Will O’Neill, former Mayor Newport Beach

William O'Neill, Newport Beach
Will O'Neill is the former Mayor of Newport Beach. He continues to serve on the City Council and Finance Committees, driving policies for its 85k constituents while helping to manage a $260M annual budget.

I’d never given much thought about local elected officials and how their work impacts my life until covid hit. Living in California, I learned quickly that those we voted into office were making impossibly tough decisions that directly impacted my life and that of my family’s. That’s when Will O’Neill, a partner at a local law firm and our city’s 2020 mayor, rose to the occasion and put his constituents first, leading our city’s 85k residents and 700 employees through murky and uncharted waters. 

As we reach the upper levels of management, it’s easy to wrap our identities in our careers. The long hours, the hard work, the accolades…it can all easily lead to believing that’s all you are. But time and again, my guests share the same story…there’s so much more to life than work.

Will shares that in this digital age, it’s easy to forget how simple gestures go a long way to form positive and long-lasting impressions.

So…minding your Ps and Qs matters and it’s what he seeks in potential job candidates.

I’ve never met Will O’Neill in person, but I’m so glad some listeners encouraged me to invite him as a guest on MENTOR dna. He and his colleagues on the Newport Beach city council work hard to set our policies and ensure that our laid-back beach town remains safe, special and well-managed on so many levels.   

About Will O'Neill

Will O’Neill is a Stanford-educated attorney and small businessman who has served the City for five years on the Newport Beach Finance Committee (currently Chair).  A California native, he received his BA from Stanford University where he lettered on the track and field team.  He then received his JD from U.C. Hastings College of the Law, where he was President of his class and later President of the U.C. Hastings Board of Governors (alumni association).

Will is a Partner at Ross, Wolcott, Teinert & Prout LLP, previously working at the California Supreme Court for Associate Justice Marvin Baxter (Ret.). He is also a member of the Newport Harbor Exchange Club, Director of the Transportation Corridor Agency (San Joaquin Hills), Board Member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, past Trustee of the Celtic Bar Association, and an active member of Mariners Church.

In 2020, Will became the youngest person to be Mayor of Newport Beach.  He renewed the Council’s focus on family-friendly community features like parks, libraries, and increased school safety.  He has also been proud to serve alongside our families with special needs by ensuring access to first-ever classes offered through our Newport Navigator and by helping the installation of an ADA swing at Coastal Peak Park (thanks to the leadership of a sixth-grade student at Newport Coast Elementary School!).

While Mayor, Will fought to reopen Newport Beach’s world-famous beaches after the Governor shut them, helped oversee Newport Beach’s successful response to COVID, and kept a steady focus on helping small businesses in the community.

Will’s wife, Jenny, is a former elementary school teacher and USC graduate. Their two children, ages 8 and 6, serve as constant inspiration to model service, integrity, and determination. 

Currently reading: The Right, The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism – by Matthew Continetti

Recommended media

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
Commonwealth of California Podcast Commonwealth of California Podcast

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV