The Mountain View Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to attend a virtual award ceremony Thursday evening, recognizing what the local business community calls "heroes" who stepped up to help others through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 26th annual Celebration of Leaders, typically a paid event at a local venue, marks the chamber's effort to give credit to volunteers, school and nonprofit leaders who made a big difference during the daunting recovery from the pandemic.
"This has been an exceptionally hard year, yet we've seen business owners and individuals go above and beyond to help their community," chamber officials said.
Among the recipients is Mountain View resident IdaRose Sylvester, who was named this year's "outstanding community builder." A member of the city's Human Relations Commission, Sylvester played a central role in managing community-police relations in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing and protests last year, including forums for residents to speak freely on their view of law enforcement.
Two local school leaders, Mountain View Whisman Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph and Mountain View-Los Altos Superintendent Nellie Meyer, both received an award for contributions to remote learning.
The chamber named Trader Joe's as Mountain View's most outstanding business for 2021, while the top honors for outstanding nonprofit organizations went to both Day Worker Center and the Community Health Awareness Council. Most outstanding business person went to Jeff Weinberg of JW catering.
Nonprofit volunteers getting kudos at the event include Jolee Crosson, a board member at CSA and former sales manager at Google; Amber Wilson, executive director of the Mountain View Public Safety Foundation; and Danielle Makler, a volunteer with the music group Quadre.
Though separate from the Celebration of Leaders, the chamber is also using the Thursday event to present this year's "Athena" award, which goes out to someone who actively assists women in improving leadership skills and "professional excellence." This year's honoree is Eonis Cibrian Pelayo, director of advocacy and community relations at CSA, who previously launched a program designed to empower community leaders in disadvantaged communities.