Professional Experience: Olga was born in Monterrey Nuevo León, Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Her family originates from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. She is proud of her Indigenous Mexican identity (Yaqui/Otomi) and she honors the rich cultures and experiences that shaped her. Olga is the proud mother of three amazing children who, along with her husband, is raising to be the next generation of courageous and visionary social justice warriors.
Olga has been a nonprofit professional and community organizer for the past 28 years. She became the Executive Director of Cultivando in January 2019. As the first woman of color to lead Cultivando in its 24-year history, she has expanded the organization’s reach beyond Adams county and supported Latinx communities and organizations statewide.
Olga has earned several awards for her work in the areas of inclusiveness, equity, and social justice, including the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Denver Citizen Committed to Fighting Against Hate and the Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Health Equity from the Public Health in the Rockies Conference. Last year, she was awarded the Soul of Leadership (SOL) Award by the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado. Recently, she was a featured TedXMileHigh Speaker where she shared her insights on the importance of promotoras in community-led, transformational work. She was also recently named one of the “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business” by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Olga holds a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology and Chicano studies from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University as a Colorado Trust Fellow.
She is a graduate of the Transformative Leadership for Change fellowship, the Executive Directors of Color program at the Denver Foundation, and she is currently a Bonfils Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow and an IRISE (Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (in)Equality ) Visiting Scholar at the University of Denver.
Why did I choose to work at Cultivando: Prior to joining Cultivando as the Executive Director, I had been a member of the board of directors for 2 years. I was drawn to Cultivando’s mission and to its intentional focus on building the power and voice of the Spanish-speaking community. The idea of working with promotoras to engage our community is in alignment with my personal approach to my work and to my belief that those most impacted by inequities are the ones who should be at the forefront of developing solutions. As a little girl, I was my family’s interpreter and navigator of inequitable systems. The work I do now is an extension of that. I see my own family when I work in my community. I want our community to not have to struggle the way we struggled. My work is my way of honoring the opportunities that my parents, and so many other parents, create for their children.
Hidden Talent: I don’t know how hidden it is, but most people know that I love to dance and I used to teach Zumba for over 12 years. I was also an Aztec dancer for many years. I was fortunate to have been taught many of my indigenous cultural and spiritual ways by my elders and incorporate these into my life and into my work.
What I like to do when I am not working: I enjoy eating at new restaurants, binge watching Netflix, reading books (poetry, healing and personal growth), going on long walks with my family and cuddling with my children. Having a work-life integration practice is important to me as a professional, as a wife, and as a mother.