Andrea Gangoo traces her drive and determination back to the women in her family. Growing up in Trinidad, Andrea saw her grandmother run a business and set off on countless international adventures. She saw her mother, the first woman in her family to earn a college degree, work in a medical office. She saw her older sister bravely move to the United States by herself in early adulthood.
All that inspiration made Andrea believe that she could do anything. And what she wanted to do, more than anything, was move to the United States to go to college. When she was 17, she accomplished that goal and followed her sister to New York City for school.
“All the women in my family are amazing human beings,” she said. “They gave up so much for their families. They pushed people to go beyond what they thought they could do. And they taught me that you have to go give back and serve. You have to keep giving of yourself.”
Initially, Andrea studied criminal justice and considered a career in law enforcement. She had grown up watching American crime-fighting shows like The A-Team and Knight Rider. She also joked that her mom was proficient in her own version of detective work.
“I wanted a degree in criminology,” she said. “I loved law enforcement and human behavior. From there, I found my way into criminology.”
After graduating, Andrea began her career with the Administration for Children’s Services. She planned to stay only two years to get some case management experience, but she discovered how much she loved the work, and ended up staying with the agency for almost a decade.
“That was my first experience of really understanding New York,” she said. “I didn’t understand this city until I had that job. Once I started working there, I saw a whole side of the city I didn’t even know existed. It wasn’t always the most pleasant side, but it was always the human side.”
Andrea brought that sense of shared humanity and her experience to Children’s Aid in 2016, where she now oversees quality assurance in our Child Welfare and Family Services division.
“My job is making sure that child welfare follows all our compliance that regulatory bodies require, and we go above that using data for quality standards,” she said. “We want all of our clients engaged, and we encourage and welcome all of their feedback.”
As a leader of a large and impactful team, Andrea cites staff development as one of her primary goals. She thinks back to the example that the incredible women in her life sets for her, and she hopes to do the same thing for her staff members.
“I’m here to serve them,” she said. “I’m here to help them grow and to push them to where they want to go next. I do whatever I can to encourage and develop and to push them on the path. Every generation carries the torch a little farther than the one that came before.”