Former Marine Sonia Fernandez joined the board of Pacific Crest Trail Association in November 2022. She brings a wide range of private and public sector experience, currently serving as an Employee Relations Representative at Knotts Berry Farm. Previously, Sonia was the Executive Director of Labor & Public Relations at Aava Dental, where she established leadership and management staff training programs, including the creation of annual symposia for each practice. Sonia was appointed to the California Employment Training Panel by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (October 2010 – January 2011) and continued serving on the panel through March 2017 after being reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown. This eight-member panel oversees the business and labor-supported state agency that funds the expense of vocational training. She has served since 2010 as the Western Regional Coordinator of the Democratic National Committee’s Veterans and Military Families Council, and as a Defense Council Member of the Truman National Security Project since 2013. Sonia served two terms as a board member of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance. She has published articles in support of protecting public lands and the federal antiquities act and has advocated to help designate the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.
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Sonia earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies, both from Azusa Pacific University. She served as a Personnel Clerk in the U.S. Marine Corps, where she was the first female Marine to be honored as “Marine of the Quarter at the school of infantry; she was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal.