Raised in South Gate from the age of three, Jenny was taught family values and the importance of leadership, perseverance and giving back. Her parents Waldo & Laurentina, emigrated from Mexico as teenagers and knew the value of hard work and dedication. Before the age of 35, they were able to achieve the American dream – they bought their first home, learned how to speak English and eventually became Citizens of the United States.
Attended elementary school and middle school in South Gate, and went on to David Starr Jordan High School in Los Angeles. The eldest of four, she was the first in her family to attend a university – obtaining a full scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). There she received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology. She also holds an Executive Certificate in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business.
Her interest in civic engagement started early, having served as the Student Body President at David Starr Jordan High School. After her father Waldo became the victim of a violent crime in which he was shot, civic engagement became important to the family as whole – becoming focused in their own community.
While at UCLA, Jenny and her family were instrumental in leading some of the recall efforts that lead to the ousting of corrupt officials in South Gate who had taken advantage of the city and left it almost bankrupt. They were also part of ‘Community in Action’, a neighborhood watch group that forged a relationship between the community and the South Gate Police Department.
Last year, she was appointed to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee by then mayor, Jorge Morales and to the Planning Commission by Councilwoman Belen Bernal. Her appointments were a direct result of her drive and commitment to serve others and make a positive impact.
Giving back is also part of her daily work life, serving as the Director of Development for the Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF), a global nonprofit organization that helps provide nutrition to vulnerable children. With a very small but dedicated staff, they are able to help 200,000 children in over 50 countries.
Some of her previous positions have been with the U.S. Census Bureau, UCLA College of Education, UCLA Child Psychiatry and Club Z Tutoring.