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Meet the Recipient of the 2021 CalPERS Spotlight on Excellence Award

Monica Espinoza, human resources director for the City of Orange, was named this year’s 2021 Spotlight on Excellence award recipient during the annual CalPERS Educational Forum. Recognized for her outstanding service to the community and the city’s 750 employees, Espinoza graciously accepted the award. She credited her parents for teaching her the value of working hard and being of service to others.

In her peer nomination, Ms. Espinoza was praised for “always putting employees first in everything she does, constantly building her staff up, and encouraging them to do their best. She leads by example and is the epitome of a working director.”

The Spotlight on Excellence award honors those who go above and beyond in their duties and elevates the importance of public sector work. The peer-nominated award gives employees the opportunity to recognize the shining stars in their own agencies who provide great service for their communities.

A Profession She Loves

From her first assignment in the Orange Police Department back in 1997 to her current role as human resources director, Ms. Espinoza has been unwavering in her commitment to the employees of Orange. She started her career as an intern and, over the next 24 years, worked her way up to executive leadership. She cited the importance of mentors and encouraged Educational Forum attendees to pay it forward by helping others with their career aspirations.

Ms. Espinoza is a passionate advocate for human resources work. “People are an organization’s greatest and most valuable asset,” she said. Clearly her colleagues view her in the same way.

Congratulations to the Espinoza family and the City of Orange.

Learn More About Past Recipients

Past recipients include a diverse group, such as a food services director for the City of Fontana, an outdoor field services supervisor for the San Bernardino Water Conservation District, and a library services director for El Dorado County. These are just a few examples of the outstanding public service previous recipients represent.

Have someone in mind for next year’s recognition? Learn more about the Spotlight on Excellence award and past honorees.