Meet The Connect Team: Christie Marcella

Jun 23, 2022

Get To Know Connect’s COO

As I read Peanuts books with my four-year old, I realize I have a lot more in common with Lucy than just the black hair. If I knew I could have set up an advice booth instead of a lemonade stand, I would have. I love helping people and solving problems. After all, I am also a middle child.

A first-generation born Filipino-American, my parents were both medical professionals, providing me with educational opportunities and instilling in me a strong work ethic- working at my father’s practice during summer break or carefully rolling utensils in napkins as a time-consuming but elegant detail at family parties.

One of my most life-defining experiences was studying abroad in Spain, where living in a place where I couldn’t speak the language left me empathetic to the path of the lost or confused. It was also a place where I gained a second family and amazing friends who continue to provide an international perspective to my personal and professional life.

My career definitely follows an iterative rather than linear path. Out of college I worked at a non-profit affordable housing organization in East Harlem, which drove me to pursue my Master’s in Urban Planning which nurtured my desire to create just communities and just societies within a built environment. While in New York, I paid for my Master’s temping at a law firm, learned how to knit, and performed on the Today Show doing a bollywood-inspired exercise class. I like trying out different things.

In 2009, I became a Marine Corps spouse and that brought me out to California – first to Monterey and then to Carlsbad. Our military community is the most diverse community I have ever been a part of. Get to know them if you don’t already. Hire a military spouse or veteran. I was fortunate enough to work in the City of Carlsbad, applying first for a part-time job in economic development (what was that?) at a time when development was booming and strategic efforts to support growth in key industries like tech, action sports, and life science were the city’s focus. Pushing boundaries is important, so I led an inter-agency effort to create a new first-last mile transit solution to Carlsbad’s business parks – the Carlsbad Connector. That was fun.

In 2019, I began at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation where I worked with Connect as a partner on CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center. While there, I met some of the most incredible and resilient leaders who helped the community through COVID-19 while we worked on coalition building and resource support. I’m really excited to be on Connect’s team as we grow our work, because I have partnered with incredible people who can continue to drive inclusivity in our innovation economy. There is a way for every child, student, and adult to participate in San Diego’s tech, life science, defense, and action sports world in a way that can be life-changing. Our physical, social, technological systems can be connected differently in ways that we can’t imagine individually but can execute collaboratively. Those unknown possibilities, are what get me up in the morning. That and my pre-schooler asking to play Wordle.

Christie Marcella - Elephant

With the elephants in Chiang Mai

Christie Marcella - Gorilla

On the San Diego Safari Park Carousel

Christie Marcella - Bridge

On the walkway over the Hudson River

Fun facts: I prefer a good meal to a good drink. I didn’t have a car from the time I was 18-28. Vanity Fair is my most valued subscription. I am a night owl. I love the feeling of landing in a plane and looking out thinking of all there is to discover.

Christie Marcella

Christie Marcella


Christie joined the Connect team in September 2021 and is excited to scale the organization’s work alongside her coworkers.