Finalist: Natalia Rodriguez-Hilt
Award: Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advocate
Day Job: Economic Mobility Officer, Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC)
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/natalia-rodriguez-hilt-44084a89/
Natalia has used her professional role, personal passion and experience as an immigrant to increase access to resources for diverse populations during the pandemic. She asked how existing programs could be more equitable and worked diligently to ensure that diversity was a central concern of new programs. She pressed funders, coworkers, ‘higher-ups’ and external partners to take an equitable approach to program design and implementation, funding processes, and decision-making. She is a vocal advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion not just because it’s a hot topic this year, but because that’s who she is.
Q: How does it feel being named one of three finalists?
A: Being a finalist is already an encouragement and inspiration for me to continue working hard in my field to elevate those who are underrepresented and work alongside the incredibly diverse leaders in our community.
Q: What is your vision for Central Indiana?
A: I envision a city that elevates and celebrates culture. A place where everyone can see, experience and appreciate other cultures. A place where everyone, regardless of their racial/ethnic and socio-economic background, can do what they love, work where they want, be a part of the community, and feel safe.
Q: What does it mean to be a great DEI advocate?
A: Being a great advocate means continually listening, learning and using your privilege and position to benefit those who need it most.
Q: What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic and how has it affected you and how you do your job?
A: The pandemic along with the racial unrest has had a huge impact on me. I have learned more about compassion, love, listening, and learning how to have hard conversations. I have learned how to be effective while working virtually (still learning though!) and have found creative ways to communicate and ensure those in need of resources have access. I have found hope and see powerful people and organizations waking up to the inequities that have long existed. This represents a huge opportunity, and I’m excited to be where I am in 2021.
Time for some favorites
Q: East or West Coast
A: West Coast
Q: Favorite Travel Partner
A: My husband, Cameron Hilt
Q: Mountains or Beach?
Q: Favorite vacation song?
A: “Calypso” by Luis Fonsi and Stefflon Don
Q: Where will you travel to once it is safe to do so?
Q: Favorite book?
A: “Decolonizing Wealth” by Edgar Villanueva
Join me at ELEVATE and don’t forget to RSVP today!