Wednesday, February 28, 2024
JW Marriott, Anaheim
1775 S. Clementine St.,
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Father Mike Schmitz
Host of Ascension Presents, Nationally Renowned Public Speaker & Author
Father Michael Schmitz is the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth as well as the Chaplain for the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After attending the Saint Paul Seminary and being ordained in 2003, Father Mike offers weekly homilies on iTunes and bulldogCatholic.org and has appeared in programs for youth and young adults through Ascension Press, as well as through regular short video messages on Ascension Presents. He is also the narrator and host of the Bible in a Year and Catechism in a Year podcasts through Ascension Press.
Bishop's Award for Exemplary Business Integrity Honorees
An award for business leaders who have demonstrated ethical practices in all aspects of their lives honored by the Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, J.C.D., D.D., Bishop of Orange.
2024 Bishop's Award Honoree: Mike Merchant
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Codazen
Mike is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Codazen, a digital innovation and engineering consultancy based in Irvine, CA. He is also Founder of Perception.io, which has developed patent-pending AI technology to enable designers to translate words into meaningful color palettes.
He has been involved with the development of hundreds of digital experiences and software applications over his 25-year career; most notably the launch of Kaiser Permanente’s electronic medical record (EMR) software, oculus.com for Oculus VR and meta.com for Meta, Instagram’s Family Center, and Kelley Blue Book’s Price Advisor.
Mike has 4 children with his wife of 20 years, Angela. Their children – Michael (18), Maddie (16), Nicholas (10), and Natalia (8) – have attended catholic schools within the Diocese of Orange throughout elementary and high school. They have been active in their parish, Holy Trinity Church, where they have been involved with high school ministry, vacation bible school, and the revival of a youth-led mass.
Mike and Angela serve as volunteers and donors for the tuition assistance programs at St. Junipero Serra Catholic School and Santa Margarita Catholic High School and serve on the Eagle Fund Leadership committee at Santa Margarita. They are also supporters of the MaxLove Project which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of families facing childhood cancers.
Mike studied Computer Science at Cal Poly Pomona and is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
2024 Bishop's Award Honoree: Laura Ramos
Chief Executive at Providence St. Jude Medical Center
Laura Ramos is the Chief Executive of Providence St. Jude Medical Center, a faith-based, not-for-profit hospital established nearly 70 years ago by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. Well-known for her authenticity, operational and clinical advancements, and her unwavering commitment to the sisters’ life-affirming mission and profound sense of fulfilling a higher calling.
Before assuming the role in early 2021, Laura served as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services, leading the development of award-winning centers of excellence in areas from neurosciences to orthopedics. Along the way she built a Magnet-recognized nursing team that is a national leader in advanced education and certification.
Her commitment to a values-rich work environment and frontline-driven innovation and improvement is evident in the hospital’s recent honor from Modern Healthcare, which named St. Jude first among California hospitals—and one of the top 20 in the nation—for physician and caregiver engagement.
Having begun her career as a bedside nurse, the Yorba Linda resident brings a patient-centric perspective to a rapidly changing healthcare environment, as well as a deep understanding of how improvements in value and affordability are most effectively created through improvements in quality and outcomes.
She and her husband Gene are parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Placentia, where their four children attended school. They are also the doting grandparents to four, soon to be five grandchildren. Having benefited from a Catholic education, Laura graduated from Rosary High School where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. Currently she serves on the Providence St. Jude Community Benefit Committee which supports and funds a wide array of programs and services for the homeless, medically underserved, mental health initiatives, local schools, food banks, and seniors.
Farmers & Merchants Bank Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree
An award to those who have made a significant contribution to the Orange County community and beyond.
2024 F&M Bank Award Honoree: Croul Family Foundation
Assisting the economically disadvantaged of Orange County, California
The Mission of the Croul Family Foundation is to focus on Orange County, California and support those organizations that are engaged in improving educational outcomes at kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Foundation will also support organizations that assist the homeless and economically disadvantaged in Orange County.
EMCEE: LUCY DUNN
CEO Emeritus, Orange County Business Council
As CEO Emeritus, Orange County Business Council, Lucy Dunn led for 16 years a dynamic organization of business, academia and government, to ensure the region’s economic prosperity and high quality of life. In retirement, she now serves as ex-officio “Business Representative” to the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments, representing over 18.5 million people and mandated by the federal government to research and plan transportation, housing, air quality, and more.
Before joining OCBC, she was the first woman president of the Building Industry Association of Southern California in its 80-year history. She served as Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development under Governor Schwarzenegger, who also appointed her to the California Transportation Commission in 2008. Governor Jerry Brown reappointed her two more terms.
Dunn was honored with the Bishop’s Award for Exemplary Leadership. She serves as director or advisor for numerous non-profit boards including Homeful Foundation, Pacific Symphony, OC Human Relations, Jamboree Housing. She serves as vice-chair of the board of the Orange Catholic Foundation,
OC Register named her as one of “Orange County’s 100 Most Influential.” Endangered Habitats League honored her for protecting habitat and cultural resources, while providing for mobility needs. Orange County Business Journal named her one of OC’s 500 most influential.
In addition, she cantors at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, sings with Meistersingers and Meritage chamber ensembles, and is the proud mother of two sons with accomplished daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren residing in the Bay Area.
Proceeds from the event supported The Orange Catholic Foundation, Orange Catholic Schools Fund and School Tuition Assistance Endowment.
Thank you for your support!