Natalie Vega O’Neil is the President & CEO of Junior Achieve-ment of WA, the largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their eco-nomic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and financial choices. With 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and a commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty, Natalie is a relentless advocate for marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable communities. As a dynamic Latinx leader steeped in early childhood development and educational programs, Natalie is the first female and first person of color to lead Junior Achievement of WA in its 68-year history.
Natalie has a rich background in nonprofit leadership as the associate vice president of Save the Children, founding staff member at Thrive by Five Washington, and co-founder and director of ear-ly childhood education for a public charter school in Los Angeles, California. This background has charged her mission and resolve to provide access and equity to education for all families.
Natalie’s team of over 600 at Save the Children, a global humanitarian agency, executed domestic programs focused on early childhood education and grade-level reading across 38 states, reaching more than 300,000 children. While at Thrive by Five Washington, Natalie co-led the development of a statewide Quality Rating & Improvement System and the state’s work on developing kinder-garten readiness indicators.
In addition to these programs, Natalie has a breadth and depth of experience rolling up her sleeves to help build and nurture a host of nonprofit programs, including the creation of bilingual, play-based birth to five programs, and an onsite health clinic, for children and families living in se-vere poverty; worked for other nonprofits, including Make-A-Wish Foundation and the YWCA; and organizing advocacy efforts to raise awareness and support for programs that promote children’s well-being and racial & geographic equity.
Natalie is a skilled fundraiser, securing tens of million dollars in individual, foundation, corporate, state, and federal grants; and holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Child De-velopment from the Erikson Institute. Natalie was named a Reign FC Legend in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the Seattle community and featured by Seattle ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) as a Latina Trailblazer. Natalie serves as a board member for Leadership Tomorrow and, as at June 1, will be the President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Natalie Vega O’Neil
President & CEO – Junior Achievement of Washington, Incoming President – National Association for the Education of Young Children