The story of one lawmaker’s choice for Woman of the Year

Twenty-eight years ago, Sherry Kramer was working in a hospital when she volunteered to serve at a Saturday morning clinic for needy children.  It turned out to be a fateful decision that changed her life — and those of many others.

Today, Sherry continues to use the fulfilling experience of helping others by performing both civic and philanthropic outreach of various kinds throughout the South Bay as Continental Development Corporation’s community affairs director.  Along the way, she has built a legacy of more successful fundraisers, programs and projects than she can count on both her hands.

“I feel very fortunate to work in an environment where I can fulfill my passion to be involved and give back,” she told me.

At the same time, Sherry’s two other roles are central to her life:  Being a good wife and mother. Her husband, Dr. Ian Kramer, is an emergency room physician. Their family includes three children.

In short, Sherry is a role model for those who have busy personal and professional lives and still want to find time to contribute to the community.

That’s a primary reason why Sherry is my choice for my 2010 Woman of the Year for Senate District 28, for which she’ll be honored during a special ceremony in the district on Friday, April 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 21333 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance.

Over the years, while raising a family, she has performed volunteer work for multiple organizations simultaneously.  The list of groups and events she helps lead is long.  They include the National Athletic Health Institute Sports Injury Clinic (formerly a clinic of Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood), the South Bay Free Clinic (now known as the South Bay Family Healthcare Center), the Richstone Family Center, the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council, the Friends of South Bay Youth Project and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

In addition to the above, she serves on the boards of the South Bay Police and Fire Memorial Foundation, El Segundo Educational Foundation, the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation Business Advisory Council, the Torrance Education Advisor and the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation.

Whew!  We should all be so altruistic.  And there’s more.

Until 2006, she worked for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District as their business liaison, helping to foster business interest in partnering with the school system for the benefit of both.

After going to work for Continental Development, she has not only continued to be involved in several philanthropic organizations, but also expanded her responsibilities to include outreach in the South Bay region from El Segundo to Palos Verdes.  For example, Sherry has been involved in marketing efforts for Plaza El Segundo and served on the board of the South Bay Economic Development Partnership.

Sherry has assisted several area chambers of commerce.  She was chair of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce and is currently active in the El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and Torrance chambers, often sitting on their legislative and education committees.

Amid all this community activism, she makes time to focus on her family.  Sherry’s daughter Cambria, 21, is studying to be a physician’s assistant; son David, 17, is a high school senior looking into local colleges; and her youngest, Kevin, 16, is a high school junior interested in the medical profession.

Is she going to slow her pace any time soon?  Not the Sherry Kramer I know.

This year, for example, she chaired the South Bay Police and Fire Memorial Golf Tournament and has been asked to join the Board of Trustees of Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
She tells me that she feels fortunate to be able to be involved and give back to communities.

We are truly fortunate, as well.

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