As global ERG program lead at Avanade, Mina Rabideaux helps the company’s employee resource group (ERG) leaders get a seat at the table in an industry that can be isolating.
It’s a passion that started following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and which inspired her and five others to start a Latinx ERG, despite a limited amount of support. Today, their efforts have snowballed into a 300-member platform that has helped steer the company’s inclusion and diversity strategy and to create a more inclusive workplace.
Rabineaux shares that success with NextGen Collective as she reflects on her passion for doing the right thing even, if it strays from the status quo.
What do you do today?
Today I lead our global employee resource group (ERG) program at Avanade. In this role, I have designed our program strategy and oversee thirteen unique ERGs that collectively have over fifty chapters. I focus on empowering our ERG leaders to become effective community leaders, ensuring that our business values these teams as partners, and delivering stellar and authentic ERG programming that enhances our employees’ experience. Tech can be extremely isolating for our folks in underrepresented groups, and ERGs can provide the community that helps them be successful.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
My greatest career accomplishment to date was turning my passion for giving back and building community into a full-time DEI role in 2020. After the equity reckoning we faced following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, I (like many others) took a personal inventory of how I could be part of the solution to build a more equitable world. This led me to found a Latinx ERG at Avanade along with five other women who shared my passion. Without initial support, we plowed forward because we understood the risk of not doing so and created a platform for Latinx identifying employees.
Today we have nearly 300 members and have helped create a more inclusive workplace where Latinx folks can be their full selves in a safe space. Under the mentorship of our Black ERG leaders, we contributed to Avanade’s Race Taskforce and helped lay much of the groundwork that now feeds into our global inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy at Avanade. With my success leading this group, I was tapped to leave our analytics practice and lead our entire ERG program on our growing I&D team. My performance in this role has led to consecutive promotions, including a two-level jump in the spring of 2021.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
My greatest personal accomplishment to date was leaving my small town in Wisconsin at eighteen-years-old with no connections or legacy, and pursuing my dream to move to Chicago to build the life I saw for myself—catapulted by attending and graduating from Loyola University Chicago as a first-generation student. I put myself through school, learned how to survive in the affluent and homogenous environment at Loyola, and then in the financial services and business environments.
The ups and downs that mark my journey have made me who I am, and I am very proud of the personal and professional growth I see in myself now. Last year marked ten years in Chicago for me, which brought on a lot of reflection and gratitude for where I am today, and what I have had to overcome to do so. I hope to always pursue my dreams relentlessly, however they may evolve along the way.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
I tend to lean on my support network of family, friends, and mentors to overcome significant challenges. When faced with problems, I am unwavering in my values and priorities surrounding doing what matters, no matter if this clashes with the status quo. I choose the path forward that best aligns with those. I advocate for myself and my career just as hard as I do for my community and mentees. This is the best way I know to be true to myself and show up as authentically as I can.
What do you do today to impact your community?
Giving back is engrained in my daily life, and who I am as a person and a leader – it’s how I was raised. I am a fierce defender of the underdog, whoever she may be, and much of my volunteer work reflects that. I seek out opportunities to reach down and bring the next generation of leaders up with me, and work to increase access to both education and career opportunities for women and people from underrepresented racial groups. I currently serve on the board of the Latinas in Tech Chicago chapter as a chapter lead for their community pillar and on the auxiliary board for the HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement) Chicago chapter as the incoming Chairwoman. At Avanade I am just wrapping up a three-year term as the National Chair for our Latinx ERG, and proud of recently launching a Mujeres de Adelante peer mentorship circle with one of my fellow Latina leaders.
Describe yourself in five words.
Visionary, influential, empowering, forthright, and hustler.
What are your future goals?
I am headed to the c-suite. My current dream role is to lead an organization that aligns with my values, especially surrounding the advancement of women and people of color. I am very keen to continue making an impact while prioritizing work life integration as I advance in my career. I firmly believe that you can be at the height of ambition without your title alone defining you or being the only element in your overall success.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
Travel is my favorite form of self-care. A glass of champagne in Paris on a Tuesday is my ideal state. It is a privilege to have access to travel and the financial means to expose myself to new cultures, traditions, and ways of living, and I am most proud when I am traveling and able to pick up the tab for both me and my family.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
When I am not working for my day job or volunteer roles, I am tapping into my creative side. After staring at a screen all day, I really enjoy decompressing and using my hands to create. Whether that is through sewing and recreating runway looks, painting, or cooking, I love to get lost in the details and build something from start to finish.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
It means everything to me. Like many other rising jefas, this was a goal I set for myself, and it feels incredibly joyful and validating to have achieved it—a milestone that allows me to set my sights even higher for what I want to accomplish next. When you are the first to pursue a dream, enter a role, or create something, you often don’t know if you are on the right track, and battle imposter syndrome along the way. Platforms like these provide the recognition that pushes us to keep going and lets us know that we’re on the right track.
What is your personal theme song?
My personal theme song is ‘work’ by Rihanna. In 2021 I threw myself a ‘Career Shower,’ and this was the song my mom played when I blew out my candles.
What is your Latino background?
I am both Latina and Native American. On my mom’s side we are Mexican, from Michoacan. On my dad’s side we are Native, from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, where I am an enrolled tribal member.
Editor‘s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.