MEDA October 2014 Volunteer of the Month: Martin Thormann

Martin Thormann-BlogEach month, the Mission Economic Development Agency honors one of its dedicated volunteers—the people who are an integral part of MEDA’s ability to provide free services to low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents. Thanks to all of the selfless MEDA volunteers who choose Plaza Adelante as their second home. 

Name: Martin Thormann
Program: Business Development/Technology & Internet/Workforce Development

Why did you decide to volunteer with MEDA?
Volunteering and giving back is the most rewarding hobby, in my opinion. This world is full of people not as fortunate as some of us. Latin America, in general, and Colombia, in particular, are close to my heart, as I love the people, culture, food and language.

What projects have you worked on as a volunteer?
I built two websites for Business Development clients:; and I’ve helped at Get Connected! events.  I just started mentoring a client, Samuel, and am looking for ways for my company, Echo Technology Solutions, to work directly with MEDA.

What do you like best about volunteering at MEDA?
The MEDA team is great. All very nice folks!

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I learned that the San Francisco tech industry has a long way to go as far as gender and ethnicity equality is concerned. It’s one of the most Caucasian and most male-dominated industries out there, almost reminiscent of how things were in the 1950s and ’60s, and I support MEDA, because they are trying to change that, one person at a time.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?
I grew up in communist East Germany, then in the reunified Germany after the wall came down in 1989. I moved to this country in 2003 and am now a U.S. citizen. I also lived in England, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark for extended periods of time. in 2012, I backpacked through South America for five months with my Colombian girlfriend of five years.

Looking to join a great cause, too? Find out how to volunteer at MEDA. We hope you can join us!