An Interview with Sheila Thornton, CEO, OneFuture Coachella Valley


In this interview, Lester Olmstead-Rose, Partner, speaks with Sheila Thornton, CEO of OneFuture Coachella Valley, about the organization’s journey and its contributions to educational and career advancement. Sheila outlines OneFuture’s role as a driving force behind the Coachella Valley Regional Plan for College and Career Success, emphasizing their focus on aiding low-income, underrepresented students from K-12 through college to career pathways as a means to overcome poverty. She reflects on key moments of growth and decision-making in the organization’s history, highlighting La Piana’s pivotal role in developing decision-making tools, strategy screens, and providing guidance during significant transitions like becoming an independent nonprofit and envisioning future impacts. Sheila and Lester also discuss the importance of building partnerships with industry sectors, showcasing OneFuture’s success in aligning education with career opportunities. She advises those entering the nonprofit sector to embrace intersectional thinking and bring diverse experiences to tackle community issues. The conversation touches on the generational changes in the nonprofit sector and the need for multidisciplinary approaches in problem-solving, underscoring OneFuture’s commitment to collaborative community development.


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