True leaders must not only focus on the positive goals alone but instead pay attention to the negative points as well. For a habitual complainer like Tonya McKenzie, that’s the best way to conjure up the best solutions possible. The founder of Sand And Shores herself, Tonya talks with Alicia Couri about her leadership philosophy focused on finding problems in everything and how to address them, as well as her challenges in becoming the first African-American woman to hold several of the posts she was in. Tonya also gives us a peek into the life within the Witness Protection Program, how her past shaped her present attitude, and why being newsworthy is vital in leading.
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Becoming The First Woman In Leadership With Tonya McKenzie
I am here with my beautiful guest, Tonya McKenzie. She is a beautiful, powerful, intelligent and amazing leader. Let me tell you a little bit about Tonya. As the Founder of Sand And Shores, Tonya McKenzie brings many years of experience in public relations, leadership, marketing, and client relations. Her nonprofit experience includes being an Associate Executive Director raising over $1 million to open a new YMCA in Northern California, serving as the first black-elected Director for the Oakley Chamber of Commerce, being appointed to the Youth Council for Contra Costa County by Supervisor Federal Glover. The first African-American woman to be elected to the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the first African-American to be elected as President of the North Redondo Beach Business Association.
Tonya chartered a graduate chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in Northern California, holds a seat on the Redondo Beach Police Department Engagement Board, Vice President of Black Public Relations Society LA, and the City of Redondo Beach GPAC. Tonya was elected to the city’s Emergency Crisis Council as a result of the COVID pandemic. This alumnus of California State University, Northridge has four amazing children including a set of twins, and has been married for many years. You can find Ms. McKenzie highlighted in the book, Amazing Moms: Parents of the 21st Century and in her first memoir, A Child’s Memories of Cartoons & Murder. Welcome to the show. I’m excited to have you with us because there’s so much to unpack in all of that.
Thank you for having me. I am thrilled to be here. I love having this conversation. I love your show and everything that you’re doing.
You’re welcome. I met Tonya in this mastermind group about media. When I heard her story, I was gobsmacked. I was like, “I have to have this for the conversation with you.” First, I want to ask you because you’ve held several positions there in the Redondo Beach area. What is your philosophy on leadership?
It’s all about results and getting it done. It’s also about people acknowledging your audacity. It’s not just you having it. It’s other people knowing that you have it. I picked that up as a kid, even growing up, and the same friends I have would be like, “Have Tonya do it. She’ll do it. Have Tonya say it. She’ll say it.” I’ve always wondered like, “Why are you all always putting me up to something?” At the end of the day, you have to have some appreciation for people being able to see something in you that maybe you don’t even see in yourself. Those come from your actions, even though we don’t always acknowledge what we’re doing or the greatness of what we’re doing as women, in particular.
If people do that, you can’t help at some point to sit back and exhale on that moment where you acknowledge, “Someone’s always asking me to do something because I get results. They trust with the task because they can see that with me in the front, it will get done.” It happened over time, but it comes from being able to see what other people see in you and stop fighting it so much. As women, sometimes we also don’t always take our flowers while we’re here. We don’t know what to do with them. We’re like, “I was doing what I do.” When others come to say, “Step back and see all that you have done,” you get an appreciation for it when others acknowledge it.
That’s true. We do have a habit of saying, “It was nothing,” but it was something.
Something that others can acknowledge that would have been difficult for me to do, in addition to everything else we probably do during the day.
Especially with four children and a set of twins. I can’t even imagine that. It’s amazing. It is not on your bio, but I know that you are a survivor of gun violence.
Gun violence and sexual assault, twice. I call it all-out generational dysfunction because when I look back on it, it’s been going on for a while. These types of behaviors and excuses for behaviors that take place in the black family.Complaining about something is usually the first step in discovering how to solve it. Click To Tweet
How has that being a survivor helped you in your role in business and all these other leadership positions that you’re taking?
In my college years, that’s when I recognized and took a step back to take inventory of all that I had accomplished since I was eighteen. I have over 21 addresses by the time I graduated and went off to college. Until my marriage, my college dorm address was the most consistent thing in my life. That lets you know that consistency and stability can give you a little clarity. Sometimes when you’re all over the place, take a moment to be still. When I had that time, that isolation, and that dedicated space that was mine, I was able to look back at what I had gone through and gotten to the other side of. Those are the things I reflect back on in leadership and business because, at the end of the day, when you’re talking business, the worst someone can do is tell you no. If you’ve survived A, B, C and D, you’re going to be all right.
A lot of times, a no is not now. A lot of times, it’s because you don’t understand the question.
I’m going to be transparent. I live a mainstream life. I’ve worked in various occupations with various types of people. Once I wrote my book, I realized that few people in my life knew what I had gone through. The book was an opportunity for others to see what I had gone through. In business, that also lets me know that I know how to code-switch well. Being able to acknowledge that you have the ability to chameleon your way through and figure out how to make things work lets you know no is just for now. When you have relationships with people that now can come in at any time. That yes in the next now, it could come at any time when you have relationships with people because they get to know, like, and trust you.
Did you have challenges building business relationships?
Absolutely, especially here in Redondo Beach and in the Bay Area when we moved to Oakland, California because there isn’t a large population of faces that look like mine. What I did realize here, my first time stepping into the community and business side of Redondo was when I started Real Estate Agent Magazine. I started to try to acclimate into that, the real estate business, community, mortgage brokers, and things of that nature. There was a lot of pushback. I took that almost instinctively like, “They don’t like black people,” but getting to know this community, it’s more of fickleness like, “We need to see what she’s bringing to the table. We need to see if she’s here for the finances or to be a part of this community.”
They were community-driven and familiar face driven. That lets me know, “You need to start putting in the work.” This isn’t a grab and go and they’re not quick to write checks. They need to get to know you and know that if they needed you, that you’d be around or where to find you. After about a year or so penetrating the community, it opened up. It was like, “How are you doing?” It’s the same as getting to know people. We have to start, for those of us that have a difficult time with that understanding that relationships make the world go round.
I heard from a corporate panel, there was Coca-Cola on the panel, and they were talking about diverse suppliers. AT&T, Accenture, Lumen, and a lot of these Fortune 100 and below companies, they were talking about that. When people approach them, “I’m a person. Don’t come at me with what you want. Let’s build a relationship and build a rapport. Even though I hold this position in this company that can give you an opportunity, I’m not a hand.” It’s not come with your hand out like, “You’re here for the money. What can you do for me? What can I get from you?” I believe as entrepreneurs and business owners, we have to step into that relationship role more especially if we’re dealing with other corporate or getting involved in the community, in the Chamber of Commerce, and all those things making those relationships. That is part of leadership as well.
Yes, but you have to be honest and be authentic to do that.
It’s the know, like, and trust factor, as you said. You have to allow people to get to know you, like you, and trust you and you have to be authentic in order for people to start trusting you with that. That’s what led you to get on the boards of a lot of these organizations, like the YMCA. You raised a lot of money for the YMCA, on the Board of Directors on the Chamber of Commerce, and everything so that you can build those relationships.
That’s not how it started. The way it started was acknowledging. I am a habitual complainer. I will find something wrong with anything. I don’t know if this is as a black woman or as a mother, but I will also dig in to get it done and get it fixed.
You are not a complainer that complains. You are like, “This is not happening. Let’s see how we can make it work.”
Also, “Do you need help with that? I can direct that ship.” It is a matter of understanding that pointing out a problem is not an issue especially if you are willing to dig in and help get it done. In the community in which I live, I take a step back and look around to see what’s going on, what I’m missing, what could be better. Especially when you have youth or kids, you want things to be better for them than they were for you. Not just in your family life, but in the communities that they live in. Being a habitual complainer, we all have those around us whether they’re in the companies we work with. We all have friends that are habitual complainers. They complain about where we are going out to eat, complain about where we go. Are you going to suggest something different? Are you going to offer to drive there because it’s a little further than where we talk about?
It’s with a purpose. You see a need and you fill a need. You see something going off the rails and it’s like, “I need to step in and see how we can make this work.”
Also, you brought up about business when you said the things that I went through helped me in business, but they also helped me in leadership roles. For me to have survived many of those things, I had to have people around me that helped and elevated. Looking back on my story, I always call them angels on earth because they were being human, not even knowing what I had been through. People are like, “How are you doing?” My mom, for whatever reason, couldn’t get me to practice. My coach made sure that I always not only got picked up and dropped off but had something to eat in between. Those are things that good people do not even know how much it may have changed someone’s life. All it comes down to is wanting to be in a world that’s better than we have it, whatever that looks like, and being able to be a contributor to that is a blessing. It’s almost confusing to me when people don’t. It was all about you and what you do and there’s no one else on the planet. I never understood that. Maybe it has to do a lot with my past, but at the same time, I wish more people were like that. Not saying, I wish people have to go through trauma.
To see the world in a larger way, we all need each other. We all need to help each other to get to where we all want to go and always striving ahead to get better at it.
What’s better, prettier, and greener? What air can be better? How can I contribute to that? Even if it’s going to clean up our neighborhood, the school, or the park. What are you guys doing? Do you have a couple of minutes or hours to contribute? It never seemed like an issue. It was like, “I know this needs to be done. Let’s do it.”
Did you find a lot of resistance because you were a lot of the firsts? You are the first African-American woman to hold some of these roles that you’ve held. Was it a battle to get there or because you built those relationships, people saw beyond your gender, your color, and all of those things?
I would say both. There’s always going to be those that assume whatever they assume about you based on your skin color. When I was up North in the Bay Area in Oakley, there were people in that town that said, “You need to go back to where you came from.” I came outside from work one night and there was a crowbar in my window and the police wouldn’t even come to get it out. I had to threaten to call the news if they didn’t come to help me because it was late at night, where they do that at. If you’re persistent and if you’re fearless enough to be determined enough to get to the end goal no matter what that is, and you’re doing it from an authentic place, eventually they see that. I left that town with some close relationships that I would not have had, had I not fought through. Not just fight through, but then deliver and putting a position to get something done. It got done.
It was proof in the pudding.Don't be afraid of the problem because you're scared of the work to fix it. Click To Tweet
When we talk about leadership, I always go back to, are you results-driven? If you can’t get the results, do you at least have the effort? You’ve got to have one or the other, mostly both, but you show people that, “I’m about it. Even if I didn’t get bare, I tried and I worked hard and this is where we are. I’m still here to help.”
This could be about you or even a client that you have been coaching through leadership because you do leadership training as well. Was there any ever a time that was like, “What am I doing here? I made a big old boo-boo. How do I overcome this?” Was there ever any of those moments in your life where you were wondering, “What was I thinking?”
There were a couple, but I would say having high expectations for other people because, at the end of the day, you can only be responsible for yourself. Even though I do publicity, I hired a publicist to help me with my book. I expected something from this person and I would not have to do it myself. I got comfortable here in Redondo and wound up getting blindsided by people that still don’t like this space because of the color of my skin. I had to get back on alert like, “Now I have to continue to stomp forward because they caught me slipping. I relaxed a little bit.” The hard part is that we don’t have that luxury us. We’re still fighting for equal rights.
We are rolling on two fronts, the color of our skin and the fact that we are women.
That is one of those things I had to push forward. I had to push back on and I tried not to live in a situation where I’m always defending who I am and what I’ve done. I had here in this city some gentlemen that were not too excited about me being here. They were not too excited about this black woman that has only been here for a few years and they’ve been here for many years and haven’t been able to do what I’ve done.
That’s the key right there. They haven’t been able to do what you have done.
I had to jump back into, “Let me go on and show you my credentials,” mode. I have to let them know, but I don’t think it should have to be that way because you shouldn’t assume. “You know who I am based on the color of my skin, and because I wear a bra, we have to be clear about this. You are not superior based on your skin color or your gender.” I forgot that there are still people out there because I got comfortable being around good people that work hard. I forgot about the nemesis. Back on offense, I am always putting it out there and having to qualify myself. I don’t want to have to do that, but we’re back to that again, training people on how to behave.
The publicist did not work out.
I handled it. You have to not be comfortable when things aren’t going on the right track. You have to be comfortable saying, “This is what I see. Can we pick it up here? This should not be going this way. Let’s retool this. The way this is moving is not working.” It is reminding us that it’s okay with grace to correct course.
Tell me about Sand And Shores. You said you’re in the PR world yourself. How did you start up your company and get to where you are now?
With all of my marketing background and PR work, I came out here to Southern California years ago. I re-came back. I went to Northridge, went to the Bay Area, and came back. I was with Southland Publishing. They are on the Westside of LA. It was a great experience. I did some writing, a lot of advertising work, and some great creative work with the businesses out there. They weren’t using technology the way that Silicon Beach should be using technology. I had the opportunity to start my own magazine. I started Real Estate Agent Magazine out in Redondo Beach, Hermosa, Manhattan Beach area. It was an amazing opportunity. That’s when I started to get to know this community. I formed my LLC and decided, “This is what I’m going to do.”
My advertising clients needed more than advertising and most people do. They don’t recognize how public relations plays a part in their business growth. If it’s DIY, even if it’s you learning how to tell your story, even if it’s you figuring out who your target market is, all of those things are hugely important. What I recognized is that many of these entrepreneurs, real estate agents, service-based businesses didn’t know how to tell their story. They didn’t know how to get it out there. There were some basic principles of business that they didn’t recognize like, “I did this one ad.” “Okay, but it takes seven times.” Being able to educate people on it takes seven times for somebody to see your name.
It takes seven times for them to hear your message before they take action. Even being able to teach that, for me, was important. Sand And Shores is here to help small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, law enforcement, community organizations, and civic organizations tell their stories. Most of the time it’s to a community that they serve, but they still don’t always understand how to tell the people that they serve how they are servicing them.
They should know.
People get confused. They think, “This is where I am. This is what I do and people know that.”
They wouldn’t even put it out on their Facebook Page. It’s like, “That’s my personal page. I’m not going to tell people what I do over there.”
You don’t want them to know, like, and trust you. Being able to do that and help businesses with media outreach. How do you do that? How do you get in newspapers? I did it so long based on the fact that I was working for nonprofits. They don’t have a marketing budget most of the time. They have to learn how to be creative and get coverage and build brand awareness without spending a lot of money. For those organizations that don’t have a lot to spend, I helped them do that. It has been a pleasure to do that. I’ve had some great interns. I continued to do the leadership work. My philosophy for the work that I do is leadership is newsworthy. People think it’s glitz and glamor and 24 hours to fame. It is real authentic long-term newsworthy people have great leadership skills. If they acknowledge that and they can see that pattern, then it makes sense to learn how to step into your leadership. It makes sense to lean into your strengths to show how you set yourself apart.
That’s leadership. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know anybody that’s newsworthy that hasn’t set themselves apart in their genre or their lane. If you look at it like that and those people that are looking for news coverage, let’s talk about how you can express your thought leadership, how do you set yourself apart, and focusing on those things makes it easier to get the news coverage or the media coverage that they’re looking for.
I love that, leadership is newsworthy. How did you set your sights on working with the police and law enforcement? Was that something that was in your background or you saw a need like, “They need help?”
There are a couple of things. Based on my experience with law enforcement, having to be involved in law enforcement at such a young age. I was spending time in a Federal Witness Protection Program and going through that legal process along with other legal processes throughout my upbringing. I was involved in over 100 police calls or incidents by the time I was eighteen, none of my own doing. At this moment, it’s hard to say this. I never witnessed any police brutality, even though there were moments I wish there had been. Understanding and trying to understand how we get to a place that we are now, where everything seems to be mismanagement of justice. I’m a habitual complainer. If I don’t like what I see, I want to understand it and I want to get involved because that’s the only way that I’ll be able to explain it to my kids or make it make sense to me. I want to upfront up-close conversation and view. Most of my work is done for people that need to elevate their voices.To successfully identify the problem, carving it out of the way would be way easier. Click To Tweet
Sometimes I do think there are situations where the voice needs to be elevated. We’ve left some voices out of certain things. With all of the things that had been going on, I had a panel for all African-American police officers because that’s a voice that was not elevated. Having an understanding of where these conversations go left, particularly in community-based, service-based organizations, it made me want to dig in and get underneath how I could feel good in protection. I had to call the police as a kid. I have a story in the book about hiding under the bed with the phone call. I had grown up feeling safe and that’s who I need to call. I’m in my 40s now and sometimes I’m like, “Do I want to risk it?” because this could go left and I don’t know how it’s going in. I don’t want it to be my fault.
That is a sad situation when you have to think twice about calling the police for help because that is the one place that when we grew up, knowing you need help you call the police.
Not just that. I even talked to the officers that I work with. I say, “Think about it when you were a kid and all the kids want it to be firemen, police, and doctors. By the time they’re in high school, they don’t even want to see you all. What happened?” We need to talk about that period of time where that starts to split off. If we can identify the problem, let’s go in and see if we can surgically carve out this fungus that seems deteriorating that something as a kid, we held dear.
That’s who we trust. Trust the police and Jesus.
Trying to understand that dynamic was important for me. I am the type of person now, especially recognizing what I have been through, I used to be scared of snakes. I went and got a snake and I raised it from a baby up. I decided, when there’s a problem, I’m about to find out why there is a problem. Where did that come from? Where did that originate?
You tackle it head-on. You don’t skirt around and look at it sideways. You are like, “I’ve got four kids. I don’t have time for that.” I’m curious about the Witness Protection Program because you were in it. I always want to know how that worked. Is it for a period of time until you testify? Do you have to go away for a longer period?
For us, if you don’t mind me being transparent, after my mother had been shot and taken away by the ambulance, I did not see her for a while. I didn’t even know she was still alive.
How old were you at that time if you don’t mind me asking?
I was five. They sent me back to school or went to school the next day. I was at my grandmother’s house because we had been living at my grandmother’s house back and forth. I went to school. She took me to school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and that went on for a while. I was at school one day and there were some men that came in suits and they took me in and said, “We need to take you somewhere.” I went and got on a plane. They took me to San Jose Airport and loaded me right on the plane. I got to sit next to my mom. I don’t even know how long it was that I hadn’t seen her. We flew off that night. That was the first time I had ever a night flight and I got to see all the lights when they light up the runway. I thought that was cool. We were in a hotel for months.
I remember we would go to dinner and the men in the suits were there with us, but it was the weirdest thing. We stayed there for quite a while. The way that I understand it when I started researching for the book is that we do stay there until the trial is over. In that case, there were others that they were either looking for and wasn’t sure if he had other accomplices on the outside. I think we stayed there a lot longer to make sure. We stayed and we got dropped off one day back in San Jose in my grandmother’s house.
Do you get any compensation for the lost time or anything?
Now, there is money for that. There’s funding for that. Victim Services helped me out a lot. Once I got older and started recognizing, I talked to my mom about it and what had gone on. I then registered with Victim Services because I was concerned about him getting out. That was always my question. Some things happened while he was still in, but I was a witness. I always wondered why I was still there. He left me as a witness. Knowing when he was getting out, that started to bother me. That was in college. I spent my college years writing letters to keep him in. They would contact me when it was time for him to go up for parole to see if he’s going to get out. I would have to write a letter or do a video and send it to the courts.
I spent my college years trying to keep him in prison. I was supposed to register for Victim Services before COVID happened. I was supposed to go to LA County promoting the use of Victim Services and I’m a test case. They were great. They were always there. They always kept me up to date about what’s going on. That’s one of those things that I speak on all the time. One of the reasons I love being involved with law enforcement is because it gives me the opportunity to let people know. It might be a little scary to testify, to tell, or to report that domestic violence, but it’s not like it used to be. It’s even better. I started many years ago using Victim Services and they’ve improved. Now, you can apply to get compensated for that. Sometimes, the perpetrators have to pay. There’s much more than there was before, even with domestic violence departments at stations. Some of them now have emotional support that they bring for the kids. When I was growing up, they didn’t have that.
You went back to school the next day.
There’s been a lot of domestic violence in our family. I spent a lot of time watching that happen. The police would come out, they asked the adults what they want to do, and then they leave. They never asked the kids anything like, “Are you all right? How are you doing? Did somebody hurt you?” Now, they bring out the care dogs and the care unit. We’re working on bringing out counselors, but those are things that they didn’t do before. Even watching up close and personal, the evolution of law enforcement and how it helps.
I’m thankful for you sharing that piece of your life and how that worked because I had always wondered about it myself. To hear that there is that evolution and that they are seeing the family unit more and how do we take care of the family in this situation. Not just listening to the adults, but let’s see what’s happening. There’s something that fractures with kids as they get older and they no longer trust the police or they no longer want to be a police, like what is happening in there? That might also be part of it is that they would see police come and then leave and never interact with them, feeling like, “I’m a part of this too. Why didn’t you help me? You helped them. You didn’t help me.” You have four wonderful children. I’m sure they are amazing because you are an amazing person. You must be an amazing mom. What messages do you give them about leadership and their own confidence, like stepping into who they are and being confident with that?
One is you don’t quit. Any commitment you make, you push through it. If you don’t know how to do it, you figure it out or you ask someone.
Especially with men and boys. It’s okay to be vulnerable and say, “I don’t know.”
How many boys do you have?
Three. You noticed what it was like. The girl, she’s the baby twin. She came two hours later.When talking business, the worst someone can do is tell you no. Click To Tweet
That was a whole lot of labor. That was labor and then more labor.
They came in two different ways.
One was natural and one was C. That’s why it was the last. It’s like, “This is not happening ever again.”
I was like, “I will sue somebody. You better fix it.”
You are an amazing woman. Don’t be afraid to ask for help before we get off the rails. If you made a commitment, stick to your commitments, and ask for help, is there anything else?
Trust us. We got your back. Particularly, for me, that’s important to know. My aunt was with me one day and she said, “You are responsive to them.” I was like, “As opposed to ignoring them? What am I supposed to do?” I treat them the same way that I want to be treated. I’m going to respond. I’m not going to ignore you. If you ignore me, we’re going to have a problem.
It amazes me because it’s a different generation. They didn’t have the technology that we have now either to be in communication. You would leave home somewhere around 10:00 in the morning. If it’s not school or if it is summertime and you won’t come back until the street lights come on. They had no idea where you were all day and they didn’t care because it was a safer community to be in and play. You play with other kids and that stuff. It’s a different time and season that we’re living in. They always try to put their upbringing and the things that they know about upbringing into this time and space and it is not the same. It doesn’t translate at all. I am responsive to my children. You need to be responsive to them because they don’t reach out to you for frivolous things. When you raise them in a particular way, they don’t say, “Do you like the color of my shirt?”
Mine is not asking me that.
They’re asking things that matter. I appreciate that. Those are great. Is there anything that I needed to ask you about leadership or confidence that you’d like to share that I didn’t ask you?
My biggest piece of guidance for anybody in regard to leadership is to be honest. Be honest about your experience, your abilities, and about what the problem is. Don’t be afraid of the problem because you’re scared of the work to fix it. It’s important that we are honest. If you can’t do it, if you don’t think you have enough time to do it, if you feel like you can help with it, being honest sets you apart these days because there’s much fear about what people might think and laziness. Being honest is going to take you a lot further than trying to be who people think you should be.
Thank you for saying that because the other part of that too is there’s an opportunity to help where you are may not be able to do certain things. There’s an opportunity to find the resource to help you instead of you floundering and trying to do something and frustrating yourself. It takes longer than necessary instead of stepping out and saying, “I need some help with this.” We can’t go backward because if you mess something up, you are going to start all over again. We are all human. Don’t negate our humanity in dealing with something. We’re not robots. You don’t program us and go. That’s what I appreciate with this season of leadership. There is a transition happening where people are not afraid to be vulnerable, to ask for help, to embrace the team, and not feel like, “I’m the leader. I should know this,” but there may be someone on the team that knows more because that’s their specialty.
Also, the ability to show vulnerability and open yourself to more knowledge because when you know everything or you’re afraid to say you’re never going to learn that new thing.
For us too, the teammates, because now they know that you’re open enough to trust them to come to help with the situation.
That’s my biggest takeaway in regards to leadership is learning how to be honest and communicate what you need to complete the project, to be okay, to move it forward, or raise the money, you’ve got to be honest.
Thank you for spending some time with me on the show because you are someone who embodies audaciousness and you’re not afraid to tackle things head-on, which I love. I knew after hearing you speak that I wanted to share this platform and moment with you. My hope and desire is that the audience enjoyed this as much as I did. They got as much take away from it as I did. Let me know if ever you want to do it again. I’m open. Thank you.
I might need to borrow you though because you are audacious yourself lady in red.
Thank you. I do try, anytime. Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to be bold, be brave, step out, and lead with audacious confidence. Until next time.
- Sand And Shores
- Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce
- North Redondo Beach Business Association
- Amazing Moms: Parents of the 21st Century
- A Child’s Memories of Cartoons & Murder
- Southland Publishing – LinkedIn
About Tonya McKenzie
Tonya McKenzie is a child advocate and staunch supporter of children’s’ rights. She co-authored the F.I.T. Kids Manual utilized by the Pittsburg School District (California), established several unique youth wellness programs and served on the Youth Council for Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover http://federalglover.com/.
She has also facilitated events for Contra Costa County’s Mary Piepho, http://marypiepho.com/, moderated political discussions for Past Oakley, CA Mayor, Brad Nix. She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Currently, Tonya serves as the President of the North Redondo Beach Business Association, is the first African American woman elected to the Board of Directors of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, holds a seat on the Redondo Beach Police Department Community Engagement Board, and The City of Redondo Beach GPAC.
Tonya McKenzie is available for speaking engagements, workshop moderation, training, and event hosting opportunities.