How Identities Shape Nonprofit Leadership, with Vanessa Luna

This week I get to talk with Vanessa Luna, co-Founder and Director of Programs at ImmSchools. ImmSchools is an immigrant-led nonprofit organization that partners with K-12 educators to transform schools into safe and welcoming spaces for undocumented students and families.

I had a hard time deciding what to call this episode, because Vanessa and I talk about so many great and important things, and because she shares insights into so many aspects of working with her co-founders to grow the organization.

We talk about some of the strategies and tactics of scaling an early-stage organization – quickly and with tremendous impact from early one, which is both exciting and a huge responsibility. Organizational growth never happens in a vacuum – you don’t grow for the sake of growing. You grow so that you can do more and impact more and bring about more and deeper transformation in our world. Vanessa talks about how deeply that drive is connected to her own experiences and values.

Vanessa and I have a really frank conversation about COVID and what it has meant and felt like to try to stay relevant and responsive in their work, while also rooted in a mission and theory of change.

Finally, perhaps my favorite theme that we talk about is identity – and the many powerful and nuanced ways in which our multiple identities and lived experiences influence everything from how we structure our organizations and programs, to how to move through the world as leaders.

This is a really rich conversation for leaders at all stages of organizational growth.