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2017 Latina of Influence | Josefina Elizabeth Canchola

Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize Associate Director of Partnerships with Puente and community volunteer Josefina Elizabeth Canchola as a 2017 Latina of Influence. Ms. Canchola along with our entire list of 2017 Latinas of Influence are invited to participate in Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latina Conference taking place April 5 – 6, 2017 in Ontario, California.

About the Video, we spoke with Ms. Canchola at a Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) meeting held in Riverside, California. She spoke about her involvement with the organization, commitment to helping students get a college education and the Puente Program.

Josefina E. Canchola

Josefina Elizabeth Canchola was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on October 26, 1964. Her father Jose, was a migrant worker with the Bracero Program, who died four months before her birth in the fields of Yuma, Arizona. Her young widowed mother (Maria De La Luz) was left to care for her only daughter. When Josefina was three years old, her mother decided to venture off to Los Angeles to find new opportunities for both her and her daughter. Both mother and daughter joined Josefina’s maternal grandparents in East Los Angeles—where she spent most of her youth. It was during this time that Maria re-married to Antonio Rivera. Her second marriage produced four more children; Dolores, Ricardo, Susana and Jesse.

Since the gang activity in Josefina’s East Los Angeles community was very prominent at that time, her step father and mother decided to move the family to Whittier, California. Josefina then attended Pioneer High School, where she graduated from in 1983. After graduation, Josefina went directly to a four year college and attended The University of California, Riverside where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1988—she is the first in her family to get both a high school and college diplomas. Josefina continued her education and also holds a Masters in Management Degree from the University of Phoenix (July 2006).

Her involvement in numerous campus activities including; Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MeCha), Las Chicanas, UCR Choral Ensemble, Hispanic Business Society, Nuestra Cosa Newspaper and Radio Aztlan allowed her the opportunity to be offered a job at UCR after graduation by then Chancellor Rosemary Schraer.

Josefina began her professional career as the Program Coordinator for Chicano Student Programs (CSP) on the UCR campus. After a five year professional career at UC Riverside with CSP and the Office of Governmental Relations, she accepted a position as a Community Relations Assistant with the City of Riverside’s City Managers Department. After five years as a civil servant, Josefina worked for the Riverside Unified School District as the Community Services Manager serving as liaison between the Superintendent of Schools and the at large community. In 2001, Josefina was given an opportunity to join the University of California Office of the President staff as a Regional Project Coordinator (RPC) for the Puente Project—an academic preparation program for underserve students. She was then promoted her current position as Associate Director of Partnerships with Puente, where her focus is governmental relations, program partnership building and resource development.

Josefina has been awarded for her community involvement and has received numerous recognitions including: 2014 Woman of the Year Award for the 57th Assembly District, 2012 Woman of the Distinction Award for The 56th Assembly District-City of Santa Fe Springs, Exemplary Employee Award for the University of California Office of the President, State of California’s Community Service Award by then Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, Riverside County’s YWCA’s Woman of Achievement Award, the City of San Bernardino’s Community Service Award, Senator Robert Presley Award of Merit, Rotary Club or Riverside’s Book of Golden Deeds Award and the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project’s Robert Gracia Volunteer of the Year Award amongst many others. Most recently, Josefina received The 2013 UC Berkeley’s Chancellors Award for Public Service—the highest awards given to staff on campus. She was selected as the awardee amongst several hundred staff nominees.

Josefina also holds several key volunteer roles including: Board Member of the University of California, Riverside’s Alumni Association, Rio Hondo College’s Citizens Oversight Committee, Advisory Board Member of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute, Presidential Advisory to the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) and Chair of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Baccalaureate Mass Committee and Member of the Parent Booster Club for the Children’s Choir.

Josefina is a single mother of two children; Julia Abigail (12) and Darryl Antonio (5). When Josefina is not busy with work, volunteering at her children’s school or doing community service she enjoys writing, listening to music and baking.

nominated by Richard Sandoval.  Thank you HOPE for allowing us to capture this interview at your meeting.


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