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The Rancho Santa Fe Tea3 Foundation was created by a group of philanthropists and experienced fundraisers who believe that each person has Time, Talent, or Treasure to give to the good of the community. Our efforts are focused on other local non-profit organizations dedicated to helping children, military, and animals.
Sandra Den Uijl
Founder & President
Born in Texas and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Sandra grew up with great parents that instilled in her and her two brothers the attitude to give back and help others. Growing up, she had diverse and interesting conversations with elderly people that her mother would take in and provide for on a regular basis. She completed her MBA at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, becoming a professor of Accounting and Taxation at her Alma Mater. After marrying Henny, she moved to San Diego, and raised their newly blended family as a loving Mom to her son Edgar and Stepmom to his three sons. A CPA with over 30 years of experience, she had a successful career in Corporate America after completing a second MBA. Then, as her sons grew up, she found an outlet to unleash her boundless energy and organizational abilities in fundraising for charity organizations. With like-minded friends, Sandra founded the Tea3 Foundation. With her “Can Do” attitude and positive outlook on life, Sandra feels blessed to be able to make a difference within the community she loves.
Founder & Board Member
Born and raised in El Salvador, Niki grew up in a family of Hungarian and Czech descent. With her parents as role models, she was surrounded by philanthropy, appreciation for art and entrepreneurship: Her family created a Foundation to help disadvantaged girls; her father is a major art collector and owns multiple businesses. Niki is a USD graduate with a business degree. She returned to El Salvador after graduation to join the family business as well as to manage her own custom home décor business. In 2004 she returned to San Diego to expand her two boys’ development and education opportunities. She ultimately settled in Fairbanks Ranch, where she lives with her sons. She has enjoyed combining her l love of art and fashion with her personal commitment to philanthropy by curating fashion shows and vernissage events for very successful fundraising events. In becoming a founding and board member of the Tea3 Foundation she has found fertile ground to pursue her passion and interests.
Founder & Advisory Board
Born and raised in Cuba, Esther and her family fled to the US in 1964 to escape communism. Through resilience and hard work, they achieved the American Dream, feeling blessed to having made San Diego their home since 1979. She is happily retired there, with her family close by, after enjoying a successful business career in telecommunications. Esther is considered a pay-per-view television pioneer and feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help expand the reach of digital satellite television in the Americas and Asia-Pacific . Esther has served on the boards of public and private non-profit organizations. At the Chairmen’s Roundtable , she has enjoyed being a pro-bono business mentor to San Diego CEO’s for over 10 years. She was honored by The Salvation Army as a 2020/21 Woman of Dedication in for her contributions as a volunteer in San Diego and is a member of the Tea3 Foundation Advisory Board since its inception.
Board Member, Vice President & Legal Counsel
Wendy brings to the Tea3 Foundation over 20 years’ experience in corporate and business law. She is currently the Chief Legal Officer, Chief Diversity Officer and Corporate Secretary of Callide Biotherapeutics, a leading company in stem cell delivery technologies to fight cancer. In 2010, she founded and has led California Law Partners, a boutique law firm. Serving as outside general counsel to high-net-worth multi-families, she has grown an asset portfolio of over $1.5 billion in multi-generational wealth. As a business entrepreneur, in the digital health space, she co-founded the Never Train Alone + Zoom fitness app that connects fitness buddies for innovative corporate wellness programs and on-demand fitness escapes. A role model for women as a corporate attorney, entrepreneur, and movie producer, Wendy is a frequent guest speaker and has authored eBooks, legal kits and videos to advance legal consumer education. In 2021 she was honored by Discover Magazine among “Power Women of San Diego”. Also, as a former teaching fellow at Harvard University, she received the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Teaching. Wendy holds a J.D. from the Harvard Law School, an M.ST from the University of Oxford, and M.A.
Founder & Vice President
Founder and CEO of the Grand Restaurant Group, Sandy is an accomplished businesswoman, philanthropist and community leader. A successful entrepreneur, her businesses range from fine dining (Bellamy’s and Nick & G’s), to family-style locations (Giaola Italian Kitchen and DiCicco’s).. She is also a coffee plantation owner and producer of the award-winning Lava Lei Kona coffees, served at all of her restaurants and distributed nationally. Her passion for healthy foods that taste good led her to launch Hungry Squirrel, known for its Keto sauces and dressings. Made from premium, plant-based, natural ingredients, the product line is distributed nationally. Sandy’s devotion to philanthropy is widely recognized . She was featured in Modern Luxury’s Dynamic Women edition; Discover Magazine included her among Powerful Women in San Diego; and she was recently named “Woman of the Year” by the Hollenbeck Center in Los Angeles. As vice president and founding board member, the Tea3 Foundation greatly appreciates her support.
Founder & Vice President of Events
Pooneh received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology followed by a Masters in Oriental Medicine. She worked as a Quality Control Analyst at a prestigious pharmaceutical company, and later as an acupuncturist, before deciding to stay home to dedicate more of her time to her children. Along the way, she was able to concentrate on her real passion: philanthropy. She volunteered with the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary for 7 years, supporting numerous community projects, including chairing the Gala Auction committee and moving up to be the Auxiliary’s Gala Chair. Pooneh was also a San Diego Opera Gala committee member. At the local school PTA, she served her community through several philanthropic activities. Currently Pooneh is a Founding and active member of Tea3 Foundation helping to better her community through completing one charity project at a time.
Susan Lane Leonard
Founder & Advisory Board
Susan is a public relations innovator and biotech launch curator. After starring as an actress through college, she founded the Lane Model & Talent Agency, where she licensed, designed and implemented world-class events . Among these were: Fun and Fitness Tours for Japan Travel Bureau, Lapland Celebrity Ski Races for the March of Dimes, and Miss Universe bookings at international air show. She landed roles in movies and TV, including the acclaimed ABC’s “War and Remembrance “ mini-series and films as far as Iguazu Falls Argentina. Most recently, Susan was selected for diplomatic summits as a leader in medical economic development for non-opioid drug discovery and women in STEM. She continues to support projects to benefit pediatric oncology in Mexico, Keto advocacy for epilepsy, PANDAS awareness and Liam’s Fund for neurosurgery. Susan brings art, science research and fashion to her role as an advisory board member for the Tea3 Foundation.
Founder & Secretary
A native New Yorker, Gina enjoyed a 30-year career as a professor of French, Romance linguist, writer and lecturer. During this time, her career took her from Michigan State University, to Washington University-St. Louis, to Southern California, the University of Michigan, and the Ann Arbor public schools. Gina has also enjoyed coaching, from a basketball team to an award-winning Science Olympiad team, and serving on the Parent Admissions Board and Parent Council at Washington University in St. Louis. Coming to Rancho Santa Fe after retiring, and actively pursuing fundraising opportunities for local charities was a dream-come-true for Gina. She is an Advisory Board member of the FACE Foundation for Animals and enjoys working with her dear friends of the Tea3 Foundation to make a difference to the lives of children, military families and animals. In recognition for her work she received the prestigious Mabel Jessup Award for Community Service, a most cherished honor.
Founder & Treasurer
The Tea3 Foundation is fortunate to have Deana as our Chief Financial Officer and founding board member. She is the founder and principal of Carter Financial, a boutique agency offering compassionate, customized investment and wealth management services. A certified LPL Financial Advisor with 26 years of experience, and a commitment to her clients’ financial security, Deana has built strong ties with the community. As a Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, she is a respected member of the Southern California financial community. Deana is a dedicated philanthropist and supports a number of nonprofit organizations, mentors teens, and offers free financial guidance to local charities. She was trained in economics at the University of Oxford, and has degrees in business and civil engineering. When she’s not at work you can find her training for triathlons and Spartan Races.
Monica brings to our team the highly valued perspective of her bicultural upbringing in Tijuana, Baja California, where she was born into a multi-generational philanthropic family, and La Jolla. “Philanthropy is the core of my being. My philosophy of life is to help, always help, no matter whom”, she frequently states. In addition to her generous financial contributions to the arts in San Diego, Monica brings valuable experience in running fundraising events, from elegant galas and fashion shows to golf tournaments, for Fundación Fimbres, proved by her grandfather over 50 years ago to run a nursing home for vulnerable seniors in Tijuana. In San Diego, she has co-chaired the successful Ronald McDonald Día de Alegria/Latinas y Amigas annual event. This elegant event continues to inspire a true “philanthropy bridge” between San Diego and Tijuana. Monica’s official residence is in Tijuana, dividing her time between there and her La Jolla residence. A generous donor to our community support organizations, she can always be counted on to fill a table or more with her friends, all of which is always most welcome and appreciated.
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