Maria Robles Meier is founder and Chief Strategist, Mterprise Inclusion Strategies, Washington D.C. Metro Area.
Provide training though one-to-one coaching to help individuals move from living to thriving
- Teach job preparation skills though workshops and trainings
- Train professionals to identify and embrace their strengths and personal empowerment through group work and individual work
- Develop plans to for organizations to recruit, hire, retain, and nurture talent forces that are more inclusive and representational of those they represent and serve.
Executive Director, Congressional Hispanic Caucus/U.S. House of Representatives, Jan 2002 – Dec 2005.
- Directed all legislative and policy work for twenty-one member Congressional organization.
Senior Advisor/Director, Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative
Senior Advisor/Director, Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative. Office of US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mar 2011 – Jan 2017.
- Manage Leadership effort that has resulted in an increase in staff diversity on Capitol Hill.
Peoples Platform 87/88
The Peoples Platform April 7 1987, formally endorsed "The Plan" slate for Council of Presidents in next week's ASSU spring election. The platform, a coalition of students who support a political agenda promoting the rights and interests of minorities and other progressive issues, also made endorsements for Senior Class Presidents and candidates for ASSU Senate. If the slates and candidates accept the endorsements, each of them will be expected to uphold the tenets of the Peoples Platform, which include increases in funding for ethnic studies and community centers as well as support for more general Issues such as total divestment from South Africa.
For undergraduate senate, the Peoples Platform voted to endorse juniors Stacey Leyton and Brett Mahoney, sophomores Lillian Hirales, Jon Inda, Miguel Marquez and Jeff Marshall and freshmen Jason Dominguez, Gina Harrison, Derrick Lin and Daniel Luna. In the graduate race for the senate, the platform endorsed Richard Vaughan and Don Gagliardi. For the first time, slates in the Senior Class Presidents race approached the Peoples Platform for endorsement. The platform voted to endorse the "Slate of '88" made up of Maria Meier, Eric Prosnitz, Paige Mazzoni and Stuart Levy.
"What bad checks has Stanford given students of color?"
"What bad checks has Stanford University given to its students of color?"
"What We are Fighting For What We are Working Toward?"
- Fidelia Butt, chairperson of Asian American Student Association
- Rudy Fuentes, former ASSU COP, co-coordinator of El Centro Chicano
- Millie Gong, member of Asian American Student Association
- Jon Inda, ASSU senator, member of MeCha
- Justin Jones, member of Stanford American Indian Association
- Amanda Kemp, former chairperson of Black Student Union
- Bill King, chairperson of Black Student Union, Project Democracy
- Tracey LeBeau, member of Stanford American Indian Association
- Stacey Leyton, chairperson of Peoples Platform, member of SUDE
- William McCabe, president of American Indian Science & Engineering Society
- John Meigs, intern for Black Student Union
- Maria Meier, former coordinator of El Centro Chicano
- Jerilyn Mendoza. Latino rep for University Committee on Minority Affairs
- Li Miao, co-chairperson of Educational & Cultural Committee of Asian American Student Association
- Joey Thomas, Stanford American Indian Association representative
- Vivian Wu, member of Asian American Student Association
Pipeline to power
In the early 1990s, when Maria Meier first moved to Washington DC, she was a recent Stanford University graduate navigating the Washington networking game from scratch: She couldn't afford an unpaid Hill internship while in college, and she came to D.C. without a job.
Meier—a 49-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, native (a "Midwest Mexican," she says)—is a force of change on Capitol Hill when it comes to hiring: Meier has personally helped more than 200 ambitious and ethnically diverse people find jobs in the Senate since 2011.
"It's always this chicken-and-egg thing," says David McCallum, Reid's deputy chief of staff, who hired Meier. Promotion requires experience; experience requires getting a job in the first place. And applicants for entry-level Hill jobs are expected to have internships—usually unpaid—if they want to be competitive candidates. Many cannot afford a summer in Washington without making any money, and minorities are often left out of the pipeline. Reid created the diversity office in 2007 to combat that problem among Senate Democrats. Meier is the second person to hold the position.
Meier's work goes deeper than just passing on resumes. Every year, she meets with about 350 aspiring applicants, gives them a timed writing test, edits their resumes, and conducts informational interviews. And all that isn't for a job, but just to get into her database.
"I can be really tough, and they have to be tough, too," she says. "No one gets into the database without that process."
When Democratic chiefs of staff in the Senate are looking to make a hire, they're advised to consult Meier, who will dive into her digital Rolodex and offer suggestions.
"Our bigger-picture hope is that, with these youngsters that we're helping right now, we are planting seeds, and some of them might stick around here awhile and move up," McCallum says.
Zephranie Buetow, a legislative counsel for Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, went through Meier's vetting process in 2011. Buetow was then a 32-year-old recent law school graduate with limited Hill experience.
"She told me, quite frankly, the diversity initiative does not get people jobs," Buetow says. "She said she could get my resume in the right hands but it's up to me to follow up with these jobs, to make that impression."
Soon after, Buetow was employed in former Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office. When Landrieu lost her Louisiana reelection in 2014, Buetow went back to Meier. "She forwarded my resume," she says.
"The idea that Maria has been a part of truly seeding the pipeline—it's huge, because you can't make up time later," says Amanda Renteria, the political director of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and former chief of staff to Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. The seeds of Meier's work are already growing outside the realm of Congress. In staffing up the Clinton campaign, Renteria says, "I've already called Maria."
When asked how Meier's work could change the Senate, Reid says, "She's already done it." In the past, he says, it used to be that offices would complain that "we can't find anybody" when looking for diverse job candidates.
Now, he says, "We always have someone available." It shows: Senate Democratic offices are more diverse than Republican ones. According to LegiStorm, 20.4 percent of Democratic Senate staffers in the current Congress are nonwhite. Just 6.6 percent of Republican Senate staffers are. Meier's role is unique to Senate Democrats. She doesn't have a Republican counterpart in the Senate, and the House does not have offices specifically dedicated to minority career development.
"She is such a sweet woman, very proficient and hardworking," Reid says of Meier. "I can't say enough good about her."
- [The Stanford Daily, 9 April 1987 ]
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 191, Issue 33, 8 April 1987]
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 192, Issue 65, 26 January 1988 ]
- AAtlantic Maria Meier: The Senate Staffer Getting More Minorities on the Pipeline to Power BRIAN RESNICK MAY 20, 2015