Interview by Steph Greegor
Name: Aslyne C. Rodriguez
Profession: Co-Founder & CEO, Empowerbus
One-word description: Tenacious
Quote: “I’m second generation from Puerto Rico. Factory jobs were the foundation of my family’s entrance into the United States.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook
Under a veil of dark hair and an infectious smile, Aslyne Rodriguez is a powerhouse for empowerment, working in the Central Ohio community to create bridges between transportation and the low-income communities that need it to work.
“I’m second generation from Puerto Rico. Factory jobs were the foundation of my family’s entrance into the United States,” said Rodriguez, from a little suburb outside of Youngstown, who now lives in Clintonville. “I’ve always been passionate about lack of resources in the community. The biggest barrier to moving out of poverty is transportation. Social mobility.”
Rodriguez started EmpowerBus as a way to address that disparity by “providing dignified, reliable, and on-time transportation to and from employment, education, and healthcare opportunities,” according to its website. The organization utilizes strategic partnerships in the community to address the problem.
“I set out to impact people’s lives,” said the Ohio University grad, who earned her degree in political science before moving on to a master’s degree in early childhood education from Pace University in New York, where she briefly taught in the Bronx and then did a stint working for a state senator. “I love the idea of getting people to and from the job that helps build their family’s foundation. We even have education on the bus.”
Rodriguez said the organization’s purpose is what grounds everyone who works there.
“We are focused on serving low to middle-income communities,” she said. “Next iteration is moving our education into technology. Using technology to crowdsource educational things from workplace to language modules.”
That’s part of Rodriguez’s job—to come up with “wild ideas to push the envelope for transportation and education.”
“I primarily focus on development and community relations. I build strategic partnerships and forge public relations opportunities,” said Rodriguez. “I work diligently to foster a positive brand in the community.”
But when she’s not working, Rodriguez loves to kick up her heels on the dance floor, attend local festivals, and travel. Quiet time is important, too, she said of her love of the Park of Roses, where you may find her in a hammock cozied up with her favorite book.
“It’s close enough to the city, in terms of being accessible, but then there’s this patch of serenity in the city,” she said. “That’s what I think of the Park of Roses. You’re in the city and you’re in this serenity. Take a book, take a journal, sit, whatever you want.”
She also enjoys a good meal in the city and named Wolf’s Ridge Brewing as a favorite, as well as El Arepazo.
“And I love, love, love when it’s winter going to Meshikou Ramen.”
Aslyne was named to our annual list of 52 Young Professionals You Should Know in Columbus – one for every week in the year!
Meet the entire “Class of 2018” »