By Sara Rimer, BU Today
Photos by Jackie Ricciardi
May 1st, 2019
They are determined to use their experience, influence, and positions to help make their business, organization, and world a more inclusive place. They are breaking barriers—and then reaching back to help those behind them overcome the same hurdles. They are mentoring students or younger colleagues, hiring diverse candidates, offering opportunities, and ensuring that employees succeed and are promoted so that their workplace and their communities reflect the richness and talents of the country’s increasingly diverse population.
They are BU alumni, faculty, and staff—of every race, ethnicity, age, and gender—and they are “Opening Doors” for the next generation.
Veronica Serrato applied to Harvard without help from anyone, not from her Mexican immigrant parents, not from a high-priced, private consultant—that profession hardly existed back then—and not even from the guidance counselor at her all-girls Catholic high school in suburban Chicago, where Serrato was one of the top two students.
“She said I’d never get into Harvard. She’d throw me a parade if I got in,” recalls Serrato, the eldest of five children and the first person in her family to even dream of college. “I applied anyway.”
That same indomitable spirit, that refusal to take no for an answer, drives her work today as leader of Project Citizenship, a Boston-based nonprofit that helps permanent immigrants navigate the dauntingly cumbersome bureaucratic process of becoming naturalized US citizens.