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Success Stories
Through the help of Children’s Trust Fund scholarships and the Guardian Scholars Program, Amber received her Bachelors degree...
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Orangewood Children's Foundation Executive Staff
Chris Simonsen, C.P.A.
CEO

Chris Simonsen was promoted to CEO in April, 2014. Chris started with Orangewood in 2007 as Chief Financial Officer and his role was subsequently expanded to Chief Operating Officer. He has served as Interim CEO for six months, in addition to his other responsibilities. Prior to joining Orangewood, he was with Automobile Club of Southern California for 10 years, most recently as CFO.Previously he was with Balboa Life & Casualty Group and Ernst & Young.

Chris holds a B.S. in Accounting from California State University Dominguez Hills, graduating Cum Laude. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Chris is a Southern California native, having grown up in the South Bay area. He is an active volunteer with AYSO, the YMCA and his church. Chris and his wife, along with their four children, reside in Trabuco Canyon.
Carlos Leija
Chief Development Officer

Carlos Leija was added to our management team in September, 2007, and comes to Orangewood from California State University, Fullerton, one of our Guardian Scholars Program partner universities. He brings nine years of fundraising experience to Orangewood, along with a passion for helping former foster youth succeed. Most recently at CSUF Carlos was the Executive Director of Alumni Relations for three years. Prior to that position, he was the Director of Development for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Guardian Scholars program. Previously Carlos had a Chiropractic practice in La Habra for 11 years.

In October, 2007, Carlos was selected as one of fifty honorees for Cal State Fullerton’s Empowering Minds: Querer es Poder photo exhibit which is part of the university's 50th Anniversary celebration. The goal of the project is to increase awareness of the university’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution and their strong commitment to serving the Latino community. The photo exhibit aims to represent the rich diversity of CSUF Latino alumni in their path to higher education, their college experience, and respective careers.

Carlos earned a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. He has a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Fundraising School at Indiana University/Purdue University (IUPUI). In the past he has volunteered for Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union, the CSUF Alumni Association and the affordable housing committee for the city of Fullerton. Carlos and his wife live in Fullerton.
Robert B. Theemling
Chief Programs Officer

For more than twenty-five years Bob Theemling has worked with county youth services. His experience includes four years as a Probation Counselor, seven years as a social worker and supervisor with Orange County's Children's Services, and ten years as a Senior Manager in Children's Services.

Bob maintained a private practice as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist for five years. Just prior to joining Orangewood in February, 2001, he served for five years as Executive Director of David and Margaret Home for youth, an $8.5 million multi-service nonprofit organization, located in Los Angeles County.

Bob holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California; and a Masters of Science in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton. He has completed coursework for a Masters in Public Administration at California State University, Long Beach. He is currently licensed as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist.
Mary Ann Soden
Chief Community Programs Officer

Mary Ann Soden is Chief Community Programs Officer at Orangewood Children's Foundation, specifically assigned to direct Orangewood's projects at FaCT (Families and Communities Together). Before joining the Foundation in April of 2002, Mary Ann served as Executive Director of Boys Hope/Girls Hope of California, a privately funded non-profit providing homes, education and guidance to at-risk youth, from 1997 to 2002. Prior to that she practiced law, specializing in civil litigation, and worked as a systems analyst and consultant based in New York for American Express and Price Waterhouse, respectively.

Mary Ann has a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley, an M.S. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economic and Political Science, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California.

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