Meet #MovementMaker Momentum Fund scholarship winner Alicia Guerrero and The Boardroom Project
If you’re a regular reader here, you know that one of my labors of love recently was launching the #MovementMaker Momentum Fund to help turn moments in others’ lives into movements.
This fund receives a portion of the proceeds from sales of my book “Find Your Fire: Stories and Strategies to Inspire the Changemaker Inside You,” as well as my merchandise sales.
One of the missions of the Momentum Fund is providing scholarships for first-time nonprofit board members who might not be able to afford the financial gift required to sit on a board. So far, five of these scholarships have been awarded.
Today, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to one of those scholarship winners, as well as the organization she now serves as a board member.
Alicia Guerrero is the board secretary for the Austin chapter of a growing movement for women leaders called The Boardroom Project. Talk about a match made in #MovementMaker heaven: Alicia’s gifts and talents are a perfect fit for her board role. And The Boardroom Project embodies the spirit of “Find Your Fire.” So let’s get to know both a little better!
Empowering a New Generation of Leaders
I’m passionate about cultivating women leaders, and Boardroom Project founder Salena Guipzot shares that passion. She was inspired to start the organization through her experience working in mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, business strategy and development in the male-dominated financial sector. Salena often found herself the only woman, or the only woman of color, in the boardroom.
“I really knew that the only way that we were going to get more women to the table was by exposing them at a much younger age to board service,” she says. So Salena created the Boardroom Project (aka BRP) to do just that.
One of the things I love about BRP is that it has programs for a wide range of ages. Middle-school girls meet women leaders from a variety of fields. (You know what I always say: “You have to see it before you can be it.”) High-school students experience mock board meetings. College-age women have their own curriculum and can earn a digital certification. For professional women, there’s the BRP Pro membership program, which provides board access, development, and training.
BRP participants get well acquainted with Robert’s Rules of Order and the different responsibilities of various board rules. But they also learn how to make things happen by forming and leveraging board alliances.
“Regardless of someone’s profession or passion, having a seat at the table and then knowing what to do when there will make a world of difference in the community,” Salena says.
The movement Salena created with BRP continues to grow. Founded in San Antonio, BRP partnered with Alamo Colleges District to become their first leadership program for women of color. The organization now also has chapters in Austin and Dallas and has even expanded to Kenya. Wherever it has a presence, BRP’s goal is always to serve the communities with “the highest opportunity.”
Salena envisions even more growth ahead for the Boardroom Project. By partnering with BRP, companies can build the pipeline of diverse leaders they need to stay relevant and competitive in the future. The organization also aims to help more women secure seats on school boards and to bring more youths to the boards of organizations that serve them. (And, yes, they practice what they preach on this.)
‘It Made Me Even More Motivated’
Did reading about BRP make you think “I wish this had been around when I was younger”? Alicia had the same reaction when she first learned about the organization. She already knew she wanted to pursue board service. And then she met Salena at the Texas Conference for Women.
“Growing up, I had to really, really hustle to look for opportunities for me to serve as a leader and to share my talents and strengths,” she says. BRP is “opening up so many opportunities for women like me.”
Receiving the scholarship affirmed for Alicia that she has so much to contribute to her community.
“It not only took off financial stress; it made me even more motivated to work even more with BRP-Austin,” she says.
Alicia brings rich experience to her board role. She is the data manager for Con Mi MADRE, an organization that promotes education for young Latinas through parental engagement. She also built her leadership skills as a longtime volunteer and advocate around issues like immigration, criminal justice and education.
She says it’s exciting to use those skills for a growing organization whose mission she’s passionate about.
“I love problem solving, strategic planning,” she says. “I love putting the pieces together. And so I have loved being a part of those conversations of ‘What is our vision? Who do we need to reach out to? Who are we trying to target? What do we need to do? What is our plan?” That’s actually what I do in my daytime job, so to be able to do it on the board is great.”
What does she want the legacy of her work with the Boardroom Project to be?
“At the end of the day, everything I do is connected with my own personal journey and the struggles and sacrifices I had,” she says. “Unfortunately, I am not the only one that had to go through that. There are many other youths who still lack those opportunities that they deserve. And so anything I can do to just make that path for them easier is what I’m going to work on.”
Support the Movements
The Boardroom Project: You can help BRP grow and empower even more girls and women to unleash their leadership potential. Visit their website to sign up for the BRP mailing list and stay up to date on the organization’s work and how to apply for its programs. You can also support BRP financially or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call to learn about other ways to contribute.
#MovementMaker Momentum Fund: If you are ready to bring your energy and expertise to board service but face financial barriers to doing so, I invite you to apply for a Momentum Fund scholarship. I’d also love it if you could help me spread the word about the scholarships by sharing this article with someone you think would make an amazing board member.
The Momentum Fund also awards grants to organizations that educate diverse leaders, that teach women how to get involved in the political process or run for office and that train the next generation of changemakers. To apply for one of these grants, email FindYourFireMovement@gmail.com.
With Faith & Fortitude,
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