Paolo Diaz is being recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of the 40 outstanding local professionals under age 40. He will be honored at an event on March 17, 2016.
In his role as director of K-8 programs, Paolo coordinates programs in three school districts, designed to bring volunteers into the classroom to teach students financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. He manages a team responsible for reaching over 73,000 students in 3,000 elementary and middle school classrooms throughout 16 different schools districts in the Denver Metro Area. During the 2014/15 school year, approximately 46 percent of students who participate in JA-Rocky Mountain qualify for free and reduced lunch. He develops partnerships with individuals, business leaders, superintendents, district personnel, principals, teachers, city officials, among others, to encourage collaboration and greater involvement in the community.
Paolo has made it an annual tradition to visit JA USA headquarters in Colorado Springs to take a photo by the signature JA triangle. Last year, Paolo decided to build on that tradition by breaking up a cross-country family road trip with visits to other JA offices. In August, the Diaz family visited JA-Midlands in Omaha; JA of Lincoln; JA of Middle America in Kansas City; and JA of Chicago.
This level of passion for the JA mission is not unusual for Paolo who has dedicated the past eight years of his life to helping Colorado kids understand the connection between education and employment. He has helped teachers see the positive impact JA has on their students and is a big reason so many teachers welcome JA volunteers into their classrooms year after year.
“I was really impressed with Paolo’s vision for JA, training and encouragement when I first started volunteering,” said Tyler Hart, Chief of Staff at Colorado Republican Committee. “He couldn’t have made it any easier to get involved.”
Paolo’s leadership in business extends beyond JA-Rocky Mountain. In November 2015, Paolo was elected onto Commerce City’s City Council to represent Ward IV, a growing community in the northeast part of Commerce City. Other involvements have included the 27J District Accountability Committee and currently as the vice chair of the Adams 14 Education Foundation. In addition, Paolo has been involved in the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, the nonprofit council of the Brighton Chamber of Commerce, and served as the vice chair of the Metro North Chamber’s Leadership Advisory Board because of his belief in the importance of developing leaders and growing our business community.
“Paolo embodies tireless determination to build community,” said Mizraim Cordero, the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “At such a young age, I think he is a great role model for those young leaders his age and younger, as well as for folks in my generation as well. He has the most disarming smile and will to help others around him become the best they can be. Furthermore, he is committed and an unabashed father and husband who always engages his family in every aspect of his life, including work, social, and community activities.”