Return home

Proctor grad returns to make impact for others

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 2/25/23

Students learn better when they see people like themselves, promises Social Equity and Empowerment Consultant Hilda M. Jordan.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Proctor grad returns to make impact for others


UTICA — Students learn better when they see people like themselves, whether as the subjects of the lessons they are learning or even the people in leadership around them, promises Social Equity and Empowerment Consultant Hilda M. Jordan.

“Imagine you don’t ever see someone who looks like you when you are in school,” she posed. “That makes it hard to relate to your studies.”

But Jordan herself is a living example of what a person of color coming from economic challenges can achieve with the proper inspiration, perseverance, and support. In 2015, she graduated as the salutatorian of Proctor High School. Then, she graduated cum laude in 2019 from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and African American Studies.

She founded HMJ Social Equity Consulting in 2022 and recently returned to her hometown to empower the students and support systems there to become all they can be.

Jordan said she grew up the daughter of a single mom who was a Latina immigrant. Spanish was spoken in their home. In her high school years, she was a three-sport varsity athlete taking advanced placement classes and working part-time while working towards a bright future.

And all with no person who looked like herself as a role model in the school district.

“I didn’t see many local people who looked like me succeed, “ Jordan recalled of her high school days. “Now, I want to come back and make an impact for others - I want to be an example and make it easier to do!”

Jordan said because racial inequities continue to exist in the Utica area, she hopes to provide positive encouragement to students and develop equitable pathways by sharing how she walked in the same halls, sat in the same bleachers and even stood in the same food pantry lines. And used all of that to succeed at Harvard and now in her own consulting business.

HMJ Consulting encourages building more equitable cultures and systems, asking “Who EATS at your table?” as an anti-racist social equity effort to push for diversity, equity and inclusion solutions. EATS is an acronym for Empower, Access, Transform and Sustain.

“Equity means everyone EATS,” Jordan said.

Accessing local resources is a great way to reach out to students in need, Jordan said, and she has already identified more than 30 local community resources to help students in the area.

The school district as well reaches out to community partners - including Jordan herself. Utica City School District Acting Superintendent Brian Nolan quoted Jordan during his own State of the District report Jan. 24 for the district’s board of education.

“Every Utica student has a sphere of excellence that can be discovered and developed through a systemic and inclusive design,” Nolan told the board and their audience, using Jordan’s words.

Nolan explained the district is working to develop a student-centered comprehensive plan that addresses the needs of students in school and in the community. To accomplish that, they have reached out to professional partners from the community, including HMJ Social Equity Consulting.

The students were inspired in meeting Jordan because they got to see first-hand the accomplishments of one of their own Utica district alumni, Nolan said.

Jordan added that her own youth also helps her to communicate with the students at their own levels. Working with students and their families through their schools is the best access point to reach as many local young people as possible, she added.

“The school is where everybody comes together,” Jordan explained. “All families coming into the area have that one place where they all have to go. That gives us the real opportunity to centralize our resources there and make the most impact.”



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here