Education, community investment, the border, supporting female entrepreneurs and combating gang violence.  These are some of the issues important in San Diego, and it’s where six leaders are making a meaningful difference that will last for years.

LEAD San Diego will honor those six individuals at its 17th Annual Visionary Awards, Southern California’s premier leadership recognition event, on Thursday, June 6 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

The Visionary Awards will draw up to 900 representatives from all sectors of the San Diego/Baja California mega-region. The event will celebrate the awardees’ contributions to the region’s growth and potential through their time, talent, and innovation.

The following individuals will be honored at the June 6 event:

Karen S. Haynes, President, California State University San Marcos
The Neil Morgan Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement   
Dr. Karen Haynes began her tenure as the third president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) in 2004. In 2016 she became the senior president in the 23-campus CSU system – the first woman ever in that role. She has served more than 30 years as an academic administrator. At CSUSM, Dr. Haynes has overseen advances in serving traditionally under-represented student populations and has also managed tremendous growth, including the construction of 10 new facilities, the addition of a Temecula campus, and the doubling of relevant new academic programs and career certificates.

Paul Hering (‘97), Chairman, West Region, Marsh & McLennan Agency
LEAD Graduate of the Year
Paul Hering is an insurance industry innovator and a San Diego civic leader with more than 36 years of business experience. He is responsible for setting strategy and managing Marsh & McLennan Agency’s operations in the western U.S. Hering is committed to giving back to the community, currently serving as Vice Chairman/Chair Elect of Rady Children’s Hospital, as well as on the boards of directors of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and the Timken Museum of Art. In addition, Hering is president of the Barney & Barney Foundation, which has provided grants to more than 80 nonprofits.

Felena Hanson, Founder, Hera Hub
& Silvia Mah, Founder & Executive Director, Hera Labs
Innovation & Economic Opportunity Award
Felena Hanson is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. Hanson has three company-owned locations in San Diego and licensed locations in Phoenix, Washington D.C., Orange County and Sweden. Dr. Silvia Mah is executive director of Hera Labs, a Solana Beach-based business accelerator focused on assisting female-owned businesses. Last year, she and two partners launched Ad Astra Ventures, an accelerator for high-growth, female-led startups. Dr. Mah also organizes Hera Venture Summit, an annual intensive event to equip and connect female founders and female funders.

Bishop Cornelius Bowser, Co-Founder, Community Assistance Support Team
The Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration
Bishop Cornelius Bowser’s personal journey includes a decade-long stretch as a gang member before he became a church minister. He is co-founder of Community Assistance Support Team (CAST), which was created after a City Heights neighborhood was rocked by a double homicide in 2012. The organization seeks to prevent gang-related violence, especially as it relates to guns. CAST volunteers work to find out what is really going on in neighborhoods impacted by gang violence. By knocking on doors and walking communities alongside law enforcement, CAST connects individuals with resources and support.

Jean Guerrero, Border Reporter, KPBS
The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building
Jean Guerrero is an Emmy-winning investigative reporter at KPBS, focusing on border and immigration stories. Her coverage has included President Trump’s wall, family separations, deportations and the migrant caravans. Guerrero is the author of “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir” and winner of an Emerging Writers award from PEN America and FUSION. Previously, she reported about Latin America’s rural sector for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Her work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists, the San Diego Press Club and others.

The recipient of the 2019 Community Spotlight Award, which recognizes grassroots community leadership and comes out of the monthly 10News Leadership Awards, will be announced at the Visionary Awards on the evening of June 6.

Title Sponsor of the 2019 Visionary Awards is U.S. Bank. Other confirmed major supporters to date include Bank of America; Toft Group Executive Search; CBRE; Qualcomm; ABC 10News; and Moss Adams.

Registration for the Visionary Awards is now open.