Don Cecil & Lucy Wicks Named the 2017 Persons of the Year

Press Release : Redwood City – San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce awards Don Cecil and Lucy Wicks each with the 2017 Person of the Year Award.

For over 40 years, the Chamber’s highest award, sometimes called the Chairman’s Award, has been presented to recognize those who, more than anyone else, made the greatest impact on the success of a Chairman’s year. Key considerations for this prestigious award include enthusiasm for the organization, willingness to accept multiple roles/tasks, accomplishments in many phases of the Chamber’s programs and commitment and dedication to the success of their assignments. This year, there are two people who have been chosen, Lucy Wicks and Don Cecil who exemplify all of these qualities and more.

Lucy Wicks:

Lucy is the Director of Community Relations at Stanford University and a 2009 graduate of Leadership Redwood City/Belmont/Menlo Park/San Carlos Program.

In her role at Stanford, Lucy acts as a liaison between Stanford University and community-based organizations, government officials, businesses and individuals located in and around Stanford’s main campus and the new Stanford in Redwood City project area. Through this position she provides the community with information about the University and its resources. These relationships also enable Wicks to inform and advise the University about the needs and interests of the community and of cities.

Lucy Wicks has been the face of Stanford University for many in the Redwood City community for the past 8 plus years. In just over a year, Stanford will begin locating 2,700 employees to its new campus in Redwood City, making it one of the largest employers in Redwood City and San Mateo County. This would not have happened without the tireless efforts of Lucy. She has not only personified Stanford’s commitment to the importance of community, she has helped to strengthen and shape how Stanford should operate in a community, helping to fulfill their promise of remaining a community partner.  Through her efforts of working with the Friendly Acres Neighborhood Association, various North Fair Oaks neighborhood and community groups, her service on the Board of Directors of the Redwood City Improvement Association, and many other local organizations, Lucy has been able to effectively advocate for the needs of these neighborhoods to Stanford during the critical planning phase. She kept the lines of communication open, leading to the fulfillment of a project that was mutually beneficial to both Stanford and the local residents and businesses.

Since Lucy began her involvement at the Chamber over 10 years ago, she has been instrumental in bringing top University faculty to speak at Chamber Programs such as the Progress Seminar, the Chamber and SAMCEDA’s Economic Outlook Forum, Leadership Redwood City Belmont Menlo Park San Carlos, as well as the Stanford in Redwood City Speaker Series at the Fox Theater. Her help in bringing in these first class speakers, including being a speaker herself when asked, have contributed to the success of these Chamber activities.

Lucy’s work with local non-profits and schools has had a direct local impact, including her working with Stanford basketball players to talk to Redwood City school children in the Drink Water First for Thirst program.  Lucy’s efforts leading the Stanford Health Policy Forum and the Stanford Community Partnership awards are two other examples of Lucy’s strong commitment to nurturing and developing a strong community in Redwood City. Lucy has also been an active member of the Redwood City Improvement Association since its inception. As a Board member of the RCIA, she has played her part in ensuring the vitality and safety of downtown Redwood City business is improved and maintained.

“From my personal experience, as we have planned our Stanford in Redwood City campus, Lucy has been a strong advocate for the community, challenging the Stanford team to always take into account how the Stanford Redwood City Project will affect the local community and neighborhoods in which we also belong.  Lucy has been a driving force in the quality of our project, and in considering how Stanford can be the best neighbor and community member possible.  Lucy’s commitment to excellence in all of her endeavors has pushed me to do my best, and she has been a huge support to me in my efforts representing Stanford, and in my efforts as Chairman of the Chamber Board.”

-Steve Elliott, Chairman of the Board, Redwood City San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce

Perhaps one of the reasons why Lucy is such an effective advocate for local Redwood City neighborhood’s is due in part to her being a Redwood City resident herself. Lucy lives in Redwood City with her husband and two daughters. She’s a graduate of Goucher College in Baltimore Maryland. Previous to joining Stanford, Wicks worked as the Livable Communities Coordinator in the Office of Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, where she led a community-wide strategic planning process aimed at improving the livability of the area. She also worked in the areas of land use, transportation, and public health policy.


Don Cecil:

Don is a consultant with MC2 Bay Area Government & Public Affairs. In his consulting practice, Don brings innovative and strategic thinking, as well as meticulous attention to detail, to his clients. The projects and initiatives advanced by Don’s work have helped to improve local government, build strong communities, and foster a common-sense balance between a strong local economy, smart development, and quality of life.

Don has been an active member of this Chamber for 10+ years. During this time with the Chamber, he has always been there; ready to provide his objective expertise and support when needed. 2017 was no exception. His commitment to maintaining a high level of ethical standards has made him a trusted “unofficial” Chief of Public Affairs for the Chamber. He has worked on many initiatives taken up by the Chamber, including projects and initiatives supporting housing for all, transportation, and education, always looking at all sides of the issue to determine the best outcome for the Chamber and the surrounding community.

When asked to Chair the Leadership Program’s, Program Orientation Day, Don accepted the job. For the Leadership Redwood City•Belmont•Menlo Park•San Carlos Program, he dove into the Day Chair role and delivered a thought-provoking agenda for over 90 Leadership Students. His passion for community engagement can be witnessed as he moderates a Leadership session. Don’s gift to the participants, is getting them to dig deep within themselves to explore their feelings on a given issue while balancing their personal feelings with the needs of the community. This is one of the first steps to becoming a successful leader and Don has helped facilitate this for Leadership students.

For years Don has been and continues to be, an invaluable asset to the success of the Progress Seminar, by serving as a committee member and assisting with the planning. He was recently re-appointed to the Board of Directors for the Redwood City – San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce. Now serving his second term on the Board, this organization can directly benefit from his proven leadership and knowledge of the issues facing our communities.

Practicing what he preaches, Don engages personally with the community and in the causes that mean the most to him. He has served as a Board member for the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. He has participated five times in the AIDS Lifecycle, each time raising awareness to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. He has also personally raised more than $20,000.00 to help fund the work of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center to provide free HIV/AIDS medical care, testing, and prevention services.

Don is a proud South Bay kid, graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School and San Jose State University, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. At the center of his busy life and keeping him grounded, is the love of his life, Mark Gilbert. The world stops when they’re together, giving Don a chance to explore life’s finer pleasures, like champagne and Hall and Oates concerts. Don and Mark recently celebrated 20 years of happiness together, with plans to celebrate many more.

Congratulations Lucy Wicks & Don Cecil, on being selected so deservingly as a 2017 Chamber Person of the Year.