A Coto de Caza resident,
Dunn is a woman of firsts – the first female officer in the 60-year
history of the California Building Industry Association, the first
woman president in the 80-year history of the Building Industry
Association of Southern California, and the first woman officer in the
30-year history of Signal Landmark, an Irvine-based land development
And she founded the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, aiding a 35-year effort to preserve the Huntington Beach wetlands.
“Learning new things, it fuels me,” she says.
Dunn moved from the realm of law (that’s right, she began her career as
an attorney) to real estate to the public sector, she didn’t hesitate
to venture into unfamiliar territory, and she advises young
businesswomen to do the same.
“Don’t be afraid to walk
through an open door. Sometimes an open door will surprise you and will
have greater reward for you than if you had just planned everything out
from day one,” Dunn says. “Be open to surprises. Be open to unusual
In 2004, Dunn was appointed director of the
California Department of Housing and Community Development by Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger. During her two-year stint, Dunn and her team
distributed funding for more than 72,000 affordable homes.
her time in Sacramento, she was appointed to her current post, but her
state-level service was not over. In 2008, she was the only woman and
the sole Orange County representative appointed by the governor to a
four-year term on the California Transportation Commission Board of
Dunn has helped establish guidelines to encourage
public-private partnerships for state transportation projects – a
welcome alternative for counties leery of raising taxes – all the while
providing competition in a down economy, she says.
Go to pioneering women, page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6