Brandon Padilla joined San Diego Diplomacy Council in February 2020. Brandon is a former special agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, having completed tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Senegal, and a temporary assignment to Singapore. Prior to the U.S. Department of State, Brandon was a police officer with the city of San Diego and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He holds an MPA from CSU Dominguez Hills and a BS in Criminal Justice Administration from San Diego State University. Brandon is married with three boys and actively volunteers with a number of local nonprofit organizations.
Mark J. Ballam serves as Managing Director for San Diego State University’s Center for Advancing Global Business (CAGB). SDSU CAGB is a national center of excellence funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Center assists in linking workforce and information needs of U.S. business with the international education, language training, and research capabilities of universities across the U.S. Read more
Ballam came to SDSU in 2005, after eight years at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Before Georgia Tech, he had a twelve year career in the banking industry. Since his arrival at SDSU, he has been instrumental in raising more than $7.5 million in grants and gifts.
Paula C. Herring
Paula C. Herring, EdD is Faculty Chair and Professor at DeVry University, where she has taught international business, critical thinking, management and leadership courses for 20 years. She trains, hires and manages a faculty staff, also. Dr. Herring teaches adjunct for California Miramar University on the doctorate level. Her professional background is in education and international business and she serves on the Survivors of Torture, International board and past board service includes the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) and Parkinsons Disease Association of San Diego.Read more
She earned her doctorate from Fielding Graduate University in Leadership and Social Justice and was awarded a dissertation research grant from the Women’s Network of Gender Empowerment (WNGE). The Institute for Social Innovation Scholarship awarded her a Dissertation Topic and Research Award for her research about Rwandan women. Additional research, publications, and speaking engagements include the topics of inclusivity, entrepreneurship, human rights, and emerging economies. She also has earned an MBA and Bachelors of Arts degrees in Political Science and Public Communications. Paula is a member of the Academic of Business Association (ABA) and IEEE.
Hon. Leslie Bassett
Secretary and Past President
Ambassador (ret’d.) Leslie Bassett settled in this area after a 35-year diplomatic career with service in locations from Israel to South Africa, and Mexico City to Seoul, Korea, most recently serving as Ambassador to Paraguay under President Obama. Ambassador Bassett’s experiences highlighted the important role local initiatives play in creating global understanding. Exchanges, networking, dialogue and outreach are fundamental tools contributing to expanded U.S. influence and engagement in the world. She is delighted to support the San Diego Diplomacy Council’s work in connecting our community to the world in so many unique and innovative ways.
Sam is the Director of Tax Accounting with Sempra Energy in San Diego. He has 23+ years’ experience in corporate income tax, accounting, and SEC reporting. He has held positions with various “Big 4” public accounting firms, as well as in-house positions with U.S.-based multinationals such as GE Capital in Connecticut and Weatherford International in Houston, TX.Read more
Sam received his first law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law and his LL.M in tax from New York University. He is licensed to practice law in New York (retired) and Connecticut. Sam is married to Christine Caulfield who is self-employed as an attorney. They live in Coronado and together have two sons, Avery (age 18) and Evan (age 16). Sam enjoys baseball (watching) and tennis (watching and playing — at least when is back is not on the fritz). Sam has dedicated his time to various non-profit organizations, including the New Canaan Country School where he served as a member of the board of trustees and president of the alumni council. He also served as co-president (with Christine) of the Parent Annual Fund for the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT where Avery and Evan have attended boarding school.
Ric Bainter is an attorney in San Diego who has practiced internationally for more than 20 years. He has provided legal advice to organizations in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Lithuania, Poland and Vietnam. Ric has taught courses on international law and international organizations at the University of San Diego School of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the University of California, San Diego. He serves on the Executive Committee of the International Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, the National Governing Board of Common Cause, and City of San Diego’s International Affairs Board.
Susan J. Flieder
Susan J. Flieder is an active member of the San Diego nonprofit community. After receiving her JD from DePaul University in Chicago, Susan practiced environmental law for more than 20 years. Upon moving to Southern California she became the first environmental attorney at the Port of San Diego. In 2007, Susan earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of San Diego. She has served as Board Chair of Wildcoast, an international nonprofit that seeks to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. Read more
Susan has also served on the board of the Orca Fund, a fund housed at the San Diego Foundation, which supported various environmental nonprofits in San Diego. Susan volunteers for the Friendly Match program at Jewish Family Services where she has been helping a Syrian family adjust to their new life in San Diego. Twice a year, her family hosts “house concerts” in support of Little Village Foundation, a nonprofit in the music industry that supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds.
Miri Ketayi is the Director of Israel & Overseas of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County. The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money and investing in projects that strengthen Jewish identity, fosters dynamic connections between San Diego and Israel and cares for Jews in need around the world. Prior to taking on this role, Miri served as the Director of Israel and International Education programs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.Read more
Born in Russia, Miri grew up in Israel, and moved to Palm Desert, CA, where she served as the Director of Education at Temple Sinai and as a Jewish day school principal. Miri Holds a BA in history from the Tel Aviv University, an MA in Education from the American Jewish University, and an MA in Public Administration from the California State University, Northridge. She is married to Eric and is a mother to Shira, a junior at Indiana University, and Yehonatan, who is in 9th grade.
Rachel Lozano Castro
Rachel Lozano Castro immensely enjoys serving as a host, board member, and community educator for the San Diego Diplomacy Council. Her day job has her working creatively and collaboratively on environmental and civic projects at the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center. Formerly, she ran a small business development center and a social innovation program at the University of San Diego. She has degrees from PLNU and SDSU so is pretty much filling out the San Diego bingo card. She teaches entrepreneurship at CETYS Universidad in Tijuana and has given several speeches, including a TedX talk, about living on both sides of our US-Mexico border. She has lived in the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Mexico and can get around in Spanish and Portuguese. She and her husband Raul love living in Paradise Hills, San Diego.
Jeremy Martin, Vice President Energy & Sustainability Jeremy M. Martin is Vice President, Energy & Sustainability at the Institute of the Americas, an inter-American public policy think-tank located at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The Institute of the Americas Energy & Sustainability Program works to foster a deeper understanding of the most critical energy issues facing the Western Hemisphere.Read more
Jeremy spends his time delving into the geopolitics of energy and closely following energy industry trends and policy issues across the Americas, and is a frequent commentator and writer on Latin American and energy issues. Jeremy has testified before the US Congress on energy issues in Latin America, teaches a graduate course in Latin American Energy Policy at UCSD and the University of San Diego (USD) and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Inter-American Dialogue’s Energy Advisor newsletter. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Diplomacy Council and is a member of the host committee for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation San Diego Chapter annual Bet on Cures event. Thanks to his upbringing, he is a diehard Red Sox fan, Civil War buff, and news junkie. Jeremy graduated with honors in History from The Citadel in Charleston, SC and a Masters in International Affairs/International Development from the American University in Washington, DC. He has yet to achieve his lifelong dream of being a Stand-Up Comic.
Asokan Selvaraj has served in various technology leadership and executive management roles over his 25 year professional experience. He currently serves as the Global Enterprise Architect for Callaway Golf.
Previously, Asokan served in the Executive Committee as well as on the Board of Trustees of San Diego Tamil Sangam, a non-profit organization fostering the Tamil culture within the San Diego Community. Asokan has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Asokan and his wife have lived and raised two daughters in San Diego over the last 22 years.
Yen Tu was born in Saigon, Vietnam and came to the United States as a refugee with her family in 1977. She is one of 10 children. A San Diego resident since 1978, she graduated from UCSD in 1990 with a BA degree in Chinese Studies. Yen owns a consulting business focused on marketing, community outreach and special events. Her clients include the Chinese Historical Museum, City of San Diego, BAME CDC, Asian Business Association, Center City Development Corporation (CCDC), San Diego Chinese Center, I Love a Clean San Diego, and Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair. Read more
Yen’s previous positions include serving as the Community Relations Manager for Viejas Enterprises, Executive Director for the Asian Business Association, Senior Campaigner for United Way of San Diego County, and Legislative Aid for two City of San Diego Council Members, and one San Diego County Supervisor.