Walking the Walk: New Board Member Ana Grande Lets Community Resilience Guide Her
Ana Grande learned at a young age how to “walk the walk and talk the talk”, as she puts it, of community organizing. From a young age, Ana found herself in a position to help others. A first-generation Salvadoran American herself, she was enlisted by her local Catholic parish at the age of six to help address the needs of a surge of refugees from Central and South America coming into LA in the late 80s.
“As one of the few bilingual kids around, they grabbed me and said ‘we need your help,’” Grande said. “They told me that I needed to learn how to listen and understand the stories of these people and not just determine what they needed, but act on what they needed.”
Grande’s on-the-ground learning led her to a career in community organizing, policy and nonprofit management. Throughout all of her efforts, she’s focused on one guiding light, learned in those early days of assisting refugees.
“I think my number one rule is don’t do for others what they can do for themselves,” she said. “Building resilience amongst those we serve is so important. Giving them tools to thrive. That’s what we can do together.. That should be our north star.”
Grande is best known for her role as the Statewide Campaign Director for the California DREAM Act, a role that enhanced her love of academia. Most recently, Ana served as the Academic Dean and adjunct professor at Mount St. Mary’s University, and currently is the Associate Executive Director of the P.F. Bresee Foundation. At Bresee, Ana drives all programming, tracking metrics and outcomes, and develops positive organizational culture in the organization. Ana holds a BA in Political Science, an MA in Humanities, and is wrapping up her EdD in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University.
Grande hopes to bring her experience in policy and organizing to GSO and help tell the stories of community members who benefit from GSO’s work.
“GSO has impacted thousands of our clients in their lives in ameliorating the quality of their lives,” she said. “I look forward to being at GSO’s service and really bridging the field experience into GSO’s work.”