• Lisette Islas

    Chief Executive Officer
    Lisette Islas is a transformational leader with an extensive track record spanning more than twenty-five years of experience working in the fields of community and economic development. She has dedicated her career to furthering the economic and social strength of the San Diego region, while developing innovative strategies that uplift individuals, families, and communities.

    Lisette is recognized for her exceptional ability to build strategies, forge relationships among diverse groups, and develop innovative and impactful programs. Her expertise is sought after by organizations seeking to engage hard-to-reach populations, build partnerships across sectors and drive organizational change.

    In January 2024, Lisette will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer at Lifeline Community Services. Currently, she holds the position of Executive Vice President & Chief Impact Officer at MAAC, a nonprofit that has offered programs and services throughout San Diego County for nearly 60 years. In this role, she focuses on the intersection of economic inclusion and mobility, housing affordability, and access to quality early care and education. In addition to overseeing all programmatic activities, Lisette is responsible for increasing the visibility, reach and outcomes of MAAC’s work, and facilitates the leadership development for staff, board members, and volunteers. 

    Previously, Lisette was the Vice President of Community Engagement and Programs at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, where she focused on creating strategic partnerships as well as developing community- and capacity-building strategies. She also served as the Director of Learning and Programs at San Diego Grantmakers, where she developed programs and initiatives to increase the impact of philanthropy in San Diego. 

    A strong advocate for equitable economic opportunities for all populations, Lisette is a board member of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, where she serves on the Executive Committee as Vice-Chair, Inclusive Growth. Lisette is also an advisory committee member at the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, where she contributes her expertise on planning and economic development strategies for Latino communities. Additionally, she serves on the Burnham Center for Community Advancement Board of Directors and volunteers with Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).

    Lisette graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and a minor in ethnic studies. She pursued her Masters studies in urban planning, with an emphasis on public policy, at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Islas also has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Harvard University School of Business. 
     

Leadership Team

Dori Gilbert