Lisette Nieves.

Position:LATINO LEADERS - Interview

Lisette is a seasoned social entrepreneur and widely respected public sector leader. She is a Founding Partner at Lingo Ventures, where she leverages her expertise in education, talent recruitment/ retention, enterprise growth, and change management and provides consulting services to the nonprofit and public sectors. Lisette also teaches an education course at New York University.

Lisette also served as the founding Executive Director of Year Up NY, an innovative workforce development program, where in the span of five years she grew the organization from a $250,000 seed grant to a $6,000,000 operation with only 40 staff serving over 1,000 young adults from low-income neighborhoods empowering them to go from poverty to professional careers in a single year. In her government roles, Lisette was appointed by President Obama as a Commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, where she served as the Co-Chair for the Higher Education Subcommittee. She also served as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for the City of New York and, working at the federal level at the Corporation for National Service, she was part of the launch and administration of the AmeriCorps program. Lisette holds a B.A. from Brooklyn College, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an Ed.D in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar and an Aspen Pahara Fellow.

Can you tell us about your background?

I am a proud first generation Puerto Rican woman who was born and raised in Brooklyn. My parents were hardworking and even in the toughest of times, they would find a way to help others who were less fortunate. When you are young, you learn many lessons through actions. I can remember family and friends staying with us for stretches of time while they worked to get back on their feet--even if we were not doing well. I also remember my parents participating in a rent strike as a protest to the landlord's poor management of our building. My parents' actions taught me that you can always help and serve others and begin taking action against injustice matters. It was no surprise that after high school I joined City Volunteer Corps in NYC where I served for a year on a variety of social issues including working on one of the first AIDS wards in the city. Choosing to serve and be active in your environment is what I...

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