Ethnic GEM: Claudia Cardozo
Company: HarborOne Bank
Title: Community Development Manager
State: Rhode Island
Written by Wes Webb, Senior Contributing Writer
In the summer 2002, Claudia Cardozo, left Armenia Quindío and moved to Rhode Island, with only 500 dollars and no family or relatives to rely on. The most difficult sacrifice Cardozo had to make was to leave her 3-year-old daughter back in Colombia for a couple of years to be able to build a better life for both in the United States. Almost two decades later, Cardozo achieved her homeownership goal, attended her daughter’s college graduation, and currently holds multiple leadership positions, serving as both Community Development Manager for HarborOne Bank and as Principal and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach at InnateFive.
“I have always been driven by my desire to make a positive impact in the world (my little corner of it I mean), and these professional opportunities came knocking at my door when I least expected them and today- allow me to have a positive impact on others.”
Cardozo’s profession entails community development and financial education services in the communities of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on behalf of HarborOne Bank and designing and delivering strengths-based coaching programs to foster healthier workplaces for public and private organizations, through her company InnateFive. With over 10 years of assisting small businesses; and working with both non-profit and private organizations Cardozo has developed what she says is, “a unique blend of experience.” These experiences have allowed Cardozo to help her clients improve employee engagement and achieve economic growth, tailoring solutions specifically to her client’s needs.
Claudia belongs to the following list of organizations:
- Social Enterprise Greenhouse – Board Member / Chair Equity Committee
- RI Kids Count – Board Member
- United Way of Rhode Island – Advisory Board Member
- RI HUB – Business Mentor
- RI Department of Administration – MBE/WBE Certification Review Committee Member
- Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Leaders For Equitable Local Communities (LELE) Initiative – Advisory Group Member
Her professional and volunteer services positively impacting the communities and institutions of Rhode Island, has led Cardozo to an impressive number of accomplishments, awarded recognitions, and accolades. In 2010, Claudia was named the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by RI Small Business Administration, and in 2013, RI Latino Public Radio recognized her with an Outstanding Achievement Award for her contributions to the Latino business community. By 2014 Cardozo received the Ronald McDonald House Community Service Award.
Ethnic Online asked Claudia, out of all her accomplishments, which would she determine as her greatest, she replied,
“My biggest accomplishment…was to see my daughter graduating from Providence College …and landing a job at a prestigious financial institution. It was a wonderful feeling after all the sacrifices we both have made to build a life here in the United States. Knowing she has the skills and the drive to succeed makes me incredibly proud of her and gives me this amazing feeling of accomplishment and peace with the choices we had to make to be here today.”
Claudia’s passion for helping others develop their full potential has its origins in her own story as a first-generation immigrant to the United States. Her constant pursuit of personal and professional development allowed Claudia to gain experience in a variety of industries, always pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone and striving for excellence.