Press Releases

Marla Black Joins Junior Achievement of San Diego County as New President & CEO

July 30, 2015


New President brings 35 years of leadership experience in financial service and nonprofit sectors to JA  

SAN DIEGO, CA, July 29, 2015 --  Junior Achievement of San Diego County (JA) is delighted to announce veteran banker Marla Black will join the nonprofit as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.  Black has a rich background including more than 35 years of financial service and sales management experience with some of the world’s leading banking institutions.  She also brings a unique wealth of knowledge and understanding of the nonprofit sector from her current and previous roles as a board member at Rady’s Children Hospital, LEAD San Diego, Girl Scouts, United Way of San Diego, and many others.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such an amazing staff and work with the dynamic Board of Directors to continue to inspire the students of today to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” said Black.  “This is an exciting and important time at JA, as we are just around the corner from launching JA’s newest education center, the new ‘Mission Fed JA Finance Park,’ which will allow our team to reach an additional 15,000 students and families each year.”

Black’s appointment marks a new chapter in JA which, over the past ten years, has seen remarkable growth and expansion of its staff, Board of Directors, operating budget and K-12 financial literacy programs.  Selected after a six month search by JA’s Board of Directors, Black will lead the organization's mission to prepare young people for the real-world by teaching them how to get a job, how to start a business and how to manage money by using 21st-century learning techniques and technologies.  Effective in September, Black will succeed Joanne Pastula, who will be retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer of JA after more than 16 years of leadership.

“Marla shares our passion for providing learning experiences that will prepare young people to succeed in the rapidly changing and expanding global environment.  Furthermore, her experience serving on the Boards for some of the leading nonprofits in San Diego will allow her to take JA to the next level,” said Mike Schleyhahn, Co-Chair of Junior of Achievement’s Board of Directors and President of San Diego Fluid System Technologies/Swagelok. 

A native San Diegan, Black’s career includes her recent role as Senior Vice President and Managing Director with Union Bank.  Under Black’s leadership, she directed sales and service to 45,000 households with $1.5 billion in deposits, and $300 million in loans and an annual net income of $15 million. Prior to joining Union Bank in 1985, she was the sales and service manager for San Diego Federal/Great American Savings Bank.

“Marla has a long history of community involvement, and giving of her time, and talent to education and nonprofit organizations in the San Diego community,” said Sandy Shippey, Co-Chair of Junior Achievement’s Board of Directors and Partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.  “We look forward to applying her business expertise and proven leadership skills to lead JA into a new era, as we continue to prepare our local students to success beyond the classroom and build a financially strong future.”

Black graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in telecommunications in 1978 and Pacific Coast Banking School in 1999.

Once Mission Fed JA Finance Park is completed and open in the fall of 2015, Junior Achievement of San Diego will reach almost 68,000 students this fiscal year with 22 employees, over 5,300 volunteers, and an operating budget of $3 million. The organization will continue to promote its highly successful JA BizTown program for fifth graders, its company program for high school students and its classroom education program for grades K-12.




About Junior Achievement of San Diego County:

For 65 years, JA of San Diego has been in the business of preparing our young people for lifetime successes.  Our mission is to prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to get a job, start a business and how money works.  Last year, JA provided life-changing programs to 55,000 students in K-12 classrooms and in the McGrath Family JA Biztown.  The nonprofit’s goal is to reach nearly 68,000 in the 2015-2016 school year with the launch of Mission Fed JA Finance Park, a reality-based learning program that inspires high school students, families and community partners to plan for their future and embrace financial responsibility.   Thanks to the support of over 5,000 dedicated volunteers, JA is able to serve 36 school district throughout San Diego County.  For the latest news and information, we invite you visit: