Meet Rosanne Foust, President and CEO SAMCEDA (San Mateo County Economic Development Association)
Facing Our Challenges and Collectively Finding Solutions That Make Our Silicon Valley & San Francisco Bay Area A Great Place To Live, Work and Play
SVT: What is your position and what do you do?
RF: I am the President and CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, also known as SAMCEDA. SAMCEDA was founded in 1953 and represents a contingent of leading Bay area businesses, institutions, organizations and entrepreneurs. We are recognized for our experienced, impact-driven approach as a business advocacy organization.
SVT: How long have you been doing this and what do you love most about your work?
RF: I joined SAMCEDA in July of 2008 and thoroughly enjoy what I do. Having a vibrant economy impacts all our communities on many levels. On the Peninsula, we expect our cities to provide top notch services, we expect to have well-maintained parks and open space to enjoy, and we expect an efficient transportation infrastructure. In order to have all this (and more) we need a vibrant economy that can sustain and enhance our quality of life. SAMCEDA works to ensure that these expectations become reality. These are tough issues, but I am energized by finding solutions that make this a great place to live, work and play.
SVT: There are many organizations you work with and Boards you serve on – you are a hub of everything and everyone – who and what inspires you?
RF: My parents never had very much from a material point of view. By todays’ standards we would be poor, actually very poor and yet I never felt poor. We never owned a home, my Dad worked three jobs at various points in his life, we never had a new car…always a used one, we never went on an overnight family vacation, we didn’t have music, art or dance lessons and yet we were rich in what really mattered. They instilled in me and my brother and sister the value of hard work, education and treating others as you want to be treated. They instilled the importance of family and faith. They read newspapers and watched the news and made sure we were aware of current events and what was happening in the world. They voted and were proud of our flag and this country. I think of these lessons often and these lessons are what inspire me.
SVT: What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
RF: This is easy…my two daughters, Julia and Lydia. Raising children is the hardest and most rewarding job I will ever have and one that keeps me challenged, grateful and very proud. Lydia is 13 and in 8th grade. She is a terrific student and excels at multiple sports. She has a wonderful sense of humor and makes me think! Julia is 18 and in her first year at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. When we were looking at various colleges and universities she said more than once that she wanted to go somewhere that would challenge and motivate her. When she decided on the Academy many people asked why. Her answer was simple, “I wanted to be part of something greater than me.” As a parent, I could not be more proud of both daughters.
SVT: What are some key challenging issues we are facing you would like us to know about?
RF: The biggest challenge I see on the horizon is fear of change. Society is moving at a faster pace than I think anyone could ever have anticipated and sometimes the immediate reaction is “No. Stop. I want everything to slow down.” Recognizing that change is inevitable we collectively need to find ways that engage both points of view. Those that see change as positive and those that see change as negative.
SVT: What can we do to help make this an even better community?
RF: Be open, flexible, patient, kind, resourceful, creative, hardworking, dedicated, committed, willing to engage and grateful for the freedoms and opportunities we have.