Vanessa Lazón to Lead the Mayor’s Office of New Americans
Lazón to serve as Director of Community Inclusion in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, where the Office of New Americans will be housed
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry has selected Vanessa Lazón to lead the Office of New Americans, serving as the Director of Community Inclusion within the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement.
“Nashville is a stronger city because of the many different cultures and communities that come together to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all,” said Mayor Barry. “Vanessa will play an important role in creating a stronger bond between our government and the many immigrant and refugee communities that strengthen the fabric of our city.”
The Office of New Americans will be a part of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement and will serve to fulfill their joint mission of amplifying the voices of all Nashvillians in the governing process.
“In the nearly 20 years since I came to call Nashville home, I’ve seen our city come a long way in terms of engaging and welcoming immigrants and refugees,” said Lazón. “I’m grateful to Mayor Barry for giving me the opportunity to work with the Mayor’s Office to build on the progress we’ve made while finding new ways to empower New Americans to improve their lives and strengthen the entire Nashville community.”
Lazón moved to Nashville from Lima, Perú, in November of 1997 and graduated from Glencliff High School in May of 1999. This experience fueled her passion to help young immigrants and refugees in many different ways, mainly through connecting their needs with the appropriate resources as well as helping them learn how to navigate existing systems, especially when it comes to attaining a good education. Vanessa is a graduate of Lipscomb University, a former MyCity Academy participant and co-chair of the Mayor’s New Americans Advisory Council and Metro Parks’ Celebrate Nashville TEENS United Committee.
“Vanessa brings a wealth of experience both in terms of working with the New American community and in engaging youth throughout our city,” said Lonnell Matthews, Director of the Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement. “She will be a critical resource as we continue to engage young people in Nashville as part of our effort to reduce youth violence and create pathways to hope and opportunity.”
Lazón has served as the youth engagement coordinator at Oasis Center since 2008, where she has served over 900 international youth and their families through the implementation of the International Teen Outreach Program (ITOP). Under Lazón’s leadership, her students have volunteered more than 7,600 hours in Nashville, which has helped them discover their ability to contribute to our community by achieving concrete and tangible goals that make a difference in other people’s lives.