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WOMEN WHO ROCK — 2012

WOMEN WHO ROCK

Meet Our Selections for 2012

SD METRO is proud to introduce Women Who Rock for 2012, a group of outstanding professionals who have made a name for themselves in their careers and are making significant contributions to our community. All of the women here were nominated by our readers. While all of the other nominations were of people who have made impressive job and community contributions, we believe our final choices are particularly noteworthy. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the nomination process.

Shay Hughes

Shay Hughes is the first to admit that she has taken an unusual path to her executive role as chief operating officer at Hughes Marino, San Diego’s largest commercial real estate firm exclusively representing tenants.  “When people ask me what my background is in, they usually think its in interior design or advertising. I love to tell them I’ve been a stay at home for 20 years!”  Now that her children are 21, 19, and 17, Shay, who is 43, says she first got “unknowingly recruited” into the business by her husband, Jason Hughes, president of Hughes Marino, who the firm is named for, when he encouraged her to act as producer of the firm’s high-profile television commercials. With eight TV spots under her belt, she began quietly and systematically revamping the company’s website, marketing efforts, business strategies, and internal operations. It wasn’t until the past year that she began getting recognition for her leadership in the firm (“an injection of creativity and love” she says) with the unveiling of the company’s new headquarters located on the corner of Front and Beech Streets in Downtown. Shay, sporting a hard hat, spent most of last year leading a team of contractors, architects, and craftsmen in a major overhaul of the former San Diego Magazine offices, from conceptualizing the original design to personally hand-selecting nearly every last finish and furnishing throughout the space. While she thrives on the endless opportunities for creativity that her role as COO affords her, the contribution she is most proud of is the transformation of the culture of Hughes Marino. “Our company has undergone a complete cultural revitalization, and we are excited to be breaking the mold of traditional real estate firms. We are truly a family here, and our spouses and children are all part of the equation that makes this such an amazing place to work and be a part of.” From the firm’s quarterly retreats to the family style living room, kitchen and game room that is the center of gravity in their new “home away from home,” Shay’s impact on the culture of the company has reorganized and recharged the firm. She adds, “My life has always been all about family, and now that family includes our entire company.”

Mary E. Lyons

Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D., became president of the University  of San Diego in July, 2003.  During her extensive career in education, Lyons has enjoyed rich and varied  experiences as a teacher, professor and administrator. Before taking the helm at USD, Lyons was president of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.  Prior to this, she served as the president of the California Maritime Academy, a campus of the California State University in Vallejo. With this appointment Lyons was commissioned a rear admiral in the U.S. Maritine Service. Earlier in her career she was the academic dean and professor of Rhetoric and Homiletics at the Franciscan School of Theology, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.A  fifth-generation Californian, Lyons spent her childhood traveling with her military family, living throughout the United States and in Eritrea, Africa. She received her undergraduate degree from Sonoma State University, her  Master of Arts from San Jose State University and her Ph.D from UC Berkeley. During her 25-year career as a U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, she held a variety of aassignments, including an active duty position teaching at the Naval Training Center in San Diego and two appointments as commanding officer of Naval Reserve units. She retired in 1996 as a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. She has received the San Francisco Medallion for scholarly achievement and community service, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Sonoma State University and the recipient of a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of New Rochelle. She is chair of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards, the St. Joseph Health System and the San Diego Opera.

Joanne M. Pastula

Joanne M. Pastula is the president and CEO of Junior Achievement of San Diego and Imperial Counties. Prior to her appointment with JA, Pastula was a principal with John Burnham and Co. for nearly 20 years, retiring in 1995 as executive vice president.Having spent over 30 years as a San Diego business and community leader, Pastula decided to give back through the nonprofit world. She selected Junior Achievement because it is the quintessential economic-education program, which brings the real world of business right into the classroom. Today, JA impacts 46,000 kindergarten–12th grade students, empowering them to own their economic success by teaching them essential financial education, work-readiness and entrepreneurship skills. This is a 200+ percent increase over the 15,000 students JA was impacting when Joanne joined as executive director in 1999. Pastula was responsible for bringing business leaders together for a capital campaign that created a permanent home — Junior Achievement’s Frontier Trading Free Enterprise Center. This new home includes the McGrath Family JA BizTown, a micro-city where annually more than 13,000 students run businesses, open bank accounts, become philanthropists and pay taxes. Prior to attending, students create resumes, complete job applications, interview for positions and put together business plans. A recent breast cancer survivor, Pastula remains active in the community and has been a member of Rotary Club 33 since 1990, and a member of the San Diego Economic Development Corp. board, among others.

Juanita Brooks

From taking in laundry to helping her single mother make ends meet, to graduating Yale Law School at 23 (after SDSU), to being a senior partner at the world’s largest intellectual property law firm, Juanita Brooks rocks the legal world. Juanita, 57, is a Fish & Richardson lawyer who has reached the uppermost echelon of her profession: handling high stakes, highly competitive intellectual-property litigation for such clients as 3M, Microsoft, Bank of America and many other household names in federal courts throughout the U.S. Brooks, who argues at least seven trials a year, handles cases that typically involve life-saving drugs and humanity-altering inventions. In San Diego’s legal community and far beyond, she has demonstrated that being a woman and a minority is no barrier to great success. And her peers agree. She has been voted by other attorneys to the national Best Lawyers list every year since 1987 in addition to being awarded numerous other honors, including being profiled in Redbook Magazine. Brooks serves on the board of directors of the Western Center on Law and Poverty. She was instrumental in getting thousands of low-income and indigent San Diegans health care by taking on the county of San Diego over its income thresholds for free medical services. She also is responsible for her firm giving nearly $250,000 to the fight on poverty by donations to Western Center. She is a founding member of the Wallace Inn of Court, which was designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar. Brooks is a frequent speaker on trial skills, diversity issues and managing professional and personal lives. A mother to two, she is an advocate for international adoption — her son Jaye was born in India.

Kim Reed Perell

Kim Reed Perell is CEO of Adconion Direct, a multi-channel digital distribution platform spanning display, email and social media. Perell is a highly respected technology and online marketing entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in online media acquisition, direct marketing, lead generation, branding, prospecting and product distribution. Prior to Adconion, she was the founder and CEO of Frontline Direct Inc., a performance-marketing company that she self-funded and grew to more than $100 million in annual revenue. Frontline Direct was acquired in February 2008 by Adconion Media Group. When asked if she had ever imagined if the company would get this big, Perell replied, “No, never. My goal in life has always been to be happy and to inspire, motivate and help others. I’ve been very fortunate to do what I love and do it with people who really care about one another.” The success of the company is not only shared with employees, but the community at large. Perell believes in corporate responsibility, and this philosophy is incorporated into the company values. Employees are encouraged to make a positive difference in local communities. Adconion Direct chooses a local organization to support every quarter and also offers a paid personal volunteer day per quarter to every employee in the U.S. At the Adconion Direct corporate summit in March, the employees painted a school mural at New Life Head Start, as well as donating books, tricycles and wagons full of household necessities. Prior to founding Frontline, Kim was responsible for Internet marketing and sales at Xdrive Technologies (acquired by AOL). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, Magna Cum Laude, from Pepperdine University and is a member of the San Diego chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is associate vice president of Colliers International, San Diego Region. She specializes in office and industrial sales and leasing and tenant/buyer representation, focusing on central and south San Diego County. Johnson enjoys a successful career working with clients that include Nordstrom, UCSD, SAIC and Costco. In 2008, she was named Deal Maker of the Year by the Commercial Realtors Association of San Diego. She is a member of the NAIOP, Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce and the South County Economic Development Corp. Johnson enjoys giving back to the San Diego community and is dedicated to helping the Fisher House, which donates  “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, so that family members can be close to a loved one during the hospitalization for illness, disease or injury. She leads a team of Colliers employees who volunteer at the organization. Johnson started working with the Fisher House in April 2011. The Colliers team supplied all of the toys and games for the toy room, restocked the kitchen and purchased two large patio umbrellas for an outdoor sitting area. For the official open house, Johnson organized the food and drinks, gave tours of the two houses and helped with both the set up and clean up. In the fall, she and her team held a paper drive, collecting all types of paper products to be used for the families staying at the homes and they purchased everything and decorated two homes for the holidays. Johnson  has raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association and served on the board of directors of the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center and The Inland Aids Project. She has also testified before the state Senate on a bill regarding domestic violence.

Saundra Pelletier

Saundra Pelletier is the CEO and founder of WomanCare Global (WCG), a dynamic international nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the lives of women. Recently establishing WomanCare Global’s headquarters in San Diego, Pelletier is responsible for leading daily operations that provide women around the world with access to safe, affordable and quality contraception and reproductive-health products. Developing and implementing best-business practices, she intends for WCG to grow and become a self-sustaining entity in the near future. Currently, WCG reaches over 100 countries, with a specific focus on underserved markets in Africa and Asia. Throughout her career, Pelletier has been a pioneer in promoting women’s issues. In her previous role as an executive coach, she has inspired thousands of executives nationwide to achieve personal and organizational success. As the author of the book, “Saddle Up Your Own White Horse: 5 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know,” Pelletier offers practical guidelines for achieving life’s goals. In 2011, She was named a finalist for San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year. She is a health enthusiast, a member of the Women’s Professional Organization and mother of a 5-year-old son.

Holly Smithson

Holly Smithson, executive vice president at CleanTECH San Diego, has been a driving force in the CleanTECH organization since its start five years ago, growing the membership base to more than 100 clean technology-industry stakeholders and bringing the attention and investment of multinational companies like GE, Honeywell, Soitec and Enel Green Power to the region. As one of the most prominent emerging San Diego industries, a consortium of cleantech companies, service providers and NGOs speaking with one voice is critical to advancing the region’s goal of being a global leader in the new energy economy. Smithson is peerless in her ability to bring people together because, as she says, “It’s my experience that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” At CleanTECH San Diego, Smithson is responsible for business development, marketing and management of its many member programs. She oversees several vertical programs designed to foster market-entry for early-stage companies and stimulate market penetration for larger cleantech enterprises. Above all, she is tasked with building a robust member organization and ecosystem that attracts capital investment, deal flow and company growth while maintaining the regional CleanTECH brand. Before joining CleanTECH, Smithson worked in public policy for 10 years in Washington, D.C., in both the executive and legislative branches, as well as non-government organizations. In 2003, she was selected as a presidential appointee and worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its office of congressional relations and then leading its public affairs division. Before serving in the Bush Administration, Smithson was a registered lobbyist for the Solid Waste Association of North America and also worked on the professional staff of presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns in Florida and North Carolina.  Smithson is a philanthropist, marathon runner and mentor for young women in the cleantech industry.

Lori Bays

Lori Bays is the public administrator and public guardian for the county of San Diego. Her department serves some of the county’s most vulnerable residents by acting as their legal guardian and decision-maker. These clients have been found unable to take care of themselves or their assets. They’re generally older, frail adults who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect and are without family or friends able to assist them. Bays is also the executive lead on the San Diego County Health and Human Services Executive Team for “Living Safely,” the second tier of the county’s strategic plan, “Live Well, San Diego,” focused on its vision of healthy, safe and thriving communities. Her expertise includes public policy, child and adolescent issues, mental health treatment, guardianship/conservatorship, aging issues, family systems, substance-abuse treatment, leadership and employee engagement. Bays’ leadership provides the community with valuable services that benefit all of San Diego residents by reducing abuse, improving quality of life and minimizing costly emergency services for some of the most fragile members of the community, as well as preventing loss of financial assets and property. Bays sits on the boards of the Health and Human Services Agency Executive Team, the National Guardianship Association, the California Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians and Public Conservators, the San Diego County Bar Association, the S.D. Hoarding Collaborative, the S.D. County Elder Death Review team and the San Diego Fiduciary Abuse Specialist team.  She is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Bays led successful initiatives such as a two-year flexible workforce pilot project that measures performance while “teleworking,” working remotely and utilizing alternate schedules.

Shaney jo Darden

After a friend’s shocking death from breast cancer at age 27, San Diego native Shaney jo Darden founded the Keep A Breast Foundation to drive awareness for breast cancer in young people and provide resources for young survivors and those recently diagnosed.  Under her leadership, Darden transformed Keep A Breast from a controversial grassroots “I Love Boobies” movement into the leading global, youth-based breast cancer nonprofit, reaching and inspiring millions across the globe with messages of prevention, education and support. Using her fashion-design experience working for such notable designers as Etnies, Emerica, DC and Tommy Hilfiger, Darden also developed a campaign that harnessed the power of art to communicate complex feelings about health, the female form and breast cancer. Keep A Breast launched the Treasured Chest program, a series of art benefits where one-of-a-kind plaster forms of the female torso, such as Katy Perry’s, were customized by artists and auctioned off to raise funds for education programs all over the world. Keep A Breast’s distinctive approach has merited recognition for Darden, including the Yoplait Champion Award, the Alternative Press “25 Most Influential People in the Music Industry,” TNT’s “Dramatic Difference-Maker” award, and most recently, the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association Humanitarian of the Year.

Camille Saltman

As president and board member of CONNECT, Camille Saltman has exhibited leadership and dedication to the staff she oversees and to the organization’s mission. CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies in the San Diego region and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations, linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for commercialization of innovative products in high-tech and life sciences. CONNECT was recognized by Time and Entrepreneur magazines and in 2010 received the Innovation in Economic Development Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce for creation of Regional Innovation Clusters. CONNECT manages the San Diego Innovation Hub (iHub), designated by Governor’s Office of Economic Development in 2010. Over her 30-year career, Saltman, has been CEO of an advertising and public relations agency, a health care advocate and the head of the marketing communications of several major corporations. Originally a journalist and author, she writes and speaks frequently on the topics of innovation and marketing. An active member of the community, she serves on the board of the La Jolla Playhouse and the New Children’s Museum. She is a Medallion Society Member of the La Jolla Music Society, past vice chair and board member of CommNexus San Diego and a co-founder and former board member of CleanTECH San Diego, SD Sport Innovators and Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance. She is also a past board member of San Diego Social Venture Partners. In 2005,  Saltman received the STAR Award from the San Diego Performing Arts League. She is a recipient of the Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) award and Spirit of Commitment Award from the YWCA, and the Women Who Mean Business award from the San Diego Business Journal for achievements in advertising.

Nancy Batterman

Nancy Batterman is CEO of Employment & Community Options (E&CO), a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers low-income adults with developmental disabilities with the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their personal goals and optimum potential in life. With her 25-year dedication, E&CO has supported countless individuals. One of the organization’s most successful programs is the micro-enterprise program that enables developmentally disabled adults to start and run their own small businesses. Another success is the integrated employment program, which places E&CO program participants in paid positions with local employer partners throughout San Diego County. Batterman has worked to build lasting relationships with employers, which enables E&CO to more quickly and easily provide participants with employment.  In addition to her work with E&CO, Batterman is in the process of becoming a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) surveyor. CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services, which assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards. As a surveyor, she will have the opportunity to travel to programs in other states and award them a CARF accreditation. The opportunity will enable Batterman, E&CO and San Diego to remain ahead of any changes in standards in the practices of health and human services. Batterman has accepted the position of chairperson of the Public Policy Committee of the California Disability Services Association, where she is actively participating on the budget subcommittee, the legislative committee, and the system-design subcommittee. As a result, Nancy will be able to directly influence the public policy agenda and the messages sent to legislators.

Wendy Forkas

Wendy Forkas is the chief operating officer at Employment & Community Options (E&CO), where she’s responsible for the day-to-day program operations. She oversees execution of consumer programs including vocational services, integrated-employment services, independent-living services and behavioral services as well as the safety program, quality assurance and program development. With 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, Forkas is perfectly poised to understand the needs of E&CO and the San Diego community. She is working to partner with San Diego State to bring an autism certification course to E&CO staff in response to the increasing number of autistic individuals in the community. Courses like this will help ensure staff has the necessary training to provide effective services to people who are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum in E&CO programs. Forkas is in the process of expanding a program already in place in the Vista School District. The district’s Integrated Employment Services program helps provide job training and paid employment upon graduation for students with developmental disabilities. The program helps students transition to the world of paid employment in a way that sets them up for independence in the future. Forkas is in talks to expand these transition services in other North County school districts. Forkas works with other resources and organizations in San Diego to unify and support San Diego’s community of developmentally disabled adults. In coordination with E&CO CEO Nancy Batterman, Forkas is meeting with the directors of Sierra Academy and Springall Academy, private providers of specialized education program services to special needs students, to establish working partnerships and better the education and training of students with developmental disabilities. Forkas recognizes the importance of integration and collaboration between organizations in our communities, and thanks to her hard work, more people are being helped than ever before.

Sondra R. Levine

Sondra R. Levine is a well-respected attorney at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith (LBBS), a large San Diego law firm. Regarded as a “superstar associate,” she is highly sought after for complex and class-action litigation matters. Early in her career with LBBS, Levine became lead associate in the consolidation and representation of more than 300 individual defendants in a San Diego Superior Court case. She played a pivotal role drafting the motion that resulted in the dismissal of the charges. As part of her work Levine realized that her clients were spending immense amounts of time and money on cases that could have, and should have been avoided, never reaching litigation. Deciding to pursue mediation and conflict-resolution as an innovative and creative way to approach dispute resolution, in 2011 she formed Synergy Resolution Group, a company that works with schools, businesses and community organizations to teach conflict-resolution skills and develop peer mediation groups. This year, Levine presented a seminar titled “Flashpoint: Using Conflict-Resolution Skills to Tame Tensions and Turn Down the Heat in Workplace Disputes,” at the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Law Day Conference. She was the youngest presenter at the conference and the only associate attorney to present. An active alumnus at the University of San Diego School of Law, she is regularly invited to attend career- development events for law students, has spoken on career development panels and served as a volunteer judge for law student mock-trial and moot-court competitions. Levine also serves as a volunteer mediator for the San Diego Superior Court, Small Claims Division and a community mediator for North County Life Line and the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego. In 2011 she was recognized as one of San Diego’s Top Young Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript.

Jeanne McAlister

79-year-old Jeanne McAlister, founder and CEO of McAlister Institute, has been offering the chance at a better life to thousands of alcoholics, drug addicts and the homeless since she founded the institute in 1977. The institute currently serves more than 2,500 men, women, children and teens each month in San Diego County with inpatient and outpatient services and vocational training. McAlister, 55 years sober, knows what it’s like to feel helpless and hopeless. Her drinking began at 14, two years after she ran away from her home and dysfunctional family. Ultimately, she entered Alcoholics Anonymous after her alcohol abuse spiralled out of control. It wasn’t until she had been sober for 15 years that she entered therapy and suddenly recognized an ability to help others. Hers is a perfect inspirational story on second chances and the potential of taking one’s toughest struggles and turning them into one’s greatest legacy. The San Diego McAlister Institute’s mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost substance abuse services to those who need a way out of the vicious cycle of addiction. The institute has earned recognition as one of San Diego County’s leading resources for the compassionate care and treatment of individuals and families suffering from addiction and homelessness. It has numerous programs, one specifically helping mothers and children. Known as the Kiva Women and Children’s Learning Center, the program is a long-term residential program (six to 12 months) for substance-abusing women and their children. Services include assessment, educational workshops in topics such as life skills, vocational training, health, and relapse prevention, as well as treatment planning, individual and group counseling and parenting instruction. McAlister has received numerous awards, most recently the 2010 Mental Health Person of the Year Award from the county’s Mental Health Recognition Committee.

Alexis Parker

Alexis Parker, executive director of HomeAid San Diego, is a passionate and dedicated advocate for  the homeless, which in San Diego County is an epidemic. An estimated 10,000–15,000 people are without a home on any given night in our county.  HomeAid, a nonprofit organization founded in 1989, works closely with 18 active chapters in 12 states. With the mission to build dignified housing where homeless families and individuals can rebuild their lives, the HomeAid Shelter Development Program consists of the generosity of homebuilders and suppliers, where the homeless can learn the job and life skills necessary to return to the mainstream society.  HomeAid’s shelters serve abused children, victims of domestic violence, homeless veterans, at-risk teens, people living with HIV/AIDS, the temporarily unemployed, and victims of natural disasters and other catastrophes. HomeAid has recently completed a major remodel of seven cottages in Normal Heights for young homeless mothers and their dependent children and, within just a few years, has built seven projects that provide more than 45,000 bed nights each year in San Diego County. The total retail value of construction for these seven projects exceeds $2,200,000— 93 percent of which was donated by builders and their trade partners. HomeAid’s Shelter Development Program is the largest developer of housing for the temporarily homeless in the U.S. with 30 new shelters currently in development. To date, HomeAid has completed 275 multi-unit shelters, 134 shelter renovations with a total value of $175 million with 48 percent donated by the building industry. Within these shelters, 140,000 homeless people have been housed around the country. HomeAid’s Shelter Development Program is in continuous motion due to builders who construct shelters for service providers to care for the homeless and then recruit trade contractors and suppliers to assist. Upon completion, shelters are donated to service provider.

Shannon Van Buskirk

Shannon Van Buskirk is a serial Internet entrepreneur, wife, mother and someone who has dedicated her work to thanking and honoring those who protect and serve. Last year, Buskirk co-founded GovX Inc., which operates GovX.com, now the most popular online shopping destination that offers substantial discounts exclusively for those who serve, or have served, in the U.S. Armed Forces and related government agencies. She works to identify manufacturer/partners who devote themselves to the cause of taking care of men and women who serve the nation. Going one step further, GovX donates a portion of its e-commerce proceeds to military and law-enforcement associations and foundations such as the Marine Corps Association & Foundation and the Air Force Veteran Benefits Association, among many others. The phone calls and emails that come across Shannon’s desk each day are outpourings of appreciation for the help and recognition that GovX provides to military personnel and their families. With the huge military presence in San Diego and a large number of San Diego-based manufacturer partners, Buskirk is helping to drive the local economy by providing new sales channels to local companies, new jobs to San Diego, and new ways to show appreciation to those who protect and serve the nation and its communities.

Donna Cellere

Donna Cellere is one of the owners of Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. in the Grantville area of San Diego. She is an amazing woman who motivates and encourages young women in business through hands-on training and guidance. Cellere  produces desserts and breakfast pastries for the San Diego community with a small team of young women. She has built the baking team over the last five years to six full-time employees and a rotating spot for students from nearby colleges. The company has set up an internship program with Hi-Tech High where a teenage student is able to work and learn fromt the commercial baking team for their school project. Cellere is a former Navy chef who was hand-selected to cook for both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the White House. Spanning approximately 10 years, she cooked and baked in the White House kitchens for foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and celebrities like Dolly Parton and Tom Selleck. The staff at Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. is fortunate to have Cellere leading their team. A spokesperson for the company says the team has never met a more trustworthy and hard working woman in all the time they have been in the food and beverage industry (one of the toughest to survive). They are proud to be a part of this company with her at the helm.

Jo Dee Catlin Jacob

Jo Dee Catlin Jacob, CEO of  Girl Scouts, San Diego-Imperial Council, completed a 27-year U.S. Navy career, reaching the rank of captain and as commanding officer of the Naval Station in Guam. She joined Girl Scouts in 2001 and used her military savvy to originate Operation Thin Mint, through which San Diegans will send their 2 millionth box of Girl Scout Cookies to deployed military troops this year. Jacob led a successful $5.5 million capital campaign for the addition of new structures and facilities to the Girl Scout properties that serve nearly 43,000 girl and adult members. To launch the next century of Girl Scouting, she infused her council with learn-by-doing programs  to prepare girls for the future, ranging from STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) career programs to a vibrant new visual/performing arts initiative. Through her work, Girl Scouts San Diego was selected by Girl Scouts of the USA as a national model for Latina outreach, and as one of its 19 national STEM-advocacy councils. Jacob keeps Girl Scouting affordable through successful fundraising efforts. She oversees an outreach program that makes  scouting accessible to 8,000 girls of diverse backgrounds each year, including those in the foster-care system, shelters, detention centers and low-income neighborhoods. Her numerous honors include a national Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award; a Nonprofit Leadership Fellowship to Harvard Business School; San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired Chief Executive Officer Award; San Diego Women’s Club: Celebrating Women Award (2009); Nonprofit Management Solutions: Executive Excellence Award (2004).  She has also received widespread accolades for collaborating with for-profit and nonprofit organizations. These efforts include partnerships with sponsors Sharp Health Plan, AT&T and SDG&E. The University of San Diego recently presented Girl Scouts San Diego with the Kaleidoscope Award for Exceptional Governance. Jacob also is president of the 100-year-old San Diego Rotary Club.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com