Women hold a special place in Ana I. Rodriguez’s heart. She was reared by a single mother and is among four generations of females-only offspring in her family, including three daughters of her own. Her mother’s hard work and compassion inspired Ana, who has advocated for the advancement of women and championed women’s empowerment initiatives throughout her career.
Ana is managing director of the SMU Cox School of Business Latino Leadership Initiative, a national center of excellence designed to help meet the nation’s growing need for diverse corporate leaders as national demographics evolve. Basically, Ana is helping reshape the face of corporate leadership across North Texas and beyond.
Because of her breakthrough leadership and commitment to paying it forward, Ana won the 2019 Texas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, says, “Ana is helping position Latinx students for success and creating opportunities for students and businesses to connect, which can dramatically impact the numbers of Latinx professionals in executive and board roles. Ana also serves as a role model for Latina girls and women who see what she’s achieved and are inspired to reach their full potential.”
Ana’s day job involves working with Fortune 1000 companies to recruit, develop and retain high-performing minority talent who will drive business growth and create a sustainable competitive advantage for their global organizations. A proud alumna of the all-girls Ursuline Academy of Dallas, she also works with students as young as middle school to share with them the importance of a college education and being career ready.
Last spring, Ana helped host the first-of-its kind International Women’s Day project at SMU Cox, to identify and empower a new wave of women leaders and entrepreneurs. “I love that every day I get to advance diversity and inclusion, and to promote its many strengths,” says Ana.
She also volunteers and serves on the board of many organizations, including Plano-based TopAchievers Foundation which provides fitness, skills, team programs and sponsorships for young people. Ana helped establish its Leadership and Mentorship Program, which offers underrepresented minority female students mentorship and internship opportunities.
A first-generation college student, Ana knows firsthand that by investing in today’s youth, communities can be transformed. “I feel it is my responsibility to help and lift others, as I have been blessed by the generosity of others through scholarships and the guidance of so many mentors. It’s my way to pay tribute to the many influential women that came before me.”See all of the 2019 Girl Bosses >