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Latino Impact Awards

The fourth annual event, held at The Westgate Hotel on October 19, honored San Diego’s most distinguished Latino leaders and celebrated their incredible accomplishments.


San Diego Magazine and Univision KBNT San Diego are thrilled to have hosted the Latino Impact Awards. The fourth annual event, held at The Westgate Hotel on October 19, honored San Diego’s most distinguished Latino leaders and celebrated their incredible accomplishments. Corporate, entrepreneurial, and civic Latino leaders of all ages and industries gathered to connect with their peers during this evening of inspiration.

This year, 69 people were selected as finalists by our panel of judges—an increase from 48 finalists in 2015. Five distinguished people were honored in the following categories: Cross-Border Leader, Entrepreneur of the Year, Inspirational Leader, and Volunteer of the Year. Sally Carrillo, assistant port director for the San Ysidro Port of Entry, was presented with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the renowned binational chefs of the Plascencia family were presented with this year’s Legacy Award.

“San Diego is fortunate to be such a thriving multicultural city with dynamic leaders and visionaries,” says Jim Fitzpatrick, CEO and publisher of San Diego Magazine. “We salute the 2016 honorees and nominees for the Latino Impact Awards, who have greatly enriched San Diego and the cross-border region, along with helping the local business, cultural, and artistic communities flourish in so many positive ways.”


Sally Carrillo

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Ms. Carrillo is currently serving as the assistant port director, GS-15, at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. She has over twenty-eight years of public service experience with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service. She began her federal career as an immigration inspector in 1988 in San Diego.

Since then, Ms. Carrillo has held several supervisory and management positions, including INS deputy port director at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (prior to CBP merger), border security coordinator at the San Diego Field Office, port director at the Tecate Port of Entry, assistant port director at the Port of San Diego (Air/Sea), assistant port director at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, and assistant port director (tactical) at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Additionally, APD Carrillo participated in a nine-month tour of duty with the Joint Security Program, Mexico City, where she significantly increased the performance of the team. She also served as the assistant director of CBP Officer Basic Training at the Field Operations Academy in Glynco, Georgia.

During her career with CBP, Ms. Carrillo has gained extensive leadership and analytical experience. She served on the National SENTRI (Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection) team and was instrumental in developing the National Enrollment Center standards; she has worked extensively on building the established relationships that exist with the government of Mexico and local port of entry stakeholders. Ms. Carrillo is recognized annually by CBP and various nonprofit community organizations for the volunteer hours she dedicates to mentoring young Latinas.

Ms. Carrillo’s work experience, leadership ability, community service work, and binational efforts clearly indicate her commitment to the CBP mission.


The Plascencia Family

2016 Legacy Award

Born and raised in Tijuana, chef Javier Plascencia grew up in the kitchen of his family's restaurant, alongside his brothers Juan José, Julian, and their younger sister Margú. Giuseppis, Tijuana's first pizzeria, was opened in October 1969 by "Don Tana" Plascencia and his loving wife, Martha Plascencia. Grupo Plascencia has been in the restaurant industry ever since, continuously growing on both sides of the border. Their first project in the United States was Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro, which opened its doors back in 2006.

People were refusing to cross the Mexican border during those difficult times, and the Plascencia family saw the opportunity to bring their food to friends and family living in San Diego. From that moment on their passion, hard work, and dedication has been turning heads all over America. Chef Javier and Grupo Plascencia's restaurants have been mentioned in and received awards from prestigious local, national, and international newspapers and magazines, earning a special place in the public taste.



Cross-Border Leader

Eduardo Acosta
Vice President
R.L. Jones Customhouse Brokers

Dr. Miguel Angel Cardenas
President and CEO
San Diego Global Knowledge University

Roberto Castro
Farmacias Roma

Serge Dedina

Celia Diaz
CEO and Executive Director
Binational Emergency Medical Care Committee

Adriana Eguia Alaniz
Executive Director
CaliBaja BiNational MegaRegion Inc.

Melissa Floca
Interim Director
University of California, San Diego

Denice Garcia
Director of Binational Affairs
City of San Diego

Fernando Gaxiola
Baja Wine + Food

Edith Guerrero
Latin America Program Manager
Qualcomm Wireless Reach

Leticia Oseguera
World Languages Department Chair, Link Crew Moderator, and Summer School Director
Academy of Our Lady of Peace

Alma Tucker
Red Binancional de Corazones

Marisa Ugarte
Executive Director
Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition


Entrepreneur of the Year

Maxine Chapman
CEO and Founder
BuddhiBox Yoga Lifestyle

Vidal Espinosa
Chief Financial Officer
Invictus Advisors

Alfredo Jaime
Chief Operating Officer
Jaime Partners

Lucia Matthews
Chief Executive Officer
Diálogo Public Relations

Blair Manuel McNeill
Vice President, Market Development
Renovate America

Roberto R. Pozos
Artist, Art Director, and Graphic Designer
Pozos Creative Communications

Elsa Sevilla
Owner, Executive Producer, and TV Host
Sevilla Productions

Francisco J. Valle
Valle Consulting


Inspirational Leader

Mario Aguilar
Executive Director (Volunteer)
The Mexi’cayotl Indio Cultural Center

Olga Álvarez
Estate Planning Attorney
Heisner Álvarez

Sergio Alvarez
Chief Executive Officer
Chuao Chocolatier

Michael Antonorsi
Founder and Master Chocolatier
Chuao Chocolatier

Mary Casillas Salas
City of Chula Vista

Rafael Castellanos
United Port of San Diego

Naomi Chavez
Program Administrator
First Five San Diego

Robert Chávez
Chief Executive Officer
Urban Corps of San Diego County

Rocky Chávez
Assembly Member, District 76
California State Assembly

Albert Clark
Chairman of the Board
San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Guadalupe Corona
Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Southwestern College

Irma Cota
President and CEO
North County Health Services

Jose Cruz
Executive Director
Barrio Logan College Institute

Jose Cruz
Chief Executive Officer
San Diego Council on Literacy

Olga Diaz
Council Member, District 3
Escondido City Council

Ofelia Escobedo
Barrio Carlsbad Association

Paul Ganster
Director of the Institute for Regional Studies of the California’s Research
San Diego State University

Adela C. Garcia
Senior Business Design Consultant
EC Sourcing LLC

Gloria Goldstein Limas
Hostess, Owner, and CEO
The Gloria Gold Show and Media Magic Marketing

Jaime Alonso Gómez
Dean, School of Business Administration
University of San Diego

Lorena Gonzalez
Assemblywoman, District 80
California State Assembly

Melissa Hernandez
Creator and Founder
PHAT Camp— Push Hard Athletic Training

Barbara Jiménez
Deputy Director
County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency

Carlos and Linda LeGerrette
Cesar Chavez Service Clubs

Hernàn Luis y Prado
Founder and CEO
Workshops for Warriors

Kathlyn Mead
President and CEO
The San Diego Foundation

Steven Mejia
Northwestern Mutual

Albert Mendivil
Council Member
National City City Council

Leonor Xochitl Perez
Mariachi Women’s Foundation

Carlos Ramirez
Vice President of Safety & Health

Mona Rios
Council Member
National City City Council

Esther Sanchez
Attorney and Council Member
Oceanside City Council

Claudia Sandoval
Claudia’s Cocina

Pedro Santana
Co-Founder and Web Dev Lead

Fernando Sañudo
Chief Executive Officer
Vista Community Clinic

Andrea Skorepa
CEO and President
Casa Familiar Inc.


Volunteer of the Year

Ben Aguilar
Law Offices of Ben Aguilar

Ron Baza
Ron Baza & Associates, Inc.

Rachel Cano
Vice President
San Diego Professionals Against Cancer

Sandra den Uijl
Board Member and Gala Cochair
Rancho Santa Fe Unit, Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary

Esteban Duarte
Executive Director and Founder

Macario Gutierrez
Board Chair and Volunteer
San Ysidro Health Center

Juan Llera
Managing Partner
Pounce Consulting Inc

Danny Melgoza
Deputy Chief of Staff
Office of County Supervisor Greg Cox

Enrique Morones
Founder and Director
Border Angels

Esther L. Rodriguez
Chief Executive Officer
Rodriguez Consulting Group

Isaac Zamora
Respiratory Therapist
UC San Diego Health

View the special section.

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