Hispanic Heritage Month LeadBoston Spotlight: Adriana Cordero Raines

Ilana Coolidge
Hispanic Heritage Month LB Spotlight blog graphic

Adriana Cordero Raines (LeadBoston Class of 2022) spoke with YW Boston about her accomplishments as a nonprofit professional, what her heritage means to her, and more.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

Hispanic Heritage Month holds a profound significance for me as a Latina. It is a time to celebrate and honor the rich cultural tapestry that weaves together the diverse experiences, traditions, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx communities. This month serves as a reminder of the resilience, strength, and beauty that lies within our heritage. For me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the sacrifices and struggles of my ancestors, who paved the way for future generations. It is a chance to pay homage to their unwavering determination and the values they instilled in us, such as family, community, and perseverance. This month also serves as an opportunity to embrace and showcase the vibrant and multifaceted aspects of our culture. From the rhythmic beats of salsa and merengue to the mouthwatering flavors of traditional dishes, Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to proudly share our customs, language, and traditions with the world.

Moreover, Hispanic Heritage Month is a call to action. It reminds us of the importance of advocating for social justice, equality, and inclusivity. It prompts us to amplify the voices of those who are marginalized and to fight against the injustices that persist within our communities. As a Latina, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time of empowerment and unity. It is a chance to connect with fellow Latinx individuals, to celebrate our shared experiences, and to uplift one another. It is a reminder that our heritage is not something to be hidden or diminished, but rather a source of strength and pride. In essence, Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of our past, present, and future. It is a time to honor our roots, embrace our identity, and continue the legacy of resilience and progress that defines our community.

What personal or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I take immense pride in the numerous professional and personal accomplishments that have shaped my journey. As the first in my family to obtain a master’s degree, I have not only broken barriers but also set a precedent for future generations. This achievement stands as a testament to my determination and the unwavering support of my loved ones. Another milestone that fills me with great pride is becoming a homeowner. This accomplishment symbolizes stability, security, and the ability to provide for my family. It represents years of hard work, financial planning, and a commitment to creating a nurturing environment for those I hold dear. Equally significant is my thriving 23-year marriage, which has weathered the storms of life and grown stronger with each passing year. This enduring partnership is a testament to the love, trust, and mutual respect that we have cultivated. It is a source of immense joy and fulfillment, reminding me of the power of commitment and the beauty of shared experiences.

Professionally, I have dedicated my life to nonprofit work, driven by a deep-rooted passion for social justice and equality. My focus has been on identifying gaps in services and supports for marginalized communities, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to thrive. Through the creation of innovative programs and initiatives, I have been able to make a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most. These accomplishments, both personal and professional, have shaped me into the person I am today. They serve as a constant reminder of the power of perseverance, the importance of giving back, and the profound impact that one individual can have on the world. I am immensely proud of these achievements and remain committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others.

How has your Hispanic or Latinx background shaped you? Has it had any influence in your accomplishments? 

My Latinx background has played a pivotal role in shaping my identity and influencing my accomplishments. It has instilled in me a deep sense of resilience, determination, and cultural pride that permeates every aspect of my life. Growing up in a Latinx household, I was immersed in a rich tapestry of traditions, values, and customs that have shaped my worldview. The emphasis on family, community, and hard work has been ingrained in me from an early age, serving as a guiding force in my personal and professional endeavors. The challenges and obstacles faced by the Latinx community have fueled my drive to create positive change. Witnessing the disparities and injustices that exist, I have been motivated to advocate for equal opportunities and amplify the voices of marginalized individuals. This passion has led me to dedicate my professional life to nonprofit work, where I strive to bridge gaps in services and support systems for underserved communities.

Moreover, my Latinx background has given me a unique perspective and a deep understanding of the importance of cultural representation and inclusivity. It has taught me to celebrate diversity and embrace the richness that different cultures bring to the table. This awareness has guided my efforts to create programs and initiatives that honor and uplift the Latinx community, ensuring that their voices are heard and their contributions are recognized. In essence, my Latinx background has not only shaped my personal values and beliefs but has also influenced the trajectory of my accomplishments. It has fueled my passion for social justice, driven me to make a difference, and empowered me to create a more equitable and inclusive world for all. I am proud of my heritage and remain committed to using my experiences and platform to uplift and empower the Latinx community.

What advice would you give to young Hispanic and Latinx professionals who are looking to get into your field?

To young Hispanic professionals aspiring to enter the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), I offer the following advice:

  • Embrace your unique perspective: Your lived experiences as a Hispanic individual bring a valuable and unique perspective to the field of DEI. Embrace your cultural heritage, language, and traditions, as they can enrich your understanding of diversity and contribute to creating inclusive spaces. Your voice matters, so don’t be afraid to share your insights and advocate for underrepresented communities.
  • Educate yourself: Invest time in learning about the history, challenges, and achievements of diverse communities, including your own. Familiarize yourself with the concepts and theories related to DEI, as well as the current issues and trends in the field. This knowledge will empower you to engage in meaningful conversations, challenge biases, and contribute to positive change.
  • Seek mentorship and networking opportunities: Connect with professionals who are already established in the field of DEI. Seek out mentors who can guide and support you on your journey. Attend conferences, workshops, and networking events to expand your professional network and learn from others’ experiences. Building relationships with like-minded individuals can provide valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities.
  • Develop a multidisciplinary skill set: DEI work requires a diverse skill set. Enhance your knowledge in areas such as cultural competency, conflict resolution, communication, and project management. Additionally, develop skills in data analysis and research to support evidence-based decision-making. A well-rounded skill set will enable you to address complex challenges and contribute effectively to DEI initiatives.
  • Be an advocate and ally: Use your platform and influence to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of your professional and personal life. Speak up against discrimination and inequality, and actively support initiatives that promote inclusivity. Be an ally to other marginalized communities, recognizing that intersectionality is crucial in understanding and addressing systemic inequities.
  • Stay informed and adaptable: The field of DEI is constantly evolving. Stay updated on emerging trends, best practices, and new research. Be open to learning from others and adapting your approach as needed. Embrace feedback and continuously seek opportunities for growth and self-reflection.
  • Lead by example: As a Hispanic professional in the field of DEI, you have the power to inspire and create change. Lead by example in your workplace and community by fostering inclusive environments, challenging biases, and promoting equitable practices. Be a role model for others, demonstrating the positive impact that DEI can have on individuals and organizations.

By following these pieces of advice, you can make a meaningful impact in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion as a young Hispanic professional. Your unique perspective, passion, and commitment to creating inclusive spaces will contribute to a more equitable and just society for all.

How do you feel you are breaking barriers in the workplace?

As a nonprofit leader and social impact consultant, I am dedicated to breaking barriers in the workplace and driving positive change. Through my work, I strive to challenge traditional norms, dismantle systemic barriers, and create inclusive environments that foster innovation and equity. One way I am breaking barriers is by advocating for diversity and inclusion within organizations. I recognize the importance of diverse perspectives and experiences in driving innovation and achieving social impact. I actively work to ensure that underrepresented voices are heard and valued, both within my own team and in the organizations that I collaborate with. By promoting inclusive hiring practices, creating opportunities for professional development, and fostering a culture of belonging, I aim to create workplaces that reflect the diverse communities we serve. Additionally, I am breaking barriers by challenging traditional approaches to problem-solving. As a social impact consultant, I bring a fresh perspective to the table, encouraging organizations to think beyond conventional strategies and embrace innovative solutions. I help clients identify and address systemic barriers that hinder progress, and I guide them in developing sustainable and equitable practices that drive meaningful change. By pushing boundaries and encouraging organizations to think outside the box, I am helping to create a more inclusive and impactful social sector.

Furthermore, I am breaking barriers by advocating for equitable policies and practices in the nonprofit sector. I actively engage in conversations around issues such as fair compensation, work-life balance, and professional development opportunities. By challenging the status quo and advocating for change, I aim to create a more equitable and supportive environment for nonprofit professionals. I believe that by addressing these barriers, we can attract and retain diverse talent, ultimately strengthening the sector’s ability to create lasting social impact. In summary, as a nonprofit leader and social impact consultant, I am committed to breaking barriers in the workplace. Through my advocacy for diversity and inclusion, my innovative problem-solving approach, and my efforts to promote equitable policies and practices, I am working towards creating a more inclusive and impactful social sector. I believe that by breaking these barriers, we can create a more equitable and just society for all. 

About LeadBoston

Our signature leadership program, LeadBoston, supports all individual participants as they create and implement a leadership commitment. This leadership commitment is an action plan that confronts some of the systemic inequities they’ve learned about and that are showing up in their organization. This plan, and the collective LeadBoston experience, empowers leaders to create meaningful change in their workplaces, in their communities, and in the city of Boston itself. Staff work alongside alums for a year following the program to ensure participants have what they need to see their plan through.

We are currently accepting applications for the LeadBoston class of 2024! Click here to learn more.