Celebrating a Leader

May 2nd, 2023

Operations Director Tomika Perkins (left) accepts an award from Executive Director Marguerite Bachand (right) recognizing her 19 years of service to Operation Dignity and our unhoused community.

Please join us in congratulating our very own Tomika Perkins on her achievement of 19 years of service at Operation Dignity!

Tomika joined Operation Dignity on January 15, 2004, as a Mobile Outreach Coordinator, when our Mobile Outreach program with the City of Oakland was in its infancy. Tomika quickly took ownership of the program and, over the years, worked closely with City of Oakland staff to grow and evolve it into a multi-million-dollar contract. She oversaw our Veterans Affairs (VA) transitional and emergency shelter programs, conducting client intakes and working closely with program supervisors and staff. In that role, Tomika also worked with the Oakland Housing Authority to open some of our units for permanent housing to recipients of HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Administration Supportive Housing) vouchers, Shelter + Care, and Section 8 support.

It is no surprise that Tomika was honored with the Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award for her outstanding work on behalf of the Oakland community in January 2019. Tomika has transformed her knowledge of what works on the ground into innovative and high-impact programs.

She has led many new initiatives, including OPRI (Oakland PATH Rehousing Initiative), the City of Alameda and Emeryville outreach programs, and the inception, refinement, and growth of the Community Cabins. Thanks to her work, we grew from piloting the initial site (Castro St.) into serving as the lead operator on multiple model sites in Oakland. From the beginning, Tomika was instrumental in structuring the programming and staffing, in close collaboration with City staff; we were then able to take lessons learned from that first site to improve the quality of the cabin structures, site, and staffing for our current sites.

Not only is Tomika an incredible resource to everyone at Operation Dignity, but she is also an invaluable stakeholder and advisor to all of our partner agencies and organizations and is now leading an exciting new initiative that we are implementing: Rise Up Alameda, a pilot guaranteed income program for the City of Alameda.

By training so many staff members and cultivating numerous programs, Tomika has really shaped the culture of Operation Dignity. She models how to be client-centric in a very authentic and respectful way, and really lives the “meeting clients where they are” philosophy that guides our work at OD.

One of the things we respect most about Tomika is her ability to be very clear-eyed about clients and how to maximize our impact on them, while maintaining her empathy and a gentle sense of humor. She likes to tell people that giving a client one piece of candy can usually get you enough of their attention to answer about three questions. Social services is a hard field to make a career in, and Tomika is truly special for making that her path, and for nurturing and inspiring so many OD staff members who are now in their own leadership positions — or pursuing higher degrees in social work. She’s had an amazing influence over the years. 

Congratulations Tomika and thank you on behalf of Operation Dignity for your tireless commitment and service to our staff and the clients we serve.