colorful flowers with Visionary Women's Afternoon Tea title

Visionary Women's Afternoon Tea

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | The London West Hollywood

The 7th Annual Visionary Women’s Afternoon Tea returned in person on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at The London West Hollywood. Actress Sharon Lawrence hosted the sold-out event, which raised over $110,000 and welcomed 150 guests who gathered to honor the three honorees. Each of their stories shared how profoundly one person can impact the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s in our local community.

The event, which coincided with International Women’s Day, brought attention to the fact that women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s at a significantly higher rate than men. Participants were among the first to see Alzheimer’s Los Angeles’ new PSA, a video which specifically highlights Alzheimer’s and other dementias as a women’s issue.

The Afternoon Tea took place on the luxuriously tented rooftop deck of the hotel with stunning views of the city. Care Counselor Angie Moran presented the Caring Hearts award to Marisela Diaz, who’s story was both inspiring and heartfelt.

Past honoree Dr. Laura Trejo presented the Breaking Boundaries Award to Kirk Moody in memory of his late wife, Nancy Paulikas. Kirk spoke beautifully about her life and shared some of the harrowing experiences that he and her family had when the launched a 2-year search after she wandered away in 2016.

His words inspired LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn to pledge an additional $5,000 toward the Family Caregiver Emergency Fund during her acceptance of the Community Impact award for her role in spearheading the L.A. Found program, which reunites families with loved ones who wander due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other forms of developmental disabilities.

Alzheimer’s LA would like to thank the Visionary Women’s committee, chaired by Randi Jones, as well as our event sponsors for making this inspiring day possible.

Visionary Women's Afternoon Tea 2023 Tribute Book

hosted by

Sharon Lawrence

Sharon Lawrence
Emmy Nominated and SAG Award Winning Actress

Visionary Women 2023 Planning Committee

Randi Jones, Chair

Beth Devermont
Mirella Diaz-Santos
Melly Khamvongsa
Susan Levin
Monica Moore
Arden Teplow
Linda Thieben

Connie Lee Keiter Breaking Boundaries Award

Nancy P. memoriam

Nancy Paulikas

In memory of Nancy Paulikas

accepted by Kirk Moody and George & Joan Paulikas 

Moody (born March 6, 1959) grew up primarily in Colorado as one of 4 children.  He attended the University of Colorado, Boulder receiving a BS in Applied Math in 1981. 

Moody moved to Southern California in the summer of 1981 where he took a job at TRW Inc. as a software and systems engineer.  He met Nancy Paulikas on his first day of work. 

Moody continued to work at TRW until 2001 when he retired.  He married Nancy in 2002 after dating her for only 13 years. 

Although he did return as a part time consultant, the majority of Moody’s time in retirement was spent with Nancy, traveling to Europe, other states in the US, and participating in outdoor activities such as skiing and backpacking. 

Nancy developed young onset Alzheimer’s disease, first diagnosed in early 2015.  In Oct. 2016, the Alzheimer’s had become quite advanced and Nancy went missing from a family outing.  Moody spearheaded a large community effort to locate her and continued to do so until her remains were identified over 2 years later.  

During this time, Moody participated in the Bringing Our Loved Ones Home Task Force instigated by Supervisor Janice Hahn, providing some real world experiences in the search for at-risk adults. 

Moody continues to participate in the resulting LA Found effort and is a board member of Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. 

George and Joan Paulikas both grew up in Chicago. George arrived in Chicago from Lithuania via refugee camps and assorted adventures during and immediately after WWII. Joan and George met in high school and stayed together through college, although they were at different universities. Northwestern for Joan and Illinois for George.

After graduation, they married and moved to California in 1958. George received a PhD in physics in 1961 from Cal. Near the end of his studies, they welcomed their one and only child, Nancy, into the world.

After graduating from Cal, George accepted a position at the fledgling Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo. George remained at Aerospace for the next 38 years, his distinguished career capped by being the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Aerospace. His accomplishments in space science were recognized with awards by Aerospace, by the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office.

While George worked, Joan stayed active in local politics and developed an interest in flying .She passed that interest on to Nancy. Joan and Nancy both received their instrument-rated pilot licenses and flew together for several years on trips throughout the Southwest US.

Joan and George shared a love of the outdoors and took Nancy with them, starting at a very precocious age hiking, backpacking, and skiing in the Sierra Nevada.

After retirement, George continued to contribute as a senior advisor at Aerospace, the Institute for Defense Analyses, and the National Academies’ Space Studies Board.

Their parenting skills and intelligence were evident in Nancy’s academic and professional achievements. Nancy received the University Medal in 1982 at UC Davis for being the most outstanding student; getting a master’s degree from UCLA in computer science, and becoming the Vice President for technology at ITG corporation, running the ITG Los Angeles office, and growing it from 30 to 200 employees.

Nancy went missing on Oct. 16, 2016, and Joan and George were active from the beginning in the search for Nancy. The search continued for over two years until the remains were identified. Concurrently Joan and George also participated in the Bringing Our Loved Ones Home Task Force, initiated by Supervisor Janice Hahn, providing their real-world experience to helping to steer the effort.

Caring Hearts Award

Marisela and husband

Marisela and husband

Marisela Diaz 

Marisela Diaz was a caregiver long before her mother-in-law, Concepcion Ochoa de Diaz, was diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s in 2017.  She’d previously taken care of her aunt with cancer, her mother with diabetes, and an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Friend, with dementia. When her mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Marisela felt she was the most obvious choice to stay home and take care of her. “At the time, everyone else in the family was working, so we brought her into our home, and I took on the role of primary caregiver.”  

Marisela and her husband, Julio, have been married 43 years and have three adult children with families of their own.  She credits the resources made available to her through Alzheimer’s Los Angeles for helping her understand how to better take care of Concepcion. “I learned so much from Angie Moran, my care counselor. We went to all the classes and workshops – I participated in everything I could.” 

Marisela brought that same energy to her cohort at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. “Marisela has gone above and beyond,” says her Care Counselor Angie Moran. “She would take it upon herself to take additional classes offered by her doctor’s office and share that information with her support group members.  She helps other caregivers with resources when applying for conservatorship or with insurance issues and is a fierce advocate for Alzheimer’s Los Angeles in the community.”  

When asked about this, Marisela said “I’m the type of person that – if I have knowledge that is helpful for others – I will make sure to share that information with them.”  In fact, she credits her husband for his willingness to learn how to be a better care partner and supporter for his mother. Eventually, with her help, he was able to step up to help take care of Concepcion. “He became a better person when he learned how to take care of his mom.”  

Even when they were able to receive support from other family members, they found it difficult to disconnect from their responsibilities at home. “We’d go out to dinner or to the movies, but it wasn’t comfortable to leave the house and be worried. It was like our bodies were out at a restaurant, but our minds were always back at home.”  

When Concepcion sadly passed away in December 2022, Marisela was approached by the union to continue doing similar work.  She now provides caregiver services for up to two hours a day for another local family that needs help. 

“There are things I learned through Alzheimer’s Los Angeles that I wish I’d known before. I could have helped others more than I did, but now I help Mr. Gonzalez and his family. They see the effort I put in and it’s very meaningful for me to be of service.” 


Community Impact Award

Janice Hahn

Janice Hahn

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn

Elected to serve on November 8th, 2016, Janice Hahn represents the Fourth District on the LA County Board of Supervisors. She also currently serves as Chair of the Board. Spurred into action following the 2016 disappearance of Manhattan Beach resident Nancy Paulikas - who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s and who went missing after wandering away from her family - Hahn launched the LA Found Initiative in 2018 with the aim of quickly locating individuals with autism, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease who wander away from their loved ones. In the years since, it has helped reunite hundreds of individuals with their caregivers.

We thank our sponsors for supporting Visionary Women

Alfred E. Mann Family Foundation logo
Hirsch Family Foundation logo

Randi & Richard Jones

Kirk Moody

BrightFocus Foundation logo
ELHA Lab logo
Mary S Easton Center at UCLA logo

Linda Thieben

Linda Dean

Ingrid Graham

Arlene Slater

Welbrook Memory Care logo

Funds raised from this event support Alzheimer’s Los Angeles’ critical education and support programs that provide much needed care for caregivers facing the enormous challenges of caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.