Celebrating Women’s History Month: Honoring The Women of Homeboy Recycling and Homeboy Threads

In the month of March, as the world commemorates International Women’s Day and observes Women’s History Month, the teams at Homeboy Recycling and Homeboy Threads stand in solidarity with the global community in celebrating the remarkable achievements and enduring spirit of women throughout history. For too long, the narratives of women’s contributions have been relegated to the sidelines, overshadowed by the dominant portrayal of men in historical accounts. But we recognize the invaluable role that women have played and continue to play in shaping our society, our workplace, and our future.

As we reflect on the significance of Women’s History Month, it is essential to acknowledge the struggles and triumphs of women across generations. From the suffragettes who fought for the right to vote to the trailblazers who shattered glass ceilings in male-dominated fields, women have demonstrated resilience, courage, and unwavering determination in the face of adversity. Yet, their stories have often been marginalized or omitted from mainstream narratives, underscoring the importance of elevating women’s voices and honoring their contributions.

Throughout history, women have confronted myriad challenges, from systemic discrimination to gender-based violence. They have navigated barriers, both seen and unseen, to claim their rightful place in society. At Homeboy Recycling and Homeboy Threads, we recognize the significance of amplifying women’s narratives and championing their achievements. We believe that women’s rights are human rights, and we are committed to creating an inclusive workplace where every employee, particularly women, is valued, respected, and empowered to thrive.

Our dedication to fostering diversity and equality extends beyond mere words; it is ingrained in our organizational culture and guiding principles. We believe that diversity fuels innovation, and by embracing the unique perspectives and talents of women, we propel our company forward. From our leadership team to our frontline staff, women play an integral role in driving our success and shaping our vision for the future.

As we honor Women’s History Month, we invite you to join us in celebrating the remarkable women at Homeboy Recycling, Homeboy Threads, and beyond. Together, let us recognize their contributions, uplift their voices, and reaffirm our commitment to building a more just, equitable, and inclusive world for all. In the words of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, “No one is free until everyone is free.” Let us continue to strive for freedom, equality, and dignity for women everywhere.

Meet the Women at Homeboy Recycling and Homeboy Threads

Katalina Connoy 

I am Katalina Connoy, the E-commerce & Digital Marketing lead at Homeboy Threads. I have always loved fashion and been involved with it one way or another and while constantly looking for ways to grow and learn from the environments that I am in! I am a passionate creator who is constantly looking to curate the best inventory of apparel and social media content for Threads!

As for hobbies, I am a basketball personal trainer on the weekends and play in a women’s adult league! Aside from that I am an avid R&B listener and love going to album listening events. I have accomplished a lot since I graduated high school, but the one thing that stuck with me was my ability to grow and develop a skill set for E-commerce on my own, in the middle of a pandemic! I aspire to grow and learn as much as I can in the fashion space and expand my network in the process. My time here at Homeboys has been a series of constantly learning/adjusting and I have been able to grow so much within my 2 positions here. Celebrating women is important to me because I come from a family of strong minded women who have taught me how to grow as an individual and be the best version of myself! Not to mention, we have a great team of fierce women here at Homeboy Threads who grind day in and day out!

Lulu Kornspan

I work for Homeboy because I believe that, like Father Greg says, people are “so much more than the worst thing they’ve ever done.” I am extremely proud that our company was founded by a woman (shout out to Kabira Stokes) and admire all my colleagues who work so hard everyday to fulfill our mission of creating a world in which our precious human and natural resources are valued, not wasted. In my free time I like to make jewelry, decorate my home, laugh with friends, take road trips, and listen to comedy podcasts.

Ana Pacheco 

My name is Ana Pacheco (nickname Annie), I’ve worked at Homeboy Recycling for almost 8 years! I grew up in San Dimas (suburb east of LA) as the youngest of 4 kids. I went to the University of Washington and got my degree in Environmental Studies and Urban Design and Planning. I love hanging with my dog, baking (currently into making sourdough bread) and trying different DIY projects. I ended up at Homeboy because of my background in waste management and recycling and I’m so happy I joined Isidore Electronics Recycling many years ago! I started when there were only 3 other women on the team and I love that I have been part of growing our team of women over the last several years. Women are an amazing part of our organization and I owe so much of my success in life to the amazing women around me!

Chanalisa Sera 

Hi, I am Chanalisa Sera, 35 years old and of Cuban descent. I first came to Homeboys 2 1/2 years ago. I fell in love with the mission and the environment of what Homeboy’s stands for. 

I love playing sports with my children and doing arts and crafts. I aspire to become a case manager for the underprivileged. I have accomplished many things in just 2 1/2 years. I have not only started working for an amazing company who saw all my potential but one that keeps pushing me upward to reach my ultimate goals. Upon my release from 2/12 years of incarceration, I obtained custody of my children again, I have gotten my own apartment, I have bought a brand new car, and most of all I healed within myself from past trauma which has helped me maintain my sobriety and now I am able to help others. Celebrating women is so important to me because it shows women can do as much as a man can do and at no limit. If you put your mind to something you desire, you will make it happen.

Elisa Johnson

I’m Elisa Johnson–I’ve been at Homeboy Industries for over 5 years working both in Fundraising and now Homeboy Threads. I’m the mom of two adult kids, Matthew and Anna who both live in Texas.  I’ve just learned I’m going to be a grandmother in August. For fun, I run with my friends several mornings a week.  I think it is important to celebrate Women’s History Month because we were ALL created to be image bearers–ALL of us–each and every one of us.  

Jeannette Felix

I am Jeannette Felix and I am a technician and mentor here at Homeboy Recycling. I have been a part of Homeboy Industries for eight years. I started going through the 18-month program and then Homeboys sent me to a culinary training program. Back at Homeboys, I became a navigator and they sent me here to HBR. The electronics we recycle are not any different from the homies because we come here and we’re damaged and the electronics are used and damaged until you polish them up. 

I like to cook, event planning, gatherings, and bringing people together. I also enjoy spending time with my three kids and granddaughter. 

I think celebrating Women’s History Month is important because it’s a beautiful thing to empower us women instead of us knocking each other down. 

Jessica Jimenez

I’m Jessica Jimenez, the office administrator here at Homeboy Recycling. I started only last October and I have cherished my time here and have already grown so much. I am personally invested in the Homeboy mission as I believe that nobody should be thrown away in a system of perpetual harm that does nothing to address, prevent, or abolish our societal and economic and personal problems at hand. I want to work towards our collective liberation for a better future. 

Outside of work, one of my favorite things to do is run. I ran the LA Marathon last year and I’m doing it again this year. I also love to spend time with my boyfriend, dog, and friends as well as listen to music, tons of podcasts, and read books. I grew up in Santa Ana and I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2020 with a degree in ethnic studies. I’m the only one in my family to have a college degree. I hope to go back to graduate school in the future. 

Celebrating Women’s History Month is important to me because during times like these where women’s rights are being taken away right before our eyes, I believe that we need to demand our rights and stand together in solidarity to honor the women who fight for us everyday and continue the tradition for the generations to come.

Violet Valdez  

My name is Violet Valdez, I’ve worked at Homeboy Recycling for 2 years and some change 🙂 I was raised in Watts, CA and grew up in multiple different neighborhoods in LA County. I love helping others and knowing my job is a contribution out of the other hundred jobs that supports Homeboys get the chance they deserve. In my downtime I love dancing, cooking, and spending time with my siamese cat Nana.

I believe recognizing the women that occupy important roles here is imperative to understand the hard work women do everyday!

Ibby Hartley 

Hi, my name is Ibby! I was born in Rhode Island but grew up in Los Angeles and there’s no place I’d rather live!  When I was 16 Father Greg came to speak at my highschool and I set a mental goal of working for Homeboys – and now I’ve worked here for almost 3 years! I am grateful to work at a social enterprise that melds social mission and environmental impact. Prior to being at Homeboy’s I owned a small business for 6 years designing and sewing custom clothing out of vintage and upcycled materials – the focus of my designs was to create clothing that fit women properly and made them feel their best. When not at work, I enjoy making clothing (cutting, sewing, patternmaking, etc), drawing / painting, doing DIY projects, and running. I have one son, my dog Randle. 

I am excited to celebrate each one of the incredible women I work with during Women’s History Month and beyond!

Jennifer Rivera

I’m Jennifer and I love to travel and visit different places and cultures. I’ve been to Hawaii, Cancun, London, Paris, Italy, Greece, and Texas. Although I’ve lived in California my whole life I barely visited San Francisco this past weekend. I also enjoy going to my kid’s sports games and my daughter’s cheerleading competitions. Outside of traveling, I just like to focus on my three kids. 

I’ve been at HBR for 7 years. I used to be the asset management lead and I would travel to different states. We don’t do that anymore but I miss it. I first started out in the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, I was doing an externship and completing my hours here, then they hired me full time. I started at the Conservation Corps because I had kids young and wanted to get my high school diploma. I succeeded and I even got my chainsaw and wood chip certification there as well. 

I think celebrating Women’s History Month is important because I feel like women are overlooked by men who often treat women as less or lower than them. We can do all the same things they can, and probably better too. We can do even more, like create life. 

Amy Anderson 

Hi! I’m Amy 

I take pride in my strong, emotionally intelligent, resilient, and considerate femme traits. I enjoy spending time working with my hands (like making a cutting board in the photo) or connecting with mother nature whether at the beach or on a hike or in the snow. It is also important to me to continue to learn and grow from feminist & womanist ideologies that carry so much knowledge in supporting equity and relieving oppression for all. I am appreciative to work on a team that addresses many intersectional social issues, and look forward to celebrating my 7th year spent with Homeboy in the fall of 2024.

A book I’m reading now is Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall that I’d recommend to anyone who may want to commemorate women’s history month 🙂

Lori Yalem

I was born in Omaha Nebraska and went to Catholic schools. My dad was killed in a car accident when I was 11 yrs old so grew up with a single mom and my 2 younger sisters. I’ve lived in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Oregon and Cali. My mom remarried and they had another baby, so this was Sister#3. I was the first person in my family to go to college (University of Nebraska) and earned a bachelor of arts degree , specializing in ceramic sculpture. In college I went on a class trip overseas (England) and fell in love with travel. (Taiwan, Japan, Macow, Australia) Moved to Denver, and bought my first new road bike, Yamaha Virago 750, and rode all over the state. I met my husband in Vegas and have been married for 31 years. I have 1 daughter who lives in Virginia and is a CPA. When I moved to LA, I got into paper recycling. The impetus was that my husband was a docu-drama writer and he threw out many versions of his scripts. So we recycled them instead! I took classes at UCLA to learn more about the recycling industry so I could get a job in it. “Saving trees” was my initial passion to work in the paper recycling and I loved it. Since 2008 I have been lucky to find work with non-profits (Goodwill and Homeboy) still doing recycling, but with the added benefit of helping others get work/jobs. My favorite past times are gardening, pulling weeds, composting, hiking in the hills/mountains with my dog, volunteering for dog rescue (20 years), yoga, traveling (following my daughter around the globe!), backyard fire-pit burns, etc. My current dog passed her Therapy Dog  test, so we visit Adult Day Cares on a weekly basis. I also am helping a young male Golden get out of “jail/boarding” and find a family. One day when I retire, I want to start throwing pots again.