Malaina Mote joined Collaboratory in 2017 and currently leads equity strategy and the scholarship program, where she manages $24 million in scholarship funds and the entire application process. That work, she says, is just a part of the larger change she’s trying to create.

“I visit high schools all over the Southwest Florida region, talking about the importance of being financially secure during the journey of post-secondary education. I also created The Mixed Aspect, a social media platform that focuses on racial equity and the challenges faced by individuals of mixed background,” she says. “People are my passion, and whatever opportunity I have to work with people, I take full advantage of.”

Mote is a member of the National Scholarship Providers Association conference committee, the FutureMakers Coalition Access and Entry Team, and Equity Action Team. She published her first children’s book, Lavender, What Are You?, in 2019.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to inspire those stuck in the pit of hopelessness to accomplish even their wildest dreams. Sometimes, all a person needs is someone in their life to hold them accountable and push them to succeed. I want to be that person for as many people as I possibly can.