Category Archives: New Member

Adrianna O’Donnell

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Adrianna O’Donnell is the Director of Philanthropy at San Ysidro Health, where she is responsible for the oversight, planning and implementation of a comprehensive fundraising program that secures financial resources from individuals, private foundations, corporations and others to support the organization’s safety net services and strategic plan.

She is passionate about accessibility to quality healthcare, human development and women’s rights, all causes that align with her core values and upbringing. She previously served as the Director of Development for the American Lung Association San Diego and as the Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Hawaii.

Originally from Colombia, South America, Adrianna was raised on the East Coast, but called beautiful Hawaii home for over 12 years. She has her MBA in Not-For-Profit from Chaminade University of Honolulu and a bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Whales. She is currently involved with many community organizations, including serving as VP of Education for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serving as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the SD Blood Bank; she is a graduate of LEAD San Diego’s Impact Class of 2020, and the MANA de San Diego Latina Success Leadership Program 2021 Cohort.

Adrianna is happy to call San Diego home and spends her free time hiking, learning, reading and hanging out with her favorite beings—her husband, teenage daughters, Ava and Addy, and all four of her fur kids.

She would like to thank Jordan Harrison, Brandon Steppe and Samantha Beck for sponsoring her.

Elizabeth Gavino

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Consulting-Benefits & Insurance

Elizabeth P. Gavino, LUTCF, CINHC, FNTPElizabeth Gavino has a rich history with Rotary as she was a member of the Hoboken Rotary Club for many years before moving to San Diego. She was a recipient of Hoboken’s Club Service Award, and she also served on their board as Community Chair. In 2010 she was selected by District 7490 to serve as Team Leader on a four-week Group Study Exchange to Northern Argentina. During this vocational trip she led four young professionals to observe not only the local customs but to shadow their respective vocational counterparts regarding industry practices and standards.

Elizabeth was born and raised in NYC and attended high school at the boarding military school: New York Military Academy, where she later sat on the Board of Association of Graduates as Treasurer. She is now the owner and founder of Lewin & Gavino, an employee benefits/insurance advisory firm. She is most known in the media (Huffington Post, CNBC, CNN, PopSugar) for her expertise on Medicare as she trains brokers and financial planners how to navigate Medicare to better help them serve their clients. Over the years she has been heavily involved in local advisory boards as a dedicated committee member and chair.

In 2013 Elizabeth graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and later became a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She is a firm believer that the quality of one’s health affects their financial bottom line and has since presented corporate nutrition seminars to help people live their best lives. She is the author of Balanced Life, Happy Life and is currently writing her second book while living on a yacht and learning to sail.


Her sponsors are: Duke Sobek, Wendy Urushima-Conn and Matt Ryan.

Zeynep Ilgaz

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Investment-Venture Capital

Zeynep and her husband, fellow Rotarian Serhat Pala, moved here 24 years ago from Turkey. After getting their MBAs from SDSU they founded Confirm Biosciences, a medical diagnostic company, out of their garage. Confirm Biosciences was acquired in 2020 after becoming one of the fastest growing companies in the US with its products selling in such well known stores as CVS and Walgreens.

Their new business venture, Breakaway Partners, provides seed equity funding to technology companies and allows more time for them to do volunteer work in the community.  Zeynep now serves on the board of SDSU Campanile Foundation, San Diego Chamber of Commerce, SDSU Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the Rancho Bernardo Community Council. She recently established the Pala Family Aztec Cooperative Fund Endowment at SDSU, providing new opportunities and resources for aspiring student entrepreneurs by creating paid internships.

Zeynep is a proud wife, mother, pet owner, community lover and entrepreneur. She and Serhat have been together for 25 years and have two teenage sons. She has four dogs—three of them are rescues—all little with big personalities. Zeynep is looking forward to her “new Rotarian journey” and working together to make a difference in our community.

Zeynep’s sponsors are: Serhat Pala, Judy Thompson, and David Oates.

Bill Fenick

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William (Bill) Fenick is a retired US Navy Captain who served as both a Supply Corps and a Public Affairs Officer for 28 years. He grew up in a Navy family as well, moving every two years. He, his wife and their two teenage sons have now lived in San Diego for ten years, finally calling one location home. The Navy taught Bill the importance of community, care, and the quality of the execution of your mission.

After retiring, Bill joined the nonprofit sector as Executive Director of the SEAL Family Foundation where he helped support individual and family readiness through an array of programs specifically targeted to assist the Naval Special Warfare community in maintaining a resilient, sustainable and healthy force in this area of persistent conflict and frequent deployments. Seven years later, this past October, he was appointed to serve as Executive Director of the USO San Diego/Camp Pendleton. He is a champion for the men and women in the military, and their families—from the moment they join through their transition back to their communities. He has a strong belief that keeping those who’ve served here adds value to San Diego as these men and women provide the knowledge and service that makes our county unique, diverse and prosperous.

The Fenick family motto: Breath-Move-Live-Stay Active (because mobility is life)!


Bill’s sponsors are: Will Hage, Joe Craver and Wes Wilmers.


Susan Davis

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Retired-Federal Government-Congress

Susan is a former American politician who was elected to serve ten terms as the U.S. Representative for California’s 53rd district. She was a member of the New Democrat Coalition and portrayed herself as someone who was willing to work across party lines, serving on the House Armed Services Committee, the Education and Workforce Committee, and as a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development.

With two sons and three grandchildren, Susan and her husband Steve have spent their 50 years of marriage helping the greater community where they live. She received her master’s degree in social work before embarking on a political career. She became President of the League of Women Voters in 1977, then President of the Board of the San Diego Unified School District in 1983. From there she was elected to the California State Assembly for three terms, and finally to Congress from 2000 to 2020—totaling 35 years as an elected public servant. Susan’s father was a very loyal Rotarian from whom she learned the importance of service.

While acting as President of the Aaron Price Fellows Program, she mentored our now mayor, Todd Gloria. This, along with her start at the League of Women Voters, influences her passion for joining Rotary committees who engage in mentoring and apprenticeship programs as well as workforce preparation opporunities. The Afghan Refugee Outreach program is dear to her heart as she spent a lot of time working on solutions regarding our Afganistan presence while she was in office.

Susan believes “all Rotarians share a love for our communial responsibilites and caring for one another.”

She is grateful to Amnon Ben-Yehuda, Alan Spector and Richard Eger who are her sponsors.

Brad Saunders

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Real Estate Development

Brad is a San Diego Rotary member returning after the short break he took due to scheduling conflicts. He originally joined in 1981 and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a third-generation San Diegan, having grown up in Point Loma, and his father was a member of our club as well. Brad and his wife Alice have been married for 46 years and have three sons and a daughter.

He currently holds memberships at the San Diego Yacht Club and the Rest and Aspiration Society, while formerly serving on the board of directors of Lambda Alpha, the Bishop’s School, San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He has been involved in local real estate development projects throughout his career with a combined value in excess of $1.5 billion.

Brad is the founder and CEO of Bricehouse Inc., an organization specializing in the development and financing of public and private projects with a particular emphasis on transit-oriented development. Bricehouse Inc. is currently serving as the Master Concessionaire for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, in charge of placing retail vendors at various transit stations throughout their network. In addition to their retail activities, his company has a subsidiary that is involved in outdoor advertising. In fact, Brad promises he can “help you do anything you want to do on a bench in San Diego!”

His current sponsor is Will Newbern.

Matthew Ryan

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Financial AdvisorMatt Ryan

Matt started playing basketball at a young age here in San Diego. He graduated from Saint Augustine High School and went on to play as an Olivet Nazarene University Tiger in Illinois, while focusing his studies in Financial Planning. After graduating from college, Matt left the cold winters behind and settled back home where he plays beach volleyball, coaches youth basketball, and has already served as the president of the Pacific Beach Toastmasters.

As a financial advisor at a boutique firm, Creative Capital Management, he works with professionals who seek personal wealth advising through either comprehensive financial planning, or the firm’s investment management services. Whether Matt is taking a deep dive into his client’s finances to develop a road map for their retirement, investments, taxes and estate planning, or, if he is managing their investments and directing their assets—he is steadfast in helping them reach their portfolio goals, creating peace of mind so they can focus on the things that matter most.

With a one-year-old son and a wife who works as an emergency room nurse (who Matt describes as “basically a superhero”), his young family stays quite busy. Still, he is looking forward to being an active member of San Diego Rotary.

Matt is very grateful to Peg Eddy, Duke Sobek and Ben Clay for sponsoring him.

Michael Novak

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Mike NovakInvestment-Fiduciary

In 2021 Mike joined ProFiduciary, Inc. where he serves as trustee, executor, guardian and agent for individuals and families with a focus on accounts concentrated in real estate and/or family businesses. He has worked in wealth management and fiduciary services for over 25 years. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at Lake Forest College, he earned a paralegal certificate and worked for two law firms in Chicago that specialized in estate planning and settlement as well as corporate and real estate transactions. Mike then moved to Washington, D.C., and worked two years in the finance division of The Nature Conservancy managing assets donated to the organization that were not part of its conservation programs.

He is a member of the Professional Fiduciaries Association of California, the North County Estate Planning Council, the Probate Attorneys of San Diego (affiliate member), the Estate Planning Council of San Diego, the National Trust Closely Held Business Association (pending), and the National Trust Real Estate Association. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Opera and sits on its Audit Committee.

Mike and his husband Frank live in La Mesa, California, where they enjoy its annual Flag Day Parade and Fire Department Pancake Breakfast, La Mesa Classic Car Show nights in the summers and the largest Oktoberfest in San Diego County. He has a soon-to-graduate stepdaughter at home and he is delighted to continue his community outreach efforts through San Diego Rotary.


Sponsored by Chris Christopher, Stan Hartman and Jan McDonough.

Ed Mracek

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Real Estate-Residential

Ed has been a member of the Top Producers Group of La Jolla Realtors since 1995, and a licensed Realtor since 1989. He has successfully represented many luxury ocean front and estate properties over the years and now works for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Named San Diego Magazine’s “Five Star Agent” for multiple years, he also received the La Jolla Real Estate Broker’s Association’s McNaught-Davis/Knox Award—its highest professional honor.

Ed’s passion for helping our local communities started early in life, as he is a native San Diegan. Although both of his parents were on faculty at SDSU, he graduated from  UCLA. He then returned home to start his real estate ventures while volunteering extensively within the San Diego community.

With a strong dedication to arts, education, music and science, he uses his deep-rooted local connections to passionately help the greater San Diego/Tijuana region. As a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Kyoto Prize Symposium Host Committee, UCSD Real Estate Roundtable, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute Fishman Fund Advisory Board, The Order of St John, San Diego Opera, Honorary Deputy Sheriffs Association, Rest and Aspiration Club, UCLA and FBI San Diego Citizens Alumni Associations, and Mary, Star of The Sea Knights of Columbus Council, Ed maintains a very active portfolio of community service commitments. He has served at the La Jolla Rotary Club, and interestingly he was formerly awarded a spot on the Leonard Simpson 10 Best Dressed List. A few of his other former memberships include the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival, and the Catfish Club. He looks forward to continuing to promote “Service Above Self” through the San Diego Rotary.

He was sponsored by Wendy Urushima-Conn, Mel Katz, and Phil Blair.

Julie Roland

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Lieutenant Julie Roland is a Naval Aviator, Helicopter Aircraft Commander, and ACTC Level III Mission Commander. She served aboard USS Carl Vinson, USS Lake Champlain, and USS John C. Stennis, and has managed over 20 maintainers while they performed maintenance and upkeep on two MH-60R helicopters in preparation for, and while aboard, the USS Michael Murphy . Having served as an officer for the last seven years, she has led divisions of up to 30 Sailors in the maintenance of helicopters while serving as an aviator and flying the MH-60R. Julie assisted and advised command leadership with multiple legal proceedings as a Legal Officer. After back-to-back deployments in the Persian Gulf and South China, she is now an Aviation Certifying Officer at ATG San Diego, where she certifies flight decks on ships to ensure they are ready for flight operations, and fully manages a budget of $25,000.

Julie credits her parents, her mom who was a yoga instructor and poet, and her dad, a man who wears Birkenstocks, with her drive to help create a better world. As a young child Julie started volunteering for local charities. Then she noted, while considering her future, all of the things the Navy has to offer: service, leadership, team work, the ability to travel the world and “Free College!” matched her personal goals. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in History, then was commissioned as an Officer through the NROTC program where she was Head of Philanthropy. During her college years, Julie volunteered with diverse organizations such as: Habitat for Humanity, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Give the Kids the World, Orphanage Outreach and Baltimore Homeless Services.

Just Tryna Make Friends (JTMF) Show, a “backyard variety show” that promotes local artists and builds community, is something she produces in her free time. This show recently became a finalist in San Diego Reader magazine’s “Best of 2021” for Best Neighborhood Event, and Best Place to See Live Music Outside. JTMF is applying for nonprofit status currently. She is a Magician Member of the Academy of Magical Arts, and a member of the League of Women Voters. As a magician in her off-time, she finds ways to defy gravity without the use of Naval Aircraft, making “service above self” an interesting concept for this new Rotarian.

Her sponsors are Duke Sobek, Wendy Urushima-Conn, and Phil Silver.