By Mason Kelley
Paula Sardinas has spent her life helping others. She raised four children. She worked on presidential campaigns. She was the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Puget Sound. And she is currently the president and CEO of FMS Global Strategies, a BIPOC governmental affairs lobbying firm, and The Purpose-Driven Girl, a nonprofit that empowers BIPOC girls and women.
At the heart of it all, Sardinas has built her career around advocating for the BIPOC community, working to ensure the people who need the most help receive it.
When summing up her mother’s efforts, Sardinas’ daughter said, “I don’t know what a Wonder Woman really does, or Superman really does, but I just know they’re not doing as much as my mom.”
Sardinas said she focuses on what she can do to help underserved communities.
“I want to look at every aspect of the human being and ask, ‘How am I making life better?’” Sardinas said. “It’s really important I use my voice, speak my truth, and apply my gifts in a way that uplifts everyone.”
A year ago, when Sardinas was named a South Sound magazine and 425 magazine Woman to Watch, she was embarking on her journey as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Puget Sound. She was working to transform the lives of children of color through mentorship.
Then, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd was killed in Minnesota.
Sardinas decided, “My voice could be more powerful and amplified greater if I just focused all of my time on my advocacy work.”
So that’s what she did. She reinvested her energy in FMS Global Strategies, and started the Washington Build Back Black Alliance, focusing primarily on creating an economic strategy around Black communities.
“You can’t build this country back better unless you invest in the Black community,” Sardinas said.
In the past year, Sardinas has worked on initiatives that focused on a lack of economic opportunity in communities of color that often lead the people in those communities to rely on social safety nets. She focused attention on digital inequity and criminal justice reform. She was instrumental in the work of Washington’s eviction moratorium task force while also helping to assist in the distribution of 1.7 million pounds of food to help curb food insecurity.
Through 105 days of policy work, Sardinas looked at 275 bills — whittled down to 211 — and of those 211, she said about 181 passed.
Sardinas’ effort during the 2021 legislative sessions was “Herculean.”
“I’ve been busy,” Sardinas said with a laugh.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Later this year, Sardinas will visit every legislative district in the state and talk about what they got right, what didn’t quite work, and what needs to happen next. She plans to have conversations with legislators and constituents to help those who need it most. The work never completely stops, because that is what a real Wonder Woman does.