Ms. Ramsay oversees the Foundation, a not-for-profit created in 2008 to support the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks’ efforts to improve urban parks for all Angelenos. Under her leadership, the Foundation has raised over $33 million to fund park projects including Adopt-A-Park, Friends of the Parks, and Donate-A-Bench initiatives.
Growing up in Oregon, Ms. Ramsay said that though she was inspired by her state’s environmental activism as a high school student, she was unsure of what her career path would look like. She started her early career in journalism because she liked writing and wanted to change the world.
A successful reporter for local and national publications, including People magazine, Ms. Ramsay turned her focus to city government after the birth of her daughter, for whom she wanted to model a career that focused on improving lives. A chance meeting at a dinner party with a Tournament of Roses’ Queen led Ms. Ramsay to volunteer to fundraise for urban park improvements, which, in turn, led to staff positions at Los Angeles City Hall.
“I loved working at City Hall,” Ms. Ramsay said. “I met a thousand people who were doing amazing things to make Los Angeles a better city.”
In her current position at the Foundation, Ms. Ramsay works to raise money for urban park improvements, which recently included a $10 million grant from the Los Angeles Clippers to resurface 350 city basketball courts by 2020.
“That is a huge project and a great example of what our Foundation does,” she said. “We match donors to projects to improve parks for all of you and everyone who lives in the city.
She implored students to keep an open mind (and ear) and not to be discouraged in high school if they feel like a fish out of water or if they haven’t yet achieved the level of success they had hoped.
“I’m doing work I love at a place that didn’t even exist when I started,” Ms. Ramsay said. “Listen to what people tell you, dig deep, and find a way to create a world that you want for the future.”
Head of School Jacqueline L. Landry created the Inspiring Boldness Speaker Series to connect students with successful professionals who demonstrate ethical leadership. Before speakers present to Marymount’s student body, all students research guests’ background to craft questions that spark Community discussion.