During this season of thanks, we at Mission Bit feel it is important to practice gratitude by remembering the work of those who have contributed to our accomplishments. This month, we highlight Mission Bit CEO Christina Ortega and the community partners who have helped her on her path to success.
Like Mission Bit, Christina’s story begins in San Francisco. As an SF native, she grew up in the Mission District and graduated from Burton High School. She believes in giving back to her community, particularly giving back to other nonprofits beyond Mission Bit in order to raise up her community as a whole.
For example, she is a philanthropist in the Latinos in Tech Giving Circle, a subset of the Latino Community Foundation. She was also a member of the now-absolved Digital Mobility Task Force, a collaboration between tech nonprofit leaders in San Francisco that focused on outreach to low-income areas such as Sunnydale, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, the Potrero Hill Housing Complex, and the Mission District.
Christina has achieved much during her career. She is a recipient of the Jefferson Award, and she is also proud to be Mission Bit’s first Latinx and first female CEO. But her definition of success encompasses more than that:
“Success looks different for everyone,” she says. “Success can be accomplishing a daily goal to accomplishing your life goal. I personally like to celebrate small wins as well as take time to reflect on all of the pieces of the puzzle that came together to create the final masterpiece. Don’t lose sight of the road that you’ve traveled!”
Christina recognizes the roles of the mentors in her life that helped her unleash her potential, and she believes that it is important to pass on the support that she has received to the next generation.
“I’m extremely grateful for the mentors, new and old, that I have in the community to help me navigate the leadership journey,” she says. “Their support has been instrumental in my growth, and as a way to continue the chain of impact, I enjoy mentoring youth in the Mission Bit program whenever there is an opportunity.”
Christina takes a holistic approach to mentorship, from one-on-one check-ins to connecting students with resources outside of Mission Bit to ensure their well-being even outside of the classroom.
“It truly takes a village of like-minded individuals to come together to better serve our youth and community. By collaborating together we make even bigger strides in providing youth with a multitude of services to serve the whole child.”
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we are shining a spotlight on two individuals that Christina feels have helped her grow and who have made a significant positive impact on her career: rapper Miguel “Fego” Navarro and career coach Johanna Macis.
Miguel Navarro grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and this experience has informed his music:
“I try to shed some light on experiences in my life to remind folks that may feel the same that they are not alone,” he says. “Music has always been therapy to me.”
Miguel uses his music to speak his truth, but he also strikes a balance to make it “something your Abuelita can listen to” as well.
When he was younger, Miguel says he wishes he could have foreseen the impact that the tech boom would have on San Francisco and its young people. He wishes that schools could have prepared students better to claim space in the industry as it was beginning to flourish. Filling this niche, he says,
“[is] one of the many reasons I love Mission Bit and wha
t it is doing for young people in the city.”
Miguel’s advice to his younger self is to “stop seeking approval from others. You are gifted … trust your vision.” His latest EP “Escapism” was released earlier this year.
Johanna Macis is a Certified Positive Psychology Master Coach with over 25 years of experience in various realms of the competitive business world. She has spent the past seven years coaching professionals in their careers with an emphasis on education and happiness; in fact, she feels that she is not only a coach but a Happiness Ambassador:
“My commitment as a Happiness Ambassador is to help people increase happiness and find life meaning,” she says. “As a Career Coach, I help people make career changes to find happiness at work, empowering them to act and cultivate their authentic selves.”
As a professional career coach, Johanna is full of good advice on how to achieve success. She believes in the power of passion to take a person far, and like Mission Bit, she also values smart risks:
“Some risks will lead to even greater success. Others will lead to lessons being learned. Either way, you win from both situations.”
Johanna says that one of her most rewarding experiences has been working with Christina. Having almost 15 years of experience working for a tech company, she recognizes the value of the work that Christina and the rest of the Mission Bit team do:
“Tech has never been more important to humanity,” she says, “and it is indispensable to make computer science more accessible to people.”
Johanna recommends that her mentees work to build community partnerships on their path to success:
“Find mentors, coaches, and allies; share with them your aspirations, and work hard to make your dreams come true.”
With Thanksgiving approaching and the winter holidays just around the corner, we encourage everyone to take a moment to remember the leaders, mentors, and community partners in our lives who have helped us grow. The love they have shown us, the sense of community they have given us, and the smart risks they encouraged us to take are all essential to our successes.
And finally, we would like to give thanks to you for being a part of our community. Thank you.
We encourage you to support our efforts to provide San Francisco Bay Area youth with access to free tech education. Please join us in giving for #GivingTuesday here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/mission-bit/giving-tuesday