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Letter From the CEO: November 2022

Claire Johnson discusses what a Celebrating Women issue means to her and why we must stop to smell the ocean

By Claire Johnson

forces of nature, claire and jasper

forces of nature, claire and jasper

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, I went to the beach only on vacations or special day trips. On the rare occasions I made the trip to the coast, the scent of the ocean air stayed with me for days—its power palpable. After four years living in San Diego where the beach is omnipresent, it’s just become a part of life. So familiar that I don’t even notice it.

Until the other day, when I took my son for a walk on the iconic OB fisherman’s pier for an early morning surf check. The pier was quiet and relatively empty, except for large pelicans and the occasional skateboarder. It was a breezy day creating choppy waters.

Suddenly, it happened: I smelled the ocean. It swept through me like it used to, jolting me awake from my half-asleep morning delirium. I found myself back in my family’s station wagon on our way to the beach, windows down, salty air swirling. It challenged me to not take for granted the powerful and essential forces around me, regardless of how often I’m confronted with them.

When we sat down to plan this issue, I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that this whole concept was old-fashioned, a pageant on paper. Was it patronizing to dedicate an issue to “celebrating” women in 2022?

And then I thought about the women in this issue. Kat Echazarreta is literally and figuratively fighting gravity. The 26-year-old engineer is the first Mexican-born woman to go to space. Soccer star Alex Morgan and her teammates on the U.S. Women’s soccer team successfully won a $24 million settlement against the U.S. Soccer Federation to pay female players the same salaries as their male counterparts. Khea Pollard, with her mother, founded and runs a coffee shop that serves as an empowerment center to help propel financial equity for San Diego’s Black community.

The women in this issue, the others who have come before them and those who will follow, are forces of nature, and—like the ocean—should never be taken for granted. Women in this country do not have economic, social and legal parity with men, so we celebrate women who are shining examples of perseverance and challenging the status quo.

We cannot allow the visible to become invisible or lose sight of how necessary it is to continue the fight for equality in this country.

This month we stop to smell the ocean. We celebrate the women in our community who are making a difference, the ones fighting for change rapturously at high tide, and those whose effort and strength you might not notice but for the sound of crashing waves at night.


Claire Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

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