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Nadia Lopez

  • Education Icon & Inspired Leader Fostering a Community Against All Odds
  • Founder & Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy

A powerful leader widely admired for her remarkable ability to motivate and inspire others, Nadia Lopez has done the impossible. As founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy (MHBA) she has changed the lives of hundreds of students from Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of New York City's poorest neighborhoods. In a neighborhood where violence, drugs, and poverty run rampant, she has led teachers, families, and the community in unearthing hope and potential. Her passion for education, inspirational leadership, and drive to see others succeed is a true testament to the power of the human spirit.

Magnetic and yet thoughtful, Nadia energizes audiences with her incredible story. Founding MHBA in 2010 with only 24 students, she struggled to keep the school running, despite her own determination. But it was when a student called her the most influential person in his life in the popular Humans of New York blog, her life and those of her students changed forever.

Two days later, a fundraising campaign to give sixth-grade classes a chance visit Harvard University went viral, raising $1.4 million. The world took notice of the ground-breaking educator as she spearheaded positive learning and promoted high expectations to growing success. She appeared on Ellen and Good Morning America. A personal meeting with President Obama followed, as did the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College. She was honored as a “Change Agent” alongside Michelle Obama at BET's Black Girls Rock.

Through her leadership, Nadia conveys the power of connecting to others and building teams that collaborate and unite behind a purpose. She emphasizes that this connection formed by listening and empowering emerging leaders breaks down barriers and fosters trust. In articulating a vision, attaching meaning to it, and encouraging the potential of those around her, she enhances engagement on the road to creating powerful solutions. Her philosophy of “lead, learn, and leverage” encourages others to lead with their strengths and leverage the networks and resources around them to make a positive impact and achieve results.

Nadia is also the author of The Bridge to Brilliance, the engaging story of MHBA and the woman whose vision brought it to life. As a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, she is also co-author of Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that depicts a holistic approach to education to prepare students for the future. She continues to impact the lives of children through her outreach programs, “She Is Me” and “I Matter,” which serve thousands of youth throughout central Brooklyn with workshops, forums, and mentoring.

Nadia has founded The Lopez Effect to help others develop social entrepreneurialism, a strong brand identity, and support a social consciousness. Her ElevatED conferences, workshops, and podcasts focus on mental, physical, and spiritual wellness, creating space for educators, and other women, to share stories, set goals, create solutions, network, and be inspired.

Keywords: education, motivation, leadership, making a difference in the world, community, black lives matter, overcoming obstacles, empathy, faith, compassion

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