Spice of Life Awards

August 26, 2023

Every year, the Gilroy Chamber recognizes and celebrates the wonderful businesses and people who make a difference in our community. This year, we are proud to announce the following people and businesses have been selected as our 2023 Spice of Life Award Recipients:

Man of the Year: Mark Turner

Woman of the Year: Jane Howard

Large Business of the Year: Nissan of Gilroy

Small Business of the Year: One Life Prints

Educator of the Year: Michelle Anderson

Firman B. Voorhies Volunteer of the Year: Mike Brownfield

Non-Profit of the Year: Latino Family Fund

Young Professional of the Year: Mark E. Jacobsen

Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award: Alexandra Beyret


The Man and Woman of the Year awards acknowledge those persons who have a history of unselfish service to the community, contributing to Gilroy’s welfare and betterment.

Designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce volunteer.

Purpose: to give special recognition to an individual, who has performed above and beyond the call of duty, and who has contributed to furthering the mission of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.

Eligibility: any Chamber member may nominate a Chamber volunteer for this award.

Designed to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of a highly motivated, emerging leader within our community.

• Nominee should demonstrate professionalism, creativity, and show initiative in their company or organization.

• Nominee should show potential leadership in their business or industry. • Nominee should provide valuable service by contributing time and energy as a volunteer within the community.

• Nominee should be involved in continued professional development through conferences, schooling, leadership roles, community partnerships, Board involvement, etc.

• Nominee must work or live in the South County community (Gilroy, San Martin or Morgan Hill).

• Nominee must be between the ages of 21-40 years old

The Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award will honor a high school senior who has gone “above and beyond” in the area of volunteerism. Their volunteer contribution will have exceeded that which was required of them either by way of exceeding 80 volunteer hours or through a project that leaves a lasting impact on their community or school. Their leadership will cause others to reach farther, strive harder and accomplish more.


• High school senior attending one of the high schools in Gilroy (GHS, CHS, Mt. Madonna or GECA).

• Completed 80+ hours of volunteer service or within the 80 hours, have made a significant impact or developed a noteworthy project.

Designed to recognize an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution within the educational community of Gilroy.

Purpose: to give special recognition to an individual who has enhanced the learning experience in Gilroy.

Eligibility: any individual who has been involved in the public/private educational arena in Gilroy for at least one year will be considered for the award.

Selection Criteria: award will be given to the individual who has:

1) demonstrated exceptional motivational skills and measurable results (give examples);

2) demonstrated innovation in program development and implementation (give examples);

3) received recognition and respect of peers and students.

Small Business – up to 25 employees

Large Business – 26 or more employees

Designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce business member which has made a significant contribution to the community of Gilroy.

Purpose: identification and honoring of a successful business in order to enhance the business climate in Gilroy while encouraging other businesses to become role models in our community.

Eligibility: must have been operating for at least one (1) year and have a Gilroy address.

Selection Criteria: award will be given to the business that has demonstrated an extraordinary level of excellence and success in such areas as:

1) management skills

2) innovation

3) personal commitment, community involvement and support

4) a contribution to the “entrepreneurial spirit”

Designed to recognize a non-profit organization that has made a significant impact on the lives of those in the Gilroy community.

Eligibility: must have been operating for at least one (1) year and have a Gilroy address.

Selection Criteria: award recognizes a community non-profit organization that has made a significant contribution to the overall health and livability of Santa Clara County. The winning organization makes a significant impact that improves the economic, medical, educational or financial health of individuals in our community: impacts people through enabling and empowering individuals to improve their knowledge and skills toward greater quality of life, benefits the underserved underrepresented or disaffected members of the community, including children, seniors and those in poverty and has high quality treatment of employees and members of the public.

Check out our list of Past Spice of Life Recipients here.

"Joining the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is one of the best business decisions I have made."

Anita Bedoya, Owner, Lapels Dry Cleaning

"While facing some delays opening our taphouse the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce intervened. Their creative approach to problem solving saved the day. The Chamber’s connections made a difference for us."

Ryan and Larissa Dickerson, Owners of Bitter Taphouse

"The Chamber has done a great job keeping me informed."

James Gargiulo, Spectrum Small Business Advisor

"We have been able to rely on the Chamber whenever we needed to be connected to people, resources and information."

Jaime Rosso, CEO, Rosso’s Furniture

"We have been actively involved in the Chamber for 20 years. We continue to stay involved because of the critical information they provide."

Bruce & Audrey Haller, Cafe 152 Bread Co.

"As a Gilroy Chamber of Commerce member, I’ve met more people, been able to give back to the community and be involved in decisions that affect our local economy."

Maria Cid, Farmers Insurance