The Project MALES Fall 2018 Pláticas Series will kick-off this Monday, September 24, 2018, on the UT campus. Our monthly pláticas feature prominent local community and university leaders who facilitate small group discussions with our UT undergraduate and graduate student mentors. This semester our first speaker will be local East Austin grassroots community activist and former Austin school board trustee, Paul Saldaña.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Mr. Saldaña has spent more than 25 years in local government affairs, public policy, public relations and political consulting. Saldaña served as a Political Consultant, Campaign Director and the Chief of Staff for the first elected Hispanic Mayor of Austin, Gus Garcia. As Chief of Staff, he served as the lead policy advisor to the Mayor developing comprehensive public policies and strategies in the areas of public safety, transportation, affordable housing, telecommunications, public finance, water/wastewater, economic development, public education, development, MBE/WBE issues, and health care. In addition, he was directly responsible for managing media, community and intergovernmental relations. Saldaña currently serves as a President and Principal of Saldaña Public Relations, a strategic consultant, advisor and contributor on quality of life issues including public education, voting, economics, healthcare, redevelopment, gentrification, affordable housing and grassroots multi-cultural community engagement for governmental entities, clients and the media. Saldaña also serves as a political consultant and contributor on national, state & local campaigns.
Mr. Saldaña is a firm believer in giving back to the community through volunteer work, service on various Boards and Commissions and being actively involved in issues that enhance and impact the quality of life for all citizens of Austin. He is Co-Founder of Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin (HABLA) a local Hispanic Think Tank group committed to developing sustainable solutions to quality of life issues. Saldaña currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Austin Geriatrics RBJ Senior Housing Center in Austin. In 2013, he was elected to the Unidos US National Board of Directors (National Council of La Raza). He previously served as the Chairman of the Board for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Executive Board of Directors for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Executive Board of Directors and Vice Chair of Legislation for the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). In June 2016, the Young Hispanic Professionals Association of Austin awarded Saldaña the Legacy Award for his years of community advocacy, leadership, and commitment to quality of life issues. In 2007, Saldaña was also among thirty-five national Hispanic executives selected to participate in the Inaugural National Hispanic Executive Leadership Academy at the prestigious University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
In 2014, Saldaña was elected to the Austin Independent School Board of Trustees, as the Trustee for District 6, which includes 19 AISD campuses. In January 2016, Saldaña was elected as Vice-President of the AISD Board of Trustees by his colleagues and served until April 2017. During his tenure, Saldaña served as Chair of the AISD Board Oversight Committee on Educational Excellence Through Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, on the Joint Intergovernmental Subcommittee of the City of Austin, Travis County, and AISD and Vice Chair of the City of Austin’s Regional Affordability Committee. Saldaña is married to Ms. Lisa Vasquez-Saldaña, an elementary bilingual & special education school teacher and has four sons, Ryan Alexander, age 26, Joshua Daniel, age 24, Jacob Nicholas, age 10 & Jonathan Luke age 5.
Our Project MALES plática series is open to the UT Austin and local Austin community. Please join us on Monday, September 24, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm in UTC 1.104.