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Jan Tuttleman uses her head to lead with her heart

Jan Tuttleman is chairwoman of the board of the Jewish Federation of San Diego, and president and co-founder of Women Give San Diego. She serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Foundation for Women, the San Diego Jewish Women’s Foundation, and the Dean’s Advisory Council of the UCSD Rady School of Management.

Tuttleman has been an angel investor in life science companies in San Diego and was vice president of marketing for Huya Bioscience International.

She obtained her B.A. in chemistry from Boston University, a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.B.A. from the UCSD Rady School of Management.

Tuttleman received the Anne Ratner Award for Community Leadership from the Jewish Federation, the Mitzvah Award from San Diego Jewish Family Services, and the Women of Dedication Award from the Salvation Army.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I moved to San Diego from San Francisco after the 1989 earthquake shook us up too much. In 1996, I moved to La Jolla to be closer to the ocean, my friends, and the Children’s School where my two young daughters, Sophie and Emma, were enrolled. I’ve felt at home in this friendly community ever since.

What makes this town special to you?

I’ve always admired La Jolla for being on the forefront of innovation in the biological sciences. Yet what makes La Jolla different from other cities is that right next to our high-powered scientific center is the opportunity to enjoy the beaches, ocean and a more laid-back lifestyle. I think La Jolla is the most beautiful city in the country.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I’d snap my fingers to alleviate hunger and food insecurity in San Diego. It’s much bigger a problem than most of us realize.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by people who, when given an opportunity, will rise out of difficult and challenging situations. Seeing our community needs inspires me to take on leadership positions, such as the chair of the Jewish Federation in San Diego, and to create new organizations, such as Women Give San Diego, that helps women attain economic security and self-sufficiency.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Since this is about La Jolla, I would invite Sally Ride, Theodor Geisel and Jonas Salk, adding in Leonardo DiCaprio and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I’d include my husband, Craig Lambert, and two daughters to witness this momentous gathering.

Tell us what you are currently reading.

I have just finished reading “Outcasts United” by Warren St. John. It’s a real-life story about an inspiring woman who changed the lives of a group of refugees through the principles of soccer.

In fact, San Diego has a large refugee population, and if you want to understand more about what they’re going through, you should read this book. I just found out that it’s the 2010 Selection of One Book One San Diego, so I highly recommend it to everyone.

What is your most-prized possession?

My most-prized possession is my Ph.D. diploma from the University of Pennsylvania. The results of the research really made a difference in people’s lives, and it reminds me of how far I’ve come and all that I’ve accomplished.

What do you do for fun?

In the winter, I love to ski, and in the summer, I love to hike in the mountains. And as often as I can, I play the flute with my husband — it’s an activity that we both enjoy and brings us closer.

I also find it’s fun to travel to exotic places where I can hike, bike, scuba dive and take photos. Of course, I love to walk my dogs on the beaches of La Jolla whenever I can.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

It’s as a single mom for 15 years, raising my two daughters to be such wonderful, beautiful, kind and special human beings.

What is your philosophy of life?

Set your sights high and reach for your dreams. Be passionate, courageous and adventuresome.