COMPASS Chief Operating Officer was recently named to the 2017 list of the 100 Women of Color, which honors women making top contributions in their respective fields. Ms. Santiago was recognized for her leadership in the field of youth development. In her 15 years at COMPASS Youth Collaborative, she has served in a variety of capacities, and for the past five, has served as Chief Operating Officer. She received her award on March 24th, 2017, during a black-tie ceremony at Hartford’s historic Bushnell Theater.

Ms. Santiago’s expertise in programs and partnerships was also recognized by Foundations, Inc., a national organization that provides training and resources to schools and youth-serving organizations. Ms. Santiago was selected as a panelist for their recent Beyond School Hours Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel featured several leading experts in the field of youth development, including Sylvia Lyles of the U.S. Department of Education and Wes Moore, the best-selling author and youth advocate.

Of the honors, Ms. Santiago hopes that it can serve as an example to young people that starting circumstance need not preclude future success. In her own life, she overcame many of the obstacles that face the youth she now serves. “There were a lot of people along the way who encouraged me and who opened doors, and because of that, I’m able to give back today,” she explains. “I want to give hope to other kids. Regardless of what the recognition is, I hope that this shows what is possible.”