Teresa Acuña is Associate Director of the Ash Center’s Democratic Governance program where she works at the intersection of government, innovation and academia.
Since 2008, Teresa has worked at the state and national levels in a variety of policy and political roles. Most recently, Director of Policy and Leadership Programs at the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) in Washington, DC, a premier coalition of the nation’s 40 leading organizations advocating on behalf of Latinos in the United States. Teresa co-managed a national effort focused on increasing diversity in presidential appointments and in elected office.
She worked in Congress as Legislative Director to Representative Gloria Negrete McLeod and in California state politics as a lobbyist and in various positions in the state legislature. Teresa served as Legislative Director for Assemblymember Luis Alejo, where she secured $2.1 million in infrastructure funding for a farmworker community. A former California State Senate Fellow and Legislative Aide to Senator Gilbert Cedillo, she helped usher various pieces of legislation that sought to diminish social and civil inequalities. She has also been involved in numerous electoral campaigns across California.
Teresa graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s in Public Administration and from San Diego State University, with a Bachelor’s in Arts majoring in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies. She is a native of California and loves to travel.