Laura Martinez

California Regional Director

Laura has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, specifically working on youth development, education reform and social justice issues. She has developed programs that moved the needle on educational outcomes for students of color and has led efforts to build strategic partnerships around educational equity. She is passionate about building healthy communities that positively impact youth of color and has worked to empower local communities to become advocates for racial and social justice.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Laura received her dual BA in Communications and Spanish from San Francisco State University and joined the Peace Corps in Central America upon graduating. It was during her two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize that her passion for community building began and she realized how important social and economic justice is for creating change. Laura received her MA in International Studies, Communication for Development at Ohio University. After some time in Central Massachusetts, Laura returned to the Bay Area and began working in philanthropy at Hispanics in Philanthropy. She later went on to work at various nonprofits including Common Sense Media, Citizen Schools, The San Francisco Education Fund and Grantmakers for Education. Most recently, Laura worked at OUSD in the Office of Equity where she developed and built strategy as well as processes and systems in support of informing the larger organization and community on best practices for interrupting inequity, examining biases, and creating inclusive and just conditions for all students.

Throughout her personal and professional experiences, Laura has learned how important social justice is for creating change and has made it a point to utilize her skills to promote such issues as equality, education and justice. Laura is excited to continue her commitment towards equity at Girls Leadership and focusing on closing the gap for girls to achieve their full potential as leaders. Outside of the office, Laura can be found enjoying the outdoors, hiking in the mountains, traveling the world and supporting her 8 year old daughter Zoe Luna find her own unique voice to become a kind, strong and confident leader.