Vanessa is the Vice President of Government and Political Affairs at GIFFORDS, an organization with a mission to end gun violence.

Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President of Field and Member Services for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Previously, Gonzalez served as Assistant Vice President for Outreach and Strategy at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). In that work, she partnered with teams across the university to increase and strengthen outreach to communities of color and positively influence their higher education experience.

Prior to that, Gonzalez served as the Director of Outreach and Engagement in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs for the U.S. Department of Education. Before serving in the Obama administration, Gonzalez was Director of Latino Leadership and Engagement for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and worked as a family and child therapist at Southwest Human Development Center in Phoenix, Arizona. She also served in the administration of former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, held various high-profile political campaign positions, and held the role of Communications Director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Gonzalez currently sits on the board of Inclusv, a non-profit established to ensure that staff, consultants, and vendors of color are found at every professional level within advocacy, policy, and campaigns. She is also on the board of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to advancing the health, dignity, and justice for the 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States. Gonzalez received her Bachelor’s degree from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas and her Master’s degree in social work and public administration from Arizona State University.