Rosemary Straley has always lived a purpose-driven life, placing the empowerment of women at the center of all her efforts. Now retired and living at Vi at La Jolla Village, a Life Plan Community in San Diego, California, Rosemary is more driven than ever. “It’s important to focus on what we care about; it makes life worthwhile. And the extraordinary thing about retirement is that I finally have more time to give back and be involved,” shared Rosemary.
A Leader and Mentor for Women
President John F. Kennedy’s call to serve inspired Rosemary to become one of the first women not only to join the Peace Corps, but eventually she was also one of the first women to serve as a country director. Throughout her career and in all her volunteer efforts, Rosemary has led by example, climbing the ladder as a leader and pulling up sister female leaders with her, especially in public policy and politics.
Even today, Rosemary works with 17 different organizations, many of which focus on the importance of female representation in positions of leadership.
The desire to be a part of fostering the next generation of female leaders and narrowing the gender gap in Congress inspired Rosemary in 2008 to help found Run Women Run, a San Diego-based nonpartisan organization that has played a role in electing over 120 women to public office at every level of government. By becoming members, next generation female leaders learn from mentors like Rosemary how to run for office and create positive change in the community they represent. “Over a third of the women we have supported in their candidacy and elected have been women of color, which reflects our demographic base here in San Diego,” said Rosemary. “And we are nonpartisan because it’s so important for all of us to work together to identify common values and goals and build on those.”
Rosemary’s involvement in organizations like Run Women Run, along with her years of extraordinary commitment to women’s leadership, have led to recognition. In 2018, Rosemary received the inaugural Woman of Empowerment Award from Women’s Empowerment International. And she was feted at Harvard graduation ceremonies on the 50th anniversary of being awarded her doctorate.
Inspiring Her Neighbors at Vi at La Jolla Village
Rosemary’s involvement in community works doesn’t stop at the front door of Vi at La Jolla Village. "It’s terrific to be able to still be engaged in the same kind of work, in my case, public policy, in my home at the retirement community,” said Rosemary. At Vi at La Jolla Village, she organized a steering committee to bring public policy programming to the calendar of events offered by the Lifestyle Department. Rosemary also spearheads efforts to introduce elected officials to the community. So far, her neighbors have had the chance to meet with their congressional representative, state senator, state assembly member, county supervisor and city council member.
As if that’s not enough, Rosemary also started the community’s Great Decisions discussion group, where residents meet monthly to broaden their understanding of global issues through study and discussion. And on naturalization days for new U.S. citizens, Rosemary and a carload of her fellow Vi resident volunteers journey to the swearing-in ceremonies to celebrate with the new citizens and help them register to vote.
Prominent on Rosemary’s refrigerator at Vi at La Jolla Village, is a magnet with a JFK quote to remind her of her commitment to public service. “I’m a Peace Corps volunteer at heart,” she said. “It reads, ‘One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.’ That’s what guides me every day.”
Vi at La Jolla Village is a life plan community in San Diego, California. Nestled in the Golden Triangle with close proximity to the beach, this luxury senior living community is known for its outstanding amenities and gourmet dining. Interested in learning more? Get answers to your questions, schedule a tour or download a brochure by contacting us today!