Board Member Spotlight: James Ocon

June 1, 2023

Meet Penny Lane Board Member James Ocon

Meet James Ocon; Penny Lane Centers Board Member since 2009.James has been a Financial Advisor for 25 years. He’s currently an Investment Officer for Wells Fargo Advisors and offers a wide range of wealth management services. He is also a member of Bankers without Borders and sits on the Board of Abbey Road.

James was born and raised in San Francisco. An event that shaped his life was when at  the age of 8 he moved back to Mexico(La Noria Durango), a farming town of about 1000 people for a year. Moving to Mexico was a culture shock for him since he didn’t speak Spanish and had to work on a farm…..a different life than in Northern California.  He learned to appreciate the time with his grandfather, learn Spanish, farm, raise cattle,  and attend a rural school. Both of his parents left Mexico because of extreme poverty so his parents only motto was that you have to work hard, simple as that.

James met his lovely wife in San Francisco and was married after 3 months of dating. They have been together for 26 years and have two children. His son, 25, is a news anchor in Taiwan and his daughter, 17, is a junior at OPHS and first Latina Mock Trial team captain.

James has a passion for managing wealth for his clients. He especially loves the opportunity to advise and help low income individuals who remind him of his parents. Consequently, as a Board Member of Penny Lane he has the opportunity to help our vulnerable population. He said that he grew up in a similar neighborhood as the ones that we serve and knew people that needed the services of a non-profit like Penny Lane. This is the reason that he cherishes the opportunity to help our youth as he knows that our programs are vital.

James loves to travel, reads religiously (collects books for his library) and studies philosophy. A surprising thing to know about James is that back in 2007, he had a back injury and out of frustration made a bucket list of things that he wanted to do. As of today, he accomplished all of the items on his list such as swimming Alcatraz, hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim, finishing a triathlon and hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. Through all these adventures the most important thing he learned was to keep control under duress. Staying focused during times of panic really help you in other aspects of life.

Significantly, he learned from his parents and his uncles that their solution to everything was “siempre hay que trabajar duro”(Always work hard). They saw the world through this as the only solution that afforded them success, so he always keeps that in mind professionally and in his personal life. James’ core philosophy comes from Marcus Aurelius-there are only 3 things that you can control, your thoughts, your judgements and your actions. The rest are out of your control and you need not worry about them.

-Nydia Barakat, Penny Lane Centers