Mike Hammond and Keri Silvyn, the Man and Woman of the Year, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. 

Becky Pallack / Arizona Daily Star

Mike Hammond was still polishing his jokes about why his glasses were missing a lens and Keri Silvyn hadn’t quite finished her first cup of coffee when they were both surprised with one of Tucson’s most prestigious leadership awards.

They were named Man and Woman of the Year by Greater Tucson Leadership.

Both were attending a meeting of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council on Friday morning when the agenda was interrupted for the surprise announcements, which resulted in a standing ovation.

Each felt humbled by the attention, with Hammond saying he didn’t deserve it and Silvyn saying she thought there must be a mistake.

Additionally, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall was awarded the 2013 Founder’s Award.


Hammond, president of commercial real estate firm Picor and president of the Community Finance Corp., was honored for integrity, his commitment to community service and the way he inspires others to get involved by putting “both his time and money where his mouth is,” according to one nomination letter.

He has served on the boards of at least 25 local and regional organizations.


Silvyn, a partner at the Lazarus, Silvyn & Bangs law firm, was honored for tireless work to better the community as a co-founder of Imagine Greater Tucson and board president of the Jewish Community Foundation.

Nominees noted her ability to inspire collaboration and her mentoring work.


LaWall was honored for her community leadership, innovative justice programs and mentoring.

Because she was out of town, LaWall was surprised over the phone. And because early morning phone calls usually bring bad news in her business, LaWall’s first reaction was to ask if everyone was OK.

“I’m very relieved — and very honored!” she said.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4251. On Twitter: @BeckyPallack