• Spirit of Calabasas


  • Each year, the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce bestows the Bill Van Gieson Spirit of Calabasas Award upon a Chamber member to reflect their pioneering spirit, initiative, and outstanding contributions to the community in memory of Van Gieson, who is remembered for his creative leadership in developing Chamber activities.


    2023 Spirit of Calabasas Award

    Valley News Group Publisher Kathleen Sterling



    Kathleen Sterling is an award-winning journalist and publisher of five community weeklies in the west San Fernando Valley – Warner Center News, Valley Vantage, Calabasas Enterprise, Encino Enterprise and North Valley News.  She founded the Warner Center News in 1982 at the age of 22, always adhering to community journalism and a focus on all local news. After meeting her husband Rodger Sterling in 1985, together they published the Las Virgenes Enterprise and bought the Valley Vantage and ran all three papers together for 25 years until his death in 2009. She and her daughter Katie then started the Encino Enterprise in 2019. The North Valley News is the latest in Valley News Group’s portfolio.


    Sterling has always been dedicated to community service. A former Ticktocker for National Charity League, she grew up in Woodland Hills attending Louisville High School. She was then Panhellenic President at USC and served on the  University’s Curriculum Committee. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude and received USC’s Order of the Laurel Award, the university’s highest award for women. Sterling received her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1983.


    She is an active community member and has sat on the boards of the Valley Cultural Center, Louisville High School, Pacific Lodge Boys Home, the Heart Run & Walk and American Heart Association.

    She has volunteered for Haven Hills, Valley Women’s Center, Valley Interfaith Council, West Valley Food Pantry, Guadalupe Center, Angel’s Way Maternity Home, Woodland Hills Rotary, St. Mel Church and Calabasas Rotary. She was a Girl Scout leader and was co-chair for Louisville High School’s annual Quest auction. Currently she sits on USC’s Reunion Committee.


    For 10 years she was co-chair of the Heart Run & Walk, which raised over $1.5 million for the American Heart Association. When the Heart Association pulled out, Sterling and friends created the From the Heart Run to continue the event and give money to local deserving charities.  One of her favorite causes pre-pandemic was the grass-roots program “Pass the Turkey” which she co-founded in 2004. Pass the Turkey collected free turkeys given away at local markets and delivers them to residential charities for Thanksgiving dinner and the Calabasas Rotary for their annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors  Sterling has been involved with the Calabasas Chamber since 1985. She is the publisher of the Las Virgenes and Calabasas Enterprise weekly newspaper.  She has been an active community member in Calabasas, not only as publisher, but as a member of Calabasas Rotary, board member at Louisville High School, and a strong supporter of the City of Calabasas, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and the retail and business community.


    A six-time nominee for the Fernando Award, Sterling is the recipient of the Promenade Mall “Woman of the Year” award, the Rose Goldwater Community Service Award, the Joseph Staller Award, the Technology Corridor “Top 100” Award, the Valley Community Legal Foundation’s Presidents Award, the Valley Women’s Center 2006 Community Award and the first ever Sterling Award from the Valley Alliance for the Arts. She also received the national C. Everett Coop Media Award for Best Health Series in a community newspaper. She has twice been named to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s “Valley 200.”  Through the five newspapers Sterling supports almost every nonprofit in the valley - donating both ad space and editorial to promote their programs and events.

  • Spirit of Calabasas Award

    2023 - Kathleen Sterling
    2021 - Alicia Weintraub
    2020 - Lois Julien
    2019 - Jeff Rubin
    2018 - Steve Brevidoro
    2017 - Fred Gaines
    2016 - Toni Yamin
    2015 - Brenda Johnson
    2014 - Carol Washburn
    2013 - Marie White
    2012 - Don Lucove
    2011 - Jeff Blum
    2010 - James Bozajian
    2009 - Rodger Sterling
    2008 - John Boething
    2007 - Bob Hill
    2006 - Lee Cohen (Pioneer Legacy Awards)
    2005 - Frank and Betty Farmer
    2004 - Flo Klein
    2003 - Wally and Jean Hollenstein
    2002 - Phyllis Power
    2001 - Ray Phillips
    2000 - Dennis Washburn
    1999 - Karyn Foley
    1998 - Mac & Alice Stelle
    1997 - Bob McCord
    1996 - Dr. Albert Marley
    1995 - Barbara Reinike
    1994 - John & Juliana Gensley
    1993 - Kay Beachy