Leonard Novarro is an award-winning journalist, editor, media consultant and twice Pulitzer Prize nominee. Before co-founding ASIA, the Journal of Culture & Commerce, with partner Rosalynn Carmen in 2002, Mr. Novarro covered the Asian community in San Diego for Asia Inc., Asia Times and several other media outlets in Asia and served as a correspondent for Reuters News Service reporting on San Diego and northern Mexico. Recognizing the emergence and rapidly growing strength of the Asian and Pacific Islander community, Mr. Novarro designed and produced the first newspaper of its kind serving the Asian American community in English.
Mr. Novarro and Ms. Carmen began publishing ASIA as a community newspaper every two weeks in June 2002. In less than two years, the newspaper grew from 2,000 to 20,000 in circulation and by 2007 was producing a second edition of 40,000 copies twice a month exclusively for Los Angeles.
In writing about the achievement of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Mr. Novarro and Ms. Carmen developed an additional venue to recognize such accomplishment and in 2004 created the annual Asian Heritage Awards, founding the Asian Heritage Society to produce the annual event, now in its twelfth year. Prior to co-founding the publication ASIA, Mr. Novarro served as features editor of the San Diego Tribune, where he introduced a series entitled “Faces of San Diego,” about the variety of cultures making up the San Diego mosaic. The series went on to win a National Institute of Human Relations Award sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Prior to moving to San Diego, Mr. Novarro was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize as part of an Orlando Sentinel team uncovering disgraceful conditions of migrant farm workers in Central Florida. Later, as an investigative reporter for the Memphis Press-Scimitar, Mr. Novarro wrote about the effects of chemical contamination on poor minority communities, which led to congressional hearings chaired by then Tennessee Congressman Al Gore. Together, they exposed attempts to cover up the problem by several state agencies. Mr. Novarro’s more than 100 stories over a year and a half earned him the prestigious John J. Finney Award for public service and investigative reporting. He is also recipient of a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship from USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and served as a writing and editing instructor at San Diego State University.
Rosalynn Carmen, award-winning photographer and president of the Asian Heritage Society, took the cumulative experience of simultaneously producing four radio shows and channeled it into co-founding the first English language pan-Asian publication in Southern California – ASIA, The Journal of Culture & Commerce. Under her leadership, the publication, beginning in 2002, was the first Asian American publication in California to report on the Asian American community of San Diego and its achievers and received more honors than any other ethnic - centric publication in San Diego, including awards in photography and design. The Asian Heritage Awards, which she co-founded in 2004, has been recognized by the White House, U.S. Congress, the California Legislature, San Diego County and the San Diego City Council as an important force in bringing together the diverse ethnicities that make up the Asian and Asian American communities of San Diego.
Her vision for The Asian Heritage Society, which she co-founded with Leonard Novarro, has been a tool for a collaborative gathering of Asian-American talent to benefit all society. For their efforts in bringing together the Asian American community of San Diego, Ms. Carmen and Mr. Novarro were honored by the City of San Diego with its Human Relations Commission’s Diversity in the Media Award, the only Asian American organization so honored.
In 2011, she created the BOOST-STEM mentorship program as a vehicle to inspire middle school girls to careers in science and technology and how they may combine that with entrepreneurial skills as they prepare for the future in a fast-changing global landscape.
Rosalynn Carmen has held the belief that America as the best place to create, innovate and do business. It was this belief that inspired her to create Make It In America, a gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs from San Diego and overseas to collaborate on creating new jobs to match growing technological change. “For 200 years America has taught the world how to build things and build them cheaper. We can wait for the standard of living and incomes in these countries to rise so that it’s less expensive to do it here again, or we can evolve to the next stage by building a platform that combines the diligence and tenacity of Asia and the freedom and creativity of America. That’s the paradigm shift we need.”