Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez, CEO of Goodwill San Francisco, San Mateo & Marin Counties, has spent the better part of her life as an advocate for social justice. Born in Brooklyn, NY, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, she was educated at Harvard-Radcliffe College (Class of 1983) for which she worked tirelessly to recruit and retain talented students of color from this nation’s poorest communities.
An award-winning CEO, she is best known for her dynamic and inclusive leadership style. The San Francisco Business Times refers to Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez as the “Most Admired CEO.” She received the Leadership Award from Independent Sector and the Maestro Award for Philanthropy by Latino Leaders Magazine. She is well known for catalyzing change within organizations that leads them toward greater innovation, accountability and impact. She has always sought to use collaboration as an instrument for social change. Under her leadership, Goodwill now serves 7000 participants through its education and job training services, has added over 300 new jobs to the local economy and diverts 25 million pounds of donated goods from our landfills annually. Nearly 50% of Goodwill’s 600 employees are former Goodwill service participants who successfully transitioned from public support into becoming sustainable tax payers.
Whether as Vice President of the Omidyar Foundation, Director of San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, or Assistant Director of the City’s Department of Public Health, she has worked with a number of coalitions to improve the health and well-being of all people.
Deeply committed to community service, Deborah serves on several boards including: the East Bay Community Foundation, The Ron Cordes Family Foundation, Goodwill Industries International, and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. The mission of Goodwill is a deeply personal one for Deborah. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Deborah’s mother Aurelia defied the odds and became a successful small business owner. Like many immigrants, she taught her children the value of an education, to show up with enthusiasm, to be of service to others, and to be unafraid to challenge the status quo. Together with the communities of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, Deborah remains determined to make California a land of opportunity for all.