A Powerful Familiar NHLI Face Welcomes the 2009 Crowd
By Melissa Morales
Dynamic presence kicked off this year’s Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards with a face familiar to many. Juana Bordas, founding president of NHLI, helped open the annual conference with a vibrant keynote speech during Thursday’s lunch sponsored by DIRECTV Mas — a new NHLI partner.
Bordas spoke about the inherent qualities that poise Latinas and NHLI women to become exceptional leaders. These, she expressed, are embodied within the word Hermana, each letter encompassing a distinct trait.
H stands for Hermosas – We are beautiful,
E for Excelente: We have sense of excellence in all we do,
R for Respeto: We show respect for all people, and serve as leaders among equals,
M for Madre: We are Madres (Mothers) de la comunidad y la raza,
A for Activistas: We are activists changing the world for the better tomorrow,
N for Nosotros: We focus on our collective good and advancement,
A for Alma: Our spirit and faith sustain us,
S for Sisterhood: the strength of our sisterhood, a power that cannot be stopped.
Author of the award winning book Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, Juana Bordas has as her mission to reshape American leadership to include the principles and practices of Latinos and other communities of color. She weaved her expertise in this field into her impassioned speech, energizing audience members, and setting a powerful tone for the two-day conference.
Throughout it all, she emphasized that sisterhood is not merely an abstract concept. Instead, it is a meaningful guiding philosophy for all women who seek to support each other and move their community forward. Juana Bordas believes that through NHLI's award winning leadership programs and conferences across the nation, we have formed a powerful sisterhood and network for change.
For audience members, the relevance was palpable. Indeed, few moments can be more inspiring than a packed room of hundreds of Latina leaders exploring the meaning of sisterhood over delicious New Mexican enchiladas and tamales.
Juana Bordas currently serves as president of Mestiza Leadership International in Denver and is a trustee of the International Leadership Association. She served as vice president of the board of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and was named the 2009 Innovative Woman of Colorado by the Denver Post and the Colorado Women’s Foundation. Bordas has been a lifelong supporter of NHLI. This year was no exception. Aside from delivering her keynote address, she also joined other Latina authors, including Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, another featured speaker, Dr. Emma Sepulveda, Regional Mujer Awardee, Rosalee Montoya- Read and others, a ‘99 ELP graduate, for a panel discussion on writing and the importance of the inclusion of the Latina perspective into the American narrative.
Other kick-off lunch speakers included: Ingrid Duran, NHLI’s Board Chairwoman, Naomi K. Rodriguez, Public Relations Senior Manager for DIRECTV, Inc and a ‘06 NHLI ELP graduate, who presented a video about Direct TV’s Spanish programming and commitment to the Latino community and Cristina Lopez, NHLI’s President.
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