At our 2018 annual gala, we will Positive Paths recognized two outstanding individuals in the East Valley. Congratulations to the 2018 East Valley Man and Woman of the Year, Howard Rudge and Joan Saba, honored at our Night of Heroes Gala on April 26, 2018.
Joan Saba is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist, actively volunteering in the East Valley for more than 45 years. She worked at and then managed the first Saba’s Western Wear store, opened by her father-in-law. Joan and her husband, David, bought the store in 1972, which has operated for more than 90 years in Chandler.
As one of the founders of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, she led efforts to bring business and development opportunities to Chandler’s downtown area. She served as president of that partnership for 5 years. She served on two City of Chandler land use advisory groups and on Chandler’s Redevelopment Advisory Committee.
Joan volunteered with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce for 17 years, serving on the Chamber Board of Directors from 2000-2008, and appointed to the Chamber’s Foundation Board as of 2007. In 2016, she received the Chamber Cup award for outstanding volunteerism and leadership and previously had received the Community Cup for her work in the community.
She is admired as a successful businesswoman who led multiple community efforts to enhance small business development. Downtown Chandler is now a thriving business and entertainment destination. But all the while, Joan was also deeply committed to helping with numerous nonprofit organizations in the East Valley.
As a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an international women’s organization, Joan has helped many women through scholarships, loans, and recognition programs. She served as president of her chapter in Chandler. As a life member of the Chandler Service Club, she supported their programs to feed the hungry, cloth the needy, educate the willing, and mentor high school girls. She has motivated women to achieve their aspirations. Joan spends one-on-one time with women and has been a valuable mentor to many.
Joan was one of the early supporters of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation East Valley branch, which has grown into the Positive Paths organization. In 2009, Joan chaired the first Night of Heroes friendraising and fundraising dinner to help East Valley women.
In 1955 she and her husband were founding members of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, which is now undergoing an expansion.
A supporter of Joan states, “Joan is truly one of the most remarkable, influential women we have met. Joan tore down barriers for all of us. She is respected, generous, and extraordinarily influential. We are thankful for her significant influence in our lives.”
Joan Saba has dedicated her life to paving the way and providing opportunities for women and families in the East Valley to thrive. We are proud to honor her as the 2018 East Valley Woman of the Year.
Howard Rudge is a chemical engineer and a lawyer, retired senior vice president and general counsel of DuPont Corporation, and the founder and a trustee of The Rudge Foundation. As of the 2002 establishment of the Rudge Foundation, Howard has supported the East Valley community, as well as many other charitable causes across the United States.
During Howard’s lengthy career he championed educational programs, providing scholarships as well as emotional support programs to encourage and mentor others. During the past several years, Howard has been a major supporter of the Positive Paths scholarship and mentoring programs in the East Valley. Also, he has supported scholarships for women and men at Bucknell University and George Washington Law School.
He is a longtime member and supporter of Neighbors Who Care, an organization that helps the elderly live at home for as long as feasible. Volunteers with Neighbors Who Care assist the home-bound, disabled, and elderly with transportation to medical appointments and errands. They offer visitations and provide relief and respite to caregivers.
Howard is an active member of the Sun Lakes Rotary. He is a strong advocate for women’s health and has been an active contributor to the Dignity Health women’s philanthropic group, Power of the Purse. Howard has generously supported the purchase of equipment and staffing for a dental clinic, stroke camps, and mammography units, as well as the creation of memory boxes for women who have lost children.
For many years, every Thursday morning, Howard would visit senior centers to provide uplifting programs of song, human contact, and encouragement to both men and women.
Howard has made it his mission to assist East Valley women and their families to live healthy, productive lives, helping them in overcoming barriers and obstacles, and contributing as a positive role model to all in our community.
As one of his supporters says, “There are many ways that Howard Rudge has supported both men and women throughout his life, but his work through his philanthropic support in the areas of advocacy of women’s health, education, and overall well being stand out.”
For his many years of service and his strong support for women and families, Howard has been selected as the 2018 East Valley Man of the Year.