When my sons were young, I was fortunate to be able to put a hold on my career and volunteer in each of their classrooms throughout their elementary years – taking on Room Mom responsibilities for each. This direct service volunteer work defined and fulfilled me, but it also proved to be critical as we discovered that one of my sons is on the autism spectrum. This was a whole new world to learn and navigate, and at the time Asperger’s was still a vague diagnosis that was misunderstood and often discriminated against. My son was often poorly treated by his teachers and was judged by a school district (we did not live in Brentwood at the time) whose main concern was keeping its status as a top-level district in the state. It became my job not to give him unfair advantage, but to learn how to advocate for a level playing field. I had to learn a whole new set of skills to support my son and help him grow to his potential.
Making the most of my experiences
As years went by and more was understood about this diagnosis, the school recognized my knowledge in this area and began to send other families to me for guidance in navigating the special education world. Once I reentered the work force, I secured a position providing in-home and classroom therapies for non-verbal children with autism, and many forms of support, training, and guidance for their families. Since then I have been able to launch these experiences into a fulfilling path including nonprofit and other community-driven work.
From a career standpoint, the positions I have held have shared in common a few core focuses – public service, community involvement, relationship building, marketing and promotions, and communication. Past experiences in radio and newspaper offered specialized training in media, while nonprofit management helped to develop even stronger skills in advocacy – specifically helping those without a voice to be heard. Prior to my current role as Senior District Representative for the CA State Senate, I held an upper leadership position with an area Meals on Wheels agency and was part of an outreach and partnership expansion for increased support of seniors throughout East Contra Costa County. My ongoing connections to resources and contacts in this area have allowed for a smooth transition into my work representing Senator Steve Glazer in East Contra Costa County. I continue to be a part of conversations promoting resources for older adults in my community on a volunteer basis.
The path that led me here
The path my personal and professional life has led me through has given me a strong set of skills I have used in my work and will use in office. I am accomplished in community outreach, public relations, and marketing and have extraordinary verbal and written communication skills and an exceptional customer service aptitude. I am creative and hardworking with excellent project management, leadership, and team building abilities, and I have a strong background in public and media relations. And... I am prepared to listen!
While I am new to running for office, I am proud to use my skills and tap into my connections to focus on what is best for our city. I look forward to serving in a council capacity and continuing to use my own voice to help others raise theirs.