The Glass Ceiling as a Person of Color Leader

Monica Arrambide

Monica Ann Arrambide is an alumni of CompassPoint's Next Generation Leaders of Color (NGLC) Leadership Development Program. She shared her thoughts with us on what the program has meant to her as a leader and a person of color.

Sometimes leadership roadblocks are created by your own hands, I know this firsthand.  For 15 years I have been unaware I was climbing a ladder and building a glass ceiling over myself in my off hours as a social justice activist.  With each doubt and devaluing of my own ideas, I ensured I hammered a nail into the structure and installed glass panels. Over the course of my career, I had internal agreements with society that as a Person of Color leader I will only accomplish half of what others will achieve in their lifetime.  With each nodding of the head - yes, I invested in the building of my own glass silo. 

CompassPoint's NGLC program provided me the tools to reflect on the ways I contributed to the construction of this silo and allowed me to examine strategies to overcome it.   I am aware of the “systems of oppression” and the role I play in these systems.  What I was not aware of was the level of complacency I had in regards to my leadership.  The NGLC program gave me the courage to break the status quo of the expectations of leadership I had. 

An example of my success with this is the launching of  Maven is an interactive virtual community for queer youth to network, organize and educate for social change. This was an idea I had for a number of years, and just did not have the belief that I could bring this idea to life.  As co-founder of this startup project I am demonstrating a leadership paradigm shift.  I can directly connect the launching of Maven with the NGLC program.  I am grateful for my experience as a Fellow and honored to be an equity centered leader creating social change in our community and within.  I know you’re wondering what I did with that glass silo…I use it now to store all the ideas I have as a social justice activist!!


Monica Ann Arrambide has over 15 years of community building experience, including 7 years as Director of Programming for the sixth largest LGBT Center in the country. She opened the first LGBT youth drop-in center in the central coast of California and has worked directly with teachers, faculty and school boards to address safety and education for all youth. She re-established the Texas GSA Network, a statewide program which unites school-based GSAs student clubs to fight discrimination, harassment and violence in schools. She also developed the first LGBT Anti-Tobacco Prevention and Program in California. 

She currently is the Director of Training & Capacity Building for Californica School-Age Consortium (CalSAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the professional development of youth workers across the state through high-quality trainings, policymaking, and advocacy. Monica was awarded the Lauren Wyeth Award and the Pacific Pride Foundation Award for her work with LGBT youth and queer communities in California.

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