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Josh Billauer takes on life’s challenges with a victor’s spirit

An L.A. native, Josh Billauer became fascinated with La Jolla as a student at UCSD in the early 1990s. Graduating with a degree in cognitive science from UCSD and an MBA from SDSU, Billauer applied his tenacity and analytical aptitude to the world of asset management as partner of Bryan-Billauer-Kozo Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors on Prospect Street. Today, he works out of the same office, as first vice president–investments, managing about $500 million for high net worth personal and endowment clients.

Driven to philanthropy at age 22 when his brother Jesse sustained a serious spinal cord injury, Billauer has received numerous accolades for his efforts in the nonprofit arena. In 1999, he and his brother founded the Life Rolls On Foundation, an organization that raised more than $2 million for spinal cord injury research and quality-of-life programs.

Life Rolls On is now a division of the internationally influential Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, where Billauer also holds a board seat. Billauer also serves on the board of the Sundt Memorial Foundation and is a sergeant with the San Diego Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association. He lives with his wife, Ricki, and their daughters, Lexi and Sadie.

What brought you to La Jolla?

UCSD brought me here many years ago, and our financial advisory practice on Prospect Street has deep roots in the community. Plus, we’re a block from the ocean!

What makes La Jolla special to you?

The sound of the waves and birds; the smell of the salt and seaweed; the sights of the ocean, cliffs and architecture; the taste of our intimate eateries; and the feeling of riding the waves at Black’s!

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

Many would say the parking or the traffic, but La Jolla truly is a gem. Plus, if it were easy to get here, it wouldn’t be as special!

Who or what inspires you?

I’m motivated by the power of the human spirit, the spirit of kindness and generosity. I’m inspired by those who overcome extreme adversity to achieve success.

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

Assuming someone else did the cooking — the late Christopher Reeve; asset management kingpin Bill Gross; entrepreneur Bob Hurley; my mentor and La Jolla community leader Jon Sundt; musician and philanthropist Bono; inventor Thomas Edison; Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos; and my lovely and amazing wife, Ricki!

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

“The Starfish & the Spider — The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.” It’s a story of massively disruptive ideologies (good and bad) and how the Internet helps them flourish.

What is your most-prized possession?

The key to my home. It’s where all the joy in my life congregate, my family and friends.

What do you do for fun?

Surfing has always been an important part of my life.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

Bringing life to this world — my two daughters.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Practice integrity — even when no one is watching.