Cristy Johnston-Limón


Cristy Johnston-Limón currently leads the City of Oakland’s business development activities as the Deputy Director of the Economic and Workforce Development Department. Prior to supporting Oakland’s business community, Cristy was Executive Director of the Center for Social Sector Leadership at the Haas School of Business, and Executive Director of Youth Speaks and Destiny Arts Center, both recognized arts and youth development organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cristy led the fundraising, acquisition, and development of Destiny Arts Center and Youth Speaks cultural facilities, stabilizing and strengthening each to sustain and grow their impact while creating new and robust cultural spaces.

Cristy earned her MBA from the Berkeley Haas School of Business and a BA in Political Science also from U.C. Berkeley. She is the recipient of the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL) Equity Fluent Leadership Award, Community Vision’s Community Builder Award (2015), the Young Nonprofit Leaders’ Executive Director of the Year Award, and LISC’s National Community Development Leadership Award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for organizations that focus on education, theater arts, economic development. and climate justice (American Conservatory Theater, Bandaloop, and Frontline Catalysts). She lives in Oakland with her husband Tom and two daughters ages 5 and 10.



Land, Culture, and Belonging: Place-based Community Advocacy
Public space is essential for building a culture of belonging, but creating and preserving spaces for equitable public use often requires powerful advocacy and elaborate partnerships between community coalitions, city leaders, and developers. As venues for gatherings, performances, and large events, the spaces can foster new connections, amplify voices, and share messages that advance a culture of belonging without othering. Like many similar centers, the Henry J Kaiser Center, the building that is housing our conference, struggled with insufficient funding and was closed for nearly 20 years...