The power of inclusion

I’ll never forget the day the word diversity took on new meaning for me. Nearly two decades ago, I heard Juana Bordas speak and her words inspired me in such a profound way that the lens through which I looked at community in my personal and professional life changed.

Juana is the president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company focused on leadership diversity and organizational change, and is one of the most influential Latina speakers of our time.

The Community Foundation is honored to play a role in bringing Juana to the Quad Cities for the upcoming Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Gala: “Salsa, Soul and Spirit.” The event will be at 6 p.m. Friday, April 13 at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center. I invite you to join our staff and board as our community takes a fresh look at how diversity makes the Quad Cities a better place. Tickets are available online here.

Juana has a beautiful way with words. She’s smart, engaging, and tough. Through her work, she takes the topic of diversity—complex and often fraught with controversy—and turns it into a meaningful discussion about the power of inclusion in communities. When she talks about both the past and present state of diversity in America, Juana puts it this way: salsa has replaced ketchup. The once homogenous staple of American dinner tables is now no longer the condiment of choice: people want salsa.

And salsa is a rich, spicy representation of our world now—a variety of ingredients. A variety of people. A variety of backgrounds, cultures and ideas.

What if we embraced diversity in our communities the way we have embraced salsa? What if we looked at our neighbors who look different than us, differently? What if we moved away from assumptions and stereotypes and valued and celebrated each culture as important parts of the whole?

Most importantly, what if leadership positions in our community, across all sectors, truly represented the diversity of our population?

Juana will give us a vision and the tools to do that. I am excited for the continued work of the Hispanic Chamber, which has enriched our community and stood as a leader in championing the Hispanic and Latino community. We are able to support their work thanks to the generous donors who contribute to our Community Impact Fund, an endowment that allows us to champion the greatest opportunities in the Quad Cities today… and always.

I’m excited for what we are going to hear at this year’s gala. Juana is going to push us to dig deeper and broader in embracing a multi-cultural community, to do it together and to do it boldly. Please join us for a fun and engaging event.