Lisa Baca, Executive Director, California Latino Leadership Institute
Ask anyone familiar with Latino politics in California and they will know Lisa Baca as someone who champions Latino empowerment in the state legislature and throughout the local political landscape. Lisa has worked for several Latino leaders who have transformed politics including former State Senators Art Torres and Richard Polanco. From 2002 – 2014 she served as the Executive Director of the California Latino Legislative Caucus Institute for Public Policy, a bi-partisan effort with the mission to create a better California through effective public policy, research and leadership development – and a proven training ground for many future public policy leaders.
These days, Lisa is using her skills and experience to lead the California Latino Leadership Institute (CLLI). CLLI’s mission is to develop diverse and entrepreneurial public, corporate and community leaders, and to prepare the next generation of leaders – across all genders, cultures and ages – to address challenges facing California. Herself a beneficiary of mentorship and leadership programs, she is the first girl in her family to graduate university with a bachelor’s degree. Throughout CLLI’s programs across California’s Central Valley and Los Angeles County’s Southeast cities, Lisa discovered the biggest cross-regional issues keeping working families from achieving economic mobility was the lack of affordable housing.
For many of the families that CLLI serves, the American Dream of homeownership and long-term financial security seems to be slipping away. This is especially true in California communities with a socio-economic imbalance, where families cannot save enough money for a down payment on a home, make student loan payments or cover monthly bills. She believes this vicious cycle of poverty will continue until working class families achieve long-term financial security and homeownership that come with good paying jobs like those in the energy sector.
One thing Lisa is grateful for is the amount of support she’s received from the business community and the energy industry. According to Lisa, “the energy industry in particular has been extremely committed to equipping Latinos to access career opportunities and leadership positions – all the way up to the C-Suite. It’s a relationship I’d like to see continue to grow.”
“CLLI is blessed to work with various corporate leaders from local business and the energy sector as program mentors and community partners,” continued Lisa. “Many of the CLLI youth in both the Central Valley and Southeast Los Angeles County are pursuing STEM careers, and after college many have indicated a strong interest in employment within the energy sector. As an industry with long-term growth potential, the energy sector is providing a natural pathway for Latinos to achieve career and financial success.”