Board Member Feature: Learn how Miguel Ramos’ experiences shaped his work in diversity, equity & inclusion.
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation Board member Miguel Ramos has never let his limitations define him.
Instead, they have inspired him to help others. What was once a commitment to his mother and his family for a better life has transformed into compassion for his community.
“I always believed if you want to be successful, the best thing that you can do is help other people to be successful first,” said Miguel.
His dedication to those around him has taken him from cleaning floors to the role of senior director of diversity and inclusion strategy for the Minnesota Twins, where he’s used his knowledge and experience to cultivate and create opportunities for diverse communities in the state.
“There are different ways that you can talk about diversity, inclusion and equity, but the first thing is to break the stereotype,” Miguel said. “I try to encourage and motivate people to see people as people. And know that every human has different characteristics and is diverse.”
Miguel’s love for community stems from his love for family.
When he and his family first moved to Minnesota from Puerto Rico, Miguel and his daughter both experienced discrimination. After sharing a moment over their experiences, they vowed to help each other, eventually turning their pain into prosperity.
That drive led his daughter to become a lawyer with a practice dedicated to helping immigrants and the Latinx community while it led Miguel to the nonprofit sector.
“Being on the side of a nonprofit organization and seeing the needs of nonprofits gave me the energy and motivation that regardless of the challenges, I can wake up and continue moving forward,” said Miguel.
Bringing People Together Through Sports
This energy has inspired him to use his platform to become a voice for those in our communities who are often overlooked or underrepresented.
Through his love of sports and his passion for community, he has developed avenues for the Minnesota Twins that allow them to unify our communities while celebrating community differences.
“Sports is something that brings people together,” said Miguel. “You go to the stadium and will have a group that cheers for the local team and a group that’s going to cheer for the other team. When something happens for one team or the other, they cheer together.”
Through events, scholarships and internships, the Twins organization has created avenues for communities, more specifically youth, to build an equitable society that we all want to see. The commonality of sports has allowed them to learn the importance of education and respect, and embrace each other's differences.
“This is why I encourage our players. They’re role models whether they like it or not,” Miguel said. “Kids are watching them, thinking one day I can be like that. It is our role to tell them that regardless of if they become an athlete, they can accomplish any goal.”
“ There are different ways that you can talk about diversity, inclusion and equity, but the first thing is to break the stereotype. I try to encourage and motivate people to see people as people.”
A Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
In his career and on the many boards he serves, Miguel has made it his goal to create areas of change by breaking conscious and unconscious bias and providing groups and communities with the resources they need to achieve their goals and succeed. That’s one of the reasons he loves and appreciates the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and the work we do around diversity, equity and inclusion.
“The Foundation is a specific organization that I hold in my heart because of the role they’ve played in the community and how they helped me,” said Miguel. “Even before the murder of George Floyd, their commitment to diversity and inclusion was there. They don’t do the work to look good, it’s in their DNA.”
Much like himself, Miguel believes the Foundation has led by example, showing others how to create diverse environments, setting the standard, rather than following.
“We can't wait for other people to tell us what we should be doing,” Miguel said. “And I personally don’t want to follow others, I want to lead. If we want to really be in the world of diversity, equity and inclusion, we need to be proactive. That's why I strongly believe in what the Foundation is trying to do.”
Miguel’s dream is that one day positions around diversity, equity and inclusion will no longer need to exist. His hope is that by leading the charge for equity, diversity and inclusion with the Foundation, we can be an example not only for Minnesota or the United States, but the world.