The commitment that we as citizens of a society have to invest our time in our community was ingrained in my psyche from the very beginning – my parents set the example based on their actions.
By the time I was 7 my mother had been elected to the Foothill Community College Board of Trustees and my father had become the Chief of Staff at El Camino Hospital. Throughout the 60’s I walked door-to-door for my mother’s re-election campaign and propositions long since forgotten. Part of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is a community service project: I worked with the local library to develop a community needs assessment survey that contributed to the library’s future service offerings.
At Almond grade school I was a fixture at the early morning student council meetings and was elected Secretary of my 8th grade class at Egan Junior High in spite of delivering what, at least to me, appeared to be the most nervous, shaky-hand speech ever given by an 8th grader. At Los Altos High I was elected Secretary of our junior class and Vice-President of our Senior Class. Admittedly our most notable accomplishment was the revival of the Senior Class prom – a tradition that had disappeared through the transition of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Luckily for me, there are no known, surviving photos of me in a powder blue tuxedo.
I believe that as part of our obligation as citizens we should have a national draft that would require everyone to invest at least one year in military or social service. After college I spent one year as a VISTA community organizer in New Orleans working to empower the very same families that were largely displaced by the Hurricane Katrina. Our greatest success was supporting the local community leaders in their efforts to release millions of dollars of Section 8 rent subsidy dollars that were sitting unused in the local Housing Authority bank account intended for the needy families of New Orleans.
Following my year in New Orleans I spend 9 ½ weeks of a 10 week Marine Corp Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia. This was a program that allowed me to test myself against the best and to learn a great deal of respect for our military. OCS is designed to allow candidates such as myself to participate but to choose not to continue before accepting a commission. While I earned my commission as a second lieutenant I chose to begin my career in the private sector.
In college, I took a semester off and worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Pete McCloskey. Later I took time off from Hewlett-Packard to work as the Northern California Director for Ed Zschau in his campaign for US Senate. I also had the opportunity to work for Steve Poizner in his campaign for the Assembly.
One of my proudest accomplishments was at Stanford Graduate School of Business where I co-founded the Challenge for Charity. Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a year long competition among 6 west coast business school culminating in a weekend of competitive events that raises money for local charities. The competition continues to succeed with multiple goals:
- Involve professionals in their community at the beginning of their careers
- Allow students from different schools to interact
- Raise funds for charities such as the special Olympics.