Lynne Ashbeck: A Life of Service

Photo courtesy of Kendyl Day Photography

Some of the strongest influences in Lynne Ashbeck’s life came from her mother and father. They instilled in her and her sister the belief they could do anything they set their minds to do.

“I was privileged to have two wonderful parents, loving, high expectations, a commitment to service,” Ashbeck said. “My dad was a Navy Captain; my mom was a stay-at-home mom. My parents are very much on my mind these days … as my Dad passed away on Nov. 7 and we will be laying him to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on April 18. My mom passed away in 1999 and is waiting for him at Arlington.”

After growing up in a military family, with an upbringing that taught adaptability, service as a career and an orderly family life with clear rules and expectations, Ashbeck moved from San Diego to Fresno. She earned both a Bachelor and a Master’s Degree from California State University, Fresno, and a Master’s Degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies from Fresno Pacific University.

“My time at Fresno Pacific was amazing,” she said. “The lessons of that experience, in conflict resolution, finding common ground and peace in our communities were incredible. Professors like Dr. Larry Dunn and Dr. Ron Claassen changed my life.

“I also have had some amazing bosses in my working career, people who have taught me lifelong lessons about working toward the highest common denominator, excellence, and working for organizations with clear, strong missions that you can believe in. I have been very lucky.”

After Ashbeck moved to Clovis, she began her impressive history of community service, which continues into the present.

She believes, “The success of Clovis is the combination of three fundamental principles – a commitment to our heritage; a clear and consistent vision for our future; and pursuing excellence in all we do.”  

Ashbeck served on the City’s Personnel Commission (1987-’89) and Planning Commission (1989-2000), with three terms as Chairperson.

She was first elected to the Clovis City Council in 2001, where she has served continuously since that time, being re-elected in 2005, 2009 and 2013 and 2017. Her current term will expire in 2021.

Ashbeck served two separate times as Mayor of Clovis: from 2003-2005 and from 2013-2015.

Just recently, Ashbeck accepted a new position as the Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Population Wellness at Valley Children’s Healthcare. In her professional capacity, Ashbeck holds the position of Vice President of Population Health and Community Engagement for Community Medical Centers (CMC).

She has served on several boards and commissions such as California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley (Governor-appointed); Fresno Community Health Improvement Partnership, Co-Founder; Clovis Hall of Fame Steering Committee; Maddy Institute (Fresno State) Board of Directors; and Valley Public Radio Community Advisors.

Community involvement and volunteer service is important to her and she feels we “need to invest in something beyond ourselves.”

“One thing I know for sure is that we make a difference one person at a time … from my hospital work on mental health and trying to improve our system of care in Fresno County, a gentleman named Bill said that because of this work a group of us had done to create MAP Points (Multi-Agency Access Partnership … places where folks can get help with housing, mental health, substance abuse, food, etc), he had finally found the connections he needed. He had an apartment, had not been to the emergency room, and was functioning on his own again for the first time in many years. Just hearing his story, humble as it may be, reminded me that you never know who or when you might be able to help someone.”

A few of her past volunteer activities include: Board of Trustees, Fresno Pacific University; Fresno County Council of Governments, Board Member; Honorary Co-Chair, Clovis Unified School District 2012 “Yes on A” Campaign; Co-Chair, Measure C Steering Committee; Regional Jobs Initiative Co-Chair;  United Way Women’s Initiative, Co-Founder; Leadership Fresno: Steering Committee chairperson (1995 – 97), Alumni Association president (1991), Alumnus of the Year (1994), Class Four graduate (1988); New United Way Board of Directors; Community Food Bank Board of Directors; Junior League of Fresno Board of Directors; California Dietetic Association, Central Valley president (partial listing)

Some of the most recent awards and recognitions she has received are: Fresno County Board of Supervisors, Public Health Champion, 2015; Phi Kappa Phi Alumni of the Year, California State University, Fresno, April 2012; Friend of Nursing, Central Valley Coalition of Nursing

Organizations and Nursing Leadership Council of the Central San Joaquin Valley, April 2010; community work by the United Way (2010); and as one of the Top Ten Professional Women of the Year (2007).

Together Lynne and her husband, Jeff, have five grown children and six grandchildren. Asked what advice she would give to young people today, she responds, “I think about my own two sons when I think about this question. Believe in yourself as much as those who love you believe in you. Have the courage to try new things. Find work you love and do it well, whatever it is. Never for a moment think that everyone else but you has this all figured out, because they don’t.
“It is much harder to be a kid these days than it was a generation ago … so be patient with yourselves. Your life is long and your chances to make a difference are many, and vote!”