Debbie Gentry-Rao arrived into the world in a small town in Texas, as a premature baby, weighing only 2 pounds and 14 ounces. She was raised in Rhode Island and discovered at a young age that she had congenital hearing impairment and learning disabilities. Against the odds, Debbie was determined to succeed. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college, while working full-time to support herself and pay for her own tuition. While attending college, she developed and brought to fruition, the first nationwide Collegiate Student Art Education Association. She obtained a B.S. Degree in Art Education (K-12) with a minor in Philosophy from Rhode Island College, and received an award for Honors in Teaching. Debbie always has demonstrated a passion for teaching and helping others. Over the next 20 years, she worked in both public and private teaching positions around the country, empowering children in grades K-12 with knowledge. She developed relationships with local news stations in order to launch programs to feature her students’ art work on the evening news. Her last teaching position was with Challenger School, where she taught for eight years. For the past eight years, Debbie has selflessly committed her life to volunteering with the Red Cross. She has traveled and responded to more than 15 natural disasters across the nation, such as Hurricane Sandy, where she dedicated more than 150 days of her service in New York, and the recent mudslide in Oso, Washington, where she was personally enlisted by the Red Cross Headquarters office to serve as the Manager of Disaster IT Field Operations. Debbie has taken more than 50 classes in Disaster Training and was among one of 220 fully-certified driver/operators for the Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV) within the US. She was recently assigned by National HQ to a Special Task Force for the Deinstallation of Disaster Relief Operations HQ in Mississippi and Louisiana. Debbie has served on the Board of Directors for the State of Vermont Art Teachers Association. She also served on the Development Committee for the Real Heroes Breakfast for the Red Cross and was also a member of the Clara Barton Breakfast Committee. She served on the Board of Directors for the SCVCC Women’s Club for two years. Debbie received a Volunteer of the Year award in 2006 from Presentation High School for her work in fundraising for the auction events, and for being a member of both the Parent Board and the Boosters Board. Recently, she was selected as a member of the Rotary Club of San Jose East/Evergreen, where she is currently Chairing the Family Supportive Housing community service project. In addition to this, Debbie has exuded a spirit of entrepreneurship, especially in the industries of real estate, education and training. She has traveled to more than 13% of the world, which has driven her passion for Silicon Valley Latino (SVL). She is proud to be associated with SVL not only for its multicultural nature, but also because she finds shared core values within the organization of selfless volunteerism, fundraising and determination to make a difference in the lives of others. In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her two grown children, biking, traveling, and volunteering for Rebuilding Together in SJ and New Orleans.
Comments will be approved before showing up.