A Conversation with Sandra Rodriguez, Program Coordinator, City of Glendale

How long have you been volunteering in the community?

Volunteering has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve volunteered on a number of community improvement projects with a truly phenomenal volunteer organization called Hope Worldwide, since the 90’s. My most recent volunteering endeavors however, have been centered around my three kids and their extracurricular activities. I’m an avid “team mom” and a booster. I started volunteering on the board of directors of my kids’ swim club in 2017 and never looked back. Today I am the President of the Board and I take great pride in the work our board does to ensure that our little swim club has a lasting impact in the lives of the youth in our community. 2020 was a tough year for youth sports teams due to the pandemic, but we managed to keep our club afloat and keep our coaches paid. Our community of parents rallied around our team and many of them continued to pay monthly dues even when our doors were closed. That kind of community support is what motivates me to keep on volunteering.

How long have you been volunteering for The Valley Economic Alliance?

I had the honor of joining The Valley Economic Alliance Board of Directors in February of 2021.

Tell us little about yourself.

I am a Chilean immigrant, wife, and mother of three, Carly 19 and currently a sophomore at Pepperdine University, Jacob 16, and Cory 13. Our family lives in South Pasadena. I graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Political science and have made a career of working in the public sector. I been with the City of Glendale for the past 20 years and before that I served as a Field Deputy for a local elected official on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. I work for Glendale’s Community Development Department (CDD) and over the years have been involved in projects ranging from affordable housing to planning to economic development and everything in between. I currently lead the marketing, outreach and digital communications efforts for CDD, with a special focus on economic development. This involves creating a cohesive brand as we endeavor to stimulate civic engagement, attract businesses to the City and raise awareness about a multitude of programs, projects and services.

When I’m not working you can find me cheering (very loudly) on the sidelines of my kids’ football, swimming and band events. I love entertaining in my home and I dabble in gardening and photography.

What is one of your Passion Projects that you are working on?

Promoting the Choose Glendale brand is truly something I am passionate about. The Jewel City has so much to offer and many hidden gems that I am working to uncover and share with the rest of the world. One of those gems is our tech ecosystem which has grown tremendously in the past 5 years. Being a part of the City’s Tech Initiative has been so rewarding. I took over the marketing efforts for Glendale Tech Week in 2018 and saw attendance numbers increase by 80% over the previous year and an additional 57% in 2019. I love being able to help the startup tech community discover Glendale. That’s why my current collaboration with the City of Burbank to create a collective brand identity for our cities as a regional hub for technology and innovation is super exciting. Joining forces with Burbank to elevate our cities to new heights makes sense and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.  Be on the lookout for the launch of our joint “Upstart Valley” marketing campaign in 2022.

Why do you continue to be a member of The Valley Economic Alliance network?

Being a part of The Valley Economic Alliance has given me the opportunity to meet the movers and shakers that help make our region an economically vibrant and sought after place to do business. I have learned so much in my short time on the board about what other cities are doing and it has opened my eyes to the collective efforts, challenges and strengths that we as a region share. This has informed the way I take on my day-to-day projects but especially my long-term economic development marketing strategy.