Unstoppable Women: Florencia Velasco Fortner

NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 are celebrating Women’s History Month with HerStory.

Florencia Velasco Fortner is the CEO of The Concilio. Her influence as a grassroots community organizer, child advocate and Latina leader has been felt in every community she’s touched in both North Texas and Southern California for 25 years. From her early days in organizing with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) to her current role as CEO of The Concilio, she has understood the power of parental engagement to positively impact low-income and immigrant families. 

Drawing on her experience at age 6 as an immigrant whose parents encouraged her to become a high school and college graduate, Florencia has become an authority in engaging families in the Latino community. Since joining The Concilio in 2005, she has established the organization as a leader in partnering with Latino and other disenfranchised families to strengthen their communities. Under her leadership, The Concilio has grown its assets by 750% and increased the number of families served from 2,000 to more than 14,000.

Early in her career as an organizer with the IAF, Florencia worked for a gang prevention program in Los Angeles County. Later, she diffused cultural clashes in Orange County's affordable housing communities. Because of her intervention work with gang members, she identified the critical role parents play in helping their at-risk children. 

Now a nationally recognized expert on parental engagement, Florencia champions the importance of engaging parents as the most effective way to improve a child’s life. She is also widely regarded as an expert on Latino culture and regularly provides cultural IQ trainings to organizations wanting to engage Latino families and address achievement gaps in low-income communities.

In 2014, The Concilio was named “Nonprofit Agency of the Year” by CNM Connect, and in 2015, Florencia received the “LA CIMA Nonprofit Leader Award” from the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In November 2019, Florencia was named “Nonprofit CEO of the Year” by the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM).

Florencia is an American Marshall Memorial Fellow and a graduate of Leadership Dallas, Power of Self and Cultivating Women’s Leadership. She is a member of the Dallas Summit, Dallas Assembly and Hispanic 100. She serves on the President’s Advisory Board of UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Texas Women’s Foundation. She also serves on the board of directors of Commit! and the Texas Leadership Forum. Additionally, she has served on the boards of KIPP Dallas; Jubilee Park; the advisory boards of SMU’s Tower Center and Archives for Women of the Southwest; and many others. 

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