April 2012 Awards


April 25th, 2012

“Leadership, Legacy & the Inspiration Awards”


View ‘Leadership Seminar’ Photo Gallery 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.

2012_nomiees F

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

Robert K. Goff Goff & DeWalt, LLP

 Robert K. Goff is the founding partner of Goff & DeWalt, LLP, His background and expertise as an attorney are in construction as well as community association general counsel matters. In addition to his practice, Bob also started Restore International, a non-profit organization. The mission is to find ways to restore justice to oppressed children and the poorest of the poor. In 2003, he took a trip to India and witnessed atrocious human rights violations being committed against women and children, including forced prostitution and slave labor. A passion was born to fight the injustice. Since that time, and since Restore International was formed in 2004, the organization has rescued and rehabilitated minor girls forced in to prostitution, led investigations into brothels and slave-labor camps, and brought the perpetrators committing these crimes to justice.

Restore International works with a team of investigators, police liaisons, advocates and local legal professionals to conduct investigations and locate minor girls in prostitution and the poor in bonded slavery.  They plan and coordinate raids with local police.  Once rescued, these girls are placed in government remand homes and later transferred to permanent quality aftercare homes. Restore staff counsel the girls and follow up on the criminal court case.

About six years ago, while on a trip to Uganda, Bob learned that there are a tremendous amount of boys being held in jail for years. The civil war had caused many judges to flee leaving these young men in jail without trial and no recourse to plead their case.  Bob worked with the Ugandan government to rebuild and restore the judicial system and continues to invest in projects to help restore their communities. He recently completed the construction of the Restore Leadership Academy, a school in Gulu Uganda with 250 students.

The most inspirational part of the story is that Bob funds most of these projects from the profits of his law firm.  Although Restore accepts donations, he is not actively soliciting funds. When you meet Bob and hear his story, you are definitely inspired to see how you too can make a difference in the world.

Nominated By: Brent Bonine, Managing Director Sales Insights

Jason Russell Invisible Children, Inc.

In the spring of 2003, three young Americans traveled to Africa in search of a story, led by Jason Russell. What they found was a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them. A story was children who are the weapons and the victims. Following the release of their first film, Invisible Children: Rough Cut, Jason founded a non-profit organization, Invisible Children. Working to create awareness about LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) violence against children in Central Africa and to deliver on the ground restoration, Invisible Children has become a global community of young people working to make the world a safer place.

Invisible Children is not just a nonprofit, but a group of people choosing to live differently. They use film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity. Using the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest running war in Africa, they make documentaries, tour them around the world, and lobby our nation’s leaders to make ending this war a priority. Their most recent documentary can be viewed at www.kony2012.com.

Invisible Children financials are available on the website at www.invisiblechildren.com/. In 2011, the organization invested $8,894,630 into efforts to stop LRA violence. Programs invested into include secondary school scholarships, early warning radio networks, rebuilding of schools, micro-economic initiatives, a rehabilitation center in Northeast Congo, awareness efforts for Western youth, and advocacy efforts to increase government support to LRA affected communities.

Nominated By: Chelsea Koehnen, Independent Financial Group

Rudy Shaffer Water 4 Life Ministries 

Rudy Shaffer sincerely believes that “giving is the ability to use one’s position of influence and relative wealth to affect lives for the better”.

Rudy’s story: “I decided Christmas 2010, to spend the rest of my life, doing whatever I have to do, to help save children and lives in the world, through clean, safe drinking water solutions.”

“I believe that God first planted the seed in my heart for our ministry over seven years ago, when I went on my first mission trip with Spectrum Ministries across the border into Tijuana, Mexico. Spectrum Ministries goes into the poorest of the poor areas of Tijuana to bath little children and provide food, blankets and clothes to the families. Approx 100 or more little girls and 100 little boys are waiting in line for the Spectrum vans to show up in their area once a month and it’s usually the only bath these little ones get for the next 30 days.”

“These trips started putting faces on the more than one billion living in extreme poverty in the world. Children, the smallest, weakest members of our human family, often pay the highest price for our fallen world. My children and I now sponsor four children in third world countries, two through Compassion International and two through World Vision. I’ve also been blessed over the past year with being a Mentor for a 12 year old foster boy here in San Diego, his name is Kirk.”

Water…every 20 seconds a child dies in the world from drinking unsafe water- hold that thought for a moment, count off 20 seconds, a child just died. How can we each not take action right now, to do something about this horrific statistic once we know it exists. Rudy accidentally discovered this unbelievable death rate affecting the forgotten children in the world doing some research on the internet over the past Christmas holidays. He knew immediately that he had to do something. That something is Water4Life Ministry. “Our mission is to help change this horrendous fact effecting helpless children in the world, by doing whatever we can to provide safe drinking water to every child, woman and man on earth.”

Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder, Savii Group

Christopher Yanov Reality Changers

After working with gang members for five years, Reality Changers founder Christopher Yanov felt that it was not right that most inner-city teenagers today know more people who have been shot or killed in the street than people who are on the road to college.

As a response, Reality Changers began in May 2001 with the hope of building first generation college students. Starting with just $300 to its name, Reality Changers has given more scholarship awards to college-bound students than any other single organization in San Diego County since 2006.

The mission of Reality Changers is to provide inner-city youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the resources to become first generation college students by supplying academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training.

Recently named by San Diego Magazine as one of San Diego’s new civic power brokers, Christopher Yanov has raised and awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to inner-city students before he turned 30 years old.

He was selected as an inaugural commissioner of the San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, and is the chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Education and Workforce Development Committee.

In the last several years Reality Changers connected over 100 students, many who became the first to attend college in their families, with more than $450,000 in scholarships. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called it a model program for the city, state and nation.

Nominated By: Richard Muscio, CPA, Friedman + Brannen LLP

Debbie Case Meals-on-Wheels

Debbie Case is currently the President & CEO of Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Inc. She is passionate about their senior clients at Meals-on-Wheels and is devoted to their health and well-being. Her proactive focus is to achieve financial goals to serve more seniors while creating a sound and secure agency that endures for generations to come.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Debbie in action at a recent fundraiser for Meals-on-Wheels. ”Over 10 Food Trucks gathered in San Marcos in a business park to fundraise with food fair of gourmet hot dogs to organic grown on local farm coops. Each food truck competed to win the gold coins you were given at the door for your donation.”

“In addition to this event, the Meals-on-Wheels program managed to get office workers out to sample food truck fare at lunchtime in a Kearny Mesa auto dealership.  About 20 trucks converged for the Food Truck War Charity Challenge and all the Food Trucks donated $ from the sale of the food as well as the office workers making donations to Meal-on-Wheels.”

Debbie says “all donations benefit seniors who aren’t able to leave their homes to get food. These are seniors that are homebound so they don’t get out, and they can’t go do their grocery shopping, and they can’t cook for themselves. So, they get two meals a day, and it fulfills two-thirds of their nutritional needs each day.”

Meals-on-Wheels distributes about 400,000 meals each year in San Diego. Debbie Case is committed to helping in our community. Prior to joining the Meals-on-Wheels family, she obtained extensive executive-level experience in large non-profits with organizations such as Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, American Red Cross and the San Diego Opera.

Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder, Savii Group

Mali Digius The Diamond Boutique

“If I give; then, I receive.” This is the mantra that inspires Mali Digius to give to more than 500 charities each year. On October 5th, 1980, a pregnant Mali, her husband and their three children escaped persecution in their native country, Iran. Her quest for freedom began long before they fled to Turkey on a crammed hot bus leaving all their possessions behind. At the age of 17, Mali had written a book entitled, “White Pages of a Woman’s Life” which earned attention from the local Iranian officials. Mali was taken before a council to explain her ideas and comments regarding a woman’s rights. Eventually, she became a school teacher but, her dreams of living in a society where freedom ruled inspired her to take her family on a dangerous journey of uncertainty. After escaping to Turkey, she forged a path to Italy and then Mexico, until finally they reached American soil in 1981 and were granted political asylum.

Mali’s drive and determination were fueled by her desire to give her family and those around her the best she could offer. “I never gave up, not one day! It’s my life, my responsibility.” In 1982 with $400, she started her own business which served a jewelry repair shop. She increased the jeweler’s repair business by helping elderly people at retirement homes fix their jewelry. Since it was difficult to leave their homes, Mali brought the service to them. Her popularity grew and soon, she was designing and selling jewelry herself. In 1986, she opened her first store front in Mira Mesa. Her secret is having trust and faith in God. “Everyone is born with a talent, a gift from God,” Today, Mali owns a successful jewelry store in Del Mar, the ‘Diamond Boutique.’ She inspires the community with her willingness to give. In 2010, her company donated more than 16,000 pearl necklaces and countless other pieces of jewelry to organizations for fund raising purposes.

Mali’s vision for the future is to build a 50 acre gem cutting institute in Oceanside, providing education and employment opportunities. Perhaps, the walls of the classroom have changed but this school teacher turned jeweler continues to educate the community with her message, “Treasure what you have in life…”

Nominated By: Tim Owens, Co-founder, Carrot Neuro Technologies, Inc.

Herb Johnson San Diego Rescue Mission

Herb Johnson is President and CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission, literally day-by-day, making the difference between life and death for many in our city. The Mission annually provides food, shelter, counseling, job training and — this being an emphatically Christian outfit — prayer to thousands of homeless people.

The 67-year-old Johnson, after earning an MBA at Harvard, spent almost 30 years developing supply chains for corporations, including the CVS pharmacy chain. Working with multi-billion-dollar budgets, he was paid more than $1 million a year. He now oversees residential programs for homeless men, women and children; runs three thrift stores; and supports numerous food pantries. His years of volunteer work with the Mission are what led to his being offered the top spot in 2006. His annual salary is a healthy six figures, but still a far cry from the seven-figure compensation packages he commanded a decade ago.

In his ‘message from the CEO’ on the Mission’s site, Herb wrote “Our programs also serve San Diego’s citizens by building stronger communities, and by saving taxpayers an estimated $50 million a year in emergency room and other costs related to those living on the streets. We take our work seriously and we are proud of what we have achieved. We are also humbled by the knowledge that true impact has only been possible through our supporters’ generosity – and guidance from God.”

Herb will tell you it’s no accident he’s in this job. “My mother was famous for having a wicker basket in the back the car. When we went to the grocery stores — not one of those huge mega-stores you have today — you’d go in and buy a load of bread, a quart of milk, and Rice Krispies. She would come out with three bags of canned goods and day-old bread. “This is for the shelter.””

Twelve years in San Diego County, while failing to erase his rich Baah-ston accent, have given him new purpose. “I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in my life,” he says.

Nominated By: Steve Deal, President & CEO, Indyme Solutions, Inc.

Nate Landis Urban Youth Collaborative

Nate Landis is President and Founder of Urban Youth Collaborative. His passion is to share how Jesus brings hope, healing, and purpose into hurting lives. He is an ordained minister and evangelist in the Presbyterian Church. In April of 2007, Nate stepped out in faith to found the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), a partnership with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) to holistically reach students in San Diego’s urban communities. Together,

UYC is a non-profit that connects kids to the resources of the kingdom of God by linking churches to schools. They operate 60 motivational lunch clubs at urban public schools in San Diego through partnerships with local churches. By pointing to healing, hope, and transformation because of Jesus, they teach skills for this life and the next. All students are welcome to join UYC, regardless of background or perspective.

90% of San Diego’s middle and high school students have no regular or meaningful connection to church. 56% of San Diego County students graduate on time. Poverty, gangs, drugs, and broken homes threaten the dreams of many students. The mission of UYC:

1) Win students to Christ, especially those from at-risk and disadvantaged backgrounds.

2) Connect them to a local church and the resources of their community.

3) Mobilize them as change agents who transform their own neighborhoods.

By 2020, Nate and UYC want to see every middle and high school in San Diego County adopted by a local church.

Nominated By: R J Kelly, Founder & President, Wealth Legacy Family of Companies©

Dr. Magda Marquet Althea Technologies

Dr. Magda Marquet is Founder and Co-chair of Althea Technologies, employing over 200 people.  All say what a great leader she is and how amazing it is to work for her company. The Company was voted by San Diego Business Journal as “Best Companies to Work For in San Diego.”

Dr. Marquet’s talents and achievements in biotech are changing the world and she is an extraordinary person making an extraordinary impact not only at her company but globally. Her charitable gifts and generosity are changing our communities.

Dr. Marquet empowers her employees and women to be their best and believes in giving back in big ways.  Dr. Marquet and Althea Technologies makes an impact in our community by hosting events like Charity Connection. May 9, 2012 will be the 4th annual event. The event ‘connects the community with volunteering opportunities’ with booths from charities like: American Red Cross, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Feeding America SD, Girl Scouts, Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy, Meals on Wheels, Plant With Purpose, Project Wildlife, Ronald McDonald House, San Diego Blood Bank, San Diego Rescue Mission, Stand Up For Kids, and Voices For Children.

The Vaccine Research Center at Pitzer College, founded in 2008, was a ‘gift to our world’ from Dr. Francois Ferre and Dr. Magda Marquet. The Center will help develop cost-effective vaccine production and address urgent health issues in southern Africa.

Dr. Marquet has received numerous awards throughout her career. In 2005, she was the winner of the Regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Life Sciences category.

Nominated By: Leora Langs, VP Business Development, Savii Group

Jeanne McAlister McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education Inc

As the CEO and founder, in 1977, of the McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education Inc., Jeanne McAlister continues today to be a pioneer in effective drug and alcohol addiction recovery services. Through her vision, tens of thousands of youth and adults have successfully regained their lives. McAlister Institute provides professional services that attempt to heal the lives of individuals and families while improving the quality of life in communities through the miracle of recovery from addiction.

She has had many milestones in 30 years; one she is most proud of was opening the Kiva residential program so women could keep their children with them in treatment. “We were the first in San Diego County — and the fifth in the nation — to do this”.

It’s a misconception that recovery doesn’t work — it does. Jeanne’s personal path to nonprofit work included “Having battled addiction in my own life, I saw the need in San Diego County for services that provide education and support”. Facing the recent challenge of providing the same amount of services with less money, on the top of Jeanne’s ‘wish list’ is sufficient unrestricted funds to continue their mission in perpetuity.

Jeanne’s greatest pleasure is witnessing people succeeding and regaining their lives. A best recent moment was watching a client recover and learn to take care of her own basic needs for the first time in her life.

Jeanne’s commitment is to helping the causes for homelessness, recovery, and helping those who suffer. Jeanne measures her success with the thousands of ‘saved lives’ she helps.

Nominated By: Shane Poppen, Associate Vice President, Hughes Marino

Chris & Tammy Megison North County Solutions for Change

North County Solutions for Change was founded in 1999 by social entrepreneurs Chris and Tammy Megison. They didn’t think it was right for babies to be sleeping on the floor of an emergency winter shelter. Prior to starting up Solutions for Change, the Megison’s developed and directed work and housing programs that helped thousands of homeless men get jobs, pay rent and earn their way back into society through an intense boot camp style program. In 1999 they encountered a new reality of family homelessness, as a nine year old homeless girl with her baby sister and their mother bedded down for the night on a floor of an emergency shelter. As dozens more families came to the shelter, the Megison’s realized that they were confronted with an enormous problem as the entire homeless response system was inadequate to deal with the needs of homeless families.

With the help of others, they began casting a vision around solving family homelessness. The vision was different in that it did not include more shelter beds, feeding programs or traditional human services, but rather a plan to create access to permanent solutions using a hybrid model. All the parents being helped work, pay rent, attend onsite workshops and classes and are engaged in a dynamic coaching system. The model, now known as the Solutions University, blends affordable housing, educational opportunities, employment training and health related solutions all within one cohesive strategic partnership.

The Futures for Families campaign initiative was launched in 2001. This was Solutions’ first major campaign and when it was finished the Solutions Family Center, a five building living and educational campus was built on two acres. In 2005 the New Solutions initiative emerged and several new homes were acquired for graduates. Taken together these combined resources now represent a national best practices model called the Solutions University. It takes the best of all resources and wraps it together into one very ‘solutions’ driven package dedicated to solving family homelessness.

Nominated By: Marshal Scarr, President, Peterson & Price

Laurin Pause Community Resource Center

Laurin Pause is the Executive Director of Community Resource Center. Since taking the helm as CRC’s Executive Director in 2004, Laurin has been critical to bringing funding to the community and smart project management to social services that promote safety, stability, and self-sufficiency. She has been the architect of innovative domestic violence and social services programs built on the premise that wrap-around services create real change. Considered both a fiscal and social services leader and visionary,

Founded in 1979, Community Resource Center (CRC) is a nonprofit social services agency serving residents throughout San Diego North County. CRC is dedicated to helping women and children, individuals, and families live safe, self-sufficient lives by providing critical assistance in the areas of domestic violence services, food programs, and emergency and transitional housing assistance.

CRC touches the lives of over 7,500 individuals a year. The core goal of the programs is to promote self-sufficiency, using outcome-based models to lead clients on the path to safe, healthy, and productive lives. CRC programs change lives.

Laurin Pause has developed and introduced programs that have produced remarkable success rates in our community. She was honored in 2010 as the recipient of the Public Health Champions Award, San Diego County Health & Human Services, and in 2009 as the recipient of the Community Service Award, San Diego Business Journal – Women Who Mean Business.

Nominated By: Peter Callstrom, Executive Director, Regional Task Force on the Homeless

Jorge Riquelme Bayside Community Center

Jorge Riqueime has been the Executive Director of Bayside Community Center since 2007.  Bayside is a private, non-profit, neighborhood-based organization that serves the whole person and the entire community, focusing on needs, as well as interests.  All too often language and income barriers prevent young and old from participating in programs others take for granted.  Bayside challenges and empowers community members to expect more from life, to advocate for themselves and others, and to achieve self-determination.

Bayside provides a number of programs and services for the residents of Linda Vista and the surrounding communities. Heavy emphasis is placed on youth and seniors. Bayside Community Center empowers our diverse multi-cultural community to improve quality of life through services, education and advocacy through support in four focus areas.

Prior to taking over as Executive Director, Jorge was an Assistant Professor at San Diego State, San Marcos. Although he enjoyed his work as an educator and researcher in a public institution of higher learning, he was drawn more strongly to the advocacy work outside the classroom.  When the opportunity came up at Bayside, he knew it was the perfect place to merge his love of education and advocacy for social justice.

Nominated By: R J Kelly, Founder & President, Wealth Legacy Family of Companies©

Paul Saber Manna Development Group, LLC and Panera Cares

Paul Saber’s LinkedIn summary reads, “Deep Commitment to my Faith in Christ and strong desire to lead others to a deeper and more abundant life by serving others while excelling in all they do.”

Paul’s commitment continues through the work he does with Panera Bread and their CEO, Ron Shaich, who saw an opportunity to prove the basic altruism of our society and announced Panera Cares.

 Panera Cares is a new kind of cafe – one that exemplifies an entirely different way of giving back. It is a community cafe of shared responsibility. One of the goals of this charitable program is to ensure that everyone who needs a meal gets one. People are encouraged to take what they need and donate their fair share. There are no prices or cash registers, only suggested donation levels and donation bins.

The vision for the Panera Cares cafe was to use Panera’s unique restaurant skills to address real societal needs and make a direct impact in communities. These community cafes make a difference by addressing the food insecurity issues that affect millions of Americans

Paul has been a restaurant owner since 1980. He served on the Board of Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities, as well as serving as Chairman of the National Leadership Council of all McDonald’s operators, where he restructured the National Operator Advisory Board to become more collaborative, working with the McDonald Corporation Chairman and US President.

In 2003 Paul became President & CEO of Manna Development Group, LLC and currently holds the Area Development Agreement for Panera Bread and Bakery Cafés in San Diego, North Los Angeles, and Orange County, CA and for Panera Cares Cafés in Michigan and Ohio.

 Nominated By: Gina Manis-Anderson, CEO/Founder Savii Group

Trevor Tice CorePower Cares

 An avid believer in giving back, Trevor Tice formed CorePower Cares, a nonprofit organization that leverages the generosity of his own yoga studios, CorePower Yoga (CPY), community to support a myriad of philanthropic causes. (most recently supporting the Japan relief effort) CPY’s mission is to share authentic passion for yoga and healthy living and to inspire everyone to live their most extraordinary life. Trevor says, “Yoga helps individuals pursue a better life for themselves; the opportunity to help those in need gives our immediate community a chance to practice yoga off their mat and create positive change in the lives of others.” CPY believes in giving back to its communities – on a local and national level.

In San Diego, CPY has 9 studios and growing. The CPY San Diego team gives back to its community on a regular basis. They are thrilled to have an opportunity to give free yoga to cancer survivors through an organization called Yoga Bear. They have raised money for Slavery Sucks, which supports the anti-slavery movement, and Off the Mat, Into the World’s Global SEVA Challenge 2011 Haiti Project. CPY also volunteers at local organizations like the San Diego Rescue Mission. CPY Denver helps young people overcome homelessness by providing safety, respect, essential services and a supportive community, empowering them to become self-reliant adults through an organization called Urban Peak. CPY Minnesota started its Karma Projects in April of 2007. Since then, they’ve served food to people in need, painted and prepared new apartments for homeless individuals moving into new homes, and they’ve distributed food to local soup kitchens and families in need.

An unlikely candidate for owning yoga studios, Trevor opened the first CorePower Yoga in Denver in 2002, Prior to CPY Trevor owned TechPartners International, a $60 million dollar IT company he sold to a public UK firm in 2001. As a whole, the CPY staff aim to think and be larger in life – to step outside what is known and aims to serve its communities selflessly. Trevor approaches challenges with “yes, we can – go do it”, encouraging all employees to explore new ideas.

Nominated By: Josh Koehnen, CFP, Independent Financial Group