Military and veteran support, educational advancement, growing local startups, empowering communities, binational arts and culture. These are some of the issues important in San Diego, and it’s where five leaders are making a meaningful difference that will last for years.
LEAD San Diego will honor those five individuals at its 18th Annual Visionary Awards, Southern California’s premier leadership recognition event, on Wednesday, June 10 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
The Visionary Awards will draw up to 800 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 10 event:
Congressmember Susan Davis, California District 53
The Neil Morgan Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement
Congresswoman Susan Davis has represented California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representative since 2001. She has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder focusing on education, election reform, military family and veteran support, women’s empowerment, civil rights and health care. Susan’s bills that have become law have expanded home-ownership opportunities for veterans and helped veterans and service-members obtain higher education degrees. On the education and labor front, she is also fighting to increase access to a college degree, ensure equal opportunity in education and the workplace, improve student safety, and emphasize career and technical training – especially for women.
Sofia Salgado (‘97), Executive Director, Southwestern College Foundation
LEAD Graduate of the Year
As Executive Director of the Southwestern College Foundation, Sofia Salgado oversees the organizations support for student success through scholarships, leadership, and opportunities. Prior to joining the SWC Foundation, Salgado was the Executive Director for MANA de San Diego, a non-profit Latina organization, where she led their strategic planning, marketing and operations efforts while overseeing 200+ volunteers who plan and implement MANA’s programs serving more than 1,000 Latinas in San Diego County. Salgado has also held positions as the Community Affairs Manager for KSWB/Channel 5 and KGTV/ABC10 where she positioned and marketed the stations as leaders in the areas of local issues such as education and the diversity of the San Diego region. She created and implemented projects that made a measurable difference in the community as well as promoted the television stations as upstanding corporate citizens. Salgado’s biggest accomplishment was creating and overseeing the KSWB Cares for Kids charitable fund which granted more than $18 million to local children’s charities during her tenure.
Mike Krenn, CEO, CONNECT
Innovation & Economic Opportunity Award
Mike Krenn has helped grow the emerging growth tech community in San Diego. He has been a leader in furthering the San Diego brand in venture capital circles and key technology centers. In Silicon Valley, Krenn has been instrumental influencing VCs to proactively seek out Southern California companies for investment. In the last year alone, Krenn helped brought more than 150 VCs to San Diego. He has helped more than 50 companies to raise start-up capital, in excess of $200M. Krenn was a founder of both the Tech Coast Angels and CommNexus (now Evonexus). He is also credited for founding the venture pipeline group – a free service that matches entrepreneurs with capital sources nationally.
Rudolph A. Johnson III (‘94), President and CEO, Neighborhood House Association
The Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration
Having spent most of his life in San Diego, Rudolph A. Johnson, III, knows all too well the impact that Neighborhood House Association (NHA) programs have on a family’s life. He is inspired by the struggles that families, children, and seniors face each day to make ends meet, and knows that the programs and services NHA provides make a huge difference in their lives and in the community as a whole. Johnson has led an agency-wide organizational transformation that has resulted in efficient fiscal practices, infrastructure improvements, employee well-being and innovative business solutions for nonprofit agencies. Under his leadership, NHA has begun the operation of five new programs: Geriatric Specialty, Project In-Reach, the Homework Center, San Diego County Black Infant Health Program, and the NHA College Academy. Johnson is a co-author of an Aspatore Inside the Minds series book titled, Strategies for Building an Agile Organization: Leading CEOs on Establishing Collaboration, Engaging Innovation, and Maximizing Value. He is also the recipient of the USS Midway Museum’s 2020 Bridge Builder Award.
Roxana Velásquez (‘11), Executive Director, San Diego Museum of Art
The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building
Roxana Velásquez is the Maruja Baldwin Executive Director at The San Diego Museum of Art. As a passionate advocate for the arts, Ms. Velásquez has focused on fostering cross-cultural dialogues within the San Diego community as well as nationally and internationally. Throughout her professional career, she has organized many high-profile exhibitions in her capacity as the Executive Director of the Museo Nacional de San Carlos, Museo Nacional de Arte, the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and currently with The San Diego Museum of Art. It is under Ms. Velásquez’s leadership that the Museum has published new catalogs and children’s books in addition to receiving multiple grants for exhibitions. Grants have been received from the Getty Foundation as well as the James Irvine Foundation to fund the Museum’s public art program Open Spaces for at-risk areas within the San Diego community. She has participated in new information-exchange programs, including presenting at the first TEDx event staged simultaneously in two countries along with speakers presenting in San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Baja California.
Title Sponsor of the 2020 Visionary Awards is U.S. Bank. Other confirmed major supporters to date include Bank of America; Toft Group Executive Search; Cox Communications, National University; Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Intesa communications Group, San Diego Tourism Authority, Promises2Kids, Qualcomm; ABC 10News; and Moss Adams.