Alex Castilla has joined our team as a Program Associate, focused on managing our Fulcrum Fellowship. New to the DC area, Alex most recently worked for the San Francisco Foundation, helping the foundation’s learning and evaluation team implement the Results Count program to improve organizational effectiveness. Alex is a huge cook, vinyasa yoga enthusiast, and dedicated volunteer for causes that closely align with her experience, including women’s issues and immigration.
Welcome, Alex! How would you describe your role at CCI?
My role cuts across all of CCI’s programs, but I primarily support the Fulcrum Fellowship, CCI’s leadership development program. Working closely with staff and partners, I keep track of the various components of the program and make sure we are realizing our intended impact. I’ll also be supporting AIHC and Connect Capital, which will allow me to use my past experience working in learning and evaluation at the San Francisco Foundation to surface learning, connect the dots between programs, and help make connections to external audiences interested about what we are up to.
What about the Center’s work most excites you?
I haven’t worked in community investment before, so joining CCI is a huge learning opportunity. Results Count provides some of the framing for CCI’s programs, so I’m excited to see how it is applied in a new context, in rooms with leaders from different areas of work aiming to achieve a variety of results. I’m thrilled to be able to see more of this incredible facilitation and program work in action.
Tell us more about Results Count, and what that looked like at the San Francisco Foundation. Results Count is a program where the goal is to equip leaders with the tools, resources, and space to be able to think about how to advance equitable outcomes in the communities they’re serving better and more collaboratively. For the San Francisco Foundation, we were focused on internal staff, changing workstyles, de-siloing the foundation’s work, training people on concepts like adaptive leadership, and building our capacity around impact evaluation to better inform decisions on grantmaking.
How did you find your way to this interesting work at the San Francisco Foundation?
I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 where I studied communications and psychology. The communications major was interdisciplinary, so I studied all things from public policy to media theory and of what I studied in the psychology major, I especially loved the components related to organizational psychology and human development. I had a number of internships in the Bay Area including one doing communications work for the San Francisco Mayor’s office, which is where I found out about SFF and their HOPE SF partnership with the City. I applied for a role at SFF on their learning and evaluation team, and it ended up matching my interests in organizational development and communication strategy very well. It was there that I was introduced to the world of leadership development, which I fell in love with, as someone who is very learning oriented and enjoys personal development work.
When you’re not at work, you are…
I love to cook. I come from a family of Cuban cooks, so I grew up on arroz con pollo and picadillo (two very unhealthy, very delicious meals), and love experimenting with new recipes and ways of cooking. I also practice vinyasa yoga, and am trying to be more active, getting outside to hike. I like to spend my time volunteering, and am about to start a volunteer job supporting people in their preparation for citizenship exams. My grandparents are Cuban immigrants and became citizens in Washington D.C. I like work that matches my experience and capabilities with my personal history.
People would be surprised to know…
That I’m Cuban. As someone who is white but carries the experience of Latinx people, I think about how to hold that position and leverage it in conversations that need to happen when navigating spaces of white dominant culture.
What is your media diet?
I read best with real magazines and newspapers, and I subscribe to the New Yorker. I’ve tried to transform my social media accounts into an actual newsfeed, so I follow accounts like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Vox, as well as various thought leaders I respect. I also listen to a lot of podcasts, including The Daily, 99% Invisible, and Pod Save America.