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    GGBA Member Spotlight: Maria Luisa Jimenez of Mama Mia

    With over 20 years of experience building community and working toward equity, Maria Luisa Jimenez started the consulting company Mama Mia to continue the work of building bridges. From being at the beginning phase of a start-up company creating employee resource groups to influencing corporate policy after same-sex marriage was legal, she has been a passionate leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) spheres.

    Born in Mexico, she was raised by a Caucasian foster family starting from the age of ten and that forged her love of embracing differences and making connections in unexpected places.

    GGBA: How does Mama Mia reflect your personal life and experiences?

    Maria Luisa Jimenez: Mama Mia is who I am, realized into a business. In all the DE&I work I did in my corporate jobs the last 30 years, my voice was always unique. The intersection of all of my identities made me a walking rainbow unicorn. I used my experiences to create bridges where there were issues of equity and a lack of diversity. Mama Mia’s mission is simple: To Reach Equity Together. I offer my services to corporations and nonprofit organizations that are trying to achieve a better state for their people. My business is only months old.

    GGBA: Please tell us more about why you decided to create your business.

    Maria Luisa Jimenez:
    I created Mama Mia to offer my services to leaders who want to create the space for their people to be fully engaged as their authentic selves. Mama Mia is also there for me to gather the data necessary to pivot and help shape the DE&I discourse. I am exploring the stark statistic that 80% of people in prison in 2020 had spent some time in foster care. The soft skills of coaching and planning mean very little if you do not make decisions based on data. How you decide what data is important to track to how you gather it is a reason to have created Mama Mia. 

    GGBA: Who are some of your role models, and especially those who helped to influence your business?

    Maria Luisa Jimenez:
    It was Merle Woo, as my first Women Studies professor at SFSU, who ignited a fire in me to transform the world around me instead of just going along for the ride. Then the writer Gloria Anzaldua helped shape the methodology and symbol of becoming the bridge between communities. Anzaldua was able to pull together thoughts and ideas of diverse backgrounds to create synergetic themes and thought magic. More recently, the scientists I have worked with in the biotech industry inspired me to have faith and keep working, even if an outcome takes years—the outcome being the cure or the betterment of people who suffer from medical conditions.

    GGBA: Why did you decide to join the GGBA, and how long have you been a member?

    Maria Luisa Jimenez: I joined the GGBA very recently. I had always been an advocate of it in my DE&I work. Now that I was going into business for myself, I was excited to become a member.

    GGBA: Although you have only been a member for a short time, has it helped your business yet?

    Maria Luisa Jimenez: Meeting the other members and realizing I was going to be a part of another community keep me going. I felt so welcomed and supported in our first greet and meet. Also, it was one of those members who referred me for this interview.

    GGBA: It sounds like you go to the GGBA monthly Make Contact networking events. Would you recommend them to others?

    Maria Luisa Jimenez:
    Yes, I attend the networking events and know that these are vital to building connections. I also learned about becoming certified as an LGBTBE business. 

    GGBA: Is there anything else that you would like to share? 

    Maria Luisa Jimenez: “Mama Mia” is the term my son created when he was trying to differentiate between what to call his two moms. He later taught it to his little sister and the name speaks to how personal this work is for me.

    GGBA Calendar

    Wednesday, March 16
    DEI: Responding to Bias & Microaggressions at Work
    Noon–2 pm

    Did you know that unconscious bias can affect your business in many ways, from diversity and retention rates to undermining recruiting efforts and employee development? Microaggressions can also have a profound impact on your team. They justify inequality, reinforce stereotypes, and reinforce destructive power dynamics. Learn how to spot them and tackle them. Bring your lunch to this free online event hosted by Nancy Geenen, who is an accomplished entrepreneur, trial attorney, and strategic facilitator.

    Published on February 10, 2022