Women gather to mark International Women’s Day

For The Madera Tribune Motivational speaker Alexandra Torres.


The second of two days recognizing the contributions of women to the social and economic growth of civilization began 10 a.m. March 3 in the Sierra Vista Elementary School Cafeteria.

It included three speakers:

• Keynote speaker Sayra Vasquez, a reporter and local personality for KFTV Channel 21-Univision, a Fresno station

• Matthew Ari Jendian, Ph.D., a Fresno State professor and chair of sociology and director of humanities

• Barbara Flores, Ph.D., a professor and researcher at San Bernardino State

The event also will include free food, entertainment, a mini spa experience, local folkloric dancers, community resources, self defense lessons and a fashion show.

A kickoff International Women’s Day event was hosted by Madera Votes March 3 at Mari’s Restaurant in downtown Madera. It presented an opportunity for the men and women in attendance to hear from self-actualizing women how they had become successful.

Madera City Councilwoman Cece Foley Gallegos, Madera Police Sgt. Alicia Keyser, and Visalia motivational speaker Alexandra Torres told how they juggled the demands of family lives and successful careers.

Gallegos, a teacher, sent three daughters through college before embarking on a side career of grassroots politics. She is in her first term as a city councilwoman, and also has proven herself to be a leader among her fellow council members.

Keyser reared a family while working on her long-term ambition to become a police officer. Her latest achievement was to become the first female police sergeant on the Madera police force.

Torres began her life as a problem drinker and a drug addict, but turned her life around when she discovered she could help others turn their lives around by working as a motivational speaker and counselor. She earned a master’s degree and has spoken to audiences of hundreds.