Meet Paula Acero, our first full-time staff member

Headshot photo of PRN's new full-time member, Paula Acero. She is smiling in her graduation garb. In the background is grass and a building.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello, PRN community! I’m honored to be the new organizer for such a great nonprofit. I was born in Mexico City, and I’ve lived there my whole life. Since I was little, I have been interested in helping others. As I grew up, I discovered my passion was to be an activist for social movements; I started volunteering for different organizations involving gender equity, climate change, and animal welfare topics. Later, I became an organizing coordinator for two of them and represented Mexico for an international animal rights organization.  Doing activism with one of my colleagues, he told me about Parking Reform Network. I became interested in its philosophy and connection with the wellness of people and the environment. Having family living in LA, San Francisco, and Chicago helped me create a bigger perspective of the problem and how urgent it is to address it.

What was your first impression when you heard about parking reform, and what motivated you to apply to work with us?

It was a big shock to understand how everything is connected. It gave me chills when I learned how cars are not just aligned with pollution but directly affect people’s housing. So as a person that seeks to solve problems at their core, I knew that one of the best ways to help climate change and life quality is to support parking reform policies. In addition, viewing what parking reform has accomplished in the past years and the extensive community it has grown made me feel that I was applying to the right place. 

What will you be doing as an organizer for PRN? How will this impact our members and partners?

As an organizer, the most crucial thing to do is understand everyone’s goals and help them accomplish them. You need to know that you will be essential for the internal and external organization of the team. I will facilitate meetings with community members and officials, project planning, connecting people with necessary social resources, and creating informational materials and reports. Creativity, problem-solving, and social skills are significant for this job. 

This position will help members and partners develop a stronger sense of community. I look forward to strengthening the bond between our community and our cause by creating new strategies and ways to connect. Having a full-time organizer will allow PRN to be more efficient by helping our activists and volunteers make progress on their individual projects, while keeping them connected to the overall mission.

What do you see as the most significant opportunities from this position? What are you most looking forward to doing?

What I would love most is to make an impact in a positive way, and I believe that I am doing that with PRN. Also, this is my first time working with another culture, which I’m sure is going to help me improve my social skills, my adaptability tools, and definitely help me understand the world’s problems at a bigger scale. This job will jumpstart my career as an international activist with experience in several topics that are all linked up, but each with their own branch. I’m looking forward to developing myself as a professional and to help set roots for the PRN organizing team in order to make the work more efficient and enhance the team. 

What’s a parking question you wish there was a study or research paper about?

Because of my background working with gender equity, I would love to see if we can implement a paper about how parking affects women, especially women from underrepresented communities. I would also love to research more about how we can use parking spaces to develop natural ecosystems to help living organisms return to a safe home and how humans can coexist with nature better.

What’s your favorite mode of transportation?

I love walking around with my dog and cat, discovering new places, new parks, and having fun with them. I also love the metro. For me, it is the easiest way to get from one point to another. It allows me to read because I always carry a book with me, and it is very efficient. Also, you are not stuck in traffic or with many cars near you.

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