During our Oct. 27 meeting, Anna Mai, a 2013 graduate of Galileo High School and recipient of a college scholarship from our club, charmed members with her humility and effervescent enthusiasm. 

The daughter of immigrants, Anna grew up in Chinatown and because her family was poor, she got her first job while in middle school. She described herself as insecure and shy while attending Galileo. After working hard and graduating from UC Berkeley, she first worked as a consultant but didn’t find the job personally rewarding. She then got a job in San Diego with Tokuyama, a Japanese manufacturer of high quality dental equipment. 

Anna convinced her supervisors that it’s good for a company to give back, and through her determined persistence, Tokuyama instituted a social responsibility program that has donated more than $500,000 in supplies to free dental clinics serving impoverished patients.

Anna says that she has learned, “You cannot change the world alone.” With the help of Tresa Eyres, a former member of our club who Anna describes as her mentor, Anna started Books for Prosperity, a nonprofit that empowers and educates underserved children in Mexico. The program has expanded to teach English to children in orphanages.

With a passionate interest to protect the environment, Anna’s goal is to become an entrepreneur and start a company that produces biodegradable every-day consumer products, such as bamboo toilet paper.  Having learned of Anna’s accomplishments and witnessing her infectious drive, several club members offered help, and we invited Anna to stay in touch.