L.A.’s Most Inspiring Women

When it comes to making L.A. better, those who made this year’s list of power hitters aren’t just leaning in—they’re leading the way

Allison Graff-Weisner

The executive director of City Year Los Angeles, which places volunteer tutors and mentors on local school campuses, gets more students into graduation caps and gowns

Photograph courtesy City Year Los Angeles

Why she does it: L.A. is a city with incredible need and incredible possibility. There are remarkable things happening in schools in the toughest neighborhoods, but we are hovering around a 66 percent graduation rate. Her greatest challenge: There is a widespread sense of the deficiency in Los Angeles, but there’s less awareness of how to make a difference. We have schools lining up out the door to have City Year on their campus. We have young people who want to serve. But continuing to build awareness across the city is critical to our growth.

Her elevator pitch: Education is the civil rights issue of our time. It’s the place we have to make a difference to have a healthy economy and, on a more individual level, take care of those who deserve the opportunity to be successful.

Her ten-year plan: It’s all about pursuing a strategy so that at least 80 percent of the kids we’re working with get to tenth grade on track and on time. As a working mom, I have the goal of raising healthy, happy children. Achieving both would be remarkable.

Next: Unite Here organizing director Lorena Lopez