Honoring ELACC’s past and present leaders: Women who have made a positive impact in our community

Women’s History Month is about celebrating the vital role of women in history. In celebration of this significant month, we are so proud to honor the women on this list – ELACC’s past and present leaders –  who have helped make ELACC the organization it is today.

We thank them for their leadership throughout the years, their steadfast commitment to our community, and their contributions towards making the Eastside a more equitable place for families to thrive.

Monica Mejia, ELACC President

As ELACC’S newest president, Monica brings over 20 years of experience working in affordable housing, including developing both ownership and rental housing models. She has developed housing across the state, bringing more than 2,500 affordable housing units to completion through new construction and preservation projects in Northern and Southern California. She loves the teamwork she has found in the affordable housing industry and the complex efforts that ultimately lead to homes for people in need. Monica attended law school at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law and completed her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley.

Isela Gracian, President Emeritus

Isela Gracian served as ELACC’s president from 2015 – 2020 where she oversaw the growth of ELACC’s housing developments — including Cielito Lindo Apartments Phase I & II and Sun Valley Senior Veterans Apartments — as well as major campaign wins, such as the legalization of street vending. Growing up, she developed her renowned leadership skills by modeling her mother’s commitment to collective decision making. As immigrants, her parents instilled strong roots and links to their cultural traditions — now a hallmark of her leadership — infusing ELACC’s organizational principles with cultural practices to forge staff unity and celebrate what binds them to their community. Isela is currently Senior Housing Deputy for Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

Maria Cabildo, President Emeritus, ELACC co-founder

Maria Cabildo co-founded East LA Community Corporation in 1995 – along with Evangeline Ordaz, Manuel Bernal, and Leonardo Vilchis – and served as its president and CEO from 1999-2015. During her tenure, Cabildo brought in over $200 million in investment to the Eastside and expanded capacity in community organizing, real estate development, asset building, property management, asset management, tenant services, and administration. Maria has held positions in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors, including working in LA county government from 2015-2017, first as Chief of Staff to Supervisor Hilda Solis and later as Director of Homeless Initiatives at the Los Angeles Community Development Commission-now the Los Angeles Community Development Authority. Currently, she is a Senior Advisor at Advancement Project California.

Evangeline Ordaz, ELACC co-founder

Evangeline Ordaz co-founded ELACC in 1995 – along with Maria Cabildo, Manuel Bernal, and Leonardo Vilchis. She was born in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Her experience growing up in a low income Latino neighborhood instilled in Ordaz a passion for social justice prompting her to earn a law degree from U.C. Berkeley and practice public interest law before becoming a writer. Ordaz is currently a film and television writer and producer, known for 13 Reasons Why, Vida, Seven Seconds, In Contempt, East Los High, and Eyes.

Adalia Rodriguez, ELACC COO and Vice President of Human Capital

Adalia joined ELACC in 2018 as Vice President of Human Capital & COO. She oversees and provides direction to ELACC’s programming as it pertains to professional, programmatic, and campaign development. Adalia came to ELACC with nearly 15 years of experience in office management, including over a decade working at Enterprise Community Partners, bringing with her the capacity to effectively carry out multiple projects simultaneously. She has been instrumental in maintaining stable and efficient operations by improving our everyday processes and procedures by implementing systems for ongoing assessment and evaluation. Adalia received her BS from California State University, San Bernardino.