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Legacy of Leadership: Legacy Trailblazer Awardee

Legacy of Leadership: Legacy Trailblazer Awardee

Monica Lozano – “Reflections on Leadership”

President / CEO, College Futures Foundations

Monica Lozano’s grandfather came from Mexico with a dream to shift the perception around Mexican immigrants. That dream became La Opinión, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the United States. He not only planted roots in a new country but planted roots that would grow to inspire future generations of his own family – inspiration that drives their work to this day. 

Lozano attributes her own sense of mission and determination to her grandfather, whom she never met, but who she calls her “North Star.” As the third generation to run La Opinión, her career has been rooted in her family, and those same roots have given her a deep sense of commitment to community. They have also shown her how to follow her passion with purpose and led her to the position she holds today.

Now President and CEO of College Futures Foundation, Lozano works in partnership with organizations and leaders around the state to ensure education pathways are aligned seamlessly for college attainment. She is committed to the vision that California’s low-income students and students of color should have equitable access to bachelor’s degrees and the better life that is possible through education.

“You can’t just open the door; you must swing it so wide open it can’t be closed.”

– Monica Lozano

Lozano came to her new role after spending 30 years in the media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, and then as chairman and CEO of its parent company, ImpreMedia. After running and building that company, she wondered what she would do next.

She had always been drawn to education and was active in volunteer capacities. She served as chair of the California State Board of Education and the Board of Regents of the University of California, spent more than 20 years as a trustee of the University of Southern California, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. She is also on the Advisory Council of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Higher Education Center. It seemed only natural that she would now marry her skills from her long career with her sense of wanting to give back, and wanting her work to be deeply meaningful. 

Lozano was approached by a colleague to join the College Futures Foundation, and she made the deliberate decision to give 100 percent of her time to education and equity. The work lends itself to her passion for closing opportunity gaps and building a society that includes all. 

“Don’t just raise your hand but stand up and ask for opportunity.”

– Monica Lozano

Beyond education, she is passionate about the idea that being a trailblazer means you don’t just open the door for others, but you “open it so wide that it can’t be shut.” She knows well what it looks like to be the first one to be in the room and the sense of obligation that comes with it. In that role, “you are there to blaze the trail for others,” according to Lozano.

She encourages women to establish a network that will support their own leadership journeys. Lozano also advises women leaders to build teams, drive collaboration, and develop talent. “Always strive to find the best person for the role who will contribute excellence,” she says.

Following her passion with purpose in a professional way has allowed her to do just that.


While Lozano’s path has led her to making an impact on education, she reminds women leaders that we need bright, assertive women around the table on all issues. She encourages women to look beyond traditional women’s issues to discover what truly interests them at all levels of policy and find a space to join.

This isn’t just about diversity of thought, but full inclusion. Lozano believes that when the table of policy makers is truly representative on all issues that is the pinnacle of strength. In the end, Lozano suggests, if we make decisions that are rooted in passion and purpose, our work will always be about something bigger, and about making an impact. 

Leadership Lessons from Monica Lozano

  • Be curious always
  • Be a lifelong learner
  • Be adaptable
  • Be able to inspire even in tough times
  • Be values driven
  • Establish a strong network