San Diego County CA— United Way of San Diego County has honored Deborah Szekely and Kenneth H. Weixel for their consistently outstanding community leadership and volunteerism. They were recognized at a special reception at the nonprofit’s Murphy Canyon building on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Laurie Coskey, United Way’s president and CEO, presided over the ceremony honoring the two and said, “We are thrilled to recognize the contributions of these two extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives and careers giving back to the community in such meaningful ways.”
James F. Mulvaney Community Leadership Award
Deborah Szekely is the recipient of the seventh annual James F. Mulvaney Community Leadership Award, given to a local leader who has demonstrated long-lasting, exceptional service to the San Diego community. The award is named for James (Jim) Mulvaney who maintained involvement in numerous nonprofit boards and organizations for 50 years.
She and her husband, Edmond, are perhaps best known for starting Rancho La Puerta, a health school of preventive nutrition and exercise in Tecate, Baja California, in 1940. She is also well known for founding the premier spa Golden Door in Escondido, California in 1958.
Szekely has a long history of service to the San Diego community, including starting the nonprofit organizations Eureka Communities in 1991, a national leadership training program for CEOs of nonprofit organizations, and New Americans Museum in 2001, an immigration learning center and gallery located in San Diego’s Liberty Station.
In 1984, she was appointed as director and CEO of the Inter-American Foundation by President Reagan. As well, Szekely was co-founder and co-president of the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright Commission) and served as the U.S. principal delegate to both UNESCO and the Inter-American Commission on Women. She conceived and launched “Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide,” which is often referred to as the training “Bible” for members of Congress.
Szekely has received numerous awards and honors including; Mrs. San Diego, Humanitarian of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year and the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest honor bestowed upon non-Mexicans. Today, she continues to lecture weekly at Rancho La Puerta, sits on several boards and is active in the New Americans Museum.
The Alex Szekely United Way Center in Kearny Mesa bears the name of Deborah’s late son, in honor of his contributions to the community and her generous philanthropic support of United Way.
Volunteer of the Year-Naish Award
The Volunteer of the Year Naish Award, given to Kenneth “Ken” Weixel, recognizes an individual who has made a significant and sustained contribution to United Way as a volunteer and commemorates the extraordinary commitment of Jack Naish, a former board member and creative leader.
Weixel has been a powerful advocate for United Way since joining the board in 2014. In his current role as United Way’s Campaign Cabinet chair, he helps build stronger relationships with companies across the region. In this, Weixel instituted a new “peer-to-peer” outreach technique, often reaching out to other managing partners and CEOs of large companies to engage them in giving to United Way directly. Weixel also chaired United Way’s CEO search committee this spring. As a member of the Tocqueville Society, he sets an example for others to invest in United Way’scritical work.
Weixel is the San Diego managing partner for Deloitte LLP and has been one of the leaders of Deloitte’s life sciences and health care industry practice. He started his career with Deloitte more than 35 years ago and focuses exclusively on providers, health plans and life science companies. Weixel has had many national leadership roles, including serving as the U.S. managing partner for audit and advisory services for the life sciences and healthcare industry groups.
He is a founding member of the board of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions based in Washington, D.C., and regularly makes presentations about the impact and implementation of health reform and the transformational change occurring in the health care industry. Weixel is a member of the Century Club, a board member of Biocom and served for eight years on the board of trustees of Capital University. He is also a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Leadership Development Program and the Wharton School of Executive Leadership Program.
About United Way of San Diego County
By working with hundreds of nonprofits, schools, businesses and community leaders, United Way of San Diego County changes the odds for our children through access to quality education. The nonprofit plays a unique role, bringing the right people and resources together to spark breakthrough community action that elevates every child and family toward a brighter future. United Way solves complex problems by maximizing existing community partners/resources and establishing common goals to create permanent change in the community. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to get involved by donating and volunteering. Learn more at www.uwsd.org, the blog, Facebook and Twitter.