Interviews with Inspirational San Diego Women

October 2011 issue
Ysabel Giacalone, Breast Cancer Survivor  

She has short black hair, dark vivacious eyes, and a big toothy smile. Her lively appearance and energetic movements admit to none of the struggles she has faced these past few years. And there have been many. Ysabel Giacalone is a forty-two-year old woman who is fighting breast cancer—for the second time. As she sits across me with her pink computer, we talk about how we both love the color pink. Pink used to be thought of as such a girly color, but today the pink ribbon has become such a powerful symbol. Since its inception in the early 90s, it is a symbol to make women aware of breast health and screening. It is also the universal symbol that says we need to find a cure because we all know someone who has had breast cancer. Maybe she is your mother, your sister, maybe a friend, a colleague, maybe your niece, your neighbor—this is a disease that too often hits too close to home. According to the National Cancer Institute, 230,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year, and from that abstract number, one real live case was sitting before me, a strong woman who was ready to tell her story . . . [read more]  

October 2011 issue 

Eileen Haag, President of San Diego Women’s Foundation

Sometimes something happens in our lives that affect us greatly, and we are inspired to do community service. Maybe your sister gets breast cancer, so you become a breast cancer advocate; maybe your son goes to Afghanistan, so you are inspired to help service members; or maybe you simply hear about a remarkable organization from a friend and are prompted to give a helping hand. One thing is undeniable: when you partake in helping others, you too are rewarded. . .  

[T]here are ample opportunities to help on one’s home front, and one organization in particular, The San Diego Women’s Foundation—a non-profit organization that “educates and inspires women to engage in significant and sustainable philanthropy to strengthen the San Diego region”—is one that offers so much to so many. 

. . . To learn more about this organization, I had the opportunity to sit down for a long and animated conversation with Eileen Haag, the current President of SDWF, a position for which she volunteers. Eileen’s bio is quite impressive. She is the mother of two children, who are now thriving adults (her son a social worker, her daughter a teacher) and has been happily married for twelve years. For the last forty years, Eileen has been actively involved in the San Diego community: she was a co-owner of The Bernardo News from 1971 to 1989; the chair of the Rancho Bernardo United Coalition that helped rebuild more than 300 homes after the 2007 With Creek Fires; the chair of the board of directors at Casa de las Campanas, a continuing care retirement community; President of the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation; and a consultant for several important SD projects. And yet, in our two hours together, she is less interested to talk about these many accomplishments because—like a true philanthropist—our meeting is not about her—it’s about others. She is excited to tell me all about The San Diego Women’s Foundation, and I am eager to listen to what type of organization can make such a dynamic, accomplished woman so enthusiastic . . . [read more]  

August/September 2011 issue 

Carol Hubbard, the Executive Director at St. Paul’s PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) 

An elderly woman pushes her walker past the receptionist, but stops when she sees a young lady with a guitar slung over her shoulder leaving. “I am sorry to have missed you. I really love your music. I couldn’t make it because I was in rehab.” 

“That’s okay, maybe next time,” the volunteer musician says with a big smile. 

A few more seniors exit and some enter, and each one is greeted with a warm “goodbye” or “hello” from the receptionist. There is some laughter, some teasing, and everyone seems genuinely happy to be there. And where is this place? It’s called St. Paul’s PACE, an all-inclusive medical, social, and home care facility that allows frail seniors to continue to live safely in their homes while providing them a plethora of services—from medical care to rehabilitative care to day center activities which include music, art, exercise, and field trips. And this is just the beginning. 

To learn more about these and other services, I was given a guided tour by Carol Hubbard, the Executive Director at St. Paul’s PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly). After spending some time with Carol, it was clear how much she believed in St. Paul’s PACE and enjoyed her job . . .[read more, pages 13-14]