Top 5 Strengths: Empathy│Developer│Harmony│Positivity│Achiever
Corazon Catalysts embodies the complexity of identity and experiences that fuel my passion to create change with heart, courage and compassion.
Founder and Principal
she/her/hers | MSW, CNP
Email: ruthoj at corazoncatalysts dot org
Ruth’s approach is shaped by her experience, education, and development in the following areas:
Having studied and worked in the nonprofit sector for 20+ years, Ruth brings a deep commitment to business practices with a consciousness. She values transparency and accountability in policies, procedures, and practices and understands that to achieve this requires a commitment to fostering an authentic and adaptable equity-driven culture across all levels of a system.
As a micro to macro social worker, Ruth brings an understanding that we all participate in dismantling and perpetuating dysfunctional systems, and that it’s important as change agents to be able to tackle systemic inequities for the long haul. To do this, we’ll find greater success by meeting people where they are and by being harder on the systems and softer on the people.
oRGANIZING & ADVOCACY
Having worked as a community organizer and on various educational equity campaigns, Ruth gained experience in maximizing resources through collaboration rather than competition, trusting in people and constituent power sharing, and the skill of backwards planning as well as setting nimble and adaptive goals. Underlying this all is a fundamental shift from hero-based leadership to being a host and container for change.
hANDS-ON CAPACITY BUILDING
Ruth gained a deep value for learning through doing and leading with emerging experience while working at a youth-led organization years ago. As a supervisor and executive, Ruth provided opportunities for staff, volunteers, and interns to take risks and gain skills while putting systems in place for the next person to build upon - fostering a mutually beneficial capacity building approach that transcends the individual and organization.
I bring 20+ years of experience and education in the nonprofit sector where I have worked to create systems change through values-driven leadership practices that advance equity. As the former executive director of the California School-Age Consortium (CalSAC), I worked in partnership with staff and constituents to co-design a statewide fellowship for leaders of color, grow the largest network of youth development trainers in the country, elevate base building advocacy efforts, and launch a grassroots philanthropic capacity building initiative. I pride myself on fostering a strong organizational culture that leads with values, acts with integrity, and strives to be and cultivate equity-driven leaders – recognizing that we’re all part of a larger social justice movement. Following CalSAC, I founded Corazon Catalysts and joined the Thrive Paradigm team to continue to be in service to individuals and organizations striving for transformative impact.
Prior to CalSAC, I ran statewide programs and advocacy campaigns working toward higher education access and affordability, led national programs for LGBTQ+ equality, facilitated DEI trainings, and tackled civil liberties violations with campus and community groups. My academic education includes an MSW with an emphasis in advocacy and organizing from CSU Fresno and a CNP from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. I'm an alum of LeaderSpring's Executive Director Fellowship and CompassPoint's Fundraising Bright Spots Program, as well as a participant in capacity building programs with Rockridge Art of Leadership and the Center for Strategic Facilitation. I recently served as the co-chair of the CA Department of Education Expanded Learning Division Workforce Strategy Committee, co-chair of the CA AfterSchool Network, and CA State Affiliate Leader of the National Afterschool Association.
My perseverance, adaptability, and humility were shaped by my rural and diverse upbringing. I migrated from numerous dairy farms in California, Washington and Oregon where child care, afterschool and summer learning consisted of feeding calves, hide and seek in the fog, and playing the clarinet. From a working poor, bi-racial and multi-cultural family, I experienced the inequities of class and racial discrimination, including the failure of the criminal justice and education systems. The only in my family to graduate from a university and with lighter skin, I also experienced privileges that come with access to higher education and whiteness that others in my family did not. From rural, high poverty farm working communities with limited access and opportunity to an executive career and wealth of resources in the San Francisco Bay Area, I continue to straddle a kaleidoscope of truths – leveraging the rich dichotomy and complexity of all aspects of my identity to fuel my passion to empower and influence change.
While my heart resides in the farmlands of Central California and spirit in the urban hub of progress in Oakland, my home is currently in the suburbs of San Antonio, Texas with my wife and our beloved pets. In my free time, I can be found traveling the country by RV, contemplating the meaning of life, engaging in acts of kindness, and contributing to Maven Youth, a nonprofit empowering LGBTQ+ youth through career exploration, consciousness raising, and leadership development.
I look forward to creating meaningful change together!