Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, Ph.D.
Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA)
Ten years ago, Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, Ph.D., says she found her true vocation. She quit her job as a data analyst at AT&T and launched Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA). She implemented her vision – to build a bureau of Latino professionals that would help eradicate the lack of role models as one of the reasons why Latino students’ don’t pursue higher education. HISPA mobilizes Latino professionals from the public and private sectors to speak to middle school students and tell their success stories with the hope of inspiring students to pursue higher education. To date, HISPA has engaged over 2,500 highly skilled professionals who are committed to serving as “active” role models for Latino youth. HISPA’s accomplishments to date are numerous. The HISPA Role Model Program is in 25 schools, hosting over 500 sessions and reaching approximately 7,000 students in New Jersey, San Antonio, New York City, and Florida. Under Ivonne’s leadership, HISPA has also planned and hosted 20 Youth Conferences in institutions of higher education including Princeton and Columbia Universities. As president and CEO of HISPA, Ivonne has spoken at over 50 public and private sector institutions to increase awareness of the urgent need to build a highly-skilled workforce and the role Latino youth will have in creating America’s future.