Nationally known for her leadership skills and motivational presentations, former Colorado State Senator Polly Baca has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs including ABC’s Nightline and MacNeil/Lehrer News-Hour. She has been named one of “100 Influentials” in Hispanic Business six times and was one of 10 women featured as “Women of the Future” in Ladies’ Home Journal.
Baca’s extensive experience in foreign affairs took her to the U.S. Information Agency AmPart program where she lectured in Japan and the Philippines on the American political system and the role of racial and ethnic Americans and women in the American socio-political system and economic systems.
Baca was the first minority woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1978-86) and the first woman and the first minority to serve as Regional Administrator of the General Services Administration (1994-1999). During 1994, Baca served as Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Director of the United States Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, D.C. Before joining the Clinton Administration, Baca was the executive director of the Colorado Hispanic Institute, a non-profit institute whose mission was to promote multicultural leadership.
She served as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1981-1989. Most recently, she was president and CEO of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA). Recognition received by Baca includes being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, named as one of the original 14 members to be inducted into the National Hispanic Hall of Fame and being listed in the World Who’s Who of Women, Who’s Who in American Politics, and Who’s Who in the West.
Baca began her professional career as an editorial assistant for a labor union newspaper in Washington, D.C. During President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, she served as a Public Information Officer for a White House Agency. She then joined the national campaign staff of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy in his bid for President of the United States. Later, she served as the director of research and information for the National Council of La Raza and then as a special assistant to Lawrence F. O’Brien, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, in August 1992, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa in May 1989.