Risk management specialist Anabel Serrano was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a finalist in its Women’s Leadership Awards, which honors women making an impact on business, industry, and the overall LA community. Read here and below why Anabel was a finalist in the Champion of Women category.

Anabel’s interest in helping champion and create a sense of belonging for both women and those who are underrepresented stems from her own life experience. Moving to the U.S. from Mexico when she was six, it was hard to assimilate to the culture, and during that time she felt like a second-class citizen who didn’t belong. Now, she wants to help people who don’t feel included or like they belong. Working in the construction industry, which is just 10% women, Anabel has dedicated herself to driving diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a risk management specialist, Anabel identifies and creates both best practice and crisis resources. When she was designing Shawmut’s internal risk management site, she made a point to include images that included women and underrepresented groups as much as possible. Although it may seem small, it makes a positive impact for people to see others who look like them represented. And that’s one of the key points Anabel shares—small actions can make big impacts.

As co-lead of the West RDLC—which has 13 members and counting—Anabel works to advance Shawmut’s goal of workplace equity. The West RDLC brings Shawmut’s national DEI efforts to a local level, working  to create a culture and workplace environment where everyone can show up as their authentic selves and reach their fullest potential. Anabel acts as a resource and proponent, planning and hosting panels and events, including regularly recurring learnings and discussions to drive actionable outcomes.

Anabel dedicates time outside of work to building up future women leaders, particularly in the STEM fields. She is a mentor with STEM Advantage, a program that mentors, prepares, and inspires women and underrepresented students pursuing careers in STEM through paid internships, mentorships, and scholarships. Anabel currently has two mentees, both women, who she supports and encourages through their college and career search experience. Both of Anabel’s mentees are also Latina, and their shared experiences creates a strong connection that enables Anabel to help them stretch and try for things they wouldn’t otherwise. As a first-generation college student who had no such support, Anabel is keenly aware of the power of her example and experience, and is eager to step up for the women following in her footsteps.

Anabel is also an active volunteer for The Posse Foundation, a comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development program, dedicating time to its dynamic assessment program to help identify leadership skills in the potential Posse scholars.