Suzanna Guzmán, mezzo-soprano

Comision Femenil, San Fernando Valley chapter, will honor three notable “Women of Heart” — Mezzo Soprano, Suzanna Guzman, playwright Josefina Lopez and entrepreneur Noramae Cadena, at the “Mujeres de Corazon Gala” on  Friday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. at the Knollwood Country Club in Granada Hills.

All three women are recognized not only for their very long list of professional accomplishments but for their ability to merge their work with a commitment for community service.

Guzman is one of the original Associate Artists of Los Angeles Opera, and has appeared as a principal soloist with orchestras and opera houses around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera de Genéve, San Diego Opera to name a few. She has also performed at Carnegie Hall. 

Guzmán reached international attention for her portrayal of the title role in Bizet’s “Carmen.” Hailed by TIME magazine as “A fire-eating singing actress, devastatingly sexy!”, the role became her signature role sung to acclaim in more than 200 performances around the globe.

A champion of original works, she has created and appeared in lead roles in new operas. She has brought her one-woman show, “Don’t Be Afraid; It’s Just Opera!” across the United States reaching more than 200,000 inner city students to date, and is widely recognized for her mentorship to California students.

Raised in East Los Angeles, Guzman has been a strong advocate to support and bring the arts into local communities, libraries and and schools. She also works as the director of community engagement for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

Lopez — playwright, founder and artistic director of the CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, has not only produced work that relates to the Latino community but has given opportunities to scores of actors, aspiring playwrights and those who have needed a space to express themselves.

After having over 100 productions of her plays throughout the United States, Lopez has authored several works including “Simply Maria, Or the American Dream;” “Confessions of Women From East L.A.;” “Boyle Heights;” “Lola Goes To Roma;” “Food For The Dead;” “Unconquered Spirits;” “Queen of the Rumba” and “Real Women Have Curves.” She is the co-screenwriter of the film version of Real Women Have Curves,” which helped to launch careers for others.

Lopez has responded to the lack of attention from mainstream theater venues to showcase the stories from people of color, and has brought art and live theater programs and a notable stage to the community she grew up in. She has encouraged others to come to develop what is now considered, with her efforts, an arts community.

Cadena graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after attending San Fernando High School. In 2013, Cadena co-founded the Latinas in STEM Foundation to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue and thrive in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. She is actively involved in the community through STEM outreach, Latina mentorship, professional development and volunteer work. She also serves as mentor to students applying as undergraduate students to MIT.

Cadena is a co-founder and managing director of Make in LA, the first hardware focused accelerator in the Greater Los Angeles area. Previously, Cadena spent more than 10 years working across multiple large complex hardware products at The Boeing Company — from airplanes to satellites to space transport.

Cadena holds an MBA, a Master’s in Engineering Systems and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering — all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is a member of The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). 

For more information: call (661) 259-3938.