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Ruth Obel-Jorgensen

Senior Partner

Ruth brings over 20 years of experience and education in the nonprofit social sector where she has worked to create systems change through values-driven leadership practices that advance equity. As the recent past executive director of the CA School-Age Consortium (CalSAC), Ruth worked in partnership with staff and constituents to co-design a statewide fellowship for leaders of color, grow the largest network of youth development trainers, elevate base building advocacy efforts, and launch a grassroots philanthropic capacity building initiative. Ruth prides herself in fostering a strong organizational culture that leads with values, acts with integrity, and strives to be and cultivate equity-driven leaders – recognizing that we’re all part of a larger social justice movement.

Ruth joined the Thrive Paradigm team and founded Corazon Catalysts in 2020 to work in collaboration with equity-driven leaders to catalyze change through courageous and compassionate individual, organizational, and systems transformation. Prior to CalSAC, Ruth ran statewide programs and campaigns working toward higher education access and affordability, led national programs for LGBTQ+ equality, facilitated DEI training, and tackled civil liberties violations with community groups. Ruth’s academic education includes an MSW with an emphasis in advocacy and organizing from CSU Fresno and a CNP with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She is an alum of LeaderSpring's Executive Director Fellowship and CompassPoint's Fundraising Bright Spots Program, as well as a participant in capacity building programs with Rockridge Art of Leadership and the Center for Strategic Facilitation. Ruth has also served as the co-chair of the CA Department of Education Expanded Learning Division Workforce Strategy Committee, co-chair of the CA AfterSchool Network, and CA State Affiliate Leader of the National Afterschool Association. 

Ruth’s perseverance, adaptability, and humility were shaped by her rural and diverse upbringing. Ruth migrated from numerous dairy farms in California, Washington and Oregon where child care, afterschool and summer learning consisted of feeding calves, hide and seek in the fog, and playing the clarinet. From a working poor, bi-racial and multi-cultural family, Ruth experienced the inequities of class and racial discrimination, including the failure of the criminal justice and education systems. The only in her family to graduate from a university and with lighter skin, she also experienced privileges that come with access to higher education and whiteness that others in her family did not. From rural, high poverty farm working communities with limited access and opportunity to an executive career and wealth of resources in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ruth continues to straddle a kaleidoscope of truths – leveraging the rich dichotomy and complexity of all aspects of her identity to fuel her passion to empower and influence change.

Ruth's heart resides in the farmlands of Central California, her spirit in the urban hub of progress in Oakland, CA, and her home is currently in the burbs of San Antonio, TX with her wife and beloved pets. In her free time, Ruth can be found traveling the country by RV, contemplating the meaning of life, and contributing to Maven Youth, a nonprofit empowering LGBTQ+ youth through career exploration, consciousness raising, and leadership development.

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