Judi Diaz Bonacquisti, EdD
It’s #WomenCrushingWednesday, but it’s also Latinx Heritage Month and we’re excited to profile Latinas in our network who are crushing it!
First up is a Chicana who has more than a few legacies in the making. She is currently the Executive Director of Latinas First Foundation but is soon to be the Senior Diversity Office for the University of Colorado System. She also owns Bonaquisti Wine Company with her husband, Paul.
How does your cultural background and heritage inform your life and career?
I am a Chicana born and raised in Pueblo to US-born parents from grandparents with both immigrant roots and long ties to southern Colorado. I was blessed to grow up in an environment that emphasized the importance of knowledge and the responsibility to use that understanding to benefit our community. This collectivist mindset has been prominent in my life, well before I knew what that term meant.
What is your “why?” and how does that make you passionate about your work and/or community contributions?
I have worked in Colorado higher education for twenty-five years, and I have a track record for advancing equity in education, particularly for students of color, first-generation students, undocumented students, and those from low-income families. My education has opened doors that have changed my life, and I believe others should have access to those same opportunities. An educated society benefits us all.
What is one of the biggest challenges that you have overcome, and how did you overcome it?
This one is a struggle (and will sound like an interview question cliché), but it is an ongoing goal for me. I tend to take ownership of too much work and pick up others’ slack because I recognize the negative impact dropped balls can have on students. Others are happy to let me do so. My family is not. When my family experienced a health crisis a few years ago, I needed to reevaluate my priorities and remember to place my husband and children first. They deserve the best of me, not what is left over after a hard day at work.
What is your personal motto or favorite quotation?
Where you are today is exactly where you are supposed to be. Where you are tomorrow depends on what you do today. ~Plaque at TJ Maxx that I should have bought but did not…
Advice for others in business based on what you have learned on your journey?
Life is about quality relationships. Create a sense of belonging for your students or your customers, and the environment will thrive. So will you.
What are you most proud of?
Creating policy changes that will transform systems in positive ways for people who will never know my name. And knowing that my children are far wiser than I will ever be.
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