Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Education: Master’s degree, public administration and Bachelor’s degree, business administration, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Company Name: The Orange County Community Foundation
Company CEO: Shelley Hoss
Company Headquarters Location: Newport Beach, California
Number of Employees: 27
Your Location (if different from above): Cerritos, California
Words you live by: Let’s get to work!
Who is your personal hero? My personal heroine was my mother, Edwina Tumbling. Although she only had an 11th grade education and could offer her five children only a modest upbringing, she filled our hearts and home with kindness, faith, and hope. She is the first person to provide me (and so many others) with unconditional love, educational aspirations, and a vision of a better future.
What was your first job: Braiding cornrows while in elementary school
Family: The love of family is at the core of who I am personally and professionally. I have four brothers and sisters, and four children, whom I love dearly.
We Need to Roll Up Our Sleeves and Get to Work
Throughout my career, I have operated by the motto: “People first. The plan, second.” I have witnessed time and time again that if you focus on people and provide strong mentorship, success will follow. If you empower your team members, they will accomplish their goals. I have benefited from this kind of professional and personal guidance throughout my life and now strive to embody that as I support my colleagues and advance positive change in our community.
I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, California. Growing up in the inner city, the cards were stacked against my siblings and me. Upon the sudden passing of my mother when I was 19 years old, I carried on with providing love and support to my siblings, and later my own immediate family, by working hard to be a good provider and role model. I was also fortunate to find allies and mentors who supported me professionally and personally. They rallied around me and gave me the tools I needed to pursue multiple degrees, and later, to progress in my career.
Mentors were especially important as I transitioned from my early roles as an individual contributor to become a C-suite executive. I began my career in fundraising roles at United Way of Greater Los Angeles and then, at the Music Center of Greater Los Angeles, where I raised more than $3 million for the organization’s education division and operating companies. In these positions, and during my 21 years of service at Southern California Edison, I sought out leaders who exemplified the traits that were most important to me—those who had strong work ethics, empowered their employees, and exhibited great compassion for others.
Now, as executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF), those are the same traits I strive to demonstrate and instill within my teams. They are also how I approach community leadership. My work ethic and focus on the well-being of others extends to helping improve the lives of others through philanthropy and community service.
I am proud to have founded the African American Alliance Fund at OCCF to support programs designed to improve outcomes in the areas of education, health, human services, economic development, and civic engagement. This Fund is an opportunity to build bridges—to give people a place to join hands and address racial inequities. Because I have witnessed firsthand the power of allies, I want to encourage individuals from different backgrounds and socio-economic statuses to get involved. Ultimately, it is my hope that other funds will be established at OCCF down the road to address issues related to other diverse groups.
Right now, our communities and our world need the same traits that make a great leader in the workplace. We need compassion. We need focus and commitment. We need to all roll up our sleeves and get to work. And that’s what I plan to keep doing.