Anna Cano Morales is working to elevate the profile of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University and help manage a growing Latino population, particularly in Rhode Island’s urban areas.
With more than 20 years’ experience working for nonprofits, including work at The Rhode Island Foundation, where she led an initiative for Hispanics in Philanthropy, she says she’s well-prepared for her new role.
The institute recently released a study calling for action to counter a crisis in education of Latinos.
PBN: One of your earliest jobs was as a volunteer outreach director for Project Bridges for Pawtucket’s Hispanic Evangelical Church. How did that experience help shape your interest in and aptitude for working on educational issues?
CANO MORALES: It gave me the ability to broker philanthropy with community needs. I actually secured the grant that allowed that program to open, so my involvement was really on an administrative level, but I was able to really see the investment that those funds had in the community through supporting the children in their education. … I consider myself a social broker. I’m able to bring together different communities, different interests, in order to tackle community challenges head on.
PBN: Your education focused on family studies and social work. How do understanding and working on interpersonal dynamics contribute to your leadership style?
CANO MORALES: It contributes greatly because it allows me to listen and really hear what people are going through, some of the barriers to success and challenges they face. It allows me to be emotionally intelligent in very difficult situations. Diplomacy is a great thing, being able to not rush to judgment but do my homework and make sure best practices are always elevated to the top.
PBN: What drew you to the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University?
CANO MORALES: First, when I worked at The Rhode Island Foundation, I heard about the LPI through the founders, Jorge Elorza and Domingo Morel, when it was just [an idea]. I was able to support the development of that idea through philanthropy. … I became convinced that there is a place and a huge need in Rhode Island for a vibrant LPI, given the demographic changes Rhode Island and this country are seeing.
Second, LPI’s mission to create discussion based on …..
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Photo: Providence Business News