Artavia joins ATC with over 25 years of experience leading nonprofits. A native of Chicago, she has held leadership positions with Meals on Wheels Chicago, Chicago SCORES, Public Allies Chicago, Building with Books, LaSalle Senior Center, and Christ the King Jesuit High School. Upon arriving in the Bay Area almost a decade ago, Artavia served as CEO of Super Stars Literacy in Oakland where she provided literacy support to students and families.
Artavia currently serves as a Director with Multiplying Good, helping to elevate non-profit leaders throughout the Bay Area through the KPIX Jefferson Awards and as Chair of the Hayward Community Service Commission where she helps distribute $1.5M annually for community safety nets and helps to shape public policy related to anti-racism, racial equity, re-imagining policing, housing for all, food security, business development and culturally relevant education for BIPOC youth. Artavia holds a BA in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago, a BA in Theology and a Master of Divinity from Grace Christian Seminary.
ATC sat down with Artavia to ask her a little more about her life and experiences:
What are some fun facts about yourself?
I love traveling outside of our country to experience different cultures. My favorite trips so far were solo trips – one to Mali, West Africa and another to Asia visiting Tokyo, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. In my family, I’m known as the “Sleeper Chef”, smile. I spent a good portion of my childhood learning how to cook from my Granny. My most requested dishes are southern fried catfish, black eyed peas, leg of lamb and my secret lasagna. Another fun fact is that I was raised in the Christian church and was ordained at 15 years old.
What is your connection to the Bay Area?
My first visit to the Bay Area was around 2000 or so, for an Executive Director conference. I fell in love instantly with the community. Very fond memories of China Town, the Wharf, the food, the history of Oakland and the culture. After that visit, I knew if I ever left Chicago, the Bay would be the only other place in the US that I’d want to live. Fast forward a couple of decades, I was offered an amazing opportunity to lead a youth serving non-profit organization in the Bay Area and I knew it was time to relocate to my second home.
Since 2013 I have called the Bay Area home and very quickly became deeply involved in our community. In addition to my service as a non-profit CEO, I’ve also been privileged to serve on several non-profit boards, serve as a Community Services Commissioner, served to secure 2 Promise Neighborhood Initiative grants, and became an Alum of both LeaderSpring and Emerge California.
How did you get into this line of work?
Hmmm.. blame the Black Church and Michelle Obama, smile. As a young person growing up in the Black Church, service to our community was a core expression of the faith. Learning about the Christ who turned over tables, who challenged traditional church leaders, who fed and healed thousands was central to both shaping and clarifying who I am & what I’m called to do: serve and inspire others. At 18 years old, I served in AmeriCorps in Public Allies Chicago under Michelle. She was my first example of a girl from black Chicago using education and service to lift herself, her family and others. She was my first model of who I could become; she exposed me to the opportunity to build a career of service. I’ve been in the sector ever since, learning, leading and doing my best to move resources into communities often ignored… and hopefully inspiring others to do what they can to help create a more just society for everyone along the way.
What is your personal mission/vision/philosophy?
My personal philosophy is to live each and every day with a spirit of gratitude. Gratefulness for what privileges, blessings and capacity I do have is a powerful framework for dealing with difficulties and challenges; it forces me to exercise my capacity to problem solve creatively, to build the mental fortitude to persevere and helps keep me centered through the storms of life. This portion of my philosophy is also most helpful, as I live out my calling to inspire others to become the best version of themselves that they can dream of.