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Career & Workplace

Exceptional Women Leaders in Government



EASTVALE, CA–The City of Eastvale would like to highlight women contributing to the organization’s goal of exceeding Eastvale’s expectations every day. The City of Eastvale’s first Management Team, which was created in July 2018 to provide growth, service, and development opportunities consists of over 60 percent women (seven women and four men). In addition, our contract City Attorney, Erica Vega, is also a leader from Burke Williams & Sorrensen.

While we have many exceptional leaders at all levels of our organization at the City of Eastvale,we want to take this opportunity to highlight three leaders specifically. Their stories and successes will hopefully provide inspiration to others to also believe in yourself, dream big, and work hard to spread your wings and soar.

Angelica Zepeda, who started as a volunteer Office Assistant with the City in July 2011has carried various titles in different divisions such as Account Clerk, Senior Account Clerk, Management Analyst and through her hard work was promoted to our Talent & Special Project Manager, where she currently oversees the Talent Attraction and Development Team (rebranded from Human Resources and Risk Management). Angelica has led large scale successful initiatives, all contributing to the goals in the Strategic Plan. She has successfully enhanced professional and organizational   development   efforts   to   include launching the first Employee Recognition Committee (ERC) in 2017 designed to enhance employe engagement and moral, elevating Eastvale’s workplace culture. It is comprised of City team members, who have rotating volunteer assignments that focus on investing in employee recognition and team building. The ERC continues to thrive today serving our teammates so that they in turn can serve our residents and businesses to the best of their ability.

“One of her greatest strengths is Angelica’s ability to connect with people and seek to understand to help them move in the direction of their full potential,” said City Manager, Bryan Jones. “Her primary focus on attracting and developing people have helped create an amazing people-centric workplace that has helped address historical attrition rates to an all-time low and receiving incoming applications for hiring talent is at an all-time high. She has done all this while being an incredible mother to two very active, well mannered, scholar-athlete boys.”

Olivia Applegate, who started as a Communication Specialist with the City in November 2017 was quickly recognized for her talent in community and organization engagement and promoted to Public Information Officer/Communications Manager in July 2018. Olivia has led large scale successful initiatives related to the Strategic Plan such as but not limited to the first Community Satisfaction Study, Website Redesign Project, our most recent State of the City two-day event, Financial Priorities and Public Safety Community Workshops, and others. Olivia has significantly increased communication and engagement for the City of Eastvale. While working full time and countless hours to Exceed Eastvale’s Expectations, she also completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in April of 2019 from Grand Canyon University with Magna Cum Laude and most recently received a Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement through Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership through Pepperdine University. One of her greatest strengths is her ability to strategically engage and communicate to bring people together. Her leadership, innovation, and creativity have contributed to elevating our communications and engagement practices.

“Olivia’s leadership and forward thinking have elevated the City of Eastvale’s communication and engagement efforts to be one of the most active in the region; setting a new standard of excellence,” said City Manager, Bryan Jones. “Olivia was also recognized as one of our Top Performers in 2018 because of her grit, passion, and perseverance, as well as, her ability to always focus on serving the community first.”

Gina Gibson-Williams, our first Community Development Director and first women in a Director level position, joined the team in March 2019 with over 27 years of hands on, local government planning leadership experience. She is overseeing the Public Works/Engineering, Planning, Building and Safety, and Community Enhance & Safety Team which provides code enforcement, Neighborhood Watch Program support, CERT, and Emergency Management roles. She is an expert in all facets of residential, commercial and industrial private land entitlement and development and capital projects. She has been instrumental in facilitating and permitting Tailgate Fest, one of the Nationals Top Musical Festivals coming to Eastvale on August 17 & 18, which is putting Eastvale on the map with Country Music. She also streamlined the permitting of the first hotel in Eastvale, a 4.5-starStaybridge Suites with rooftop bar, conference & event center and vegan food option hotel, and the first steakhouse/fine dining restaurant Tony’s Chop House by the Meat Cellar. Both are key strategic focus areas for economic development and creating new revenue opportunities for our City to thrive.

“I love that she always brings a can-do attitude and her leadership motto is ‘service, solutions, success’, as Eastvale utilizes a lot of alliterations in our leadership and service capacity building approaches,” said City Manager, Bryan Jones. “Gina is a mother of three children and has shared how her daughter was raised at hundreds of Planning Commission Meetings and can probably do a Conditional Use Permit or at least present it to the Commission. What her daughter had the opportunity to see is her mother in action; a true public servant leader.”

Eastvale is focused on utilizing a three-prong approach of Exceptional Performance, Talented People, and Effective Process. We know that by investing, influencing, and inspiring our talented people to move in the direction of their potential with a people-centric workplace culture, that the byproduct is 2-3 times more productive teammates serving our community than just those who are merely satisfied. So, it is by focusing on the people and performance, not just the results, that creates a thriving workplace, incredible customer service, and an exceptional community.

“It’s inspiring to see a government’s culture thriving because of the amazing contributions of great women leaders,” said District 2, Riverside County Board of Supervisor, Karen Spiegel. “The City of Eastvale has done an excellent job of seeing the talent and strength that women can bring to local government, promoting, hiring and developing them into management positions, all which help provide opportunities to break barriers and glass ceilings.”

The City Council approved a 5% Cost of Living Adjustment in January 2019 for all City employees since it had been several years since an adjustment was recommended or made which was attributing to attrition. Over the last 18 months, Angelica Zepeda and Olivia Applegate, meritoriously earned well deserved salary increases to be more competitive in the region for their roles and help retain valuable talent to serve our community. The City of Eastvale historically has lagged behind with competitive salaries with class and comp studies (last one conducted in 2016 and approved 2017) and will be updating those studies this fall.

“As Mayor and a father, I am proud to have extraordinary role models for our children at the City of Eastvale,” said Mayor, Todd Rigby. “Many of these outstanding leaders are women who mare innovative, determined, and dedicated to the success of Eastvale and are passionate about the people they serve. We are honored to have a very hard working and notable team who are majority women, coming from all walks of life.”

The City of Eastvale will be implementing a Women’s Leadership Program, “A Women Like Me” to continue to invest in building the leadership capacity within our organization and lifting each other up and influencing one another to achieve their full potential. If you would like to support building leadership capacity among other women, we invite you to connect with us so we can learn from you and your story.

“Women are leading our communities and improving community life in our cities,” said President of Women Leading Government and City of Rancho Cucamonga Deputy City Manager Lori Sassoon. “We are excited to see that the City of Eastvale is passionate about valuing and appreciating its women leaders.”

Over the past year, since July 1, 2018 we have made a number of new hires and promotions, through our Talent Attraction and Development Team, including many women that are making great contributions towards our ability to Exceed Eastvale’s Expectations Every Day. Currently, over 60 percent of our workplace is made up of women.

“Women as decision-makers should be viewed as the norm rather than the exception,” said Council Member, Jocelyn Yow. “It is important to empower and embolden girls and women, whether it is a seat at the table, or a glass ceiling broken—and together we can create a more cohesive society and enhance the fabric of our community. It is an honor to have a platform that demonstrates that when women are included and seen in this narrative, our communities are better for it.”

The City of Eastvale is committed to recognizing and valuing the leadership at all levels of the organization and making sure that our culture reflects our diverse community that we serve.


About the City of Eastvale

The City of Eastvale was founded on October 1, 2010 as an independent local government agency, governed by a five-member, elected City Council.  The City of Eastvale serves over 73,700 residents and encompasses 13.1 square-miles in western Riverside County.  The City is strategically poised between Interstate 15 and California State Routes 91, 60, and 71, making access easy for residents, visitors and businesses alike.  Eastvale is a young and dynamic community filled with economic opportunity, tremendous growth, and strong values.  For more information on the City of Eastvale, please visit:

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Career & Workplace

California Continues to Struggle with Labor Supply as Employment Expands Modestly



State’s Unemployment Rate Remains Highest In Nation

California’s labor market expanded modestly in April, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 5,200 positions over the month, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. March’s gains were revised down to 18,200 in the latest numbers, a 10,100 decline from the preliminary estimate of 28,300.

As of April 2024, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 314,300 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment has grown 1.8% over this time compared to a 3.9% increase in the United States overall. California increased payrolls by 1.2% from April 2023 to April 2024, trailing the 1.8% increase nationally over the same period.

The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.3% in April 2024, unchanged from the previous month. California’s unemployment rate is the highest in the nation and remains elevated relative to the 3.9% rate in the United States as a whole. The state continues to struggle with its labor supply, which remained essentially unchanged in April (declining by a negligible 100). Since February 2020, California’s labor force has fallen by -246,200 workers, a -1.3% decline. In comparison, over the past twelve months the nation’s labor force has increased by 0.8%. 

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed in April. Health Care led the way with payrolls expanding by 10,100, an increase of 0.4% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Health Care payrolls are now 13.6% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (3,700 or 0.4%), Leisure and Hospitality (3,100 or 0.2%), Government (2,600 or 0.1%), Education (1,800 or 0.4%), Retail Trade (1,000 or 0.1%), and Wholesale Trade (400 or 0.1%).
  • Payrolls decreased a handful of sectors in April. Construction experienced the largest declines, with payrolls falling by -6,000, a contraction of -0.6% on a month-over-month basis. Note that this decline was largely due to late season storms affecting construction projects across the state.
  • Other sectors posting significant declines during the month were Manufacturing (-5,300 or -0.4%), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-3,600 or -0.3%), Real Estate (-700 or -0.2%), Finance and Insurance (-700 or -0.1%), Administrative Support (-600 or -0.1%), and Information (-600 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 5,700 (0.2%) during the month. The Inland Empire (2,600 or 0.2%) and San Diego (1,200 or 0.1%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. However, payrolls fell in Orange County (-2,700 or -0.2%), Ventura (-500 or -0.2%), and El Centro (-2,200 or -0.3%). Over the past year, El Centro (1.9%) has had the fastest job growth in the region, followed by the Inland Empire (1.5%), Ventura (1.4%), Orange County (1.1%), San Diego (0.8%), and Los Angeles (MD) (0.6%).
  • In the Bay Area, the East Bay experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,600 (0.2%) positions in April. San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%) and Napa (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. However, San Francisco (MD) (-1,700 or -0.1%), Santa Rosa (-600 or -0.3%), and Vallejo (-600 or -0.2%) experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past 12 months, Vallejo (3.0%) enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Santa Rosa (2.3%), Napa (2.2%), San Rafael (MD) (1.6%), the East Bay (0.9%), San Jose (0.2%), and San Francisco (MD) (-0.8%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 900 (0.1%) positions in April. Payrolls in Yuba (400 or 0.8%), Bakersfield (300 or 0.1%), Fresno (300 or 0.1%), and Visalia (100 or 0.1%) increased as well. However, payrolls fell in Stockton (-500 or -0.2%), Modesto (-200 or -0.1%), Merced (-200 or -0.3%), Redding (-100 or -0.1%), and Hanford (-100 or -0.2%). Over the past year, Madera (5.7%) had the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (4.2%), Merced (3.7%), Modesto (3.6%), Sacramento (2.5%), Hanford (2.4%), Redding (2.3%), Fresno (2.2%), Visalia (2.1%), Stockton (2.0%), Chico (1.5%), and Bakersfield (1.1%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (200 or 0.1%) and Santa Cruz (200 or 0.2%) added the largest number of jobs during the month. Santa Barbara (-100 or -0.1%) saw payrolls decline. From April 2023 to April 2024, Salinas (1.9%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Cruz (1.6%), Santa Barbara (0.8%), and San Luis Obispo (0.5%).
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Career & Workplace

Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO) Announces 2024 Priorities



Strategic Vision: Prioritizing Sustainable Growth and Enhanced Opportunities in the Inland Region

The Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO), a collaborative organization dedicated to fostering economic growth, has announced its 2024 strategic priorities designed to create a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable economy for Southern California’s Inland Empire. Among its immediate priorities include its role in Governor Newsom’s California Jobs First regional jobs strategy.

“As one of the California Jobs First statewide collaboratives, IEGO is committed to engaging a wide ranging and diverse group of stakeholders in our economic development focus so that we can improve the quality of life for all residents across the region,” said IEGO Executive Director Matthew Mena.

IEGO’s strategy is critical. While Inland Southern California remains one of California’s top job growth markets, it also ranks as having the lowest average weekly wages according to employment data for the nation’s 50 largest county job markets as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The IEGO 2024 priorities are designed to counter that trend and encourage greater business investment, including:

California Jobs First: IEGO will develop Inland Southern California’s regional jobs strategy to create quality jobs and a more accessible economy as part of Governor Newsom’s very intentional, inclusive approach to economic and workforce development to maximize state resources and investments by empowering communities to chart their own futures. Much of the funding will support career development projects from capacity building to industry-specific programs, and new job training.

Center of Excellence: As one of the state’s designated Center of Excellence, IEGO will support the region’s community colleges and their partners by providing research on the local labor market, including information on job growth, wages, demographics, top employers, education, and skill requirements, as well as education outcomes for industries and occupations critical to the Inland Empire’s economy. This data will help inform the development of new community college programs, curriculum, and partnerships that the colleges pursue in their efforts to prepare residents for high-paying, fast-growing jobs that Inland Empire businesses need today and in the future. 

Regional Marketing: IEGO will work to ensure that the region is well positioned to benefit from public and private investment and is fully recognized for its economic strength and opportunity. In this way, IEGO can enhance the delivery of public and private resources to the two-county region.

“There’s real opportunity for the IEGO Center of Excellence to lead deeper economic and workforce research. One of the immediate areas is our Top 50 Jobs report. We want to better identify the best job opportunities and pathways for workers in struggling families to make ends meet and build wealth,” said Andy Hall, who is leading report development for the Center of Excellence.

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Career & Workplace

The City of Rancho Cucamonga Recognized as U.S. Best-in-Class Employer by Gallagher 



Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis Identifies U.S. Organizations That Excel in Optimizing Employee and Organizational Wellbeing 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga participated in Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey and was identified as an organization that excelled in implementing successful strategies for managing people and programs. The City of Rancho Cucamonga was recognized for its comprehensive framework for strategically investing in benefits, compensation and employee communication to support the health, financial security and career growth of its employees at a sustainable cost structure. 

Designations like Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Employer help current and potential employees understand and appreciate an organization’s workplace culture and people strategy; important differentiators as employers compete for talent in today’s labor market. 

“This award is a testament to the collective dedication and unwavering commitment of our team, reflecting the high standards we uphold in fostering a workplace that thrives on innovation, belonging, and employee well-being.” Robert Neiuber, Senior Human Resources Director, City of Rancho Cucamonga. 

A U.S. Best-in-Class Employer, the City of Rancho Cucamonga was assigned points based on its relative performance in: 

  • Plan horizons for benefits and compensation strategies 
  • Extent of the wellbeing strategy 
  • Turnover rate for full-time equivalents (FTEs) 
  • Completion of a workforce engagement survey 
  • Use of an HR technology strategy and its level of sophistication 
  • Difference in healthcare costs over the prior year 
  • Use of a communication strategy 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga understands that high employee expectations haven’t budged in the changing labor market and have regularly examined their formula to attract and retain talent,” said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s Benefits & HR Consulting Division. “In doing so, the City of Rancho Cucamonga utilizes data, workforce feedback tools and clearly defined policies to provide competitive benefits and experiences that their employees value.” 

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