Civic leader CiCi Rojas has blazed a trail for women and Hispanics in Kansas City.
She has served on a national stage, but earlier this year she became the leader of a pioneering Kansas City organization that aims to help women succeed in business.
In February, Rojas became chief executive officer of the Central Exchange, which is a clearinghouse for seminars and programs covering all levels of women in business.
"We are the voice for women. We are an advocacy group. We advocate on behalf of women," she said.
Rojas is no beginner in the business world. She spent 10 years working with Chambers of Commerce across the country and worked with organizations that help minority business owners. It's something that she is passionate about.
"It's exciting when you find different organizations or clusters of people or individuals who are doing great work, and in some cases, they just need to be connected," she said.
She was president and CEO of the Dallas and Kansas City Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and served as vice president of strategic alliance with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
But the mother of four always had her roots in Kansas City. She is an avid Chiefs fan and has two German shepherds named Kimba and Simba.
Confident and calm, Rojas is at ease in an interview or in a boardroom filled with mostly men. She said that she has encountered sexism and racism in the workplace, but she is not fazed. Instead, she keeps the focus on the work.
"At the end of the day, it's all about results. If you get results and you do it in a collaborative way then it really, it counters any negative or behavior pattern like that. It's hard to argue with results," Rojas said.
She takes pride in showing the ropes to up-and-coming young businesswomen. She said it is her way of giving back, hoping the trail that she has helped blaze will lead to a new generation of female leaders.
"What I'm most proud of is bringing up young professionals behind me and being a champion for them, I have many that I work with, you know, trying to help them find the next level or if they pursue entrepreneurship or whatever that might be. So I think I have a lot of work to do in that regard," she said.
She encourages companies to put more women in places of leadership.
"We know that companies or corporations that have women on their boards tend to do well. It's a proven fact, tend to do better from a profit perspective, from a productivity standpoint than those who don't," she said.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-09-03 03:12:05 GMT
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