Denise Padín Collazo
Senior Advisor for External Affairs and Director of Institutional Advancement and Author
Faith in Action
Latinas, and women of color more broadly, are closest to injustice and are best suited to provide just solutions.
Denise Collazo is squarely focused on encouraging women of color to lead into their vision, live into their fullest selves, and love past negatives that too often hold them back. She is a gifted speaker who leaves listeners compelled to take action on how they can act on their purpose. She mentors, coaches, and raises funds in collaboration with other women to find the just solutions we so desperately need. By doing this, she models what a woman working with and for women really looks like.
She’s as comfortable speaking with people in their living room or front porch as she is meeting with national political and corporate leaders to advance social change for families. This is a gift she was given by her ancestors.
Her book Thriving in the Fight: A Survival Manual for Latinas on the Front Lines of Change has been named a finalist for the 2021 International Latino Book Award in three categories, including Best Latina-Themed Book. It will be released in Spanish in October, 2021.
Denise is the senior advisor for external affairs and director of institutional advancement at Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network), the nation’s largest faith-based, progressive organizing network, where she has advanced the cause of social justice over the past twenty-five years. As senior advisor she represents Faith in Action with foundation and corporate executives, builds strategic partnerships with organizational executives across the movement for change, and is crafting a national individual membership program to expand Faith in Action to all fifty states.
She has served as community organizer at Oakland Community Organizations; executive director of what is now called Faith in Action Bay Area; and Faith in Action national director of development, national deputy director, and national chief of staff. She began her advocacy career in Washington, DC, as a fellow at the National Puerto Rican Coalition and program associate for Community Change.
She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Romance language and literature and completed all the requirements for pre-medicine. Her thesis, written in Spanish, explored the role of the Taino people in Puerto Rican literature across time.
Denise attended the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Women and Power program, where she partnered with fifty international leaders across sectors. She is an official member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council, an invitation-only organization for executives in successful nonprofit organizations.
Denise has led successful advocacy campaigns to win valuable, lasting change in people’s lives, including better housing, improved transit, and better wages. In 2002, she led her organization to run a local ballot measure for affordable housing. This effort served as one of the first Faith in Action attempts to influence policy via voting. In 2012, she led the successful Florida statewide No on 3 campaign to stop a dangerous revenue measure that would have decimated funding for vulnerable families. In 2016 she led the national Together We Vote campaign, which held 829,000 conversations with Black, Latinx, white, and Asian and Pacific Islander voters, who are regularly ignored by campaigns and candidates. She helped lay the early groundwork for the 2018 Florida Yes on 4 campaign to restore voting rights to people returning from incarceration. The measure eventually passed under the leadership of Desmond Meade and Pastor Rhonda Walker-Thomas.
Denise may be able to help you grow your leadership via:
– Mentoring and impact coaching for leaders of color
– Providing technical support for action-oriented senior executives to center the leadership of Black and Brown women
– Creating sustainable organizational structures that help employees better integrate family and work, and grow their creativity
– Developing culturally competent, strategic community organizing plans
Denise enjoys sharing her thoughts about community organizing with a particular focus on women’s leadership. Her work has been featured in CNN.com, the Miami Herald, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Forbes Nonprofit Council.
She refills her tank by riding her bike, going to the beach, and reading. Denise is married to the love of her life, Julio Cesar Collazo. Her daughter Elisa and grandbaby Leyla Rose are the sparkle in her eye.
Visit her website at www.DeniseCollazo.com.