Ileana Rodriguez by Abby Nardo Photography

Ileana has spent her career nurturing grassroots movements and drawing attention to overlooked causes. She started out as a grant writer to support research for at-risk children and then transitioned to a small agency, where she helped community-based clients connect with their audiences.

A recognized leader in the independent design and craft movement (her work was featured on HGTV and in the feature-length documentary, Handmade Nation), Ileana co-founded and produced a semi-annual event to support emerging artists. After several years as the Development Director at Toxic Free NC, where she lent her skills and passion to environmental and food justice issues, now she serves as the Director of Development and Communications at Artspace, a non-profit visual arts center whose mission is to inspire creative energy by providing opportunities to experience the creative process and engage with artists.

Jobs that don’t feel like work to Ileana: creating compelling grassroots fundraising campaigns, making non-profit communications sparkle, planning events for good people and good causes, and researching which variety of tomato is the most delicious (sungolds usually win).

When she isn’t at the office, you’ll usually find her at home, which she shares with one human, two dogs, two cats, nine bicycles, dozens of cookbooks and lots and lots of records.

Photo credit: Abby Nardo