Terry Thompson
Terry Thompson
Terry Thompson 2
Terry Thompson 3
Terry Thompson 4
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Terry Thompson is the President and Co-Founder of the award-winning nonprofit organization America On Track. In addition to being the President, Terry is the Project Director of various multi-faceted programs, and has won many awards for the unique programs she has designed and implemented with co-founder, Claire Braeburn. Terry and Claire have received numerous prestigious awards over the years. (Please see Awards section for a full list of awards.)

Terry has always been a pragmatic optimist and believes in turning negatives into positives. In spite of having to start working at the age of 11 and overcoming ongoing family challenges, she graduated from high school at the age of 15. A life-long avid reader, and with French as her first language, Terry read the original version of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo at the age of 14, and this was the transforming experience that changed her life. This great French author who dedicated his life to social justice became her invisible mentor.

With a goal to start a better life, Terry came to the United States at the age of 17, alone with no friends or family or contacts and with just a few dollars in her pocket. Her determination, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity proved rewarding, and by attaining meaningful jobs she put herself through college. Having originally focused on music composition, she later switched gears graduating magna cum laude from CSULB with a BA in literature. In addition to completing a 2-year MFA program, she later received her Certified Financial Planner designation from USC, and went on to establish a successful financial planning business.

Over the years, her desire to promote tolerance, compassion, and non-violence inspired her to do research into what has now become America On Track. In 1995, with her life-long goal to help the less fortunate, Terry felt that she now had the experience and the funds to start a nonprofit organization. After researching the needs and critical problems facing Orange County communities, she teamed up with Claire Braeburn who shared her passion and they began the long journey that has evolved into an award-winning nonprofit organization that now serves 44,000 individuals per year.

Terry is a firm believer in the importance of holistic leadership. She believes that building and continuing to build an effective organization requires teamwork, collaboration, diversity, innovation, and co-operation. She feels that America On Track must continue to have the capacity to convert purpose and vision into action, which has personally meant that she and co-founder Claire Braeburn have hands-on experience working in the field with volunteers, schools, disadvantaged families, mentors, community partners and leaders. Working with thousands of people from many different walks of life is an enriching and motivating aspect of her work.

Terry is still an avid reader, considers gardening a form of meditation, is a strong believer in the benefits of a plant-based diet, and enjoys going to concerts with her family. She and her husband live in Orange County in close proximity to their two wonderful daughters and their families who are a great source of pleasure.