Annual Report 2011: Lupe Poblano

Annual Report 2011: Lupe Poblano


Lupe Big
Lupe Poblano
Director of Operations
Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco

Next Generation Leaders of Color Program: Becoming a Change Agent for Myself and My Movement

Through his participation in the Next Generation Leaders of Color Program (NGLC),  Lupe Poblano has gained the skills and support of a network of peers to help him thrive in his current organizational role as Director of Operations of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, as well as advance his goal to one day serve as an executive director.

Lupe says,More than ever I feel a connection to other leaders of color in the nonprofit community. I now feel surrounded by brilliant, talented leaders. I feel I and other members of this community have a responsibility to move forward an agenda of social change and social equity. I now have a support group of mentors, peer leaders, and coaches – we support each other, we share job information and resources. Because of the facilitated discussions we had on race, power and privilege, I have a better understanding of their impact on people and I’m more in tune with my own feelings about it. I dealt with all of this in isolation before, now I have a community to draw from and talk to about this.”

Participation in NGLC has made him more aware of how to be a change agent and advocate for himself. It also has heightened his awareness of power and privilege and showed him how to manage and reconcile these issues in his work and personally. He says it’s now evident in his work and leadership approach: “I’m now more tied to my strengths and values. I’m a better supervisor – it’s now in how I lead, how I do the work. Being an ED has always been my plan, but until NGLC I always felt it was a dream; it didn’t feel like it could be a reality. Now I feel it’s closer and that it is actually within my reach.”

Lupe was drawn to the NGLC program by CompassPoint’s reputation – “You always know you’re going to have expert staff” – and the strong program design. He says, “NGLC is particularly unique with its multicultural focus and that it’s for people of color, that it’s for emerging leaders, that it’s financially very accessible, and that it’s local. The program is organized so well and thoughtfully, I almost wanted the classes to be 15 hours long. They talked about the practicalities of applying the information. And interpersonally the NGLC team – Marla Cornelius, Marissa Tirona, Steve Lew, and Erin Lingren – related so well with the cohort. They were friends and allies and mentors and they are now part of my community. “

One of the most important things Lupe says he has taken from the program is a greater connection to his own identity, values, and strengths. “It influences how I react and act. I’m more authentic as a leader. It’s made me more aware of how important it is to have a multicultural lens with our community. We all come from different backgrounds and are often different from those we serve. I’m really trying to emphasize with staff the impact of the issues with power and privilege that come into play. If we can better manage those things we can have better impact and results with the communities we serve.”

And one more rewarding result: “Whenever I share that I’m looking at being an executive director, others say in response, 'Yes, that makes sense,' and 'I can see that.' That didn’t happen before. There’s something different about how I’m showing up now, confidence-wise, which wasn’t present there before NGLC."

Lupe concludes, "Without a doubt this program experience has surpassed any other program I’ve ever attended. It sets an insanely high bar."