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Joanna Sansoterra is an integral member of San Diego’s veteran community bringing with her nearly three decades of visionary leadership, organizing, and recruiting experience to San Diego, home of the nations’ largest concentration of military personnel.

She joined Onward to Opportunity under the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University in 2017. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork for O2O within Navy Region Southwest creating partnerships and alliances with the Navy, local businesses and government entities, shining the light on veteran and military spouse employment issues.

Prior to joining O2O, Joanna served for 33 years in the Air Force. She currently volunteers as Board Secretary of San Diego Pride. She was the spark that enabled our local military personnel to march in the San Diego Pride parade in uniform in 2012.

Joanna was inducted into the San Diego LGBT Center’s Benjamin F. Dillingham, III and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor recognizing LGBT veterans with ties to San Diego who have taken the oath to serve our country and have done so honorably and with distinction, acting as a role model in advancing equality. Recently, she was recognized by Congressman Juan Vargas as Constituent of the Month in November 2022. She is a graduate of the University of San Diego with her Masters in Nonprofit Leadership & Management..

Chief Petty Officer, Michele Adair

U.S. Navy, Retired


Kim Van Nguyen

Director of Programs, LEAD San Diego

Chief Petty Officer Adair was born in Fresno, California and raised in Madera Ranchos, California until she joined the United States Navy at age 20.  On June 3rd 1997, she enlisted in the Navy and attended basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois.  Upon completion of basic training, she reported to her hydraulics A school in Pensacola, Florida.

Nov 1997, she reported to her first duty station, the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CV 63) operating out of Yokosuka, Japan, where she was the first female Arresting Gear Top Side Petty Officer, obtained her Air Warfare, and promoted several times to the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. This is also where she met the people who became some of her greatest assets during her career, Nilsa Elizondo, Kathy Hansen, and Barbara Jeanine. 

Sep 2001, she reported to NAS Bahrain, where she served in the military law enforcement field and was selected to be a Field Training Officer.Oct 2002, she reported to NAF El Centro, where she served as a Watch Commander and a Duty Armorer.

Oct 2004, she reported to the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) where she obtained her Surface Warfare, served as the Arresting Gear Leading Petty Officer and was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Oct 2009, she went to NDACS, the Navy’s Drug and Alcohol Counseling School.

Dec 2009, she reported to Naval Medical Center San Diego, where she served as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, SARP Leading Chief Petty Officer, and the Directorate for Mental Health Senior Enlisted Leader.

Jan 2013, she reported to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, were she served as the Departmental Leading Chief Petty Officer, a SARP Counselor, and her greatest achievement of giving birth to Isabella Adair.  Feb 2016, she reported to Naval Medical Center San Diego, where she served SARP Leading Chief Petty Officer and a SARP Counselor

June 2020, Chief Adair retired from the United States Navy.

June 2022, Chief Adair, Retired married the love of her life, Rachael Adair

Barbara Bry has started companies and not-for-profit organizations and served one term on the San Diego City Council.  Currently, she is co-founder of The Impact Collective which partners with nonprofits and artists to sell a new form of digital art. 

Barbara started Athena San Diego, San Diego’s premier organization for women technology and biotech executives, and Run Women Run to elect more San Diego women to office.  She has served on several non-profit boards including Planned Parenthood and the Children’s Museum.  In 1987, she held a fundraiser at her house for Neil Good, the first openly gay candidate for San Diego City Council.  While he lost to Bob Filner, Chris Kehoe was his campaign manager, and this launched her political career.

She is married to entrepreneur Neil Senturia, and their blended family includes four adult children, all married to people they love, and eight grandchildren.

Kim Van Nguyen is a native San Diegan, whose family arrived in San Diego as Vietnamese refugees. A graduate of Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, she went on to attend Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges before transferring to San Diego State University, earning a degree in Political Science. 

During her senior year at SDSU, Kim served as an intern in the office of San Diego Councilmember Toni Atkins. Following graduation, she was hired as Council Representative to the communities of Hillcrest and City Heights West from July 2007 until the end of Councilmember Atkins’ term in December 2008.  She then served as a Council Representative and Policy Advisor to Councilmember Marti Emerald until  December 2010.

Kim currently serves as Director of Programs for LEAD San Diego, the nonprofit leadership development affiliate of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. In her time at LEAD, she has overseen the development of multiple leadership programs, including LEAD’s flagship 10-month program, Impact. She was also part of the team which led the successful merger with the Chamber in 2017. In her time with LEAD, Kim has maintained and created new relationships in both San Diego and Tijuana, enhancing LEAD’s program offerings.

Outside of work, Kim enjoys travel and quiet time. She is passionate about animal welfare and environmental causes, as well as ensuring those in under-resourced and under-represented communities have a seat at the table. Once a year, you can find her in her happy place in the bush of Southern or East Africa reconnecting with nature and hoping for the thrill of lion roars in the middle of the night.

Barbara Bry, Former Councilmember

San Diego City Council

Celebrating Women's History Month & The Women that ROCK!
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 (6:00 pm – 7:15 pm)

Shelley Zimmerman is San Diego’s former Chief of Police. She retired in 2018 after 35 years with the Police Department and joined National University in January 2019, focusing on public safety and leadership. She is a sought after speaker on the myriad of challenges and opportunities policing brings in the 21st Century.

She believes in community policing and that public safety is a shared responsibility with everyone playing a crucial role in keeping San Diego safe.  During her tenure as Chief of Police, San Diego‘s overall crime fell to its lowest level in 49 years. She instituted new policies and deployed new equipment such as body worn cameras (the largest city at the time to do so), and gunshot detection sensors.  

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she is a graduate of the Ohio State University and the FBI National Academy.  She is an avid sports fan and often participates in athletic charity fundraisers.


Joanna Sansoterra

U.S. Air Force

Chief Shelley Zimmerman,

San Diego Police Department, Retired