2024 Rising Star

Dr. Kanani Espinoza, a member of the Junior League of Las Vegas, is a remarkable community builder whose dedication and passion have made a significant impact in various areas. Her journey with the Junior League began in 2021, and she has since demonstrated her commitment to advocacy, voluntarism, and building a sense of belonging.

Kanani’s advocacy efforts are rooted in her time as a student body president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she organized trips to the state legislature to address student concerns. She brought this experience to the Junior League, serving as the Chair of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Committee. Under her leadership, the Junior League of Las Vegas successfully hosted Advocacy Day in Carson City, leading to the inclusion of the Junior League in a legislative initiative to allocate American Rescue Act funds.

In her current role as Member at Large of Community, Kanani assists chairs with their work, ensures community committees stay on track, and facilitates important conversations. Her collaborative efforts, including a voter registration training project with the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center, have strengthened the Junior League’s relationships with other non-profits.

Kanani has managed a range of impactful programs, from supporting homeless youth and feeding the hungry to awarding grants to local teachers. As an alumna and chair of the UNLV Alumni Association advocacy committee, she has organized clean-up days that have removed three tons of debris, demonstrating her commitment to community service.

Kanani has also been pivotal in the Junior League’s new focus area on human trafficking. She vetted partners and developed a strategic assessment framework to improve future community impact decisions.

In addition to her advocacy and volunteer work, Kanani is a champion of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). She leads DEIB sessions, encouraging members to be more accommodating and inclusive. Her commitment to building awareness and understanding for invisible disabilities ensures a more inclusive environment within the Junior League.

Following a tragic active shooter incident at UNLV, Kanani was part of the volunteer first responder team, providing support and raising over $20,000 for victims and student wellness.

Dr. Kanani Espinoza is a dedicated, strategic thinker with a passion for creating positive community impact. Her leadership, humility, collaboration, and ability to inspire others make her an exceptional servant leader. She seamlessly integrates her professional expertise and community commitment, embodying what it means to lead a life of purpose