We are thrilled to announce our new Executive Director, Gloria Soto!
After an exhaustive interview process which included interviews with youth, staff, community partners and the FLA Board of Directors, we are happy to share that the Board appointed Gloria Soto as FLA’s incoming Executive Director.
“The Board of Directors is thrilled to have Ms. Soto lead FLA into its next chapter,” said Board Chair Teresa Alvarez. “After an extensive interview process, it was clear that her experience in the non-profit sector and her roots in our community make her the ideal candidate. We look forward to working alongside Ms. Soto to continue supporting our local Latinx youth.”
Ms. Soto joins FLA with over ten years of non-profit experience. Prior to accepting the position, Gloria was the Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood California Central Coast (PPCCC) where she led public policy efforts regionally and supported state and federal reproductive health care policy initiatives. Originally from Santa Maria, Ms. Soto’s first experience with FLA was at the young age of 14 and since, she has been an active supporter of Future Leaders as a volunteer and past board member. In 2018, Gloria Soto was elected to the Santa Maria City Council, making history by becoming the youngest woman ever to be elected at age 29. She has led with heart and courage, hoping to transform her community.
Ms. Soto will begin her tenure at FLA on Monday August 9, 2021. We are confident that Ms. Soto will hit the ground running and continue to build FLA’s legacy on the Central Coast.
“It’s an honor and privilege to join the FLA team!” said Gloria Soto. “As an FLA alumni, I know the impact of the organization’s mission. I look forward to working with FLA’s impressive team, its youth, and community partners in my new role.”
Gloria Soto was born, raised, and educated in Santa Maria. She is the daughter of immigrant farm-worker parents, who made numerous sacrifices to ensure she would have a better life. Gloria took advantage of opportunities afforded to her by her family and community; she is a proud past participant of Future Farmers of America and Future Leaders of America (FLA).
Gloria has dedicated her young professional career to advancing reproductive healthcare access on the Central Coast. Since 2011, Gloria has served in various positions at Planned Parenthood California Central Coast (PPCCC), including education, public affairs, and development. As the Director of Public Affairs, she recently worked to expand access to quality reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion, through community engagement and public policy. Her commitment to her community has also led her to serve on the boards of community-based organizations. Gloria served four years as a Board of Directors for FLA, one of the largest Latinx youth-serving organizations in the state of California, and also sits on the board for The Fund for Santa Barbara.
Gloria was elected in 2018 as part of the national wave of young women of color seeking to bring representation to local governments. She is the first Councilmember to be elected under Santa Maria’s new district election system and, at age 29, made history by being the youngest woman elected. Gloria is only the sixth woman to be elected to the City Council.
Today she and her family reside in Santa Maria. Gloria is bilingual, bi-cultural, and deeply connected to the many communities on the Central Coast. Gloria attended Pioneer Valley High School and earned her Associates’ Degree at Allan Hancock College and her B.A. at Chapman University.