2013 Inspiration Awards


October 23rd, 2013 proclaimed:

“The Center for Wealth & Legacy Day of Leadership & Inspiration”

In the City of San Diego by interim Mayor Todd Gloria

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria congratulated all of the Inspiration Award nominees as the seal was affixed to the Proclamation and signed on October 23, 2013.

CWL_AWARDS_131023_079The Proclamation was read at the evening event by:

Scott Sherman
San Diego City Council member
Seventh District

CLICK To View the Proclamation



 View our Photo Gallery of the Spectacular Evening

‘Leadership’ Speaker,

Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40

CWL_AWARDS_131023_082CWL_AWARDS_131023_083 CWL_AWARDS_131023_085


 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.

“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

View the .pdf of Legacy Stories

The Honorees 


Ruth Pugh
The Ruth Pugh Group – Century 21 Award

Ruth Pugh has over 20 years of experience in residential real estate sales, and has developed a highly successful real estate machine that has been thriving in the San Diego market. Although she has had a wonderful and successful career, being a mother of three incredible children has been, without question, the best years of her life. However, her life changed forever on May 20, 1995 when her son Dallas made the decision to take his life. This was something she thought happened to dysfunctional families, and not by any stretch of the words HER FAMILY.

Her son Dallas had a smile that would light anyone’s heart when he walked into a room. He loved puppies, babies, country music and his Mom. His heart was hurting and he hid it well. She has now learned so much over the past eighteen years about our minds and how powerful they are.

Suicide is something that is rarely talked about. People often won’t share when their hearts are hurting, or if they have had thoughts of suicide. She has asked hundreds of people if they ever had those thoughts when they were teenagers, and 98% of them said yes. She said to her family, “We have to prevent this from happening to anyone. We have to share our story. We have to let children know that it is okay to ask for help.” Ruth and her family founded The Dallas Pugh Foundation and their mission is to support youth and young adults through complicated life decisions and experiences. They are committed to instilling hope, promoting positive thinking and encouraging youth to ask for help. They have raised over $1,000,000.00 in the prevention of teen suicide, and will stop at nothing to do more.

Nominated ByJosh Koehnen 


Mayumi Uejima-Carr
Table for Two

Since January of 2012, Mayumi Uejima-Carr has organized a network of caring and motivated individuals in the San Diego region to combat the effects of hunger and obesity through the organization TABLE FOR TWO (TFT). She has leveraged the skills, talents, and motivations of a wide range of volunteers including businesspersons, restaurant workers, college students, high school and even middle school students. Her efforts have provided outreach towards healthy eating initiatives throughout San Diego, Vista and Lemon Grove.

TFT is based on the premise that very small actions can have big impact. The basic premise of the program is that food providers (restaurants, cafeterias, conference events) provide healthy meals and then donate 25 cents per healthy meal, which is translated into a healthy meal provided to a school age child in Africa, Asia, and here in the United States.

Furthermore, the program raises awareness of the ravaging effects of both hunger and obesity and the ill effects that both can have on a society. TFT’s primary contribution has been through presentations in schools focused on their mission and how children can help become part of the solution.

Just in the San Diego area alone, Mayumi and her TFT team have enlisted eight restaurants, three TEDx events, and over 10 major public events to join in their efforts to make the world a better and healthier place to live. Her work is truly showing what it means to live in an interconnected world where our actions can have a profound impact on others.

Nominated By: William Carr 

CWL_AWARDS_131023_032Marisa Ugarte
Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC)

Marisa Ugarte continuously puts her life on the line for victims of human trafficking as a consistent advocate for ending trafficking of persons. Marisa has 20 years of experience, and has served as the Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) in San Diego since 1997. BSCC coordinates services for trafficked victims, with the coalition encompassing over 60 government and nonprofit organizations in the United States and Latin America.

Her first experience with human trafficking occurred in 1993 when she was a case manager for a program that assisted runaway teens.  She met a young girl who had been prostituted and learned that the young girl was a victim of traffickers and pimps.  She later learned that human trafficking is controlled by international cartels, and forms of trafficking include: domestic servitude, forced labor, peonage (involuntary servitude until a debt is paid off), bondage and sexual exploitation.

Marisa established the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition in 1997 to coordinate services, advocate for victims of human trafficking, and help other organizations build and grow their own programs. The coalition encompasses over 60 government and nonprofit organizations in the United States and Latin America.  Marisa’s commitment to this cause is so strong that she donates 100% of her salary back to the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, all in the name of justice.

Nominated By:  Vymean Noy 


Marc Zimmerman
The Lamguage Express, Inc.

In 2003 Marc’s two-year-old identical twin boys were both diagnosed with autism. From that moment on he was driven to not only make a difference in the lives of his boys, but also across the entire autism community. At the time, Marc was running his Real Estate Brokerage, PineappleHut. He moved his office into his home to actively participate in all aspects of the twin’s therapy. By the time the twins entered kindergarten, Marc had successfully navigated the public school system and transitioned them into a mainstream classroom. With the transition, it became painfully obvious that both boys suffered a deficit in their social-emotional skills.

When a therapist brought a laptop to the house, Marc immediately observed how the computer captured his sons’ interest and attention. He also noticed that the therapist’s dated software program didn’t keep the boys engaged for long. In fact, the outdated software prevented the twins from learning from the lesson. That was the ‘aha’ moment that inspired The Social Express™.

The Social Express software targets core social deficit areas that stand in the way of school, social, and life success for children and young adults with social learning challenges such as autism, Asperger’s and ADHD. Kids ask for it everyday because of movie-quality graphics. Teachers see accurate recall in social situations. Parents thank us for helping kids to learn how to get along with others.Their vision is to continue innovating quality programs and services that help people live productive lives. The Social Express has partnered with The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and donated copies of its program to schools who teach children with autism.

Nominated By: Josh Koehnen

 The Finalists 


Andy and Laurie Albrecht
H30 Foundation/Are you ready? 

Andy and Laurie turned one of the most devastating events of their lives, the sudden loss of their child, into a ministry of serving other parents in similar circumstances. As a result of the Albrecht’s empathetic efforts to come alongside of other hurting parents, hundreds of people looking for hope and comfort are getting the support they need.

Andy and Laurie’s motivation to help other families that are experiencing grief as a result of losing a child, has led them to provide free breakfasts, prayer with families upon request, and fellowship at the Ronald McDonald House next to Children’s Hospital.  As a result of sponsorship over the past year, Andy and Laurie have been asked to create a similar outreach in an additional facility to families suffering from loss and health crisis.

To capitalize on their efforts, Andy said: “Three years ago, we began going down to Mexico with a group once a month to assist a local church on Saturday mornings. Recently, it became clear the the Lord was leading us to branch apart from that group and start our own ministry by coming alongside a new church. We now visit Pastor Enrique in Rosarita, Mexico the third Saturday of every month. The morning consists of making a pancake breakfast for 25-50 kids and sharing the gospel with them through a craft activity. Our ministry really is to love on both the kids and the pastors as well as meet any needs we can. Through that, we believe that God is going to make an impact on the surrounding area of Rosarita as well as on our lives and the lives of our children.”

Nominated By: Jay Wentz 

Adam Hoffman

For the past five years, Adam Hoffman, Chick-Fil-A franchise owner, has been instrumental in helping to make a dynamic impact in the local community.

The community of Oceanside has experienced youth violence that recently rocked the city to the core. Adam has gone above and beyond expectations to provide students within the Oceanside School District, along with parents and Marines food from Chick-Fil-A at no cost. On September 7, 2013, the Oceanside Unified School District hosted The Honor Bowl High School Football Extravaganza. The event was organized as a fundraiser to raise money to purchase Track Wheelchairs for triple amputee warriors from Camp Pendleton. Volunteers from the fearless Third Infantry fifth Regiment were on hand to volunteer their services for the event. This is the same group of Marine Warriors that had 25 of their men killed during the bloodiest battle in Afghanistan. Adam Hoffman made sure all of the Marines and school district security had enough food for both lunch and dinner.

This is one of many examples that demonstrate the first class organization, Chick-Fil-A, that Adam Hoffman has been leading for the past five years. Through Mr. Hoffman’s leadership, we have witnessed Chick-Fil-A willingly providing their time, talents and resources for a number of events, whose mission it is to positively change the community. Mr. Hoffman has been a leader philanthropically, emotionally and spiritually and has truly inspired others to always be part of the solution.

Nominated By: Tim Ware

CWL_AWARDS_131023_030Peter MacCracken
Strategic Communications

Peter MacCracken is a man that knows more than a little bit about engagement, having inspired tens of thousands in San Diego to become more active participants in the future of our great region. Along with being a highly respected strategist, and accredited public relations professional with more than 30 years’ experience, Peter is also a recognized community leader. Peter had said, “You really can’t make smart, big decisions without a sense of where you’re going and we don’t have any long-term plan of where this region is going now.” It has been seven years since Peter envisioned what has now become known as Our Greater San Diego Vision, an initiative that came to fruition in July of 2012 and currently positioned for implementation.

The components of Our Greater San Diego Vision tap into the core values of San Diegans, such as quality jobs and a reasonable cost of living, as well as family-friendly neighborhoods and communities. It took the surveying and participation of more than 30,000 people, an unprecedented effort, to make this vision come to life. This is only the first step towards our region’s great future, thanks to the incredible inspiration of Peter MacCracken. It is because of him that San Diego now has a roadmap and a blueprint for leaving a legacy of civic engagement and regional collaboration for the future generations to come. 

Nominated By: Shannon McCrary

CWL_AWARDS_131023_053Bill Neail & Tom Stephenson
Real Estate Referrals for Ministry

At first glance, it would appear that Bill & Tom were simply successful businessmen in the real estate industry. However, if you were to hang around them a little longer, you would discover that buying and selling homes are not all these two are known for. Bill Neail & Tom Stephenson are also selfless givers to the poor. If asked what they do, both would tell you that they buy/sell houses and fund home loans, but it is apparent that it is only to fund the work that they do to help others. Both have donated and volunteered in significantly big ways for their entire adult lives, wanting desperately to make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate.

The two have established “Real Estate Referrals for Ministry,” an innovative organization whose sole purpose is to fund charities, ministries and missionaries through routine real estate transactions. Between the two of them, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help others in desperate need and to give the people they serve another shot at a better quality of life, both domestically and abroad. These authentic, intentional and selfless ministry partners never seem to run out of energy to do whatever they can to serve others in life-changing ways.

Nominated By: Sylvia Lange

CWL_AWARDS_131023_056Teresa Shanahan

Dr. Teresa Shanahan is founder and CEO for Lifeline, an assessment, care management, and in-home care company. Lifeline has been providing the San Diego community, families, and professionals and aging individuals with eldercare solutions for over 30 years.

She is an expert in eldercare, specifically in the area of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Teresa is also recognized internationally as an educator, a speaker and an expert on issues of aging and geriatric care. She recently presented at the Alzheimer’s International conference in London, and her knowledge and experience have led to frequent interviews that have appeared in print, radio, television and the Internet. She has been honored with a multitude of awards such as the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and by the Alzheimer’s Association for her passionate dedication and is featured in over 24 Who’s Who publications.

Dr. Shanahan has served on many volunteer committees in San Diego for the past 15 years, such as the Alzheimer’s Association’s Education Committee and Speakers’ Bureau, and is past President of the San Diego Council on Aging.  She has been an educator at UCSD in the area of gerontology. Her company, Lifeline, partners with UCSD Shiley Marcos Alzheimer’s Research Center to offer the “Out and About Program” to early-stage and early-onset individuals. She is truly an inspiration. A cancer survivor and local business owner in San Diego for the past 33 years, Dr. Teresa’s heart, convictions, and morals are completely in line with helping the elderly live meaningful lives until their time comes.

Nominated By: Sarah Christ 


Allison Whitney

In July 2011, Allison Whitney founded the nonprofit organization B.I.A.N.C.A.- Be Involved*Act Now*Cure Autism, Inc. The motivation was inspired by her niece’s diagnosis with autism at the age of three. Being geographically separated by 3000 miles and watching the heartbreaking challenges and obstacles her niece Bianca faced, Allison was compelled to create the organization B.I.A.N.C.A.

The San Diego based nonprofit organization provides funds for physical, psychological and occupational therapy for autistic children in need, and to support autism research. According to The Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission, 2011; Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes & pediatric AIDS combined.

B.I.A.N.C.A.’s principal charitable objectives are to raise money and make grants that benefit individuals and families with autism, and disseminate information about autism and the findings of autism research. They also work closely with individuals and families to ensure that the priorities, needs and focus are consistently geared towards improving the aspects of the condition of greatest concern. Allison formed B.I.A.N.C.A. to be a conduit for families coping with Autism Spectrum Disorders and services that enhance each child’s development, enabling autistic children to grow up to be productive members of the community.

Nominated By:  R.J. Kelly