Maya Menon serves as Step Up's director of community engagement. In this role, she supports the organization's growth through building strategic, supportive partnerships with schools and community-based organizations.
Prior to Step Up, Maya worked as a consultant for curriculum writing and design. Most recently, she designed a comprehensive curriculum for middle school and high school students focused on emotional health at Girls in the Game. Prior to that, she designed and implemented a pilot curriculum around identity and diversity for high school students accepted into STEM summer programs at University of Pennsylvania and Illinois Institute of Technology through SMASH.
Maya started her career at City Year Chicago as a senior corps member where she organized and implemented a literacy tutoring program for K-5th graders and led a community service-based after school program for 6-8th graders.
Maya then spent almost a decade working in college access at the Posse Foundation in Chicago. In her first role at Posse Chicago, she recruited, interviewed and selected Posse Scholars from high schools and community-based organizations for full-tuition leadership scholarships to top tier colleges and universities across the country. She planned and facilitated workshops around leadership, cross-cultural communication, team building and academic excellence during their Pre-Collegiate Training program and worked with faculty and staff at each of the colleges to support Posse Scholars on campus. Maya transitioned into her role as program director where she led the Posse program at six colleges and universities through recruitment, interviews, selection and training. She managed and tracked student academic performance, leadership and retention to ensure each campus was at a 90% graduation rate.
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Maya graduated from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. She has been living in Chicago ever since and spends some of her spare time reading, writing and volunteering in her local community. The remainder of her time is dedicated to raising her two daughters, Maliya and Lola.
Get to Know Maya
What has your mentor taught you?
My former supervisor, Jamilyn Bailey, taught me that my voice matters and that I can contribute to spaces while still learning. She also taught me the value of servant leadership and the importance of measuring success through growth and development. She has shaped the way I have interacted with and supported my team members and helped me become a strong, confident leader. I believe that mentorship is integral to the work I am doing at Step Up. There is so much value in having people you trust to share personal and professional goals with but also struggles and areas of growth.
Which Step Up value resonates the most with you?
All of the values resonate with me on a personal level, but the two values that resonate with me most are culture of community and meaningful connection. I believe that creating spaces where people can authentically be themselves and in turn sparking inspiration, engagement and meaning into those spaces can truly change the world.
What do you enjoy most about working at Step Up?
The amazing women! I enjoy seeing how these women have their own unique ways of thinking and how each way of thinking contributes to the overall mission. It is clear that they are passionate about the mission and committed to doing the work. I have also enjoyed exploring how all of our partners can join us in doing this work. As someone who loves building and deepening relationships, I see how impactful creating this village can be!