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Carla Rubalcava

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Inspiring youth involvement

Carla Rubalcava

Age: 39

Title: Managing Director

Organization: Mikva Challenge

As managing director of Illinois programs at Mikva Challenge, Carla Rubalcava sets the vision and direction for Illinois’ youth-facing programs, elevates the work of youth program facilitators, and oversees Mikva’s school-based classroom initiatives. Before joining Mikva Challenge, Rubalcava served as the director of enrollment management at Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. As an administrator she led a collegewide committee that designed a framework for student recruitment and established goal-specific strategies for the college’s strategic three-year enrollment plan.

She has been exposed to all areas of a nonprofit organization, and her experiences have allowed her to develop strong organizational, administrative, and critical thinking skills. Rubalcava began her career as a community organizer in the city’s northside neighborhoods of Uptown, Rogers Park, and West Ridge. She then joined the Association for Child Development as the director of nutrition services. After that, she spent the next six years working at the Academy for Urban School Leadership and Holy Trinity High School, focusing on community engagement and student recruitment.  

Rubalcava earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. In addition to her work at Mikva Challenge, Rubalcava serves on the associate board of Erie Family Health Centers and sits on the steering committee for the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.

Words of wisdom: Great things are best accomplished in partnership. Be intentional about building your network and seeking connections with diverse stakeholders as a source of both private and professional strength.