20 Under 40: Becky-Jo Samples

Connected Lane County

I am honored to be a recipient of the 20 Under 40 award. Growing up in a large family that faced hardships taught me the importance of perseverance, resourcefulness, having a conscientious approach, and self-belief. These values have been instrumental in shaping my philosophy for work and life.

I was fortunate to be a Ford Scholar and to become a first-generation college graduate. Without the Ford Scholars program, I would not have had the same opportunities that shaped my life. Being a member of a community organization like the Ford Family Foundation left an everlasting impact. It taught me the importance of community-based organizations and the impact they can have on an individual, family, and community. Which in turn inspired me to advocate for educational opportunities for those in underserved communities. Education can change lives. It changed mine.

I’ve been privileged to work with organizations in our community that provide access to educational resources and opportunities including ASPIRE, Centro Latino Americano, Connected Lane County, Downtown Languages, Huerto de la Familia, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley. Helping others gain access to education can inspire growth and create a more equitable and just society.

I’m humbled by this acknowledgment as it reinforces my commitment to following my passions and further developing my values. There is still much to be done but I am inspired by the endless opportunities to make a positive impact in the world.