By Ariel Ropp
Speaker and author Juana Bordas encouraged students to embrace servant leadership, cultural diversity and “The Power of ‘We’” during convocation on Monday morning. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Bordas spoke to call for a new multicultural millennium and to advocate the principles of community, solidarity and generosity.
In her presentation, Bordas invited students to not only celebrate their own personal heritage but also to embrace the traditions of other cultures. Drawing on the values of Latino, African-American and American Indian traditions, Bordas explained how multicultural leadership strives to cultivate inclusive environments and generate a sense of community amongst diverse peoples.
“Solidarity is the source of our strength,” said Bordas, asking the audience to repeat her words. “In this culture there is too much ‘I’ and not enough ‘we.’ In Spanish, we say, ‘Si se puede,’ which means ‘Yes, we can!’”
Bordas also advocated the principles of multiculturalism and community in her recent book “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age.” In both the book and her convocation speech, Bordas explained the necessity for leaders to view themselves as equals amongst their peers and to work as stewards for their communities.
“Leadership is a communal responsibility. We are all responsible for leadership,” she said. “It is in service that we find life.”
Bordas, known for founding Mi Casa Women’s Center in Denver, is now the president of Mestiza Leadership International in Denver and the founding president and CEO of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, an organization that prepares Latinas for national leadership positions. With over 25 years of experience, Bordas is considered an expert in the field of multicultural community development.
After speaking at convocation on Monday, Bordas presented a leadership workshop at 4 p.m. and led a discussion at the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration in the church-chapel fellowship hall later that evening.