, civic meetings. Boring stuff, but change starts at the level of these small details.


Kathy Young
another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:45 am
Kathy Young, another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:45 am

Congrats Elaine! Nice to have alll your hard work and efforts recognized! <3


Leora Tanjuatco Ross
Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:58 am
Leora Tanjuatco Ross, Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:58 am

Elaine!!! This is a well-deserved award. Congratulations!!
And Sherri, your leadership is invaluable. I’m so glad to see it recognized.


Eric Rosenblum
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
Eric Rosenblum, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:59 am

Elaine is amazing.. I'm so proud to know her and to have had a chance to work with her. She's tireless, and is so committed to improving her community. She listens to everyone, and is a no-nonsense get-stuff-done sort of person. She makes our city so much better.

Thanks for everything you so, Elaine! Well-deserved!


Julia
Professorville
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:02 am
Julia, Professorville
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:02 am

Congratulations to both Sherri and Elaine! Sherri's work sounds amazing and I know Elaine well and have such admiration for her dedication to housing and transportation issues in our city. Great choices!


Chao Lam
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:13 am
Chao Lam, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:13 am

Congrats Elaine Uang and Sherri Sager! I first got to know Elaine through her Architectural walks and then often bumped into her while playing augmented reality games (<cough!> Pokémon go). Elaine is ceaseless and organized in her quest to make Palo Alto more vibrant, livable and inclusive. And yet she does it in such a way that you feel delighted and listened to even when you disagree with her. The award couldn’t have gone to a nicer person and truly represents the best of Palo Alto imho.


Asha
University South
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:18 am
Asha, University South
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:18 am

Congratulations to Elaine Uang! Thank you for all the hours you spend to make our community a better place for all.


Beth Morris
another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:29 am
Beth Morris, another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:29 am

Congratulations, Elaine! I am so glad that all your hard work is being recognized. Palo Alto is lucky to have you!


Angie
Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:31 am
Angie , Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:31 am

Elaine is tireless and so dedicated to finding solutions to our housing problems. So glad to see this!


Mehdi Alhassani
University South
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:36 am
Mehdi Alhassani, University South
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:36 am

Elaine was one of the first people I met in Palo Alto when I moved here several years ago. She is brilliant, kind, and an awesome mom. I learn so much from her and Palo Alto is lucky to have her. Well deserved!


Catherine Crystal Foster
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:37 am
Catherine Crystal Foster, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 9:37 am

Congratulations to two outstanding community leaders. Elaine and Sherri, both of you have been tireless and selfless advocates, and we're all the better for it. In these times, it's wonderful to celebrate civic mindedness and generosity of spirit. Thanks for all you do and will continue to do for our community.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:01 am
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

Congratulations Elaine and will deserved. Thanks for all your work on housing. Great to have you as a friend and colleague.


Susie Hwang
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:38 am
Susie Hwang, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:38 am

So grateful for Elaine Uang's tireless work to make Palo Alto more inclusive, representative, and livable. She is the kind of intelligent, empathetic and visionary leader that makes every community better. Thank you, Elaine!


Jane Huang
Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm
Jane Huang, Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Congratulations, Elaine! You've always been thoughtful, well-informed, and patient beyond measure. What a well-deserved recognition for what is often thankless and invisible work.


Gina Dalma
Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Gina Dalma, Midtown
on Sep 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Congrats Elaine! Amazing choice for someone who has worked tirelessly for a better Palo Alto!


Viji N
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Viji N, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm

This is phenomenal and very well deserved. Thank you for your contributions, your passion and your care for ethics.


RPopp
Registered user
Monroe Park
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm
RPopp, Monroe Park
Registered user
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Thrilled Elaine is being recognized in this way. She is so passionate and dedicated - totally deserving of the Athena Award!


Vlada
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm
Vlada, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Congratulations Elaine! Palo Alto is so lucky to have your passion & your determination. This is so well deserved!


Victoria Thorp
Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm
Victoria Thorp, Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Congratulations to both leaders for these awards. We are so lucky to live in a community with people who are willing to step up and offer their time and talent to make an impact for others. Elaine not only serves on numerous city and committees, she also helped Gunn High School students choose cheerful new paint colors for their fantastic school and is raising two beautiful daughters. I am in awe of all that these women do!


Bilgen
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm
Bilgen, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Congratulations Elaine! Proud to be your friend!


Mike
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 4:54 pm
Mike, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 4:54 pm

As Elaine's husband, it's amazing to read all of the positive things on here! We're all aware of the terrible stuff going on politically - especially at the national level but often at the local level too - and this is a nice break from that. I've seen first-hand how much Elaine has sacrificed (and dealt with) to help educate Palo Altans and make the city a little better and more inclusive. Congratulations and so glad to read all of the nice things!


Jon Foster
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Jon Foster, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Great news! Thanks so much to both Elaine and Sherri for all they have done and will, I am sure, do in the future.


Stephanie
another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm
Stephanie , another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Congratulations, Elaine! Thank you for your tireless and tiring work to make Palo alto an affordable place for all.


Eric Rosenblum
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm
Eric Rosenblum, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Sheri Sanger... Thank you for all you do!


Just a reality check
Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm
Just a reality check, Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm

You do realize that this award is bestowed by the developers in the Chamber of Commerce.


Jayanthi Kalyanaraman
Palo Verde
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:04 pm
Jayanthi Kalyanaraman, Palo Verde
on Sep 7, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Congratulations Elaine! So proud of you and amazed to see all the efforts you have put in to participate and contribute in the local community. Continue your great work!

And Sherri Sager, Congratulations!


Linda
Registered user
Barron Park School
on Sep 8, 2018 at 6:45 am
Linda, Barron Park School
Registered user
on Sep 8, 2018 at 6:45 am

Congratulations Sherri! I can't think of a person who has touched so many people, organizations and School Districts in so many ways. Whenever we had ideas for programs or teachers needed funding to attend trainings a call to Sherri about the need for funding with intended positive outcomes would lead to a quick response to help. Sherri is a longtime Advocate for Healthcare legislation and follows closely bills that directly affect our physical and mental health. Thanks Sherri for your passion, your open mind, professionalism and dedication to move us towards a healthier community!


Joni
another community
on Sep 8, 2018 at 10:39 am
Joni, another community
on Sep 8, 2018 at 10:39 am

Congratulations, Elaine! What a wonderful and well-deserved honor. We know how tirelessly you work on community projects and how much time, effort, and commitment you put into all your work
And we know very first hand what a wonderful mom (and wife) you are. From a very unbiased point of view!


Yea
another community
on Sep 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm
Yea, another community
on Sep 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

To Elaine, Really PROUD of this honor. Congratulations! Glad to know that you have made community service part of your passion.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Sep 10, 2018 at 11:22 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Sep 10, 2018 at 11:22 pm

Wow, an architect who lobbies for deregulation of the building industry, congrats Chamber and City!!!

Corporations are people too! When will the Athena go to the most popular ATM? Equal rights for soulless boxes of metal, plastic and electronics.


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