San Diego Business Journal

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Christina de Vaca CEO Corporate Directors Forum

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David Tehle Chairman Audit Committee Jack in the Box, Inc.

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Jeffrey W. Martin Chairman and CEO Sempra

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Saundra Pelletier CEO, President, Executive Director Evofem Biosciences, Inc.

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John Schmid Independent Board Member And Audit Chair

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Steve Bernstein Chairman of the Board Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank


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M. Faye Wilson Lifetime Achievement Honoree

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P. Kay Coleman Board Chair The San Diego Foundation

Corporate Directors Forum will be honoring seven of San Diego’s top boardroom directors at its Director of the Year Awards on Thursday, Sept. 9, outdoors at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. Each honoree was nominated by their peers for outstanding work in the boardroom and behind the scenes and will be recognized in specific categories.

"Directors are constantly faced with challenging boardroom decisions that impact not only the success of the organizations they serve but also the welfare and well-being of entire communities and all stakeholders.  It is an honor to celebrate these remarkable directors and business leaders especially at this difficult time of uncertainty and upheaval. Being present to recognize their efforts at this event is a privilege, and we are excited about the opportunity," said Christina de Vaca, CEO of Corporate Directors Forum.

David Tehle, Corporate Governance

Serving as chairman of the Audit Committee for Jack in the Box, Inc., where he has been a board member since 2004, David Tehle is this year’s nominee for Corporate Governance. During his tenure, he has assisted in beneficial strategic initiatives that vastly transformed the organization, including the transition from a mostly owner-operated restaurant company to a franchisee model, the sale of its Mexican food subsidiary, Qdoba, and “a massive securitization transaction that completely altered the company’s debt structure and opened up significant new amounts and sources of capital for the company.” Tehle is noted for many leadership strengths, including his ability to ask the difficult questions, to remain calm in challenging circumstances, to evaluate risk appropriately, to praise good work, and to always maintain integrity.

Jeffrey W. Martin, Enhancement of Economic Value

As chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer at Sempra, Jeffrey Martin is the 2021 honoree for Enhancement of Economic Value. Over the last three years, Martin has led the realignment of the company’s portfolio with the goal of building North America’s leading energy infrastructure company. In addition to divesting non-strategic assets and reinvesting for growth in many of the largest economies in North America, Martin has placed tremendous focus on creating a high-performing culture, safety, innovation, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. These efforts resulted in Sempra delivering strong financial performance over the last three years with adjusted earnings-per-share growing at a compound annual rate of growth of 13 percent. The company’s board of directors is composed of 58% women and/or people of color – a further testament to Martin and the board’s commitment to inclusive success.

Saundra Pelletier, Emerging Board Leader

As chief executive officer, president and executive director of Evofem Biosciences, Inc., Saundra Pelletier is this year’s honoree for Emerging Board Leader. Pelletier has been responsible for the company’s rapid growth and evolution, including their transition to the public market in January 2018, and multiple equity financing rounds that have raised $491 million. Under her leadership, Evofem launched Phexxi, the first and only FDA-approved non-hormonal, on-demand contraceptive in May 2020. Evofem has also advanced its investigational product candidate, EVO100, into a Phase 3 clinical trial for the prevention of both chlamydia and gonorrhea in women, and expects to report top-line data from the EVOGUARD trial in mid-2022. Pelletier is a force of energy that blends substance and excitement with straight talk and refreshing opinions.

John Schmid, Companies in Transition

For his board service with local companies, AnaptysBio, Poseida Therapeutics, and Design Therapeutics, along with three national companies, Neos, Xeris, and Helix, this year’s honoree for Companies in Transition is John Schmid. Through his roles as independent board member and audit chair, “John’s deep experience in the boardroom guiding private companies through IPO” has helped bring these six companies public since 2015. Schmid’s over 35 years in financial and senior management in the biotech industry, coupled with his expertise in navigating the IPO process, has proved invaluable, making him a well-respected and highly sought-after board member. He is known for asking direct questions of management, but in a collaborative and constructive manner. He is also adept at building collegiality amongst board members to optimize overall board performance.

Steve Bernstein, Corporate Governance: Not-for-Profit

Chairman of the board of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Steve Bernstein, is this year’s honoree for Corporate Governance: Not-for-Profit. With food insecurity at an all-time high since March 2020, at times tripling the normal demand, the Food Bank has been a vital resource for thousands of local individuals and families. It has distributed over 70 million pounds of food since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has purchased $11 million worth of food. Bernstein’s leadership and mobilization of the board has been imperative during this time. Under his leadership in the boardroom, “he has supported major fundraising campaigns, recruited a diverse and very talented board of directors, overseen the Food Bank’s finances and governance polices, and has provided executive leadership with the Food Bank’s five-year strategic plan.”

M. Faye Wilson, Lifetime Achievement

The 2021 Lifetime Achievement honoree, Faye Wilson, is being recognized for her three decades of board service. In 1991, Wilson joined her first board, Home Depot. As the first woman on the board, she used this opportunity to provide access and inclusion to those typically overlooked for leadership roles, which has remained a lifelong passion. She has gone on to serve on many boards, often being the first woman director. Currently, Wilson sits on the public board of Biocept, Inc., the private board of IQHQ REIT and several non-profit boards, including Sharp Healthcare System, the Los Angeles Opera and the San Diego Humane Society. She is known for her expertise in strategic planning and financial and strategic transaction negotiations, always taking into consideration the balancing of all stakeholder interests.

P. Kay Coleman, COVID Impact Award

The first-ever COVID Impact Award honoree, P. Kay Coleman, is a board member and past board chair of The San Diego Foundation. During her tenure as chair, Coleman’s leadership helped transform the organization into one of the region’s most important philanthropic leaders. At the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the board through the creation of the Community Response Fund, which raised more than $67 million in 14 months for nonprofits doing work in communities deeply affected by the pandemic. During this time, Coleman also managed to carry out the more traditional duties as board chair, updating bylaws and governance policies and creating a much-needed strategic plan with a vision for just, equitable and resilient communities and a focus on advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy.

To be a part of this evening, individual tickets or a sponsorship may be purchased at directorsforum.com/events.