Belén started her professional experience as an intern with the Office of Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez where she assisted constituents with federal matters including Social Security, Immigration and Veteran Affairs.
Armed with her academic and professional skills, and her renewed desire to serve her local community, Belén joined the South Gate District Office of Assembly Member Marco A. Firebaugh staff. In this capacity, Belén worked closely with local community groups and schools that focused on higher education, civic engagement, and health and human services issues.
During this time, Belén planned important District events such as the "AB540 Training and Resource Fair" for students and university personnel, as well as the "Southeast Student Film Festival" with local high schools. As she learned more about Southeast Los Angeles communities, her commitment and enthusiasm to be of service to her own community grew.
Belén has over 15 years of experience working with local community members and overseeing nonprofit programs and operations. She has been employed with organizations that include Community Lawyers, Inc., Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, St. Francis Medical and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. She has enjoyed working with organizations that serve our local youth, families and senior citizens by promoting access to social services and programs that enhance their quality of life .
Most recently, Belén served as Director of Operations for a local nonprofit that works to prepare students for various work based learning opportunities and ultimately, more options toward successful futures.
Belén's community involvement beyond her professional roles, include serving as a nonprofit board member, former youth catechist and young professional mentor. She has dedicated her free time to support work Community Lawyers, Inc., the Riordan Fellows Program at UCLA and contributing to great causes that give back to the community.
Her interest to serve the community in a nonprofit and social setting made it easy for her to accept the call to serve her childhood hometown of South Gate, California.
Belén served was sworn in as City Treasurer in March 2009 and served the City for six years in this capacity. In 2014, Belén was encouraged to run for City Council by longtime Mayor Henry C. Gonzalez, who would retire the following year.
On April 14, 2015 Belén was appointment to serve her first term on the Council. Given her knowledge and gaining the confidence of her colleagues, Belén was selected to serve as Mayor for a 1-year term in April 2018.
In September 2019, due to an unexpected vacancy on the City Council, Belén was once again selected and nominated to serve as Mayor by her colleagues. She honorably served as South Gate's Mayor through April 2020.
During her ten years in office, Belén has worked closely with City and Finance staff to maintain a broad understanding of the financial management principles upheld by the City and to ensure that fiscally sound and responsible guidance are part of all decisions.
In addition to serving on the City Council, Belén represented the South Gate community on the following committees and outside agencies: