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Community Fellows Blog Posts

Paisley Luna: Leading with Gentle Strength

Paisley reflects on her time at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, and the importance of formal and informal skills via experiential learning.


Paisley Luna, 2021-2022 Fellow

In working for the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley these past two quarters, I have a better understanding of the bountiful formal and informal skills that the education programs team use in their day-to-day operations. Outside of myself, the education programs team is composed of three hard-working, bilingual women. Much of the community we serve and that participate in our programs are native Spanish speakers and many were not born in the U.S. or are first-generation U.S. citizens. This means the environment in which they grew up is very different from many of my peer’s upbringings. However, the three women on my team do an incredible job of understanding, communicating with, and relating to all, both Spanish and English-speaking, families and students that we work with. I have learned so much from how they meet people where they are at, are extremely patient and genuinely want to help other Latinos get ahead in life. Additionally, each person at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley are great leaders. My manager, Melissa Canela, embodies wonderfully the virtue of gentle strength. While she is a strong leader and can command a room with her confidence, she is also calm and gentle with the people she leads and serves. She remains approachable to all the students and families she works with and I can attest to the abundance of people who look up to her. She has taught me so much about the kind of leader I want to be. Working closely with the Education Programs team at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley has taught me the importance of informal skills, especially in community work in which it is extremely beneficial to be able to relate to and understand the community that you are serving.


NPI, NPI Fellows