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The

STORY

Dr. Juana Bordas is recognized as an elder and icon in the world of leadership, diversity, and the advancement of Latinos and communities of color. The first Latina faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) she taught in the Leadership Development Program – the most highly utilized executive program in the world. As a leader, teacher, activist, and author Dr. Bordas continues sharing her wisdom and insights with people across the globe. 

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In the traditions of many cultures, a person tells his or her story when meeting someone. This is a way to honor one’s family, connect in a meaningful way, and share unique experiences.

My mother, four brothers, my sister, and I stood at the ship’s rail watching the image of our beloved Nicaragua become smaller and smaller and then finally disappear into the Caribbean Sea. In the hull of a banana boat, we rocked and swayed, across the Gulf of Mexico.  We docked in Tampa, Florida, and fell into the welcoming arms of mi Papa. He had arrived earlier, earning money to bring his familia to America so his children could have a better life. This immigrant dream has been the promise of America and the wellsprings of its greatness.

My mother, Maria, cooked food and scrubbed floors in the school lunch room so I could get a scholarship to a Catholic school. My parent’s vision, determination and sacrifice have been an endless source of inspiration and strength. They taught me the very essence of Servant Leadership.

Personal History

I was the first in my family to go to college. When I graduated I wanted – to give back – just as my parents had done for me. I joined the Peace Corps and worked in the barrios of Santiago, Chile. Helping low-income women develop work cooperatives so they could feed their families. This early decision set my life on a path of service and reconnected me to my Latina soul.

Do you believe in destino or destiny – that every person has a unique life path and contribution to make? I do because my destino has led me to do the work I do today. I know that as an immigrant; a Hispanic girl from a low-income family with 7 brothers and sisters. I learned to be resourceful, scrappy, talented, and street smart. It was the perfect preparation for me to become a leader, writer, and teacher.

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Juana as a young girl leaving Nicaragua with her mother Maria and her brothers and sister

Professional Bio

Juana is President of
Mestiza Leadership International

– a company that focuses on leadership, diversity, and organizational change.

Dr. Juana Bordas is recognized as an elder and icon in the world of leadership, diversity, and the advancement of Latinos and communities of color.  The first Latina faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) she taught in the Leadership Development Program – the most highly utilized executive program in the world. As a leader, teacher, activist, and author Dr. Bordas continues sharing her wisdom and insights with people across the globe. 

 

Juana received an honorary doctorate from Union University and received the 2019 Life-Time Achievement Award from The International Leadership Association. She is the first Latina honored with this prestigious award which has been received by Warren Bennis, Robert Greenleaf, Peter Drucker, James McGregor Burns, and Margaret Wheatley.

Her career markers include:

  • Advisor to Harvard’s Hispanic Journal on Public Policy and the Kellogg National Fellows Program

  • Past vice-president of Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and trustee of the International Leadership Association

  • A founder of Denver’s Mi Casa Women’s Center and executive director until 1986.

  • Founding President/ CEO of the National Hispana Leadership Institute in 1987

  • Founder 2002 the Circle of Latina Leadership whose mission is to prepare the next generation of Colorado Latina Leaders

  • Commended by Latina Style Magazine for creating “a Nation of Latina Leaders.”

  • One of 50 leaders chosen by the Colorado Legislature to design the state’s future plan

  • Selected by Colorado Business Magazine as one of 100 influentials in the state and received the 2003 Outstanding Women in Business Award

Awards:

  • Colorado Diversity Council honors Juana as one of Colorado’s Most Powerful and Infulential Women in 2015

  • The International Latino Book Awards recognized “The Power of Latino Leadership” as the best business/leadership book

  • Nautilus Book Awards has recognized The Power of Latino Leadership by Denver author Juana Bordas with the prestigious Gold award in the area of Multicultural/Indigenous Literature.

  • Recognized as Colorado Unique Woman of the Year by the Denver Post and the Colorado Women’s Foundation in 2009.

  • Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award 2008

  • “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age” won the International Latino Book Award for best leadership book in 2007

  • Inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

  • Wise Woman Award from the National Center for Women’s Policy Studies

  • 2006 Leadership Legacy award from Spellman College’s Center for Leadership

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