Non-profit is sweat equity reliant. So when a volunteer comes along with passion, intellect and good organizational skills — it can be a game changer for an event or program. That reliability and leadership showed up tenfold in Gabriela (Gabi) Kane Guardia, now Latinitas newest Director of Development and Engagement.
The pandemic produced so much insecurity and uncertainty for nonprofits and the communities they serve. Despite such challenges, Latinitas transitioned to virtual programs almost over night doubling reach in its conferences and camps. We were even able to launch new programs including Chicas Roboticas, Central Texas’ only all Latina competing robotics team and Padres Digitales, a tech literacy programming that certifies adults in project management and UX design — all, as we have always done, for no or low cost.
COVID or not, Latinitas had to reach its fundraising goals and were early to the game to hold its annual event outside block party style while pandemic stages fluctuated. Gabi was integral in making Latinitas’ Purple Party its biggest success, driving a subcommittee responsible for the most exciting part of the event: the design and reveal of a series of mosaics representing some of Austin’s most pioneering women of color — those who changed the landscape for equity for the better with sheer perseverance and courage. Under her watch, 6 mosaic portraits and one public mural of Austin’s pioneer of free internet in public spaces, “Technomama” Ana Sisnett were revealed last June under the stars, in the heat of summer with all the accoutrements of a block party from the deejay stylings of Chulita Vinyl to the showcasing of Austin’s Chicano low-rider club.
“The energy and enthusiasm that Gabi brought to the staff in the time of need when we were transitioning has been outstanding and her passion and eagerness to change the Latino community with her mission.” —shares Latinitas Board Chair Karen Siles, IBM engineer.
Gabi came to Latinitas with an ideal combination of skills in STEAM education, nonprofit and operations management and passion for the arts and culture. She joined Latinitas’ development and engagement staff after leadership roles at fellow cultural non-profits Texas Folklife, where she was Deputy Executive Director and as an intern for Texans for the Arts. She also serves on the board for Austin Emerging Arts Leaders. She achieved her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M and a masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin where she was a recipient of the Grossman Fellowship issued by Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies.
Latinitas board member and Oracle Netsuite Solution Staff Consultant Asif Ali explains,
“The team at Latinitas is incredibly honored and excited to welcome Gabi Kane to the organization! After Gabi’s incredible impact to the Purple Party she consistently showed up to impact young girls of color and help build future leaders.Gabi is a leader who takes on any task/challenge with enthusiasm and makes sure to include everyone in the room when making a decision. She leads with kindness and goes above and beyond to make sure things run smoothly and none is overwhelmed.At Latinitas, we are an inclusive organization that fights for equality and equity for young girls of color and non-binary kids who have all the skills needed to become future leaders but just need some encouragement and support. Gabi not only has the passion to create the next generation of leaders, but she continuously shows encouragement and support that inspires all.”
Grateful for Gabi’s passionate and gentle leadership, creativity and passion for social change through art and technology.