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San Diego, CA — In the spirit of its overarching mission of empowering communities and changing lives, the Urban League of San Diego County (ULSDC) held its annual Celebrating Diversity and Equity: Igniting Women’s Future on Thursday, December 6, 2018, at the U.S. Grant Hotel, downtown, San Diego, to recognize local female change agents and pioneers of diversity and equity.

Ray King, President and CEO of the ULSDC said, “The work of the Urban League is not done by our organization alone. Over the years, our community has been blessed with leaders who have worked as instruments of change through their personal commitments. We are proud to highlight and honor their work to increase diversity and equity for residents across the region. We selected this theme, “Igniting Women’s Future”, because our agency is actually putting women to work and keeping families together. Dreams for a better life do come true, just ask our clients. This event helps our organization raise the funds needed to support our programs so that we can continue to positively impact and empower our participants in helping themselves.”

Attendees received a testimonial message by Mary Fisher who shared how the Urban League helped find work and her son get through school because of Jackie Reed, her career coach.  Gustavo Bidart, the Board Chair, provided program successes and special thank you information.  Companies such as Union Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Sycuan Casino, and UC San Diego provided support and sponsorship for the event. The awards were presented by Congress Woman Susan A. Davis, 53rd Congressional District, Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, City of San Diego, Al Abdallah, COO, Urban League of San Diego, and Natay Holmes, reporter, Channel 10 News, who also served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Here are the names of the 2018 Honorees:

  1. Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, 39th Senate District, State of California

  2. Kirby Brady, Director of Research, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

  3. Janice Brown, Founding Partner, Brown Law Group

  4. Marcela Celorio, Ambassador of Mexico

  5. Zeeda Daniele, National Director, Community Lending and Strategic Partnerships, New American Funding

  6. Kathy Patoff, Chief Operating Officer, Union Bank Foundation

  7. Becky Phillpott, Director, Youth Intervention Programs, San Diego Unified School District (Ret.)

  8. Nancy Sasaki, President & CEO, United Way of San Diego County

  9. Dee Thomas, College Relations and Diversity/Outreach Administrator, San Diego State University and SAIC (Ret.)

  10. Vickie E. Turner, Partner, Wilson, Turner, Kosomo LLP


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Organized in 1953, the Urban League of San Diego County (ULSDC) is a community based, direct service, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) and affiliate of the National Urban League that focuses on empowering underserved communities. ULSDC works to achieve social and economic equality through advocacy, bridge building, programs, services and research. ULSDC maintains a strong focus on policy, practice, and protest regarding youth education and family support services through employment, housing, elderly health outreach and women’s re-entry programs.