Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Ana Ramirez-Saenz is the president of La Fuente Consulting, an organizational development consultancy specializing in diversity and inclusion.
For more than 15 years, Ramirez-Saenz has assisted organizations in defining diversity and inclusion within their spaces.
She has helped them to effectively communicate these principals internally and externally — aligning, utilizing and implementing inclusion as a corporate strategy to achieve business results.
Biggest career break?
Taking a capital markets class in business school. One day, I went to see my professor during office hours and working through my questions, he asked me if I had ever considered banking. I said, “No.” I didn’t know much about it. He said, “Look into it, come back and see me with questions. I think you would be very good at it.” Though I have always worked very hard and have been very driven, that day, he gave me the added confidence I needed to cement my determination and resolve that I truly could be successful at anything I choose to do. Armed with an M.B.A. in finance from Michigan, I started my career in corporate banking. During some of the most difficult career challenges I’ve had, I hear his voice: “I think you’d be very good at it.”
Becoming a U.S. citizen
Best advice you’ve ever received?
From my mom: “Mija se firme por que los vientos de la vida son fuerte.” (“My daughter, stand firm (well planted), for the winds of life are strong.”)
How did you make your first dollar?
Working during high school at Holland Hospital in the dietary department. I would deliver the dinner trays to patients (in my pastel pink uniform and white tennis shoes) on my designated floor, three days a week.
My daughters, Amanda and Catalina
My current job of bridging cultures and simplifying cross-cultural communication in work and the marketplace. As a consultant, I have the privilege of meeting with CEOs, executive teams, managers and employees from all walks of life in every type of business across the country. I get to listen and appreciate their individual stories, their views and feelings towards diversity and inclusion. I get the opportunity to guide and collaborate with businesses that understand the importance of leveraging the diversity of individuals’ backgrounds, knowledge and experience and that are determined to transform their organizational cultures and become more inclusive. Nothing like it!
If I were president for a day, I would…?
First, take time to walk through every room in the White House and just appreciate the history and all the sacrifices made for me to stand within its walls. Second, convene both houses and put a stop to the hypocrisy and partisanship. Third, end all discrimination. Fourth, take care of all service men and women. And lastly, educate and prepare our young people to take future leadership in ensuring that America is always welcoming to all.
Last book you read?
“David and Goliath,” by Malcolm Gladwell
Last thing you googled?
Re-districting models and analytics
Your worst habit?
Being very driven
To unwind, I like to…?
Eat dark chocolate and catch up on TV shows, even though I inevitably fall asleep
I am a birder and would love to spend three weeks exploring Papua New Guinea in search of the Magnificent Bird of Paradise.
Chilaquiles in mild spicy red sauce and a cup of Abuelita hot chocolate
Person you most admire?
My late husband, Roberto, a life-long, dedicated public school educator, who always put people first, served in quiet humility and always saw the potential, goodness and best in all people.