Press Releases

Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame to Celebrate the Best in Business and Philanthropy

August 24, 2017


Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame to Celebrate the Best in Business and Philanthropy

The nonprofit will honor five visionary leaders on Thursday, November 2, 2017

SAN DIEGO— Junior Achievement (JA) of San Diego will induct five visionary leaders into the San Diego Business Hall of Fame on Thursday, November 2nd at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar.

The 29th Annual Business Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding business and philanthropic leadership over a career of service to the San Diego community. JA’s signature event will feature a dinner, an auction, and an awards presentation for the 2017 Hall of Fame Laureates.

“Junior Achievement is proud to honor these leaders for their impact, integrity, leadership, and legacy of service,” said Marla Black, President and CEO at Junior Achievement of San Diego County. “Most importantly, our Laureates are outstanding role models for San Diego’s youth.”

To be inducted as a Hall of Fame Laureate, an individual’s record of achievement must demonstrate business excellence, courageous thinking and inspiring leadership. The 2017 Honorees embody the ideals of JA and personify the lessons taught by our programs. Please join us in celebrating this year’s 2017 Hall of Fame Laureates:

Attorney Janice P. Brown, Founding Partner of Brown Law Group and Founder, Beyond Law

Janice Brown graduated from the University of Montana, with a degree in journalism in 1981. She then attended Gonzaga Law School, wherein she graduated in two years.  Thereafter, Janice went to work for the U.S. Justice Department in 1984 as a trial attorney in the tax division. Recruited directly from law school into Justice’s Honor Program in Tax, Janice prosecuted lawsuits on behalf of the United States in venues throughout the western United States, eventually handling the San Diego docket.

In 1987, Janice was chosen Trial Lawyer of the Year at the U.S. Department of Justice. This early recognition would prove to be one of many honors and awards to follow, like the Witkin Legal Professional of the Year, the California Association of Black Lawyers' Lawyer of the year and in 2007 as one of San Diego's Girl Scouts cool women.

In 2003, Ms. Brown began to implement the client-focused philosophy that would become the basis for her own firm, Brown Law Group, a leading successful litigation law firm specializing in employment and business litigation.

Janice’s involvement in the San Diego community has been extensive including serving as Vice Chair of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Past President of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, and as the Vice President of the San Diego County Bar Association.  Janice also serves the legal community as the Vice Chair of the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms as well as a board member of Better Business Bureau and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

Janice is a strong believer in economic and personal development.  In addition to her law practice, Janice is dedicated to helping to empower lawyers and other professionals to achieve success.  Thus, Janice’s professional development venture, Beyond Law is her passion as she is helping reshape the law into a more economically inclusive environment.

Wendy Gillespie, President & CEO, Frontier Trading Inc. / Starhawk Productions, Capdevilla Gillespie Foundation

Wendy Gillespie has been a dedicated supporter of Junior Achievement San Diego for the past twenty years with fifteen years of service on the Board.  As a participant in the JA Company Program, which has been in existence since 1919, she remembers the challenge and thrill of serving as the “CFO” of her own company as a high school senior in Bloomfield, New Jersey.  Her team assembled and sold car visor kits.  She is proud to say the profitable start-up gave her the confidence and inspiration to start her own successful business several years later.

Wendy and her late husband, Marty, share JA’s passion to inspire and prepare students to succeed in the global economy.  In 1998, they received the “Outstanding High School Volunteers of the Year” award for bringing JA’s financial literacy programs to students at Coronado High. A year later, Wendy created a JA entrepreneurial program called GlobalBiz in conjunction with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego World Trade Center.  The program provided high school students education and paid internships in international business.

Wendy and Marty were so impressed with Junior Achievement, they created the Capdevilla Gillespie Center for Junior Achievement, a new headquarters for Junior Achievement in Mission Valley in 2006. JA’s new home lead to the creation of the McGrath Family JA BizTown, a 10,000 square foot mini-city where 16,000 fifth graders each year discover how to start and run a profitable business. Wendy was also part of the Board leadership team that successfully opened JA’s newest experiential learning center, Mission Fed JA Finance Park in 2015.  She considers JA Finance Park and JA BizTown her proudest achievements and living legacies for San Diego’s youth.

Wendy has found recent success as a NY Broadway producer. Her current production, “Come From Away,” which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse, received seven Tony Award nominations, with Chris Ashley winning “Best Musical Director.”  Her passion for the theater began eight years ago with the production, “Allegiance: A New American Musical.The production, which made its debut at the Old Globe in 2012 before opening on Broadway in 2015, continues to make a lasting impact in film.

As a successful entrepreneur since 1991, Wendy has been a co-owner and is now President & CEO of Frontier Trading, Inc, a binational company exporting to and distributing grocery products in Mexico and Latin America. Previously, she spent 13 years with the IBM Corporation in various management positions, including an assignment at IBM’s Asia Pacific Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

Wendy is also President & CEO of the Capdevilla Gillespie Foundation and is very involved in both the San Diego business and philanthropic communities.  Current boards include the La Jolla Playhouse, Pacific Arts Movement, National Council for the American Theater, Strategic Roundtable of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, The U.S. District Export Council, and the USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences. She is also a charter member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation.

Wendy has received the Junior Achievement Worldwide Gold Leadership Award, and has been recognized as a San Diego Woman Who Means Business, Girl Scouts Cool Woman, and YWCA TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry). In 2016 she received the UPAC Visionary Award, and the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) Civil Rights Leadership Award for her work with “Allegiance”. As a young immigrant from the United Kingdom, Wendy is committed to making a difference in our diverse communities.


Jack McGrory, CEO, La Jolla MJ Management, LLC

Jack McGrory is CEO of La Jolla MJ Management, LLC, a real estate investment company. From 2001-2009, he was the manager of The Price Group. The Group was a co-investor with CALPERS in more than $1 billion dollars of residential development and was also a co-investor in Trans West Housing, which built approximately 2,000 houses in the Coachella Valley and North San Diego County. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran is best known throughout San Diego for his leadership role serving as City Manager for six years.  

The former City Manager has been a dedicated supporter of Junior Achievement for the past several years. The financial support of the McGrory Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation played a key role in launching JA’s newest high-tech center, Mission Fed JA Finance Park, in 2016.  The Park provides a life-changing experience for teenagers in San Diego.  Nearly 14,000 Finance Park graduates now know how to manage their personal finances, create a budget, save for the future, and explore real career opportunities in San Diego. Jack is also a member on the J. Craig Venter Board of Trustees. 

As a father of five children, Jack is also a passionate advocate of Teach for America San Diego (TFA).  Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops college graduates and professionals to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.  Under his leadership, TFA has recruited, trained, and supported nearly 80 educators, transforming the lives of nearly 10,000 low-income students in San Diego.

He also serves on the U.S.S. Midway Museum Board of Directors, the YMCA Board of Directors, the Campanile Foundation Board, San Diego State University, the Mainly Mozart Board of Directors, and the Board of Visitors at USD Law School.   He teaches graduate-level courses at San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego.  Jack graduated with a B.A. from Colgate University and received his M.B.A. from San Diego State University. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego and is a member of the State Bar of California.

Lori & Bill Walton

Basketball Hall of Famer, Bill Walton and his wife, Lori, are well-known in San Diego for their philanthropic leadership. The dynamic duo supports 52 local charities.  Lori has served on 16 different nonprofit boards and has chaired over 20 fundraisers for organizations benefiting the arts, education, youth services, and animal welfare, in addition, to the environment and the military.

Most recently, the couple organized a golf tournament at the Del Mar County Club to support Freedom Dogs, a nonprofit that partners service dogs with wounded Marines. 

The 6’11”, red-haired basketball champion is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.  The Helix High graduate broke many records playing center at UCLA for John Wooden’s varsity team.  He is a three-time recipient of the NCAA Player of the Year Award and earned Academic All-America honors three years in a row.  His professional career began in 1974 when he was selected as the number one pick at the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He has played professionally for the Boston Celtics, the San Diego Clippers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Throughout his career, Bill has been recognized with many awards.  He has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated 14 times and was recently honored with a life-size bronze statue at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay for his invaluable contributions to San Diego. His jersey number “32” was retired by the Portland Trail Blazers and also by UCLA.  In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.




Kristi Zimsky

Junior Achievement of San Diego County