January 15, 2021 — The Port of San Diego welcomes Jennifer LeSar as the newest commissioner to represent the City of San Diego on the Board of Port Commissioners, and welcomes the reappointment of Commissioner Rafael Castellanos to continue representing San Diego. Both were selected by the San Diego City Council on January 12, 2021 and were sworn in on January 13, 2021; LeSar by California Governor Gavin Newsom and Castellanos by Port Clerk Donna Morales.
“On behalf of the Board of Port Commissioners, I am very pleased to welcome Commissioner LeSar to the Board and to have Commissioner Castellanos continue his work with us as we begin another challenging yet productive year,” said Chairman Michael Zucchet, one of the three San Diego representatives on the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Commissioner LeSar’s impressive background and substantial leadership experience will help move the Port forward, and retaining the experience and institutional knowledge of Commissioner Castellanos is also incredibly valuable as we continue to navigate the challenges ahead.”
Commissioner LeSar moved to San Diego in 1993 and has a history serving the City of San Diego through her terms as the chair and treasurer of the Civic San Diego Board, and multiple leadership roles on the governing boards of The San Diego Foundation, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, and the Monarch School Project. She is currently the founding CEO of LeSar Development Consultants, founder of the Global Policy Leadership Academy, and has over three decades in community development, real estate development, and investment banking with a deep working knowledge of eco-system change management and organizational strategy. She brings community and collaboration experience in conjunction with strong technical skills in real estate development, finance and negotiatio ns, and has prior experience working on large investment transactions on or adjacent to the waterfront.
LeSar earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Bryn Mawr College and two master’s degrees – in real estate and finance, and urban planning – from UCLA. LeSar has also completed an Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a Fellow at The Billions Institute, and has been a lecturer at Stanford University.
As a returning commissioner, Castellanos serves as secretary of the Board for 2021 and is the chair of the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Castellanos has guided the Port through the adoption of its Climate Action Plan, negotiations for sea level rise adaption, the creation of the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator, and many other projects during his tenure. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree and earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School as a Cornerstone Scholar.
The Port is governed by a seven-member board, of which three members are appointed by the City of San Diego and one each is appointed by the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City. Commissioner Ann Moore continues to represent Chula Vista, Commissioner Garry Bonelli continues to represent Coronado, Commissioner Dan Malcom continues to represent Imperial Beach, and Commissioner Sandy Naranjo was appointed in late 2020 to represent National City.