From Senegal to Colorado ft Papa Dia

Aug 4, 2021

Papa Dia is Founder and President of the African Leadership Group, an advocacy organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for African immigrants and members of the diaspora. Through social, economic, and educational empowerment programs, ALG helps families successfully integrate into their local community. A native of Senegal, Papa immigrated to Denver in 1998. He used his first job, stocking books, to teach himself how to read, write, and speak English. Beginning with an entry-level position in a local bank, over the next 17 years, Papa ultimately climbed the ranks to become a regional vice president.

When I had an opportunity to come to the United States in 1998, I had one goal in mind; work and send money back to support the rest of my family in Senegal, West Africa. As 1 of 13 children, my family struggled to make ends meet; I was determined to do everything I could, to change the narrative. Like many immigrants, I was faced with some challenges. Back in Senegal, I studied law; however, I couldn’t continue on this path due to my limited English-speaking skills. I got a job at the Tattered Cover Bookstore and found myself studying all over again. My exposure to books and immersion in the world of literacy helped with my reading, writing, and speaking skills.

After leaving the Tattered Cover Bookstore, I got a job as a bank teller, where I worked for the next 18 years. During my time at the bank, I learned about financial resources that were not readily accessible to the immigrant community, though they were necessary for successful integration. Information about government assistance was readily available, but nothing existed to help us achieve the American dream. During my time at the bank, I was approached by a lot of African Immigrants who had questions not only about banking but also about other challenges (education, legal, etc.) they faced in trying to integrate into the American culture. I would help them out the best I could, but this attracted dozens to the bank each week. When the bank started to express concern, I knew it was time for me to create an outlet that will continue to help people outside of my workplace because as I looked around, there were no other entities/organizations that focused on helping skilled immigrants integrate. In 2006, the African Leadership Group was formed to facilitate the professional integration of African immigrants.

In 2017, Papa left his banking career to focus his full attention on running and growing ALG.

Learn more about the African Leadership Group here!


Follow Heidi on Social Media!

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Spotify

About Heidi

As a homegrown Coloradan with a passion for keeping the spirit of our state alive and well, I started this podcast to bring the people of Colorado together to celebrate the amazing state we call home!

Come along on this journey with me as I travel across our state in my vintage RV, interviewing folks who embody the true spirit of the Rocky Mountains. From the front range to the mile-high city, to the mountain towns and the Wild West of southern Colorado, we’ll celebrate the history, beauty, and Coloradans that make this place the colorful state it is!

Each week, you’ll meet the people trailblazing the way for an even more colorful future for us all, and who are making a huge difference along the way.

Submit a guest to Heidi’s Colorful Colorado: CLICK HERE!

Watch or listen wherever you get podcasts

Check out more episodes

The World Is Yours ft Kate Caldecourt

The World Is Yours ft Kate Caldecourt

An Irish girl living in Colorado. Kate Caldecourt moved for work and stayed for love. Two options were presented ...
From Seed to Sprout ft Robert Bucknam, MD & Gayle Bucknam, LP

From Seed to Sprout ft Robert Bucknam, MD & Gayle Bucknam, LP

Gayle and Bob have been married for 37 years. They have 4 grown sons and 7 grandchildren. Bob graduated from the ...
Nottingham Ranch ft Susan Nottingham

Nottingham Ranch ft Susan Nottingham

Susan Nottingham is 69 years old and her family settled in Avon in the early 1880's. They farmed and ranched there ...