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TLI Announces 2024 St. Juan Diego Leadership for the World Awardees

Each year Tepeyac Leadership presents the SJLW award to lay Catholic leaders “in any field of social, professional, cultural, and political life, for acting in accordance with–and courageously promoting–the truth and the law brought by Jesus Christ to mankind.”

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Phoenix, AZ.- Tepeyac Leadership, Inc. (TLI) announces the winners of the 2024 St. Juan Diego Leadership for the World (SJLW) awards: Aaron Kheriaty and Berni Neal. Each will receive the SJLW award at The Hour of the Laity: Lumen Gentium (THL2024) conference. Tepeyac Leadership will present the awards during the SJLW award dinner scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 2024.

Aaron Kheriaty, MD
Aaron Kheriaty is a physician specializing in psychiatry and author of three books, including most recently, The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State (2022). He is a Fellow & Director of the Program in Bioethics and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Dr. Kheriaty is a plaintiff in the landmark free speech case Missouri v. Biden challenging government censorship on social media. For his work on this issue, journalist Matt Taibbi has called him “the most ambitious theorist of the censorship-industrial age.” Dr. Kheriaty also serves in teaching and advisory roles at the Brownstone Institute, the Zephyr Institute, the Paul Ramsey Institute, and the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy. Dr. Kheriaty graduated from the University of Notre Dame in philosophy and pre-medical sciences, earned his MD degree from Georgetown University, and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of California Irvine. He was Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine and Director of the Medical Ethics Program at UCI Health, where he chaired the ethics committee. He also chaired the ethics committee at the California Department of State Hospitals for several years. He was fired from the University of California after challenging the University’s covid vaccine mandate in federal court.

Berni Neal
Berni Neal started her professional career in marketing with an emphasis in advertising. With two school-aged children attending Catholic school, Berni became aware of the persistent challenges in Catholic education and amongst Catholic non-profits to raise money. Berni sold her business to have more time with her family. This also allowed her time to volunteer at various nonprofit organizations, becoming a prolific philanthropist. Berni currently serves on the governing boards of Endow, EWTN, Legatus, Live Action, and Thomas Aquinas College. She completed terms on Catholic Leadership Institute, Magnificat Foundation, and Pueri Cantores early in 2024. In the past, Berni has served on committees for Given, WorldPriest, Woodson Center-Free Speech/Civil Rights Coalition, and the Vanguard University Committee to Eradicate Human Trafficking. Together with her husband, Rob, she is a member of the Legatus Orange County chapter and the Papal Foundation. They reside in Newport Beach, California. They have two adult children and two grandchildren. 

About the St. Juan Diego Leadership for the World award (SJLW)

As part of TLI’s work to equip Catholic professionals to become virtuous leaders, influence the culture and serve the common good, each year the organization presents the SJLW award to lay Catholic leaders “in any field of social, professional, cultural, and political life, for acting in accordance with–and courageously promoting–the truth and the law brought by Jesus Christ to mankind.” The criteria come from TLI’s adopted prayer, the prayer of St. John Paul II during his visit to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City in 1979.

Past recipients of the SJLW award are founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, Alan Sears (2019), Arizona Supreme Court justice, William Montgomery (2020), chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix, Dr. Maria Chavira, along with Dr. Arturo and Mrs. Letty Ibarra (2021) both prominent business leaders in California. In 2022 the awardees were, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, Christopher Dodson, author and intellectual, Mary Eberstadt and chief operating officer of Catholic Answers, Jon Sorensen. In 2023, the awardees were pro-life leader, Astrid Bennett, Catholic Vote's president, Brian Burch, and founder of Legatus and Ave Maria University, Tom Monaghan.

About The Hour of the Laity: Lumen Gentium (THL2024)

While interviewed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa for EWTN live on December 2023, TLI’s CEO, Cristofer Pereyra, announced the first The Hour of the Laity conference. This year's event is programed for November 7 to 9, 2024 at Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange. The SJLW awards will be presented during THL2024.

THL2024 is a platform to form lay Catholics for engaging society as civic leaders. Like TLI’s flagship program, Tepeyac Leadership Initiative, as part of TLI’s mission to deliver civic leadership development to lay Catholics in the U.S. and beyond, THL2024 equips lay people to take on leadership roles in secular society. The conference is a national platform to train the next generation of lay Catholic leaders for America and the world.

About Tepeyac Leadership, Inc. (TLI)

TLI is a 501(c)(3), Catholic, nonprofit organization listed in The Official Catholic Directory with a canonical status of private juridic person, and the mission of delivering civic leadership development to lay Catholic professionals in the U.S. and beyond. To learn more about TLI, visit TLIprogram.org, or follow TLI on LinkedIn.

For more information: media@tepeyacleadership.org

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