News & Updates

Member Spotlight: ALDI

We opened our first ALDI store in San Diego County in May 2016, and as a leader in the grocery industry, we’re proud to bring our high-quality food at affordable prices to millions of San Diego-area residents a month.

ALDI makes grocery shopping smart, fast and easy with our award-winning, ALDI-exclusive products. As of June 2019, we operate more than 1,900 stores in 36 states, and through our continued expansion in California, we’ve confirmed that shoppers everywhere love getting high-quality food and products at affordable prices.    

We entered the California market in March 2016 and now have 67 stores in the state, with plans to open 15 total new stores in 2019, adding over 450 jobs. Our Vista store was the first in the San Diego area, and today there are seven ALDI stores in the county, with others in San Diego, Chula Vista and Escondido. On June 13, 2019 we will open our newest San Diego store in Mira Mesa. This is a significant milestone as our national footprint surpasses 1,900 stores, including several more in the Southern California region.

Our streamlined stores and ever-growing array of organic and better-for-you foods are a natural fit for the active, health-focused lifestyle in San Diego. At ALDI, 90 percent of our products are exclusive brands, and we‘ve added even more healthy and convenient options. Our fresh food selection increased by 40 percent, and our product expansion included items in our liveGfree gluten-free line, plus our NeverAny! fresh meats, which have no antibiotics, added hormones or animal byproducts. To offer even more convenience, in 2018 we began offering online grocery delivery from all ALDI stores in the San Diego area through Instacart.

ALDI is honored to be an award-winning employer, offering generous compensation and benefits for employees who work more than 25 hours per week. We’ve been named to Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Large Employers” four years in a row and added 4,000 jobs last year.

We also like to give back. We’re a Feeding America Leadership Partner and last year our U.S. stores donated more than 28 million pounds of food through the ALDI Food Recovery Program. In San Diego County, this served nine local food banks. ALDI also sponsors initiatives that support health and wellness, including Action for Healthy Kids and the ALDI Smart Kids community giving program.

For more information, visit or come say hello at your local store.  

Herbert G. Klein Memorial Award Finalists Named

Six members of the Impact San Diego Class of 2019 have been nominated by their fellow program participants for the Herbert G. Klein Memorial Award for Exemplary Leadership. Named for the late journalist, government spokesman and community leader, the award recognizes a member of the Impact class who has not only made a significant leadership contribution to our community, but also has demonstrated potential to effect further change upon graduation from Impact.

The six finalists for the 2019 award are:


Justin Lipford
Director of Community Engagement at Youth & Family Services
YMCA of San Diego County



Stacey Moore
California Advisors, Planning & Research



Katie Nieri
Corporate Communications Manager
Sempra Energy



Shelly Parks
Director of Programs
Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank



Phil Senescall 
Director of Sales & CFO
Professional Maintenance Systems



Kenia Zamarripa
Director of International Business Affairs
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce


The recipient of the Herbert G. Klein Memorial Award will be announced at the Impact Class of 2019 graduation on the evening of Thursday, June 13th at The New Children’s Museum. The event is open to the public; register here.

Leader Board – May 2019

Bevin Keen (18) has been promoted to Deputy Public Works Officer for the Navy Southwest Reserve Centers. In this role, she leads facility planning, maintenance and new construction for 18 Navy Reserve Centers hosting 91,000 Navy Reservists in Navy Region Southwest. Katie Nieri (19) recently joined Sempra Energy as Corporate Communications Manager. Congratulations to The New Children’s Museum on winning the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The institution is led by Judy Forrester, Executive Director and CEO, who is LEAD’s former President and CEO, and Reed Vickerman (07), COO and CFO. Bob Alden (06), Leadership Trust member, continues to serve the San Diego and South Florida communities through volunteering and philanthropy. Since 1997, he has supported more than 40 nonprofits, and has served on seven nonprofit and three advisory Boards.

If you’re a LEAD graduate or current program participant with good news to share, please send it to 

Alumni Association Lunch & Learn

On May 15, members of LEAD’s Alumni Association were treated to a Lunch & Learn program, “Design and Realize the Career of Your Dreams.” Susan Taylor (16), Director of External Affairs for Scripps Health, Former NBC7 New Anchor and Former LEAD Board Member, shared a very personal story about why she walked away at the height of her successful TV career to pursue a very different path at Scripps. Susan was followed by Robin Toft (17), Founder and CEO of Toft Group Executive Search and current LEAD Executive Committee member, who provided valuable tips on developing a career map, and shared how millennials and women will be in high demand for employers through 2030. All attendees received a copy of Robin’s book, WE CAN: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement.

Mentor an Advance Program Participant

LEAD has begun its third year of Advance, our professional development program for women. Through Advance, LEAD is addressing the gender gap in the C-suite and boardroom by equipping emerging female leaders with the tools and confidence they need to take their careers to the highest levels. Advance participants are diverse, representing business, nonprofit, and government organizations.

An important part of Advance is connecting with a mentor, and we are currently seeking volunteers (men and women) to serve as mentors. Mentoring would involve attending two early evening events: a mixer on June 12 and graduation on November 14, as well as at least six phone or in-person meetings with your mentee. LEAD will provide a suggested structure for you and your mentee. The focus and frequency of meetings, as well as the duration of the mentoring relationship, would be up to the mentor and the mentee.

If you are interested in serving as an Advance mentor, please register your interest here.

2019 Community Spotlight Award Finalists

LEAD San Diego, in partnership with ABC 10News, recognizes unsung heroes throughout the year with the monthly 10News LEADership Awards. The winners then become finalists for the annual Community Spotlight Award; the winner will be announced on the main stage during the Visionary Awards program. These finalists all make a significant impact on our community through their dedication of time, talent and treasure.

Daniella Benitez
Build A Miracle

As an 8th grader, Ms. Benitez went with her school to build a house in Mexico for needy families through the San Diego nonprofit, Build a Miracle. She was so moved she told her mother, “I can do more.” And she did. Ms. Benitez took it upon herself to gather friends and family, and worked extremely hard to raise $16,000 in just six months to build another home for a needy family in Tijuana. In addition to raising money, Ms. Benitez and her friends also participate in the process by helping to do everything, from laying the foundation to the construction of the home itself.

Jane Wesley Brooks
Christmas Street Stockings

Since Jane Wesley Brooks, a San Diego attorney, was 17 years old, she has been making Christmas stockings for the homeless each year. Ms. Brooks fills up the stockings with items they really need, such as beanie hats, gloves, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, and more. She delivers 100 stockings to St. Vincent de Paul, and she delivers the other 100 herself. On Christmas Eve night, Ms. Brooks walks the streets of San Diego, putting a stocking next to a homeless person sleeping, so when they wake up they will see their Christmas surprise.

Robin Cohen
Helen Woodward Animal Center Pet Encounter Therapy

Robin Cohen has been the Pet Encounter Therapy (PET) manager at Helen Woodward for more than 24 years. The PET program began in 1983 with one visit each month at a local skilled nursing facility. Ms. Cohen saw a need to expand the program when she became the manager; it now conducts more than 60 visits each month, and has a waiting list. This animal-assisted therapy program is founded on the belief that animals can have a tremendous impact on the human spirit.  The PET program provides opportunities for people with special needs to experience the benefits of human/animal interactions.

TJ Crossman
Wheels to Prosper

TJ Crossman is a Vista auto repair shop owner who last year accepted nominations for a person to receive a free, newly refurbished 2008 Ford Fusion. A team of judges chose the winner, who was announced in August at the Vista Rod Run in downtown Vista. This was the fourth year in a row that Mr. Crossman has given away a car to a needy local individual. He was inspired to start the program after discovering Wheels to Prosper, a nationwide collective of 66 independently owned auto shops that fix up cars and give them away. TJ Crossman’s Auto Repair is the only participant from San Diego County.

Sandra Lamb
Boys Team Charity

Sandra Lamb started Boys Team Charity in her area; the organization began in Phoenix and is now in its third year in the San Diego Del Norte area. It is not a fundraising group, but strictly community volunteering for boys, grades 7 through 12. Boys Team Charity has helped many organizations in the San Diego area. Members have served lunch at the Ronald McDonald House; collected and sorted food and helped at food banks; helped at senior centers; spread cheer at Autism Tree Project Foundation; helped out at the USS Midway Museum on Veterans Day; and volunteered at the Komen Race for the Cure.

Donnie N. McGriff, Sr.
Greater Christ Temple Apostolic Church

Bishop Donnie N. McGriff has served in San Diego County for more than 34 years. He is a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran who continues to support military personnel and veterans. Under his leadership, Bishop McGriff and his wife support youth with mentoring programs, tutoring assistance, and academic excellence cash awards. He provides marriage and family counseling, as well as free anger management classes. Bishop McGriff also provides higher education programs through an on-campus university. In addition, food distribution in the City of El Cajon is one of the many services provided under his leadership.

Tammy & Chris Megison
Solutions for Change

Tammy & Chris Megison are the founders of Solutions for Change, a 1,000 day transitional housing and training program for families at risk.  All the parents being helped through the program work, pay rent, attend onsite workshops and classes, and are engaged in a dynamic coaching system. The model, now known as Solutions University, blends affordable housing, educational opportunities, employment training, and health-related solutions all within one cohesive strategic program. There is but one goal: work with the community to solve family homelessness for kids and communities, permanently.

Mia & Steve Roseberry
Wounded Warrior Homes

Founded seven years ago by Mia & Steve Roseberry, Wounded Warrior Homes is a grassroots charitable nonprofit chartered to provide transitional housing to single post 9/11 veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). For the first five years, Mr. and Mrs. Roseberry ran the organization out of their home. Thus far, Wounded Warrior Homes has provided 64 vets with housing; they have provided a total of 768 months’ worth of housing; and a total of 6,326 vets have been served by referrals to other services through Wounded Warrior Homes.

Brandon Steppe
David’s Harp Foundation

After a career in corporate management, Brandon Steppe built a professional private recording studio where he produced, mixed, and mastered musical, radio, and corporate recordings. In 2007, Mr. Steppe began to allow local teens to trade their good grades for studio time. He saw firsthand that music was a powerful platform to, not only help youth achieve academic success, but also teach them responsibility and accountability, while providing them with viable work and life skills. The David’s Harp Foundation received nonprofit status in 2009; the organization now serves more than 200 teens annually.

RSVP for the Annual Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border Conference

Chamber VP Paola Avila serving as Border Trade Alliance Chair and The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute invite you to the sixth annual high-level “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border” conference, which will focus on improving border management in order to strengthen the competitiveness of both the United States and Mexico.

Location: the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.  1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 20004

Date: Thursday, June 20th ; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mexican Customs Binational Working Group Update

Earlier this year, representatives from Mexican Customs created a working group to advance border infrastructure projects in our region, including the Otay Mesa East Point of Entry and the proposed rail port of entry at Tecate featuring joint inspection facilities. The working group is comprised of representatives from SANDAG, Caltrans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mexican Customs authorities, General Services Administration and its counterpart in Mexico (INDAABIN), the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, and stakeholders from the private sector including the Chamber. The Chamber is an active participant in the working group and co-leads efforts to advance the creation of a multi-service kiosk in San Diego to allow foreign visitors to process all necessary documents and permits to visit Mexico by sea. The Chamber will work closely with Mexican Customs in Ensenada, the National Institute of Migration, CONAPESCA, and CONANP in order to advance this project.


Chamber and U.S. Consulate in Tijuana Host Women’s Leadership Seminar

The Chamber, in partnership with the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, co-hosted a two-day program focused on empowering women in leadership in Baja California. The program provided participants with information, access to resources, and a network of regional leaders that can help them fulfill their goals.

The agenda included a full-day seminar in San Diego followed by a full-day seminar in Tijuana each with a series of panels and discussions with representatives from a variety of organizations, nonprofits, and elected officials from both sides of the border. The discussions covered how to register and run for office, fundraising and campaigning, branding, media and communications, budgeting, and personal skills such as time management and work/life balance.

San Diego Home Prices Continue to Rise

San Diego region’s home prices rose 1.1 percent in the past year, according to the latest data in the S&P CoreLogic Index released April 30th. The trend with respect to home prices reflects the broader economic cycle, but affordability remains a major issue for employers trying to attract and retain talent and it’s limiting economic opportunity for the San Diego families that need it most. Adding housing supply is the only long-term effective strategy for getting ahold of our affordability crisis. The S&P CoreLogic Index is widely viewed by economists as the gold standard metric for housing prices as it evaluates home prices by tracking repeat sales of single-family houses as they turn over through the years.