Celebrating Latina Leadership
Analia Cuevas-Ferreras is a Consultant for the Bridgespan Group, a leading social impact advisor to nonprofits and NGOs, philanthropists, and investors. She has been one of ACLAMO’s project coaches for the last 6 months for the Leading For Impact: Philadelphia Program, as we work on strategy and leadership development, helping us to create a performance evaluation system.
Originally born in Salem, Massachusetts, Ms. Cuevas-Ferreras is the second oldest out of four siblings. Analia had a very translational childhood, with strong attachment to both Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and several Northeastern cities in the US. Her family eventually established a base in Attleboro, MA where Analia spent most of her high school career.
Analia credits her current successes to the strong work ethic instilled in her by her parents, who always emphasized the importance and value of education. She also highlights the importance of having people in her life who were deeply invested in her success. For instance, when she began studying at Attleboro High School, she was placed in basic college prep classes. However, certain teachers recognized her potential and encouraged her to advocate for placement in Honors and Advance Placement classes.
In addition to her strong dedication to her academic performance, Analia was also inspired to give back to her community by launching a Debate Club. She recalls a class discussion on the topic of immigration, where a classmate declared that all “illegal” immigrants do is take Americans’ jobs, harm the US economy, and cross the border to have babies. “I looked around the room I saw flickers of outrage in the many of my classmates, though no one said a word. In that moment it dawned on me that many of my classmates felt they simply couldn’t voice their opinions” shared Analia. This sparked in her a desire to create an outlet where students could voice their opinions and to help others find the voice to express their beliefs. Through this experience, Analia own voice was strengthened, and she decided to serve on behalf of her student body as a student representative to the school committee – her first foray into the world of politics and government.
When it came time to apply to college, Ms. Cuevas-Ferreras main concern was the cost of attendance. She knew that her parents would not be able to afford college, and so her number one priority was to find a way to study for free. One day, she got an email from QuestBridge, an organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students to top tier schools. With the support of her guidance counselor, she applied, became a finalist, and was eventually matched to Yale University with a full ride.
At Yale, she pursued her interests in politics and human rights, choosing to major in Political Science. Her interest in immigration, given her personal experiences, brought her to an internship in Minneapolis, at the Advocates for Human Rights. She worked in their Refugee and Immigrant program, helping provide pro bono legal support to asylum seekers. Her role focused on case intake as well as providing translation and interpretation support for clients. This was her first experience working at a nonprofit and she was deeply impacted by the many barriers that nonprofits face. “You realize there are so many people that need and are deserving of support, but nonprofits face funding and capacity constraints that mean they aren’t able to help everyone,” she shared.
While working for this nonprofit, she also found herself developing an interest in how nonprofits function, sparking ideas for how nonprofits’ work might be improved. Through a second internship at Yale, she was connected to Bridgespan, an organization that helps nonprofits increase their impact. Now, in her current role, she is grateful for the opportunity to wake up every day and help nonprofits reach their missions.
As she turns a new leaf, Ms. Cuevas-Ferreras shares that she will be leaving Bridgespan on externship to work with the UN World Food Programme, the United Nation’s food-assistance branch, which is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict. She will be working in their Business Innovation and Change Management unit, based at WFP headquarters in Rome, helping address increased demand stretches through new approaches and ways of working.
ACLAMO is so grateful to have connected with Ms. Analia Cuevas-Ferreras throughout our time working with Bridgespan. The lessons learned have been invaluable and we are so excited to keep working with Bridgespan as our project continues for the next year and half. We celebrate Latina leaders like her today and every day!
To read more about ACLAMO’s involvement with Bridgespan please click here: https://www.bridgespan.org/about-us/for-the-media/bridgespan-launches-philadelphia-leaders-program