Victoria Cordova has a lot to be proud of. The 30-year-old is a born-and-bred Houstonian now living in Midtown. She is a graduate of Sam Houston State, where she studied criminal justice and political science as an undergraduate and political science as a graduate student. Now, she is dedicating her life and her work to making Houston the most diverse and accepting place it can be, especially for the LGBTQ community.
Cordova says that when she was a kid, she wanted to be like her dad. “He retired from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office after 30 years, and now serves as the police chief for the Aldine School District.” But instead of pursuing a career in law enforcement, she landed at Houston City Hall to serve as the communications manager for Houston Public Media (the region’s PBS and NPR stations). “I [raise awareness about] the value of public media with our audiences through multi-platform efforts that capture the station’s ability to go beyond the airwaves to address the needs of the communities it serves.”
Cordova is also involved in community-engagement efforts. In 2018, she helped establish the HPM Young Leaders Council, the station’s first-ever ambassador program for young professionals. “I also produced Red, White, and Blue, a weekly public-affairs TV show focused on current issues facing the state and nation, and I co-produced Generations on the Rise, a digital series in partnership with Houston First that paid tribute to Houston’s unique culture and the next generation of leaders.”
Her work is incredibly rewarding, she says, because Houston Public Media continues to provide people with a strong foundation for understanding their city. “I have heard testimonies from our neighbors that had learned about our city, their new home, shortly after moving to the U.S. from our daily talk show Houston Matters. People also tell me how they now have a greater appreciation for the present because of Public Media’s stories of the past.”
And if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Cordova is also an adjunct lecturer at Sam Houston State University, where she teaches introductory American-government courses online. As an adjunct lecturer, she says she truly enjoys being able to engage in ongoing, relevant discussions on important topics such as the 2020 presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic. “The course discussions and assignments offer opportunities for students to analyze current events and tie them back to policy that affects their communities, including their schools, their jobs, and their daily lives.”
For Cordova, Pride is all about embracing her own diversity and appreciating the incomparable value of her Latino and lesbian identities. She says she attends the Houston Pride festival and parade every year. “It’s fun to get dressed up and celebrate our community with friends, family, and neighbors. Last year, I participated in the parade for the first time with my partner, Hillary Cortez and her company.” Cortez is a licensing and commissions service specialist at AIG.
As for Pride this year, Cordova believes that we need community and connection now more than ever. “I look forward to virtually celebrating Pride and who we are and what we stand for. Although the pandemic is a difficult time, it can also be a time of unprecedented creativity. I look forward to seeing how we can reimagine the way we celebrate and come together.”
Another one of Cordova’s great passions is increasing the diversity of Houston’s leaders. “In particular, ensuring that those serving in leadership positions—such as boards and commissions, and those in appointed and elected offices across Houston—reflect the diverse makeup of our city.” For three years, she served on the board of Latino Texas, a local political-action committee “dedicated to increasing the representation of Latinos in elected positions.”
And just last year, Cordova graduated from United Way of Greater Houston’s Project Blueprint. “That’s a program designed to prepare emerging leaders in diverse communities for leadership roles on nonprofit and public-sector boards and committees,” she explains. “I think it is important to elect leaders that can identify with their community and have a deeper awareness of their challenges.”
In addition, she was recently elected to serve on the nominating committee of the League of Women Voters of Houston. “I had an opportunity to build a board of the future by working together to recruit and nominate candidates for board and leadership positions. We are making strides across the country—enter Pete Buttigieg and Annise Parker—with more openly LGBTQ+ people in elected office than at any time in our country’s history. But there’s still more work to do.”
Cordova has a lot to be proud of, from being a member of the LGBTQ community to her Latin heritage, her career and volunteer work, and her other interests that define who she is, what she believes in, and what she fights for.
She is especially proud that she’s a Houstonian through and through, and she has a message to share with all of her fellow Houstonians: “Houston has allowed me to find my most authentic self by creating and fostering a culture of inclusion and innovative thinking. Strong allies ensure we can show up to work—and to life—as ourselves. Be an ally!”