ROCKVILLE, MD — In only a few years as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County (CA) (GISD), Toni Giffin has already made a big impact in the professional development opportunities provided for her growing team. Giffin established a new career pathway program while reinvigorating a paid training program, all with the goal of helping her colleagues advance in their professional lives.

In recognition of her steadfast commitment to professional development, Giffin is the 2022 recipient of the P.J. Trevethan Award. The award is presented annually to a Goodwill CEO for outstanding contribution to the training of Goodwill personnel.

“Toni’s heart is genuinely in the learning and development of Goodwill San Diego’s employees,” said Michael S. Rowan, retired president and CEO of GISD. “Toni is training personified.”

Career Pathway Program

In 2016, Giffin launched a career pathway program to give employees a clearly defined, four-step process to prepare for and advance from entry-level to management positions. Her focus on human capital is the foundation of the program: she believes each person in the organization is a leader. Further, Giffin expects those in management roles to lead and develop the skills of those around them. More than 100 employees have successfully completed the career pathway program to date.

The program is also engrained in the business operations of the organization. Giffin aligned resources to provide training and advancement opportunities for all employees in addition to those coming from the community seeking assistance.

Training Programs

Upon taking the helm, Giffin brought back and refreshed a successful paid training program. The program provides three months of comprehensive retail training for those with significant challenges to finding employment. Participants gain paid work experience while in training, and 79 employees have taken part in this paid training program.

GISD also provides a three-year training program to help people with developmental disabilities develop capacity and behavior to transition to independent work environments. In 2021, the organization helped 42 people transition into competitive integrated employment in the San Diego community.

Continuous Education and Training

Giffin champions a culture of continuous education and training. The organization offers tuition reimbursement opportunities for all full-time employees, which is 75% of GISD’s workforce. Eligible employees receive up to $2,000 per year in cost reimbursement to continue their education. There are opportunities through local community college continuing education programs, adult schools and college certificate programs. GISD also provides resources so employees can obtain their high school diplomas or equivalents, including online options.

A believer in the importance of education, Giffin ensures mandatory education requirements are met for leadership-level positions. To support an employee’s advancement to the director level, she created the Michael S. Rowan Scholarship. Eligible employees receive up to $20,000 per year towards the completion of a bachelor’s degree and/or above. The knowledge learned through this study increases the effectiveness of the organization’s leadership and brings fresh perspectives to their mission and business operations.

Setting the Example

For Giffin, this is all very personal. She not only advocates for training opportunities, she lived it. In addition to her work at GISD, she simultaneously earned her undergraduate degree. Giffin also completed the Goodwill Industries International Executive Development Program and received a Certificate of Nonprofit Organizational Leadership from the University of California San Diego. During her 22 years at GISD, she became the ultimate example of a Goodwill employee who took on roles of increasing responsibility to go from store supervisor and human resources generalist, to name a few, to working her way up to executive vice president and, eventually, president and CEO. Her goal is to provide each employee in the organization with the opportunity to learn and grow.

“Toni’s advocacy for the education and training of her colleagues comes from her desire to see people thrive in their lives and careers,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “She supports their training goals and lifts up her community in the process. Her colleagues and their families benefit from this commitment to improving their lives.”

GISD was recently chosen as one of San Diego’s top workplaces in 2021 for large workplaces. Giffin continues to find time to give back by serving on the California Council,the Goodwill Industries International Board of Directors, San Diego Rotary, and Sustainability Affinity Group.

Giffin received the P.J. Trevethan Award at the February 2022 Goodwill Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives in Phoenix, AZ.


Goodwill Industries International is a network of 155 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 12 other countries. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people find employment, Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval.

Local Goodwill organizations offer employment opportunities, job placement and training services, and other community-based programs, which are funded by selling donated clothing and household items in nearly 3,300 stores and online at®.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Register for our Legislative Action Center via


Goodwill Industries of San Diego County is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It is a social enterprise that operates retail stores, outlet centers, and an eCommerce platform,, to generate revenue to provide free employment programs and services for San Diego community members. Goodwill retail stores are known for providing quality used merchandise. This includes clothing, shoes, accessories, home décor, housewares, and furniture. Electronics and sporting goods are available at select locations. Goodwill is recognized with GuideStar’s highest rating, the Platinum Seal of Approval, and a San Diego Top Workplace in the large employer category.

Shopping is available online at Visit for other ways to give to Goodwill San Diego. Please visit us at to find a Community Employment Center, employment programs and services information, donation, and retail store locations, and to learn more about our organization. Goodwill San Diego has been Making Good Happen since 1930.

Follow us on Twitter: @Goodwillsd, and find us on Facebook @sdgoodwill, and Instagram @goodwillsandiego.

Lauren Lawson-Zilai
Senior Director of Public Relations
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5266

Darlene Cossio
Director of Marketing Communications
Goodwill Industries of San Diego County
Phone: (619) 518-8662