Everything about Raffa Rodriguez is a little bit unorthodox- from his blue hair to how he does an interview. After a conversation with him, it is clear that the “difference” is that Raffa has married his balance of styles in his company. Blueraffa, Inc. is dedicated to cross-cultural content development and multicultural marketing which means that Raffa has dedicated his life to understanding and telling the stories and perspectives often overlooked and undervalued.
While talking to Raffa about the influences in his life and how he has built his business, he hearkens his philosophy to Pre-Columbian mythology. “In Puerto Rico, we believe that Mother Earth was the main god. Women were the first creators.That Idea of bringing great things to life, nurturing them, and empowering them is what women as a group bring to the table. The battle following is when it comes to breaking into upper management.” Raffa points out that while the concerns about women hitting the glass ceiling are legitimate, that he wants to tell a different story about how women are redefining success in upper management. He notes, "the narrative has to change surrounding the measures of success. There is so much focus on how many women and minorities aren’t breaking through. But there are so many women and minorities out there who are not only making it, but ALSO changing the game at the same time. That’s what I want to do. I want people to tell the stories of those women. Women are changing the way that we work and the way that we define success. They were the first ones to say, ‘treat your employees well, pay attention to their needs, and prioritize their financial and career goals.’ Women were the ones who started treating employee management and companies like a family in which everyone is invested to the needs of the [family/company] unit. These culture shifts ARE being adopted and over the course of time it’s only going to get better.”
“Brands are looking for these diverse perspectives because it’s in diversity that we find growth and strength. It’s in variety of thought that innovation resides. Once we saw women being included, we started seeing amazing growth in this country because success for women means success for us all. Women are bridge builders, so that’s also when you started seeing an increase in companies investing into their communities in significant ways. That’s why we work with NAWMBA...to be able to serve communities that are all about the elevation of women who are the pillars of community building. Diverse storytelling is the cornerstone of what we do.” In 2015, Raffa and his staff jumped into volunteering at NAWMBA’s 2015 Conference and Career Fair and won recognition for their dedication and participation. “There’s nothing more empowering to a person that to be able to get up with a greater sense of purpose and NAWMBA is part of that to us. It’s a cause that we all feel strongly about.”
For Raffa it’s deeply personal and that is what keeps him passionate and committed. “My role in fostering a cultural shift has always been close to my heart because I was raised by a single mom. My mother raised two kids, got her doctorate, ran a university for a time, ran her own bookstore, and became a syndicated writer in Latin America. Part of my love for this mission has been my love for my mom.”