There is an old saying that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person, because busy people get things done. Living proof of this exists in Ana Ramirez-Saenz – CEO, mother, grandmother, and respected member of the community.
Raised by a single mother with a ‘relentless work ethic’, Ana Ramirez-Saenz, CEO of La Fuente Consulting and La Fuente Communications – learned first hand both the need for and the benefits of hard work and dedication, and has pushed herself towards her goals from a very young age. This drive to succeed saw her graduate with an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, and join the banking industry in the mid-80s.
Being a woman of color within an industry that was completely dominated by white males and an unfamiliar corporate culture led to some difficult workplace situations. Those experiences gave Ramirez-Saenz an understanding for organizational culture and how companies should be engaging with their employees on the road to becoming more inclusive.
“I began to be involved in committees and really started doing diversity work when it wasn’t a thing,” said Ramirez-Saenz. “It wasn’t a professional space, inclusive vocabulary was non-existent, and no formalized training was readily available. I really began doing this work from the ground up as part of my calling within my professional banking career.”
Being involved in committees that discussed diversity, equity, and inclusion from human resources (HR) policy issues, recruiting options and community involvement, Ramirez-Saenz built significant experience and credibility in the space before leaving to found her own business in 2000. Through La Fuente Consulting, she offers strategic planning and training on such topics as unconscious biases, toxic workplaces, microaggressions, diversity and sensitivity awareness, which promotes long-term transformation within organizations.
In addition, Ramirez-Saenz is passionate about education, specifically for the Latinx community. Speaking of the pride she feels when shaking students’ hands at graduation as a member of the board of Ferris State University, she stated, “Latino students are so smart, they’re so bright, and they are very dedicated.”
If that’s not enough she gives back to her beloved Latinx community by sharing her knowledge, skills and experience in teaching the Leadership class for the LEADeres Program, offered by the Latino Business and Economic Development Center of Ferris State University, a professional development program specifically for Latino students, professionals and community members.
It’s not all business for Ramirez-Saenz, though. She’s also mom to two daughters and a son-in-law, and grandmother to two grandsons, who all live in Chicago. “Every spare moment that I get, I’m in Chicago, doing something with them,” she said. “One of my grandsons’ favorite things to do is to get up early on Saturday morning, go to Starbucks, get our breakfast, and take lots of goofy pictures.” “Family is everything to me and gives me purpose to try to make this world a better place for them and for all!.
Asked what she wanted for the future, Ramirez-Saenz replied, “more of an equitable, understanding, accepting society that values all diversity,” going on to state that “I always say that I want to phase myself out of a job as being a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, when this truly becomes a reality, I am hopeful we can get there.”
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