Phyllis Barajas is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Conexión, (www.conexion-all.org) a ten month executive mentoring and leadership experience for mid career Hispanic/Latino professionals. The program focus on talent and developing Hispanic/Latino leaders and their executive mentors who come to understand the implication of the nexus between the rising Hispanic/Latino demographic, socioeconomic factors and the sustainability of the U.S. economy. One alumnus described her experience as a “call to action” that Hispanic/Latinos can make a positive difference across all sectors for the future of the country.
Among her other accomplishments Phyllis was appointed in 1994, by President Bill Clinton as deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education offices of elementary, secondary and bilingual education. Before her appointment, she served as the first Hispanic/Latino assistant dean for human resources at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Upon her return to Boston she was the national Director of Human Resource for Houghton Mifflin Publishing. More recently, she was a core instructor for the 2012-13 academic year at Boston University School of Management Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership.
She is a Trustee of Eastern Bank, the largest independent, mutually owned bank in New England, with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the first Latina trustee since the bank’s founding in 1818!
Phyllis also is involved with a number of nonprofit boards including the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Trustee and Chair of the BIDMC Community Benefits Committee; the board of directors of the United Way Boston/Merrimac Valley and Jobs for the Future, a national foundation focused on education and workforce development. She also is an Overseer of the Boys and Girls Club Boston and member Overseers Leadership committee.
Awards include—2015 and 2014 El Planeta and the Boston Business Journal Powermeter 100 Most Influential” recognition of individuals who have made an impact in the Hispanic/Latino community. Conexión was also nominated for the third year in a row for the Small Business Association New England—SBANE Innovations Award and 2014 the Color Media Group Seventh Annual, All Inclusive Award. In 2013 Phyllis received the Get Konnected Boston 5th Anniversary Leading by Example, Diversity and Inclusion Award. The Women of ALPFA Boston presented Phyllis with their annual Excellence in Contribution to the Latino Community award at their 2011 Summit and in 2009 NSHMBAs singled out Conexión for special recognition for their Advancement of Latino Leadership.
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Mexican immigrants she now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a BA in education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master’s of Education from Boston University.