kourtney andrada has been working in the field of youth development for over 15 years. Her personal and professional experience in equity and social justice are leveraged to support youth serving organizations. Her mission is to develop, support and model leadership to activate underrepresented women, girls and their families to become change agents within their communities.
kourtney is a Southern California Native who grew up in a low-income community of color. kourtney’s first family is comprised of her single mother, and three sisters who grounded her in her early experiences with feminism and reproductive rights woven into the intersections of class and race. After moving to Santa Cruz and attending the University of California to study Pre-med kourtney began to substantiate the concepts and put language to the inequities that she experienced in her upbringing. The culture shock she experienced during her time at UCSC ignited kourtney’s passion and commitment to working to change systems that perpetuate dominant culture and marginalize communities. With this passion she began her career in youth work as a College Advisor for first generation high school students in the migrant farm working community of Watsonville, CA. This work was instrumental in guiding kourtney’s career path into youth work and showed the impact that programs have not only on young people, but in their families and communities. This led kourtney to her values of counter-dominant leadership, for herself, others and communities.
In 2006, kourtney started her work in direct service with girls in Oakland working for Girls Inc. of Alameda County. While in direct service kourtney led STEM programs for girls, Reproductive Health and Advocacy programs and worked with underperforming schools to improve the reading levels of their students. In each of these roles, kourtney’s focus has been supporting black and brown young people in accessing content and navigating systems to find success through her curriculum design, training of youth development professionals and leading teams. She currently serves as the Senior Director of School-Based Programs, overseeing gender-responsive programming in Oakland, CA.
Over the last 10 years, kourtney has shifted her focus to investing in and equipping the youth development workforce by taking advantage of multiple opportunities to grow through fellowships, board leadership, committees and task forces, all the while creating space for others to do the same. kourtney has used these platforms to advance equity and disrupt dominant leadership within herself, teams she leads and the afterschool landscape of California. She has served as a Board Member of Berkeley Youth Alternatives since 2015, is an Alumna of CalSAC Leadership Development Institute for Emerging Leaders of Color and National Afterschool Matters Fellowship; her certifications include being a CalSAC Senior Certified Trainer and Weikart Program Quality Assessor. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the CDE EXLD Workforce Strategy Committee.
With these personal and professional experiences kourtney is eager to expand into the role of Project Associate with Thrive Paradigm. She will continue in service of her vision to stand as an extraordinary leader for those who want to follow and rise beyond the status quo, those who need a starting point from which to spring into their own success.