Women Who Lead: City of San Jose Parks & Rec Eastridge Team, Leticia & Isabel

Eastridge #WomenWhoLead Series

Leticia Espino & Isabel Montano

City of San Jose Parks & Recreation Eastridge Team


Leticia Espino

Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you began working at City of San Jose and with Eastridge?

I have been working for the City of San Jose for the past 17 years and originally was hired to work at an after school program.  That is where I began building my experience and passion for working with the community.  Over the years my experience has grown from working with youth directly, to supervising different programs and services.  I currently supervise the Evergreen Community Center and try to ensure that District 8 has classes, programs, and special events that we can continue to operate and or create.  We work closely with Council-member Sylvia Arenas who introduced the idea of partnering with the Eastridge Center to offer youth programming.  I loved the idea from the beginning and knew it had potential with the right support.  After months of programming the Teen Center has 12-30 participants, senior walking and stretch is building and youth classes are also moving forward!  This has been a great partnership between Eastridge Staff, District 8, and Evergreen staff.

What are some of the hardest challenges you face as a brown Latina woman?

As a woman alone, I think there are many challenges that one faces in the work industry.  It can range from something small like not getting taken seriously to facing discrimination because of your race or gender.  It’s not easy to deal with these challenges, but I believe it’s how one approaches the situation and how one should try to not take things personal. As a proud Latina Woman, I make sure I handle everything I do professionally and calmly while taking in account the individual I’m working with.

What gives you the motivation to keep grinding?

My motivation begins with my family, both my parents worked hard all their lives and always encouraged us to pursue our education and career.  Being the youngest and only daughter, my parents always pushed me more so that I wouldn’t have to rely on others.  Now in my life, I think my family is still one of my number one motivations, but giving back to the community in general is also another one.  After working with all ages, I have realized there is always something you can do to give back to build those relationships and create new ones.

 Beauty brand recommendations?

I try to explore make-up as much as I can, but usually stick to the same products. I use Urban Decay, Too Faced, MAC Cosmetics and try other brands when I have time.


Isabel Montano

Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you began working at City of San Jose and with Eastridge?

Since the day that I can remember, I have wanted to work with children and families. I took it upon myself to research for a job that I knew would not only be worthwhile, but fulfilled my interests of working with children. 5 years ago, with no assistance and hardly any job experience, I submitted my application and hoped for the best.  Beginning my position with the City of San Jose, I knew that this was the exact place I needed to be to learn, grow, and make changes in the lives of many families. The partnership between Eastridge and the City of San Jose to enhance the recreational opportunities for our community has been such a turning point in my career. Senior programs, Teen Center, and Break Camps have really been a hit and I cannot wait to continue this alongside the amazing Eastridge team.

Is there anything from City of San Jose Parks & Recreation Team that we should be looking out for in 2019!

Keep an eye out for all the great youth, teen, and senior programs being ran by the City of San Jose happening at Eastridge Center. We are loving this partnership with the Eastridge team #CommunityIRL !

What are some of the hardest challenges you face as a brown Latinx woman?

As a Latinx woman, one of the hardest challenges I have faced is having enough courage to stand up and have a voice. As I have continued working within my community, I have learned that I have a voice and I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

What gives you the motivation to keep grinding?

My motivation to keep grinding is my family, my community, and the desire to make a difference in many people’s lives. Without any of these factors, I would not be as motivated to continue my path in pursuing a higher level of education, which is something that many Latinx woman were not given the support to accomplish.

Beauty brand recommendations?

As a make-up addict, I literally love most beauty brands on the market today. However, if I had to choose – I have 3 top beauty brand recommendations for eyes, lips, and face. Morphe is my top beauty brand for eyeshadow and at an affordable price. Jeffree Star Cosmetics is my go to brand for lips, his liquid lipsticks are amazing. And finally, MAC cosmetics is the go to brand for my foundation! I hope you try some out!

CONNECT with the City of San Jose Parks & Recreation Eastridge Team on

Facebook @EvergreenCommunityCenter


The Eastridge Women Who Lead is an 8-part series featuring the extraordinary women who are leaders in the East Side San Jose Community and pillars of Eastridge Community Programming. For more empowering content, including in-person workshops and speakers, join us for CosmeCon 2019 on April 6th. More information here. Love this story? Please consider sharing on social media or attending an event to support!