Ana Guajardo Carrillo is a respected community leader, veteran and the co-founder and executive director of a community organization based in South Chicago who has spent much of her personal and professional career organizing on the Southeast Side of Chicago and the South Suburbs.
The daughter of parents who migrated from Mexico, Ana was born and raised in South Chicago. Her father was a union steelworker who moved the family to the area to work in the steel mills in the early 1970’s. She currently resides with her husband and two young daughters in Vet’s Park only a few minutes from where she grew up.
Beginning in 2004, Ana began working for SEIU Local 3 in Indianapolis as a union organizer with the Justice for Janitors Campaign. Following SEIU, Ana worked as a community organizer with the Illinois Coalition for immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), where she organized on state and federal policy in the 3rd congressional district and oversaw a team of 5 fellows that registered over 6,000 southside residents to vote during the 2008 presidential elections. After leaving ICIRR, Ana went on to work for the Working Hands Legal Clinic, which later became the Raise the Floor Alliance, as their Paralegal/Outreach Coordinator.
In 2008, Ana co-founded Centro de Trabajadores Unidos with a group of Southeast Side residents and workers and became the first Executive Director of the organization. The organization is dedicated to organizing and empowering workers as they fight for their rights in the workplace and in their communities and focuses on impacting policies to ensure among other things, that all workers earn a living wage. Since its inception in 2008, the organization has grown from a staff of one to a staff of six and houses a free legal clinic to assist with labor, immigration, housing and expungement cases. The organization is now entering its 10th year and will soon move into a community center on the East Side, which would provide space to incubate worker owned cooperatives and house newly arrived immigrant families--the first center of it’s kind to serve the community on the Southeast Side.
In addition to her work with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Ana has been recognized by a number of organizations and foundations for her extensive background in community organizing. In 2013 Ana was nominated as an Edgar Fellow, a program which focuses on developing leadership and governing capacity in Illinois. The following year in 2014, the Chicago Community Trust awarded Ana the Community Champion Fellowship for her work to create business cooperatives and social enterprises that provide jobs on the Southeast Side. Most recently in 2017 Ana was selected as one of 30 fellows to participate in the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy, which works with emerging leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies within the City of Chicago and Cook County.
Ana is deeply committed to the Southeast Side Community where she lives and works. She currently serves as a board member of the Alliance for the Southeast (ASE) and recently helped co-found the Illinois Worker Cooperative Alliance.
Ana served in the Illinois National Guard for 7.5 years. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Chicago State University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute.