Trabajando con líderes: GreenLatinos

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By Roberto Carmona, Carmona Strategic Solutions

I have written for Hola America News (HAN) for over the past ten years. I am proud to have engaged with HAN, witnessed its growth, and shared powerful positive stories with HAN’s readers about leaders making positive impacts.  

A little over twenty years ago, I graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS), with a master’s degree focused on leadership and strategy.  

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My firm, Carmona Strategic Solutions (CSS), provides strategic planning, executive recruitment, and leadership development services for organizations, local governments, and businesses nationwide.  

Prior to attending HKS, I was awarded a community builder fellowship by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where my focus was serving as a federal grant reviewer on the $1.7 Billion Empowerment Zone review process and helping to establish HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development, in Washington DC.

While in Washington DC, I encountered a dynamic leader who was working at the White House, Mark Magaña. Mark leveraged his valuable White House networks ad experience, in policy making and advocacy, and implemented his vision to empower environmental justice and climate change advocates from the Latina/o communities.

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Magaña founded GreenLatinos with a bold mission statement that says, “GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/x leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.”

In 2023, GreenLatinos celebrated its quinceañera year of existence. Under Magaña’s leadership, the GreenLatinos growing team and board of directors have positioned GreenLatinos as a respected national voice on environmental policy and as a resource for state and local grassroots organizations and policy advocates across the country fighting for environmental justice.  

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In 2021, GreenLatinos completed a strategic plan process that generated this inspiring vision statement for Green Latinos: “We envision a healthy and equitable society where communities of color are liberated from disproportionate environmental burdens, free to breathe fresh air, drink pure water, access clean transportation and enjoy our majestic public lands, ocean, and waters.”

In 2023, GreenLatinos experienced tremendous growth, with offices and activity in the states of Colorado, California, Texas, and New Mexico. In the fall of 2023, GreenLatinos engaged with my firm, on a national recruitment assignment, where CSS was able to help GreenLatinos identify and place Lucero “Lucy” Contreras, GreenLatinos first community advocate focused on strengthening Illinois-based organization, engaged in environmental and climate change issues impacting Illinois and the Midwest.

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Contreras is a dynamic leader and a first-generation Mexicana raised in Chicago, Illinois. She started organizing during her spare time when she was 15 years old with different non-profit animal rights organizations in Chicago. Contreras’ activism continued in college, where she co-led Cornell University’s animal rights group for four years and advocated for sustainability & marginalized groups through her positions in student journalism & government. Further, during her last two years at Cornell, Contreras worked on a project that resulted in a 150-page paper discussing the impacts and implications of slaughterhouse work being performed by undocumented Latine immigrants.  

After the Illinois Community Advocate recruitment project was completed, CSS was selected to serve as GreenLatinos’ strategic planning consultants.  

The GreenLatinos staff are an excellent group of committed, intelligent and enthusiastic leaders, who are making a difference and strengthening the work of local climate change and environmental justice leaders, across the nation, with activities beginning to emerge internationally.  

On March 5-6, 2024, CSS facilitated an organization wide, strategic planning retreat with the GreenLatinos staff at the Camp Duncan YMCA in Ingleside, IL.  

Mark Magaña speaking at the GreeLatinos Encuentro event in Chicago

CSS designed and facilitated team building and strategy exercises, using SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis tools and the Playing to Win framework, where the GreenLatinos staff generated strategic priorities in their federal policy, state policies and operations, to help guide GreenLatinos work for the next four years.

GreenLatinos President/CEO Mark Magaña led an inspiring discussion on GreenLatinos Theory of Action, and the challenges and opportunities facing GreenLatinos, as they moved forward.  

CSS is preparing for the next phase in the GreenLatinos strategic planning process and is now engaging with the GreenLatinos national board of directors. From May 7-11 th CSS will be attending the GreenLatinos national summit in Puerto Rico and will be working with the GreenLatinos board of directors, on strengthening their board governance and management for growth.  

To learn more about GreenLatinos, their mission, their people, and their policy priorities, and to support your local advocacy work, here is the GreenLatinos website: https://www.greenlatinos.org/

!Adelante GreenLatinos!

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