Growing up in South Santa Cruz County, Faina first started dreaming of better public transportation on the last bus back from night classes at Cabrillo. The crowded, loud, unreliable buses made it impossible to get any extra work done on the 45 minute ride home to Watsonville. The dream of better public transportation only intensified over the years as she experienced traveling to UCSC summer classes, going to internships in Santa Cruz, and trying to go back and forth from UC San Diego on a budget. These were directly contrasted with experiences living and working abroad in places like Japan, Germany, France, Sweden and Morocco, where a car was not necessary and the transportation was affordable, safe and comprehensive. This dream of a better transportation system led her to take extra classes in sustainable transportation and development, and inspired a yearning to find a way to build a better transportation system in Santa Cruz County.
Faina joined the FORT board in 2019 where she brings her organization and partnership-building experience from her career in tech to help build the systems and tools needed to keep FORT running. Sally Arnold, Board Chair, credits Faina with modernizing FORT’s use of technology and improving our communication with the community. “Faina has created two new websites for us, RailandTrail.org and CoastConnect.org. She is responsible for creating the infrastructure that all our committees use to make their work more efficient. Thanks to all her work upgrading our use of technology, we were able to continue working effectively together even while sheltering in place and enduring fire evacuations.”
In her own words, Faina says “FORT has been instrumental in advocating for expanded transportation which I believe is the single most important investment we can make in Santa Cruz County. I am honored to be able to be a part of this movement for sustainable and equitable transportation.”
Faina currently lives and works in Live Oak, with her husband Justin and dog Roxy. When not working with FORT, you’ll find her enjoying a walk in the Harbor, spending time with her extended family in the area, and digging into a new career in bioinformatics.
By Jocelyn Fredell