A National Award-Winning Publication

Fostering Youth

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Grisel Maldonado

Age: 35

Title: CEO & Founder

Name of Organization: Avanza Strategies

Grisel Maldonado collaborates with educators to drive culturally responsive program strategy, develop new initiatives, and evaluate impact, with a specialization in postsecondary success.

Maldonado is also the founder of EdPower, a non-profit organization that aims to specifically address income inequality by supporting youth of color to develop aspirational postsecondary visions and be equipped with the tools they need to achieve them.

Prior to founding her organizations, Maldonado drove impact through admissions at Brown University and bolstering research-based programs for first-generation college students of color at the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, and Chicago Public Schools.

A first-generation college student raised by hard working Mexican immigrants in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Maldonado knows first-hand the dearth of guidance and resources that exist for similar students growing up. Many times, she was pulled away from the educational system but was fortunate to find key mentors who led her back and encouraged her journey. To give back, she has dedicated her career to building innovative models of high-quality educational programs to meet the needs of all students, especially those underestimated first-generation college, low-income, black, and Latinx students who have been underserved.

Maldonado received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Hispanic Studies from Brown University and is currently pursuing an executive M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She is a proud alumnus of the Surge Institute Fellowship, member of Education Leaders of Color and Señoritas Latinas Unidas, and served on the board of Instituto del Progreso Latino.

Be grateful for your accomplishments but never forget that you did not get there alone. Always ask – how am I supporting those coming after me to also achieve their wildest dreams?

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