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Sam Santiago

Director, Diversity and Inclusion - Office of Health Equity
American Heart Association

Sam Santiago is an award-winning diversity, inclusion and equity professional with 25+ years of experience in corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, board service and nonprofit leadership in the travel, hospitality and health sectors.  He’s worked with organizations like American Airlines, the European Commission, Hilton Worldwide and the United Nations, among others.  In 2014, Sam joined the American Heart Association (AHA) as their first-ever leader exclusively dedicated to the development, improvement and execution of their diversity and inclusion strategy – a role that touches employee resource groups, training, mentoring, reporting, communications, supplier diversity, multicultural marketing, governance, volunteerism and others.

Sam is the recipient of the American Airlines’ Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership 2010, for his work in the advancement of diversity and inclusion.  In 2012, he was honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award by President Obama for his work in the development of global corporate volunteering.  In 2014, he was recognized as one of the 50 BIG Influencers by the Dallas Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.  More recently, he’s led the AHA in receiving recognition by Texas Diversity Council with the Excellence Award for Healthcare Diversity 2016 and DiversityInc’s Top 10 Regional Companies List – ranking #9 in 2017 and #6 in 2018 and 2019. 

Sam attended business school at the University of Puerto Rico and studied French at the famed Alliance Française.  He holds a Training Manager Certificate from the Training Clinic (California), a Nonprofit Management Certificate from CNMConnect (Texas) and has been a Certified Diversity Executive ™ since 2015.  He’s been practicing Buddhism and mindfulness since 2003, travels regularly with family and friends (200+ cities in 54 countries) and is a long-time patron of the arts in his adopted hometown of Dallas, TX.