Colleen Dillaway Blends Career and Community in Her Leadership Roles

Colleen Dillaway (pictured right) volunteering during Operation Holiday Joy, an annual event hosted by the Armed Services YMCA.
Colleen Dillaway (pictured right) volunteering during Operation Holiday Joy, an annual event hosted by the Armed Services YMCA.

Colleen Dillaway’s career path was never a straight line. From leading events and marketing for a cable operator on the East Coast, to managing community relations for a California university, Colleen has done it all. And in many ways, that diversity of experience is what led Colleen to her passion as Director of Public Affairs at Cox Communications.

Colleen, who also volunteers as a board member at The San Diego Foundation, is responsible for all community affairs, philanthropic giving and communications for Cox Communication’s California region.

“I believe I have the best job around,” shared Colleen. “Every day, my team and I get to find new ways to expand connections among San Diegans and support the needs of the community in the process.”

For example, Colleen and her team at Cox Communications have played an integral role in bridging the digital divide in San Diego County. For years, Colleen has worked alongside community leaders and policymakers to help bring internet and technology to under-resourced parts of the  region. Cox was especially focused on digital equity this past year as schools and students switched to distance learning due to COVID-19. As Colleen explained, “Nowadays, access to technology is a basic need and we don’t want anyone to be left behind.”

According to a Pew Research Center study, 35% of households with children ages 6 to 17 and an annual income below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, compared with just 6% of such households earning $75,000 or more a year. These broadband gaps are particularly pronounced in Black and Latinx households with school-age children – especially those with low incomes.

That’s why Colleen and her colleagues at Cox Communications are committed to all aspects of the digital divide.

The company’s Connect2Compete program delivers low cost home internet to families who otherwise may not be able to afford high-speed broadband. In addition, recognizing that connection isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Cox Communications has a longstanding partnership with local nonprofit Computers 2 Kids to get more laptops and tablets into the hands of children and families.

In addition, during the pandemic, Colleen has overseen the distribution of special grants and funding from Cox to nonprofits to ensure San Diego County residents have access to other essential needs such as food and healthcare.

Colleen is proud to work at the center of these community issues and bring that expertise to her volunteer roles in the region.

In addition to serving on The San Diego Foundation Board of Governors, Colleen is Vice Chair for the San Diego County Commission on the Success of Women and Girls where she advises the County Board of Supervisors on a host of critical issues including domestic violence, homelessness and human trafficking, among others.

“As a women’s studies major, gender equity has been an important part of my work, whether it’s in my professional capacity or volunteerism,” noted Colleen. “It has been inspiring to see more organizations and companies focus on diversity and equity issues and I’m happy to play a role in solving these challenges.”

Colleen is one of 20 San Diego leaders serving on The San Diego Foundation Board of Governors. Learn more about Colleen and this diverse collection of community-driven volunteers here.