All Distinguished Alumni and Speaker Honorees

Wendy Gillespie ’73

Posted in: 2018, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Wendy Gillespie ’73

As a successful entrepreneur since 1991, Wendy Gillespie ’73 has been a co-owner and is now President and CEO of Frontier Trading Inc., a binational company exporting to and distributing grocery products in Mexico and Latin America. Previously, she spent 13 years with the IBM Corp. in various sales and marketing management positions, including an assignment at IBM’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Wendy is also President and CEO of the Capdevilla Gillespie Foundation and is involved in the San Diego business and philanthropic communities. She currently serves on several boards, including the La Jolla Playhouse, Pacific Arts Movement, National Council for the American Theater, Strategic Roundtable of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, The U.S. District Export Council and the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences. As a young immigrant from the United Kingdom, Wendy is committed to making a difference in our diverse communities.

Wendy has found recent success as a N.Y. Broadway producer. Her current production, Come from Away, which premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse, received seven Tony Award nominations, with Chris Ashley winning “Best Musical Director.” Her first production, Allegiance: A New American Musical, made its debut at the Old Globe in 2012 and premiered on Broadway in 2015-16. Diana and Working Girl are currently in development.

She was recently inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, received the Junior Achievement Worldwide Gold Leadership Award, and has been recognized as a San Diego Woman Who Means Business, Girl Scouts Cool Woman, YWCA TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) and in 2016 received the UPAC (Union Pan Asian Communities) Visionary Award and the JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) Civil Rights Leadership Award for her work with Allegiance.

Wendy has been a dedicated supporter of Junior Achievement San Diego for the past 20 years, with 15 years of service on the Board. Wendy and her husband, Marty Capdevilla, played a key role in finding a new home for the Junior Achievement office, creating the Capdevilla Gillespie Center for Junior Achievement in Mission Valley in 2006. JA’s new home lead to the creation of the McGrath Family JA BizTown, a 10,000-square-foot mini-city where 16,000 fifth graders each year discover how to start and run a profitable business. Wendy was also part of the leadership team that successfully opened JA’s newest experiential learning center, Mission Fed JA Finance Park in 2015. She considers JA Finance Park and JA BizTown her proudest achievements and living legacy for San Diego’s youth.

Wendy is a charter member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation and the San Diego World Trade Center, where she served on the Board for 15 years.