Debbie’s cultural roots of dedication to family, community, and care for those in need have been the basis of her passion to work in the Nonprofit sector. As the daughter of an immigrant Filipino family, she attributes the foundation of her inner strength and character to lessons learned from her family’s journey to the US. Building on their belief that the American Dream can be achieved through hard work, perseverance, and caring for others before self, in February 2018, Debbie became the President & CEO of FIND Food Bank, the Desert’s Regional Food Bank.
With almost 30 years as an experienced Nonprofit professional, Debbie’s both planned and serendipitous path has afforded her experiences at the regional, national, and international levels. These include the Director of Programs for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano- a 16 county food bank in Northern CA, the Compliance and Capacity Development Manager for 37 food banks in the Southwest Sector of the US at the National Office of Feeding America, and the Strategic Programs and Operations consultant for the Global Food Banking Network and Walmart Mexico y Centro America. There she supported the development of the first national food banking networks in Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Debbie also actively engages in the advancement of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Recognized for her work in nonprofit management, hunger relief, and DEI, Debbie has keynoted and led workshops at 3 national conferences in these subjects. From 2015-2017 she served as the National President of the Association of Certified Non-Profit Professionals. In 2015, she was featured in the Baylor University Business Review for her “hard-core business acumen” in cross-sector management of both Non-Profits and For-Profits. In 2017, she was a nominee for the Independent Sector’s NexGen award and was presented with a national Non-Profit Leadership Award by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. And in 2021, she was featured in multiple local, state, and national articles for her ability to pivot FIND to serve over 190,000 food insecure people (more than a 110% increase in people) within 6 weeks of the onset of the covid pandemic.
Currently, Debbie holds 2 National positions in the Feeding America Network. She is one of the 16 CEOs on the FA National Council, focused on overall strategy and innovation of the 200 FA network food banks in the US; and she is part of leadership for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Council of the Feeding America Network. She also is a Member on the following Boards of Directors: Non-Profit Leadership Alliance National Board, CalFoods Logistics State Board, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Riverside County Board.
Debbie grew up in Puyallup, WA, relocating to California after graduating from college. She is proud to claim both the Pacific Northwest and California as her homes. Her education includes the International Baccalaureate Program, a Bachelor of Arts from Rockhurst University with a double major in Comparative Religion and Sociology with a minor in Human Service, a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development from Penn State University, and is a Certified Non-Profit Professional (CNP).
Most importantly, Debbie has two daughters in college and high school, and Pabu (“Paw-boo”, their one-eyed Shih Tzu) who are the joys of her life. And, because of her passion for feeding people combined with her love for the Arts and all things outdoors (gardening, golfing, hiking, skiing, basking in the sun), the beautiful Coachella Valley makes her feel like she’s “Living the Dream” every day.