2011 Awards


October 26th, 2011
“Leadership, Legacy & the Inspiration Awards”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
˜ Winston Churchill

We would like to identify and publicly recognize those unique businesses and/or individuals who are cultivating and living a spirit of positive social impact in our community … those who inspire each of us to use our talents to benefit the businesses, families and our communities.

View Photo Gallery HERE

The 2011 Inspiration Awards Honorees and Nominees

The Legacy Inspired Stories

The Honorees


Ken Blanchard
The Blanchard Companies

Blanchard 2011 Awards

Ken Blanchard has been impacting San Diego in many, many ways. Most recently, he is spurring us on through his desire to truly bring leaders forward in San Diego. His leadership initiative is brilliant … A diverse group of citizens committed to unify the county and city of San Diego around service so our city truly is transformed into America’s finest city.

The world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model. Everyone has seen the effects of self serving leaders in every aspect of our society. Therefore, it is Ken’s hope that five years from now (9/2015) people from all over the world will be flying into San Diego, not only because of our fabulous weather, and the fact that our city is a wonderful vacation destination, but because they want to learn how we have become a servant leadership town where our public sector (government and education), private sector (business, media, and arts/entertainment), and service sector (families and religion) are able to work together to solve any problem in a cooperative and serving way to create a community that works for everyone and leaves no one out.

Two values will guide the journey – The Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you … and Walk humbly with a servant heart…..

Nominated By:
R J Kelly


Blair Cannon
Bernstein Global Wealth Management

Blair Cannon, a philanthropist and vice president of Bernstein Global Wealth Management in San Diego, completed a 21-mile swim across the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to Rancho Palos Verdes on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 to raise money and awareness for the Monarch School and the Great Friends Foundation, and to show at-risk youth that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. Blair took on the challenge with only six months to train for the grueling swim that fewer than 200 people have successfully completed solo. He not only successfully crossed the Channel, but he did it with flair, earning the fourth fastest time in the world.

Blair’s primary motivation, in addition to raising awareness and financial support for charity, was to set an example for the kids that anything is possible if they work hard enough and stay committed to their goals. Fundraising efforts supporting Blair’s swim raised more than $110,000. As noted, the swim benefited the Monarch School, the San Diego-based public K-12 school for children impacted by homelessness, and the Great Friends Foundation Scholarship Program for children of the military
in San Diego.

Nominated By:

Jon Schimmer


Helena JayasuriyaJayasuriya
Jayasuriya and Associates

Helena Jayasuriya’s mission in life became clear in 1998 when her nephew Dusty was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Duchenne is a devastating form of Muscular Dystrophy with rapidly worsening muscle weakness, there is no cure, patients typically lose the ability to walk by the age of twelve and usually only live to the young age of twenty-five.

Helena became the Executive Director of Duchenne San Diego, their mission “Committed to working with individuals and organizations in the San Diego region and beyond to positively impact the lives of children and young adults with Duchenne.” This sparked the start of Kick for a Cure Soccer Tournament and Family Festival which became a year-round organization dedicated to fundraising for DMD.

I asked Helena’s husband Jason Gordon, another dedicated member of the Duchenne San Diego Family, to help me get across the impact Helena has and these are his words; “Just as some people have a natural drive to make money or be the best in sports, Helena Jayasuriya derives an intrinsic rush from making the lives of others more enriched and fulfilled. She often uses the phrase “I received a million dollar paycheck today” when describing a break-through or impactful moment she had with someone earlier that day.”

Nominated By:

Heather and Ben Mason


Dr George McKinneyMcKinney
St. Stephens Church of God in Christ

Bishop G. D. McKinney has been a positive force in Southeast San Diego for over 25 years. This area (where I live) often leads San Diego county in negative areas such as poor heath, job disparities, crime, illiteracy, school drop-out rates… There are several businesses and organizations, like the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center and Marketcreek Plaza, committed to building up Southeast San Diego. Still, the lifetime commitment of Bishop McKinney inspires me like no other.

Bishop McKinney has built churches, schools, senior housing facilities and more to boost this area. He is also committed to developing the Valencia Business Park off Imperial Avenue to add community employment and growth opportunities where they are desperately needed. He has not swayed from his vision despite significant obstacles over the years. A leader of a large church congregation, he still makes time to speak to anyone, from the seasoned senior to the curious little child and from the gangster to the do-gooder.

I have a desire to see Southeast San Diego prosper. Bishop McKinney inspires me to follow his example in the pursuit of this goal.

Nominated By:

James Jackson Jr.


James Mulvaney, Jr.Mulvaney
Alliant Insurance Services

Jim Mulvaney has been Vice President with Alliant Insurance Services for over 20 years. It’s easy to make friends quickly with Jim and benefit seriously from his influence and connections. He is a willing mentor and business coach to his clients and prospects alike. On a voluntary basis, he’s always eager to help small business grow in San Diego.

His impressive career is not Jim’s passion. What he really enjoys is giving back to the San Diego community. He does this through donating to worthy causes and organizations. More importantly, he devotes considerable personal time and energy to help and influence local organizations. He has actively participated on: The USD School of Education Board, Big Brothers & Sisters Board, Walden Family Services, St. Vincent de Paul Board (current Chairman), and Cathedral Catholic Alumni Board (founder). He also serves an endless list of nonprofit committees: San Diego Center for Children, Vista Hall, McAllister Institute, and many others.

Yes, Jim is an impressive professional and a lovable friend and business associate. More importantly, he’s a humble, but incredibly effective servant sharing his wisdom and personal legacy with less fortunate people and causes.

Nominated By:

Ed Sternagle

The Nominees


Kai Adler
Blue Wave

Blue Wave Clean Air™ Technology addresses the challenge of indoor air pollution with a totally new technology platform.

The growth in the global air quality sector is driven by consumers and industry needs for advanced air purification treatment methods to solve indoor air pollution problems, particularly asthma, biological pollutants, tobacco smoke, VOCs (Volatile Or-ganic Compounds), “sick building syndrome” and “sick cruise ship syndrome” which are, collectively, a significant pain factor costing business billions of dollars.

The “vision” has been developed over the last 10 years with the primary intent to improve the quality of indoor air in both residential and commercial settings. The company’s extraordinary cost-reduction gains in pollution removal will change the paradigm of air treatment.

The technology has proven effective against an extreme range of microorganisms including legionnaires, Swine Flu, mold spores, and MRSA. Independent third party testing by University of Arizona plus other respected institutions builds a strong foundation for substantiation of this amazing innovative technology.

Nominated By:

Tim Owens


Stephen R. Brown
Built an Elementary School in Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Retired San Diego attorney Stephen R. Brown had extraordinary challenges when he set out to build an elementary school in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It all began with a promise Brown, 64, made to himself, 10 years ago. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Brown resolved to do something to help make similar aggressions against the country less likely. But he was too old to join the military, and he didn’t have any concrete ideas.

Inspired to act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Brown has helped facilitate about $7 million in contributions from various groups and individuals to build and support schools and other programs throughout Jalalabad — a city of about 200,000 in eastern Afghanistan. Brown has poured $200,000 of his own money into the city, which he has visited 11 times. Today, he works alongside NATO, the U.S. State Department and USAID. For his efforts, Brown has been honored with this year’s Global Citizen Diplomat Award by the San Diego Diplomacy Council.

Mohammad Ishaq, personal attaché, had this to say, “Mr. Brown is a unique individual whose heart beats for helping people in need. I have seen his personal affection for the people of Afghanistan and especially the communities of Nangarhar Province. We all love him as a true friend and as a person who does not make promises, but does a lot for the communities. He has always served the people above himself.”

Nominated By:

Joel Grushkin


William ChaseyChasey
Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility

William Chasey is the Founder and President of the Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility in Warsaw, Poland. They feed 60,000 hot meals each month to poor Polish children in 15 Polish schools. The Foundation is an international network of corporate CEOs working in Poland to affect positive social change through targeted corporate philanthropy. With Chasey’s inspiration, the Foundation is a hands on training ground for multi-national firms to inculcate the values of corporate social responsibility in the communities in which they work. The Foundation’s mission is to mentor senior corporate leaders, giving them skills for developing corporate social responsibility values in their firms.

The primary focus of the Foundation is to serve needy Polish children. The Foundation’s 90 members include CEOs of some of the world’s largest and most well-regarded corporations from a diverse and broad range of industry sectors. To date, the Foundation has fed over 4 – million meals to needy Polish children, and presently feeds 60,000 meals each month to 3,000 kids in 15 Polish Schools.

Bill was a senior member of the 1980 Reagan Campaign Staff.

Nominated By:

R.J. Kelly


Phil HarrisHarris
Dream Dinners

Phil Harris, owner of a local Dream Dinners meal preparation business in Poway CA, has been adding his “life ingredients” of community leadership, a platform for numerous volunteer opportunities to invest back in to the Friends and Family Community Connection members of San Diego and starving families in Africa, Haiti and other ravished areas needing immediate relief.

Phil is a businessman who makes a living helping people package up easy, healthy meals for their families and he is making a difference by helping hungry families in his community and across the globe. He first started researching how he might be able to help feed the needy in San Diego County several years ago. He now donates money and food to many organizations in the region. It was a result of those efforts that he discovered the need to send meal packets to desperately poor people in Tanzania.

I have personally known Phil Harris for about 3 years and he is a man that leaves you better than when he finds you. His enthusiasm for “going beyond himself” and even his resources to touch the world and his backyard is AMAZING!!

He is an amazing man who is not looking for recognition this side of heaven, but many would agree he deserves it!

Nominated By:

Wayne Schmidt


Andrew KesslerKessler
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Andrew Kessler, an attorney at Procopio, was named the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. The mission of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program is “to provide equal access to the justice system by serving as a bridge between indigent and other disadvantaged people in San Diego County and the volunteer lawyers and others who are willing to donate their time and resources.”

Their vision is that all people in San Diego County enjoy equal justice and access to legal services without regard to economic status.

Andrew received the prestigious award as a result of devoting hundreds of hours effectively defending innocent victims of domestic violence, an inherently challenging and volatile arena.

Nominated By:

Jon Schimmer


David Moya
First California Mortgage Company

David Moya started the “The Carmel Valley Life” webpage, blog, and facebook account where he interviews and spotlights different business owners and helps to bring the community more of a community through education. When I speak to David he always inspires me or others that he is around, he participates and contributes with different charities.

The purpose of this Carmel Valley Community site is to create a movement to positively impact and highlight Carmel Valley San Diego and its residents, by creating a resourceful site of valuable content that is managed and run by its community members. The belief is that the more connected a community is, the better quality of life it can provide its members, and the stronger it will become as a whole. We hope to be a model to not only the rest of San Diego County, but to the rest of the Country as well.

Nominated By:

Allie Wilson


Nicole Sahin
The International Business Consulting Firm,
High Street Partners

The message Nicole Sahin, of La Jolla, is trying to get across through her partnership with American Assistance for Cambodia is “supplying a young girl in Cambodia with just $10 a month can make her the breadwinner of her family, help to eradicate poverty, and probably keep that child out of the sex trade.” The program seeks to stop the disturbing cycle that places children, girls in particular, into the sex industry.

Nicole M. Sahin has made it her mission to raise funds to start a school for children in rural Cambodia to provide them with an education that will allow them to live a life they could otherwise only dream of. She has visited more than 50 countries and circumnavigated the globe twice.

She has recruited a team of seven inspired women to help her build the school. Their goal is for each to raise $2,500 to 3,000. Her team is comprised of Denise Hummel; Sayaka Adachi, Mary Murphy; Carolyn Taylor Meyer, Jeannette Van Der Velde; and Casie Gambrel.

“I’d been thinking about this for a long time, and once I recruited these women, I knew it was possible to build the school,” Sahin said. “There are two tools to eradicating poverty: educating women and having a well.”

Nominated By:

Allie Wilson


Steven E. Sullivan
Sullivan International Group, Inc.

Steve Sullivan has been Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Sullivan International Group, Inc. since it began in November 1998. As an integral part of the growth of Sullivan International, Steve created a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, “Sullivan Children’s Foundation” (SCF). The mission of SCF is to enhance the quality of life for children throughout San Diego.

As a disabled veteran, Steve has also chosen to sponsor several Veteran Administration (VA) national sports clinics focused on assisting the recently injured with ongoing rehabilitation in a highly interactive sports setting. In September of this year, Sullivan was a major sponsor of the week-long National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic held in San Diego.

Steve also participates in other disabled veteran organizations, helping them become efficient and effective benefits to thousands of disabled veterans. He has been a Board Member and active member of the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Elite (SDVOB-Elite) organization in San Diego. He has contributed sponsorship money and company and personal resources to help this organization become a national and highly respected
nonprofit operation.

Nominated By:

Ed Sternagle