Alessandra Lezama is a single mom, an immigrant to the U.S. and by her own account, “in pursuit of ‘The American Dream.’”
Lezama said that over the last 20 years she has “had to work extremely hard to prove my worth and grow my career… shattering all glass ceilings” and working her way up “from the sales floor to the board room.”
A promoter of early childhood education for all and an advocate for women in the workforce with an emphasis on communities of color, historically marginalized by a lack of opportunity, she is the founder and CEO of TOOTRiS, an on-demand childcare technology platform that helps parents find, enroll and pay for quality care in real-time. Lezama has more than 20 years as a technology executive and serial entrepreneur. She also has a track record for taking underperforming tech companies and turning them into global, high-performance assets.
With decades of experience helping others behind her – and continuing in the present – Lezama was a natural choice to be part of the San Diego Foundation’s Board of Governors. Lezama in July was appointed to the San Diego Foundation board in along with PNC Bank executive Xiomara Arroyo.
“Our board and staff welcome Xiomara and Alessandra to our Foundation family and are grateful for their service,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of San Diego Foundation. “Their diverse experience and backgrounds will strengthen our leadership and impact as we pursue just, equitable and resilient communities for all San Diegans.”
San Diego Foundation is a nonprofit that for nearly 50 years has partnered with a variety of donors, businesses, organizations, nonprofits and community leaders to award grants that help others with solutions that improve the quality of life in the region. The San Diego Foundation Board of Governors is composed of volunteers with diverse professional backgrounds who participate in community and charitable activities in the San Diego region.
“I am very excited and deeply humbled by this amazing opportunity to serve on the Board of Governors for San Diego Foundation,” Lezama said. “I am ecstatic at the prospect of contributing to San Diego Foundation with my professional knowledge and a great passion for making a difference. Specifically, the strategic plan that fosters equity of opportunity will best leverage my deep experiences of the challenges – and opportunities – presented to me as an immigrant, woman of color, single mother and woman in leadership, helping to further erode systemic discrimination for all San Diegans, regardless of race, gender or social status.”
Lezama’s hands-on leadership across industries has earned her accolades that include “2021 Dream Big – Minority Small Business of the Year Award” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “2021 Moving San Diego Forward Award” by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and “2021 Outstanding Business Leader Award” by Cal State San Marcos College of Business.
She was recently appointed to the Global – ReadyNation CEO Task Force for Early Childhood Development and the California Preschool Business Advisory Council. She also serves on the San Diego County Child Care and Development Council, the board of directors and management council of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum.
Lezama said becoming part of the foundation board is a way for her to pay it forward.
“San Diego Foundation is the perfect organization to help me channel my efforts to best contribute toward the region’s overall progress,” Lezama said. “For nearly 50 years, San Diego Foundation has been a leader in addressing the region’s challenges and improving the equity, inclusion and diversity of San Diego’s citizens.”
Arroyo is a market manager and vice president for PNC Bank, serving the Southern California region. She leads a team of financial consultants who customize financial wellness and employee benefits programs for mid- to large-sized companies. Arroyo began her career in the financial services industry 16 years ago. She holds an undergraduate degree from Cal State San Marcos and graduated in 2022 with an Executive MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
A strong proponent of giving back to others, Arroyo currently serves as chairwoman of the board of San Diego Habitat for Humanity and is also a member of the President’s Advisory Council at CSUSM. In 2019, she was honored by the Urban League of San Diego County with the Whitney M. Young Diversity & Equity Award and was a 2019 finalist for San Diego Woman of the Year by San Diego Magazine.
San Diego Foundation
HEADQUARTERS: Liberty Station, Point Loma
PRESIDENT AND CEO: Mark Stuart
BUSINESS: Community foundation
REVENUE: $333M in FY 2021
SOCIAL IMPACT: In 2021, San Diego Foundation released its Strategic Plan, which includes “advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities and delivering world-class philanthropy.”
NOTABLE: San Diego Foundation and its donors have granted more than $1.3 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening the community.