Juana Bordas, A Celebration Of Latina Leadership, Vision & Perseverance

Article & Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

It was a red carpet, sold out affair at the SIE Film Center in Denver September 26, 2023 as dozens of supporters and community leaders came out to celebrate the film premiere of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame production of ‘Juana Bordas: “The Voice and Vision of Latina Leadership. Mariachis, food, drink and comradery made for a wonderful evening to celebrate Latina leadership in Colorado and across the U.S. (see photo gallery below)

Anyone who has ever come across Juana Bordas knows what an exuberant bundle of non-stop positive energy she posses as well as her passion for the advancement of Latinas and Latinos through leadership training and education. She has done so much for so many over the decades that a new film documenting her life and achievements has been produced and will air on Rocky Mountain PBS on October 5, 2023.

The production is part of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame “Great Women of Colorado” film series, now in its fifth season. Other award winning productions recognizing Latinas featured Marths Urioste, Sr. Alicia Cuaron and Polly Baca.

The film chronicles Juana Bordas’ journey as she immigrated to the US from Nicaragua on a banana boat. The sacrifices her mother made to get the money to put her into Catholic school. The first in her family to go to college, she joined the Peace Corps and worked in Santiago, Chile. Juana later received the Franklin Williams Award from the US Peace Corps for her life-long commitment to advancing communities of color. The documentary includes comments from her daughter and other family members, several who were present for the premiere of the film.

The film’s premiere included a panel discussion with fellow Colorado Hall of Fame inductees Katherine Archuleta, Anna Jo Garcia Haynes and Patricia Barela Rivera, who talked about their experiences and challenges in the political and business world and how they shared that knowledge for the advancement of future Latina/o leaders. Photo by Latin Life Denver Media

Juana is a founder of Mi Casa Resource Center – the largest Hispanic serving organization in Colorado. She is founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the first Latina faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership. In 2001 she founded the Circle of Latina Leadership to prepare the next generation. For her extensive work with Latinas, she was commended by Latina Style Magazine for creating “a Nation of Latina Leaders.”

The video below recorded at the Kansas Leadership Center exemplifies Bordas’ passion to train future Latina and Latino leaders across the U.S.

Her book Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age won the International Latino Book Award in 2008. The Power of Latino Leadership won the Nautilus Award for best indigenous book and The International Latino book Award for leadership. In 2015 she was a contributor to Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions.

Juana served as advisor to Harvard’s Hispanic Journal, the Kellogg National Fellows Program, vice chair of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, and trustee of the International Leadership Association. She received an honorary doctorate from Union University in 2009.

The National Center for Women’s Policy Studies honored her as a Wise Woman. In 2009 the Denver Post and Colorado Women’s Foundation named her Colorado Unique Woman of the Year. In 2015 Colorado Diversity Council selected Juana as one of Colorado’s Most Influential and Powerful Women.

Juana is President of Mestiza Leadership International a company that promotes diversity and multicultural leadership. She received the Outstanding Women in Business Award from the Denver Business Journal and Denver’s Martin Luther Jr. Social Responsibility Award.

Books authored by or containing reference to Juana Bordas
Salsa, Soul and Spirit-the Leadership for a Multicultural Age
Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America
Latina Leaders: Shaping America’s Future
History of Colorado’s Women for Young People

Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media