Introducing IFR's New Executive Director
How do you prepare for the enormous role of Executive Director for IFR? Even the bravest leader might waver at the prospect of managing 6 multi-pronged programs, lead roles in collaboratives for Roadmap to Peace, Family Resource Centers and the Latinx Wellness Center, multiple community partnerships throughout the City, and a new Latino COVID Collaborative underway – all during the double whopper of a pandemic and uncertain economy where Latinxs are among the hardest hit.
Enter Gloria Romero, MPA. A true child of the community, it can feel as though the spirits groomed Gloria for this role. She has worked in the Latino nonprofit community all of her adult life. Starting at Real Alternatives Project (RAP), she began her education in providing authentic and heart-felt community service. She has worked at Mission Girls, Mission Neighborhood Centers, and at IFR as Director of Roadmap to Peace (RTP), immersing in all aspects of community service.
Most significantly, Gloria has been trained by a Who’s Who list of leaders in the Latinx community. Ray Balberan, Roban San Miguel, Socorro Gamboa, Mitch Salazar, Tracy Brown, Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Sam Ruiz, and many others have trained, mentored, and contributed to Gloria’s skills and leadership. And if that isn’t impressive enough, Gloria worked with "graduating" Executive Director Dra. Estela Garcia for 3 years, and one-on-one with her for leadership transitioning during the last five months in 2020. Gloria's transition culminating in a community ceremony to welcome her al estilo IFR.
“This has been a great journey for me. A lot of people invested in me – helped me develop my skills and define my purpose,” IFR’s third Executive Director confirms. “I spent several years as the segundo. I learned how to move a vision to program design to implementation, and I learned how to do it well. I’m ready for this.”
Yes, she is. Gloria is as a quiet leader that can deliver a loud and powerful impact, a difficult task under current circumstances. “My approach involves listening, taking everything in, and reflecting. Then, I make decisions, prioritize, arrange and rearrange as much as I need to. Sometimes everything can feel like it’s close to tipping over, and you do the best you can. Certain things I have to let go to let something else in. It requires strategy.”
While Gloria brings the management and program skills necessary for this work, it is her heart that demonstrates she is the real deal and perfect person to lead IFR. She speaks genuinely about the non-transactional, transformational work we do. “It is a gift and blessing to be part of this effort. Participants invite us into their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. With that invitation comes great responsibility to fulfill a purpose.”
The new ED speaks tenderly about the community IFR serves, but also has a clear sense of the broader issues. “We must also address the root causes that contribute to why our community faces such challenges. We have to be fierce and relentless in our advocacy. We have to fight to be at the tables of change, raise our voices, and create the social justice changes our communities need.”
Is there any doubt IFR has the right woman?
Please join everyone at IFR in welcoming IFR’s Executive Director, Gloria Romero. We are, indeed, ready for 2021.