Role Models

Nancy Maldonado

It’s an honor for all of us at San Diego Magazine to highlight the 12 women in this issue who are leaders in their fields, have made their way in male-dominated industries, are serving as mentors to the next generation, and are working to make our city better.

Nancy Maldonado, Kim Phillips-Pea, Tanner Saraspe, and Jessica Williams were gracious enough to come together for our cover shoot. Maldonado was most recently president and CEO of the Chicano Federation; Phillips-Pea is bringing art to underserved communities and dreams of developing a Black arts and culture district in San Diego; Saraspe, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in person, is one of the few fisherwomen in town and is now leading her family business; Williams is the interim director of student affairs at UC San Diego’s Department of Economics, and her recent essay appeared in an anthology by Brené Brown and Tarana Burke. That’s a lot of inspiring women in just one room!

Their stories, histories, insights, and words of advice are both an educational and a motivational read. They’re helpful to women of all ages, whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’ve got tenure. We also interviewed Anggie Becorest, a biotech executive who survived cancer, Marta Karczewicz, the local inventor who developed the technology we’ve all been using on Zoom, Mary Casillas Salas, the first Latina mayor of Chula Vista, and more. As an added bonus, everyone we interviewed tipped us off to other admirable women everyone in San Diego should be paying attention to.

Also in this issue, Sarah Pfledderer interviewed Danielle Black Lyons, who advocates for women of color in the surfing community, Jennifer McEntee met with the director of the Women’s Museum of California and gave us a sneak peek of its upcoming exhibit, and food critic Troy Johnson visited Vaga, the latest newsworthy restaurant in North County, helmed by chef Claudette Zepeda.

Join us!

Come out and join us on Tuesday, November 16, for our Celebrating Women event for an evening of networking, more inspiring stories, and the chance to meet the recipients of this year’s reader-driven awards program—you may learn some helpful advice or even find a new mentor. We’re excited to bring this event back after having to postpone it last year, and we’re thrilled to announce that Nancy Maldonado, one of this month’s cover stars, will be the keynote speaker. Let’s toast: to all the women who paved the way for us, and to supporting one another. I look forward to seeing you there.

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