Our people

Jessica Godinez
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Jessica Godinez

Latino Conservation Week Manager

As a first-generation Mexican American, Jessica feels naturally drawn to support immigrant communities in navigating the systems of a new country while striving for social equity. Jessica's family lived near Richmond, Virginia for several years before moving to rural Montpelier, Virginia; there, Jessica's love for nature continued to grow as did the gardens around her family home.

Prior to joining the Hispanic Access team, Jessica nourished her love of the outdoors with a job at REI and worked toward social equity by partnering with local nonprofits serving the needs of immigrants. Projects she worked on included an initiative to provide interpreting services and a family literacy program. Most recently, Jessica worked with the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado through a rigorous internship program in which she engaged with partners to provide opportunities for underrepresented communities to enjoy and steward public lands. She is passionate about re-connecting communities with their innate relationship with nature.

She graduated from George Mason University with a bachelor's degree in global affairs with concentrations in environment and international development.

Why she works for Hispanic Access…

“I first got connected with Hispanic Access through the MANO Project before it was the MANO Project. After an amazing internship experience with the U.S. Forest Service, I applied to be a conservation program associate with Hispanic Access—a role very similar to my role during the internship. I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of other young Latino professionals like myself the same way Hispanic Access and the MANO team did for me. From the beginning, I've been motivated by wanting to give back to the community that helped nurture and teach me.”

In her spare time…

“In this stage of my life, I spend my free time with my husband, pets, garden, plants, and loved ones. I'm an avid reader, love moving my body with fitness, yoga, hiking, climbing, dancing poorly whenever there's music, and spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking, cooking, and creating new recipes. I'm a volunteer with local mutual aid groups, as a recreational soccer coach, and as a volunteer with Latino Outdoors. I'm an outdoor enthusiast and love climbing, camping, hiking, but mostly just existing as a human outside. Most importantly, my free time is full of things that intentionally bring me life and healing.”

Her favorite book…

“I could never pick just one favorite book. I've been a huge reader since I was a child (picture THAT kid who always had a book in hand) and have fallen in love with so many different books, stories, characters, and genres throughout the years.  Just a few of the books that have impacted me most at different stages in my life include The Kite Runner, and really all of Khaled Hosseini's novels for the perspective they gave me; Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, for feeding my soul; and The Phantom Tollbooth and the Harry Potter series, for providing a magical escape and a place to let my imagination run wild as a kid.”

A person she finds inspirational…

“Literally everyone I've been able to share space with has inspired and motivated me in many areas of my life—from coworkers, to friends, authors, thought-leaders, and field experts. To highlight just one person, I'd name Dr. Carolyn Finney, who is an amazing storyteller; her speeches inspired me to get involved in conservation and equitable access as a beginner in my career field. Her grace, passion, strength, and powerful storytelling inspires me to lean fully into myself as an individual and as an active participant in dismantling systems of oppression, starting with learning and unlearning within myself.”

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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