Virginia Blumenthal has been serving as an attorney for over 35 years. She is a woman of influence in Riverside, with a heart for the community. Her accolades include making the list of The Most Influential Attorneys in the State of California, and one of the Best Women Litigators in California. Currently she serves as President on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees. (as told to Danielle Willis)
Throughout your illustrious career as an attorney what do you consider your major accomplishments?
• I helped to bring the California High School Mock Trial program to Riverside County and assisted in developing it to be one of most formidable High School Mock Trial programs in the nation (I have only been an attorney for 39 years; before that I was a school teacher).
• Without planning on it, I helped to open the doors to women attorneys in the Riverside Justice system and be accepted as equals in what had been traditionally an all-male profession.
• I think I helped to raise the esteem of criminal defense attorneys in this community by litigating high profile criminal cases while concurrently being active in the community such as being President of the Riverside County Philharmonic.
(I really don’t like talking about my major accomplishments)
What are your concerns with the future of the community colleges?
•Student Success (college preparation and completion)• Transition of adult education from K-12 to community colleges and the resource support and development (NOTE: Governor Jerry Brown is transferring the adult continuing education to the jurisdiction of the Community College system.) • Sustaining high cost, career technical education programs that address the high skilled, educated workforce needs of the region.• Advancement opportunities in education past the AS/AA degrees with limited access at UC and CSU systems.
• Sustaining open, transparent leadership that welcomes and incorporates feedback from the public and all stakeholders.
• Ensuring strong fiscal management as costs continue to increase amid often-uncertain levels of state funding.
How has your Completion Counts program changed the sense of urgency for today’s youth to graduate high school and become college ready?
• It has not changed the urgency but has helped define the issues, opportunities and solutions; translating it into the best and sustainable practices is key and paramount, statewide.
• Completion Counts has applied collaborative focus and planning to the task of raising college graduation rates in a region where they need improvement. This improvement is vital to building the area’s workforce, economy and quality of life for the long term. It is also crucial to maximizing our students’ potential.
How does your career as an attorney translate into your role as President of the Board, and why did you to run for the board?
• Understanding the myriad of challenges the community faces and the prospect to serve and fulfill opportunities comes in many forms and practices. Being an alumnus of RCC and a member of the community that has been sustained by the area, the need and opportunity to serve all the needs of the community are paramount.• Being able to capitalize on joint partnerships for the advancement of the entire region – whether it be the Riverside Aquatics Complex, Completion Counts, or other programs,——RCCD is a vital component of the greater community, and the ability to bring my leadership to advance the mission of the district excites me.
• My role as an attorney and litigator provides a skill set that enables me to solve problems; analyze issues logically and pragmatically; discuss those issues clearly and openly; listen to all stakeholders and weigh all opinions and evidence; build consensus; and deliver the best possible outcome. Likewise, my experience as a business owner brings strong fiscal oversight to the board — a perspective that helped us balance the district’s budget while keeping cuts away from the classroom.
• I ran for the board to provide leadership to my college and community. In my eight years on the board, I have served as president for four years and vice president for three.