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LWV Lunch With A Leader Features Becky Oertel, Cristina Olds And Anagha Dandekar

on December 4, 2017 - 7:20am


This month’s League of Women Voters community event, Lunch with a Leader is Dec. 12 and will feature three women from Voices of Los Alamos, Becky Oertel, Cristina Olds and Anagha Dandekar.

The lunch begins at 11:45 a.m. upstairs at Mesa Public Library.

The women will discuss how and why they formed Voices of Los Alamos, the activities they have accomplished and their plans for the future.

Oertel grew up in Los Alamos and is the daughter of Jay and Carol Wechsler, who were active volunteers and founding members of the Los Alamos Community. After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wyoming, Oertel worked 30 years with people from all walks of life including the remote valleys and mountains of eastern Kentucky to the white sterile halls of biomedical research facilities. These work experiences and her parents influence inspired her to seek out and learn about people’s perspectives, to hear their personal stories, and to seek fair treatment for all. Oertel has been a volunteer fire department officer and PEEC board member. She is a board member for Living Treasures of Los Alamos and a founding member of Voices of Los Alamos. 

OIds lived in Albuquerque for about 25 years before moving to Los Alamos three years ago to be with her wife who works at the Lab.

“We co-parent two large, poorly behaved mutts who dominate our lives,” she said.

She is a graphic designer and writer, and currently works with the Communication Arts and Services group at LANL. After organizing the publicity for the Women's March on Washington - Santa Fe, she wanted to continue being politically active and to connect with like-minded people in her new community. She found a handful of women (including Dandekar and Oertel) were also talking about creating a local group, and Feb. 1 they started holding monthly Voices of Los Alamos meetings.

Dandekar came to Los Alamos in 1996 when she married her husband who works at the Lab. Last year’s election and the results propelled her to action.

“I couldn’t just cry and complain,” she said.

So, she and some friends got together to brainstorm about their worries, their hopes, and what could be done here in the local community. She is president and co-founder of Hardware Renaissance, a manufacturer of high end, hand crafted door hardware and accessories. Her BA and MBA are from the University of South Carolina. Not only has she worked in New Mexico, but in West Virginia and Mumbai, India. She has been responsible for the financial management and oversight of millions of dollars. 

Although not mandatory to attend the League’s Dec. 12 meeting, to order a lunch from the Co-op’s extensive menu for $10, call Karyl Ann Armbruster 505.231.8286 or email, to get the menu. Orders need to be received by Dec. 9.