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Refugio Mata – Program Director


Most Likely To: spot opportunity in the middle of sudden chaos.

If I ruled the world: everyone would tap into their inner artist and create powerful inspration everywhere.

What I’m working on: My goal is to democratize communications in creative ways, especially among communities of color. My passion lies in helping all of us elevate our stories of resilience to tap into the power of our voices, crowdsourcing innovation to create transformative change.

What I bring to the table: I bring a sharp political instinct into all of the digital and traditional communications work I do that has been tested through years of experience in social justice movements and personal experience with survival, adaptation, and determination. As a Latino immigrant, I’m the first to graduate from college in my family. We always struggled to make ends meet amid many challenges that always seemed to get in the way of finding stability. But we persevered and survived through hard work and our spirit of resilience. We can win to make the world a better place for all of us. We just need to find the opportunity in the challenges before us and have a strong vision.

Path to RM: Prior to coming to Resource Media, I was the Communications Director at SEIU
United Service Workers West. Before that, I served as Campaign Manager at, the largest online Latino advocacy organization in the U.S., directing its national environmental justice program and immigrant rights rapid responses.

Past work also includes working as the Deputy Press Secretary for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign Southwest region covering California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. I also did a stint as the Communications Coordinator for Good Jobs L.A. where I focused on income inequality issues at the height of the Occupy L.A. movement. In addition, I was a Project Organizer for Heal the Bay, a Southern California environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on revitalizing the Santa Monica Bay. I focused on their “Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Environment Initiative” as part of a communications strategy to organize around environmental justice issues in inner city Los Angeles.

Proudest win/favorite moment: Seeing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa get L.A. on a path to become coal-free was pretty amazing. Also having the California legislature focus on growing renewable energy in low income communities was a pivotal moment. I have a personal favorite – stopping the deportation of my parents and brothers in immigration court after years of litigation. Everyone in my family is now a proud U.S. citizen. All of these victories have one thing in common – at one point or another, they were deemed ‘impossible’ to win. We proved it wrong.

Other things I’m passionate about: Using culture, art, and technology to transform our society in ways that extend beyond just wonky policy. Traveling, enjoying family, and building community is also my passion. The ocean is probably my favorite thing to look at. There’s nothing like listening to the crashing sound of the waves wash over the clutter of your mind and bring a renewed focus to your thoughts.

office: Los Angeles
Email: refugio [at]
Phone: (805) 428-4075
Twitter: @economicrefugee