Name: Laurin Mayeno
Organization: Mayeno Consulting
Organization’s Mission: Building the capacity and power of people working together to create systems, services and communities that work for everyone.
Years in the sector: 31
1. What was your first nonprofit job?
1978, dispensing birth control at Planned Parenthood on MacArthur in Oakland.
2. Why do you do the work you do / what motivates you to keep at it?
I do the work I do (both paid and volunteer) for myself and out of love for family and community. I grew up biracial, feeling like I didn't fit in. I want to live in a world that allows all of us to be fully who we are, to be accepted and celebrated and able to reach our full potential. Seeing glimmers of that world in the many people and organizations I work with feeds my soul, builds my faith in humanity and keeps me going.
3. What part of your job do you most enjoy?
My best days are days when I experience connections with and between people, when people are honest and self-reflective and have "AHA" moments, when people move from being stuck to seeing possibility. When things don't work so well, it can be painful. Those are also the times when I get to practice what I preach and search for the opportunities to stretch and grow.
4. What is your favorite nonprofit organization (beside the organization you work for)?
I can't pick one. I love organizations where people strive to live their values inside their organizations as well as in the communities they work with, where people are encouraged to be authentic and have courageous conversations, where there is a vision and spirit of creating something in the world, not just surviving it.
5. What is the reform you admire most?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed major forms of discrimination.
6. Who is your favorite real life hero/heroine?
Wilfredo Artiga Moreno, my late husband (1960-1988). He kept up his work for a better El Salvador in spite of several near scrapes with death. He left his homeland after being imprisoned and tortured. He later returned to El Salvador at the age of 28 to support the liberation movement and was killed by the Salvadoran army. He was driven by a deep and unstoppable love for his family and his country. Aside from this, he was a fun, caring, talented person who was not, by any means, perfect.
7. Who is your favorite nonprofit sector hero/heroine?
Anayvette Martinez (LYRIC) and Dulce Garcia (transitioning from Outlet to GSA Network) are two young women leaders who I admire greatly. Why? Because they work hard, do great things in the world to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer youth, are unbelievably creative, challenge the status quo in a loving way, dance and play hard and have active, vibrant family and social lives. I try to learn from their examples of creative leadership and work/life balance.
8. What did you learn from the person who has most influenced you?
My mother, who handled her 8 years living with Alzheimer's with grace and humor taught me that some of the hardest experiences in life are also some of the richest and most powerful.
9. What is your connection to CompassPoint?
Working on various CompassPoint Projects (Cultural Competency Learning Initiative, Next Generation Leaders of Color), internal multicultural organizational development and providing workshops on Authentic Communication (public and contract training).
10. What is your favorite thing about CompassPoint?
The spirit of aliveness, innovation and openness to learning.
11. What is the most important quality in a leader?
Being kind, starting with yourself.
12. What is your current state of mind?
More questions than answers. Humbled.
13. What is your most important character attribute?
Love of learning.
14. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
15. What does the world need now?
People overcoming their fear and stepping into their greatness.
16. What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
Letting go of the drive to get done and being fully present.
17. What is the quality you most like in a person?
18. What is the trait you most dislike in others?
Guilt - don't like it in myself either.
19. What is your greatest achievement so far?
As a single mom, raising a multiracial gay son who is out, proud and happy, who loves what he does and has big dreams. I cofounded Somos Familia to create support and acceptance for LGBTQ youth and their families.