Laurie Black, president and CEO of LJ Black Consulting and president of RS Lawrence Development, is well known as a keen and prolific producer of new and innovative ideas. Ms. Black is a passionate advocate; developing and funding programs and augmenting supportive housing for people who are chronically homeless and have chronic mental health conditions.
Ms. Black has been a part of the political and business landscape in San Diego for over thirty-five years. Half of her career has been spent working for local, state and federal candidates for elective office. From 1986 to 1991 she operated her first business, which included political fundraising, issue development, press relations and implementation of campaign strategies. Ms. Black served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Lynn Schenk where she assisted in developing the Congresswoman’s legislative and political agenda. She served as a San Diego Port Commissioner from 2007 – 2009 using her environmental credentials to help create the Green Port Program enhancing the Port’s role as an environmental steward of San Diego Bay. And she sat on CCDC (Center City Redevelopment Center) where she advocated for a downtown homeless shelter and helped support Veterans Village along with other critical housing needs.
Ms. Black is well known for her advocacy on homelessness and disabled veterans, and has presented her ideas on mitigating homelessness at the International Downtown Association's Annual Conference as well as other national and international conferences. She is also recognized nationally for her passion and expertise in patient advocacy, specifically those with Melanoma needing help mitigating their healthcare and treatment possibilities and opportunities. UCSD Moore’s Cancer Center named her Caregiver of the Year in 2012 and in February 2014 Vista Hill Foundation named her Mental Health Advocate of the Year.
Laurie was most recently appointed to be a Trustee on the UCSD Foundation Board where she volunteers with critical issues related to the university as well as community building. Laurie is a connector and has utilized her ability to connect to the San Diego region to state and federal elected officials as well as change agents in the United States.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in Women's Studies from San Diego State University. Ms. Black was married to the late Robert Lawrence, a local attorney and real estate developer. Laurie has four adult children, two grandsons and granddaughter, and presently lives in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego.
Fernanda is an executive with over 20 years of experience, mostly working in the interface of science and business. She is currently a consultant and advisor to Life Sciences companies. Fernanda spent 10 years working in the genomics space in San Diego as Chief Business Development Officer of Human Longevity, President of SGI-DNA and Senior Vice-President at Synthetic Genomics. Prior to that she worked at British Petroleum, BCG and Accenture.
Fernanda received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Escola de Engenharia Maua in Brazil and her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California.
Fernanda is an active member of the San Diego community: she was a partner at San Diego Social Venture partners, is a trustee at the San Diego French-American School and the founder of Match Your Need, a local social impact technology start-up that matches those in need with those that can help them. She has recently been named a Women of Influence by SD Metro and one of the Top San Diego Leaders by The Daily Transcript. She is also the proud mom of two young daughters.
Dr. Hugh M. Davies
Hugh M. Davies is recognized internationally as a scholar in the field of contemporary and modern art. Davies served from 1983 to 2016 as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and was named Director Emeritus by the museum’s trustees in 2016. While directing artistic and administrative activities of MCASD, Davies curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions including: Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface (2011-2012), Robert Irwin: Primaries and Secondaries (2007), Francis Bacon: The Papal Portraits of 1953 (1999), and William Kentridge: Weighing…and Wanting (1998). Davies was one of six co-curators who organized the Biennial 2000 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and in 1976 he served as Director of the U.S. Exhibition at the 37th Venice Biennale. From 1975 to 1983 he was the founding director of the University Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly the University Gallery) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and from 1984 through 2016, he was a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a Trustee from 1994-2001, and President from 1997-1998.
Davies is currently a member of the Francis Bacon Authentication Committee, which published the artist’s Catalogue Raisonne in 2016. His doctoral dissertation on Francis Bacon was later expanded and published by Garland Press, and he has subsequently published extensively on Bacon’s work. Davies received his A.B., summa cum laude, (1970), M.F.A. (1972), and Ph.D. (1976) from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.
David joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 1997 and has over 28 years of investment management experience. Prior to joining Wells Fargo Advisors David worked with Solomon Smith Barney where he managed corporate fiduciary relationships. As a Private Wealth Financial Advisor, David becomes an integral part of the wealth management team helping clients achieve their goals and objectives. David works to simplify the client experience so that clients can focus on what is important to them.
Investment and Insurance products: *NOT FDIC Insured *NO Bank Guarantee *MAY Lose Value. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.
Kebenesh B Genna
Kebenesh Genna is originally from Ethiopia and mother of Hanna, who was part of the second cohort of Access students. Kebenesh worked in Ethiopia as a Financial Assistant and Internal Auditor, and currently works for the San Diego County Sherriff’s Department in Human Resources. She was an active member of the PTA at The Preuss School and has been involved with Access as a parent volunteer for many years. She firmly believes that parental engagement is crucial to student success, and she is grateful for the many opportunities afforded Hanna through her involvement with Access.
Partner at Domain Associates, a Healthcare focused Venture Capital Firm. With a background in small molecule drug discovery, Dr. Kamdar has been involved in cutting edge therapeutic start-ups and has been a major part of identifying companies with promising molecular and companion diagnostics to support personalized medicine.
Present board memberships include Ariosa Diagnostics, Epic Sciences, Lithera, Obalon Therapeutics, ROX Medical, Sera Prognostics, Syndax Pharmaceuticals, and Tragara Pharmaceuticals, as well as observer status at Achaogen and aTyr Pharma. Dr. Kamdar was involved with Corthera until the Company was sold to Novartis in February 2010 and BiPar Sciences until the company was sold to sanofi-aventis in April 2009.
Prior to Domain, Kim was a Kauffman Fellow with MPM Capital. Prior to joining MPM, she was a research director at Novartis, where she built and led a research team that focused on the biology, genetics and genomics of model organisms to uncover small molecules that modulated signaling pathway networks. Kim is a founder of Aryzun Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company utilizing protein-protein interaction mapping for small molecule discovery with an initial focus on anti-infectives and oncology. Kim is the author of ten papers as well as the inventor on seven patents. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and genetics from Emory University.
Kim serves as an advisory board member of Eric Topol’s NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science Award for Scripps Medicine and of Evolvence India Life Sciences Fund, a private equity fund providing growth capital to Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. She is also a board member of San Diego's CONNECT Foundation and the Hastings Center.
Jay Liebowitz was born and raised in Southern California and has a long commitment to underserved youth in the region. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and played recreational racquetball and squash. After attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and receiving his degree in Economics, he returned to Los Angeles where he worked as an investment professional at Credit Suisse First Boston (formerly known as DLJ), at Canyon Capital, and at Blackstone Credit (formerly known as GSO Capital Partners). He moved to New York in 2008, and in 2012 he began volunteering at the StreetSquash program in Harlem. Upon returning to Los Angeles in 2013 to work at credit investment firm Post Advisory Group, he volunteered with Angel City Squash before its dissolution. He then worked in building and expanding Reading to Kids, a grassroots program serving eight elementary schools in the greater Los Angeles area dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading. In addition, he has led successful fundraising drives across the broader LA finance community for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Jay lives in Pacific Palisades and is married with two children.
John Lingos-Webb currently leads global strategic partnerships and business development at Duetto, a San Francisco based hospitality technology company. Prior to Duetto, John began his professional career at a Google Ventures backed startup in Cambridge, MA and has continued to build 10+ years of experience at high growth, b2c technology companies. John learned the game of squash from his father at a young age and began playing competitively at the age of 10. He went on to become a top 5 ranked US Junior player while at Milton Academy for high school - where he was a 7-year varsity team participant and 2-year captain. After graduating from Milton Academy, John attended Trinity College as a two-sport athlete (track & field and squash) and went on to become a 3-time national team champion with the men’s squash team under the leadership of the internationally respected coach, Paul Assaiante. While under Coach Assaiante’s mentorship, John was inspired by his remarkable ability to unite and motivate a multi-cultural team roster to win a record 252 straight games and 13 straight national titles. After receiving his BS in Psychology from Trinity, John returned on a volunteer, part-time basis to coach the Milton Academy boys’ varsity team for 3 years. John thrives on mentoring, coaching, and teaching in both athletic and professional settings. John serves as a board member on the John & Sonia Lingos Family Foundation that benefits educational, cultural and religious organizations. He has also served in a volunteer capacity to the SquashBusters organization and Lenny Zakim Fund both located in Boston, MA. John and his wife, Gabrielle currently reside in South Boston, Massachusetts.
Product developer in San Diego at Alphatec Spine, an international medical device company that designs, manufactures, and markets products for spine surgery. Henry grew up in Boston and graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2009 where he majored in Human and Organizational Development with a focus on International Leadership and Development. While in college, he co-founded a clothing company in Uganda, Enjuba.com, and developed Enjuba’s social entrepreneurship class in a Ugandan secondary school. He started playing squash in high school at Phillips Academy Andover and helped grow Vanderbilt’s squash program as co-captain and president from an informal group of players into a nationally ranked team that travels the country to play more than fifteen matches a year. He currently volunteers as a business plan reviewer, judge, and fundraiser for The William James Foundation, a Washington D.C. based organization that supports entrepreneurs starting for-profit companies that have social and environmental goals.
Mr. McGrory Is CEO of La Jolla MJ Management, LLC, a real estate investment company. He began his second career as President and Chief Executive Officer of Price Entities in 1997. He served as City Manager of the City of San Diego from 1991-1997 and worked for the City of San Diego for twenty-three years. Jack was also Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Padres and remains a Director of the ball club. Jack also holds leadership positions on numerous foundations and boards of directors throughout San Diego. Jack is currently a Lecturer for the School of Public Affairs, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University and also served as a Lecturer in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of California, San Diego. He received his BA from Colgate University, his Master’s in Public Administration from San Diego State University and his Law Degree from the University of San Diego. Mr. McGrory was a Marine Corps Lieutenant from 1970 – 1974, and served as a Rifle Platoon Commander. He has five children.
Robert has had an extraordinarily varied career as a pilot in the Navy, extensive government service including a military liaison to Congress, as well as in the private sector. He is an experienced strategic and operational manager of people and projects. Robert has also been Chief Operations officer at a "Federal Express" type airline in Europe, a multi-data center operations director for a major Software company and even direct retail sales experience for a large Mercedes-Benz dealership. Robert has also benefitted from multi-cultural experiences in more than 30 countries having resided for periods of 2 years or more in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Robert has been volunteering as a teacher to Access students for a number of years on the topic of financial literacy, which has been a key success factor for our kids as they transition to their new lives at college. Robert lives in San Diego with his wife Cairyann, and while now retired, can still can be seen gracing local squash courts and racing cars at tracks across America.
Emily has worked in Business Development in San Diego’s Biotechnology community for 8 years, primarily as a Clinical Field Specialist and Sales Trainer focused on prenatal genetics for Natera (San Carlos, CA). She recently accepted a new position in Sales and Business Development with Cord Blood Registry (San Bruno, CA). Emily’s love for racquet sports began when she was an avid tennis player growing up on the east coast. At the age of 15 Emily went on to earn a spot on Deerfield Girls’ Varsity Squash Team. This experience, combined with her passion and discipline for the sport, propelled her onto success with the Varsity Squash Team at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Emily is a resident of La Jolla and the proud mother of Jack and Emma, both of whom have inherited her love for racquet sports. She passionately believes in the transformative power of giving children academic and athletic tools for lifelong success.
Kevin is a Principal in Barney & Barney’s Employee Benefits Division where he serves as the Technology and Life Sciences Practice Group Leader. Kevin joined Barney & Barney in 2002, and became a Principal in 2009.
In addition to being a partner in Barney & Barney’s Benefits practice, Kevin has always been an active member of the tennis community. He was a member of his university’s varsity tennis team and participates in USTA league play throughout the year. Kevin is a member of BIOCOM’s Human Resources Committee and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from the University Colorado, at Boulder. He is married and has two children.
Renato Paiva has served as the Executive Director of Access Youth Academy since it began. During the past 15 years, he has ably led Access to produce outstanding results and has helped Access to be regarded as one of the leading urban squash and youth development programs in the nation. During that time, Access students have achieved 100% college graduation rates, secured$9.7 million dollars in scholarships, and 13 national squash titles. Working closely with the Access Board, he led the design and construction of state-of-the-art education and squash facility located in a federally designated Promise zone in Southeastern San Diego that opened in June 2021.
A native of Brazil, Renato became an internationally ranked squash player and competed in several countries. Prior to Access, Renato coached in several colleges, including serving as Assistant Squash Coach at Harvard University and a Head Coach at USC. In 2010, Paiva was named Development Coach of the Year by U.S. Squash and was honored as 2011 Coach of the Year by the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports in Washington, DC. His wife, Renato and his staff are supported by a dedicated board of directors, mentors, and volunteers.
Greg Scherman is married with two daughters. He co-founded Access Youth Academy with Chris Walker in 2006 with the goal of giving back to the San Diego community at large by helping under-served youth. He is the President of The Scherman Energy Group, consultants to the oil and gas and solar industries and has been active in real estate and other business ventures since graduating from UCSD. He is a competitive athlete - formerly a bike racer and now a top amateur squash player, having competed in the Maccabiah Games in 2009. He is a level 1 certified squash coach and one daughter was a former captain of the Cornell women's squash team. Greg is excited to be actively engaged in all facets of Access Youth Academy and the new facility.
Ana Rodriguez is a 2019 Access Youth Academy alumna. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2017, where she double majored in Political Studies and Chicana-Chicano studies. She hopes to further her education by obtaining a master’s degree in teaching from a local university. Currently, she is on to her second year working with San Diego Self Storage. During her time in Access, she earned several SEA championship titles and was part of the documentary “Above the Tin.” Ana currently volunteers as a mentor for one of the students in the Access program and very much enjoys the bond they have created because of their shared experiences in the Access program. Ana is excited by her new position as an Access board member and is eager to be part of the new developments happening within the program.
Blair L. Sadler
Blair served as President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital for 26 years from 1980-2006. He received his B.A. from Amherst College where he played squash and tennis, and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a nationally ranked squash player. He is a faculty member at the UCSD Rady School of Management, where he teaches a course in leadership and communication. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and serves on the board of Health Care without Harm, an environmental health advocacy organization. Previously, he served as a medical-legal specialist for the National Institutes of Health, on the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine, as an Assistant Vice President at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, as Vice President and Director of the hospitals and clinics at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, and on the US-Mexico Border Health Commission. He is a prolific author and speaker about a variety of health care issues. He lives in La Jolla with his wife Georgia, who is a professor in the UCSD School of Medicine. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. Blair believes strongly in the mission of Access in transforming young lives.
Jessica co-founded Sethi Management, a hotel and real estate management company based in Carlsbad, CA, with her two siblings in 2009 to continue the legacy of their father’s many businesses. Over the last eleven years, she has held multiple leadership roles within the company and served on the Operations Board for Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) and helped start a leadership organization for younger hoteliers who are franchisors with IHG. Recently, Jessica left her executive role at Sethi Management to pursue her long-time passion and start a sustainable fine jewellery business. She remains involved with Sethi Management as both an investor and board member. Jessica has been involved with various non-profits for several years now with a particular interest in organizations that focus on women and children. She is a founding board member for the Fund for Indian Subcontinent Heritage, which works with groups that support victims of domestic violence, trafficking, and mental health. In the past Jessica has also served on the board for Asha for Education and The Big Sister League. In her free time, Jessica enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her family. She is also a certified sommelier and especially appreciates wines from smaller vineyards all over the world.
Kevin D. Smith is an active trial lawyer who has spent the majority of his professional life trying cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies and major corporations. In his 30 years of practice, Kevin has defended commercial, professional liability, product liability, transportation, and catastrophic matters in state and federal courts. Despite having to frequently overcome difficult challenges on liability and damages in high exposure cases, Kevin has obtained victories on behalf of his clients in an impressive ninety four percent of the cases he has tried. This has resulted in Kevin being elected to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates and regularly honored as a Southern California “Super Lawyer.”
Zack Smith is the Senior Director of Development at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. He has more than a decade of nonprofit and fundraising experience in higher education and healthcare. Zack is a former Division 1 wrestler and currently trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Zack earned his BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice along with his Minor in Civic Leadership at Portland State University. He is currently earning his MBA from the Rady School of Management. Zack and his wife Kaylee live in Escondido, California with their two dogs.
Joshua Swigart was born in Orange County, California. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Riverside where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business with a double emphasis in Accounting and Finance. Joshua attended California Western School of Law on an academic scholarship and graduated Cum Laude.
Joshua is a licensed attorney admitted to the State Bars of California, Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Currently Joshua is a named partner in the firm of Hyde & Swigart, APC. The firm He focuses on raising awareness of consumer rights and advocating for people taken advantage of by banks, debt collectors, and other corporations. Joshua is a founding partner of Hyde & Swigart, a law firm that has been helping people throughout the country for over 15 years and has recovered over $250 million for consumers.
Joshua is committed to giving back to the community. He has been instrumental in supporting numerous non-profit organizations including the New Media Rights Center at California Western School of Law, Public Justice many other social projects. In 2017 Joshua was named Alumnus of the year by California Western School of Law for his contributions furthering its academic goals. Each year Joshua, personally, provides hundreds of hours of pro bono legal work to individuals who cannot afford and/or find legal counsel.
On a more important note, Joshua enjoys spending time with his family which includes his wife, young daughter and son. In his free time Joshua enjoys flying airplanes, sailing and practicing martial arts.
Susan Taylor represents Scripps Health to the community, patient groups and leaders throughout the region. Susan joined Scripps in 2011 after more than 15 years as an award-winning San Diego news anchor for NBC. As executive director of external affairs, Susan plays a critical role in raising awareness and understanding of Scripps’ programs, facilities and services. She also helps educate a broad range of audiences about the significant changes under way in health care locally and nationally.
A 2011 recipient of the San Diego Women Who Mean Business Award, Susan is a spokesperson for the San Diego Police Foundation’s internet campaign against cyberbullying. She is also active in LEAD San Diego, serving on the board of directors.
Mary Walshok Ph.d.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs and Dean of Extension at the University of California San Diego, the author of more than 100 articles and reports on the innovation economy and aligning workforce development with regional economic growth. She has authored and co-authored Blue Collar Women (1981), Knowledge Without Boundaries (1995), Closing America’s Job Gap (2011), Creating Competitiveness: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policies for Growth (2013) and Invention and Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Innovation Economy (2013), Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California (2014) and the Oxford Handbook of Local Competitiveness (2015). Her particular focus is how globalization and rapid changes in technology are affecting the social dynamics and economic challenges of regions across America.
A co-founder in 1984 of the internationally recognized CONNECT program, Walshok has been an integral player in the evolution of San Diego’s innovation economy for more than 30 years.