In 2002, she formed part of Virginia’s Minority Business Enterprise Commission, and the Virginia Latino Advisory Commission, under then-Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator for Virginia Mark Warner.
And she has also worked as a freelance writer.
But she had many obstacles to overcome on her path to success – obstacles she wants her future clients to know.
At age 9, Torres-Barden was abducted and raped by a man who claimed to be a police officer in a “good” neighborhood in Manhattan, Torres-Barden said.
“Under our domestic violence program, Hermanas Unidas, I can understand what many of our clients coming to us are dealing with. I dealt with domestic violence in my home. I’ve seen it all. I lived in the projects. But this happened to me when I moved out of the projects and to a good neighborhood.”
The board of Adelante, of 11 members, selected Torres-Barden by a majority vote after a lengthy selection process, said Board President Dan Briones. He said “it was a difficult decision” for the board to select her because “we had two strong candidates at the end. Each brought something different.”
But he said what finally set Torres-Barden apart was “her previous leadership positions, her fundraising experience, and her long-term plans for the agency.”
The second candidate for the position resigned.
“It would have been great if they could have worked together for the agency but we wish her the best,” Briones said “We also wish Sonia Troche the best. She had small feet, but she left big footprints. She leaves big shoes to fill,” he said.
“[Torres-Barden] possesses outstanding qualities,” Briones said “She said this is her dream job. It’s good to see a new perspective.”
Barden, originally from the South Bronx of New York City, received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Emerson College in Boston and attended the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan.
She is also a 2010 graduate of Leadership Toledo’s 2010 class, and three other leadership programs including the Minority Political Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University.
She has four sons and is married to an engineer whose job brought the family to Toledo.
Adelante, Inc. provides programs that serve children, youth and families including a early childhood literacy program, and help with financial literacy and homeownership, and domestic violence education and prevention services. They also provide referrals to free legal clinics, translation services, and free tax returns.
Torres-Barden said her experiences have made her more determined to help others.
“I was taught growing up, every door that opens for me, I have to open two more doors in front of me,” she said.
For more information on Adelante, Inc., visit http://www.adelantelrc.org/ or call (419) 244-8440. Visit Adelante, The Latino Resource Center, at 520 Broadway Street, Toledo, OH, 43604.