FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 1, 1999 Contact: Diane Thomas 714.834.6203
County Chief of Protocol is Number One of 722
(SANTA ANA) – Joanne C. Sokolski, Chief of Protocol for the County of Orange, has been twice honored for her work promoting stronger cultural, business and educational ties between the international community and Orange County governments and corporations. Sokolski volunteers an average of 60 hours a week in her position with the County.
The Orange County Tourism Council presented Sokolski with the first annual Walter Knott Award, the council’s most prestigious honor, acknowledging service excellence. The award is given in the spirit of Knott, founder of Knott’s Berry Farm, whose philosophy, imagination and vision were key to attracting visitors from around the world.
An independent panel of judges from government, business and the media selected Sokolski from a pool of 722 nominations. She received her nomination from County Supervisor Todd Spitzer.
Sokolski was also the recipient of the Service Excellence Award in the category of Visitor & Convention Bureaus/Chambers of Commerce.
"Joanne Sokolski is a remarkable ambassador and takes extra measures to ensure that foreign visitors have a memorable and positive experience while in Orange County." said Bruce Brown, director of the Orange County Tourism Council, a department of the Orange County Business Council. "She certainly earned the awards."
Sokolski, a resident of Santa Ana, has served as the Orange County Chief of Protocol for nearly two years. She is actively involved in the community as a member of the UCI Clinical Cancer Center, Visiting Nurse Association of Orange County, Salvation Army and as a docent for Bowers Museum. She also sits on several local boards including the Orange County Protocol Foundation, Protocol Commission and Orange County Performing Arts Center. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has lived and studied abroad.
The Office of Protocol, in association with various government and private agencies, plans and coordinates visits to Orange County by chiefs of state, heads of government, ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, trade missions and cultural exchanges. All operating costs of the Office of Protocol are funded by the Protocol Foundation of Orange County.