Leaders of Color Alumni Profile: Biena Depena

January 13, 2022

The Leaders of Color program launched in 2018 to elevate the tremendous talent of community-based leaders of color. Since then, 116 leaders have emerged from the program ready to bring change to their communities. These are their stories.

Meet Biena Depena - a Leaders of Color alum from our New York cohort in 2020.

Q: When did you join Leaders of Color?

A: I joined Leaders of Color in 2020 in New York.

Q: Why did you apply to be part of the Leaders of Color program? What inspires you to get involved in civic leadership?

A: What inspired me to get involved civically was watching a handful of people in positions of power doing everything they could to oppress and marginalize the rest. I applied to the Leaders of Color program because I got tired of waiting for someone else to come and save me, to come and save my community, to come and save my generation.

Q: Did the program help you in your career or with leadership opportunities? How are you thinking about your future based on what you experience with Leaders of Color?

A: The program influenced and pushed me to be the person and leader I need to be by focusing on my strengths and capabilities as opposed to looking at the negative. It has allowed me to grow and take up space in areas where my imposter syndrome was dominating and in areas where I was afraid to show my leadership because I was waiting for others to step up. But, the reality is that there's nobody else. It’s up to me! If I want change, I have to create it! The Leaders of Color program is incredible for leaders who need that extra push and a word of encouragement to do hard things.

I am currently developing an organization called We Are Key where we are empowering and supporting Latinas to run for public office and educating Latinos about the importance of becoming civically engaged and educated.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are thinking about becoming leaders of their own communities?

A: Do it! There's a lot of work to be done and we are short of people who have the heart, drive, and passion to do the work that needs to be done because it isn't a glamorous job.


Q: Please share your favorite inspiring quote!

A: “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou

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