I’m a big believer in face-to-face journalism, even if masks and Zoom meetings are now part of the equation. So I’m going to do my best to represent the publication out in the business community. I’ve already had the privilege of meeting several key business and civic leaders, including Mayor Todd Gloria, who is almost as new on the job as I am. A decidedly business-friendly mayor, Gloria is also passionate about addressing San Diego’s homeless and affordable-housing issues. “My vision for the city is we lead a lot more often,” the mayor told me in October. “It’s time for San Diego to start taking its shots.”
In November, I attended an unforgettable breakfast sponsored by JP Morgan Chase at the University Club atop Symphony Towers. That event included some of the honorees of SDBJ’s 2021 Business Women of the Year awards — Jennifer Barnes, Carrie Bobb, Pamela Gardner and Anna Crowe — four of the most charismatic and impressive CEOs I’ve ever met. The view from 34 stories above downtown San Diego was pretty cool, too.
Erik Bruvold, CEO of the San Diego North Economic Development Council, let me sit at the head table during his organization’s annual Excellence Awards luncheon at the Seabird Resort in Oceanside last month. I got to meet Kevin Ham, Vista’s longtime economic director who is retiring in January. Bruvold announced at the luncheon an ongoing SDNEDC lifetime excellence award will be named in honor of Ham, the award’s inaugural recipient.
Another memorable meeting for me came earlier this month when I had breakfast with Mike Krenn, CEO of Connect/SDVG. Mayor Gloria had told me a few months earlier that San Diego-based startups raised $5.2 billion in 2020 — more than any other U.S. city. Mike, one of the area’s most successful — and unassuming — venture capitalists, has helped raise more than a half billion dollars for local startups. I also discovered that much earlier in his career, before he earned a master’s and turned his focus to the VC arena, Mike actually worked in the Business Journal’s marketing department.
It was a chilly 48 degrees the morning he and I met in Encinitas and had breakfast on the Potato Shack Café’s sidewalk patio. Neither one of us had brought a jacket but fortunately, the waiter kept the hot coffee flowing while Mike told me about a new South by Southwest-style event for entrepreneurs he’s planning to put on at Petco Park in partnership with San Diego Padres this spring. Like Mayor Gloria, Krenn believes San Diego is coming into its own as a world-class innovation hub.
I’m looking forward to meeting more people like Mike and the mayor. So, if you’ve got a story or news tip to share, please email me at