Trujillo Guajardo is part of the 22-fellow cohort that is said to be one of the most diverse—in terms of industry, geography, gender, sexual identification and Latino identity—in the program’s four-year history, said LLI Associate Director Curtis Esquibel.
“I wanted to connect with other Latino professionals and examine how we can harness our power collectively as a multiethnic group of people when society wants to lump us all together in a way that doesn’t define us,” Trujillo Guajardo said about her inspiration for applying to the program.
She was absolutely thrilled when she found out she was selected.
“I’m honored to be a part of the program and excited to learn and to share,” she added.
Trujillo Guajardo’s advocacy work and experience in the non-profit sector made her a perfect candidate for the program, Esquibel said.
“Andrea brings a dynamic background as a non-profit leader, environmental advocate and engineer who is deeply rooted in Colorado,” Esquibel said. “She has a vested interest in spending her life as a protector of Colorado's natural environment, lifestyle, and culture—in particular in the San Luis Valley, where she is from.”
The goal of the fellowship program is the elevate and advance Latino leadership in Colorado across multiple sectors and industries, Esquibel said.
Trujillo Guajardo grew up in the rural town of Antonito, Colo., and later received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. After working in engineering for several years, she shifted her focus to environmental protection and social justice work, founding the Antonito, Colo.-based non-profit Conejos Clean Water. She served as executive director of the organization for a time before becoming a board member.
She founded Rural Project Services, through which she provides project management expertise in renewable energy and non-profit management to municipalities, including the Town of Antonito and Lafayette, and non-profits, including Lakewood, Colo.-based Zero Waste Services (for which she serves as president).
“My work has always been responding to the needs of the community and what’s going to help people experience fewer negative impacts to their health,” Trujillo Guajardo said.
Currently, she serves as the operations director for the Denver, Colo.-based Latino Cultural Arts Center, a local non-profit working to establish a four-part campus in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood that will include a museum, an academy, a library and an already-established store.
Trujillo Guajardo, Esquibel said, “is a connector who cares utmost about building community and empowering Latinos to become more engaged in the issues around them.”
About the LLI Fellowship
The Latino Leadership Institute runs two fellowships a year—a winter cohort that goes from January to September, and a summer cohort that goes from July to March. Each cohort incorporates 12 hours of classroom sessions per month, plus the time it takes complete projects and coursework.
Esquibel said this program is vital for many reasons. For one, Esquibel explained, Latinos will account for for 50 percent of Colorado’s workforce replacement in the next five years; and the Latino population will increase from 21 to 33 percent over the next two decades. Given these numbers, Latinos are still underrepresented in executive roles across industries.
“It’s important to develop a pipeline of networked leaders who are ready to serve in positions of power and influence as executives, board members and commissioners,” he added. The program is open to Latino leaders all over the state, not just in the Denver metro area.