Meet Rosanna Durruthy, the Queer Afro-Latina Who Fights For Diversity In The Corporate World

Rosanna Durruthy BELatina Latinx
Photo: https://lesbianswhotech.org/

At a time when diversity within the Latinx community is a hot topic of debate and in the midst of Pride Month, telling the success stories of people like Rosanna Durruthy is cause for celebration.

Durruthy is LinkedIn’s director of global diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent, Durruthy knows firsthand the intricate twists and turns of cultural diversity within Latinx culture.

As a young girl, Durruthy saw in the waiting room of her father’s doctor’s office in the Bronx the true heterogeneity behind the myth of the cultural monolith.

“When someone came in to see my father,” Durruthy told Hispanic Executive in 2012, “you didn’t just know the individual, but you often knew who their spouse was, who their parents were, who their children were. I grew up experiencing the importance of caring about your customer.”

At just 16, Durruthy was accepted to Harvard University, but her parents’ divorce would change the course of her life.

“I became a casualty of the divorce,” Durruthy recalls. Left with little money, she and her mother were put up by friends and family. “You hear a lot about people going from homeless to Harvard. I went from Harvard to homeless,” she said. “It taught me about being independent and resourceful.”

After weathering hardship, Rosanna Durruthy landed her first job in human resources at Citibank in 1985, after years in small businesses and nonprofits.

“Learning and change have always been important to me,” she told Business Insider. “I understood that challenge is a natural element in life. My parents raised me with a strong work ethic, freeing me from any sense of entitlement. I’m particularly thankful that my mom always believed in me, and her own resilience has been a great example of courage in the face of adversity.”

It was there that she launched a program to hire more bilingual employees to serve Spanish-speaking customers.

After Citibank, Durruthy helped increase diversity at Merill Lynch, Blockbuster Entertainment, and Seagram (which later became Vivendi Universal). She was working a brief stint as an independent consultant when she joined Cigna as the organization’s first chief diversity officer in September 2010.

Now, Rosanna Durruthy is a key player in promoting diversity at LinkedIn.

As the company explained, Rosanna’s work focuses on empowering all employees, members, and customers to realize their full potential. “With Rosanna’s leadership, LinkedIn aims to continue to build on our strong culture that values diversity, inclusion, and creating a sense of belonging for all of our employees,” they said.

Finally, Durruthy told Insider, Pride Month is a time to redouble the work she is spearheading. Executives must focus not just on diversity but on inclusion, she said. One in three LGBTQ+ professionals face blatant discrimination and/or microaggressions at work, according to a recent LinkedIn survey.

“As a leader, bravery has had to take different forms,” Durruthy said. “Making people visible often requires not just ‘marching people into a room,’ but having leaders take on new behaviors that allow them to be present when they’re interacting with members of their workforce.”