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San Diego Magazine's 2015 Woman of the Year Awards

Celebrating 10 years of mentoring and inspiration


San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year event on September 29, 2015, at the Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla welcomes entrepreneurial and corporate women of all ages and industries to connect and celebrate 10 years of honoring the multitude of dynamic and esteemed women who enrich our city through their entrepreneurial and charitable spirits.

This year, 97 remarkable women were selected as finalists, and one will be named Woman of the Year for her outstanding leadership, depth of character, career success, and efforts to enhance the community at large. The evening will include special award winners, a networking power hour, and an inside look on mentoring the next generation of female leaders.

Criteria for winners

  • Has been in the business for 5+ years
  • Manages three or more part- or full-time employees
  • Contributes to her company/organization above and beyond the normal position requirements
  • Commitment to community service


San Diego Magazine would like to extend a warm thank-you to the judging panel, which is composed of the immediate past five Woman of the Year winners.

  • 2014: Judi Sheppard Missett, Jazzercise, Inc
  • 2013: Anesa Chaibi, HD Supply Facilities Maintenance
  • 2012: Susan Salka, AMN Healthcare
  • 2011:Kathleen Selick, Rady Children’s Hospital
  • 2010: Theresa Drew, Deloitte


Helen Adams
San Diego Area Managing Partner, Haskell & White LLP
After a 27-year tenure at Deloitte, a “Big 4” CPA firm where she was a partner, Adams became involved with a number of industry groups and nonprofits, and served on the board of directors for the LRAD Corporation. In 2013, she became managing partner at Haskell & White, one of Southern California’s leading independent accounting, auditing, and tax consulting firms.

Laura Alexon
Franchise Partner, Blo Blow Dry Bar
Alexon holds a marketing degree from The Art Institute and has eight years of experience in the real estate field, including working as a residential real estate advisor. Since February 2015, she has channeled her business knowledge and savvy into opening Blo Blow Dry Bar and Body By Blow Gaslamp, Gwyneth Paltrow’s beauty bar concept.

Olga Álvarez
Partner, Heisner Álavrez, APC
Álvarez’s success in law led her to open her own La Jolla–based firm, Heisner Álavrez, which specializes in business, trusts, and estates. In addition to publishing articles, she conducts seminars on estate planning and charitable giving, and has been a speaker at the National Business Institute on the fundamentals of elder law, as well at its Probate Boot Camp.

Allison Andrews
Founder and Director, Fashion Week San Diego, APA Consulting, and FAB Authority
A passionate entrepreneur, Andrews founded Fashion Week San Diego, which is among the most prominent Southern California events and the world’s only binational Fashion Week. She also helms a consulting firm that supports startups and entrepreneurs, and a nonprofit, FAB Authority, which provides resources and events for emerging artists, designers, and beauty industry professionals.

Carisa Azzi
Chief Financial Officer, Welk Resorts
For 10 years, Azzi has worked at Welk Resorts, which has $225 million a year in revenue, as CFO and treasurer. During her tenure, she’s assisted with the strategic acquisitions and financing of resort locations in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Lake Tahoe, California, along with the acquisition of the Branson Tourism Center, which produces $30 million in annual revenue.

Deanna Bagdasar
Chief Operating Officer, RJS Law Firm
At 26, Bagdasar has already achieved great success as the COO for RJS Law Firm, the largest tax law firm in San Diego. Bagdasar manages the company’s complete day-to-day operations and is an integral member of the senior management team, overseeing all human resource matters, implementing all office policies, and managing the firm’s accounting and business procedures.

Sherry Bahrambeygui
Managing Member and Executive Vice President, Price Entities
Since 2007, Bahrambeygui has served as a managing member of The Price Group, LLC, along with acting as executive vice president, secretary, and vice chairman of the boards of Price Charities, San Diego Revitalization Corporation, and Price Family Charitable Fund. She is also the CEO of PS Ivanhoe, LLC, a commercial real estate company.

Retta Beery
Founder & CEO, Hope Knows No Boundaries
A passionate patient advocate and nationally recognized expert and speaker for families dealing with rare or undiagnosed diseases, Beery has a particular interest in the development of genomic sequencing as a diagnostic tool, having seen the benefits firsthand with her own children. Through her nonprofit, Hope Knows No Boundaries, she touches thousands of lives, connecting the dots between patients, medical specialists, and insurance companies, and bringing precision medicine and hope to patients.

Wendy Behan
Partner, CaseyGerry
Behan serves as the current president of California Women Lawyers and is a successful partner at CaseyGerry, where she concentrates her practice on serious personal injury, class actions/mass torts, and pharmaceutical and medical device products liability. She’s a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, American Association of Justice, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Lawyers Club San Diego, and Consumer Attorneys of California.

Ann Berchtold
Founder and Executive Director, ART SAN DIEGO
Berchtold has made huge strides to distinguish San Diego as an arts and culture destination. She established the first contemporary art fair in San Diego in 2009, and her successful ART SAN DIEGO has put the city on the map with representations of more than 80 international galleries and work from 500-plus individual artists at the event.

Claudette Berwin
Owner & Broker, Gallery Properties
Berwin has more than 30 years of experience selling homes, vacant land, ranches, and apartments and strives to bring professionalism and education to the real estate industry. She holds the prestigious Graduate Realtor Institute designation, and she founded Gallery Properties in 2002. She serves on the board of directors for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association and chairs a committee for La Jolla Concours D’Elegance.

Sally Bixler
First Vice President, Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Bixler has more than 30 years of experience in wealth management and specializes in working with multigenerational families. Prior to joining UBS Wealth Management in 2010, she served as a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch, managed the investment program for Peninsula Bank, and was an investment officer at San Diego Trust & Savings Bank. She has earned the designation of Certified Retirement Planning Counselor from the College of Financial Planning.

Trish Boaz
Executive Director, San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy
In 2013, Boaz joined the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, bringing more than 30 years in conservation and environmental knowledge. Previously, she was chief of the Resource Management Division of the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation for more than seven years and oversaw the implementation of the Multiple Species Conservation Program, the acquisition of 7,100-plus acres of open-space land, and the award-winning County Trails Program.

Angela Brannon-Baptiste
Owner, Partying for a Purpose
Brannon-Baptiste’s successful journey in social services includes work with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. She’s helped 5,000-plus San Diego women and children as a nutrition education coordinator. Since 1997, her company Partying for a Purpose has produced holiday toy drives and special events for her foundation, It’s All About the Kids. She also leads mission trips to orphanages in Baja California.

Bobbi Brink
Founder and Executive Director, Lions Tigers & Bears
Brink is dedicated to Lions Tigers & Bears, the highly regarded nonprofit exotic animal rescue sanctuary in East San Diego County. An advocate for big cats, bears, and other exotic animals, she’s worked with them for more than 20 years. She’s also been instrumental in developing a network of reputable sanctuaries in which to place exotic animals in need throughout the United States.

Kimberly J. Butterwick, M.D.
Physician and Partner, Goldman, Butterwick, Gross, Fabi & Wu
As a board-certified dermatologist and diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, Butterwick is recognized as one of the most renowned skin-care experts in the country. She is considered a leading authority on injectables, filler technology, lasers, and liposculpture.

Kimberly Caccavo
A UC Berkeley chemical engineer with an MBA from UCLA and 30 years of experience building companies, Caccavo has worked on the space shuttle, designed heat engines, developed packet-switched networks, helped privatize the Venezuelan telephone company, and consulted for startup companies around the world. Presently, she is the cofounder of a locally based women’s athletic apparel brand, GRACEDBYGRIT.

Diana Carolina
CEO, Founder, & Designer, Azzurra Capri Brand and Boutique
After working in retail and styling, Carolina launched her own sandal brand, Azzurra Capri, four years ago. After spending time in Italy, she created the brand, and now sources the best leather and Swarovski crystals. In 2014, she opened her flagship store in Little Italy, and has plans for a second store in L.A. Her sandals are also sold in the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Gina Champion-Cain
President & CEO, American National Investments
Champion-Cain provides strategic direction to all development, acquisitions, commercial, and residential leasing, and asset management for American National Investments. Under her leadership, the firm has ventured into three successful Patio-branded restaurants, along with The Patio in Left Field (Petco Park), The Swell Coffee Roasting Company, and Swell Café. She’s also involved in Luv Surf vacation rentals in Mission Bay and the Luv Surf women’s lifestyle brand.

Elisabeth Cullington
Managing Director, Senior Wealth Advisor, HoyleCohen
Cofounder, The Women’s Practice

In 2011, Cullington merged her successful financial advisory company with HoyleCohen, a top firm in San Diego. With more than three decades of experience and a keen eye for critical perspective and context to difficult financial decisions, she cofounded The Women’s Practice, realizing her passion for working with women to build their financial confidence and independence.

Monica Denosta
President & COO, Picture It On Canvas
Denosta directs all facets of this flourishing company, from marketing and sales to production and shipping. Over the past eight years, she has led Picture It On Canvas from two to 50 employees, and annual revenues have grown from $100,000 to $11 million. Previously, she worked in corporate finance for blue-chip companies like Harcourt Brace and McDonald’s.

Margot Doucette, J.D.
Owner, Director, & COO, Design Institute of San Diego
With 21-plus years experience in private postsecondary education and a legal education, Doucette deftly directs Design Institute of San Diego, a private, independent, and family-owned college. She also oversees the implementation and oversight of accreditation criteria and compliance, and through the Classroom Without Walls initiative, Doucette ensures that students receive real-world experience in interior design.

Masha Efros
Registered Client Service Associate, C.F.P., UBS Financial Services, Inc.
With a background in banking and a Master of Science degree in business administration, Efros now has a hybrid role with UBS as both a registered client associate (operational management) and as a certified financial planner who specializes in financial, tax, and estate planning. She’s also the event chair of the Young Professionals Committee, the fund-raising arm of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Carlisa Endoso
Owner, Shine Bright for Good
Teacher, UROCK Learning at Monarch School

With 16 years of teaching under her belt, Endoso teaches literacy to high-risk kids at UROCK and works with transition-age foster youth with the Junior League of San Diego. She serves as JLSD’s director of the Community Council. Through Shine Bright for Good, she’s also a small business owner in retail who donates 5 percent of all sales to Women for Women International.

Sabrina Guillen Fabi, M.D.
Physician & Partner, Cosmetic Laser Dermatology
International speaker, trainer, and author, Dr. Fabi of Cosmetic Laser Dermatology is an internationally recognized leader in cosmetic dermatology. A double board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic cosmetic surgeon, she’s also an assistant clinical professor at UCSD. She received the Robert W. Goltz Excellence in Teaching award for educating her peers.

Leslie Fishlock
Founder & CEO, Geek Girl
Self-described sardonic rabble-rouser and passionate entrepreneur, Fishlock created a company that is a resource for empowering women in tech, supporting start-ups, and making technology easy to understand and use for everyone from 8 to 88. Her vision is accomplished through successful localized Geek Girl Tech Conferences around the country, workshops, seminars, consulting, help desks, and Geek Girl for Hire.

Judy Ann Foster
President, Women’s Wisdom
A visionary dedicated to empowering women in business and friendship, Foster hosts and produces monthly networking events in California. In 2010, Women’s Wisdom expanded its live events to provide a global virtual community to encourage women to come together in support and collaboration. She is the recipient of the “Women Changing the World Award” from the Women’s Leadership Institute.

Renee Galente
Partner, Galente Ganci APC
Galente is an accomplished trial lawyer and passionate volunteer to numerous community organizations. She and her husband are partners in their law firm, Galente Ganci APC , which specializes in personal injury law, DUI offense, and military law. She also serves as a volunteer mediator with the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Probate Court Mediation Program.

Pollie A. Gautsch, Esq.
President & Attorney, G&A Legal, APC
The managing attorney at G&A Legal, Gautsch has 15 years of experience assisting clients in creating and protecting their intellectual property (including trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets). She has coordinated and prosecuted thousands of applications and registrations in the United States and throughout the world, and has resolved matters involving Fortune 500 companies.

Ali Grant
Director and Founder, Be Social PR
Grant single-handedly launched Be Social PR in 2011, a progressive publicity firm combining traditional and digital media campaigns. Today, the firm has offices in Solana Beach, San Diego, and Los Angeles and services some of the top international lifestyle brands, earning recognition in various trade publications and industry awards.

Carolyn Grant
Executive Director, The Museum of Making Music
At the Museum of Making Music since 1998, Grant became executive director in 2001, and is responsible for setting its overall vision and direction. A positive, dedicated leader, she oversees all operational aspects of the museum, including the permanent and special exhibitions, educational and concert programming, the budget, and the museum’s team.

Lisa A. Grim, DVM
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Equitage Horsecare, Inc.
A graduate of the prestigious UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Grim has been practicing equine medicine in San Diego for 23-plus years. Always on the forefront of advanced and integrative approaches to horse health, she offers noninvasive therapies such as equine acupuncture, Class IV cold-laser therapy, Chinese herbs, and nutritional research and analysis.

Christina Gustin
Financial Advisor, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Gustin joined UBS in San Diego after working at Goldman Sachs in New York City. She facilitates her team’s activities, including practice management, relationship management, financial planning, investment implementation, and portfolio surveillance. She’s a member of the San Diego Rotary Club, sits on the board of Outside the Lens, and volunteers at the Monarch School.

Teresa Halleck
President & CEO, San Diego County Credit Union
Under Halleck’s astute leadership, San Diego County Credit Union, San Diego’s largest locally owned financial institution, continues to be a top financial performer in the industry. Halleck also serves as a board member for the California Credit Union League and the National Credit Union Foundation, and as a committee member on the Department of Business Oversight’s Credit Union Advisory Committee.

Felena Hanson
Founder, Hera Hub
Longtime entrepreneur and marketing maven, Hanson helms Hera Hub, a spa-inspired, shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible space provides a productive environment for growing businesses. After building three successful San Diego locations, Hanson has franchised across the United States, with a goal to support 20,000-plus women and have 200 locations over the next five years.

Jessica M. Hardacre-Gianas, Esq.
Partner, The Craft Beer Attorney, APC
Hardacre-Gianas is a proactive partner and employment attorney at The Craft Beer Attorney, a firm dedicated to the craft-beer industry since 2009. She also has her own firm that specializes in California employment law. She’s an active member of the business group Corporate Alliance and the Business Legacy Mentoring program.

Coco Harper
Marketing Director, Jackson Design and Remodeling
Guardian of the company’s brand, Harper drives Jackson Design and Remodeling’s vision by leading and overseeing the development of an imaginative, integrated marketing approach. Harper conducts research, assesses data analysis, and develops comprehensive marketing strategies that support long-term goals. She volunteers at the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Crew Classic, and UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center.

Ashley Hayek
President, Golden State Consultants LLC
Since founding Golden State Consultants, her nonprofit and political fund-raising firm, in 2006, Hayek has worked with federal, state, nonprofit, and local leaders across the country, raising millions of dollars for her political clients. She has extensive experience in finance strategy and development, event coordination, and production. She serves as executive director for the California Women’s Leadership Association and is on the board for Habitat for Humanity.

Karen S. Haynes
President, California State University San Marcos
Dr. Haynes has expertly led California State University San Marcos with an eye toward the future, increasing the educational attainment rate of students in the region and developing relevant degree programs that make CSUSM students in demand. Due to her focus on academic excellence, educational equity, and community partnership, the university has grown and won acclaim for excellence in 21st-century learning.

Patricia P. Hollenbeck
Partner, Duane Morris LLP
A successful trial lawyer and inspiring women’s rights advocate, Hollenback champions the Lawyers Club, an organization devoted to advancing the status of women in the law and society. Due to her diligence, the organization had its most successful year in its 43-year history, raising a record amount for the club’s charitable Fund for Justice, which supports at-risk women and their children.

Candise Holmlund, CFA, CFP, TEP
Senior Partner, Weatherly Asset Management
As a partner, Holmlund brings 30-plus years of experience in the financial markets to Weatherly. Responsible for the management of client relationships, she specializes in financial, tax, and estate planning issues. Additional roles include various analytical functions, oversight of the firm’s covered call strategy, client stock option analysis, retirement planning, performance attribution, asset allocation, and investment analysis.

Lauren Hong
President, Out & About Communications
After several years of education, traveling, and international work, Hong put her design and marketing skills into play for a growing client base, helping businesses grow by amplifying their presence. Today, Out & About is a 15-plus person team with a suite of marketing services and a talented team of specialists devoted to transforming their clients’ marketing presence.

Shay Hughes
Chief Operating Officer, Hughes Marino
Hughes manages the day-to-day operations of the award-winning California commercial real estate company Hughes Marino, playing a vital role in business strategy, human resources, marketing, and client relations. Known for her creativity and family-style approach to business management, she’s been integral in shaping the corporate culture and leading the company’s expansion throughout California.

Star Hughes-Gorup
Director, Hughes Marino
A key member of the brokerage team at Hughes Marino, Hughes-Gorup works closely with her father, Jason Hughes, active in negotiations for more than 1.2 million square feet of leases at any given time in premier commercial markets in the county. A vocal advocate for gender equality, she’s an active member of the Lawyers Club of San Diego.

Zeynep Ilgaz
Cofounder & President, Confirm BioSciences
Ilgaz built her company, Confirm BioSciences, from the ground up into a leading provider of drug and alcohol testing and employee screening products and services. An incredible role model, she promotes a balanced work life within her office, creating opportunities for employees to support their personal goals and families. She is also a published author and contributor for Entrepreneur.

Erica Johnson
Director of Community Development, Sullivan Solar Power
A passionate, hardworking woman, Johnson is accountable for all marketing efforts, community outreach, public relations, government affairs, and philanthropic initiatives at Sullivan Solar Power. A forward thinker, she utilizes her skills to lead women, teams, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions in promoting environmental sustainability throughout the San Diego community.

Megan Jones
Senior Manager, Human Resources at Qualcomm
Jones is engaged in HR strategic planning, succession planning, leadership coaching, and coordination of all other HR functions for business units at Qualcomm, including compensation, learning, development, and staffing. Through Jones’ dynamic leadership, the Junior League of San Diego Food & Wine Festival has grown into a first-class event with increased fund-raising revenue to help transition-age foster youth.

Josie Juncal
Chief Commercial Officer, Colorescience
An exceptional leader, Juncal is responsible for Colorescience’s strategic development and growth, strategic oversights, overall branding and marketing strategies, and corporate social responsibility enterprises of the prestige cosmetic company and luxury product line. She also serves as a member of Cosmetic Executive Women and the Personal Care Products Council.

Nancy Keenan
President, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning
For three decades, Keenan has cultivated architectural design and planning in communities throughout California and China. Her thoughtful leadership steers the Dahlin Group’s course of growth, adaptation, and innovation in design, technology, and sustainability. A LEED Accredited Professional, she’s also a supporter of The Wheelchair Foundation, food banks throughout California, and HomeAid for the homeless.

Leigh Keith
Vice President & CMO, Perfect Bar & Company
With no shortage of ambition or creativity, Keith reigns as one of the masterminds behind the family-run natural bar company, overseeing all facets of the business. She spearheaded Perfect Bar & Company’s comprehensive rebranding and leads community outreach and charitable giving to organizations such as Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, Burn Institute’s San Diego chapter, Make-A-Wish, and more.

Annie Lawless
Cofounder, Suja Juice
An exemplary entrepreneurial spirit, Lawless has grown her cold-pressed juice company, Suja Juice, from an at-home delivery service to a thriving business, named by Forbes as the second most promising company of 2015. She is author of the New York Times best-seller The Suja Juice Solution and manages her healthy lifestyle blog, Blawnde. Her Suja Elements Cause Collective raises funds for environmental organizations.

Robin Layton
President & CEO, Educational Enrichment Systems
A passionate advocate for children and families, Layton has transformed the landscape of early childhood education in San Diego. For the past 30 years, Layton has helmed Educational Enrichment Systems, which offers low-income working families the opportunity to become self-sufficient by providing quality, affordable, early childhood education.

April Leffingwell
Founder, Owner & Artisan, Shea Chic
Bedridden with a back injury, Leffingwell began making handmade shea butter soaps and creams. Positive response to her artisan products at Shea Chic led to placement in celebrity gifting suites at the American Music Awards, Golden Globes, Daytime Emmys, and Oscars. Her inspiring story and products have also been featured on the Today Show, Access Hollywood, and more.

Coe Lewis
Radio DJ and Animal Activist, I Heart Radio
A successful DJ at I Heart Radio, Lewis is also a passionate humanitarian and animal rights activist. Her nonprofit Coe’s List, a community website and live radio show, lists both human requests for help and animal rescues and adoption needs. She also created the anti-poaching nonprofit NSEFU Wildlife Conservation Foundation, to protect endangered species and create jobs for Zambia villagers.

Gloria Limas
CEO, Media Magic
Limas launched the boutique marketing company Media Magic after owning Limas Properties, which specialized in 1031 real estate exchanges and rentals. Limas lends her journalistic skills to community and charity events by writing stories about them in local newspapers and magazines. A strong role model, she also volunteers her marketing skills to help nonprofits.

Elizabeth Lou
Founder & CEO, Nile Sister Development Initiative
A dedicated and selfless public servant who has contributed greatly to the refugee and immigrant communities of San Diego County, Lou is a former refugee herself, with a degree in public health. In 2001, she formed Nile Sister Development Initiative, her nonprofit that provides education, support, and training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome economic and social barriers.

Shelley Lyford
CEO, West Health
President & CEO, Gary & Mary West Foundation

At West Health, Lyford brings extensive experience in developing and executing aging initiatives, smarter technologies, policies, and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost, and successful aging a reality for all seniors. She also helms the Gary & Mary West Foundation, the second largest private foundation in San Diego.

Allison Maslan
CEO, Allison Maslan International
Maslan has built 10 successful companies from the ground up, and now guides her thriving global business mentoring company, Allison Maslan International. Author of the book Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams Into Reality, she’s guided thousands of individuals to create prosperous businesses and passionate lives. Maslan hosts the online business and lifestyle television show Allie & You.

Jeanne McAlister
Chief Executive Officer, McAlister Institute
A pioneer in substance abuse recovery services, McAlister was one of the first leaders in the nation to develop a residential program for women and children, and the first in San Diego County to help pregnant addicts become clean so that their children could be “born free.” She successfully advocated for state certification of drug and alcohol counselors, and serves as a national spokeswoman.

Meghan McCool
COO, CARE Medical Transportation
President, Med First Inc.

McCool holds the highest level executive position of any female in the San Diego County ambulance industry, and her innovative ways have changed the paradigm of critical care transportation, pushing the industry to new high standards. She’s also created a scholarship program to give back to her company’s EMTs, and helms a healthcare staffing company, Med First Inc.

Mary Ann McGarry
President & CEO, Guild Mortgage Company
McGarry leads the development and execution of Guild Mortgage’s strategic plans and objectives, and directs all corporate and subsidiary operations. A driving force since 1984, McGarry formulates and executes Guild’s financial, operational, and technology strategies. Under her leadership, Guild was selected as one of San Diego’s Top Places to Work by U-T San Diego for the second consecutive year.

Vanessa McGill
Partner, McGill Lewis Law Group
McGill is the proprietor of her own award-winning law firm, McGill Lewis Law Group, and a cofounder and editor of SanDiegoVille, a popular online resource for information on all the fun happenings in America’s Finest City. McGill leads by example, operating both her law firm and online publication based upon the utmost moral principles.

Virginia Merrifield
Vice President, Connect
As VP of business development and strategic partnerships at Connect, San Diego’s innovation company accelerator, Merrifield builds relationships with businesses of all sizes, investors, research institutions, and partner organizations that support and grow the innovation economy in San Diego. Her distinguished work in education has also been recognized on the state and local levels.

Betsy Miller Vixie
Natural Resources Manager, Parks and Recreation, City of San Diego
As a lifelong nature enthusiast with a distinguished career in public service, Miller Vixie oversees implementation of the Multiple Species Conservation Program on 25,000 acres of conserved open space for the City of San Diego. Responsible for a scientific monitoring program and rare species data, her team provides critical insights into conservation science in the Southern California ecoregion.

Emily Moberly
Founder & Executive Director, Traveling Stories
Moberly’s nonprofit, Traveling Stories, is dedicated to “outsmarting poverty one book at a time.” Her team has established world libraries in El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Sudan, and the Philippines and seven StoryTent programs in Southern California to improve literacy levels in low-income children. Future plans include building an entrepreneurial, franchise-style model to establish libraries in book-poor global villages, and more StoryTent programs.

Jamie Moraga
President & CEO, IntelliSolutions, Inc.
Moraga launched IntelliSolutions, a woman-owned small business in the defense industry, named a top 50 Fastest Growing Private Companies by the San Diego Business Journal. She served as the 2014 president for the San Diego Military Advisory Council and now chairs the Executive Committee. She’s also on the National Defense Industrial Association Board of Trustees in Washington, D.C.

Molly Nocon
CEO, Noah Homes
A passionate advocate for adults with developmental disabilities, Nocon has created an outstanding environment at Noah Homes that fosters dignity, respect, and personal and spiritual growth for its community. She leads effective collaboration efforts with community partners nationwide to advance care and grow funds, serving as an active voice for more than 280,000 people in California with developmental disabilities.

Katharine Nowlan
An athletic trainer, athlete, event coordinator, and entrepreneur, Nowlan turned her dream of creating functional workout apparel into a reality. She and her partner at GRACEDBYGRIT have created fitness apparel that combines safety, functionality, and style, with the hope to encourage women in San Diego and around the globe to be active.

Evelyn Olson Lamden
Principal, Red Kite Business Advisors
With 33-plus years of experience, Olson Lamden started Red Kite, offering clients her expertise in market research, integrated marketing, advertising, online marketing, web development, co-op advertising, and social media management. As a community leader, she’s active in the performing arts community as a board member of the San Diego Symphony and Malashock Dance Company.

Melanie Palm, M.D.
Founder, Art of Skin MD
Along with her private practice, Art of Skin MD, Dr. Palm is an affiliate staff physician for Scripps Encinitas Memorial Hospital and volunteers her dermatologic expertise as an associate clinical professor at the UCSD Division of Dermatology. Active in the philanthropic community, she raises awareness and funds for the Skin Cancer Foundation through her annual SolSearch event.

Kim Reed Perell
President, Amobee
A successful Internet entrepreneur, Perell drives Amobee, a leading global marketing technology company, with more than 500 employees across 20 offices worldwide. An outstanding leader, she invests in ongoing education and professional development opportunities for employees and has cultivated a company with a strong female presence.

Trindl Reeves
Chief Sales Officer, Barney & Barney Insurance Services LLC
Reeves, a risk management and health and welfare consulting expert, is responsible for all aspects of Barney & Barney Insurance Services’ development. A key player in the company’s growth, Reeves infuses her leadership role with unmatched energy and has helped evolve the firm into the high-powered $150 million sales organization it is today.

Patty Roe
Founding partner, Revolvis
With 15 years of experience in working with political campaigns, Roe oversees digital advertising for the boutique campaign consulting firm Revolvis. Changing the political landscape of the city, she’s been a leading voice in the elections of Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilmembers Chris Cate, Scott Sherman, Mark Kersey, and Lorie Zapf, and many others.

Joyce Rowland
Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources & Administrative Officer, Sempra Energy
Rowland oversees succession planning, leadership development, employee relations, staffing and affirmative-action/diversity programs, corporate security, human resources information systems, and employee giving programs at the San Diego–based Fortune 500 energy services holding company Sempra. She also serves as president of the Sempra Energy Foundation, the 501(c)(3) private foundation of Sempra Energy.

Jodie K. Schuller
Founder & Director, Jodie K. Schuller & Associates
A California licensed speech and language pathologist and educational therapist with 30 years of experience in the field, Schuller owns and operates the private practice Jodie K. Schuller & Associates, which helps struggling students. Her new program, Fast Track to School Success, offers intensive literacy and math instruction for those in need. She also volunteers her services with the Decoding Dyslexia group.

Debra Schwartz
President & CEO, Mission Federal Credit Union
With nearly 30 years of financial services experience, Schwartz is an empowering leader, mentor, and inspiring speaker. She deftly guides Mission Federal and its partnerships with educational and other nonprofit organizations across the county. She also spearheaded Mission Fed’s internal leadership program, available for all employees and emerging leaders, many of whom are women.

Linda Sherman
Professor, Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute
As the first female tenured scientist at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and through her numerous leadership roles, Dr. Sherman is one of the most influential members of the faculty and a tremendous role model for young women scientists.  As President of the American Association of Immunologists, she led the effort to provide salary grants to promising scientists in need. Dr. Sherman also donates her time to Kids Included Together (KIT), a program that expands possibilities for children with developmental disabilities. 

Jamie Lynn Sigler
Founding Partner, J Public Relations
Over the past 10 years, Sigler’s vision has expanded JPR into an award-winning, bicoastal powerhouse with three offices, 45 team members, and 100-plus clients spanning the globe (including Disney, Four Seasons, and Vail Resorts). She also established 7th & Wit, a digital and social media strategy agency, and cofounded the San Diego chapter of St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit for childhood-cancer research.

Stacey Smith
President, Civilian Agency
A skilled executive, visionary leader, and an adroit troubleshooter and turnaround expert, Smith founded the niche practice Civilian Agency, which focuses on marketing, communications, and evaluation strategies that achieve meaningful change and amplify positive community outcomes. Clients range from the Center for Disease Control to the California Earthquake Authority and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services.

Linda Spuck
Vice President & Trust Officer, Union Bank, The Private Bank
Spuck joined Union Bank in 2004, bringing her leadership background in nonprofit organizations, which helps her expertly serve The Private Bank’s nonprofit clients. She holds the designation of Certified Trust and Financial Advisor from the Institute of Certified Bankers, and is an active board member with the Junior League of San Diego, San Diego Opera, San Diego Grantmakers, and more.

Kimberly Srisark
CEO, Sydnee’s Pet Grooming
An animal lover, Srisark purchased Sydnee’s Pet Grooming, which was declining in revenue and employed only four staff members who serviced 20 dogs per day. In one year, she grew the business to 20-plus staff and more than 50 dogs per day. In 2012, she expanded with Sydnee’s Mobile Pet Grooming. Today, she is selling franchises throughout the United States.

Michelle Sterling
Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Qualcomm
Throughout her 20-year tenure with Qualcomm, Sterling has provided excellent HR leadership, strategy, and support in myriad areas of the company, including learning and development, organization planning, compensation, benefits, employee relations, corporate social responsibility, staffing, employee communication, global inclusion, diversity, and real estate for more than 33,000 employees worldwide. Sterling also serves on Qualcomm’s Executive Committee.

Lori Ann Stevens
Construction Executive & Manager of Business Development, Turner Construction
A powerhouse networker and trailblazing high-level female executive in the overwhelmingly male-dominated business of construction, Stevens has been leading the charge for more than 15 years. At Turner Construction she’s involved with everything from “handshake to project completion,” responsible to meet or exceed planned revenue of more than $250 million for this successful San Diego construction firm.

Gael Strack
Chief Executive Officer & Cofounder, Alliance for HOPE International
Strack is committed to meeting the needs of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, and child abuse in communities across America. Alliance programs include the Family Justice Center Alliance, Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, Camp HOPE America, Justice Legal Network, Leadership Training Institute, and VOICES Survivor Advocacy Network. Through Strack’s leadership and vision, an estimated 150,000 victims and their children are served each year.

Carolyn Taylor
President, Founding Partner, Weatherly Asset Management
With more than 30 years of portfolio management experience to high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients, Taylor is personally and professionally committed to providing comprehensive high-quality investment management services to clients of Weatherly Asset Management. In 2015, Taylor was nationally recognized by Barron’s as one of the top 100 Women Advisors in America.

Tammi Terrell
Vice President and General Manager, AT&T Southwest and Hawaii, AT&T
An intelligent, strategic thinker and talented leader, Terrell directs sales and operations for more than 1,500 employees and 90 AT&T-owned retail locations. An active mentor and community server, she founded Women of AT&T, Paradise Chapter, in 2012, a group that mentors and gives back to the local community and volunteers with major charitable causes, including breast cancer awareness.

Krystel Tien
Founder, Creative Director & Lead Stylist, Couture Events
Owner, Elle Bridal Boutique

One of San Diego’s most-sought-after wedding coordinators, Tien produces luxury weddings through Couture Events for clients including NFL CEOs and reality-TV “royalty,” creating one-of-a-kind celebrations. She also owns Elle Bridal Boutique. Tien donates 10 percent of Couture Events’ profits to the nonprofit Children of the Nations for impoverished children.

Natashah Torki
Beauty Director, Beauty by Dolly
A magna cum laude UCLA graduate, Torki helped launch Beauty by Dolly, taking the company to new heights through her role as director of operations. A fourth-generation brow artist, she’s also created a culture of charity at BBD. Working with Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego’s refugee services program, BBD employs refugees from countries around the world.

Elena Vassilev
Medical Director, B Street Veterinary Hospital
Practicing in the San Diego area for 13 years, Dr. Vassilev recently opened her own vet hospital to help an underserved downtown community. Within its first year, B Street Veterinary Hospital has employed 25 San Diegans and had helped some 2,000 clients with more than 3,000 pets. She works with many charitable organizations that assist those in need to pay for veterinary medical treatments.

Natalie Viani
Managing Partner, Outsource Technical SD, LLC
Delivering 10 years of excellent work, Viani has been the driving force behind this IT staffing and solutions company, shaping and growing its success—so much so, she’s in the process of purchasing the entire business. Through her leadership, Outsource Technical SD has generated millions of dollars in profit. Viani also volunteers for Father Joe’s charity and San Diego Rescue Mission.

Laura Warner
Partner, Architecture and Design, CityWorks People + Places, Inc
One the few women to found her own architectural business in San Diego 20 years ago, Warner recently merged with CityWorks People + Places, Inc., an expression of her commitment to civic involvement. She skillfully leads the in-house graphic design, urban planning, and architectural services for her team, overseeing key projects in San Diego.

Daphyne Watson
Executive Director, Mental Health America of San Diego County
Watson has dedicated the majority of her career to San Diego nonprofits, and is passionate about issues such as mental wellness, domestic violence, children’s welfare, and the aged. She has exceeded all expectations in her role at Mental Health America of San Diego County, as her business acumen turned a small nonprofit into a thriving agency now serving tens of thousands San Diegans every year.

Carol Williams
San Diego Civic Organist, City of San Diego
Artistic Director, Spreckels Organ Society
International Concert Organist & Composer, Melcot Music Publishing

As the last true civic organist in the country (and the first woman in the world to be elected to serve in this position), Williams is an ambassador of San Diego’s arts and culture arena. Williams, who’s performed all over the world and has released CDs showcasing her original compositions, donates several performances a year to various charitable organizations.

Amber Yoo
Vice President, SKY Facial Plastic Surgery
Yoo expertly leads a growing team of employees at SKY Facial Plastic Surgery, setting a positive tone and the overall direction of this successful medical practice and fully accredited surgery center. She also serves on the board of directors for the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, where she leads new technology adoption and training for more than 700 volunteers who are raising money for the hospital.

Helen Zeldes
Attorney, Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck
Owner, Bliss 101

A true force to be reckoned with, both in the courtroom and out in the community, Zeldes helms her own law firm, Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, which represents clients in employment litigation, as well as Bliss 101, a charming Encinitas boutique dedicated to supporting local craftsmen, green economics, fair trade, and global artists. She volunteers for Girls Think Tank in San Diego as well.

Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D.
CEO, United Through Reading
Zoll is an award-winning CEO, entrepreneur, and corporate strategist, internationally recognized for spearheading significant organizational growth and program sustainment in her work. As the guardian and spokesperson for United Through Reading’s vision and mission, she’s brought the organization to a national stage with appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and other major media outlets.

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