was appointed Senior Program Officer for the California Democracy program in 2012. At Irvine, Connie is engaged in grantmaking related to civic engagement and governance reform.
Connie currently serves as a Commissioner for the first-ever California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Charged with implementation of Propositions 11 and 20, the Voters First Act and Voters First Act for Congress, respectively, the commission oversaw an intensive civic education, engagement and map-making process for the state in 2011. On August 15, 2011, the commission certified final Assembly, Senate, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts that will guide elections over the next ten years. Connie’s interviews and articles on redistricting reform have been featured in such outlets as the San Francisco Chronicle, Univision, and KQED’s This Week in Northern California.
Before joining Irvine, Connie served as Senior Director of Programs for Urban Habitat, a nonprofit in Oakland, California. Connie directed Urban Habitat’s environmental justice planning, policy and movement-building work across California and helped develop the landmark Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute model. The institute was launched in 2009 to identify, train, place and support low-income people and people of color for priority public-sector commissions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its inception, the institute has broken down institutional barriers and helped dispel perceptions about the "lack of qualified candidates" to serve on decision-making bodies in the Bay Area.
Prior to Urban Habitat, Connie led the Regional Sustainability Initiative at Redefining Progress. She started her career in resource distribution and planning for United Way in Riverside, California, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia. Through a graduate fellowship from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Connie also supported the Earned Asset Resource Network (EARN), Spanish-Speaking Unity Council, and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) on local community planning projects. She earned her master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in communications and Spanish from La Sierra University.
Connie previously served as Membership Inclusion Director for the American Planning Association’s California Chapter, seeding diversity initiatives within the urban planning profession. In 2012, Connie was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her environmental justice leadership. She previously served on the board of the California Planning Foundation and was a founding board member of AFAAD: Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora.