Looking back, Eneida Román describes her journey to the C-suite of Amplify Latinx as an organic one. When a group of advisors and board members first approached her about filling the nonprofit’s CEO vacancy, however, she had a different mindset.
“I was practicing law and working in public policy, so I wanted to hire somebody else,” Román admits. “I wasn’t thinking that I was going to be the next CEO.”
With the offer on the table, Román took the time to weigh her decision before ultimately accepting. After all, she had been with Amplify since the beginning as cofounder of the Latina Circle, the organization out of which Amplify grew. The nonprofit had always been her passion project, but as of January 2023, she has had the opportunity to make it so much more than that.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Román moved to Boston to attend law school and never left. She served as managing partner of Omega Global Advisors and founded her own law firm, Román Law Offices, with a practice centering around mediation and public policy. “I started as an organizational psychologist, and I combine my two careers in everything I do,” she says. “It’s a passion for service and a focus on paying it forward that really drive me. That’s why I started the Latina Circle: I wanted to do something for the next generation of leaders.”
Inspired by her work with the Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Commission, Román created the Latina Circle in 2012 to empower Latina professionals across the Greater Boston Area. “We would get together quarterly for cafecitos,” she explains. “When we initially launched, we said, ‘you’re a woman on the go; bring a woman on the rise.’ We wanted to make sure that we incorporated that next generation, so we could be lifting as we climbed.”
Five years down the line, the Latina Circle evolved into Amplify Latinx. “We realized that we needed to expand our work beyond Latina leadership,” says Román. “Amplify is not just about leadership; it’s about civic engagement, support for Latino-owned businesses, and economic mobility. It’s about making sure that we are driving home the message of Latino contributions and the importance of Latino prosperity to American prosperity.”
That message will only become more important as the number of Latinos living in the US continues to rise. “It’s a missed opportunity for the American GDP if we do not champion and support Latino leaders and Latino businesses,” Román emphasizes. “At Amplify, we back up our work with data so people understand that Latinos are an asset––not a liability––to the American economy.”
Román is excited to bring her previous career experience to bear as she settles into her new role as Amplify’s CEO. “As a psychologist, one of my best tools is that I’m a really good listener. I like to hear people out, and I always try to understand other people’s perspectives,” she says. “When people feel valued and respected, they tend to give more and to have a more positive outlook.”
Román leverages her listening skills to foster collaborative relationships across generations. At the same time, she understands from her legal practice the necessity of translating those partnerships into tangible policy results. “Amplify bridges leadership representation and economic mobility with policy solutions,” she says. “If you don’t find policy solutions to these structural issues that have existed for decades, it’s harder to effect real change.”
Beyond her knowledge of policy and psychology, Román plans to apply her entrepreneurial expertise as she takes the lead at Amplify. “A nonprofit is a business like any other, so I can transfer my practices from the private sector to this new role,” she says. “I want to look at all the strengths Román I bring to the table and make sure that I work with our collaborators to deliver on the mission of the organization: building economic and political power for Latinos.”
Already, Román has expanded Amplify’s reach from Boston to all of Massachusetts. In the coming years, she hopes to take it one step further. “We thrive on partnerships and programs that add more Latino leaders and create wealth in the community––because that is going to benefit everybody in the end,” she says. “My dream is to take Amplify national.”
On a personal level, Román strives to keep learning and bettering herself in all realms of her life, Amplify included. “I love this work because it’s very much aligned with my beliefs and my values. It almost doesn’t feel like work, even though it is very hard work,” she says. “But at the end of the day, I know that I’m making a difference and that there are so many other people who get it and who would also love to be a part of this.”