Professional background: Government administration
Education: B.A., University of Redlands; MSc, London School of Economics; graduate degree in land-use planning and management, University of California, Davis
Tell us your story and that of your organization: I did not grow up wanting to go in the government. In fact, growing up as a first-generation Latino immigrant in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael, I have no idea there was such thing as a city council or board of supervisors. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I began to learn about local government and community leadership.
And now, ten years later I am lucky to be working with my current boss, Supervisor Dennis Rodoni. My job varies from day to day, but I essentially, support the supervisor in his role as the elected representative for District 4.
I handle land use and development, equity, and telecommunication, public utilities and immigrant policy as well as special projects.
As his representative in our community, I am responsible for building and maintaining relationships with community stakeholders, elected officials, and community leaders/organizers. I am also the assistant public information officer (PIO) for the County of Marin’s Emergency Operations Center during emergencies.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
In 2017, our office decided to declare 2018 as Year of the Older Adult. This is a year-long calendar of events and programs focusing on the vitality, contributions and challenges of Marin’s older adult residents.
The program will also initiate new policies, programs and resources to promote an age-friendly Marin County. I was the project lead in our office and helped activate a group of community leaders to make this year long event possible.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Being the first person in my family to graduate college has been by far my most proud accomplishment. I grew up in a single-parent home, so college attainment was not the clear path for my future.
Luckily, my mom instilled in a strong work ethic and ability to reach out for help when needed. However, I did not have it easy. I was lucky to become a part of a college access organization in San Rafael called Next Generation Scholars. With their help I was able to secure pathway towards college. And with the generosity of 10,000 Degrees I was able to fund my college journey. There was no better feeling than crossing that college graduation stage and seeing my mom in the audience.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Every day presents a new set of challenges. However, the biggest challenge in field is funding. So often we hear from our constituents about the lack services we offer or how the services we are offer are not enough.
This is particularly challenging because we are constrained with finite resources to provide our services and the number of folks who depend on our services is increasing. So, we must get creative and apply for outside funding and foster public-private partnerships to enhance the funds for our services.
As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
My biggest obstacle is definitely my age. Often, I am the youngest person in the room by multiple decades. And it can be very easy for more established professionals to be dismissive of someone like me. However, being the huge nerd that I am, I strive to be well-informed in every meeting that I walk into make sure that I can add substance and move the conversation forward.
District Aide to Supervisor Dennis Rodoni
Marin County Board of Supervisors
Civic Center Drive, Room 326, San Rafael