I’m working hard to make sure that those leading the charge at every CAN have what they need to be successful.
Rebecca grew up in Los Angeles, CA, but doesn’t consider herself a typical Angeleno. She doesn’t come from an entertainment industry family (her dad practiced law and her mom is a novelist), she doesn’t like sushi (though she is a marine biology nerd) and she doesn’t know how to surf (but she loves the beach).
Rebecca attended the University of California Santa Barbara for her undergraduate studies, where she double majored in Cultural Anthropology and Photography. After college, she spent a year traveling through South America and taking pictures of llamas, Inca ruins and train graveyards. When she returned to the States, Rebecca began a career in corporate retail, opening franchise stores overseas for Gap Inc. and working as a furniture buyer for Pottery Barn. After several years losing sleep over sales figures and supply chain optimization, Rebecca decided it was time to lose sleep over something more important, and decided to go back to school. In 2010 she earned her MBA in Sustainable Management with a focus on social justice from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.
Most recently, Rebecca led the development team at ConnCAN, where she was responsible for several million dollars a year in fundraising from increasingly diverse revenue sources. Rebecca joined the ConnCAN team in 2010, and helped transition the organization from a five-year-old startup with some promising wins into a powerhouse advocacy institution with staying power. As 50CAN’s SVP of Growth, Rebecca will contribute lessons learned on the ground in Connecticut – home of the worst educational achievement gap in the country, a passion for advocacy and a laser focus on capacity building and resource development.
I aspire to be like Wangari Maathai. Here’s why:
Wangari Maathai was a Kikuyu woman born in colonial Kenya during the 1940s. She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, which sought to combat deforestation, erosion and poverty by organizing rural Kenyan women to plant trees, which then provided soil binding, firewood and an income source. In the nearly 40 years since it was founded, the Green Belt Movement has trained tens of thousands of Kenyan women and has evolved into an advocacy organization that monitors environmental policy in Kenya. Dr. Maathai was the first East African woman to hold a doctorate, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and was eventually elected to parliament with 98 percent of the vote. She was a staunch advocate for democracy, women’s rights, sustainable development and environmental conservation. I am inspired by the way Dr. Maathai created projects and campaigns that sought to address all of these issues in a holistic way.
Why I love my job:
I love knowing that what I do on a daily basis gives 50CAN the financial resources to hire and train advocates to lead game-changing state campaigns. I’m working hard to make sure that those leading the charge at every CAN have what they need to be successful.
My connection to public schools:
For two years during and after college, I worked as an instructional aide at a public school in Santa Barbara, CA. I watched my students fall more and more behind, and become less and less excited about learning because district and state policy was standing in the way of their education.
What I'm bad at:
Cartwheels, dancing, speaking French, multiplying and dividing numbers in my head and knowing the real lyrics to songs (which does not prevent me from singing along, mind you).
The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:
This is a photo of my Godmother and my daughter. Elena moved here from El Salvador during the Salvadoran civil war in the late 1970s. She was in pursuit of the American dream on behalf of her family. Because of her sacrifices and hard work, her grandchildren are college graduates with promising futures. She is my hero.