The Lee Institute
Our Team

Gina Esquivel

704.714.4438 · email

Gina Esquivel joined the Lee Institute in November 2022 as Director. During the past four years, Gina has led Civic Canvas; a consulting firm focused on social impact. Gina is an ALF Senior Fellow, an accomplished community leader, and a seasoned social change management consultant. A career professional with more than 30 years of experience in the Charlotte non-profit landscape. A leader in over 300+ change initiatives for social impact. Network builder, leading more than 70 collaboration projects for social impact. Master facilitator and public speaker, reaching more than 13,000 audiences. As a consultant, she led the Equity Framework for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and co-designed the first leadership development initiative for Latino professionals, and led three cohorts with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She is a public lecturer on topics of poverty, racial equity, and LGBTQ+ communities.

Prior to Civic Canvas, Gina held several critical roles in poverty reduction, racial equity, infectious diseases, education, housing, domestic violence, and social marketing with non-profits such as Read Charlotte, Crisis Assistance Ministry, and Levine Museum of the New South, among others. At Crisis Assistance Ministry, she led a $2 million rapid-rehousing project, convening non-profits and government operations.

She has been a pioneer in bilingual media production, co-hosting a radio show for 3 years and a television show for 5 years, and a 6-episode podcast and producing two documentaries on social issues.

Gina brings an executive understanding of all the communities that drive social change after working alongside corporate partners, advocates, donors, and underserved and marginalized communities.

She graduated from the National University of Costa Rica in Psychology and Education and earned her master’s degree in Change Management and Leadership from Pfeiffer University. In addition, she has certifications in project management, design thinking, strategic community planning, and non-profit management. She recently completed the e-Cornell Certificate on Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Gina believes in community involvement by serving on various non-profit boards and dedicates her time to organizations such as the North Carolina Arts Council, Honor Preparatory Charter School, the Latino Executive Leadership Council, and Crisis Assistance Ministry. In the past, she led the Women’s Plus Girls Research Alliance board, served as Grants Committee Chair and board member of the former Charlotte Lesbian Gay Fund, and co-founded Enlace a network coalition of non-profits serving the Latino Community.

In her spare time, she is a social activist photographer an alumnus of the New York Institute of Photography, and a winner of the Emerging Artist Award 2019 by ArtSi. She is currently working on her photobook “The Hard-Working People of the World”, which will feature 15 countries’ wage workers.

She goes home to the countryside to spend time with her two chihuahuas.

In This Section