Lisa Spinali is the current Chair of the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission. Spinali has served on the Commission since 2007 and has worked in the service world her entire life. She is also the founder of Lisa Spinali Consulting.
“I think that serving and volunteering creates this notion of people give to you, so then you can give to others. I just have a core belief that the world is better when we are serving each other. It’s a kinder world, a more humane world. It’s a world where you can understand across difference. Service is a great unifier.”
Spinali credits her early volunteer experience with instilling in her the desire to serve others. “I lived next door to my elementary school [and] every summer, in August, I would go and help the teachers put their classrooms together.” Her teachers greatly influenced her service-driven career path, as she learned about giving back through these quality public school teachers who were committed to her education and mentorship.
Over the span of her career, Spinali has become a leader in cross-sector partnerships – consulting on nonprofit capacity building and individual skill development to public service through her involvement in many organizations, including the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission.
Spinali encourages those who are interested in pursuing cross-sector service-oriented opportunities to jump in. She believes that following a career path that is focused on public service means focusing more on what skills and opportunities each experience will give you. Therefore, this career path may appear more lateral, but, according to Spinali, “the ampleness of the experience gives you a much more comprehensive view of the world and how things work and makes you a better employee, leader, and person.”
In 2014 for the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps, Spinali was recognized as a “Service Trailblazer” for her work in the creation of AmeriCorps. She continues to play an integral role in the expansion of AmeriCorps across California, and describes her work with Chief Service Officer Karen Baker on education and outreach strategies as the most rewarding aspect of serving as the Commission Chair. Spinali feels driven to share the story AmeriCorps and she believes the next focus for the Commission will be on AmeriCorps branding and sharing the impact of service.
For her service on the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission and her continued dedication to the people of California, we would like to thank Spinali. Chief Service Officer Baker, in reflecting on Spinali’s impact on the Commission, said “Lisa has so many gifts that have helped us grow – she is a creative strategist, a genius facilitator, and a passionate force!” Spinali’s love for service and her desire to share the impact throughout California continues to inspire her fellow Commissioners, staff, and stakeholders.