Carolyn Tran is an established and accomplished leader with substantial experience in facilitating community-led initiatives to mobilize and drive results, through problem-solving, innovation and diplomacy. Prior to joining CUSP, Carolyn ran for NYC public office, which ignited a grassroots coalition of women, immigrants, workers, LGBTQIA+ activists, community leaders of all ages and organizers to engage in electoral politics. Although unsuccessful in winning the primary, the campaign sparked organizing and leadership development in communities historically ignored in the neighborhoods of Elmhurst & Jackson Heights, Queens. Before running for office, Carolyn built a decade-long career in public service as Chief of Staff to an elected official where she managed million dollar budgets, organized hundreds of community events and cultivated partnerships with grassroots organizations, small businesses and institutions.
Carolyn is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in San Jose, California. She holds a bachelor's degree in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University and a master's degree in Urban Policy from the New School. Her first experience in community organizing came shortly after college when she joined VietUnity, a grassroots collective organizing to bring Vietnamese people together to work on local issues while connecting to a larger multi-racial and multi-class movement for social justice. She co-founded the Vietnamese Artists Collective and was a co-director of Locus Arts, both of which promoted and organized performance spaces for Asian American artists throughout the country. In 2006, Carolyn coordinated the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, a coalition of legal service providers and social service organizations formed to address the daunting legal challenges confronting immigrants. In her position, she helped create a wraparound rapid response network to support families impacted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and Immigrant Family Day that focused on a day of community building and civic engagement.
Currently, Carolyn serves as Board Chair of Mekong NYC, a Bronx-based social justice organization serving the Southeast Asian communities in NYC and is a member of the Justice Committee, a grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. She is also passionate about building an equitable and inclusive cannabis industry that demonstrates allied support for communities disproportionately affected by racist drug policies and de-stigmatization of the plant through education.
Carolyn is a single mother to two young daughters and together the trio enjoys muay thai, surfing and rock climbing as a family.