Equity First Consulting is a global Diversity, Equity and Belonging Strategy Firm co-designed by women of color and their allies. This firm is led by its Founder, Ana Lugo, and is supported by a wide network of cross sector leaders who embrace our diversity and elevate our power. Equity First works to support organizations, institutions, and companies to develop internal cultures that foster and celebrate equity and meaningfully engage their leaders at all levels to create a community culture that reflects these values and practices.
As our society continues to evolve our systems and structures must in effect themselves do the same. It will be critical to create spaces that foster the safety and agency of individuals long disenfranchised and ignored. Equity design ensures that teams and organizations are not replicating systems of oppression and that new structures and leadership are built on a foundation of diversity, equity and belonging.
Equity First also serves as a platform for leaders who are underrepresented in our structures today by connecting and collaborating with individuals and public, private, and non-profit organizations striving toward a more equitable society.
Ana Lugo comes from a family of strong women who have faced and overcome inequities and injustice. These experiences have created a foundation for a deep understanding of the causes of and ways to address structural inequity, as well as the importance of building community and teams rooted in shared values. She is the Founder of Equity First Consulting, a firm dedicated to creating social change through design and implementation of meaningful community engagement, strategy building, leadership development, and program redesign to achieve equity and belonging.
Ana has had the privilege to lead, develop, and work in strong, diverse teams, and brings this experience to design strategies and practices to deepen the effectiveness of your work. With an educational background in policy and psychology, Ana brings a distinctive lens combining both leadership and institutional development to bring about change that embraces and reflects diverse communities. As a bilingual, bicultural woman of color, Ana utilizes her education, expertise and life experiences to create awareness and change in decision making processes and structures.
In 2017, during and in the aftermath of the devastating Sonoma Complex Fires, Ana cemented her commitment to equity design. Disenfranchised communities faced glaring inequities that endangered their
lives and the larger community’s health, safety, and cultural wealth.Communities faced a lack of language access and cultural competence in the immediate emergency effort. As recovery efforts began, undocumented community members were ineligible for federal relief and struggled to navigate a complex system that did not consider their needs. Existing fora for immigrant, poor, or non-English speaking community members to raise those concerns with policy makers were unsafe, given increased immigration enforcement efforts.
Ana worked to bring this understanding to design and develop efforts to address those needs and focused on bringing the voices of these communities to the forefront. She helped found and lead UndocuFund, a community coalitional effort to bring critical economic resources to undocumented fire survivors who were ineligible for federal relief flowing freely to the larger community. She led a collaboration by over 20 organizations to put on a Town Hall Meeting with FEMA, Cal OES, and local governmental officials in Spanish, and developed those questions and answers that were distinct and unique to the Latinx, immigrant, and Spanish-speaking community. Ana also helped found and lead as Co-Chair of a cross sector effort, Sonoma County Rises, which community leaders convened to ensure that equity was placed at the center of the recovery efforts.
Ana received the NextGen Community Impact Award from the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Foundation and was named one of the 30 inspiring individuals under 30 from Sonoma County in 2018. Ana currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Scholarship Fund’s Advisory Committee, which is dedicated to removing the financial barriers Latinx students face in their pursuit of higher education. Listen in! Ana co-hosts the bilingual radio show, Los Sin Cuenta on KBBF 89.1 FM (kbbf.org) every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., where she talks to the community about anything and everything affecting the Latinx community.
Ana’s passion and commitment to social equity is embedded in every aspect of her work. Ana is motivated by her vision of a world where we have shared the work to dismantle oppressive structures and where we foster and value all of our identities.
“Ms. Lugo created a space where everyone in our staff felt that they belonged and their contributions were valued. Oftentimes, conversations around topics of diversity, equity, and belonging can be uncomfortable, but Ms. Lugo encouraged us to lean into the discomfort while also providing a safe environment to do so. Her talented approach sparked an ongoing dialogue within our Center.”