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HSF Leaders

Tatiana Torres

  • Gender: Female
  • University: Montclair State University
  • University: Georgetown University
  • Undergraduate Degree: Broadcast Journalism
  • Graduate Degree: MBA
  • Hometown: New Jersey
  • Organization: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
  • Position Title: Director of External Affairs and Engagement
  • HSF Leadership Role: Member, HSF Advisory Council, Washington, DC

Born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in northern New Jersey, Tatiana has two younger sisters and a younger brother. She attributes the example set by her Colombian-born parents as the motivating force behind her pursuit of higher education—“The sacrifice they made to leave their careers, degrees, education, and ranks behind, in order to protect us, due to political unrest in my country of birth. They cleaned bathrooms here and were completely selfless,” she said.

Her personal journey to receive an education was marked by major challenges. “I was undocumented for most of my high school and college career…, [so] I never received financial aid,” she explains.

Determined to succeed, regardless, she worked multiple jobs to cover her college tuition. Her perseverance led to a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Montclair State University, and then an Executive MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she won first place for the presentation and defense of her thesis on minority leadership.

Tatiana currently works as the director of external affairs and engagement in the office of the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, in Washington, D.C. In that role, she manages the “District Economic Recovery Team,” which strategizes on how the District does business, invests, supports the workforce, and ensures that District residents—especially those in vulnerable communities and negatively impacted industries—continue to thrive, grow, and rebuild in the midst of and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to her role with the District, she served as the director of community affairs for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, a not-for-profit insurer, where she managed the sponsorship budget for more than 150 organizations in the National Capital Area of Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Her other responsibilities included involvement with the grant process for more than 60 organizations, and serving as a corporate ambassador, through outreach and social media.

Before joining CareFirst, she served in public service roles at the local and state government levels, once supporting DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as director of the executive office during the mayoral transition and then as the Mayor’s non-attorney chief of staff in the Legal Counsel’s Office, as well as serving former DC Mayor Anthony Williams as director of membership and development of the Federal City Council.

Outside of her job, she sits on the board of Generation Hope, is an advisor at Concordia, and is a youth speaker and motivator at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School. Also a member of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, she participates in its workgroups, addressing healthy communities and racial equality.

A member of HSF’s Advisory Council in Washington, DC, she is passionate about the role HSF plays in  “raising more students of color to unite and grow the resistance to discrimination and lack of opportunities that our people face every day.”

Based on her own experience, she advises students who are approaching college graduation or about to begin their professional careers: “Never give up. If a door closes look for a window. If there is no window or door, then dig until you find a way in. Work hard. Work with excellence. Listen, instead of talking so much. Allow people to mentor you—you don’t know everything.”