Patty Barahona Named Permanent CEO of yli

yli is My Story


Like you, we are hunkered down in this moment of crisis. Like you, we are looking to our leadership for a path forward. We look to proven leaders with the talent and experience to lead through thick and thin. We look to leaders with integrity and conviction and skill and love. We look to leaders who are examples of the values of our organization: social justice, community, inclusion, and innovation. At YLI, that person is Patty Barahona, and after an unanimous vote of YLI’s Board of Directors, I’m thrilled to announce their appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of Youth Leadership Institute.

At YLI, we know that the best solutions are only possible when we follow the lead of those most affected by the challenges we face. This is why we are so proud that our staff reflects the many communities we work in across California. And it is why Patty’s leadership—as a nonbinary person of color—in this moment of upheaval and opportunity just makes sense.

Exactly 9 years ago, Patty started as a Program Coordinator in Marin County working with LGBTQ youth to create safe schools through policy change. During those 9 years, Patty led teams to reduce health disparities by passing comprehensive tobacco control and school climate policies, played a key role in growing the organization from 23 staff in 4 offices to 51 staff in 7 offices, and trained hundreds of youth to become leaders in their communities. Throughout their time at YLI, Patty has been a beacon of optimism, endurance, and capability, cultivating our leaders internally and externally and supporting them to create powerful change in the youth and communities we work alongside.

I am humbled and honored to take a permanent seat at the yli table. Youth voice is foundational to create change across our communities and I am thankful to the leaders across our team that make this work happen everyday. Together, we’ll build a leaderful organization that creates the conditions for positive youth development, transforming our field, our communities, and, most importantly, the hundreds of youth leaders we work with across the state everyday.
Patty Barahona, yli CEO


YLI’s work is to make sure that young people are researching, storytelling and leading campaigns across the state for communities where everyone can thrive. Now, more than ever, it is important that young people are engaged in the civic process so that our policies reflect their hopes and dreams.

We believe that Patty is the embodiment of these hopes and dreams. As CEO, Patty will lead YLI into the next chapter of our work as a statewide social justice organization and national leader in youth development. Join us as monthly sustainers as we continue to make sure that youth voice is heard. Loud and clear.


In Community,

Brandon Brown
Board Chair
Youth Leadership Institute