Alumni Changemaker: Catherine-Mercedes Judge

Alumni Changemaker: Catherine-Mercedes Judge

Empowering and Engaging Communities

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Catherine-Mercedes Judge completed the 2008 Junior Summer Institute at the University of Michigan and serves on PPIA's Alumni Advisory Committee.

Catherine-Mercedes Judge, a mixed-race Filipina, was born and raised in San Francisco. She embodies the values of justice, organization, and empowerment. Her journey in public service began with advocating for policy campaigns across Northern California with the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004. She then went on to organize students and community members in various change initiatives across multiple sectors, including labor unions, nonprofits, and government.

Having received mentorship both financially and academically through PPIA's Junior Summer Institute, she realized firsthand the value of supporting others.

She committed to passing that mentorship on as a means of both giving back and continuing to foster a just and equitable society.

“The cycle of leadership development needs to continue, it is important to build up those around you, and sustain our efforts toward a more just, equitable society. True leadership is more than just having a seat at the table. It’s about transforming the configuration of the room.”

She went on to impact change as the Associate Director of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, which is a program of Urban Habitat. Their commission service was critical to advancing environmental, economic, and social justice by empowering low-income communities and communities of color through education, advocacy, research, and coalition building.

After earning an MPA from a top graduate school as a National Urban Fellow, Catherine-Mercedes pivoted her career into local government. She furthered her unique skill set with the New York City Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene as a Coordinator and later Manager of Race for Justice where she helped lead an organizational change initiative to advance racial equity and improve health outcomes for all New York City residents.

Catherine-Mercedes currently works at the New York City Mayor's Office of Contract Services as an Assistant Director of Engagement, where she is optimizing and transforming processes that will make it easier for all people to do business in the city.

Her most recent contribution is to the film industry. Working with Looky Looky Pictures as a Community Screening Manager, she bridges the gap between film and community power to impact change through authentic storytelling that propels advocacy.

“Public service is more than simply giving a voice to the voiceless, but authentically engaging people to lead the campaigns that will bring the changes they want to see.”

We celebrate you Catherine-Mercedes for your steadfast commitment to the empowerment of BIPOC communities! This heartfelt mentorship and continued organizational leadership are deeply present within your life’s work. Through your efforts, many are rising up to carry the torch of justice even deeper into our society’s fabric. Thank you for embodying compassionate leadership and generously giving of yourself on behalf of the greater good.

Read more Changemaker profiles here!