Liz Gutierrez

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Liz Gutierrez

Liz Gutierrez

Director, Young Adult programs

liz@suwn.org

< 1 year of service

Liz brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to education equity, having dedicated the past 15 years to serving young people in Chicago. As a product of a neighborhood public school and a first-generation college graduate, Liz's journey fuels her passion for transforming education systems to be more inclusive and equitable.

Liz's extensive background includes working in high school classrooms and with higher education institutions, giving her a unique insight into the gaps that persist when we focus solely on access and diversity without addressing systemic oppression. At The Posse Foundation, Liz excelled in roles as a trainer and later as program director, where she ensured that every student received the mentorship, resources, and opportunities necessary for college completion and beyond. Before her tenure at The Posse Foundation, she served as an academic advisor for the Upward Bound Program, supporting BIPOC and FGLI students in achieving academic success and planning for their futures.

A pivotal moment in Liz's leadership journey was becoming a Surge Institute Fellow in 2021. This fellowship provided her with training in strategic planning, human-centered decision-making, and change management, further solidifying her commitment to driving meaningful change in education.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Liz is an avid traveler, coffee enthusiast, and proud dog mom. She holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Illinois in Chicago and some of her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros.

What has your mentor taught you?

When I think about my professional journey, I would not be the leader I am without the mentoring of a former supervisor, Jennifer Tani. She exemplifies for me what it looks like to stand firmly in your values, to interrogate systems that do not prioritize the needs of people, and to anchor your approach in empathy and care for others. She is affirming of my strengths and encouraging when it comes to my areas of growth. I appreciate her check ins, feedback, and reminders that I am more than capable!

What do you enjoy most about working at Step Up?

I love being part of an innovative and inspiring team of women who show up for each other! Step Up staff across the country are passionate about creating a powerful network of women and girls, this includes the workplace, they think big, and operate with intentionality and kindness. From day one, you feel welcomed and embraced for who you are.

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