Theresa Cunningham is the Vice President of Reality Changers, a San Diego-based nonprofit that transforms lives by providing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the resources and support to become college graduates. In her position, she oversees talent operations and program management and plays a lead role in creating and maintaining an environment that values learning, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Her previous experience spans across the areas of consulting, nonprofit management, education, strategic planning, and human resources. She earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.
A writer and food aficionado, Theresa’s inspiration is derived from her travel to over 30 countries. In her personal time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors and raising her two daughters. As a member of the YNPN San Diego Advisory Board, she contributes to building and sustaining a growing network of leaders by serving on the membership committee.
Now let's hear directly from Theresa!
What made you want to join the YNPN board?
I believe that cultivating and connecting future leaders within our sector is the key to changing it for the better. This means thinking about ways to build strategic partnerships, attract and retain talent, foster innovation at the philanthropic level and increase diversity and inclusion.
What is your favorite thing about your career thus far?
I appreciate having had the opportunity to work in education both at a large, global scale and on a local, community-based level. I cherish the fact that my career centers on people---supporting and cultivating leaders at different levels to help change the world, each in their own way.
If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it?
I would take a hot yoga class, or read one of the numerous book recommendations on my "to read" list.
What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a part of YNPN San Diego?
I've enjoyed learning from experts at our signature events, working alongside leaders from all different parts of the nonprofit sector on the board, and building new and meaningful relationships with other members.
What would you say to someone on the fence about becoming a member, or even joining the board?
If someone is on the fence, it may be because they are unsure of how their investment of time, talent, or treasure directly benefits them. I highly encourage them to seek out current members and share their hesitations. This helps us not only better understand the needs of our community, but also address questions specific to an individual's circumstance or interests.