Sara Peña, was born, raised, and educated in Newark, NJ. Her mother was born in Ecuador and her father in Dominican Republic. She is the Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development in the Department of State. Ms. Peña is a dedicated bilingual professional with extensive experience in developing and promoting services while addressing the needs of the community with a superior record of successful community service and engagement.
Most recently, Ms. Peña served as a Biden-Harris policy volunteer on the Education Policy Committee. In 2018, she also served on New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Sheila Oliver’s Human and Children Services Transition Advisory Committee. Ms. Peña was twice named NJ’s INSIDER 100: POLICY-MAKERS POWER LIST for her work leading the Center. During her tenure, the New Jersey Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development in the New Jersey Department of State has been widely lauded for expanding its statewide footprint and national presence in advocacy for Hispanics and Latinx.
Ms. Peña is a current member of the Advisory Council for the New Jersey League of Women Voters and a member of the Executive Women of New Jersey an organization that strives to ensure women have equal access to corporate leadership opportunities and that they are paid equitably in those positions.
In 2017, Sara was appointed by the Honorable Mayor Ras Baraka to serve as Commissioner on Newark’s Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Inspired by her son, Anthony, Ms. Peña founded the Boys to Leaders Foundation. Its mission is to empower and motivate young men by providing leadership training, educational programs, and positive personal and professional development.
Ms. Peña is the Past President of LUPE Fund Inc., (Latinas United for Political Empowerment) having served in that capacity for three years, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of all Latinas in New Jersey. She continues to be an active board member since 2008.
She received her bachelor’s degree in Management from Kean University and while at Kean became a sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Incorporated. Ms. Peña received her master’s degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University in Newark, and was inducted into the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration, Pi Alpha Alpha.