News & Updates

Community Partner of the Month: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. We are the voice for all blood cancer patients and we work to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.

As there are no means of preventing or early screening for most blood cancers, the LLS research agenda is focused on finding cures. LLS drives research in areas of unmet medical need, and helps to bridge the gap between academic discovery and drug development. LLS identifies and funds the most promising blood cancer research projects and forges partnerships with academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of new therapies.

LLS recognizes that finding cures is not enough; we need to ensure that patients have access to the treatments, services and providers they need to live longer, better, healthier lives. LLS is dedicated to removing barriers to care. While LLS funds research internationally, our local impact is real with 9 active research projects at prominent institutions like UCSD, The Scripps Research Institute and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology representing a commitment of over $9.7 million. In the past year, we also provided approximately $309,000 of financial support to 224 local patients and their families across San Diego, Imperial County and Hawaii.

Beach Break Insurance Agency is proud to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!  During the Month of July, For EVERY new Client Beach Break provides a quote for Home, Auto, Commercial or Life insurance, Beach Break will donate $5 to LLS.   Quotes are free and there are no fees for our services so if you are in the market for Home, Auto, Commercial or Life insurance and would like to support LLS, please call 619-567-7227 or e-mail


Kathlene Seymour
Executive Director
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
858-427-6648 or

Opening and Ribbon Cutting of Callaway Vineyard & Winery in Gaslamp


Callaway Vineyard and Winery, a staple of Temecula, opened a tasting room and gift shop in San Diego’s Gaslamp on June 8th, located at 517 Fourth Avenue. All of Calllaway’s varietals direct from the Temecula vineyard are available for purchase. Owners, Matt and Patricia Lin excitedly cut the red ribbon marking the opening of their exciting endeavor in San Diego. For more information please visit

Member Spotlight: BBQ BOSS

BBQ BOSS was created by JP and Christine Canton, married chef & dietitian team with the vision to provide a barbeque fare with freshness and convenience in mind. BBQ BOSS is a small, family run business with Christine’s brother Bobby also running the downtown concession.

BBQ BOSS catering and concessions operates out of its’ own state of the art commercial kitchen, located in Barrio Logan. BBQ BOSS uses a real wood burning smoker, creating authentic barbeque flavors that really stand out. The side dishes are all made from scratch and the bread is baked fresh daily. We use only the best ingredients and our standardized recipes ensure a consistent product.

BBQ BOSS catering is a great choice for events of all sizes. The menu is simple and ordering is easy. We offer exceptional service, with affordable pricing. BBQ BOSS is perfect for staff lunches, business meetings and office parties. If your company provides lunch for the office on a regular basis, BBQ BOSS is perfect to include in the line-up. We offer an assortment of ready-to-eat, hot sandwiches accompanied with delicious side options or you can choose to have it family-style and your team can build their own plates.

Please come check us out at our downtown concession open Monday – Friday 11:00 am 2:00 pm. Come early or don’t hesitate to call in your order because we SELL OUT every day.
You won’t believe how good it is! BBQ BOSS just gave San Diego’s barbeque a raise!


Concession: 1017 Front St. San Diego, CA 92101
Kitchen: 2649 Boston Ave San Diego, CA 92113
JP & Christine Canton, owners
619-432-BOSS (2677)


Partnership aims to inspire, engage, mobilize region’s next leaders

SAN DIEGO (June 21, 2017) – LEAD San Diego and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce are combining organizations and leadership programming to provide the region’s emerging leaders with the skills, knowledge, and network to make a lasting, positive impact on our growing region.

The combination agreement was signed late last Friday after the LEAD Board of Directors voted in support of joining the two organizations. The executive committee of the Chamber’s Board of Directors also approved the combination last week. The two organizations bring a combined 180 years of engagement and leadership on business and civic issues in the San Diego community.

“So much is happening across San Diego County, we need the right leaders now more than ever to take advantage of the opportunities ahead,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the Chamber. “Many of the people doing important work in San Diego have LEAD to thank for giving them the perspective – and push – they needed to determine how they could make a difference. We at the Chamber are honored to join with such a well-respected organization that has contributed so much to our community.”

“We’re fortunate in San Diego County to have created an environment of collaboration, of partnerships, and intelligent and constructive discourse,” said Carisa Wisniewski, Chair of LEAD San Diego. “San Diego is at the epicenter of national issues – veterans, cross-border commerce, biotech. And, we have the highest percentage of millennials in our workforce, compared to competing metro areas. We have an opportunity and an obligation to take our region’s leadership development to the next level.”

LEAD San Diego will retain its status as a 501c3, and join the Chamber as an affiliate organization, similar to the Chamber Foundation, also a 501c3. The Chamber is a nonprofit, 501c6 membership organization. A board of representatives from both organizations will be established to guide and advise LEAD for the future.

LEAD will continue to focus on leadership development, and absorb the Chamber’s current leadership offerings, including Chamber Young Leaders, Public Leadership Institute, and Advance, currently offered through the Chamber Foundation. The Chamber Foundation will now narrow its focus to economic and quality of life research.

In its 35 years, LEAD has graduated 2,400 civically engaged leaders from its programs.

Idara Ogunsaju is a 2017 graduate of LEAD’s prestigious, 9-month IMPACT program.

“I first learned about the LEAD IMPACT program in 2010 when I attended the LEAD Visionary Awards that year.  My interest in the organization, and IMPACT, was piqued by the extraordinary accomplishments of the honorees that night,” said Ogunsaju, a department administrator at Kaiser Permanente.

“Known as a Master’s Degree on San Diego, IMPACT goes beyond education, providing graduates with the region-specific information, insights, tools, and connections to put that new knowledge into immediate action,” Ogunsaju said.

LEAD is currently accepting applications for its IMPACT Class of 2018, with sessions beginning in September. To learn more about IMPACT and to apply, visit

Office Depot Payment Solutions

Office Depot is helping Chamber members save money on credit card processing fees with Office Depot Payment Solutions. Powered by, Office Depot Payment Solutions offers easy to use products and competitive rates. If you don’t save money on your credit card processing through Office Depot, you will receive a $500 gift card.

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Cross Border Railroad Forum

The first Cali-Baja Binational Logistics Railway Forum took place Friday, June 9 in the city of Tecate, Mexico. The Forum was attended by more than 200 people from the academic, industrial and other interested sectors.

Speakers with a long track record in the industrial sector and related to the railway sector discussed the relevance of having the support of the private sector in achieving a comprehensive rail system. The speakers also highlighted the needs of industries in the region that would benefit from the railway and the importance of having a competitive infrastructure that provides logistics solutions to the maquiladora industry.   The speakers included:

  • David Gazzetta, Director General of Operations of Union Pacific Railroad
  • Francisco González, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Hazardous Materials Manager
  • Jorge Izquierdo, Baja California Railroad Commercial and Marketing Manager
  • Óscar García, National Counselor and Director of the INDEX Tijuana Ombudsman Committee
  • Luis Echeverría, President of Interamerican Investment Group

The binational railway is yet another example of the alliance that exists between the(Mexico and the United States and the exchange of merchandise that supports  development, economic growth, and use of resources in the region.

The organizing committee was formed by the Autonomous University of Baja California, as the official headquarters of the event, the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego and the United States Consulate in Tijuana, Smart Border Coalition, Index Tijuana, Baja Logistik Cluster, Baja California Railroad, San Diego Regional Chamber Of Commerce, MTS, Fundación Ferrocarriles de Baja California, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, ADMICARGA and the XXII City Council of Tecate.

Regional Leaders’ Accomplishments and Unsung Community Hero Celebrated at LEAD San Diego’s Annual Visionary Awards

June 13, 2017 (San Diego) – Nearly 900 civic and community-minded individuals recognized and celebrated leadership at the 2017 Visionary Awards, Southern California’s premier leadership recognition event, on Thursday, June 8 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

“The theme of this year’s event, ‘Leadership – it’s all about the people,’ was woven throughout the program,” said Paul Komadina, LEAD board member and 2017 Visionary Awards Chair. “In addition to recognizing some extraordinary people, the event gave us the opportunity to wrap up celebration of LEAD San Diego’s 35th anniversary year.”

Following is a list of the awards presented and leaders recognized at the 2017 Visionary Awards:

The Neil Morgan Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement
Named for the late journalist Neil Morgan, awarded to an individual who has served as a catalyst for positive change, resulting in a better future for our region.
Anne Ledford Evans
Named chairman emeritus of Evans Hotels in 2014, Anne Ledford Evans presided over the company as chairman of the board for 30 years. She and her late husband William D. Evans founded Evans Hotels in 1953, when they took the risk to be the first to build on Mission Bay, opening the 52-room Bahia Hotel. By 1968, the Bahia had evolved into its present size of 312 rooms. The Evans family also opened the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa on Mission Bay in 1958, which now boasts 310 rooms, and redeveloped The Lodge at Torrey Pines in 2002. Evans Hotels is currently collaborating on a SeaWorld-branded hotel planned for Mission Bay. Evans is a member of the California Tourism Hall of Fame, a former chair of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and served as secretary of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

LEAD Graduate of the Year
Awarded to a LEAD San Diego graduate who epitomizes excellence in community leadership.
Shara Fisler, Class of 2003
Shara Fisler is founder and executive director of Ocean Discovery Institute (ODI), a nonprofit organization that uses ocean science to empower young people from underserved urban communities to transform their lives, their community, and our world as scientific and environmental leaders. Through the past 18 years, Fisler’s leadership has enabled ODI to engage more than 65,000 young people in rigorous, ongoing science programming that enables curious youngsters to grow into engineers, environmental consultants, molecular biologists, and other professionals who make a difference. Her dedication to program integrity and business development have allowed the organization to grow into a nationally recognized model. Fisler successfully completed a $17 million capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art, Platinum LEED science facility in City Heights, The Living Lab, scheduled to open September 16 of this year. Recognition of Fisler’s accomplishments include the 2016 CNN Hero Award; the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring; and the California Society for Ecological Restoration President’s Award.

Economic Opportunity Award
Presented in recognition of visionary leadership in creating economic opportunities in our region that might not otherwise exist absent their efforts.
Mark Dankberg
The co-founder of ViaSat, Dankberg has held the position of chairman of the board and CEO ever since, growing the firm from three to 4,200 team members, with more than 2,100 at its Carlsbad headquarters. He is an acknowledged industry expert in the communications, aerospace and defense sectors, and the leading visionary for a new generation of satellite systems, including ViaSat-2, the highest capacity communications satellite which successfully launched into orbit June 1. Dankberg holds a number of patents in communications and satellite networking technologies; has participated on Department of Defense advisory panels; and has received a number of innovation leadership awards, including the 2016 Director of the Year award by Corporate Directors Forum, induction into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame in 2015 as well as Via Satellite Magazine’s Satellite Executive of the Year.

The Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration
Named for late banking executive and community leader Ronald Kendrick, presented in recognition of visionary leadership as demonstrated through coalescing diverse communities, focusing on collaborative approaches to shared resources, synergies and problem-solving skills for positive regional outcomes.
Joe Panetta
President, CEO and a member of the board of directors of Biocom, Panetta heads California’s largest and most-experienced leader and advocate for the life science industry. Biocom works on behalf of more than 800 members to drive public policy, build a network of industry leaders, create access to capital development, introduce cutting-edge STEM education programs, and create robust value-driven purchasing programs. Panetta leads an experienced professional staff of 42, with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. Together with a 60-member board of directors, he advances initiatives that help members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition. He is past chairman of the Council of State Bioscience Associations and founding chairman of the State Medical Technology Alliance. Panetta serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and CONNECT.

The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building
Named for the late Charles Nathanson, a champion of cross-border communication and development, presented in recognition of visionary leadership demonstrated in addressing joint solutions to cross-border issues, further uniting San Diego and Baja California for a common future.
Dr. James W. Turpin
The founder of Project Concern International (PCI), Dr. Turpin led the organization for almost 15 years. While a physician in Coronado, he volunteered at a health clinic in Tijuana, where in 1961 he saved the lives of two small children who were dying of pneumonia. The experience inspired him to found PCI to fight disease and poverty among the world’s most vulnerable people. Building on Dr. Turpin’s vision, PCI has facilitated health and development programs throughout the region and globally for more than five decades in areas spanning maternal and child health; infectious disease; community and public health; violence prevention; gender equity; and local capacity building, urban upgrading, and resilience. After his official role with PCI ended, Dr. Turpin re-entered private practice in North Carolina. Now retired, Dr. Turpin continues to advocate for PCI; because of his legacy, PCI helps empower more than 19 million people annually to end hunger, enhance health and overcome hardship. PCI remains headquartered in San Diego.

Community Spotlight Award
Announced at the event, this award recognizes an unsung hero who has made a significant impact on our community through their dedication of time, talent and treasure.
Eric Occhipinti
Creator of March for Mothers, a 5K fun run/walk, Eric Occhipinti ensures that 100 percent of its proceeds go to supply impoverished, single new mothers in urban desert communities with one year’s supply of fresh, organic, made-to-order baby food delivered twice a week, along with educational resources. His work benefits our families in need locally, and his partnerships with the International Rotary Club and The Flying Samaritans give him the ability to assist them with their work across the border. The International Rotary Club provides plastic surgeons to help children born with cleft lips for corrective cosmetic/dental procedures for the rest of their lives. With the money Occhipinti raises, he makes organic baby food and hand delivers it (sometimes 350 miles round trip) to families in Mexico until the child is healthy enough to get their life-changing operation.

Council Votes on Special Election

On Monday, June 12th, the San Diego City Council voted 5-4 to not fund a special election for November 2017. This means Mayor Faulconer’s proposal to increase TOT to fund a Convention Center expansion, and create a dedicated funding source for homelessness services and road repairs will not be put to a vote in the fall.

Chamber Executive Vice President & COO Aimee Faucett was part of an organized presentation in support of the Mayor’s plan. Last month the Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to support the initiative. Council President Cole committed to discussing the tourism item again in the fall.

Aimee Faucett speaking at City Council meeting

Chamber Welcomes Director of IBA

The Chamber is proud to welcome Kenia Zamarripa to our team as Director of International Business Affairs. Kenia brings extensive experience in cross-border advocacy and strong relationships with both the U.S. and Mexican governments to the role. Formerly with the Sportfishing Association of California, Kenia has worked to promote tourism and enhance the sportfishing industry through binational outreach and collaboration.

MetroConnect Export Assistance Program

Applications for the World Trade Center’s MetroConnect Export Assistance Program are now live and will remain open through the end of June. MetroConnect, WTC’s flagship initiative, equips an annual cohort of 15 local, small to mid-sized companies with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services to global consumers.

If you’d like to learn more from companies who have already gone through the program, click here.