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Marin County Board of Supervisors aide Lorenzo Cordova wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award

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Lorenzo Cordova

Age: 27

Senior Aide Marin County Board of Supervisors

3501 Civic Center Drive, #330, San Rafael 94903

415-473-7331

www.marincounty.org

Read other profiles of this year’s winners.

Responsibilities with your company: My job varies from day to day, but I essentially, support the supervisor in his role as the elected representative for District 4.

His district is the largest and most racially and ethnically diverse in the county.

I handle all issues/policies land use and development, emergency preparedness, equity, and telecommunication, public utilities and immigrant policy as well as special projects.

Most recently, I’ve worked on a two-year initiative to designate Marin County as an Age-Friendly County and currently serve as one of the project managers for our U.S. Census 2020 efforts.

As his representative in our community, I am responsible for building and maintaining relationships with community stakeholders, elected officials, and community leaders/organizers. I sit on working groups, steering committees, advisory boards, and lend my talent and skills to all who need my support.

I am also a bilingual assistant public information officer (PIO) for the County of Marin’s Emergency Operations Center during emergencies.

In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?

I am authentic and treasure the many cross-sector partnerships I have built. And if I can impact just one person, my job is being done.

Years with company: 4

Length of time in current position: 4

Number of companywide employees: 3,000

Number who report to you: 0

Greatest professional accomplishment: Growing up with a single mom was not easy. Even though, she did an exceptional job at providing food and shelter my mom did not have the tools or knowledge to teach us about the community.

I embarrassingly admit that I did not know what a city council or board of supervisors was till I got to high school. Now, to be in my current role in which I have partnerships with elected officials--at all levels of government--and their staff, is huge accomplishment. I pride myself in bringing my mom along so she took can learn from my educational and professional growth.

Greatest professional challenge: I often worry about tokenism. I am very cognizant of when it’s happening, but rather than become despondent I strive to prove my worth through my skills and talent.

Best advice received: Do not take things personally… This especially important in my line of work. Constituents often call me when things are not going alright, they’re not getting calls back, or they need help with an issue. At times they are frustrated and upset and it’s important not to internalize their angst. I simply listen, critically think, and try to make their day a little bit better by offering to help as best I can.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: In January of 2020, we co-hosted an emergency preparedness event in the predominantly Latinx/immigrant portion of Supervisor Rodoni’s district.

Soon after our North Bay fires and the power shutoffs through PG&E, we learned that our low-income communities of color, we severely underrepresented to withstand an emergency. Some of our own emergency preparedness materials had not been translated into Spanish.

We decided to fill that gap by developing an emergency preparedness event entirely in Spanish.

We partnered with the local elementary school to help us with the location, outreach, and attract local families.

Lorenzo Cordova

Age: 27

Senior Aide Marin County Board of Supervisors

3501 Civic Center Drive, #330, San Rafael 94903

415-473-7331

www.marincounty.org

Read other profiles of this year’s winners.

We got Spanish speaking representatives from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, San Rafael Fire Department, and San Rafael Police Department to present to our families on the importance of emergency preparedness and to educate them on how to do so.

As an added bonus, we gave out 100 FEMA certified emergency go-bags.

This event was personal. As these are the community members that I grew up with in the neighborhood that I called home for many years. This event has been the catalyst for a larger county wide initiative to equip our most vulnerable families with the tools necessary to withstand an emergency. We are inviting are other community partners, like our business community, to join us in this effort.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?

The County of Marin is consistently working to serve our employee workforce better. In my own internal team, I appreciate the trust that Supervisor Rodoni has for me and the work that I produce. As well, as the many professional lessons he has taught me. Having a direct supervisor who appreciates you, authentically, is critically important my morale.

Next professional goal: I’ve been in the public sector for the majority of my professional career. As much as I enjoy working for the community, I am excited about the opportunities in private sector. I believe that there is a gap that our business community can fill in supporting our communities better.

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree, University of Redlands; graduate degree in land-use planning and management, University of California, Davis

Hometown: San Rafael

Community/nonprofit activities: I am strong advocate for educational equity for all. I believe that our public schools have the power to transform a generation.

As a product of San Rafael public schools and community based organizations like Next Generations Scholars, I know firsthand the barriers that keep certain students from succeeding.

I dedicate my time and talent to reducing those barriers through my involvement in nonprofit leadership. I serve on the board for Marin Kids and Marin Promise Partnership.

All these organization are striving to shift the educational outcomes through programmatic changes to how we fund schools, educate our children, and prepare them for college. I am passionate of the work that they all do and I am lucky that I get to be a part of their work.

I also serve on a steering committee for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to develop policies and programs to increase the participation of underrepresented group in their AIDS/LifeCycle charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As a rider myself, I have witnessed the lack of folks of color who participate each year. Now, I am dedicate my time to work with the foundation to reduce the barrier that keep our underrepresented group from engaging in a very meaningful experience.

Mentor/admired businessperson: I resonate with many different leadership styles. And there are many leaders I admire.

However, there is a leader that I most resonate with that has had a profound impact to our community. She’s Lori L. Jean, and is the CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I’ve become acquainted with her through my participation in the AIDS/LifeCycle.

I admire the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and as we know, all organizations are a reflection of their leadership. Lori Jean is kind, authentic, funny, and unwavering in her fight for LGBT causes. She has catapulted the Los Angeles LGBT Center into the world’s largest provider of programs and services for LGBT people.

Jean dramatically expanded programming to 10 locations across Los Angeles while more than quadrupling the revenue budget to $141 million. She also led the center’s historic capital campaign for the $142 million Anita May Rosenstein Campus, which opened in April 2019.

What is your most disliked industry buzzword?

Innovative. The more we use that word the more we cheapen its meaning. Plus, not everything can be innovative. It’s okay build on something that is already in place.

Typical day at the office: My days vary. Some days I am traveling all over the district for meetings and some days I am hunkered in the office taking care of my tasks. I enjoy getting to be out in the community, but also working with my team in the office. I have a great working relationship with the staff of our other Marin County Board of Supervisors and thoroughly enjoy the time I spend working with them.

Best place to work outside of your office: I really enjoy the moments I get to spend in West Marin. The 11 coastal villages of Marin County are precious community gems. And our thriving agricultural industry is unparalleled.

Hobbies: I try to keep myself busy as best as I can. I travel a fair bit. I read a lot and watch movies as much as time allows me.

I keep a fairly active lifestyle as I enjoy running and cycling a lot. For the past three years, I have been an active participant of the AIDS/LifeCycle seven day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thousands of people participate to raise critically needed funds for HIV/AIDS-related services and bring to light the fact that HIV/AIDS is still a devastating disease in our society, particularly the LGBT community and communities of color.

Most of my weekends are spent riding my bike all over West Marin, checking out new San Francisco restaurants, or lounging at home reading a book. The moments of time allow me to truly appreciate all the beauty that the Bay Area has to offer.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I am unsure if I ever had a set career path. I did know, however, that I wanted stability, to travel the world, and to add value.

#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Become a homeowner. First job: My first job was to be a big brother. I grew up with a single mom who relied on me to care for my younger siblings while she worked. At age 16, I started working at our local Burger King.

Social media you most use: Instagram

Favorite book: This a tough one because I read a lot. I am huge Joan Didion fan, and most recently I read her short book, “South and West.” It’s brief, beautifully written, rife with gorgeously detailed descriptions of southern life and culture in the 1970s.

Favorite movie: Another tough question. I enjoy movies a lot too. “Roma” by Alfonso Cuaron was the most recent movie that I thought was completely original and unlike anything I’d seen.

Favorite App: I use Yelp a lot. It allows me to make an informed decision to pick a new restaurant, barber, or dry cleaner. I find the app highly useful in my daily life.

Favorite after-work drink: I’m a gin and tonic guy. Hendricks with Schweppes and squeeze of lime.

Last vacation: Maui, Hawaii. It really is as beautiful as the pictures.

What does your mom or dad brag most about you?

My ability to talk to anyone. Even as a child, the parent teacher conference feedback, was that I was very chatty. As I got older, my chattiness actually became a skill. I can easily (and authentically) have a conversation with almost anyone.

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