In her first human resources position fresh out of college, Maritza Ruano (M.S. PSYC ’06) began learning life lessons in respect, empowerment, and success that would contribute to her development as a workplace leader. Ruano recalls that her supervisor gave her every opportunity to “learn and stretch” outside of her comfort zone, imbuing Ruano with a sense of confidence in her abilities and the desire to find innovative solutions to the task at hand. Now senior director of talent management at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Ruano is using those skills along with her education in industrial-organizational psychology to take on another first: the opportunity to develop an extensive three-year plan to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at AFC, where she has worked since 2016. Crain’s Chicago Business has already noted Ruano’s rising star status with a 2020 Notable Leaders in HR honor for her accomplishments at AFC, which includes a staff “learning and development” program, a way for her to pay forward the opportunities given to her early on.