A Conversation With Carmen Bowen

How long have you been volunteering in the community?

I have been volunteering in the community since I relocated to California in 2005.

How long have you been volunteering for The Valley Economic Alliance?

I am celebrating 2 years as a member of The Valley Economic Alliance (TVEA).

Tell us a little about yourself.

For over 18 years, I have worked in private postsecondary education in Texas and California, serving in a variety of leadership roles.  I am approaching my 13th year at Concorde Career College in North Hollywood, and I proudly serve as the Campus President. I am on the Executive Board of Directors at the Universal North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (Past President), and also on the Board of Directors and Board of Governors of TVEA. I also serve on the Board of Directors at the Edulife Foundation. I am an active member of VICA, and serve on the Ambassador, Education and Healthcare committees.

My joy in life is being a mother to Jordan, who is a Respiratory Therapist that manages a Cardio/Pulmonary department, and Lauren, a rambunctious 1st grader. My five grandchildren also make my world amazing, not to mention my mother and our 3 cats (she is the official cat lady).    

It is a pleasure to serve my staff and students, but to also do my part in the community.

What is one of your Passion Projects that you are working on?

My passion project is our college’s food pantry, in addition to MEND, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, and San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission.

In 2006, one of our senior nursing students was removed from her clinical site due to an outburst, and was sent to my office.  I asked her why at this late date in her program would she act so inappropriately at the clinical site. Her tearful response was, “I am hungry, Ms. Bowen.”  She went on to say that she and her family were just hungry and she was trying to make this last class so she could graduate. She apologized for her behavior, but her hunger and frustration made her act out.  Needless to say I was totally shocked to hear that someone in my midst was hungry.  Luckily, that very day was our annual staff pre-Thanksgiving pot luck lunch.  I immediately gathered food for her to eat, and packed up food for her family.  Then, I sent an email to the entire staff to solicit donations and begin a food pantry.  From that day forward I vowed to maintain a food pantry, and we continuously stock this pantry through food drives, Jersey days, and other attire incentives.  We should not have hungry students, and based on the daily visits to the pantry, there are lots of hungry students.   

We also contribute regularly to MEND, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, and SFV Rescue Mission to help feed others in our community.  It is my passion to do my part to feed those in need.

Why do you continue to be a member of The Valley Economic Alliance?

I joined TVEA after I had the pleasure of attending several events hosted by TVEA, and meeting the staff to learn of their commitment to the Valley.  Since joining, our college has participated in the HealthX and Honor a Hero-Hire a Vet Job Fair events hosted by TVEA.  Additionally, the networking opportunities are extremely valuable to our college.