Published in the July 5 – July 18, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Theresa Kiernan

Theresa Kiernan

Lisa DeSilva at work in her Community Solutions office.
Photo by Marty Cheek

The South Valley’s very own Lisa DeSilva will be honored as this year’s recipient of the Leadership Morgan Hill Excellence Award. To celebrate her generosity and love for the people of the region, we’re going to throw one outstanding party for her Saturday, July 22, at Guglielmo Winery.

The annual LEAD award is given to a person who embodies the business and humanitarian attributes of a true leader. Those who know Lisa well know she fits this description to a T.

Here’s why: At 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Morgan Hill Rotarians often gather for their weekly meeting in the Hiram Morgan Hill Room at the Community and Cultural Center. Lisa DeSilva often stands at the podium and delivers a segment of the program called “We Care.” This is when we learn some of our Rotarians are celebrating a fun life event: a new baby, a promotion, a new grandchild, or even the arrival of the 22nd grandchild.

At times, Lisa may also have to inform us about the challenges some of our fellow Rotarians are facing and how we can help. Cards are sent around for words of encouragement and signatures, and meal schedules are arranged. Lisa coordinates all of this, and more. This should come as no surprise if you’ve met and come to know Lisa well.

There are so many words you can use to describe Lisa, all of which reflect her love for humanity. She has a heart as big as the universe. She showers love on the clients she serves in her work of 35 years at Community Solutions. She also has made many friends in South Valley, a place she has called home for the same number of years. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. This community is her own personal “Cheers,” a place where everybody knows her name.

I’ve never met a person who with just a smile puts you at ease. She makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world. While she is getting to know you, her razor-sharp mind is storing all the wonderful information she is hearing about you. So the next time you see her she is going to ask about your daughter or your mother or your boss.

Lisa embodies the qualities of a servant leader. She cultivates trust, helps others with life issues, encourages, thinks long-term, acts with humility and above all, does it all with such grace. You can find her every year at Health and Human Services Day for Leadership Morgan Hill. She walks the class through an enlightening exercise showing them the level of social service needs our community members have and what resources are available. For fun you can find Lisa pouring refreshments at the Fourth of July street dance, planning and executing fellowship events for the Rotary Club, and so much more. The communities of Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin truly feel her presence and enjoy her friendship.

Lisa DeSilva is one of our gems. She is a loving, kind person who would give the shirt off her back to help you and does it without the expectation of something in return. When you see her “around town,“ stop and say hello. She’ll be so glad you did and it will truly make your day.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 22, and join the party to honor Lisa at the 2017 Leadership Morgan Hill Excellence Award. And don’t forget to wear your dancing shoes!

Theresa Kiernan is the facilitator of Leadership Morgan Hill. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.


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Robert Airoldi