Full Name
Juanita Zerda
Job Title
Collective Change Lab
Speaker Bio

Juanita was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. During the early stages of her professional career she worked in remote communities training local leaders in mediation techniques and human rights principles so that they could seek peaceful alternatives to the resolution of conflicts. She received her law degree from Los Andes University and wrote her J.D. thesis on Pragmatism as a potential way to develop empathy between radically opposed factions. She later immigrated to the United States for graduate work in Philosophy at Boston College and study in the Japanese martial art Aikido. Over the past two decades Juanita has supported public and private funders and social sector organizations in refocusing strategy and implementing change efforts. Her expertise in data-informed decision-making and translating policy into practice has helped many organizations increase their impact with communities, individuals, and families. Juanita has held management positions at the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and Commonwealth Corporation, among others. She has also served as a social change consultant, focusing on supporting organizations such as Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Rhode Island’s Department of Adult Education, City Year , UTEC, Inc., and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Juanita’s present work is rooted in advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion principles and practices. She has led numerous national and local conversations to advance racial understanding, dialogue, and action for organizations and communities. From a young age, Juanita traveled extensively. She has visited over 40 countries. Her exposure to multiple cultures has informed both her personal beliefs and her professional practice. Juanita is fluent in Spanish, English, and French.

Juanita Zerda