Introducing SVEF's Newest Board Members

SVEF would like to warmly welcome Thuy Thi Nguyen, Esther Ayorinde and Cecile Galvez.

Thuy Thi Nguyen

Thuy Thi Nguyen serves as the President of Foothill College and is the first Vietnamese American college president in the country.

Prior to her arrival at Foothill, Thuy served as interim general counsel for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. As overseer of equal employment opportunity plans for 72 community college districts and 113 colleges, she led the move to an innovative funding approach.

For over eleven years, Thuy was the General Counsel for the Peralta Community College District. At different points during her tenure at Peralta, she served in additional roles as Acting Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, District-wide Strategic Planning Manager, and legislative liaison.

Thuy is the founding board chair of California L.A.W. Pathway, a non-profit organization that coordinates the unprecedented statewide 2+2+3 Community College Pathway to Law School program that Thuy initiated with the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness. She is an adjunct instructor teaching education law at CA State University, East Bay. Thuy was a board president of the Marcus Foster Education Institute, which promotes excellence and educational opportunity in East Bay and San Francisco public schools.

Awards include:

  • 2019 100 Women of Influence by Silicon Valley Business Journal 2019 Leadership in Public Service award from Assembly member Evan Low 2019 Top 15 community college presidents in the country to follow on Twitter. 2017 “Great Immigrants” tribute in the New York Times by the Carnegie Corporation’s 2017 Trailblazer Award from The National Conference for Vietnamese American Attorneys

  • 2016 Diversity Award from the State Bar of California

  • 2012 Unity Award by the Minority Bar Coalition

  • 2011 Trailblazer Award by the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern CA 2007 Best Lawyers Under 40 by the National Asian American Bar Association 2002 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 by Rainmaker Political Group

Thuy earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where she was a member of the inaugural class of the Public Interest Law and Policy Program. Thuy is a Rotarian and a Paul and Daisy Soros for New Americans Fellow.

When she was 3, Thuy and her family joined the wave of “boat people” who fled Vietnam after the end of the war. Her family first landed in Kansas, then New Orleans and finally when she was 14, the family settled in Oakland.

Esther Ayorinde

Esther Ayorinde is the Senior Director for CX Go-To-Market at Cisco.

Esther attended Santa Clara University before becoming a professional cheerleader. She is of Nigerian descent and originally from London England. She first became a member of the 49er's Gold Rush for two seasons. After a 4 year break she became a Clipper's Dancer in 2009 then again back to San Francisco for another season, completing her sideline career as a member of the New York Jets Flight Crew for two more seasons. There she was named the first black Captain. Esther previously served on the board of Women in Cable Telecommunications in New York.

Her career path following her incredible dancing career is even more impressive. In 2018 Esther became the inaugural chief of staff for Gerri Elliott, Cisco’s EVP of global sales and marketing. In 2019 she was named Cisco’s Head of Growth Strategy for Africa, where she was responsible for growth strategy for the continent, developing innovative routes to market and GTM structures. In January of 2020, Esther was promoted once again to Senior Director CX Managed Services where she led the global Business Development Organization responsible for growing Cisco’s Managed Services Business. She is now Sr. Director, Go-to-Market. It’s no surprise that with this career path, Esther was ​recently named to the 40 Under Forty Achievers list by The Network Journal.

Esther has been serving on SVEF’s Advisory Board for the past year. During this time she has held a private fundraising event with her friends and family and offered to donate wine from her private cellar to our wine event. Esther has attended Innovation Committee meetings, providing insight and advice on growing initiatives. She has also worked with Board Member Maria Martinez to secure funding, product donations, and technical support from Cisco.


Cecile Galvez

Cecile is a Bay Area Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) leader with Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice. At Deloitte, Cecile brings to clients her extensive experience in the areas of internal audit, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, enterprise risk management and regulatory compliance. She serves as the Global Lead Business Partner for one of the largest global technology companies where she leads teams of partners and staff and brings the full strength of the firm’s capabilities in serving clients.

Cecile has significant experience with executive management relationships and boardroom interactions/presentations, as well as in delivery of presentations to internal and external audiences through formal presentations, training lectures or conduct of facilitated workshops. Prior to joining Deloitte in 2004, Cecile has had more than 10 years of professional services experience at Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young’s financial audit practice.

Community Activities

Cecile has served as the Audit Committee Chair of Goodwill of Southern California from 2012 to 2014 and the Audit Committee Chair and a member of the board of the YMCA in San Diego from 2015 to 2019.

Education, Professional Affiliations & Certifications

Cecile has a Master of Management degree from the Asian Institute of Management and is a Certified Internal Auditor. She holds a B.B.A. in business administration with a major in accounting.

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