Ann Anaya Receives 2015 Manuel Guerrero Courage in Leadership Award
By: Amy Conners
Ann Anaya, Senior Counsel, Litigation and Preventative Law at 3M Company, received the 2015 Manuel Guerrero Courage in Leadership Award at the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association’s Annual Gala on February 19, 2015 at the Walker Art Center. She was recognized for a career that has
spanned the public and private sectors, in which she has continually worked to advance justice in the community by championing diversity and serving as a mentor. Throughout many roles in her career, Anaya has been the voice at the table advocating for a more inclusive legal community. Ann currently serves as Vice President of Membership for the Minnesota Chapter of the FBA.
In accepting the award, Anaya gave an inspiring speech about continuing the commitment to developing leadership roles for Hispanics and women, saying “we don’t want to be window
treatment, we want equal treatment.” Anaya said that the Hispanic community needs to show that unique voices and diversities of perspective are the solution to old questions. Throughout her career, often as the first Latina in a position, Anaya has had to prove that she is not only capable and qualified, but valuable because of the unique voice she provides. She has advocated for the idea that innovative solutions and problem solving require fresh and diverse perspectives.
Anaya has an inspiring background: she was the first professional and lawyer in her family, was raised in a working-class family, and is a second-generation Mexican American. In attending
a nearly all-white school in Inver Grove Heights she gained insights that fueled her commitment to diversity and inclusion. Anaya attended the University of Minnesota, earning a political science degree with an emphasis in Latin American Politics and serving as Director of the Chicano Latino Student Center. In her studies, she examined justice for Latino Americans, and this focus led her to law school, which she attended to address issues of equality and fairness in the justice system.
Anaya’s commitment to the justice system shows in her significant public service with the First District Public Defenders’ Office, Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, and 11 years as an Assistant United States Attorney. In each of these roles, Anaya worked to bring an awareness and appreciation for fairness and inclusion, whether in sentencing advocacy or working toward diversity in hiring and advancement.
Mentorship is also important to Anaya, and she seeks out opportunities to mentor young Hispanics in high school and law school. She has volunteered with the Open Doors program,
reaching out to high school students throughout the state. Anaya now chairs the Diversity Committee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board, where she is a strong advocate for public education and providing educational opportunities for all Minnesotans.
At 3M, Anaya has continued her commitment to diversity as a Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Board and as a member of the 3M Legal Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where she is leading initiatives to ensure that the outside lawyers that 3M hires value diversity and inclusion. Kevin Rhodes, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at 3M and Chair of the 3M Legal Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Committee, describes Anaya as a thought leader who is involved in a number of initiatives to promote and maintain diversity and inclusion.
Manuel Guerrero was one of Minnesota’s most influential Hispanic attorneys and a founder and first director of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association. He was a mentor to many Latino attorneys in Minnesota. In receiving the 2015 Manuel Guerrero Courage in Leadership Award, Anaya was honored for her commitment to leadership, mentorship, and equality.
Amy Conners is a litigation partner at Best & Flanagan
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