Sofia was raised in a family of restaurateurs. Upon completing her education from California State University Long Beach and UCLA, Sofia began her career launching “Thank Goodness It’s Sofia” Catering and Events in 1989.  For ten years she juggled building a successful business and family when in 1999 she invited her brother George to partner with her.  For years TGIS has grown from its 1800 square foot humble beginnings to its current 25,000 square foot commissary & kitchen.

Sofia has been married to husband Jim for thirty-one years and is mother to Elizabeth and Dean.  She continues to use many of her talents in working with many charities to include Long Beach Cancer League where she is currently president and has chaired their Annual Gala for eight years raising millions in the fight against cancer.  Sofia is also a member of Steel Magnolias, chairing their annual Signature Event for two years and is serving on the board as their president elect.

Long Beach State, where she met her husband Jim, continues to stay near and dear to her heart.  She has served on the Jewels of the Night Committee for many years and served as chair for two years, providing much needed scholarships for student athletes.

Non Profits benefitting children are a large focus of Sofia’s philanthropic efforts. She served as a chair for the Ronald Mc Donald House 2017 Gala, A Few Good Men.  She also served as chair for six years for the Gala benefitting Canyon Acres, a ranch in Orange County which provided housing for abused children.

Sofia not only enjoys the arts but continues to be a supporter.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Museum of Latin American Art.  She also serves on their annual gala committee, as well as having chaired their gala for two years.

She served on the board of directors for the APAC Foundation, a supporter of the Long Beach Symphony, Musical Theatre West, Muzeo and The Long Beach Arts Council.

Sofia is a proud member and supporter of The Long Beach Rotary, The Long Beach Chamber and Las Floristas.  She continues to support JFCS, Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen, YMCA, We Care, Servite High School, Rancho Los Cerritos, Long Beach Rescue Mission, The Police Foundation, Alta Med Health Services, Stop Poaching, Museum of Natural History, National Hellenic Society, Long Beach State Director’s Circle, Seneca Orange County and USC Marshall Partner.

In 2004, 2008 and 2012 she was nominated for Orange County Business Journal “Woman of the Year”.   In 2015 she was chosen as one of Long Beach’s own Amazing Women.    Sofia believes that when each day has come to an end, she wants to feel that she has truly done her best and she challenges herself to be the best she can be.


Cynthia Terry is a longtime resident and community volunteer in Long Beach.  She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Long Beach and received her Master of Arts, in School Management and Administration from Pepperdine University.

Cynthia is a happily retired high school principal from the Long Beach Unified School District after thirty eight years of a rewarding career.  Following retirement, she became a certified, educational leadership coach with the Los Angeles Office of Education, providing personalized support to secondary level aspiring administrators.  Administrative Coaching allowed Cynthia to continue the utilization of her educational expertise while fostering her set of core beliefs and principles to enhance social justice and equity opportunities for underserved staff and students.

She attributes her community volunteerism to her late mother of seven children, Ruby M. Terry, who exemplified the importance of uplifting all members of the community, especially those most in need of our services.

She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Alpha Omega Chapter and currently serves on the Executive committee.   Additional community involvement includes membership in the Harbor Area (CA) Chapter of The Links, Executive Committee, and the Assistance League of Long Beach and The Pearl Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors.  Cynthia’s expertise and personal interest includes organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and leadership development.

Additional activities include her membership as a St.  Matthews Parish Lector, California State University Long Beach Alumni Association Executive Board member and Junior League of Long Beach, sustaining member.  Her involvement enables her to maintain her interest in supporting youth, and families primarily through the advancement of educational, social, and health opportunities within the greater Long Beach area. Currently her projects include human trafficking, voter registration, literacy, scholarships, mentorships and mental health access and awareness within underserved communities.

Community awards include The 2013 Press Telegram Amazing Women Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2016 Assistance League of Long Beach, President’s Award and the 2017 Make a Difference Award for exemplary leadership and service.

Cynthia has wholeheartedly embraced retirement which enables her to spend time with extended family members and friends as she actively endeavors to make an authentic, relevant impact within the greater Long Beach Community.  Additional pastimes and hobbies include walking, jazz concerts, theatre, reading, meditation, book clubs, and traveling.

Jim Zehmer

Jim Zehmer is General Manager of Administration at Toyota’s TABC affiliate in Long Beach, California.  He is responsible for all Administration functions and Production Control activities.

Prior to joining Toyota, Mr. Zehmer held positions at Dunlop Aviation, Inc. and Hughes Aircraft Company.

Mr. Zehmer has held several Management and Leadership positions in Finance, Manufacturing Support and Administration.

He began his career in Van Nuys at Dunlop Aviation in the Sales organization and later moved on to Hughes Aircraft Company’s Finance organization.

In 1992, Jim joined Toyota at the TABC plant in Long Beach, California.  Starting in Finance, he eventually became Controller of the plant before moving into the Production Control Department in 1996.  In 2001 he became Assistant General Manager of Manufacturing Support and moved into his current position in 2010.  During 2016 and 2017, Jim was also responsible for the Administration functions at Toyota’s vehicle assembly plant in Tijuana, Mexico.

He is the Diversity Champion for TABC, leading initiatives that promote an inclusive work environment.

Mr. Zehmer has been involved with several organizations in several capacities in the Long Beach Community since 2005.  He served two terms as a Board Member for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, including a seat on the Leadership Council.  He served 3 years on the Executive Board for California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) where he served as Vice Chair of Programs and championed Toyota’s support of the Building Bridges Camp.  He is a current member of CCEJ’s Advisory Board.  He also served on the Advisory Board for Cal State Long Beach’s Operations and Supply Chain Management program.  Jim is in his second year as a Board of Trustee member for the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House.  He has been a member of the Cottonwood Awards Luncheon Committee at Rancho Los Alamitos for the last 3 years, most recently as honorary co-chair.

Since 2009 he has expanded the presence of TABC’s Management Team in the Long Beach Community to include Active Leadership roles supporting CCEJ, The Long Beach Ronald McDonald House, The Salvation Army, Long Beach Boys and Girls Club, Children Today, American Red Cross, Long Beach City College, Cal State Long Beach and The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Jim actively promotes and participates in several Community events, such as The Ronald McDonald House Run/Walk, National Public Lands Day and Southern California Special Olympics.

Recently, TABC has been recognized for their consistent presence and relevant leadership contributions in the Long Beach Community.  Jim has personally been recognized for his strong commitment and sincere passion for great causes by The Long Beach Ronald McDonald House as he was named one of Long Beach’s ‘A Few Good Men’ in 2015.

Mr. Zehmer holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from UCLA (1982) and a Master’s of Business Administration in Corporate Finance from USC (1992).  Additionally, Jim has completed several Executive Development Programs while at Toyota.

He and his wife currently reside in Southern California and have 2 daughters; the oldest, a graduate from The University of Washington and the youngest, a junior at Chapman University.

MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center

Named among the best hospitals in the Los Angeles Metro area by U.S. News & World Report, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center has been providing compassionate care with the latest state-of-the-art technology for more than 100 years and is the region’s first choice for comprehensive care in virtually every medical and surgical specialty.

MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute

We are dedicated to the early diagnosis, research, treatment and education of patients with cancer.

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute

We provide advanced care for complex heart conditions, including valve disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and peripheral vascular disease.

MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center

We are a leader in Southern California in hip and knee replacements – where a revolutionary philosophy encourages patients to become active as soon as possible – often on the same day of joint replacement surgery.

MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute

We provide treatment for a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, transient ischemic attack, brain arteriovenous malformations, epilepsy, cerebral aneurysms and are a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

MemorialCare Imaging Center

We offer a variety of diagnostic procedures and therapeutic treatments using a wide range of imaging technology and modalities.

MemorialCare Rehabilitation Institute

As one of Southern California’s most respected rehabilitation centers, we offer a continuum of rehabilitation programs provided by many of the area’s finest rehabilitation specialists.

Surgical Care

We are leading the way in advancing minimally invasive surgery with robotic-assisted surgery. At Long Beach Medical Center, every surgeon is completely credentialed through a rigorous training process.

At Long Beach Medical Center, our care teams work together toward one important goal: what’s best for you.

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Gene Lentzner Nomination Application

Nomination Application

Please make sure to tell us about your nominee in your 1-2 pages by including the following:

1) Significant contributions to the Greater Los Angeles or Long Beach Community in the area of social justice/human relations
2) How they promote respect and justice among all people regardless of differences in race, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity
3) How they demonstrate commitment to social justice and human relations by way of service (if it’s at work, then above and beyond their paid scope of work)
4) Ways they foster inter-group, inter-faith cooperation
5) How they are connected to the Greater Los Angeles or Long Beach area