How Ana Rodriguez is shaping the multicultural leadership pipeline

by By Korri Kezar – Dallas Business Journal |

Rodriguez thinks of herself as “managerially focused and empirically driven”

Ana Rodriguez (BBA '03) likes to think of herself as “managerially focused and empirically driven” to help top companies recruit, retain and develop diverse workforces.

In her work with the Latino Leadership Initiative, she’s helping feed a multi-cultural workforce pipeline she hopes will allow Fortune 1000 companies to “drive business growth (and) create a sustainable competitive advantage for their organizations.”

“There is a great need for diverse talent in corporate America,” Rodriguez added. “As a national center of excellence at SMU Cox, the Latino Leadership Initiative combines practical leadership principals with insights from rigorous research to address the opportunities of today’s diverse, global market.”

She sees improvement in the business environment for minorities in North Texas. The local community is making efforts to be more inclusive and welcome employees from diverse backgrounds, she said.

About Ana Rodriguez, director, Latino Leadership Initiative at Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business
Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Education: BBA, Finance, SMU Cox School of Business; MBA, Strategic Management, UNT Dallas

What’s your family like? I come from a long line of strong women. We have been all female for the past four generations. I have three beautiful daughters — Bella,14; Sophia, almost 6; and Stella, 4 — and am happily married to a very patient man, Sergio.

Who is your role model? Laura Bush; I have long admired her heart, compassion and intellect.

What’s your favorite adage or saying? Be kind. Think big. Do good.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to minorities starting their careers? It is critical to establish trust and credibility across your organization and within your industry. Give back to a clearly defined, external community. Remember to always start with yourself by checking your own character, led by your integrity and intent, and competence, your capabilities and results.

How and why do you give back to the community? I love to say that I stand on the shoulders of giants. This city raised me. From the low-social economic barrio of Bachman Lake where I lived growing up to the prestigious schools, like Ursuline Academy & SMU where I was fortunate to attend due to the benevolence of others, I would not be here without the support of others. I currently mentor twenty-two young adults. They inspire, empower, and ground me.

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