Jennifer Weiss of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.
Describe your organization
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County currently serves 6,600 members in 40 Clubs in Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor, Guerneville, Monte Rio, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma and Marin County. We open our doors every day in elementary schools, middle schools, affordable-housing complexes, and even juvenile hall with a mission to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as caring, productive, responsible citizens.
While focusing on establishing academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character in the youth we serve, we strive to ensure that the clubs provide caring relationships with adults, high expectations from others, and opportunities for meaningful participation.
The vast majority of the youth we serve are from low-income homes where English is the second language. We bring hope and opportunity and strive to create generation-changing outcomes. We are proud to be there for youth before and after school and during the summer. In addition to running over 150 programs, we serve over 500,000 meals each year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Among other things, I am primarily a mother, wife, daughter, friend and professional. As a reserved person, I keep a small tight community. Unlike many of my peers, I am not a natural extrovert and will never be seen reaching for the spotlight; making recognitions like this one uncomfortable for me. I love to be in the background. I am energized by solving challenges, reaching goals and helping others grow and succeed. I am very reliable, loyal and honest.
I am passionate that my time be used as efficiently as possible to make a difference, particularly for youth. It’s been an honor to grow our organization into one of the largest & best Boys & Girls Clubs in the world; pretty cool considering how small our county is relative to many big cities across the country. In addition to Boys & Girls Clubs, I am proud to serve on the board of TLC Child & Family Services, who do many incredible things for kids, not the least of which is foster care to adoption. My husband, Jason, and I adopted our daughter through them three years ago, permanently ending her four years in foster care.
I grew up in Ohio and Florida, making California home in 1993. I loved living in San Francisco and also think the North Bay is a great place to raise our kids. For our kids, we value education and opportunity and love spending time watching their sports and other performances. My son is a freshman at Cardinal Newman, and my daughter is in the sixth grade at Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School.
What is your role in the organization?
As CEO, it is my role to be the chief advocate for vulnerable youth in Sonoma County, and now Marin. I lead our team to understand the needs facing those who need us most and to find the opportunities to provide the solutions with the goal of life-changing outcomes. It is my role to recruit and motivate the very best team, both professionals and volunteers, who will stand with me to live our organizational values of “make it happen, commitment to excellence, attitude of abundance, and integrity and respect.”
Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County
1400 N. Dutton Ave., Suite 14, Santa Rosa 95404
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: 24 years in nonprofit management and leadership, including roles both as CEO and as a consultant, primarily with Boys & Girls Clubs. A few stints in the business sector as well.
Education: MBA, University of California, Berkeley. B.A., political science, University of Florida.