Elizabeth Cardona is the Director of the Western Massachusetts Office for the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She earned her MPA from Maxwell in 2010, with a CAS in Conflict Resolution. She also holds a BS in American Studies with a Concentration in Social Issues from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Elizabeth is of Puerto Rican roots and a lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She has a passion for public service driven by civic engagement and social justice, and is committed to education, advocacy and empowerment as a method to break down barriers.
In her role working to implement Governor Deval L. Patrick’s priorities, Elizabeth directs and coordinates all aspects of the regional office including facilitating meetings, gathering information, compiling reports, and supervising staff. As Liaison to the Executive Office, she works closely with State Agencies and community members. She also provides strategic thought leadership with the ability to develop and successfully manage civic engagement programs, and leads the Intra-Agency Summer Internship Program.
In addition to working for the State, Elizabeth recently completed a Research Fellowship through the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Women’s Pipeline for Change. Her research aimed to explore “Latina Pathways to Political Leadership,” and included eight Latinas in diverse political roles (elected officials, directors of non-profit agencies and state and federal political appointees) from Western MA.
Elizabeth is also involved in several local and state organizations, including her role as Chapter Chair for CHICA, a Massachusetts statewide youth Latina leadership development and mentoring program, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, a non-profit organization fostering and supporting women to become leaders in their communities to impact policy on the local, state, and national levels. Most recently, she was honored by El Planeta Newspaper, the largest circulating Spanish publication in Massachusetts, as part of the eighth annual Powermeter list, as one of the 100 most influential Latina/o’s in the state.
Elizabeth attributes her accomplishments at Maxwell to her appetite for knowledge and the exposure to broad academic interests, culture and the diverse community. She shares, “Today, I can refer to examples of best theories and practices I learned to advance my work in Massachusetts. My experience at Maxwell is one that I humbly hold with extreme pride and esteem. I was able to gain an intra-disciplinary education supported by coursework that has enhanced my understanding of government and supplemented skills I still required. For example, in addition to policy classes, I was able to take a public speaking class which today enables me to lead effectively with confidence.”
Her advice for prospective or current students: “At Maxwell, I gained a large network both on and off campus and a good sense of the region. Seek every opportunity to expand your learning. If you are debating going to Maxwell, I would say that the program is truly nurturing and a rewarding investment that can lead to innovative leadership.”