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Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, has been selected to receive the 2011 Leadership California 20th Anniversary Trailblazer Award.  Leadership California represents a network of more than 1,200 accomplished women dedicated to advancing the leadership role of women and their influence in the state. 

As part of a statewide tour to various regions, Leadership California is honoring five San Diego women, in five different sectors, whose lifetime career and commitment have made a difference in California. The award ceremony will take place today, Thursday, November 3, at noon in the Omni Hotel San Diego.

“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” said Wallace. “I’m also very proud of the San Diego Convention Center’s accomplishments and of the exemplary team of convention industry professionals I have the privilege of working with every day, and who have helped our facility become one of the top ranked convention centers in the nation.”

Wallace has led San Diego’s highly successful convention center since 1991. She is responsible for its overall management, marketing and operation, oversees a full-time and part-time staff of more than 550 employees and an annual budget that exceeds $32 million.

Under her leadership, the Convention Center has become one of the region’s strongest economic engines, supporting San Diego’s vital tourism industry and generating 12,500 jobs region wide.  Last fiscal year alone, conventions held in the building generated $1.4 billion in economic impact and $20.6 million in tax revenues to help the city fund police and fire protection, street and park maintenance and other important services that improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.  San Diego conventions also bring millions of attendees from around the world to California, supporting its $100 billion visitor industry and presenting opportunities to bring future business to our state.

Additionally, Wallace played a pivotal role to expand the facility to its present 2.6 million square feet, resulting in even greater convention business. She is at the forefront of the current effort to expand the building again, which could increase economic impact by $698 million annually and add another 6,880 new permanent jobs to San Diego’s workforce. As a result of her work, she has built a reputation as a strong consensus builder bringing government leaders, industry stakeholders and the community together for the common good.

Other local recipients being honored include Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO, San Diego and Imperial Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D., President, University of San Diego; Debra L. Reed, Chief Executive Officer, Sempra Energy; and Darlene V. Shiley, President, The Shiley Foundation.

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