1983 – San Diego, California & Washington, D.C.
Deborah Szekely was born in Brooklyn and educated in the U.S., Tahiti, Mexico and England. She developed her business acumen with the creation of Rancho La Puerta in 1940. From this evolved a string of successes in business (Golden Door in 1958), politics (candidate for Congress), public service (from 1984-1990 she served as President and CEO of Inter-American Foundation, an independent agency of the US government working in grassroots development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean), the arts (board of directors, Ford’s Theatre) and as an author and consultant. She was the first woman in California to be named Small Businessperson of the Year by the Small Business Administration. In 1990 she left Inter-American Foundation to found Eureka Communities, a professional and personal development fellowship program for CEOs of nonprofit organizations that work with disadvantaged children, youth and families. A unique part of the Fellows’ experience is empirical learning through benchmarking. Ms. Szekely was awarded an honorary doctorate by the California School of Professional Psychology. Her board memberships include Partners for Livable Communities, Youth Service America, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Council of La Raza, Partners of the Americas Foundation, The Menninger Foundation and Committee of 200 Foundation. For these efforts she has received numerous awards, the most recent being Philanthropist Volunteer of the Year by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives and the San Diego Press Club’s Headliner of the Year for Volunteerism. Deborah Szekely credits volunteerism as the catalyst for her growth.