Born and raised in Southeast San Diego, Sakeenah Gallardo graduated from Mt. Miguel High School, where her love for theater and public speaking began. Despite being a teenage mother, she knew the importance of having an education and went straight to college after high school, while simultaneously working one full-time and two part-time jobs.
After working in corporate America for 12 years, the insurance industry did not bring her pleasure, so she decided to risk it all, quit her job, and live off her savings to work towards her dream of creating a better tomorrow. Sakeenah obtained her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Communications from SDSU, where she used her thesis as a platform for her future research and purpose, as she found that the power of one’s voice should be cultivated, not silenced. She knew she had to use the power of her voice to make a difference in her community and achieved her dream of becoming a Communications Professor at San Diego Mesa College.
A victim of childhood sexual abuse, Sakeenah has used her voice as a way of catharsis and education. Along with instructing, Sakeenah focuses her energies on the community, where she works with girls and women of all ages, teaching them the importance of having a voice. She founded SPEAAQ Inc., a platform focused on speaking out against sexual violence against young women and children. This program enables young women and children to find the strength to speak out against their abusers, in hopes of halting the cycle of abuse.
She is currently happily married to her wife and enjoys spending time with her daughter during her visits home from college.