Quan started as a parent activist fighting to save music and art programs for Oakland schools. Just four blocks away from at City Hall, her father worked as a hotel cook. Now she is breaking barriers in becoming the first Asian-American and first woman to lead the city of Oakland.
"We've been waiting 158 years to have a woman mayor of the city of Oakland," said Quan.
With a crime rate and a budget deficit out of control, Quan says she plans to focus on three things, "It's crimes, jobs, and young people."
Quan wants to convince the police officers to put 9 percent of their pay into their pension fund to save the city money.
"We'll be immediately working on that budget. A lot of it will depend on whether the Oakland police officers are willing to pay the same share of pension that other police pay," says Quan.
Quan says she'll push for green jobs and she also wants to recruit 200 volunteers to mentor the city's at-risk youth. Her first order of business is to put together a transition team that will include people who opposed her.
"I plan to put some major backers of Don Perata on the transition advisor group," says Quan.
Quan's victory is somewhat of a shocker because, last week, unofficial election results showed Perata with a comfortable 11-point lead, but on Friday as the rank choice process kicked in, 75 percent of third place candidate Rebecca Kaplan's supporters went to Quan.
"It really made people think about, 'OK, what kind of characteristics to I want, and who else would I consider,'" says Quan.
Quan pulled ahead on second choice ballots and Wednesday night, she won by about 2,000 votes.
Perata outspent and got more first place votes than Quan, but Quan -- whose logo was "block by block" -- pushed her opponents' supporters to make her their second choice and it paid off.