Get to know Melissa Canela

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Melissa Canela



Published Friday, May 28, 2021:

Melissa’s first day at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley (HFSV) was the Friday before the shelter in place order in Santa Clara County went into effect last year. Since then Melissa along with our education programs has pivoted drastically. Alongside having to navigate a new job, Melissa was in pursuit of a Masters degree in Justice Studies at San Jose State University. We are thrilled to announce Melissa has earned a post graduate degree on Friday, May 28, 2021.

As there is light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, Melissa shares with us what she has learned about an organization supported, managed, and led by Hispanic leaders in Silicon Valley. Melissa is an East San Jose native, fierce advocate for the Latinx community, and is passionate about equitable access to resources for students and families.

Here is what she has to say in her own words:

I’ve re-affirmed two things about our community in this past year: 

  1. The Latinx community continues to persevere for the wellbeing and education of their families despite systemic barriers

  2. HFSV families have a growth mindset that is inspiring and energizing!

Here is a bit more about Melissa

Aside from work and school can you share a few hobbies you may have?

Since working from home, I have a newfound appreciation for being outside and spending more time with my family and my pets. I’m looking forward to picking up more hobbies this summer as I’d like to get back to reading and hiking more often!

What’s your favorite show?

I recently started watching The Mandalorian and I must say, it’s definitely worth the hype! The Child (Grogu) is so cute! 

Are you a cat or dog person?

I grew up having dogs in my family so I think they’re the best companions!

What’s your cat and dog’s name and why?

I have two senior, mostly toothless doggies, Skoshie (16) and Oliver (10)! I’ve had them since they were puppies and they make my day. Skoshie got his name at birth and we decided to keep it because it’s unique; needless to say, it has been mispronounced by everyone in our family for his 16 years of life! He has many nicknames. We found Oliver on the side of a freeway and his name comes from the movie, Oliver and Company, since we brought him into our family from the streets. 

Melissa Canela and pet

What do you look forward to after graduating with an M.S.?

I look forward to applying everything I learned into my work with the Latinx community.

What do you look forward to with the Hispanic Foundation this year?

I look forward to continue expanding our programs in the community and supporting our students and families as they navigate school and beyond.

HFSV is fortunate and proud to have Melissa Canela as part of the team. We look forward to her continued contributions.


The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley depends on donations from individuals like you. With your involvement, we are addressing the needs of the Latino community, expanding the philanthropic pie and increasing our charitable impact.

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