I was born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up in a two-parent household — my mother and my grandmother, that is — my first role models. These two strong, brilliant, and resilient women told me that I could do anything I put my mind to. Seeing my mother put on her “power suit” every morning to go to work was a lasting impression on me as a young girl.
My grandmother helped me with my first job — I became a newspaper delivery girl at age 9. She’d help me wrap those papers at 5 a.m. in the morning, and I got my butt out the door delivering 145 papers on my route. I delivered the San Francisco Progressive at first, then the San Francisco Chronicle — a job I worked until I was 17. I learned a lot in those early years, walking up to houses as a kid, saying “Hi I’m Maureen, and I’m your new paper girl.” By age 10, I’d saved up enough to buy a typewriter. I went to the library to learn how to write business letters, typing up invoices and reminders for customers on my paper route.
College took me to Fresno. My upbringing in San Francisco taught me the possibilities for diversity and unity, but my years in the Central Valley showed me the barriers and biases that communities and peoples face every day — and sharpened my passion and understanding to fight them.
At Fresno State, I majored in marketing — and being a civic pain in the butt. At peaceful protests, we students challenged campus policies and injustices for Black students and other students of color. We drew attention to campus funding and called out the disproportionate failure rates for student athletes: Black athletes made up the majority of the sports teams, yet only a small percentage were graduating.
I took to Fresno, and after graduation started working at the Central California Blood Center. Those were long hours on the road, driving to Mariposa to Oakhurst to Madera to Selma, scheduling blood drives and creating outreach campaigns. I learned to see how people lived. I saw firsthand the most rural of the rural — and the richest of the rich.
After a few early successes serving the healthcare field, I was invited to lead as Vice President of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce — an enormous opportunity and responsibility for someone so young. I handled marketing and governmental affairs. We lobbied the California Public Utilities Commission against an area code change for our region, because it meant small businesses would have to spend precious funds to update their signage and listings. We negotiated with the San Francisco Giants to build a new minor league baseball stadium in the city. We looked out for the future of our industries and our community.
After that, I took my business experience to the human resources field, beginning a fruitful career that would fatefully bring me north to Sacramento County. My specialty was talent acquisition management — finding the right people for each company’s needs. From executive recruiting to employee relations, I proved myself as a relationship builder and problem solver, weaving and applying my professional experience, personal intuition, and my MBA education. My leadership and insights have advised local institutions and national clients — not to mention the students and interns I’ve mentored along the way.
Meeting my future husband brought me to Elk Grove — and I’ve been building and finding community ever since.
We’ve lived in District 3 since 2008, and I am proud to call Elk Grove home — a place of opportunity where we can raise our young daughter. Since I had great role models growing up, I have always placed great value on paying this forward, spending my time after hours mentoring teens, foster youths, college students, and early career professionals here in Sacramento County. I’ve talked with high school and college students on education and career planning. I’ve coached women and other professionals, from those just entering the workforce to seasoned executives — all eager to chase their dreams.
I wish more people knew that Elk Grove was a great place to live. I wish more companies knew that Elk Grove was a city where their employees and families could thrive. Just as importantly, I wish we could give everyone who already lives here in Elk Grove every fighting chance to build their livelihood and thrive.
Well, if there’s anything my life has taught me, it’s that wishing alone won’t cut it. We’ve gotta get up early each day to knock on a new door or fight the next fight. We have to call out wrongs when we see them. We have to find the right people and the right policies to solve each new challenge. We have to organize and build relationships because we are stronger when united and weaker when divided. We’ve gotta act like good role models for the next generation.
That’s my story. And I can’t wait to write the next chapter with my family — and my community.