Last night, Northern California mentors received the following email from one of our Regional Directors:
Thank you all for your work and dedication to growing future technologists and gracious leaders in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. It has been my absolute pleasure serving with you for the past 6 seasons. Unfortunately, it’s time for me to move on from FIRST at the end of this month, but I look forward to my next role volunteering along side you. So this is not a goodbye, it’s see you next season!
In the meantime while my position is being filled, your primary contact is Janet McKinley, FIRST Regional Director in Sacramento for nearly 9 years. Also, you can reach out anytime to Lonny Weissman, FIRST Senior Mentor and team mentor for over 20 years. You are truly in great hands!
Regional Director of Northern California
Theresa has been a powerful force in the northern California region, advocating for our teams and doing everything in her power to create the best team experience she could provide. In one of my first conversations with her, she told me “[the teams] are our customers, and above all else it is our responsibility to provide the best product we can to them”.
Theresa made sure every event she ran was focused on the team experience. It was no coincidence her events consistently filled up first. At competitions, Theresa led by example. She has been the only regional director I’ve met who is down in the trenches, working every event she’s at with the rest of the volunteers. From field setup to safety glasses attendant, I can’t think of any non-KV role she hasn’t taken on. It was always reassuring knowing that there was someone at the competitions advocating for every team and volunteer there.
Theresa’s support of teams didn’t stop at her high quality competitions - she took care of her teams. Every team, rookie to veteran, had a personal relationship with her, and she took it upon herself to put extra care into newer and lower resource teams, including taking her own time to check in on teams during the season to make sure they were on track. She worked tirelessly to coordinate the regional registration requirements of almost every team in northern California, putting in the legwork to coordinate competition swaps between teams who could do so to ensure that everyone could compete at a place that fit their needs. Rumor even has it that when Theresa went into overdrive and fundraised a surplus of funds for her regionals, she secretly took it upon herself to ensure extra funds were redistributed to teams in the form of an anonymous sponsor grant that helped many local teams this past season.
Theresa is someone who “gets it”, and whose passion for this program and its teams has shone through her work in everything she’s done. What inspires me most is that, despite her departure from employment at FIRST, she has expressed enthusiasm for continuing her involvement in the program, now as a registered volunteer, and will return to her place alongside the teams and volunteers she has spent the past 6 years with this up coming offseason.
I invite people to share their experiences with Theresa, and to join me in thanking her for her tremendous service to every student, mentor, and volunteer she has impacted as our FIRST California Regional Director.