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Inspirados por cultura, servicio y la comunidad: Celebrating the Accomplishments of City Year L.A. Latinx Alumni

This Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we’re highlighting four Latinx members of our community that inspire us and exemplify City Year values in the work they do. From coming back to serve on the City Year Los Angeles (CYLA) staff or on our Associates Board, to working with some of the biggest organizations in the nation, our alumni share with us how their culture influences their careers and the role City Year played in their journey. 

Antonio Garcia Jr. (’15-‘16) 

Program Director for the Starfish Pueblo, City Year L.A.  

Level 5 Leadership calls upon one exemplifying humility, will, boldness, courage & perseverance, and coupling these traits with stories, lived-experiences, and camaraderie of our Latinx and extended communities, allows us all to thrive and showcase examples of how we can all leverage the intersectional layers of our identities to be an ejemplo (role model) to others who may be looking up to us and consequently remind them that they have something special in them that will allow them to make positive impact in this world. 

Prior to serving with City Year, Antonio earned his Human Biology B.S. at UC San Diego. Antonio joined CYLA in 2014, serving as a First Year & Second Year AmeriCorps member at Roosevelt High School and Team Leader at Hollenbeck Middle School. Antonio continued his service to the Hollenbeck campus through the Program Manager role until 2021. He now serves as the newest Program Director at CYLA, and oversees our school partnerships in Inglewood.  Antonio shares, “A phrase I readily heard my parents share with me as a young child was “No importa lo material, si no lo bueno que llevas dentro y tus buenas acciones,” (Material things do not matter, it is the good you have on the inside and your actions that do), as I made sense of our family’s experience as migrant workers in California’s Central Valley. What I could not grasp at the time was my parents sharing a valuable skill with me: grit. It was this skill that would allow me to risk-take, contribute, and develop the self-efficacy to thrive in college, as a corps member, and staff member, as I took part in uplifting those around me through ‘buenas acciones‘. I have come to realize that tying grit with community-building allows us to leverage our innate desire to do and be better for one another. In all roles I have held with City Year, I have been able to find fortitude and leadership through introspection, leveraging a formal education, but especially the life lessons I received growing up in my Mexican household. 

Gabriella Mariani (’08)

Talent Team Lead Specialist, Deloitte Consulting 

“City Year changed my view of the world.  During my year of service with CYLA, I was exposed to a side of my hometown that I had never experienced before and that I could no longer ignore.  That experience challenged me to be a humble, curious, and active local and global citizen.”  

Gaby Mariani is a Lead Specialist on the Talent team with Deloitte Consulting, an organization that advises the world’s leading companies in navigating change and architecting the future.  As a member of the Talent team, Gaby serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Account Lead, managing programs and initiatives to increase the pipeline of talent from historically underrepresented groups.  Gaby is passionate about creating opportunity for young people to make a difference in the world.  As a member of the Associates Board of CYLA, Gaby is committed to supporting the personal and professional development of current corps members, as well as providing the perspective of her experience as a Latina, CYLA Alum, L.A. native, and graduate of LAUSD.  Leveraging her experience as a first-generation college graduate, Gaby also serves as a mentor for the ORBITS program at her alma mater, UC Riverside, working to retain first-generation college students and set them up for success beyond graduation. 

Karen Mayorga (’17) 

Senior Impact and Analytics Manager, City Year L.A.  

“My heritage and upbringing play an important role in how I operate in this position because I understand that the data world is not very diverse. My hope is to empower and share knowledge with other BIPOC AmeriCorps members that are interested in pursuing the field of analytics through the data coordinator leadership role.” 

Karen was an AmeriCorps member with City Year Los Angeles from 2016-2017 and was inspired to join the City Year community because it was an organization that valued education, valued people, and was committed to helping students strive to be all that they can be. She wanted to serve in her city, Los Angeles, because she wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to her. She accredits her success to the many organizations that supported her through her educational journey and wanted to do the same for others in her professional career. She became a staff member with CYLA in the summer of 2017, joining the Impact Analytics team. She is very proud to be the first Latina to ever join this team in Los Angeles. Part of Karen’s role in the organization is supporting young data enthusiasts, as the lead mentor for the Data Coordinators, a group of AmeriCorps members interested in learning more about data and analytics. Along with sharing the collective knowledge of her team with Data Coordinators, she has advocated for a variety of resources for the team, including online courses and books on a coding language of their choosing so that they can continue their development in data and analytics.  

Stephen Salinas (’07-’08)

Head of Strategy & Operations, Global GTM & Support, YouTube 

“At its core, City Year believes in the power of young people and their capacity to do amazing things. Whether it be corps members or the students we work with each day. And it is this belief that has continued to power me to this day. Whether it is the creators that I’ve worked with or the people that I’ve led at YouTube.” 

Stephen started his YouTube career seven years ago, running partnerships to support the emerging education-focused creator ecosystem, given his background serving in classrooms. He then took his previous experience running leadership development programs with City Year and started a global creator development program meant to help creators find greater success on the YouTube platform – providing them new skills, insights, and opportunities to connect with other creators in their region. Over the two years he ran this team, they executed over 500+ events in 30+ countries reaching thousands of content creators. Most recently, Stephen served as the Chief of Staff for YouTube’s Head of Global Operations, where he established and led operating processes to effectively scale & run the Global Operations, which grew nearly 5x in size. YouTube launches hundreds of products & features each year to their +2B active users. His team helps to ensure they have the right data, systems, and processes to launch great products that users (creators, artists, media companies, and viewers) understand and know how to get the most out of.  He shares, “I’ve had a rewarding and successful career thus far at YouTube getting to play a role in developing what is now a robust creator economy”.  

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