Board Highlight: Jeff Sakaguchi

Jeff Sakaguchi 

What is your current professional role? 

I am the lead independent director for True Blue, Inc., a publicly-traded industrial staffing and recruitment process outsourcing company.  I’m also on the boards of Eccentex, Inc. and ThinkIQ, Inc., both of which are venture-backed software companies.  

What was your first job? 

My first job was picking strawberries for 50 cents a flat. I then had a paper route for a few years. But my first paid job was at 16 working at Baskin-Robbins.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in a suburb of Seattle, though spent summers on my grandparents’ farm in Idaho Falls.  

What is a fun fact about you or secret skill you have?

I was the youngest certified professional ski instructor in the Pacific Northwest Ski Instructor’s Association.  I had just turned 16, and then taught that season at Ski Acres.  

What is your personal connection to the Red Cross? 

In addition to First Aid and CPR in Boy Scouts, and becoming a Red Cross-certified Lifeguard, I reconnected to Red Cross when I left my management consulting career and realized that despite living in LA for over 15 years (at that point), I really didn’t know anyone in LA!  A headhunter suggested joining a non-profit, and added “the Red Cross really needs some help.”  I attended a board meeting at the old Wilshire location, where I met Kirk Hyde and Jill Valenti.  The rest is history!  Though I have to add that even after 16 years on the Red Cross LA board (including three as chair, and nine years with the National Philanthropic Board, including two as chair), I continue to be amazed by what the collective power of the Red Cross – employees, volunteers, donors and other supporters can achieve. And I am thankful to be part of this incredible organization! 

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