Deborah Szekely has been building bridges both locally and abroad for over seventy years. Szekely headed the Inter-American Foundation from 1984-1990 and was co-founder and co-president of the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange. She is an internationally recognized fitness expert and serves on boards of directors locally and nationally. It is for these reasons that she is being inducted into the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame as a Bridge Builder.
In 2013, 92 year-old Szekely launched WellnessWarrior.org; a non-profit, online movement to secure happier, healthier lives for Americans via the prevention of illness, as well as assuring that our nation’s food, water, and farmlands are free of chemicals and GMOs. Szekely has taught and promoted wellness for the last seventy-four years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer of the mind/body/fitness movement. In 1940, Szekely and her husband Edmond founded Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico and in 1958 she established the Golden Door in Escondido, California.
In addition to her health and wellness work, Szekely was President of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), an independent foreign-assistance agency of the United States government that awards grants directly to grassroots organizations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1991, Szekely founded Eureka Communities, a national training program for CEOs and leaders of non-profit organizations dedicated to CEO mentoring, teamwork, and building bridges. Today Szekely is Honorary President and Chair of Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA) and is a founder and "board member for life" of International Spa Association (ISPA). She also sits on the boards of Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Congressional Management Foundation. Deborah Szekely’s work in health and wellness and in assisting non-profits is what makes her a model Bridge Builder