In line with the mission of our Center for Race, Equity, Justice and Inclusion, we are proud to highlight some of the region's most prominent leaders who are directly impacting change.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting individuals who identify as Hispanic, selected for their impact and countless contributions to people and communities in need. We asked these leaders to answer five questions:

  1. I am dedicated to being a change maker because …
  2. My super power (area of expertise) is …
  3. My leadership journey described briefly is …
  4. A quote that resonates with me is …
  5. With unlimited resources (within my organization or business) I would …

We'd like to thank all who responded. We appreciate their candor and perspectives.

President Marymount University

1. I believe in the power of education. At just eight months old, I fled my home country of Cuba as my family faced death during the Revolution. My parents and I had to start from scratch in Puerto Rico, and we faced many challenges. But my grandmother influenced me in so many ways, and helped instill in me a passion for knowledge and learning – along with a deep-seated belief that “no one can take away your education.” That’s why I devoted my life and career to it.

2. Knowledge management and business intelligence. A few of my strengths include data-informed decision making and the ability to see trends. These enable me to be a proactive leader and make decisions that have a greater chance of success.

3. Preparation and persistence have been key, as well as having great mentors and giving back.

4. A personal quote of mine that I live by is: “Every difficulty you have overcome in your life has prepared you for the great leader you are today,” because it is important to view the challenges you have overcome as building blocks to developing as a stronger individual and leader.

5. Make sure that every student that comes to Marymount University has all of the resources they need to be successful.

Director of Operations Groundwork Collaborative

1. it takes creativity to solve our challenges and creativity happens when you are surrounded by diverse and unique perspectives

2. Connecting software with people! Using human-centered design approaches to help folks and teams overcome hurdles through the use of technology

3. Walking through doors that others opened ahead of me and ensuring they remain open for those behind me

4. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” by Booker T. Washington because encapsulates the practice of servant leadership. Where by helping others succeed, you will be successful just by helping them

5. continue to develop a vision for a thriving economy that delivers meaningful opportunity and prosperity for everyone. When we each have the power to make choices and invest in our communities, families, and own futures, we all make the economy stronger—and that way, our families can do more than just live paycheck to paycheck, we can get ahead.

Chief Operating Officer PEAK Grantmaking

1. I want to do the hard work to make change happen.

2. managing people to success.

3. My passion for community combined with amazing mentors, networks and opportunities.

4. "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. " by the Dalai Lama because it tells me small things can have big impacts.

5. Support big sky ideas and their visionaries to action.

Principal Prince George's County Public School

1. those who came before me and those who will come after me deserve it. Change keeps us going, it makes us better and challenges us to move from good to great!

2. Building relationships with people. I am a Principal, Professor, Clinical Counselor, but my super power is my ability to listen and to care.

3. Successes and failures, I have grown to love them both and welcome them!

4. "If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run, then walk, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Because when difficult times come and giving up is an option, I am reminded that I need to keep moving forward. Even if it is small steps.

5. Be able to create programs and opportunities for all my students, especially those who have been marginalized. As a Immigrant Latina and one of the few Latinx in my position, I know how important it is to have resources, but more than anything I know how important it is for my students to have them. They are my WHY!

Real Estate Agent Ward One Commissioner for DC Dept of Aging & Community Living

1. I know first hand that where you start does not mean that is where you finish.

2. Operating calmly under pressure and connecting people who benefit from knowing each other.

3. I start every human with no judgement. In my mind all begin with an A+.

4. IF GOD CAN MAKE ME who can break me ? By myself, Nancy Miranda. No one can take away my individuality as long as God allows me to breathe.

5. develop and educate people on developing sustainable lands to grow organic foods for the prevention of diseases instead of pushing medications and operations. I would insure no more wars with countries to steal their resources.

Executive Director -- FRESHFARM Markets, Inc.

1. To build a fairer society we must take part on the struggle from wherever we are.

2. Being always optimistic. It has helped me to take big leaps of faith in the face of uncertainty.

3. I have always strived to achieving ambitious goals working with mission driven courageous people.

4. "We are what we do, especially what we do to change what we are" by the Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano, because it is a constant reminder for me to question if I am the person I envision to be.

5. FRESHFARM would definitively keep exploring ways to build a decentralized and resilient local food system that could be able to serve disenfranchised communities and respond to the challenges of climate change.

CEO & Founder Moya Design Partners

1. I envision an inclusive District for all and strive to be a part of the puzzle that brings this goal to fruition.

2. My superpower is being a connector, bringing people and companies together in building up communities

3. Perseverance, curiosity and the flexibility for change are key parts of my leadership journey.

4. A quote that resonates with me is “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” by Mark Twain because that’s how you should live your life without worrying on what people would think about you. As life is so short, we should enjoy every moment while we can.

5. With unlimited resources, I would build schools for orphans and kids in low-income areas, plus housing for low-income communities in the heart of cities around the world.

COVID-19 Recovery Organization Community Equity Engagement Maryland Department of Health

1. I’ve learned throughout my career that “representation” is often mistaken for equity. As we move forward together, the notion that representation of traditionally underserved communities equates to equity is factually incorrect and I am comfortable having those conversations. Moreover, the manner in which institutions allocate budgets impact racial inequities, how money flows can either deepen or close racial equity gaps. Institutions can and should bring a racial equity lens to financial decisions because ample opportunities exist to address chronic racial inequities that are aggravated by capital flows and financial decisions.

2. the recognition that racial equity, and support for underserved communities begins in our laws, public policies, public and private institutions, and the recognition that African and Native Americans have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

3. I don't have a 10 yr plan, I’m open to new possibilities in new environments.

4. “when we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it is better to speak.” by Audrey Lorde because it's important to speak up against hurtful, inappropriate, divisive language and actions even if it doesn’t lead to behavioral or institutional change.

5. I’d build affordable, family, and micro housing in urban, rural, and Indian areas anchored by a state-of-the-art hospital. The hospital would include campus space for a free, day care center / camp for children/ teens ages 0 - 15, a community gym, a community mediation centerfor profit social enterprises, and a farm-to-table restaurant where residents would eat for free.

Delegate - Maryland General Assembly

1. It's just no fun following the crowd.

2. Helping Marylanders get access to better healthcare.

3. My journey started in the welfare office with my mom, listening to the problems of ordinary people.

4. "You get more with honey than you do with vinegar." I like it because it reminds me of the importance of bringing all interested parties to the table to find solutions that respect all viewpoints.

5. . . . find a way to provide all Marylanders with affordable healthcare.

President and CEO Latin American Youth Center

1. I am dedicated to being a change maker because as a LAYC former youth participant, I know first hand the impact a caring adult can have on a youth’s life. I’m humbled to lead an organization that believes in the potential of our youth and works to create opportunities, access to resources and safe spaces to learn.

2. My super power (area of expertise) My superpower is youth development! I believe in creating spaces to empower young people and communities for change. I am passionate about creating safe spaces where youth have belonging, community, and connection.

3. Growing into my own power with passion, resilience, vision, on-going learning and community.

4. “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members” by Coretta Scott King because I think it speaks to the work of a community, we are all in this together and when we collectively join together we can impact real change

5. I would create the Positive Youth Development (PYD)Training Institute to expand nationwide our curriculum training which addresses our approach in working with youth.

Managing Director Latin American Youth Center

1. I am dedicated to being a change-maker because I believe that by providing opportunities and support, we can change the trajectory of individuals, including yourself.

2. My superpower is connecting with individuals by being compassionate, having empathy, and building rapport to ensure everyone can see one another for the humans we are.

4. A quote that resonates with me “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr. because we all are humans and need each other at some point in our lives.

5. Expand after school programs for our students, provide additional food resources and employment training opportunities to our families.

VP Public Affairs SKDKnickerbocker

1. Elevating the voice, dreams, and mission of those that have no voice is critical to everything I do.

2. My resilience, discernment, and dedication to serving and advocating for others.

3. Would be listening from those that have come before me is critical to my success.

4. Friction, nor a person perfected without trials. Someone is enjoying shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago By Warren Buffett because it is the story of my life thus far.

5. Give more pro Bono services to non profits changing the narrative around race and empowerment of people of color.