The St. Juan Diego Leadership for the World Award (SJLWA) recognizes 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. Every year the board of directors of TLI proudly award the SJLWA.

Dr. Maria Chavira | 2021 Awardee

Dr. Maria R. Chavira has served the Diocese of Phoenix as the Chancellor since 2013. In her role as the Chancellor, she assists the bishop in the oversight of the official archives of the Diocese of Phoenix in accord with Canon Law. Dr. Chavira also assists in planning and is a key member of the administrative leadership staff of the bishop, giving counsel in various ecclesial, communication, and business matters.
She oversees the chancery staff at the Diocesan Pastoral Center and several other offices.

Dr. Chavira was a full-time professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Mesa Community College. In her tenure, she served as the chairman of the department, general studies faculty representative, Maricopa Community Colleges Institutional Review Board member, faculty developer, and various other appointments. She taught introduction to psychology, introduction to statistics, research methods, culture and psychology, adolescent development, and developmental psychology. She was a pioneer in online learning at Mesa Community College earning her the 2005 Faculty Excellence Award and many other accolades.

Dr. Chavira earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from The University of Arizona, and has taught at Mesa Community College, The University of Arizona, and in the Catalina Foothills District. Dr. Chavira has been involved in her community and is currently a Dame in The Sovereign Order of Malta, Equestrian Order of the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre and served as chairman of the board of the Catholic Community Foundation. She currently lives in Phoenix with her husband Deacon Billy Chavira and their three children, Michael, Matthew, and Miranda.

Dr. Arturo and Mrs. Letty Ibarra | 2021 Awardees

Mrs. Letty Ibarra is a former franchise owner and operator of three Carl’s Jr. Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta & Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She served as an international Chief Operating Officer with over 60 employees and was the first and only female Carl’s Jr. franchisee in Mexico. Simultaneously, since 1983, she also served as the Director and advisor of her husbands’ two dental offices, Dental Jalisco, Inc. For 40 years their offices have served the community of East Los Angeles.

Additionally, Mrs. Ibarra also runs a home-based business, as she rents her home to the film industry. She has been able to rent it to many reputable studios, artists and products ranging from Super Bowl commercials to movie sets in different well-known movies. The Ibarra House has also been the stage for many photo shoots of famous magazines and well-known actors.

Mrs. Ibarra currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders – Los Angeles Chapter, is also a board member of the Queen of Angels Foundation and is an active member of Legatus. With her husband, Mrs. Ibarra also owned a non-profit organization known as the “Los Niños Foundation” which raised funds for the construction and management of a rehabilitation home for teenagers in Mexico and similar charities in Yugoslavia which is now Serbia and Montenegro.

Dr. Arturo Ibarra has practiced general dentistry in two locations in the East Angeles area since 1977. Born In Guadalajara, Mexico, he moved to East Los Angeles at the age of six. He attended Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, UCLA, and USC. He is one of the founding members of The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) Los Angeles chapter and was also the past Chairman and a long-time member of Legatus and Knights of Columbus. He currently serves as Chairman of Guadalupe Radio and is also a proud member of the Holy Sepulcher, Newman Club and the Queen of Angels Foundation.

Mrs. Ibarra and her husband are both lectors at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. She is also a Condesa of the Order of The Knights of Saint John and was also inducted into The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. They have been happily married for 41 years and are the proud parents of three and grandparents of two. They reside in Pasadena.

Justice William Montgomery | 2020 Awardee

William Montgomery is a justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. He previously served as the County Attorney for Maricopa County from 2010 to 2019.

Montgomery is a West Point graduate and a Gulf War veteran. He graduated from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 2001.

During his service as County Attorney, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was nationally recognized for its innovative victim services programs, prosecutor led diversion options for substance abuse and first-time felony offenders.

As county attorney, Montgomery was also recognized as a national leader in focusing on community relationships and the use of technology to improve office performance. With crime at historic lows during his tenure, the office focused on fighting crime, honoring victims’ rights, and protecting and strengthening our community. Montgomery also helped shape legislation designed to protect victims of crime and reformed Arizona’s child welfare system, to include the creation of the Office of Child Welfare Investigations and the Department of Child Safety.

Justice Montgomery earned his J.D. from ASU’s College of Law, graduating Magna Cum Laude and received the Order of the Coif. As a West Point Graduate, decorated Gulf War Veteran, former County Attorney, professional prosecutor, and now justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, he has dedicated his personal and professional life to serving others. He is also founder and former board-member for Tepeyac Leadership, Inc.

Alan Sears | 2019 Awardee

Alan Sears serves as Founder of Alliance Defending Freedom. As its first president, CEO, and general counsel, Sears led all strategic initiatives from 1993-2017. He built an international team committed to a comprehensive legal strategy that includes training, funding, and legal advocacy—resulting in important roles in 52 landmark victories at the U.S. Supreme Court.

While serving in numerous positions within the Reagan and Bush administrations, he worked for the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior. A graduate of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and the University of Kentucky, Sears has continued his education with professional instruction at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, Pepperdine University, and most recently earned a certificate in Catholic Social Doctrine from the Catholic University of America.

In 2017, Pope Francis honored Alan Sears and his wife, Paula, knighting them into the Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest honor the Pope can bestow upon laypeople. In 2011, Legatus International presented Sears with its Courage in the Marketplace Award.”