Samantha Cardenas

Sam Cardenas can be described as an exceptional leader and a force to be reckoned with because of her trailblazing career in corporate America, commitment to professional development and unwavering dedication to community. She has proven herself to be an entrepreneurial community leader through her unmatched work ethic and steadfast commitment to the Bronx, and New York City. Sam has made a profound impact on local leadership through mentorship of emerging leaders and community organizing.

After graduating from Syracuse University, Sam began her career with a full-time offer from Macy’s. During this time, Sam continued her professional development by enrolling in night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which laid the groundwork for her to launch PeaTree Clothing Co, a startup focused on sustainable, inclusive clothing as an answer to the need for LatinX and queer representation in fashion. While her talents were well utilized, Sam noticed her passion continuously focused on diversity and inclusion efforts and mentorship opportunities for people of color. In 2020, Sam seized the opportunity to pivot her career to community organizing.

Through her local volunteerism in the Bronx, Sam was asked to serve as a Field Director for a municipal race before being recruited as a Campaign Manager. While each of these professional experiences were unique, they led to Sam’s current role as a Chief of Staff in the New York City Council. In recognition of her talent and aspiring ambitions in government, Sam was selected to be a fellow for CUNY’s 2022 Kriegel Fellowship for Public Service Leaders where she was immersed in the world of public policy and was mentored by public sectorexperts.

With a bachelor’s of the arts in International Relations with a concentration in Intercultural Communication, Sam’s dedication to understanding and uplifting people across cultures has remained a common thread in her work. As a daughter of a union leader and first-generation college graduate, Sam understands how the power of mentorship can lead to profound opportunities for women of color.