Westmont Magazine Building Good Will for Charitable Organizations
Stephanie Medina ’80 tells stories for a living, initially for television news then for organizations that transform lives. She serves on non-profit boards for agencies she passionately supports. Throughout her career, she has built extensive relationships in the Los Angeles area and given her time to help people.
Before transferring to CSU Northridge to major in journalism, Stephanie studied political science at Westmont. She still gets together with two of her roommates. “The relationships I made there were priceless,” she says. “I don’t know what I would do without these women in my life.”
She started her television news career at NBC in Los Angeles and then moved to ABC. When cancer struck, she stayed on the job during 10 months of chemotherapy. “My faith got me through,” she says. “I didn’t want to be the sick girl, so I worked as many days as I could, and the station was wonderful.” She survived Hodgkin lymphoma, although the doctors said she couldn’t have children. But she later gave birth to two daughters and celebrates 32 years in remission.
For 18 years, she worked behind the scenes, supervising daily news coverage, dispatching news crews and researching stories. She also produced special news segments for events such as the OJ Simpson trial and the Bush-Clinton election. She won four Emmy Awards and three Golden Mike Awards. After her children arrived, she switched to public affairs for the station. In all, she spent 20 years at CBS2/KCAL 9 in Los Angeles.
In 2010, she joined KTLA5 as corporate initiative marketing manager, where she coordinated a holiday food drive for local food banks and built partnerships between businesses and non-profit organizations. When Patrick McClenahan, president and general manager at CBS 2/ KCAL 9, left to become president and CEO of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, he recruited her to serve as senior vice president of community relations for volunteerism and fan development.
“He is a leader to follow,” she says. “We share the same values and faith.” She spent three years preparing for the large international event that involved 6,500 athletes from 160 countries.
Then McClenahan went to Goodwill Southern California as president and CEO, and he asked Stephanie to be the director of public affairs and community relations. The organization’s second largest region, Goodwill Southern California oversees 85 stores, 44 donation centers, nearly a dozen work-source centers, and youth centers. “We serve anyone looking for a job—especially those with the greatest barriers, such as veterans, people with disabilities, those who were incarcerated and the homeless,” she says.
She shares the impact Goodwill makes in people’s lives. A veteran who sought a job in the tech industry but interviewed poorly found a position at Children’s Hospital after training at Goodwill. A 35-year Skid Row resident now helps the organization find and train homeless people able to work. LA Rise serves those who’ve been unemployed by giving them 300 hours of work to start a job history. “People come to us when they have nowhere else to go,” she says. “We train them and place them. People need jobs to sustain their homes and lives.”
A longtime board member for Heal the Bay, she spent a year as the interim CEO. She has also served on the boards of the Special Olympics, the American Heart Association, Full Circle Learning, and Latinos Lead. Mayor Villaraigosa appointed her to the Transportation Commission.
“The Lord has given me many amazing opportunities and bosses,” she says. “I’m blessed.”