Stephanie Barreto-Lastra is a passionate social justice advocate with a decade of experience in community engagement and leadership development. Most recently she worked at the N.Y.C. Department of Education where she served as Community Affairs Manager and Field Manager from 2018 – 2021. As Community Affairs Manager she acted as a liaison with education advocates and created opportunities to bring them into the policy making process. Additionally she helped facilitate local school integration efforts in Queens and served as one of five central office appointees to the National Bridges Collaborative on school integration with the Century Foundation. In her position as Field Manager she led a team of Outreach Specialists that implemented transformative family engagement practices at 250 Community Schools throughout the city. In addition to her experience in city government, Stephanie brings years of experience in volunteer management and youth programming. During her tenure at Free Arts NYC from 2014 – 2018 she led recruitment, screening and training for over 1,500 volunteers across all programs. She later transitioned into the role of Program Manager where she helped launch the Creative Career Exploration program aimed at creating a pipeline for youth from underserved communities into the competitive N.Y.C. creative industry. The program centered relationship building through mentoring provided by volunteer industry professionals along with professional development workshops and a paid summer internship for youth.
Stephanie gained foundational knowledge on the importance of relationship-building and its role in mobilizing collective power as a Community Engagement Fellow with the Center for Neighborhood Leadership (affiliated with Public Allies N.Y.) and later as a Community Organizer with the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center. There she worked with a multiracial coalition of street vendors and helped start a campaign to lift the cap on vending licenses which recently passed in early 2021. The lessons she learned on the role of political education and using power analysis to strategically guide campaigns for change are something she has carried with her in every role she has held since.
Stephanie is a graduate of Barnard College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with a specialization in Sociology in 2011. During her time as a student she was involved in various student activist organizations that shaped her future as a change agent. In her personal time Stephanie is a core member of Rimay Raiz, a grassroots collective that aims to connect and uplift stories of people from the Andean diaspora in Latin American and the U.S. through oral histories, exhibits and virtual community gatherings. Until recently she served as Mentorship Co-Chair for the First Generation Low Income alumni network at Columbia University. Utilizing her expertise in managing mentorship programs she helped create opportunities for current students and alumni to share guidance and support for first generation students navigating academia and the professional world with limited networks of access. She also volunteered with the New York Women’s Foundation in their Grants Advisory Committee for the 2017 cycle. During her time as a National Urban Fellow she is most interested in continuing to explore the field of Philanthropy and strategically leveraging her community engagement and leadership development skills in the field.