Rebecca Estrada Is Named to Cohort for Women of Color in Leadership Positions

February 25, 2016 | Chicago, IL

Rebecca Estrada

Rebecca Estrada was selected alongside 18 other women of color in leadership positions to participate in the year-long Cultivate cohort. FILE PHOTO

The Chicago Foundation for Women, Crossroads Fund, Woods Fund Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust recently announced its 2016 Cultivate: Women of Color Leadership cohort, a distinguished group of women leaders that includes Erie Neighborhood House senior staff member Rebecca Estrada.

The senior director of programs and quality assurance at Erie House, Estrada looks forward to participating in the cohort alongside 18 other leaders in Chicago’s nonprofit community. “It’s a really good opportunity,” says Estrada. “The idea is to build a pipeline for women in leadership—and women of color in particular—that will give us tools and resources.”

Data suggests that women of color are vastly underrepresented in positions of leadership in professional settings. Enter the Cultivate cohort, launched with an established goal of addressing this disparity and building a strong, effective network of women leaders.

This year’s cohort reflects diversity both in terms of racial/ethnic identity as well as the justice concerns addressed by its participants’ respective organizations. “You have women in the cohort from all across the spectrum,” explains Estrada. These issues range from gender equity and racial justice to civil rights and equality for the LGBTQ community, and the program will strive to equip its cohort members with resources for advocacy and movement-building.

Estrada says she is eager to develop relationships with other leaders across the city. “I’m really excited about learning from them and building a stronger network,” says Estrada, who began her Erie House tenure in the YOU program in 2000. She served as director of the YOU program from 2007 to 2011 prior to leaving Erie House to become executive director at El Hogar del Niño. Estrada later served as program director for the community schools initiative at YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago before returning to Erie House in 2014.

“We’re proud of Rebecca and have watched her grow as a leader during her years of service here,” says Celena Roldán, executive director at Erie House. “She will have much wisdom and experience to contribute to the Cultivate cohort, and I believe it will inform and enrich her leadership here at Erie House.”

The 2016 Cultivate cohort held its initial gathering in January and will continue meeting throughout the calendar year. According to Estrada, cohort members are called upon to take ownership in planning their monthly gatherings and the topics and themes to be addressed. For more information about the program, please visit


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