Community Conscience has selected Tony Kourounis and Mary Sepe as King and Queen of the 29th annual Mardi Gras Ball, which will be held the evening of Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Westlake Hotel. Community Conscience is excited and grateful to be able to resume our largest fund-raiser as a live event. This year’s Ball co-chairs are Fran Brough and Margaret Fieweger. With the proceeds from the Ball and other donations, Community Conscience provides office space rent-free in the Human Services Center to thirteen local non-profits, enabling them to more effectively serve our community.
Each year, Community Conscience honors two individuals for their exemplary community service. This year’s honorees have contributed their time, energy, and resources to bettering our community in many ways. As such, they have earned the honor to be crowned King and Queen and reign over this year’s Mardi Gras Ball.
King Tony Kourounis has a long history of volunteerism in our community. He is known to many for his heartfelt service and has given generously of his time and talents – he’s quite a musician with a great sense of humor. The list of organizations that have benefited from Tony’s service spans the full range of local non-profits. Each have appreciated Tony’s contributions which have enhanced their ability to serve their clientele.
Tony has been a member of the Thousand Oaks Rotary Club since 1986 and served as its President in 1995-96. He has also participated in many of the Club’s service projects and fund-raisers that directly benefit our local community as well as the global good works of Rotary International.
Organizations in which Tony has been a contributing member and include Many Mansions, Conejo Future Foundation, YMCA, Conejo Valley Days, Simi Valley Samaritan Center, Simi Valley Education Foundation, American Heart Association, Mary Health of the Sick, Conejo Valley Senior Concerns Meals on Wheels program, Harbor House, and CLU Community Leaders Club.
Tony is retired from a long career in the banking industry. After working for many years with large banks, Tony was selected to manage the headquarters office of the new local Bank of the Oaks and, when that Bank was sold, Tony became the driving force behind formation of another local bank, California Oaks State Bank.
Queen Mary Sepe is the President-Elect of the Thousand Oaks Kiwanis Club, of which she has been a member since 2015. She has already served the Club in many roles, including Vice President and Program Chair, Community Service Committee Chair, and Assistant Secretary. She is renowned within the Club for identifying community needs, developing a plan of action to address those needs, and recruiting members and others to help.
One recent example illustrating Mary’s “can-do-it” spirit, and desire to serve others is the Club’s signature “Bikes for Youth” project. After hearing a presentation at a Club meeting regarding the need for basic transportation that many disadvantaged young people face, Mary devised a Club project to purchase bikes (along with helmets and locks) and accept donations of used bikes to be given to underprivileged youth as a means of transportation to school and work. Mary worked with Safe Passage Youth Foundation, Westminster Free Clinic, and Adelante Comunidad to identify deserving youth. Since its inception in April 2021, the program has provided nearly 150 bicycles and is still going strong.
Mary volunteers twice a week at the Senior Nutrition Lunch Program at the Goebel Center, which provides nutritious meals for seniors and a safe place to socialize. She’s known as a reliable, friendly person who enjoys working with and helping the seniors.
Mary’s long service to the community includes working on Conejo Valley Days Grand Marshal campaigns benefiting Hospice of the Conejo, Soroptimist International, and most notably when she managed the “Animal Crackers” campaign for her daughter and friends to raise funds for the local Animal Shelter.
Mary is retired from the City of Thousand Oaks, where she served as Office Manager in the Community Development Department.
The 2022 Mardi Gras Ball will begin with a champagne reception and entertainment by the Riverboat Dixieland Jazz Band. A feast fit for a King, Queen, and their guests will follow, with dancing to the music of Fifth Avenue Entertainment. There will be both silent and live auctions packed with many desirable items. To join the fun on March 5, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Westlake, contact Community Conscience at (805) 494-3543 or visit communityconscience.org/mgb.