API Heritage Month Spotlight: Marvin Ordonez Shares His Love for Travel and Community

Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month provides a great opportunity to showcase the outstanding contributions of our SDG&E colleagues while celebrating their culture and heritage.

At SDG&E, we recognize that our employees thrive when they can be authentic at work and feel a strong sense of belonging. Sharing cultural stories and learning from one another is one way we achieve this. Today we are spotlighting Marvin Ordonez, Community Relations Coordinator, and his passion for traveling, food, and his support for the community.

Get to know Marvin in the Q&A below.

Can you share a bit about yourself and your cultural history?

Born and raised in San Diego, I am lucky to call this place home. I am a marvinsecond-generation Filipino American; my parents were both born and raised in the Philippines and migrated to the states in their early 20s. My mom is from Imus, Cavite and dad is from Kawit, Cavite; both are small provinces just south of Manila. Growing up, my sister and I were able to learn about the rich history of the Philippines and our parents' journey of immigrating to the United States. My mother started as a bank teller and worked her way up to her current role – Revenue and Budget Manager at the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency, and my dad joined the Navy and retired as a Senior Chief in 2005. He is now a civilian worker as a Supply Analyst.

What’s one aspect of your culture that you enjoy sharing with others?

Food! Sharing, cooking, and hosting meals is a large part of the Filipino culture. If you have ever been to a Filipino potluck, you know you’ll be leaving not only full but with a week's worth of leftovers. Something that our culture and my family hold highly are gatherings to celebrate our friends and family members. Breaking bread and sharing a meal is a way that we show love and service to our loved ones. 

Kamayan or boodle fight is a Filipino term for communal feasting and eating with the hands, it holds great significance as it is such an intimate meal and an atmosphere of sharing.


Tell us more about your career journey so far. How long have you been with SDG&E and what does your job entail?

I have been with SDG&E for almost a year and half on the Community Relationsmarvin team. Previously, I had worked in non-profit organizations, specifically Monarch School, a K-12 school that builds resilience for unhoused youth and their families, on their Philanthropy team. Since joining the Community Relations team, I have learned and been a part of so many amazing ways our company is involved and supports the San Diego region. Currently, I am a Community Relations Coordinator and support our team in its efforts to support local nonprofits. Some of the projects I work on and lead are the Corporate Social Responsibility Intern Program where our summer interns get an opportunity to provide support on an impactful project that nonprofits might not have the bandwidth for, like marketing plans, social media support, product research and customer relationship management systems. I also help lead our Wildfire and San Diego Community Advisory Councils, gathering key leaders in our community to discuss challenges, current trends, and solutions our county faces.

In your opinion, what value does diversity - of all types - bring to our organization?

Diversity brings so much to SDG&E, specifically the idea of hearing different voices and representation from different backgrounds. When we can listen and hear from different perspectives and opinions, we can learn and step out of the normal thinking patterns we typically go towards.

Diversity also brings in a space for similarities and shared experiences. So often we can write someone off or not include someone in a conversation, however, there are so many connectors and shared experiences we don’t know about until we listen, intently ask questions and be present. We can also embrace one another’s uniqueness and value their story -- everyone has one!

May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. What are some ways you prioritize your mental health?

Some ways that I prioritize mental health are to do the things I love! Traveling, adventuring, and eating good food are some ways that bring joy to my life. Last December I was able to visit some extended family as well as where my parents grew up in the Philippines. I have also been able to do some amazing camping and backpacking trips to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Big Sur, Utah and so many other places with my loved ones!  

Sports is another love of mine, being a San Diego native, the Padres have been my team since I was born. Growing up I loved playing baseball and basketball, now I love playing softball, golf, and beach volleyball!

Mental health is always a challenge to keep at the top of your list, but I have challenged myself to take better care of myself and continue to do the things that give me life.

Thank you Marvin, for all that you've done and continue to do!