Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast

Juana Bordas – Leadership in the Age of Multiculturalism

October 10, 2023 Marie Gervais Season 6 Episode 19
Culture and Leadership Connections Podcast
Juana Bordas – Leadership in the Age of Multiculturalism
Show Notes

Juana Bordas, LHD, originally came to the US on a banana boat from Nicaragua when she was three years old. She exemplifies the many contributions, resiliency, and determination of the immigrant spirit. Juana Bordas is recognized as an elder and icon in the advancement of multicultural and inclusive leadership that includes the contributions of Latinos and communities of colour.


"Leadership always starts with you as a leader taking care of yourself so that you can give to others, and you can be available."

"Leadership is creating a society that takes care of its people."

Episode Highlights:
When you have a mother who is willing to do anything to set you up for success, then you have no option but to be successful. According to Juana, her mother had a grade-five education, but she was determined to give her all to ensure the narrative changed for her children, especially Juana. When they came to the US, Juana had the finest education and did her best to make her mother proud.

Childhood Incidents:
As a child, Juana suffered from a cultural inferiority complex. She vividly recalls when she was invited to a party, and her mother took her to the store to buy a dress for the party. They bought a dress that they thought was the best for the party. When Juana got to the party, other girls were dressed in taffeta. She was embarrassed and ended up hiding in the bathroom all night. Juana struggled with the psychology of oppression. Her breakthrough came when she joined the Peace Corps, and she realized how rich her culture was.

Leadership Style:
The dance metaphor is strong for the way Latinos look at life. Looking at Juana's life, her mother took her to the dance floor and left her there, trusting that her daughter would learn how to dance. The prep school Juana attended extended a dance invitation to her, which she readily accepted and danced.

What has Juana Adopted From Other Cultures?
When Juana went to Chile, she worked in low-income areas where she realized there was a culture that cut across different Latino subgroups. The area she worked in held 150,000 people and was on the outskirts of the airport. Despite the poor conditions, the Chileans Juana met were incredibly kind and generous to her.

Temperament and Personality:
Juana grew up as a highly energetic girl. Her parents were working class and they always kept active. Through their example, Juana learned to always be active and to take the initiative when she could.

Cultural Epiphanies:
Juana believes that Latinos are moving more into the intellectual class and have increasingly stronger economic clout. Latinos are going to be 78% of the new entries into the labour force, and in the next 10-20 years, they will be stepping into leadership positions at a much higher level than ever before because they integrate both their cultural assets with what they’ve learned at mainstream universities and other educational institutions.

What Brings Out the Best in Juana?
Juana has a deep love for humanity. Whenever she works with people, the first thing she does is develop a connection with them. Her desire is not to be a leader, but to form a partnership where they energize each other, learn, support, and see the best in each other.

Soapbox Moments:
Juana invites us to be part of the multicultural age, because diversity is the next stage in human evolution.

Tagline: How to le

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