Yesenia Vallejo Monsour – Week 19: 30-in-30 Honoree

Yesenia Vallejo Monsour is a graduate of Leadership Southern California 2016. A first-generation Mexican-American, Yesenia graduated from the Hispanic Leadership Institute under HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality). Yesenia was a White House Fellows Regional Finalist. She has been honored with many awards including Hispanic Magazine’s Achievement Award, the Hispanic Women’s Council Woman of Promise Award; General Motors Volunteer Award and the Free Trade Alliance SA Institutional Member of the Year. She serves as Former Chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Board of the USC Latino Alumni Association, on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of WISE and Healthy Aging based out of Santa Monica and on the Board of Directors for the Greater Leimert Park Village/Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District. If that wasn’t success enoough, she recently celebrated 25 years of marriage to fellow Trojan and husband Louis, and they have three children, Joseph, Andrew, and Nicholas. Keep reading below to learn first hand about the accomplishments of our week 19 30-in-30 honoree!

I am incredibly honored to be selected as part of SCLN’s 30-in-30 year-long celebration. As a recent graduate of the Leadership Southern California (LSC) program, I am grateful to SCLN for the leadership programs they offer professionals for continued growth and networking opportunities. As a native Angelena, I have spent most of my life exploring L.A. and its amazing facets.  The LSC program allowed me to go beyond L.A., and explore the greater Southern California area to better understand regional issues.

Knowledge of broad regional issues is crucial to my role in the health care industry. I currently serve as Director of Public Affairs and Brand Communications for Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center, which serves over 220,000 members and encompasses diverse areas such as West L.A., South L.A., Santa Monica, Inglewood, Culver City, and Beverly Hills.  Our department oversees Community Relations, Community Benefit, Government Affairs, Local PR/Marketing, Media Relations, and Communications. Together with my amazing Public Affairs and Brand Communications team, we lead community outreach efforts associated with our new Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw and Santa Monica Medical Office Buildings.  My fast-paced, dynamic job keeps life interesting and, it’s never a dull day at the office!

I enjoy working in the community and find great personal satisfaction in aligning with mission driven organizations that make a difference in the lives of others.  I recently completed my term as Chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, you can check out my Installation video.  I encourage everyone to share their leadership skills with nonprofits or consider a career in the nonprofit sector.  There are so many diverse causes and efforts, there is a nonprofit for everyone. Or, you can start your own!

I love my career and am grateful to my parents who constantly demonstrated the importance of hard work, discipline, and determination. As a first-generation Mexican-American, my parents instilled in me the importance of a higher education and supported my desire to pursue a career. They encouraged me as I embarked on my journey to pursue higher education at the University of Southern California. Three USC degrees later, I am an incredibly loyal and grateful Trojan devoted to making the most of my education and giving back to my community.

My formal education in Public Administration and Psychology have allowed me to work in a variety of areas throughout my career.  My areas of interest have included health, economic development, immigration reform, education, military, housing, senior advocacy, trade, and many others. I’ve enjoyed diving into different areas, being able to expand my knowledge base, and make interesting connections.  There’s no need to stick to just one topic if you have many interests. It’s fun to keep learning, and good for brain health too!

As I look back, I appreciate the amazing career opportunities I’ve experienced that developed my skill set and leadership abilities.  I’ve worked for Chambers, a university, health organizations, a foreign government, a cultural institution, and the US Senate. I am even grateful for my first job cooking french fries at McDonalds! There began my understanding of the importance of leading, following, inspiring, listening, being compassionate, working hard and taking risks.

I’m excited about what the future holds for my career and I look forward to making more friends along the way as I have fun and thrive! Fight On!