What Brought Me Here - Connect The Dots Insights
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-16485,single-format-standard,bridge-core-2.7.9,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-26.4,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.6.0,vc_responsive

What Brought Me Here

What Brought Me Here

Sylvia Garcia-Garcia recently joined Connect the Dots as Project Manager of Community Engagement, based in Philadelphia. She is a bicultural multilingual experienced social impact professional, passionate about centering inclusion and sustainability. Sylvia holds a Master’s in Strategic Thinking from Tec de Monterrey and has since worked as a consultant and project manager across sectors and countries. Her 15-year career in social impact and collective change informs her work while prioritizing knowledge sharing as key when creating social impact. She works guided by the idea that the future is created today.


Field trip, community engagement project. Nayarit, Mexico. 2014.

Community engagement project in Nayarit, Mexico. 2014.

Why are some excluded? I started my career wanting to better understand this. As a social impact professional, I focused on measuring social impact and designing community programs for nonprofits and corporations.

My early work had this narrow understanding of what that impact and solutions could really be. My framework was rich in experience but shallow: opportunities are for those who pursue them, for those who work hard.

I was familiar with that construct as I was raised by a woman who studied up to 7th grade. My classmates came to the school by car while -at some point- I walked. My school was bilingual (Spanish-English), so my mom couldn’t help me with my homework because she didn’t speak English.

This duality defined my early years and served as motivation to better understand access to opportunities, especially for those that might be excluded. But soon after, I noticed that this idea about access to opportunities didn’t make sense all the time, in all settings, for everyone. 

I realized that the concept of “access” was not the only piece, and that there’s something more related to how “friendly” and “on-hand” the opportunities are for everyone. That’s when I started to unlearn and deconstruct how I approached my social impact practice to focus on inclusion over simply access. 

Community conversation. Nayarit, Mexico. 2014.

Community conversation. Nayarit, Mexico. 2014.

Years later, when I moved to the US, my first moves were about connecting and integrating into what Philadelphia is. But I wanted more: I was looking to engage, to commit. So I started doing volunteer work, and I enrolled in a graduate program. Voilà! Done?

No, it wasn’t enough. Something was missing: I was neither being nor feeling included. I was being treated respectfully, but I did not have equal access to opportunities and resources. I had no social or professional network to lean on, so I was not able to fully contribute to the city and country I live in. Inclusion was missing, therefore, my professional, civic, and human potential was being wasted (modesty apart).

My experience gave me an idea of how a non-inclusive process feels to participants and communities. We might be making all the right moves, but they still don’t feel the impact. I wanted to join a team working to fill those gaps and with whom to learn. That’s what brought me here to Connect the Dots, where I’m glad to be part of a diverse team willing to examine what it truly means to create inclusive processes, and bold enough to embed it across its own practice. 

Connect with Sylvia on LinkedIn!



No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.