I first met Alex Miranda in November 2016 at a very dynamic gathering with the Consul General of Mexico who came to our office to meet Prospera’s program participants. We sat in a circle in an effort to equalize (as much as possible) the power differences in the room. Alex did not say a word during that meeting, and I had a feeling that it was intentional. On his way out, he shook my hand and said something like “let’s meet. I have some ideas I’d like to explore.”
I knew from my colleague, Claudia Arroyo, that Alex was interested in becoming a board member and I was curious. A few days later, Alex stopped by and we had a chance to talk. As we sat together at the tiny kitchen table in our downtown Oakland office, I remember asking him what motivated him – a professional, an engineer with a full life and busy schedule – to become a board member of a women’s entrepreneurship organization. Alex did not hesitate – “my mom of course! Women are the center of our communities. When we invest in women the entire community benefits.”
Needless to say, Alex is incredibly straightforward and humble, but he’s also ambitious! It didn’t take him long to let me know that what he really wanted was to become board chair. I knew he was the perfect candidate when he asked me what I, as the new Executive Director, needed from a partnership with the board chair at that particular juncture.
Prospera was at an inflection point. We had just launched our strategic plan, changed our name, and were in the beginning stages of testing a brand new program model. At that time many board members were completing their terms, and new folks were stepping in. And there was Alex, ready to roll up his sleeves and lead us in this moment of great change. He enrolled in an intensive training program for non-profit board chairs at CompassPoint and together we began to re-invent Prospera’s governance structure
With Alex’s leadership the board and staff began to break the ice and build the kind of trust that is needed to grow a healthy organization. With Alex’s leadership we embarked on transcending many of the divides that exist between boards and the communities we serve. And it was Alex who encouraged us to engage Latinx immigrant professionals in the tech world and dare to connect them with our less privileged immigrant communities that are at the center of Prospera’s mission.
Alex and I had our differences, thank goodness! Over the years I learned to appreciate his brilliant engineer’s mind even when I wasn’t so sure I got the full picture. I came to understand that these differences combined with the passion we both shared for breaking the mold in service of something bigger was just what the organization needed at the time.
Now Prospera is at a new exciting juncture with Claudia Arroyo, an immigrant from Mexico, at the Helm ready to step through many of the doors that Alex cracked open; and ready to break through many more with the support of new board members, who like Claudia share the lived experiences of our Latina immigrant community.
In just 4 years Alex’s commitment to “revolutionize the board” has become a reality. Please join me and the entire Prospera community in honoring Alex for showing us the way!’
Maria Rogers Pascual
Former Executive Director of Prospera
P.S. Take a moment to hear directly from Alex, Prospera board chair 2018-2021, in this short and sweet video taken at his home in San Francisco. You’ll notice that sound is not the best (we had to keep the windows wide open for safety in times of Covid) so we are grateful for subtitles!