We had the good fortune of connecting with Letitia Clark and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Letitia, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
I think the most important thing I’ve done as a parent has been to instill the vitality of service to others through public service, volunteerism, philanthropy and charity. My parents did this for my sibling and I growing up and it taught me that service is not what we do, but who we are. Now as my oldest kids are maturing and are high schoolers, I see them seek out opportunities to volunteer and participate in acts of kindness to others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I work in government relations for a community college district and I love my job because community colleges are underrated, but the opportunity to succeed and receive an excellent education is abundant.
Additionally, community colleges truly help to address the issue of student debt, as every college credit in California is $45 per credit, regardless of what community college a student attends.
My other role as a council member is one that I always dreamed of being since in college. While I thought I might be an attorney, I transitioned into wanting to be more engaged with public policy, once I saw women who looked like me serving in roles of judge, mayor, and senator in Louisiana.
I know first hand, that representation does matter. However running as a black woman in Orange County was not easy. I had the help of organizations like Emerge California to provide the training and support I needed to run and win.
Now, having won two consecutive elections. One where I finished second out of four candidates for three positions, and another where I finished as the number one vote getter out of nine candidates.
I want the world to know that if you have a dream, you can achieve it! Regardless of the amount of time it takes, how many people say you don’t look like or sound like the standard. That if you believe it, you can and will with some determination.
However in order to do this, you must quickly get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone over and over again. You will have self doubt and be self conscious. But you must push through in order to achieve your dream,
I am so proud that i get to be a voice to the voiceless and advocate for people who need the most help because of where I serve in the city and sit on the dais. Also, writing a children’s book about being an elected role while being a black woman and raising a black woman has been one of the most rewarding experiences. because though a tangible book like “Mommy is the Mayor” I give kids the permission to dream big everyday and that brings a little bit of magic to my life everyday.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would start out in the morning in Tustin and walk the Peters Canyon trail near my house to take in scenic views and the free recreation right in the neighborhood.
We would then visit Old Town Tustin and get a beautifully fragrant latte and gorgeous pastries from the Morning Lavender Cafe.
Then we’d head to Newport Beach’s Lido Village for a Duffy boat ride in the harbor and lunch near Balboa Island.
Later that week, we may visit Laguna Beach and have brunch at Las Brisas and desert with an awesome shake at the Shake Shack near Crystal Cove state beach.
Finally, we would end up back in Tustin where I would take her to dinner at the Black Marlin in Old Town where they have live jazz music and some delicious food, followed by a late night comedy show and IMPROVCITY.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to give a shoutout to the Tustin Community Foundation. When I returned home after going through a divorce and living in New Orleans for a decade, I wanted to get involved in the Tustin community again, but didn’t know where to start. I wanted to do something that made me feel good and was not focused on me, but others.
Erin Nielson with the Tustin Community Foundation channeled my desire to give back and linked me to opportunities to serve with the 300+ non-profits in Tustin. Additionally, she provided an opportunity to serve on the board and learn the inner workings of non-profit grants that help the organizations in our community survive. Without the chance to get plugged back into service in Tustin, I may not have run for and won public office.
LA Times – Daily Pilot