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About Diana Candelejo, MPA

Director, Social Impact and Community Investment

DianaWhat is your personal WHY? How does your work in the Social Impact and Community Investment Practice at RWJBH motivate you to obtain your WHY?
To inspire and create a more just society that embraces human dignity, and both social and economic justice. My work in the SICI practice at RWJBH motivates me to obtain my WHY by enabling me to contribute to inclusive local economic development. My job allows me to help re-structure and re-design our system's hiring, purchasing, and investment power to benefit communities that have been historically disinvested in, despite existing in the presence of economic engines. My work also motivates me to obtain my WHY because I grew up in one of RWJBH's vulnerable communities, and I am proud of the community I came from.
Excluding money, what do you think is the single most effective gift that can be given to an individual or a family to change their life circumstances?
Social networks/social capital. I grew up being told education would be the economic equalizer for growing up "disadvantaged." The truth is that I loved school and I loved to learn, so I never challenged this. However, I have come to learn and personally witness the reality that education is not the antidote for structural or systemic policies that create inequity. Being educated does not prevent one from being overlooked. I think that having access to deep and meaningful relationships with those who have decision-making power is crucial for any individual or family to change their life circumstances. It is about knowing people with influence that matter and who will give you a seat at the table.
I cannot go a day without…
Gratitude. Praying. Coffee (w/almond milk). Make up. Writing a To-Do list. Listening to Spanish music. Reading.
As a child, I dreamed I would grow up to be…
A flight attendant.
If I could give a 10 second speech to the entire United States, my message would be…
Nothing about us without us.