Southern California Leadership Network Honors Regional Leaders for Outstanding Achievement

Southern California Visionaries luncheon recognizes Harold M. Williams, Debra Reed, Charlie Woo and LAPD First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell

December 9, 2008 11:00 am

LOS ANGELES – The Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) today honored four distinguished regional and community leaders at its Southern California Visionaries luncheon at The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the pinnacle community leadership event in the region.

SCLN annually recognizes individuals in the Southern California region who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in civic leadership, and celebrates those whose vision has inspired action, collaboration and positive community outcomes.

“In today’s environment, we all recognize that our communities, business and government need exemplary leadership,”
said SCLN Executive Director Kevin Cottrell. “There is no better time or means of focusing our thoughts on those individuals who step forward in leadership roles that motivate people, lead change, and inspire us to achieve a greater vision for the future.”

J. Paul Getty Trust President Emeritus Harold M. Williams
was honored with the Lifetime “Achieving” Award, recognizing his decades-long dedication to promoting the arts and public education in Southern California.  Currently of counsel with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, Flom LLP & Associates, Williams has had a distinguished career spanning U.S. military service, private law practice, the arts and education.  In 1993 President Clinton appointed Williams to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  Williams has also served as chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and dean at the Graduate School of Management at UCLA, where, among other achievements, he expanded the scope of the school to include management of arts organizations and nonprofits. During his 17-year leadership at the Getty, Williams was credited with transforming the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu into a multifaceted institution dedicated to scholarship, conservation, and education in the visual arts and humanities.

Debra Reed, President & CEO, Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric
, was recognized with the Southern California Leader of the Year Award, in recognition of an individual who has provided inspirational and visionary community leadership in Southern California.  Reed oversees Sempra Energy’s California-regulated utilities, which supply more than 20 million consumers in the Southern California-San Diego region.  She currently serves on the boards of the Halliburton Company; Genentech; the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation; and the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency at Stanford University.

Charlie Woo, Founder, Megatoys, received the Excellence in Civic Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding civic leadership and public service that is a model of creativity, integrity and effectiveness.  Woo is credited with developing the Los Angeles Toy District, turning the once-blighted industrial area downtown into a thriving international trade center.  Woo has served on the boards of many major civic organizations, and currently serves on the boards of Pitzer College; the L.A. Police Foundation; L.A. Inc.; Southern California Public Radio; and UCLA School of Public Affairs. He is the chair of the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) and the Workforce Investment Board for the City of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) First Assistant Chief and Chief of Staff Jim McDonnell
, was awarded the Graduate of the Year Award, which recognizes Leadership L.A. or Leadership Southern California alumni who epitomize excellence and achievement in community leadership.  Chief McDonnell is a graduate of the Leadership L.A. Class of 2000.  In his 27-year career with the LAPD, Chief McDonnell has worked on a variety of assignments throughout the city, including patrol, detectives, homicide, gangs, organized crime, vice, and training.  He has a long history of working in partnership with the community and is a strong advocate of community policing.

The Southern California Leadership Network, a partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, is the region’s premier provider of leadership training.  SCLN’s two programs, Leadership L.A. and Leadership Southern California, have already equipped more than 1,000 civic-minded thinkers with the community and regional collaboration skills necessary to address quality of life issues including traffic, water, clean air, education and public safety.  Combined, they form one of the most diverse networks of deeply engaged civic, business and government leaders in Southern California.

“The L.A. Area Chamber salutes the 2009 Visionaries honorees for their commitment and service to Los Angeles and Southern California,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.


The Southern California Leadership Network’s mission is to train and develop a productive network of exemplary and diverse leaders in the business, government and community sectors who are capable of addressing the critical challenges facing the Southern California region.  For more information, visit


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