CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County.
Toni Giffin has been an influential leader at Goodwill Industries of San Diego County for 21 years. During this time, Toni has made valuable contributions to the organization by enhancing our mission of providing job training and employment for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. She believes that a barrier is not the characteristic that defines the individual; rather, it is their ability to work that helps to define their strength and purpose. This approach of encouragement and hope brings out the best in every ambassador (employee) she encounters. As the organization’s President and CEO, Toni exemplifies our core values of collaboration, credibility, and creativity to create a nurturing culture and work environment. She brought back the Paid Training Program which accepts people with little to no work experience and provides job training in retail and donations. She was instrumental in developing Goodwill’s Strategic Plan, which defines the organization’s vision, and ensures its financial strength and ability to serve the San Diego community for many years to come.
“A private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, with nearly 1,400 ambassadors (employees). Goodwill San Diego operates 31 mission integrated training and retail stores and specialty stores, e-Commerce (shopgoodwill.com), a North County Clearance Center, 2 South County Outlets and Recyling Centers and 5 Community Employment Centers throughout San Diego County. In 2019, GISD served more than 6,400 San Diego community members including people with disabilities and other significant barriers to employment through our various programs. Primary funding for our Mission programs and services is generated through our Used Goods Retail business.”
Under Toni’s leadership, Goodwill launched its Career Path Training Program, intended to develop the skills and competencies of its employees, and give them the opportunity for advancement towards a livable wage. From January through April 2021, Goodwill San Diego promoted 35 ambassadors! The success of this program impacts the lives of these employees, their families, and communities. Many others were able to find advancement opportunities in other organizations due to the skills and experience they gained at Goodwill.
Toni began her career at Goodwill in Retail, moved into Human Resources as a generalist, became Human Resources Director, earned her position as Vice President of Mission and Support Services, became Executive Vice President and then President and CEO. Toni exemplifies “Making Good Happen” by improving people’s employability and by example, her own. While working for Goodwill, she continued her education by earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and completed the Goodwill Industries International (GII) Executive Development Program. Toni believes there is never a time to stop learning. She credits her achievements and success to focusing on doing the very best at whatever task is before her. The advice she gives future leaders who want to advance is to not lose sight of the job they are in now, be a subject expert, work hard, and excel in soft skills.
Following through on promises made, both personal and professional, is simply a part of Toni’s character. She consistently comes up with creative ways to solve problems and can do so promptly. She prides herself on making time for all ambassadors; her approachable demeanor and genuine kindness make all employees feel confident in speaking to her. They have come to know that she is always consistent and thoughtful in her decisions.
Toni recognizes the impact her decisions have on our community. In her role, she ensures Goodwill is a successful not-for-profit, enterprise-funded organization, which provides job opportunities for 1,050 ambassadors, almost 51% of them with disabilities or other barriers to employment. Her everyday work gives a sense of purpose and belonging to more than 90 individuals with significant developmental disabilities, who otherwise may not have the chance to be part of the workforce.
Toni has been an active advocate for the people Goodwill serves. She has engaged many government representatives to express which laws and regulations would benefit the workforce with disabilities. In addition to her many responsibilities, Toni serves on the GII Board of Directors.
During the first weeks of the pandemic, Goodwill San Diego quickly pivoted and made all Community Employment Center services available online. Community members can access the organization’s programs and services through our 5 Community Employment Centers by appointment or online through our website. The Centers provide job search assistance and career planning for veterans and their family members, young adults ages 16 to 24, and people with disabilities. The Centers also offer job seekers a Job Readiness Certificate Program and 5 soft skill workshops including Ace the Interview, Job Application, Resume Builder, Workplace Communication, and Conflict Resolution. All services are free of charge.
Toni is always looking to the future and what is next for Goodwill San Diego. They are currently expanding their e-Commerce department by investing in technology that allows for decentralizing the listing of product to their 30 retail stores. This increases the quality and quantity of product available for purchase in a shorter amount of time. This decision has resulted in an increase in eCommerce revenue by 7.1%. IE
President and CEO
Our mission is: "To provide employment and training opportunities to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment"