Layla Avila is founder and CEO of Education Leaders of Color, or EdLoC, a new membership organization dedicated to elevating the leadership, voices, and influence of people of color in education and to leading more inclusive efforts to improve education. Layla is driven by a central value, a “belief that our work and education is about really being able to use education to create more thriving black and Latino communities, with a belief that education is a key way of ending generational poverty.” This focus is driven by personal experience and her own education, which “really changed the trajectory for my family.”Read More
Welcome to the first episode of Purposeful Shorts, a companion podcast to the Purposeful Blog. Biweekly, you'll get an exclusive, previously unreleased cut from a purpose-driven leadership interview.
Episode 1: Angela Cobián, parent and teacher organizer.
Angela Cobián calls hers “a truly unique Colorado story.” She is from Denver by way of Mexico. Her parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1980s and, benefitting from President Reagan’s amnesty, they stayed, worked, and built a family. They first lived in Arleta, California, in a three bedroom, one bathroom house. She remembers:
"One day, my dad heard from our next-door neighbor, who was an immigrant from Guatemala, that there were lots of jobs in Colorado because of construction. Our neighbor and my dad went to Colorado in the late '90s. They slept out of their found jobs, and came back to California with U-Hauls. I still remember that the U-Haul had just one seat, so it was my Dad, my Mom, my brother, me, and my little sister (who was a baby at the time) on my Mom's lap.
I remember making the drive from California to Colorado and going through the Eisenhower Tunnel. I looked outside the window and saw snow for the first time. That is my first vivid memory of Colorado! Then, we went to the apartment that my Dad had found in front of a K-Mart. That's how we started our lives here in Colorado. I started my schooling in Kindergarten and then I chose to go to college in Colorado."Read More
Small business ownership. Student discipline. Peace officers. These are a few of the issues that Colorado Representative James Coleman advocated for in his freshman year at the state legislature. James is a longtime purpose-driven advocate who is “a voice for the community, a voice for people for people that don't always feel like they're being heard.” When he’s not at the Capitol, he is a husband, dad to twins, and Vice President for Community Engagement at ACE Scholarships. He says that he drives change by listening to his community: “If you want to be in a position to make a difference and make an impact, how can you make a difference by assuming you know what someone else needs? You can only know that if you ask them.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am a man of faith, first and foremost. I got my ministers’ license when I was thirteen. I was raised in a church. So, from a faith-based perspective, I look at how people should be treated. What I'm going to do is treat people as I would want to be treated. A lot of it has to do with my upbringing, but a lot of it also has to do with the experiences I've had, where I just didn't feel like I was being heard.Read More
Nigeria is a high school senior, a board member at GripTape, and one of the organization’s first “challengers,” meaning she was given $500 and a coach to pursue a passion project. With those resources, Nigeria pulled off a photo shoot, learned about creative direction, and is now a successful young entrepreneur while finishing up her last year of high school. “I am here to spread agency and inspire the youth, to enlighten them on their possibilities in the world,” she says.
The daughter of a high school art teacher and librarian, Jeani Frickey Saito grew up in Lakewood and attended Jefferson County Public Schools. After more than 15 years as a successful contract lobbyist, Jeani left a diverse client base to lead Stand for Children Colorado and focus her full-time attention to issues impacting education.
When you were in school, studying journalism, what did you expect to do for your career?
I grew up admiring investigative reporters. I really saw journalism as a way to advocate and change the world. But, when I was in college, Metro still had The Capitol Reporter, a weekly paper that covered the state legislature. We were all responsible for a beat and somehow mine ended up being the Joint Budget Committee and Appropriations. I remember sitting through JBC Hearings as a sophomore in college, trying to get a handle on everything. That is where I fell in love with the Capitol.Read More