Rebecca Prozan’s need to be of service began at the family dinner table.
Every night as they ate, her father, a doctor, would ask, “What happened in the world today?” remembered Prozan. That question “taught me to look beyond myself; that there were things greater than me that needed help.”
For Prozan, those greater things included campaigning and working for San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, where she organized a women’s summit that drew 5,000 people along with luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Texas Governor Ann Richards. She also helped arrange the first public commitment ceremony for same-sex couples in San Francisco. That 1996 ceremony
drew 165 couples and marked the city’s passage of a law allowing public officials to perform domestic partnership ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.
Looking beyond herself also took Prozan to Kamala Harris’s campaign for district attorney, to law school, and eventually to her eight-year role as a prosecutor. She became the first attorney assigned to San Francisco’s Neighborhood Courts program, which diverted those arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors from the criminal justice system by allowing them to perform direct service to their victims or to get job training.
Now, her desire to help has brought Prozan to Google, where, in her role as chief of public policy and governmental affairs, she is charged with helping to connect the tech giant with 10 communities where the company operates. The job entails keeping lines of communication open and helping the company add value to cities as it grows and expands. “The public servant in me has never died,” Prozan said.