Women Who Impact San Diego
Introducing Some Remarkable Women
Debra Schwartz is president and chief executive officer of Mission Federal Credit Union. Under her leadership, Mission Federal had grown in membership, given back to the community and provided employees with an exceptional salary and benefits program. She joined Mission Federal in 2007 as an executive vice president. Some of the initiatives she ‘s been most proud of have ranged from having a more robust enterprise-risk management program that has become an integral part of how Mission Federal is run, to marketing enhancements that have led to a greater impact on the company’s results. Prior to join- ing Mission Federal, Schwartz was the chief financial officer at First Future Credit Union and an executive vice president at San Diego County Credit Union. Throughout her career she has dedicated her time and talent to a variety of nonprofit or- ganizations, focused on youth, financial literacy and the credit union movement. She serves on the executive committee of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, a member of the board of the Mission Federal Community Foundation and the governing board of Junior Achievement. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the State University of New York and holds an MBA degree from the University of Southern California.
Mary Ann McGarry is president and chief executive officer of Guild Mortgage Company. She began her career at Guild in 1984 as a supervisor in internal audit after a successful career in public accounting. Within three years at Guild, she was promoted to senior vice president of loan administration and information technology. She was named to the Guild board of directors in 1988 and promoted to president in 2005 and CEO in 2007, when she led a management buyout of the company from its founder. Guild has become one of the fastest growing independent mortgage banking companies in the U.S. and now has more than 250 branch and satellite offices and 2,300 employees in 25 states. In March, Guild closed $1.27 billion in mort- gages, the first time it had closed more than $1 billion in mortgages in any single month. Its $2.85 billion in closed mortgages in the first quarter of 2015 was the highest quarter in its history. McGarry created the Guild Giving Program which encour- ages employees to donate time and money to worthy causes. Beneficiaries include Habitat for Humanity, Big Sky Senior Services, Center for Children and Families, Salvation Army, Windward Domestic Violence Shelter, Hawaii Foodbank, the Green Beret Foundation, the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Children’s Cancer Association.
K. Ann Brizolis is recognized as one of the top Realtors in Southern California. The Wall Street Journal has named her one of the top 100 Realtors in the country. She represents buyers and sellers in the execution of real estate transactions involving extraordinary luxury properties while consistently upholding the highest ethical and professional standards of the real estate industry. Brizolis and her team maintain complete discretion, privacy and confidentiality to maximize their clients’ best inter- ests. Since 2000, Brizolis has closed more than $1 billion in transactions. Ann Brizolis & Associates is partnered with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, allowing her team to combine the only truly international residential brokerage brand with the strength of its local brand, creating unparalleled opportunity for the marketing and sale of its clients’ luxury homes. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business and management at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is a member of the Ran- cho Santa Fe Women’s Fund, co-chair of marketing for the UCLA San Diego Fund, supports Children’s Hospital, the Ran- cho Santa Fe Community Center and the La Jolla Country Day School. http://www.kabrizolis.com/
Lynn LaChapelle is a managing director of JLL, a global real estate services firm. She executes, oversees and transacts capital market deals in San Diego and Phoenix. She and her partners lead the valuation, marketing, disposition and financing of premier office properties. LaChapelle has broad-based experience in corporate solutions, leasing and development, having transacted leases, ventures and sales in excess of $10 billion. She earned the No.1 ranking in her office for production in 2014. She is considered one of San Diego’s pre-eminent commercial real estate brokers, regardless of her gender, but as a female star in the industry. She is a member of the JLL’s women leadership team and has mentored several of her capital markets brokers in Washington, D.C., and San Diego. LaChapelle has served as a board member for the Girl Scouts Imperial Council and has served as a board member of the Children’s Museum, the San Diego Community Foundation’s charitable real estate board, the San Diego Center for Children and the San Diego Museum of Art. She channeled her drive, experience and resources to turn 30 acres of vacant land in Escon- dido’s Highland Valley into an estate winery. She and her husband donate five percent of their proceeds from their winery to fund wildlife rescue organizations such as Project Wildlife and Helen Woodward Animal Center.
Crystal Sargent is a big-thinking sales and marketing leader who is passionate about helping businesses and people grow. She draws from a successful 22-year career growing balance sheets and increasing revenue for retail, private and commercial banks through value-driven leadership. As senior vice president of marketing for Torrey Pines Bank, she is a frequent con- tributing writer for business and news publications and is also a sought-after speaker on topics such as leadership, marketing and financial management advice for small business owners and consumers. She serves on several local boards, including the Old Globe Theatre and the Alzheimer’s Association. Sargent is also chair of the San Diego chapter of the Alumni Associa- tion for Illinois Institute of Technology where she earned a master’s degree in business and marketing communications. She received her bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Adriana Cara is a founding partner and shareholder of Cara & Garland APLC, a women and minority-owned law firm. She has practiced labor and employment law for 13 years and is a recognized expert in her area of law. She is regularly con- sulted by members of the media in connection with new developments in laws affecting employers. She is recognized as one of the few lawyers in California who is able to conduct sexual harassment training, employee handbook rollouts and working investigations on behalf of clients in Spanish. Her bilingual and bicultural skills set her apart from her colleagues in the same practice area, and make her an invaluable asset to the legal and business community as a whole. Cara and her partner, Mea- gan Garland, co-authored a piece titled “Empowering Women of Color,” which appeared in a recent issue of SD METRO Magazine. As a female attorney she is sensitive to the challenges facing minority women who are considering a legal career. She and Garland have made it their goal to give back to the community through a nonprofit organization that is intended to assist women of color in the law to hang their own shingles. She is a graduate of UC San Diego and holds her law degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles.
Lupita Morales is the patient services manager for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. In her eight years working for Fresh Start, a San Diego’s children’s nonprofit, she has served the medical needs of over 3,000 children and teens with physical deformi- ties. Through her role as patient services manager, she has overseen that all patients receive a high level of medical care regardless of their families’ income or social status. She has organized and supervised screening clinics with the purpose of spreading the mission to the families that need it most on both sides of the border. She believes that every child deserves a fresh start in life and to have the confidence to accomplish their dreams. To make sure that all children with physical deformities have access to proper medical care, Morales has forged partnerships with the San Diego County School District, the Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as international partnerships with Hospital Infantil Del Las Californias , and ConnectMed Interna- tional and other nonprofit organizations. She has also formed a partnership with Rady’s Children’s Hospital. She is very in- volved with her church’s philanthropy group, The Big Give.
Meagan E. Garland is a business litigator and a founding partner of Cara & Garland. Garland is licensed in both New York and California. Prior to establishing Cara & Garland with her partner, Adriana Cara, she practiced law with Baker & McKen- zie LLP, in both its New York office and former San Diego office. Additionally, she interned for the United Nations at the In- ternational Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia leader in The Hague. She worked on the criminal case that gave rise to the first indictment for the atrocities in the village of Ljuboten. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Spelman Col- lege and her juris doctorate degree from the Boston College School of Law. She is a recipient of the Super Lawyers Rising Star 2015 distinction, and was rec- ognized as one of the Best Lawyers for 2015 by SD METRO Magazine. Garland is currently working toward earning her master’s degree in theology.
Tammi Terrell is vice president and general manager overseeing operations for AT&T Southwest and Hawaii, directing sales and op- erations for more than 1,500 employees, 90 AT&T-owned retail locations and more than 600 national retail partners and authorized re- sellers across the region.
Samantha Prince is a young executive at Taylor Guitars, working with the firm’s chief financial officer. She has always set her sights high. After a trip to Scotland in the 9th grade, she was determined to attend a university there. After graduat- ing from San Diego State University in three and a half years, she attended the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. By the time she had graduated from SDSU, she owned Natural Kidz, an online store that sells eco-friendly product for parents and kids. Prior to joining Taylor Guitars, she was running Natural Kidz at night while working full time at RJS Law where she helped its owner, Ronson Shamoun, streamline and organize the marketing and operations for the firm. Over her time at RJS Law she completed the submission of a 200-page 2014 Better Business Bureau Torch Award. The award highlighted the firm’s commitment to ethics in the workplace and its dedication to outstanding customer service. She has an incredible work ethic that is enviable and a business sense beyond her years.
Diane Cox is the co-founder of a nonprofit, Just in Time, which mobilizes the San Diego community to provide the re- sources and connections that help youth become capable, confident and connected as they transition from foster care to adult- hood. In its 13th year, Just In Time, serves over 700 youth annually from the beginning to the present. During the evolution of Just In Time, Cox’s paying job was that of a title insurance representative in the Rancho Santa Fe region. Over a span of 24 years, she built her company’s market share to over 50 percent and set a bar within the industry for creative resources. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Debra Baker is a journalist, turned lawyer, turned entrepreneur focused on helping law firms drive revenue and expand client relationships in an industry undergoing dramatic change. She started Law Leaders Lab out of her belief that the tradi- tional model for delivering legal services no longer meets the best interests of clients and must change for lawyers to be suc- cessful in the current business client. She is a licensed attorney whose background includes senior marketing and business development positions for both a Global 100 law firm and a leading legal technology company.
Michelle Bergquist is president and CEO of Connected Women of Influence, a community of women who lead projects, teams, people and companies. She is considered a resource for empowering women as leaders and employees. Her experience as a successful business owner, consultant and university instructor coupled with her background in the banking industry means she knows the challenges women leaders face. She has served on the boards of the American Institute of Banking, National Association of Women Business Owners, the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce and the YWCA of San Diego.
Candace M. Carroll is of counsel at Sullivan, Hill, Lewin, Rez and Engel law firm. She is a highly regarded San Diego ap- pellate practitioner with more than 30 years’ experience handling appeals in the federal, state and bankruptcy appellate courts. She is secretary and treasurer of the board of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. She is a director of the San Diego Opera, where she was instrumental in keeping the organization alive after it nearly collapsed in 2014. Carroll has served as an adjunct professor for the University of San Diego Law School. She is a recipient of Duke University’s Law School Charles S. Rhyne Award.
Kellie Hill is sales director of CBRE. In her diverse background she has taken part in retail shopping center development , served as CEO/Principal of a boutique construction management firm and took a role as business line leader for a global real estate firm. She has experience in managing more than 500 construction projects in 45 states with a client list of Who’s Who of companies, including Wal Mart, Famous Footwear, Kilroy Realty, Countrywide Home Loans, Native New Yorker and Di- versified Partners LLC. At CBRE, Hill oversees the occupier professional services. She serves on the Economic Development Committee of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Tamara Romeo is a leading interior design professional. Her company, San Diego Office Design, is now one of the largest commercial interior design firms in San Diego. Quickly becoming known as San Diego’s answer to Silicon Valley design, Romeo calls her “secret sauce” the unique blend of interior planning, graphic design and brand storytelling that her company has become well known for. She is a scholarship recipient and graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Pro- gram. Romeo is a widely published expert in the field of brand engagement through interior design, focusing on design savvy on office and corporate spaces.
Debra Rosen is president and chief executive officer of the North San Diego Business Chamber. In her six years as presi- dent, she has built the chamber into a respected regional business organization, diversifying the membership and its board of directors. She has aggressively advanced a competitive agenda which includes building a strong chamber membership and ad- vocacy, strengthening political relationships, forging a Think Local First initiative, and protecting business interests on a local, state and federal level. She is credited with the turnaround of two under-performing nonprofit organizations. Rosen has de- veloped and implemented strategic plans, restored profitability for member programs and won market share in competitive re- gions while delivering growth for the chamber, it members and business community. Before taking the helm at the chamber she was with the Downtown Business Association of Escondido. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University.
Toni Padron is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Carlsbad Chamber of Com- merce. She runs the day-to-day oper- ations of the chamber with more than 1,400 member companies and organ- izations. She oversees a $1.5 million budget and 10 employees. She created the chamber’s Small Business Center and the Pathways to Success Pro- gram.The center helps small business owners maintain and expand their businesses. Padron is a former president of the Southern California Association of Chamber Executives. She volunteers at Brother Benno’s, Michaelle House and other community projects.
Melanie Palm is the founding director of Art of SkinMD, assistant clinical professor at UCSD, and staff physician at Scripps Encini- tas Memorial Hospital. An interna- tionally recognized expert, Dr. Palm has been featured on numerous tele- vision and radio news shows and has contributed to several magazines and newspaper articles on skin care, skin products, cosmetics and more at the University of Chicago Prizker School of Medicine.She serves multiple leadership roles locally and nationally for organizations such as the San Diego Dermatologic Sur- gery Society, Young Writers Competition and the Ameri- can Academy of Dermatology Leadership Forum.