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Laguna Beach


Kathy Conway has numbers and heart for art

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

And a one, and a two… Somehow, Kathy Conway must have that rhythm in her brain. She’s the other half of a dynamic accounting duo, and a huge part of the Laguna Dance Festival to boot.

Kathy Conway

What once might have been the isolated life of a number cruncher blossomed and multiplied two-fold when Kathy connected with her husband, Mike. And what once was a small, yet talented dance community has flourished into a world-class destination for dancers of every stripe to perform in Laguna Beach before a world-class audience of aficionados.

The Duo

Kathy and Mike have their own love story – and it involves numbers.

They first met back in the hippie 60’s. They became good friends, albeit with different spouses. Fast-forward a couple of decades, each was post-divorce, when one sunny Laguna day a friend said to Kathy, “Hey! Mike’s in town.”

That was in 1983. July 21, 1983, to be exact. “And we haven’t been apart since,” said Conway. In fact, they just celebrated their 35th anniversary on Christmas, just a few weeks ago.

Not only have they not been apart socially, they’ve also been connected professionally since then. Mike is a CPA, and Kathy a full-time accountant. For 30 years now, the accountants are known as Conway Financial Services, providing property management and financial consultation.

“We’re a 24/7 couple, and we do it very well, if I do say so,” said Kathy. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be with.” 

Aww, another number - 100% togetherness.

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Kathy and Mike, in their living room, where they meet with clients

Jointly, Kathy and Mike have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Their CPA firm includes many friends, local businesses and charitable organizations. The Conways enjoy living and working in their creatively remodeled historic cottage, which is filled with artworks by Laguna artists.

Yes, she’s a nut for the arts, and thankfully so. Laguna would not be a visionary art community without the time, attention, and assistance of people like Kathy Conway. Especially with regards to budget and finance, artists can use a little guidance. “Artists have a real need to have someone take care of that,” she says, knowingly.

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Amongst her many volunteer activities, Conway serves on committees at the Laguna Art Museum, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Woman’s Club, as well as other non-profits, and as Treasurer for Music Matters, the Laguna Canyon Foundation, and the Laguna Dance Festival.

The Dance

Conway first saw Jodie Gates perform with the Joffrey Ballet in the 1990’s. She had the great good fortune of meeting her, and when she retired, guess where Gates wanted to come? That’s right, Laguna Beach. 

Conway was there at the beginning with her friend, (former president of the Laguna Dance Festival) Janet Eggers. They were part of the think tank, hatching ideas for starting a dance festival with Gates.

The Laguna Dance Festival is near and dear to Kathy’s heart. It has been a success since the beginning in 2006, when performances were at the high school and other venues around town. It is now housed at the Laguna Playhouse with performances in September, and Master Classes offered at the LBHS Dance Studio.

The Festival draws the likes of dancers and dance companies from all over the world. One of their esteemed dancers, Desmond Richardson (“He’s just a glorious dancer – and specimen,” said Conway), did a Master Class last year that was sold out in ten minutes. 

It’s art and it’s also numbers. 

“It’s figuring out how to reach people. How to get more people to understand, and come,” Conway said. “I’m really excited with how well we’ve been received.”

The Days Off

When Conway is in normal form, she can often be found on the tennis court. Alas, she is still recovering after surgery following a nasty fall. But she and her new hip are just about to get back out there and call 40-Love.

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In addition to tennis, Kathy and Mike like to get away on two special occasions: birthdays and Valentine’s Day. For all their years together, they’ve escaped up the coast on those special dates to a secret hideaway in Big Sur. “Deetjen’s has been the best thing for us, for 30 years,” said Conway. 

Now we know! It looks nice too; one part European glamour and one part bohemian lifestyle amongst the redwoods. But the Conway secret will be safe – we won’t visit Deetjen’s Inn on those dates. 

Another Kathy Conway secret is that she loves to cook. Once that word gets out, people will be knocking on the door for her Louisiana Chicken recipe. Stay tuned, because she promised she’ll to give it to Stu News. Can’t wait!

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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