Leadership San Antonio opens new year with retreat

This year marks the 43rd year of Leadership San Antonio. As is tradition, the class kicked off the new year with an opening retreat to begin networking with each other and plan for the year’s events. LSA300, as it is dubbed in honor of the City’s Tricentennial anniversary, gathered downtown at the Westin Riverwalk and spent the weekend exploring the benefits of the program, as well as discussing the “Year of Service” ahead. Co-Chairs Casandra Matej (Visit San Antonio) and Denise Hernandez (True Flavors), along with the LSA43 Steering Committee members, spent numerous hours of planning and dedicated invaluable talent and resources to ensuring the two-day retreat was a huge success.

The first day began early with a festive Mariachi band, a warm welcome from the Westin’s General Manager Reed Randolph, and a photo opportunity with the NCAA Final Four National Champion trophy. The group was honored to be greeted by the leadership of both the San Antonio and the San Antonio Hispanic Chambers of Commerce as well as the Chairman of the Board of the Hispanic Chamber Erika Prosper Nirenberg. She discussed the invaluable opportunities that LSA will bring to each class member and her priorities for the Hispanic Chamber of fostering leadership within the Latino community. Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg (LSA 37) spoke of his experiences with LSA as a class member and what the Tricentennial means to San Antonio.

The class members then ventured throughout the city on a walking scavenger hunt to historic and important sites, affording them an opportunity to get to know each other and learn more about the city. The afternoon’s events included an esteemed alumni panel including former United States Representative Charles Gonzalez (LSA1), Angela McClendon Johnson (LSA30) with the McClendon Johnson Group, Secretary of State Rolando Pablos (LSA29), and Kim Lubel (LSA29), former CEO of CST Brands. After the panel, the group participated in a team building “Build a Bike” exercise where they built five boys’ and five girls’ bicycles and donated them to St. PJ’s Children’s Home and Boysville SA. To round out the day, the participants enjoyed a delicious meal at the Range Restaurant, with special one-on-one conversation time with Chef Jason Dady, and then to see the spectacular light show, the Saga, at the San Fernando Cathedral.

The retreat closed on Saturday with an opportunity for class teams to begin planning, as well as participate in a technology team-building exercise focusing on their Aspirational Vision of San Antonio. Key words of growth, perspective, and knowledge combined with other terms such as progressive, inclusive, and competitive will be the foundation for this year’s class, which promises to be challenging and unique for all of the participants. Finally, to highlight the class’s dedication to service in 2018, many members participated in Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. March downtown, enjoying the time together to honor this great leader, as well as his legacy of justice, peace and equality and his enduring spirit of service to our nation.

If you have any questions related to Leadership San Antonio, please contact Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs and Leadership Development at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce at

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