Newest Trailblazer Award Recipient Rebecca Newman

Rebecca Newman, Salk’s recently retired vice president of External Relations, was honored with the Ursula Bellugi Trailblazer Award at the July 14 Salk Women & Science event. Newman’s ability to establish strong relationships with leading philanthropists and some of San Diego’s biggest employers in the biotech industry has been key to her success as a fundraiser. Prior to joining Salk, she served for six years as associate vice chancellor of development at UC San Diego, where she successfully led the university’s capital campaign and exceeded its $1 billion goal.

Newman joined Salk in 2008, where she has led the entire fundraising program, including strategic planning and campaigns, as well as donor relation- and event-related activities and communications. She successfully launched and exceeded the Institute’s first major fundraising campaign to support scientific research, which secured more than $360 million in 2015. In addition, Newman oversaw 14 years of Symphony at Salk and created countless outreach programs, including the Salk Women & Science program, which she established in 2011 to raise the profile of women in science through historic fundraising and community engagement.

The Ursula Bellugi Trailblazer Award recognizes outstanding achievements made by women in their fields. Recipients have pioneered changes within their disciplines as innovators, leaders, collaborators and mentors. They are dedicated to making significant advances in both their professional and personal lives. Trailblazers forge their own paths to achieve their visions. Past award recipients include Distinguished Professor Emerita Ursula Bellugi, Professor Emerita Catherine Rivier and Professor Joanne Chory.

“Receiving the Trailblazer Award was both surprising and humbling,” Newman says. “It is intimidating to stand in a group with the late Ursula Bellugi, as well as the extraordinary Catherine Rivier and Joanne Chory, all of whom are icons not only for the great accomplishments of their science but also for their humanity, work ethic and generosity of spirit.

“It is also validating to have the recognition that true impact results from people of many different skill sets working together to achieve great results. I never thought of myself as a trailblazer, but I did want to change the dialogue regarding women in leadership roles, whether as philanthropists, professional fundraisers or anyone pursuing a nontraditional career path. I tried to lead by working hard and mentoring both women and men I supervised to have confidence in their abilities, to trust their instincts and to value the skills they bring to every endeavor—their success has been my greatest gift.”

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