Cindy Nava

Cindy Nava

2019 Ricardo Salinas Scholar, Ricardo Salinas Scholarship

Cindy Nava is a Public Policy Leader and Former Non Profit Executive.

Cindy Nava is a Public Policy Leader and Former Non Profit Executive, most recently at United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. USHLI, an award-winning national non-profit headquartered out of Chicago, Illinois, non-partisan organization whose mission is to fulfill the promises and principles of democracy by promoting education and leadership development, empowering Latinos and similarly disenfranchised groups through civic engagement and research, and by maximizing participation in the electoral process. Since 1982, USHLI has registered 2.3 million new voters; published 425 reports on Latino demographics in the Almanac of Latino Politics; sponsored 35 annual national conferences, and awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships and internships.

Ms. Nava arrived to the U.S. at the age of seven with her parents and siblings from Chihuahua, Mexico. Cindy was raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is proud to call herself a “Mexican-New Mexican“ and has taken on many challenges on her journey to serve the state and country she loves so much. As an undocumented student, Cindy managed to surpass many political barriers and went on to take key positions within education and immigration policy as well as politics at a state and national level that had not previously been held by an undocumented individual. Ms. Nava became the first in her family to graduate from high school, went on to graduate with Associate and Bachelor degrees in Political Science, and was the first DACA student at the University of NM to be accepted into the Master’s of Educational Leadership and Policy program.

Ms. Nava’s work has marked historical precedent after becoming the first undocumented person to intern for a national political party in Washington, DC, and then become the first DACA recipient to work as a Majority Pool Analyst for the New Mexico House of Representatives. Ms. Nava went on to be rated as one of the “40 under 40s: Latinos in US Politics“ by the Huffington Post.

Cindy utilizes the power of her lived experiences, struggles, and strengths to empower communities, youth, and leaders across the country through her experience in the areas of policy, research, education, politics, leadership development, and advocacy. She is a strong education advocate and believes in strengthening voices through civic engagement, education and holistic methods rooted in innovative and transformational change that guide the creation of conscious policy initiatives that support marginalized communities across the country.

Ms. Nava is a national motivational speaker in the U.S. and has recently expanded her reach to Mexico. She serves on the board of Young People For by People for the American Way, NM Voices for Children, the American Mexican Association and is a 2018 alum of the Latino Center for Leadership Development Academy which trains young Latino leaders from across the country to serve in elected and appointed positions.

Most recently, Cindy served as Executive Director of Learning Alliance New Mexico and as Chief Administrative Officer at The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. Cindy currently serves as a consultant working with cross- sector leaders in the areas of public policy, education, politics, civic engagement, and innovative leadership development. Selected to participate in 2019 Executive Seminar.