Spring 2016 Board Member Spotlight
Oriana Sandoval is the chief executive officer at the Center for Civic Policy, a nonpartisan organization that strives to
involve everyday New Mexicans in the public policy decisions that affect their lives, with the goal of achieving positive and lasting change. A native of New Mexico, Oriana received her Bachelor of Arts in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College; a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California — Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy; and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). She is currently a member of the New Mexico Bar Association.
Oriana Sandoval CVNM Education Fund Board of Directors Vice President Oriana has worked on economic development, environmental justice, conservation and civil rights issues for more than a decade. In 2011, Oriana served as the founding executive director of New Mexico Vote Matters, a non-profit organization committed to the empowerment and participation of historically disenfranchised communities in New Mexico. At the Center for Civic Policy, Oriana leads the organization’s policy and civic engagement campaigns.
In your opinion, why is CVNMEF’s work important?
Our natural resources and public lands are an integral part of New Mexico’s heritage. CVNM and CVNMEF are key players in the state’s policy and civic engagement arenas and are leading the fight to protect our sacred lands in perpetuity. To protect important environmental regulations,
CVNM and CVNMEF stand up to powerful gas and oil interests that wield significant influence in the legislative and administrative processes. New Mexico needs smart, powerful advocacy groups, like CVNM, now more than ever. Our precious heritage is at stake.
Why are you a CVNMEF board member?
I joined the CVNMEF board to promote diversity within the mainstream environmental movement. It is critically important for communities of color to be represented in the conservation movement – particularly in a minority-majority state like New Mexico. Recognition of diversity should be at the core of all aspects of our work and be represented at all organizational levels – from community organizers to management staff and board positions. People of color should be in a position to influence the organization’s mission, strategy, and overall programmatic priorities that represent the needs of our diverse communities in the state.
What initially drew you to becoming involved with CVNMEF?
Serving on CVNM Education Fund’s board of directors offered the opportunity to continue my environmental justice and conservation policy work in New Mexico.
What’s your favorite outdoor place or activity and why do you value it so much?
My favorite outdoor activity is to go camping in my ancestral homelands in Chacón, NM in Mora County. My great-grandfather homesteaded in Chacón in the late 1800’s and my grandfather grew up farming and shepherding there. I grew up spending summers camping in Chacón with family and friends. My identity as a New Mexican and connection to place are rooted in this land. Through my son, niece and nephew, the Sandoval family legacy in Chacón now lives on in a fifth generation.