Birthplace: San Francisco, CA. Organization: PRIDE Industries. Title: SVP / Chief Workforce Inclusion Officer. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers. Significant other: Special education inclusion teacher Christopher Luebke. Children: Mom to an amazing adult son, Antonio E. Contreras. Alma mater: Cal Poly SLO; University of San Francisco.
Recent recognition:] Jefferson Award Winner for my portfolio of disability inclusion advocacy work. Recent professional development: Landing my dream job as SVP / Chief Workforce Inclusion Officer at PRIDE Industries, the largest employer of people with disabilities in the country. What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? With zero filmmaking knowledge or experience, I produced and co-directed an award-winning feature documentary called You Can Be BRAVE about my journey advocating for my son, who has an intellectual disability, to be included in all areas of society. Last book read: Subscribed, by Tien Tzuo. Recently viewed and recommended: As We See It (Amazon Prime Video). Recent unique acquisition: An autographed original script of the movie Good Will Hunting.
Personality profile: Filipina Wonder Woman; passionate disability inclusion expert; I get the impossible done. Personal strengths: My top five CliftonStrengths are Strategic; Achiever; Relator; Arranger; Self-Assurance. Moral compass: Always do the right thing. You may not see immediate returns, but you are paving the way for others who come after you. What is your greatest joy? Seeing my son be brave and resilient in the face of ignorance and discrimination; working hard every day for his right to be happy and included in society. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? My husband’s profession, special education inclusion teachers. What is at the top of your bucket list? A week-long vacation with my husband in New York City, taking in a Billy Joel concert, several Broadway shows, a Knicks game at the Garden against my favorite team, the Golden State Warriors, lunches at famous delis and dinners at Italian restaurants.
What book have you repeatedly read? Research Conversations and Narrative: A Critical Hermeneutic Orientation in Participatory Inquiry, by Dr. Ellen A. Herda. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Shawshank Redemption. What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? A painting of Steph Curry and my son holding the 2015 NBA championship trophy. What is the best advice you received in your career? Leverage your strengths and outsource or manage around your weaknesses. What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Zoom.
A replicable, sustainable and disability inclusive ecosystem of housing, education, employers and community, where people live, learn, work, and play together. What change would you like to see in the world? I want to see a world that is fully inclusive of people with disabilities, and an equitable society where black, indigenous, and people of color belong.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? In the Arena. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Lea Salonga. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up?A sports reporter and play-by-play announcer for the NBA. What object would you first save from your burning home? A painting of my husband and me. How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? With my husband and son at a Golden State Warriors game. What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t be who people expect you to be; be who you were meant to be.
Personal mission: My calling is to make the world a more inclusive place to which people with disabilities and people of color belong. Favorite quote: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." (Theodore Roosevelt).