When UNM-Taos HIVE Executive Director Rose Reza learned that she had been selected as a recipient of the 2024 Business First Albuquerque Women of Influence Award, her first thoughts weren’t of her goals and accomplishments, or a hearty pat on the back. Her emotions focused on the mentors who were instrumental in the development and progress of her career path.

“I instantly thought of the incredible women and men I have had the opportunity to work with,” she said, “mentors in my career who took an interest in my development and have been instrumental in supporting and encouraging me throughout my professional journey.

UNM-Taos HIVE Executive Director and award recipient Rose Reza (r.) is interviewed by KRQE News evening anchor Jessica Garate before the ceremony.

Reza also reflected on when she was first selected to lead the HIVE initiative in August 2019 and the tremendous support of its core partners (UNM-Taos, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and the Taos Community Foundation).

But Reza’s most important mentors was her father, who gifted her with a mantra that continues to guide the approach to her work:

“Caring about others is at the core of everything I do. My father was my first mentor and he would frequently say to me, ‘The measure of your success is based on the success of those you serve.’ I wish Dad was still with me, because he would be so proud.”

Reza was one of 25 women honored on February 26 during the Albuquerque Business First 20th annual Women of Influence Awards held at Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. Reza oversees the development of the first incubator/accelerator for tech startups in Northern New Mexico, empowering a tech workforce pipeline, and implementing programming for youth and adults that cultivates a digitally skilled community.

According to bizjournals.com, the recognition aims to “celebrate influential women in business across the Río Grande region who are impactful in both their careers and communities.”

“As female leaders in our communities, we have that gift to seek and see and find those individuals who want to do better—who want to strive. We have to do that. Our communities are hungry and I’m so honored to lead the UNM-Taos HIVE initiative in Northern New Mexico. It was a wonderful evening celebrating wonderful women,” Reza said.

Five years ago, Reza was hired to develop this idea on paper and, eventually, turn it into a reality. Since then, the HIVE has been awarded two grants: the U.S. Economic Development Administration Build to Scale program and the Department of Energy source fund, the latter under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.

Reza’s achievements have been felt locally and noticed beyond county lines.

“After a public call for nominations, Business First assembled outside judges who worked with the editorial team to select the honorees for the 2024 Women of Influence Awards,” said Albuquerque Business First Editor-in-Chief Meagan Nichols. All nominees are weighed on their contributions to their careers and their communities.

This year’s judges were Celina Bussey, client relationship executive at Deloitte Consulting's Government and Public Sector practice, and Laurie Roach, executive director of the PNM Resources Foundation and PNM Public Affairs manager.

Bussey and Roach interviewed this year’s finalists. They asked each of them questions about their relentless passion, how they champion women, spark community leadership, possess bold optimism, and embody impeccable integrity.
Some of the contributions to the community Reza has made happened when the HIVE officially opened its doors in June 2021, amidst the pandemic. She learned that children were experiencing high anxiety and 70% of Taos’ adult population—dependent on the tourism industry—were left jobless.

“I asked myself what I could do to help support the youth, adults, and small businesses within our Northern New Mexico community,” she said. “Immediately, the HIVE created a venue of youth programming and launched adult certifications in IT, Digital Marketing, Project Management, and Data Analytics, certifying over 200 community members.”

Further, Reza arranged meetings for a handful of small, local manufacturers to pitch their brands to Walmart buyers. Two out of the four, Taos Bakes and Humble Brands, were given the opportunity to have their products put on Walmart shelves and walmart.com.

When compiling professional information for the nominee’s bio, the judges asked Reza to supply a word she feels describes her essence. Without hesitation, she replied, “Faith.”

“It has been my faith in God that has grounded and guided me. I selected the word ‘faith’ because, on my journey in life, I always put my trust in God to guide, nourish, and keep me on the right path. We must always count our blessings each and every day, and learn to truly serve with compassion and loving hearts.”

More information about the event and award-winners can be found at Women of Influence.