Women Embracing Equity Moderator/Panelists
Janet Gracia – Moderator
Chief Culture Officer at Girl Scouts of MN & WI River Valleys
Janet is non-profit leader in the twin cities for organizations that make a difference in the community. She currently is the Chief Culture Officer at Girl Scouts of MN & WI River Valleys after holding various positions at this organization over the last 27 years. Janet has extensive experience in cross-functional management of programs, volunteer management, training and talent acquisition and retention strategies. As an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator Janet has successfully led GSRV as a change agent to prioritize and support staff in increasing their cultural competency. Janet is and is a leader both locally and nationally in diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and racial justice in the workplace.
Natalie Standridge – Panelist
Founder & CEO of Casa de Corazón, partners with families to profoundly impact the world for
children through Spanish immersion early childhood education.
Natalie has been working in Early Childhood Education since 1999 and began her multi-location program in 2002. Prior to her work experience, she graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota receiving a bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science, a minor in Spanish, and an area of emphasis in cultural youth studies. Her inspiration to create something unique to the field of early education came when she needed childcare for her own first born. After searching extensively, she could not find anyone providing high quality, dual language childcare. There were no Spanish immersion schools at the birth to 5 level in Minnesota. So, Natalie created the program that today is Casa de Corazón. Casa is more than
just a language program. It is a unique childcare model focused on environmental consciousness, a caring approach to teaching, and intercultural learning. From making healthy food in-house to providing cloth diapering, Casa has incorporated social, environmental, and health priorities into a Spanish Immersion curriculum, providing a well-rounded option for the first education of each child.
Karina Villeda – Panelist
Student, Activist, Leader
Karina Villeda is a mother, student, and future lawyer. Karina grew up surrounded by diversity and saw her community interacting with the law in many ways. This inspired her to want to go to school to become a lawyer to help her community. Her goal is for everyone to have a voice. As a student at Inver Hills Community College, she is working toward her degree in political science. She plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2023 to finish her bachelor’s degree and study for the LSAT. Karina is currently serving as the Vice-President of LeadMN, President of the Student Senate, she is a peer coach at her college, and spends time lobbying to make community college free and accessible to everyone.
Celina Martina – Panelist
Senior Manager of Metro Transit Diversity Equity and Inclusion
Celina is a graduate of Hamline University with a Bachelor in Spanish Education and Sociology. She has dedicated her professional career to Education and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. At Metro Transit she is now working towards re-building an equitable transit system. One that attempts to correct disparities created by racist and discriminatory policies and practices in land use, transportation, and transit planning. Our transit system has created wide gaps in transit access across race, income, and other characteristics, exacerbating social inequity. The goal, as the pandemic curves down, is to provide the highest quality service and the best access to opportunity to people who have been marginalized and
negatively impacted by prior transit decisions.