Legacy Society Spotlight
“Take advantage of every opportunity for education and learning through coursework, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, research, internships, and community service. ”
How did you first become involved with Holy Names University?
My involvement with HNU began in my early days as an undergraduate student at HNU. Following graduation, I joined the HNU Alumni Association eventually serving as Vice President.. Decades later I was honored to become a Trustee; served on many committees, chaired the Board Finance Committee, became Vice-Chair, and have served as Chair of the Board for the past 4 years.
If you attended HNU, what is your favorite moment of your student days? So many favorite moments!
I learned to be a leader, and especially a servant-leader from my experiences at HNU. There were so many opportunities to collaborate, communicate, and lead. I was a Campus Ministry Team leader, resident hall assistant, editor of the campus newspaper, representative on the Faculty Senate, and Student Body President. I was fortunate enough to have a behind the scenes view of what it takes to run a university and the multi-faceted perspectives needed when university leadership makes decisions.
What are you most proud of in your life?
Personally, I’m raising 2 great kids who continue to help me become my best self.
Professionally, I helped Sumitomo Bank sell their holdings in North America and was on the founding team of California Bank & Trust. I helped build a new bank from the ground up that included a new culture, systems, product lines, data/account mapping, and brand. It was an adventure and taught me grit, perseverance, stakeholder engagement, and good process for meeting goals in the midst of tremendous change and disruption.
Servant leadership is at my core. I have had many opportunities to continue my learning and to share my gifts and skills in service of many organizations including Oakland School for the Arts, Diocese of Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont, Kyoto Prize Symposium, Oakland Elizabeth House, and others. My most challenging and rewarding work has been at HNU as we work to transform the University for the 21st century, make transformational education accessible, increase student success, and ensure the sustainability of the University’s mission and outcomes.
Tell us about your greatest adventure to-date!
Parenting. It’s not for the faint-of-heart! With each stage of development comes new experiences, learning and challenges. Having children has enabled me to rediscover the world through my children’s eyes. There is much to teach through words and actions in terms of values and ethos. But especially as they mature, there are many wonderful, deep and challenging conversations that allow me to continue my work to become my best self.
What inspired you to include Holy Names in your estate plan?
During our time on earth, we are called to share our time, talents, and treasures. Legacy Society allows us to give in a meaningful, deliberate, and larger way. It’s an honor to connect my legacy with Holy Names through my estate gift.
What words of advice do you have for future generations of HNU students?
Take advantage of every opportunity for education and learning through coursework, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, research, internships, and community service. Prioritize what HNU offers in the way of developing you as a whole person: critical thinking, communication skills, global perspective, empathy, and commitment to justice and diversity. Learn to discover the truth. The truth is not in a Google search or social post like. Do not allow others to feed you the truth or to define you; resist boxes or labels.
As you build your life and career, do not forget that for those who are given much, much is expected. Become a servant-leader focused on improving your community and lifting others up. In service, you will continue to learn and enrich your life.
Your generation will face disruption in the world like we have not seen in modern times. Be open to change. Be resilient. And become a life-long learner. Likewise, as we’ve learned this past year, democracy is not a passive spectator sport; it requires nurturing and protection. Get involved!
What do you want HNU students to know about you?
Part of the richness of my life is that I am a part of the great American immigrant experience. My family is from the Republic of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. I am a first-generation college student and I understand the challenges that other first-generation students face. I encourage you to make education a priority, push your boundaries, don’t allow others to define you, and to give back. You will grow in ways that will surprise you.
What is your greatest hope for the future of Holy Names?
That Holy Names University will be sustained far into the 21st century, at a time when our mission and core values are so vital for the country and the world.