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Issa Lara Combs

Position(s): Director of Finance and Administration

Department(s): Administration

Issa Lara Combs is Chance Academy’s Director of Finance and Administration. In this role, Issa works primarily on the business end of Chance Academy – that is, interfacing with accountants, auditors, lawyers, insurers, and human resources. Issa is also the assistant secretary to Chance Academy’s Board of Directors.

Issa grew up in the Philippines and moved to the United States in January 1989. In September of that year, she started attending Ohio University where she would complete a Masters of Science in Journalism and a Masters of Arts in Communication and Development. She worked at a local alternative newspaper in Athens County, The Athens NEWS, as Special Projects Editor for seven years. While completing her studies, Issa met her husband, Bob, and, through his work, in 1998, relocated with their then-one-year-old son, Wil, to Washington, D.C.

Issa’s first job in D.C. was Director of Communications for a national nonprofit, Social Compact, whose mission was to help strengthen neighborhoods by stimulating private market investment in underserved communities. She would later work for Bloomberg, Inc. as a sales auditor, before working full-time at Chance Academy starting in July 2014.

However, Issa met Anna much earlier – sometime in 2006 – where, unbeknownst to her, Anna was already percolating the idea of Chance Academy. Issa started working in earnest with Anna part-time with the Chance Academy’s inaugural class of two students in 2009, and was one of the founding board members of the program.

Issa enjoys working for the program and is committed to Chance Academy’s mission to be a facilitator of environmental stewardship, wellness, peace-building, cultural literacy, and community and belonging. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband, her two youngest young-adult children, Ian and Noah, and their pet cats, Blackjack and Norman, and pet snake, Basilisk.