Interview of Deyanira Nava, TOLA 7

Dey is a recent graduate of the TOLA program and UC Davis. Before TOLA, she interned at Latino Coalition for a Healthy California where she worked to advance the shared vision to increase healthcare access for all Californians and also ensure that the social and economic environments within communities support opportunities for a long and healthy life.  She currently works as a Public Affairs Officer with Planned Parenthood Northern California.



Q:  What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your experience in TOLA?

A:  I think the most valuable thing I took away from TOLA was the opportunity to listen and learn from leaders in the community. Through these experiences I gained several perspectives on what it means to be a leader, what it takes to be a leader, and how to ensure that the power you receive from leadership is always used for the greater good. Now, in my position with Planned Parenthood Northern California, I have had the chance to reflect on what many of the leaders who spoke to us said. Fred Ross Jr. encouraged us to “always go with your instincts;” Gilda Gonzales said to always “hold your ground;” and June Monach encouraged us to remember “the power of family to help endure.” These are all powerful words that have stayed with me and will continue to make a difference in my journey through leadership.

Q:  What inspires you and how do you motivate others?

A:  I am inspired by passion and hard work. I believe the two really go hand-in-hand – passion and hard work build upon each other to help me motivate others to be inspired, commit to action, and never lose sight of their values.

Q:  What’s the most difficult lesson you’ve learned in your work?

A:  The most difficult lesson I’ve learned so far isn’t so much a lesson as it is a transition; and that is the transition from being a full-time student to a full-time employee. I am so grateful to have a job that allows me to work for what I believe in: social justice and reproductive health access for all. I have traded my afternoon breaks in the library for a full-time schedule and I could not be happier! It is a transition I welcome and look forward to continue learning from.

Q:  What impact would you like to have on the world?

A:  I would like my impact to be for everyone in the world, regardless of income, immigration status, and background to have access to health care. When everyone has access to care then we can have more equitable, prosperous, and healthy communities.