October 2012 Awards


October 24th, 2012 proclaimed “The Center for Wealth & Legacy Inspiration Day”

In the City of San Diego by Mayor Jerry Sanders

Mayor Jerry Sanders congratulated all of the Inspiration Award nominees as the seal was affixed to the Proclamation and signed on October 24, 2012.

View the  City Proclamation 10-24-12 HERE


 View ‘Leadership Seminar’ Photo Gallery HERE

The ‘Spotlight On Legacy’ Speaker, Jay Wentz  – Handouts

 View Jay Wentz Life lessons HERE

View Jay Wentz Business Lessons & What Will Matter Handout HERE

  The Inspiration Awards Honorees and Nominees

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 ‘Inspiration Awards’ Photo Gallery HERE

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

The Nominee’s Stories in Pictures

View Their Pictorial HERE

The ‘Legacy Inspired’ Stories

Azim Khamisa Tariq Khamisa Foundation

Azim Khamisa started the Tariq Khamisa Foundation nine months after his 20-year-old son Tariq was shot and killed by a 14-year-old gang member, Tony Hicks. Working as a pizza delivery driver to earn extra money, Tariq was lured to a dark street and a bogus address. Hicks followed an 18 year old gang member’s orders and pulled the trigger when Tariq refused to hand over the pizza. 18 months later, and after receiving forgiveness from Khamisa, Hicks confessed to the crime. “From the onset, I saw victims on both ends of the gun,” said Khamisa. “I will mourn Tariq’s death for the rest of my life. Now, however, my grief has been transformed into a powerful commitment to change. Change is urgently needed in a society where children kill children,” he said.

Khamisa reached out to Ples Felix, Tony Hick’s grandfather – and together, they have channeled their pain into real action, delivering their message to over 400,000 students through TKF’s programs that teach students about the realities of violence, forgiveness, gangs and the importance of making positive choices in their lives. The foundation’s Safe School Model includes intensive one-on-one mentoring, small group skill building workshops, in-class evidence based curriculum facilitation, violence prevention assemblies, and school-wide community service projects.

And it’s working. TKF completed a study of the program’s impact on four San Diego schools in reducing student misconduct. The results are significant: for youth involved in TKF’s programming.

“Children killing children is not a mark of a civil society,” said Khamisa. “You could take the position that Tony should be hung form the highest pole for taking the life of my only son. How does that improve society? Forgiving Tony and inviting him to join the foundation will make a better society. That is exactly what has happened. We have saved Tony, who has aced his GED in prison and is currently getting his degree in Child Psychology. I can’t wait for him to join us. We have saved him, but he will save many when he is on stage with his grandfather and me sharing his testimony to kids.”
Nominated By: Martha Phillips, Tariq Khamisa Foundation

Dr. Kami Kohani Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

Kami Kohani, DDS, PC, has a private dental practice in La Jolla that specializes in cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. He is also the Co-Director of Advanced Esthetics and Orthodontics at the UCLA Center of Esthetic Dentistry where he continues to educate doctors from all over the world in this field of expertise.

Aside from his impressive career and private practice, Dr. Kohani is dedicated to giving back to the less fortunate, especially to children and teens. He is an active volunteer with Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego non-profit organization that provides free reconstructive surgeries and related medical services to infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities and other conditions.

He provides free dental care to many of Fresh Start’s patients and has been an active volunteer for over five years at 15 dental clinics, providing over $11,000 in donated dental care in 2011 and 2012 alone. He travels around the world participating in dental mission trips.

In one such trip to Tanzania he met an infant girl with a cleft lip and palate.Jackline immediately captured Dr. Kohani’s heart and he dedicated himself to bringing Jackline to San Diego to receive reconstructive surgery and medical care from Fresh Start.

As a host family for Jackline and her mother, Dr. Kohani said, “My commitment to Jackline is for life. I hope to see her graduate from college someday. I promised her parents to see her go all the way, same as my own children.” Jackline and her mother stayed with Dr. Kohani for 3-4 months and Dr. Kohani continues to stay in touch with her now that she has returned to Tanzania.

Dr. Kohani is an inspiration to the dental field and all of San Diego because of his courageous volunteer work and commitment to children in need.
Nominated By: Amanda Thompson, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

Shannon Thompson Shakti Rising

Shannon Thompson leads the San Diego Community by example. Influenced by personal struggles, she pioneered a blueprint for a hybrid social enterprise in the form of a woman-centered social change organization, known as Shakti Rising. The innovative program focuses on empowering other women and incorporates counseling, community activism, health education, and life skills classes for participants, cultivating leadership qualities and social responsibility. This continues to result in a positive ripple effect throughout the entire San Diego community.

Shakti is the Sanskrit word for female energy. Shannon’s agency harnesses the power of women’s empathy, creativity, and community-building through Transformational Recovery (achieving wellness after substance abuse or trauma), Educational and Community Wellness (cultivating healthy, purposeful living), and Transformation Through Service (developing leadership skills). It also provides a home for women in recovery. Shannon’s holistic approach incorporates art and massage therapy, meditation, and yoga into Shakti Rising’s healing repertoire. The organization changes the lives of more than 1,500 women and children a year,

With substantial relationships throughout the community, Shannon leads key conversations surrounding social services, education, healthcare, and sustainable business practices within the San Diego region., Shannon has partnered with some of the most influential entities in healthcare, education, and public services as a proponent of sustainable business practices, leadership and community programs.

Shakti Rising’s very existence shifts the paradigm of non-profits with 30% of income earned, not donated. Initially met with skepticism, Shakti’s practice of generating income as a hybrid-social enterprise is now considered a leading model for non-profits. Maintaining diverse funding avenues enables the program to function according to the needs of the population it serves, while allowing for growth.
Nominated By: Catherine Maranca, Events Happen, LLC

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah Emmanuel Education Fund

The story of athlete and activist, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah who overcame prejudice and all manner of obstacles by riding a bicycle across Ghana to challenge the stigma of being disabled will inspire you. He was born in 1977 with a severely deformed right leg. Yet in 2001, he rode a bicycle 400 miles across Ghana to bring attention to the plight of the disabled in that country. Though he’d mastered pedaling with only one leg, there was another obstacle: he didn’t own a bike. He sought out the Challenged Athlete Foundation in the United States. In July 2002, on a bicycle provided by the CAF, Emmanuel embarked on his journey,

The CAF invited him to participate in the 2002 Triathlon Challenge in San Diego, CA. Doctors from Loma Linda University Medical Center informed him that he was an excellent candidate for a prosthetic leg. Following a successful surgery and six week recovery, Yeboah entered the CAF triathlon, reducing his time by 3 hours.

Receiving approximately $50,000 from awards, he used the money in Ghana, to open the Emmanuel Education Fund for promising students with disabilities. Usually, disabled kids in Ghana have to pay for their education, even at public schools. Emmanuel has since turned his focus toward improving the lives of Ghana’s many disabled citizens In April 2004, at a ceremony at the King’s Palace in Kibi, Ghana, Emmanuel awarded educational scholarships to fifteen disabled children and presented five disabled athletes with sports wheelchairs.

Today, his goal is to build a state-of-the-art sports academy for both able-bodied and challenged athletes, which will employ only the disabled. With the Free Wheelchair Mission, Emmanuel distributed over one hundred wheelchairs to fellow disabled Ghanaians.“When you are a deformed child, people think your mother sinned. I wanted people to know that if you are a disabled person in your leg, you’re not a disabled person in your mind,” Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.
Nominated By: Annette Mason, Evolve Frameworks Group

Gus Cervantes Na Koa Kai Canoe Club

Gus’ passion for working with the today’s youth is manifested through Na Koa Kai Canoe Club in San Diego Ca. Gus started and ran the only Hawaiian cultural immersion program for five years at another local canoe club and also served as the president and head coach for both the adult and youth teams. Following his passion for working with the youth, in February of 2012, Gus founded and incorporated Na Koa Kai Canoe Club, a non-profit youth only Hawaiian cultural immersion program based around health wellness and the Hawaiian canoe.

His passion is to share and teach the Hawaiian culture to the underserved community of Pacific Islanders on the U.S. Mainland with the purpose of building their self-esteem so they will be much more motivated and become far better members of our society. In addition, Gus is also focused on fighting the obesity epidemic plaguing our youth. His in depth knowledge of the Hawaiian culture including the language, history, crafts, chants, values, and prayers, has attracted the attention of many community leaders and the results speak for themselves.

Over 80 percent of the youths who have participated in his program have moved on to college and some have already graduated. Thousands of youths including those from Arizona, Nevada, and California, have benefited from his work over the past six years. This was accomplished in part by sharing of his unique curriculum, workshops, written material, and special events just for youths.

Gus’s vision has quickly turned his new non-profit into an island of Hawaiiana unlike any other and rivaling the best of those available on the Hawaiian Islands.

Nominated By: Catherine Maranca, Events Happen, LLC

Randi Crawford Author of Toxic Motherhood

Every loving mother wants to do what is best for her children. But somewhere along the way, wanting what’s best for our children has turned into wanting our children to be the best. How did our ability to impart important life lessons end up in the back of an SUV under a pile of cleats, pompoms, and soccer balls?

Randi Crawford is like many ordinary moms but what makes her extraordinary is in her upcoming book, Toxic Motherhood. Randi uses humor, anecdotes, and case studies to create a complete “Mom-nalysis.” The book vividly, demonstrates how, when, and why we became a society of toxic mothers.

Toxic Motherhood reveals that in our effort to love our children, we are often doing them a great disservice by prohibiting them from ever experiencing failure; that by shielding them from any harm, we are actually shielding them from challenges and preventing them from learning the valuable life lessons they need to be productive, happy and well-adjusted adults; that while we are busy trying to be our children’s friend, we have lost sight of what it really means to be their parent. And to add insult to injury, we lose our own individual identities independent of being a mom – and forget what it means to be a woman.

The book examines how mothers have arrived here through the generations. Randi details what causes them to be toxic, and the steps that they can take to rehabilitate themselves. As a recovering “Toxic Mom” herself, she explores some of the most common toxic tendencies, the warning signs, and the ramifications that these behaviors are having on our children; shining a light on the fact that it’s not just our kids who still have lessons to learn.

Today Randi has her own radio show on San Diego s KOGO with, “Rant with Randi” a 2 hour program on Sunday nights Now Randi is following her true passion – raising her son, daughter, and inspiring and motivating moms across the country.
Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder, Savii Group

Ken Druck The Jenna Druck Center

The Jenna Druck Center has served tens of thousands of teen girls and bereaved families since 1996 through two award winning programs: Families Helping Families and Spirit of Leadership.

The Center was started as an act of love; a father’s love for his daughter and determination to celebrate her life through two unique programs.

Ken Druck has won countless accolades as an author, speaker, organizational consultant and coach, master facilitator, parent educator and community leader over the past 35 years. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including “Family Advocate of the Year” and “Visionary Leadership” for his innovative body of work with individuals, the community and our nation.

His own personal story began when his daughter was abroad in India on a work-study and the bus she was traveling on rolled over causing her death. To honor Jenna, Ken, his loyal staff, Board and volunteers built the Center’s programs, Families Helping Families (helping families who had lost a child) and Spirit of Leadership (a Jenna creation for teen girls), into highly-acclaimed, award-winning programs.

Today, the Center has directly helped over 7,500 bereaved families and trained over 15,000 young women. It has grown into a pre-eminent organization in empowering young woman to become leaders in their own right.

Ken has appeared in local and national media (television, radio and print) many hundreds of times, including Oprah, Larry King Live, Donahue and Anderson Cooper, helping the general public deal with everything from the day-to-day challenges of living to terrible tragedies.
Nominated By: Rich A. Gaines, J.D., Legacy Legal, Inc

John Gartman The Invention Foundation

John Gartman is one of San Diego’s most successful lawyers. In 2008, he won the largest patent infringement case in U.S. history, overturning a verdict against Microsoft that saved the company $1.5 billion.

A specialist in intellectual property rights, he believes strongly in the primacy of the inventor. He also believes every child is instinctively an inventor, and he and his wife, Jill, recently launched The Invention Foundation in San Diego.

The Invention Foundation supports the development of creativity and innovation through dynamic educational opportunities. It seeks to engage and connect underserved students and teachers with the resources required to build better learning environments for all.

The foundation will initially work with 180 students from underserved middle schools and five teachers to foster invention fairs and creativity camps in conjunction with the San Diego Zoo, whose foundation Gartman also heads.

As a philanthropist concerned with conservation issues, he also sits on the board of Nature & Culture International, an organization that has protected 10 million acres in biodiverse areas of Ecuador and Peru.

When asked, “How did you get involved in giving back?” John replied, “In my early 20s, I began giving to organizations that worked to preserve the oceans and planet — because I grew up knowing that all life deserves respect. Early on, I also gave my time to teaching and tutoring young kids, with a particular love for explaining the natural world and creative thinking and science. I now feel a sense of philanthropic urgency and impatience.”
Nominated By: R J Kelly, Founder & President, Wealth Legacy Family of Companies©

Joel Harris The Art of Healing Heroes

Art expression can renew our ability to communicate through visual means is a wellness practice that is natural to us. Joel Harris has developed a uniquely caring and effective art-therapy program using drawing for soldiers returning from combat and others such as stroke victims, those with disabling brain trauma or amputational limb injuries. Drawings and artwork created depict war as well as a hopeful vision for the future.

Joel helps ” Wounded Warriors ” at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla through Art to help them feel a sense of pride and meaning with their lives. These are quad and paraplegic spinal cord patients who were wounded in action…some have no control of their arms and legs and are missing both.

Joel also developed and facilitates the art-therapy programs at Scripps Memorial Hospital (Encinitas) for TBI (traumatic brain injury) patients and the veterans suffering from PTSD and other physical maladies.

Joel was given a 2012 Volunteer of the Year award by the Country Board of Supervisors for the County of San Diego for his work above and for his work with the Girl Scouts of North County in developing a garden at the VA Hospital.
Nominated By: Rudy Shaffer, Water 4 Life Ministries

Alex Montoya Director Latino Affairs, San Diego Padres

There are some odds that can’t be beat, but Alex Montoya has yet to find them. Living his whole life with prosthetics (born without arms and only one leg), has neither deterred nor discouraged Alex from achieving his dreams. From a young immigrant to the American dream, Montoya overcomes his obstacles with perseverance and a lot of laughter.

Alex tells his story in his book, “Swinging for the Fences, Choosing to Live an Extraordinary Life”. He was born in Columbia to a poor family there. As a child he was given the opportunity to come to America, where the Shriner’s Hospital outfitted him with prosthetic arms and a leg.

He fought to create a life for himself in a new and strange country, and eventually was able to stay in this country. He attended Notre Dame and was hired by the SD Padres, where he has been the Director of Latino Affairs for the past ten years.

Alex speaks regularly to youth and adults on overcoming your adversities – not focusing on what you don’t have, but on what you DO have – always “swinging for the fences”, Alex shares life strategy (using eleven principles) that a person of any age can apply.

From his tiring trials to become a citizen to fulfilling his dream of working in Major League Baseball, from his days at Notre Dame to his days in Hollywood, Alex Montoya’s success is directly credited to his determined will, a conscious choice. His willingness to share his story and his lessons learned is inspiring many not to be satisfied with just getting on base, but choose to live an extraordinary life.
Nominated By: R J Kelly, Founder & President, Wealth Legacy Family of Companies©

Erik Moore Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

Erik Moore, a Certified Family Law Specialist and Partner at Moore, Lewis, Moore, is dedicated to his career, family, and giving back to the San Diego community. Erik earned his law degree from Western State University, was named in the San Diego Super Lawyers list for four years, was nominated as a San Diego County Top Attorney by The Daily Transcript in 2011, and was formerly a court appointed counsel under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.

Erik is extremely dedicated to the San Diego community and is Board President of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego non-profit organization that provides free reconstructive surgeries to infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities and other conditions. Moore has been involved with Fresh Start for over five years and has fundraised and personally donated over $40,000 to support Fresh Start’s patients.

He is committed to helping children and volunteers at the Fresh Start Clinic. He attends almost every Surgery Weekend, where the children receive their medical care.

In honor of his time and commitment to Fresh Start, Moore received the Board of Directors President’s Award in August 2012. Erik’s dedication to Fresh Start has allowed the organization to provide free medical care to over 5,800 children to date. He is also associated with the Junior Seau Foundation and many other community initiatives.
Nominated By: Amanda Thompson, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

Ruthi Solari Super Food Drive

If you are a ” foodie” or a “super foodie” like me (or not) read on to learn more about Ruthi Solari and her passion to alleviate hunger in San Diego while educating children about “nutrition dense super foods”.

Ruthi found inspiration for SuperFood Drive after reading Dr. Steven Pratt’s book, “SuperFoods Rx” which opened her eyes to the health benefits of specific nutrient dense SuperFoods. In January 2009 while at a “Food as Medicine” conference, Ruthi decided she wanted to ensure that SuperFoods were accessible to all individuals, even if they cannot afford fresh produce each week. In June 2009 SuperFood Drive was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

SuperKids for SuperFoods is a service-learning program which educates students on health and the benefits of nutrient-dense foods, while offering a community-wide approach to alleviating hunger in San Diego County.

Ruthi has a Masters in Mind-Body Medicine through Saybrook University and is a Certified Nutritionist through the Natural Healing Institute of Naturopathy in San Diego, CA. She brings her knowledge of behavior modification to the implementation of SuperFood Drive: small changes in how we eat can create large changes in overall health and well being.

Most recently, Ruthi worked as the Nutrition Education Program Specialist for the County of San Diego’s Department of Health and Human Services. Her work included nutrition education for CalFresh (food stamp) populations and community engagement in increasing the accessibility to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods.

To date, there’s not another program that educates children about nutrition dense “super foods” like SuperKids for SuperFoods.
Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder, Savii Group

Jimbo Someck  “It’s In The Bag” Program 

If you have ever shopped at Jimbo’s you’ll notice almost all of their customers use their own shopping bags. There’s a good reason for that because Jim “Jimbo” Someck, founder of Jimbo’s, created a program to help charities in San Diego through an innovative program called “It’s in the Bag”. Here’s how It’s in the Bag works:

When you bring in your own shopping bags, you are eligible to participate in the program. It’s set up to help promote the recycling of shopping bags, reward those customers that reuse their bags, and pass the money saved on Jimbo’s buying grocery bags, on to local charitable organizations. It’s a win for everyone!

When they bag your groceries, they count how many bags are needed. For each of your full sized bags used, Jimbo’s offers you a nickel. You have your choice of a standard U.S. nickel minted by the Treasury Department, or a wooden nickel minted by Jimbo’s. If you choose the U.S. nickel, the change is yours to keep. But, if you choose the Jimbo’s nickel, you have the opportunity to “spend” your wooden nickel in a way that helps one or more local, non-profit organizations.

Four bins are set up by the cash registers, and each bin is designated for one local charity. The organizations change every three months. At the end of each three month period, they count how many wooden nickels are in each bin, and then write a check to each charity for the value of the Jimbo’s nickels (worth 5 cents each). How amazing it that!

Jim “Jimbo” Someck is a man who truly practices what he preaches and he has always felt very fortunate to have a career that reflects his lifestyle and belief system. His dedication to protecting the environment for our childrens’ future and a healthy lifestyle is embodied in his company’s vision statement, “A piece of organic fruit in every child’s recycled lunch bag.” It is also evident in the Jimbo’s “It’s in the Bag” Recycling Program.
Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder, Savii Group

Dejah Urbanovitch Vistage International

Dejah Urbanovitch is one of a kind and someone to look up to! She makes a difference in the lives of others. She impacts those around her on a daily basis. On a larger scale, she makes a significant impact in our community and our world through her numerous charity involvements.

In her career, she provides top notch service and support to Vistage Chairs, Members and Speakers. With a ‘can do’ attitude she is always looking for the next challenge or way she can make a difference.

In her spare time…..Dejah volunteers with numerous organizations and in many cases ends up very quickly running events or chapters and being a mentor to others. She was the founding Chair for the “Bark for Life” event in San Diego in 2011 and also Event Chair for 2012 (through American Cancer Society, raising money and awareness to help the fight against cancer). She also serves as president for two different chapters of Toastmasters and is a mentor.

She is heavily involved with Rainbow Girls and spends quite a bit of time mentoring young girls to make good decisions with their lives. She sets a great example for the girls of how to be a good person and give back.

These are just a few the many selfless things Dejah spends her free time doing. She is also very involved in the Filipino-American community and is currently the reining crown holder as Miss Phil AM San Diego.

Dejah is one of the most giving, thoughtful individuals in our community and makes a lasting impression on the people she interacts with.
Nominated By: Heather Cohen, Vistage International

Doug Wall PureForge, CEO

“We Break for Life” …This is a catch phrase with a true duality of thought. PureForge™ proprietary atomic forged rotors and brake pads utilize revolutionary frictional properties that improve braking safety and performance while not wearing and polluting our environment.

With environmentally friendly elimination of toxic brake dust PureForge™ proprietary brake technologies solve a significant and growing problem. PureForge™ brake rotors and brake pads significantly reduce rotor and pad wear, and as a result eliminate the vast majority of harmful and toxic particulates introduced into the environment as compared to traditional brake rotor and brake.

Recent studies have clearly proven that braking systems are the number one generator of copper found in watersheds. Brake dust pollution also deposits other materials and metals into waterways and the atmosphere, making waterways more hazardous for recreational activity and poisoning wildlife.

Legislators have recognized this problem and are enacting legislation requiring brake pad manufacturers to reduce brake dust emissions. This decreases the amount of brake dust generated, which in turn reduces the amount of brake dust, including copper, other heavy metals and hazardous materials, being introduced to the environment.

While this is a wonderfully developed technology, the CEO, Doug Walls is also very excited and passionate about how this technology will increase the quality of air, water and health on a global level. His passion for protecting our environment far exceeds the monetary rewards.
Nominated By: Christine Halvorsen, Savii Group