In the L.A. mayor’s office, the first Latina chief of staff helps shape the city’s future
Photograph by Jon Endow
Her lightbulb moment: I was hired as an office manager at a community organization, and I realized there the power of civic engagement. I saw people who didn’t think they could make an impact on their world suddenly taking control of their lives—attending a meeting with a mayor or a police chief and asking for things to make their neighborhoods better.
Her secret to success: I don’t leave the room until we have figured out a solution to a problem. I learned at an early age that whoever does the work controls the outcome. I have to give my husband credit. He is supportive of my career, so if I need to stay at work until 2 a.m. or show up at 6 a.m., I can do that knowing that my family is well taken care of.
The reward: I enjoy my job. My father was in the guest worker program, and I grew up on an apple farm in Sonoma County. My family is tremendously proud that I’ve come this far, that my hard work has paid off. It’s very humbling.
NEXT: The Art of Elysium founder Jennifer Howell