Category Archives: Member News

Emily Schnetz-Murphy

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Biotechnology-Pharmaceuticals

Emily Schnetz-Murphy is a rare disease specialist for BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, a company whose focus is to discover and commercialize new small molecules to treat patients with rare diseases. As a field based Rare Disease Specialist, her role is to educate healthcare providers on appropriate treatment of patients with Hereditary Angioedema, a potentially life threatening swelling condition. She also helps healthcare providers navigate access to life saving medications for their patients, including removing obstacles to high cost treatment.

Emily graduated from Seattle Pacific University School of Business and Economics and and quickly honed her skills in hospital and pharmaceutical sales. A life in service has her been goal. She is the co-founder of Grace Care Medical Center in Kampala, Uganda, where she actively consults on all aspects of the clinic from operations, staffing, development, budget and accounting, as well as fundraising. The patients visiting this clinic get a wide range of care including pre-natal, laboratory services, vaccinations, minor surgeries and malaria testing. Emily would like to expand her community service to local causes as well, which was her impetus for joining our Rotary Club.

She and her husband Travis have two young girls and have lived in San Diego for ten years.

Emily thanks her sponsors Brad Sund, Roger Haines and Walter Lam.

Laura O’Sullivan

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Social Service and Welfare—San Diego Youth Services

Laura O’Sullivan is the Director of Philanthropy and Donor Engagement at San Diego Youth Services. She came to San Diego Youth Services in 2023 after previously serving on their board of directors from 2012-2018. Laura has been working in the San Diego philanthropy sector for more than 20 years. She began her career at Qualcomm in Corporate Giving leading grants, employee volunteerism, board service and CSR programs for ten years. She also served in development roles at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and the Coronado Schools Foundation.

Laura grew up in Coronado and graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A in Communication and a B.A. in Organizational Studies. She met her husband, J.T., in UC Davis Spanish class and took a brief “retirement” to raise their three young children while their family moved around for J.T.’s NFL Career.

Laura is the proud mother of three active boys: Jack(14), Larkin(10), and Davis(8). She enjoys watching her children play sports, the beach and cheering for the Padres.

She thanks her sponsors Michael Brunker, Andrea da Rosa and Courtney Pendleton.

Maya Madsen

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Gourmet Cookies

Maya Madsen is the founder and CEO of Maya’s Cookies, America’s #1 Black-Owned Gourmet Vegan Cookie Company. As a vegan with a sweet tooth she had not been able to find perfectly delicious, soft-baked gourmet vegan cookies, so she spent years crafting award-winning and crowd pleasing recipes. She started her gourmet cookie business in 2015 by selling her baked goods at farmers markets in the area and online. Her company was steadily growing year after year. Then, in the summer of 2020, the civil unrest sweeping the nation prompted a list of black-owned businesses to be shared world wide, and Maya’s Cookies made that list (because they are delicious).  Since that summer she has opened two brick-and-mortar stores while also maintaining her online sales, as well as selling on the Home Shopping Network.

Maya is committed to superior customer service and community engagement with a focus on youth and underserved communities. She is a career partner with Kitchens For Good, an organization whose apprenticeship program for those who have barriers to employment such as justice system involvement, a history of foster care, mental health or or substance abuse challenges, or unsheltered living, gives people a chance to become certified in the culinary arts. She is also a mentor at Promises to Kids, San Marcos Boys and Girls Clubs and serves on the boards of Fred Finch, Junior Achievement San Diego, and San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.

She ran 5 marathons while working as a personal fitness instructor and trainer for 30 years before exchanging her gym shoes for oven mitts. She and her husband Dustin have 3 sons, one who now works for Maya’s Cookies.

Maya thanks her sponsors Michael Brunker, Donna DeBerry and Valerie Attisha.

David Ostrander

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Retired – Cardiologist

David Ostrander is a retired cardiologist who practiced medicine at Sharp Rees Stealy Medical Group for the majority of his career. He was born in Detroit, MI, attended Yale University as an undergraduate, NYU for medical school, and then did his residency at the University of Chicago before starting his fellowship at U.C.S.D. He and his wife Elizabeth have been married since 1981, and they share a daughter.

David has served as a junior faculty member at UCSD, a member of the SRS Board of Management, he directed a cardiac cath lab, and was Chief of Staff at Sharp Memorial among many other accolades. Now that he is retired, he would like to be a part of efforts to address the structural and cultural causes that lead to homelessness in our community. He feels a deep sense of calling to help, and is convinced we must engage with those whom we disagree in a process he refers to as “Charitable Discourse” to work together to heal our world.  During his self introduction he said that after 38 years of practice in the cardiology field, he would like to now give heart to those in need.

David thanks his sponsors RB Johnson, Judy Thompson and Tom Mosher.

Michael Kemmer

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Technology-Wireless Solutions

Michael Kemmer has lived all of his life in California, and half of that in San Diego. As long as he’s been here, he’s viewed Rotary as a part of his tie into the fabric of the community. He grew up under the tutelage of Rotarians first as an Interact student, and later as an SDSU Rotaract. During those years he took advantage of volunteer events both groups participated in, including Home building in Tijuana, Urban Angels & Traveling Stories. Since graduating from college, Michael has started volunteering at the American Red Cross, including delivering blood products during the pandemic to hospitals throughout San Diego County.

In his role as Enterprise Solutions Architect for Verizon, he designs and deploys IT infrastructure and application projects. His areas of expertise include solution/architecture design, cyber security and product management.

So as to not be confused with any other Michaels in the room, he prefers to go by “Kemmer.”

Kemmer thanks his sponsors Jordan Maharaj, Jordan Harrison and Duke Sobek.

 

 

 

Carol Dedrich

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Associations – Girl Scouts

Carol Dedrich is the Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts San Diego. Carol attributes the lessons she learned as a young Girl Scout with preparing her for leadership roles in school, the military, and throughout her career. Now, she is a champion of girls and women, committed to helping them overcome insecurities and building collaborations to expand their perspectives and skills. She began her career as a Patriot Missile Officer in the U.S. Army with an RA commission and is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

She transitioned to civilian life as a Director at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, later moving to the John Wayne Cancer Institute as Vice President of Marketing and Development, and Vice President at the Fulfillment Fund. Before joining Girl Scouts San Diego in 2016, she spent seven years as Chief External Relations Officer for Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

At her leisure, Carol enjoys working on her private pilot’s license, being a scuba diving enthusiast, and traveling the world with her husband, Alex. Next on their bucket list: Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, Chuuk Lagoon, and a flying experience in Africa. They recently adopted her late sister’s tortoiseshell cat, Kenya, who loves making appearances during virtual meetings.

She thanks her sponsors Wendy Urushima-Conn, Emily Rex and David Oates.

Terry Caskey

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Biotechnology—Gene Sequencing Technology

Terry Caskey grew up on a small farm in the Central Valley of California. As the first in his family to attend college, he was proud to complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCSB, then his master’s and Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He has spent 20+ years leading research and technology development organizations, starting with mobile device technologies, and later, microelectronics and biotech. In his current position as Director of Engineering for Illumina, he has lead their product development teams as they have been leading in the areas of pan-cancer screening, lifesaving gene therapies, targeted drug treatments and many other important discoveries.

He has always carved out time to include an element of service in his life. He has supported the Team in Training organization in collaboration with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering and is an active member of the Harbor Island Yacht Club and San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club.

Terry has 26 patents awarded and 14 pending. He and his wife Baily have lived in San Diego for over ten years.

He thanks his sponsors Glenn Younger, Duke Sobek and Gil Johnson.

Falon Leszczynski

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Associations-Home of Guiding Hands

Falon serves as the Vice President of Operations for Home of Guiding Hands, overseeing the functionality of 28 residential group homes and a 25,000-square-foot resource center located in El Cajon. Her responsibilities extend to managing the transportation department and supervising the entire IT network supporting over 800 employees across office, remote, and group home settings. In addition to her operational role, Falon spearheads HGH’s marketing initiatives, fosters company culture, and addresses risk management. She also leads special projects, including the implementation of the organization’s EOS framework.

She has a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Springfield College. Prior to her tenure at HGH, she served as the Special Programs Manager for the San Diego Housing Commission, where she played a pivotal role in planning, directing, and overseeing the City of San Diego’s Homelessness Response Center. Before her time at the San Diego Housing Commission, Falon held leadership positions at the YMCA, contributing to the successful opening and operations of various YMCA facilities.

Falon sits on the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities (FDD) board and currently chairs the California Disabilities Services Institute (CDSI) board.

Outside of her professional commitments, Falon, alongside her husband Lenny, have four school-aged daughters and three dogs. During their free time, the family can often be found at the softball field, hockey rink, or participating in diverse events at Balboa Park.

She thanks her sponsors Lenny Leszczynski, Michael Brunker and David Oates.

Veronica Perondi

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Education-State University-Program Manager

Veronica Perondi currently serves as the Assistant Director of A.S. Programs for Associated Students at San Diego State University. In this role, she’s dedicated to empowering students through leadership and engagement programs.

She earned an undergraduate degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University where she was was actively involved in the International Education Exchange Council. Driven by commitment to education and personal growth, Veronica earned a master’s degree in Post- Secondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.

Outside of her professional life she’s deeply committed to giving back to the community. She is passionate about environmental conservation and she often volunteers for beach clean-ups and trash pick-up initiatives. Additionally, she’s involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind and support events for the blind and visually impaired community, inspired by her husband’s work as an Orientation Mobility Specialist. Veronica’s journey in volunteering began at a young age when she assisted with a church Christmas toy distribution, leaving a lasting impression of the joy that comes from helping others. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy hiking and travel; particularly, they love to explore small communities. Veronica spends time expressing her creativity through various crafts, such as painting and crochet.

 

She thanks her sponsors Corey Polant, Jordan Harrison and Jordan Maharaj.

Tom Herman

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Education – Private University – Professor

Tom Herman is a teacher and journalist. He is the tax columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s wealth management section. After graduating from Yale, Tom joined the news staff of The Wall Street Journal in New York, where he was given the food beat. Tom wrote for The Wall Street Journal as a full-time staffer for more than 40 years, including 16 years as the Tax Report columnist. In 2014, he received the Elliott V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers Association. The award is given annually to “an outstanding journalist for significant long-term contribution to the profession of financial journalism.” He retired in May 2009 to devote more time to teaching, writing, travel and tennis. He has been teaching a seminar in the Communication Studies Department at the University of San Diego since 2012.
Tom was a regular weekly guest on NBC News at Sunrise for more than seven years from in the 1980s and 1990s. Before that, he was a regular weekly guest for more than a year on an NBC news program with The Wall Street Journal. called “Before Hours.”
His wife, Marilyn Lytle, was a lawyer in New York City for many years and now studies watercolor painting.

Tom thanks his sponsors Stan Hartman, Steve Treadgold and Michael Brunker.