The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Tramaine Austin-Dillon recognized in North Bay Business Journal

    “Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream. People will talk you out of your dreams because they don’t understand it,” said Sonoma State employee Tramaine Austin-Dillon, who has recently been considered one of the most influential people under the age of 40 by North Bay Business Journal. 

    Every year, the North Bay Business journal recognizes influential individuals under the age of 40, who are either innovators changing their industry, professionals advancing in their field, people who possess outstanding leadership qualities, and entrepreneurs. 

    A reception for the recipients will take place at the Saralee and Richard’s Barn at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on April 26. 

    Dillon still couldn’t believe the news, that he was being recognized for his leadership in the North Bay community.  “I feel loved, appreciated, and seen,” said Dillon. He will be taking his mom with him as his date to the reception along with his friends.

    Dillon is a familiar face on campus to many students. He is the interim manager for the office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a manager at the HUB cultural center, and advisor for the Black Student Union.

    Olivia Blades, fourth year psychology student works with Dillon in the HUB. “I really like Tramaine, he’s an amazing individual to work with…he has helped me grow as an individual in learning how to be professional and punctual.” 

    Dillon states that his role at SSU allows him to gain different perspectives from staff and students that intersects with his work in the community. Dillon was appointed the role of city planning commissioner for Rohnert Park in 2021. “I oversee all new buildings, housing, and business developments in the city.” 

    As the planning commissioner of the city, Dillon advocates for people who don’t always get support in the community. “I can bring an equity minded lens…such as are we thinking about small businesses, startups, and folks that don’t have access to loans.” Said Dillon. 

    An example is with housing. Dillon stresses the importance of providing equitable options for housing. “Are we providing enough housing so I can move in with my grandmother, auntie, and my cousin.” Said Dillon with a chuckle. 

    Dillon also wants to ensure that there are opportunities for small businesses. “It’s important to make sure that businesses that are being built are not just typical chains… we want to allow for opportunities for new businesses in the community.” 

    In this role, Dillon has learned about the decision making process in the city. “It’s cool to see how things work..the city brings us these proposals and we have to review them and see if they fight our mission and what the residents want.”

    As a first generation student, Dillon says graduating from college at Washington University is what he is most proud of. It was challenging for him to leave his home in south central Los Angeles. 

    His life hasn’t always been easy. Dillon graduated from college during the 2008 recession, which refers to the nation’s economic downfall from 2007 to 2009. Dillon recalls having a difficult time finding a job “I didn’t have any job prospects.”

    With the help of his faith in God and family, he was able to find his way. “That’s really all we have when we hit rock bottom,” says Dillon. His faith and family is what continues to keep him moving through life today.

    Dillon believes in the importance of building community with people who surround you. 

    “Oftentimes, you have to build your own community,” said Dillon. “You start a new club or hobby and you meet people.”

    Dillon already has goals for the future that include earning his doctorate or MBA degree, owning a house, and starting a family some day.

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