An Interview with Ann Cochrane, a 2015 Corps Legacy Achievement Award Winner

An Interview with Ann Cochrane

This year, we at The Corps Network interviewed our two 2015 Corps Legacy Achievement Award winners to learn more about their experience and history in the Corps movement. 

Click here to read Ann’s bio.  

How did you become involved in the world of Service and Conservation Corps? 

I started my career working with incarcerated young adult women in a group home in Boston back in 1977 and have always worked within a social justice setting. When I moved to SF, I learned about a job at SFCC as Administrative Director. Because the SFCC served a similar population to the agency in Boston – one I love to be involved with, I applied for the job. Just like the Corpsmembers, the Corps helped me grow as a professional and a person.

Who are some of your heroes? What did they do to inspire you?

Harriet Tubman, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, my mother. Each of them was a tenacious agent for change at great cost to themselves. Their words and actions challenged the status quo in a direct, passionate and eloquent way which I try to emulate.

What are some of your most memorable experiences from working with Corps programs?

— Attending our largest high school graduation ceremony.

— Spending a day with a small group of Corpsmembers visiting legislators in the State Capitol to educate them about the Corps’ work and for the legislators to hear from the Corpsmembers directly how the Corps has impacted them and the community at large.

— Learning from and being supported by my colleagues.

— Bearing witness to the transformation of a Corpsmember and the moment when they recognize with pride what they have accomplished.

Which of your accomplishments as a leader in the Corps Movement are you most proud of?

— Keeping SFCC alive and kicking for 26 years

— Mentoring some amazing staff

— Helping to successfully advocate for the California Corps to retain our Bottle Bill funding

— Supporting, guiding and in some cases leading the Corps to remain dynamic, ever changing, and relevant to the needs of the young people we serve.

— Serving on the TCN Board off and on for 12 years and being a member Corps of TCN. It allowed me to help shape the movement while also being able to incorporate what I leanred from those experiences into SFCC.

Given your experience, what is the primary piece of wisdom you could provide to Corpsmembers?

— Figure out what your interests and goals are your life.

— Learn as many skills as you can to support those interests and goals.

— Surround yourself with people that will support your efforts to achieve those life goals and who will celebrate your success.


What is the primary piece of wisdom you could provide to staff members at Corps?

— Be a good listener and observer in every aspect of your job.

— Treat Corpsmembers as adults and with respect – it will help them grow and will garner respect in return.

— Don’t try to “save” anybody. The Corps provides the vehicle for Corpsmembers to grow but they do the heavy lifting.

— Learn from your mistakes!

Ten or twenty years from now, what developments would you like to have taken place in the Corps Movement?

— 10 years from now, I would like to see multiple Corps in every State.

— The Corps will be a nationally recognized as an essential social policy model that addresses multiple important social needs and is worthy of public and private investment on a grand scale.

When not working, how do you like to relax and enjoy yourself?

— Reading a good book

— Going for a hike with a friend or my dog

— Sharing a REALLY good meal with friends and family

— Taking a run

— Going for a sail

— Attending a cultural event