Letter from the Chairman
When there seems to be a lot of inane stuff grabbing too many headlines these days, it is an honor to be part of an event which celebrates the achievements of young business and civic leaders in whose hands lie San Diego’s future.
Ten years ago, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine set out to annually recognize 40 outstanding young San Diegans, all under the age of 40.
This year’s class, chosen from more than 100 applicants, was no exception. While all of them are in the early stages of significant careers, each finds time to give back to a wide range of charitable organizations throughout San Diego. They were chosen by a panel of judges, who came from academia, government and private business.
You get a strong sense of the commitments these young folks make to giving back when reviewing the plethora of nonprofits and charitable organizations to whom they give much of their time, efforts and financial contributions.
The list includes adoption programs to help special needs foster children, guiding working mothers, mentoring nonprofit executives, raising funds to rebuild earthquake-stricken schools in Asia, partnering with the San Diego Youth Services, sponsoring benefits for an autism foundation and providing legal assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Cancer, the Angels Foster Family Network, the American Red Cross and the SIDS Foundation are noteworthy charities with whom the impessive list of young people devote their energies.
In this year’s group of the 40 honorees, five immigrated to the United States from Belgium, Vietnam, Somalia and the Ukraine, knowing of the promise and opportunity that only this great country offers.
• Elizabeth Bui, at the age of 5, found herself with a bullet wound in her foot and tossed with her sister onto a small fishing boat to escape Saigon in 1975. Today, she is director of intellectual property at Novocell Inc.
• Hamse Warfa had to flee a civil war and three years of living in a refugee camp in Kenya before finding his way to San Diego.
• Natalie Prescott was a TV newscaster and journalist in Odessa, Ukraine, before coming to the United States. At 28, she is now an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP, where she practices appellate law and commercial litigation.
• Oleg Cross moved to San Diego three years ago but his early years were spent in the Ukraine as was true for Natalie Prescott. Oleg, like Natalie, is a graduate of the Duke University Law School and now has his own private law practice.
• Kobe Bogaert moved to San Diego from Belgium. He is a principal at Strategic Momentum Inc., a San Diego-based company that helps its clients dramatically improve the productivity of its people doing business with people.
Each and every honoree is a great credit to San Diego’s ability to attract the best and the brightest. It’s the city’s good fortune that they have chosen to make their homes in this very special community. We salute them all.