Beyond the Boardroom

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Efren Carrillo

Author: Alexandra Russell
November, 2009 Issue

By the time he was elected to his seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors last year at the age of 27(!), Efren Carrillo had already distinguished himself as a dedicated and innovative community leader. Following graduation from UC Berkeley (with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy) and internships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and projects related to water economics and public health, he held key positions with the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, Sonoma County Business Environmental Alliance, Assemblyman Joe Nation and Redwood Credit Union.
Raised in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa, Carrillo’s public service résumé includes Santa Rosa Gang Prevention Task Force, Health Action Sonoma County, the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin, Habitat for Humanity and the Southwest Community Health Center—and that’s not even mentioning his numerous volunteer efforts. All this begs the question: What fuels you?
Carrillo responds, “Doing my part to leave this world a better place for our youth.”
Show of hands: Who else feels like an underachiever?

Are you a native of Sonoma County?
I was born in North Hollywood, then my family moved to Mexico City. When I started school, we moved to Santa Rosa. My family lived in the first Habitat for Humanity home built in Sonoma County; we moved there when I was in middle school. It was quite a change from our cramped apartment—and a pivotal point in my life.
What got you interested in politics?
My parents raised my brother, sister and me to contribute to our community, to give back. That was probably my biggest influence. One of my first jobs was working for Joe Nation, and that definitely sparked my interest.
Describe one of your happiest life moments.
Simply seeing the proud look on my parents’ faces when I graduated from UC Berkeley. I share all my successes with them.
Describe a magical childhood moment.
When I hit my first home run in Little League. It was magical rounding the bases.
If you had an extra hour of free time each day, how would you use it?
Free time? What’s that? Probably working out or playing soccer.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want with you?
A yacht or helicopter, a laptop with wireless access and a personal water desalinization plant—all solar powered, of course.
If your CD player only played one song, what would it be?
Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.”
What was your first job?
I was a tutor at Santa Rosa Middle School. I love working with kids.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I rarely drink coffee.
What would your ideal celebration look like?
Friends, family and loved ones.
Describe an embarrassing life moment.
I was asked to sing “La Bamba” at the Sebastopol Senior Center, and I really can’t sing. Still, it was for a good cause and we did raise some money for the center.
What’s one thing you’d really like to learn how to do?
Play the drums.
What’s your secret vice food?
I have no secret vice foods. I eat everything very conspicuously.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
The French Riviera—of course, I’d have to be a much wealthier man!
When you travel, do you pack too much or too little?
Too much. I always think I’ll be able to fit it all in (working out, going out, business meetings, etc).
What controversial topic do you love debating?
The need for health care reform.
What real person, dead or alive, do you wish you could be more like?
I think we all can benefit from the teachings of Gandhi.
Of all the things you’ve done in your life, of what are you most proud?
Having the opportunity to be a positive role model.



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