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Human Health Initiative Executive Director

 Donna Sturgeon

Donna Sturgeon, CVEP, Executive Director, Human Health Initiative, Educator, Business Woman, Leader
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My Story


I was raised with a global perspective of people and was given parents who never let my brother and me forget how fortunate we were in comparison to our global human population. Additionally, my mother was seemingly ahead of her time when it came to nutrition, embarrassing my brother and me at the 1960’s school lunch table with our ‘brown’ bread sandwiches and homemade soups. (No Wonder Bread for us!) 


My interest in health, along with literature lead me to my two undergraduate degree majors, which I followed with a degree in Education— what else was I to do but to teach? I taught and coached high school students for almost 10 years before moving to the U.S. in 1988 to start a business. Along with learning about a new country, a new industry, and about developing and growing a new business, I then grew 2 children and found myself involved in every activity I could put my hands on that surrounded their growth, while tangentially adding to mine. When my daughter was in middle school I enrolled in the MBA Program at our local UCR Palm Desert Graduate

campus. I completed much of the coursework before the program moved to the UC Riverside campus. I have many times considered returning to complete my MBA coursework, however, given my life experiences combined with my work with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s Workforce Initiative, I now feel very qualified to take on a wide range of projects and leadership roles as I choose.


Which brings me to this day. The work that I engage in moving forward has to more than ever align with how I ‘walk my talk’ and how I can contribute and give back. I transitioned from classroom teaching to the work of helping teachers; I felt I could make a bigger impact doing that. Recent health issues of close personal loved ones have led me back to my original studies regarding the impact of nutrition on our health. The data around our chronic health issues can no longer be ignored. At a minimum, the message needs to be a compelling one, delivered earlier and to our youth, through the most accessible vehicle—the classroom.


The vision of the HHI is huge, and while other agencies and organizations have their arrows pointed in a similar direction, I see the work of the HHI as the start of a ‘boots on the ground’ movement to achieve what collectively is a pressing need that impacts us all.


I am excited to offer my skill set to help lead this effort, beginning right here in our Coachella Valley.


Please join us!

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