By Tom Cesarini
The Buzz: The life, passions, and accomplishments of San Diego’s Ann Navarra will take center stage at a dinner recognizing her as the 2018 recipient of the Convivio Communitas Award for Leadership.
The annual award honors San Diego’s Italian-American community leaders who have transformed our region through their academic, business and civic achievements.
A second-generation Italian-American, Navarra cherishes memories of her Sicilian heritage as a child growing up in San Diego’s Little Italy. After graduating from Our Lady of Peace, Navarra earned a bachelor’s degree and a lifetime teaching credential from San Diego State University.
Her passion for education inspired her to accept a teaching position at Marshall Elementary. The next chapter in her career found Navarra immersed in the family business — Jerome’s Furniture — a journey that culminated in her appointment as vice president of finance.
Throughout her life, Navarra has answered the call to volunteer for many important causes. In 1979, she served as president of the San Diego Home Furnishings Association. Her regional leadership inspired appointments to the boards of the National Home Furnishings Association and the Western Home Furnishings Association. She was honored by the City of Hope in 2001, representing the home furnishings industry.
In 1980, Navarra was elected to the board of the San Diego County Office of Education, where she served for three terms. She chaired the first board of AVID, now a globally recognized model of outstanding education, and is currently honored as a director emeritus. Navarra also served as chair of the board of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace. Currently a board trustee at the University of San Diego (USD), Navarra remains an advocate of numerous local organizations, including the San Diego History Center and the Sulpizio Hospital at UC San Diego.
The Scene: USD will provide a fitting backdrop for this celebration of Navarra’s lifelong commitment to education, quality health care and the dedication to excellence that defines her family’s entrepreneurial legacy.
San Diegans are welcome to attend a dinner and awards ceremony (“roast style”) in her honor. In keeping with Navarra’s delightful sense of humor, the roast was her idea.
The Convivio Communitas Award program will take place March 21, 6:30–9 p.m, at La Gran Terraza, located at 5998 Alcala Park, Hahn University Center, on the USD campus. Tickets will be available through the Convivio website.
The Cause: Convivio is a San Diego nonprofit dedicated to promoting Italian arts, culture and heritage, through education and research, while embracing an innovative approach to cultural advancement. Join in our online community conversation. We look forward to learning your ideas and insights as we strive to realize Convivio’s vision: To be San Diego’s premier Italian cultural organization by cultivating enlightening and inspiring educational and social experiences.
— Tom Cesarini is the executive director of Convivio. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.