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Elevate Live: Authenticity in Business Sustainability

This Elevate Live session folds into Elevar y Celbrar’s Community week, where Facebook’s Program Manager of Education Partnerships, Marlene Castro, will host a live discussion with Daniel Oliveres, founder of El Cielito Cafe, and Kristine Acosta, founder of GRL Collective. Daniel and Kristine will discuss how to ensure to remain authentic and genuine behind social impact initiatives, why building and involving the community is key, and how to hold your brand accountable towards stated missions. Join us Thursday, September 24th at 9am PT for this insightful live discussion.

En esta sesión Live the Elevar y Celebrar - en la semana de comunidad- Marlene Castro, Directora de Alianzas Educativas de Facebook, entrevistará a Daniel Olivares, fundador del Café El Cielito y a Kristine Acosta, fundadora de GRL Collective. El diálogo se centrará alrededor de ideas para introducir prácticas sustentables en sus negocios, manteniendo su autenticidad. También hablarán de la importancia en desarrollar una comunidad activa y cómo mantener la misión de tu marca. No te lo pierdas este jueves 24 de Septiembre a las 9am PT.

Kristen Rodriguez | Guest Speaker

Kristine Rodriguez is a survivor, entrepreneur and advocate for women and girls globally. She founded her company GRL Collective after a publicized trial in which she testified against her abuser, who was sentenced to life in prison. Post-trial she found herself struggling with mental health while working full-time at a marketing agency in L.A. While trying to figure out what to do to help herself she found an organization online called The Sambhali Trust that had a program to educate girls on sexual abuse.

She decided to quit her job to go and volunteer with this organization in India for forty days. Before leaving for India, Kristine was making and selling jewelry to raise money for her trip. In her last few days there she decided to start GRL Collective after realizing how great the need for education was and knowing she could not just forget about these girls as she returned home. GRL Collective officially launched in October of 2017. Since the launch GRL Collective has launched clothing and accessories in addition to jewelry, led two GRL Trips back to India, hosted events, and done several photoshoots and campaigns to highlight and elevate women of color. In 2020, GRL Collective launched it’s Lucha design which went viral online bringing the business to a new level. Since 2017, GRL Collective has been able to donate thousands to The Sambhali Trust, as well as Black Lives Matter with the Lucha t-shirt and has also started to donate to RAICES for immigration rights. As the lifestyle brand for grls that give a f*ck, GRL Collective is focused on giving back to the community and making change whenever and wherever possible.

Daniel Olivares | Guest Speaker

Daniel was born and raised in the city of Echo Park. His entire upbringing was primarily focused on two things; school and boxing. He was a decorated amateur boxer and had boxed from the age of 8 to the age of 20. But due to an emergency surgery, Daniel’s boxing career had gotten cut short. He was also beginning to lose interest in school and studies, which led him to try and find a different career. Daniel found it in coffee. Specialty coffee shops were beginning to change in his neighborhood, he witnessed the power and change a coffee shop can bring and reflect. He would visit these coffee shops and see coffee from Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, all of LatinoAmerica, but not a Latinx in sight. He went to his friends, who were Central Americans, and asked them, "Did you know Guatemala (or any other Latin Country) grew coffee?" and to his surprise they all mostly responded with "Yeah. A lot of it, too. My grandpa (or other family members) worked the fields." And that's when he realized that LatinoAmerica, as a whole, was not being represented; it was being exploited through coffee. Daniel wanted to take the power back to his people. And he wanted to impact neighborhoods, as coffee shops do, but with representation and unity. And that’s how Cielito was born. Daniel studied coffee. He attended a coffee academy. He worked at coffee shops that he felt were similar to his idea. Daniel found the ideal location and neighborhood and emphasized the message that he would also be a community. And to this day, Daniel has helped eight coffee farms all over LatinoAmerica. He’s aiming to help 65 more farms by next year. Cielito has hosted countless poetry events, art events, and vendor events all for the community. Cielito has also hosted and raised donations for children and farmers out in Oxnard, to children out in TJ, and to support Guatemala.

Marlene Castro | Host

Marlene Catro is the Program Manager, Education Partnerships at Facebook. Community-oriented education programs have been key to transforming Marlene’s life as a Bay Area, CA native and a first-generation LatinX high school and college graduate. Marlene was driven by her personal and professional journey in building and directing educational programs for youth and young professionals with a racial equity lens and leading community-oriented initiatives. From the K-12 Classroom, to nonprofits, and now at Facebook, she has been able to gather best practices to build program solutions that create urgent pathways to opportunities in computer science education and overall digital skills training for historically underrepresented communities. Her strengths combine designing and facilitating meaningful learning experiences and training, establishing strong and mutually beneficial partnerships, and scaling ideas into new campaigns and programmatic investments. On her down time you will find her volunteering in classrooms, hiking the Bay Area, taking a dance class, or enjoying some down time with her husband and their yorkie, Frida.