Women Who Impact San Diego
Women Who Impact San Diego 2014
SD METRO is proud to introduce Women Who Impact San Diego 2014, a group of outstanding professionals who have made a name for themselves in their careers and are making significant contributions to our community.
Amanda Currie is senior vice president of Adconion Direct, the global leader of cross channel digital advertising solutions across display, video, email, mobile and social. She is responsible for leading management, strategic partnerships and business development for the company, which has 600 employees worldwide and has generated more than $1 billion in media spend across Adconion’s unified platform. As a 13-year veteran of the advertising and technology industries, and throughout her tenure at Adconion Direct, Currie has proven herself a dynamic business leader consistently yielding positive results. Prior to Adconion Direct, she was vice president and co-founder of Frontline Direct, a leading performance marketing firm, which was acquired by Adconion Media Group in 2008. She graduated cum laude from Pepperdine University with a degree in international business. Currie was named a Stevie Awards for Women silver medalist for Female Executive of the Year. She strongly believes in “Conscious Capitalism” and business being able to make the world a better place through purpose and values. Each quarter, he company volunteers together at a local organization and each team member is given an additional paid day each quarter to dedicate to community service of their choosing.
Cynthia Morgan is one of those amazing people who manages to excel as a partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack, one of San Diego’s largest and oldest law firms, while having a positive impact on the San Diego community at the same time. She was appointed for a three-year term by former Mayor Jerry Sanders to serve as a director of Civic San Diego (formerly Centre City Development Corp.) in 2011, and has served as treasurer and now chairman of the board. She is on the executive committee of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and on the board of the Equinox Center. She co-chairs the mentoring committee for Lawyers Club and launched a program called “influence” which pairs 50 young attorneys with 20 mentor attorneys in small group settings. Separate from her community involvement, Morgan’s legal expertise has allowed her to represent a diverse clientele that includes San Diego developers, community groups, public agencies and nonprofits. She advises clients on environmental impact reports and statements under the California Environmental Quality Act. She chairs Higgs’ Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism practice. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Notre Dame School of Law.
Nora E. Vargas
Nora Vargas is vice president of community and government relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest who has broad experience in nonprofit management, government, politics and public policy. In her role at Planned Parenthood, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the overall vision and plan for the agency and government relations department through community collaboration, outreach, education and advocacy. She has served as executive director of the Latino Issues Forum, a statewide nonprofit public policy and advocacy institute dedicated to advancing new and innovative public policy solutions for a better, more equitable and prosperous society. She was the founding director of the City of Los Angeles Office of Immigrant Rights. An accomplished political consultant, Vargas has directed successful campaigns at the federal, state and local levels, including work with Sacramento-based Kaufman Campaign Consultants. She holds degrees from the University of San Franciso and San Diego State University.
Renae Arabo is the chief marketing officer for RJS Law Firm. She brings to the firm more than 20 years of finance and accounting background along with a strong talent for marketing and public relations. She previously worked at Neighborhood National Bank where she assisted in community outreach and public relations. Her diverse background includes more than 10 years as a property manager for Shamoun Investments Co. where she marketed and operated an impressive portfolio of commercial and real estate properties throughout San Diego County. This experience, alongside the four years she spent owning and operating the Fashion Flooring and Design Center, led to her serving as project manager and chief designer on a number of large-scale residential and commercial remodeling projects, including the remodel of the RJS Building in Downtown San Diego. She is particularly passionate about promoting business development in the East County where she has lived for more than 40 years. She is vice chair of events for the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the chamber’s board. She is a prominent member of San Diego’s Chaldean Community.
Julie Thomas is president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates and is a noted speaker, author and consultant. In a career spanning more than 24 years, she credits her mastery of the ValueSelling Framework for her own meteoric rise through the ranks of sales, sales management and corporate leadership positions. She began her career at Gartner Group. In 1999, she became vice president of Gartner’s Sales Training for the Americas, which included successfully managing the training of new hires in the ValueSelling process. Thomas has extensive experience applying, coaching and reinforcing the ValueSelling application by sales executives and managers. Thomas has personally consulted and trained in a wide variety of industries and corporations, including Marquis Jet Partners, Exclusive Resorts, the Ken Blanchard Companies, NetJets, Rosetta Stone and Input. She is a sought-after speaker at industry events. She has been a guest lecturer at Babson University and the University of Michigan. Thomas is on the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and involved heavily in her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.
Arlene Lieberman is a principal at Barney & Barney, one of the nation’s largest and longest standing insurance brokerages. She joined the firm in 1997 and through hard work and dedication was asked to join the ownership group in only five years. Her success in a typically male-dominated industry is nothing short of extraordinary. As a practice group leader, she is responsible for the management of 20 Barney & Barney associates. She is also responsible for the development and design of employee benefit packages for large national and international employer groups. She works tirelessly to establish strategic short- and long-term objectives to help her clients control benefit costs and has even implemented numerous consumer-driven models supported by Health and Productivity Wellness Programs to support her strategy. She is committed to giving back to the community and strives to incorporate volunteerism and charitable acts into her professional and personal life. She is actively involved with Walden Family Services, a private, San Diego-based nonprofit that provides quality care to abused and neglected children.
Erin Lewis is the producer and executive director of the San Diego Musical Theater. The Musical Theater was founded by Erin and Gary Lewis on Sept. 25, 2006, as a professional, nonprofit, musical theater organization that produces Broadway musicals. Erin grew up in San Diego where her family enjoyed attending local productions. When her daughter began performing at local theaters more than 20 years ago, Lewis soon discovered that she wanted to become more involved in the San Diego theatrical community and volunteered her services, time and resources. While owning and operating a successful business for more than 34 years, she decided the time was right to add an exciting new adventure and San Diego Musical Theater was born. San Diego Musical Theater is proud of its Boys and Girls Club outreach program and the men and women of the local military bases are invited to attend a special performance of each production.
Angela Landsberg, a native San Diegan, grew up in the neighborhood of North Park. She is currently the executive director of North Park Main Street, a Business Improvement District dedicated to revitalization and business development. Landsberg began working in communities in San Diego in 1995 serving as a legislative representative for Councilwoman Christine Kehoe. Working at City Hall, she was a liaison between the San Diego City School District and 3rd District Council. Her experiences in public education inspired her to begin a new career as an educator for San Diego Unified School District. While working in schools with high populations of English language learners she became a vocal advocate for program support in San Diego’s public schools. Involvement in her community drew Angela to be a part of the revitalization occurring in North Park’s commercial district, becoming executive director of North Park Main Street.
Sara Katz is president and founder of Katz & Associates, providing public affairs and strategic communications services since 1986. Before forming her own company, she had been a successful political consultant and a member of former Mayor Pete Wilson’s staff. Early on, she connected with a highly visible and debated sewer upgrade project for the city of San Diego. After a successful pursuit, this led to a multi-decade long charge within San Diego County — and indeed nationwide — to educate communities about wastewater treatment, water recycling, conservation and the beneficial use of the precious and limited resource called water. Her reputation for engaging the community through innovation public involvement progams has led to the firm’s expansion into markets throughout the United States.
Barbara Eldridge is president and founder of Mind Masters, an organization that encourages, challenges and stimulates business development, financial growth and personal and professional change. She is coordinator for Automotive Service Council, NAFE, Connected Women of Influence (CWI), Greater San Diego business Association/BNG and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Eldgridge won the 2010 President Obama Volunteer & Community Service Bronze Award, the 2009 San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year Award in Business and the San Diego Women Inc. Leader of the Year in 2007. She is a graduate of Rivier College in Boston.
Dr. Cheryl Rode
Dr. Cheryl Rode is the director of clinical operations at the San Diego Center for Children. The center, founded in 1887, is San Diego’s oldest accredited children’s nonprofit organization, offering comprehensive treatment programs for children and teens struggling with behavioral, emotional and educational challenges. She completed her clinical internship training at the UCSD Department of Psychiatry-Veterans Administration Medical Center. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Diego and Rady’s Children Hospital of San Diego. Before joining the Center for Children, she was a member of the Psychology Service at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.
Anne Benge is president of Unisoure Solutions San Diego. Unisource is one of California’s leading providers of workplace design, furniture management and facilities services. Her successful career is based upon contributing to the accomplishments of other companies and individuals. Unisource began five years ago at the height of the recession when the company for which Anne worked suddenly closed. Within two weeks, she found a new opportunity for herself and her entire staff of 13 by opening the local office of Unisource. Under her leadership, Unisource has built significant market share and garnered dozens of prized clients, including Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Sanford Rose, Sony Electronics, Dart Therapeutics, Nuvasive, ViaSat, Qualcomm, SAIC, Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Navy. She has mentored 15 women in the past six years through Women Unlimited.
Shawn Covell is vice president of government affairs for Qualcomm Inc. In this capacity, Covell helps manage global operations and strategic planning of a 60-plus member government affairs team. Covell also oversees two key government affairs teams responsible for elevating Qualcomm’s profile among policy makers, opinion leaders and governments. Qualcomm’s public affairs is responsible for strategic communications, public policy initiatives and legal communications. Qualcomm’s corporate citizenship initiative, Wireless Reach, strives to bring wireless technology to underserved communities around the world with a goal of creating sustainable advanced wireless projects that strengthen economic and social development.
Previously, Covell was senior director for Southeast Asia Government Affairs, based in Hong Kong. In that role, she directed Qualcomm’s public policy agenda and its relationship with government entities in Southeast Asia.
Misty Moore is a vice president of JLL who has negotiated hundreds of lease transactions valued in excess of $275 million since 1998. She began her career as a tenant rep at Walsh Chacon, where she was promoted to principal within four years of starting at an entry-level position. From there she went on serve as vice president of corporate services for the Staubach Companies, which merged with JLL (then Jones Lange LaSalle) in 2008. She is co-chair of the firm’s San Diego Law Firm Practice Group. Moore has served as a board member and national delegate for CREW, the leading local organizartion representing women in commercial real estate. She serves on the board of the AjA Project, a nonprofit organization. In 2009, she was named a 40 Under 40 award winner by SD METRO Magazine.
Ellen Miller-Sharp is the executive director of the San Diego County Bar Association. In six years with the association, she led the relocation of the association’s headquarters to new offices art 401 West A Street and in June will accept a Gold Circle award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) for the launch of the new “Bar Center at 401” and the innovative campaign she led to bring members and non-members alike into the new space. Miller-Sharp has been instrumental in reinvigorating the organization’s advocacy efforts for restoration of court funding and reinvestment in California’s judicial branch. She is a director on the executive board of the parent network at Urban Discovery Academy, a Downtown charter school.
Jeanne McAlister is a remarkable woman who helps thousands of teens and adults regain their lives through recovery every month. She is 81 years young and has been clean and sober for 57 years. After struggling with addiction for 10 years, she was able to turn her life around and she now dedicates her life to helping others with recovery. She founded The McAlister Institute in 1977 and now helps more than 2,500 adults and teens every month through 25 different programs that represent a continuum of care that spans prevention, outreach, intervention, deferred entry programs, outpatient treatment and sober living. She still manages the day-to-day duties as chief executive officer at McAlister Institute.
Lorraine Huchinson is deputy chief in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and was named the Susan G. Komen San Diego 2014 Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor. She launched her fire service career with the San Diego Fire Rescue Department (SDFD) in May 1990. She is also a paramedic. She is the first African-American woman in the history of the SDFD to be promoted to engineer, captain, battalion chief and just recently, deputy chief. In November 2012, after being diagnosed with diabetes and struggling to lose 35 pounds, she was stunned to receive a diagnosis of Stage 1B breast cancer. She did not have a family history of breast cancer and she could not feel her tumor — a mammogram detected it and saved her life. As the 2014 Honorary Survivor she hopes to help educated San Diegans, especially in the African-American community, that early detection and education is imperative.
Anneke Stender is vice president of TAG Family CFO. She started her career art TAG in 2003 as the company’s corporate controller and has been promoted continuously to become a key member of the executive management team. In 2007, she developed the TAG Family CFO division and facilitated the acquisition of McKean Financial in La Jolla. TAG Family CFO has grown in revenues each year by 25 percent with 95 percent client retention serving more than 100 affluent families and high-net worth individuals in San Diego and Orange counties. TAG Family CFO opened an office in Rancho Santa Fe in 2012 and another office in Newport Beach in 2014. Stender is involved with several business associations in San Diego. She is a summa cum laude graduate of San Diego State University.
Karen E. Deschaine
Karen Deschaine is a senior associate in the business practices group at Cooley LLP, an international law firm known for its experience and passion for life sciences and technology companies. A graduate of West Point (with a degree in economics) her professional life began as an officer in the U.S. Army. She spent more than seven years on active duty, serving in places such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Seoul, South Korea and Fort Jackson, S.C. During her time in the Army, she commanded two companies, and earned numerous medals and awards. Deschaine earned her master’s degree from Auburn University. She earned her law degree from UCLA.