As a first-generation Mexican American born and raised in Oakland, Vanessa has witnessed how the disparate impacts of public policies affected her community. Her experiences have cultivated a passion for designing creative strategies to authentically engage and empower the voices of non-native English speakers. Vanessa is known for her ability to communicate and build deep relationships with community leaders, facilitate conversations that glean rich insights, and break through government mistrust to uplift community voices.
Vanessa spearheaded the public engagement process for Oakland's Fair Chance Housing policy, designing and implementing culturally relevant engagement, partnering with community leaders, and presenting findings at public forums and to policymaking bodies. Vanessa has created equitable outcomes through her work on projects centered in community-based decision-making; she is experienced in traditional outreach methodologies, as well as convening advisory groups, facilitating groups in Spanish and English, and engaging with small business leaders, including for the Alameda County's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. Vanessa enjoys supporting engagement on the Port of San Francisco's Waterfront Resilience Program and ensuring that residents understand their rights for the Treasure Island Development Authority's Relocation Project.
Vanessa holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies with a focus on City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and is a graduate of the CITI Program for Human Subjects Research. When she's not working, you can catch Vanessa painting away her worries or in the gym lifting weights.