Monthly Archives: February 2021

Corey Polant

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Education-State University-Development

Corey Polant is the Associate Directory of Development at San Diego State University.

He is originally from Long Island, New York and he says if you catch him on a good day you’ll still hear parts of that accent when he speaks-even though he has spent 9 years trying to lose it.

He is a double alum of SDSU, receiving his undergraduate degree in Sociology and his masters in Public Administration. He has been working with SDSU for 5 years helping to bring philanthropic support to an array of programs on campus.

Rotaract was a big part of Corey’s undergraduate experience and meeting San Diego Rotary members and seeing their commitment to doing good was his inspiration.

So after coming off a year of feeling helpless and isolated in this pandemic, Corey knew there was no better time to join Rotary.  He says he learned a lot about himself this past year and in many ways feels like he journeyed inwards and realigned what is most important to him… helping others and having a sense of community.

Corey has already been active in the San Diego community, sitting on a foundation board and participating in community service events. He is celebrating 4 years as a Big Brother to Luis, through Big Brothers Big Sisters, another organization he is very passionate about.

He says he owes a special thank you to President Chris Sichel, who has been his mentor ever since they were paired through Rotaract, and who has given him such valuable career and personal advice.

When he is not working or involved in the community, Corey enjoys playing tennis, practicing the piano, playing on a recreational kickball team and finding San Diego’s best new brunch locations.

Chris Sichel, Jordan Maharaj and Barbara Noerenberg.

Tom Turner

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Real Estate Sales-Commercial, Additional Active

Tom Turner is a Commercial Real Estate Broker and Vice President at CBRE.

Born in North Carolina, Tom and his military family moved around quite a bit.  He finished high school in Japan then attended college at UCLA.  Without a definite career plan after college, the self-proclaimed “beach bum” ran a cafe in Mission Beach, moved furniture, sold sailboat rides and sunscreen in Maui and spent some time as a guide in the Rocky Mountains.

After finally deciding to get serious, he passed the LSAT and attended law school at UC Berkeley and Oxford University.  Tom then moved to San Diego and has been here ever since.

Tom spent 35+ years as a commercial real estate lawyer, with the last 25 years at Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch.  For 17 years, he served as the firm’s Managing Partner and CEO.  He has earned virtually every real estate law award out there, including San Diego’s Best Lawyers, California Superlawyers, Best Lawyers in America, San Diego Bar Association’s Outstanding Attorney and California Law Firm Leader of the Year.

He made the leap from real estate law to real estate brokerage and joined CBRE where he does a variety of specialty investment work and large private/public joint ventures.

The joy of Tom’s life is his family.  He and his wife Jennifer celebrated their 40th anniversary last year.  They have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren whom they love to share everything sports, music and nature with.

Jan McDonough, Tom Cohen and Josh Buchholz were his sponsors.

Ben Alev

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Real Estate-Investment

Ben Alev is a real estate investor and manager for 58-Twelve, LLC.  His specialty has been working in distressed assets and low income housing, where programs are implemented to encourage compassion and community involvement.  In his extensive real estate career, Ben has bought and sold properties in over 38 states.

Originally from Chicago, he moved to Arizona where he met his wife, Rebecca, and where they raised their family.  Ben coached his children’s youth sports teams for 20 years and was a founder of youth soccer and baseball programs. When his daughter married and settled here in San Diego, it also became his and Rebecca’s new home, too.

Ben is an avid sports fan and an active outdoorsmen whose hobbies include scuba, skiing, fly fishing, hunting, horseback riding, gold and spending time with his family.

Though he didn’t finish college himself, he comes from an educated family and all of his children have degrees.  Ben proudly says that he learned at a young age that “if you know a lot about something that is a little bit important, you can be successful.” He also said “when you learn the principles of business and understand the momentum in giving your word and putting others first, it comes back to you in a very large way. Therefore, this leads me to being grateful for the opportunity to serve with you in Rotary and create that momentum in life that is so important.”


Ken Barnes

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Social Service & Welfare – Options For All

Ken Barnes is the President & CEO for Options For All, a 35-year-old firm that provides services to adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ken is native Californian, being born in San Francisco and raised in Sacramento.  (If you see him wearing a lot of purple, it is because “the Sacramento Kings are the best team God ever invented!”)

He attended college between New York (Columbia University) and China (Beijing Language and Culture University).  He moved to San Diego 1 year ago, and before going “all in” at Options For All in Feb. 2020, it was a passion volunteer project for him because his twin brother had suffered from cerebral palsy. He was named their 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

Ken and his wife, Angela, travel a lot for food…using the Michelin Guide, World’s 50 Best List and Netflix’s Chef’s Table series to build their vacations.

Trevor Blair, Phil Blair and Mel Katz were his sponsors.

Mike Stoliker

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Mike Stoliker is an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, serving as a lead financial and management consultant for a Navy Acquisition Category.  He also serves as an officer in the Army Reserve, currently serving as an Airborne Civil Affairs Team Leader with 18 parachute jumps (and counting!)

Mike is a Southern California native from Oxnard.  He settled in San Diego 2 1/2 years ago after living all over the state, and to a lesser extent, the country, for educational and professional purposes.  He received a BA in Political Science from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from Vanderbilt.

He and his wife, Rosy, have been married for 3 years.  In their free time, they hang out with their bandog (an American Bulldog/French Mastiff breed), Mike rides his motorcycle, does general housework, and can be found doing something musical.

Nick Bernal, Jonathan Cole and Duke Sobek were his sponsors.

Donna DeBerry

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Associations-Black Chamber of Commerce

Donna DeBerry is the CEO at the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce.

A graduate in Diversity from Thomas Edison State College, she is also certified in Inclusion and Diversity from Yale and Inclusive Leadership from Harvard. She has been described as a trailblazer, a pioneer, and the “Go-To-Person” in diversity branding since her meteoric rise through the ranks of Wyndham International, where she formerly served as Executive Vice President of Global Diversity & Assistant to the Chairman of the Board and as Vice President of Global Diversity for Nike.

Donna’s success has been featured in Fortune, Time, Money, Newsweek, Essence (Top 50 Women Shaping the World issue), Black Enterprise, and Diversity Inc. and a wide range of other media venues. She has worked with the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBA, NFL, Jerry Colangelo and on many other high-profile projects.

She has received awards for her outstanding production of the documentary “Walking the Waking Journey”.

Gil Johnson, Phil Blair and Peg Eddy were her sponsors.