latinas in the workplace

How business leaders can spur diversity in the workplace 

A study conducted by The UPS Store identifies key strategies business leaders can utilize to drive diversity in the workplace.

The spotlight on inequality is driving increased dialogue and inspiring change on social and cultural levels, and the same is true of the business community.

According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, just 18% of businesses in the U.S. are minority-owned, even though minorities make up almost 40% of the population. However, a study conducted by The UPS Store, Inc. shows small businesses and their customers are also doing their part to promote inclusion and diversity.

Among small business owners with employees, 47% are actively trying to increase the diversity of their workforce, according to the survey. This momentum is particularly evident among younger small business owners, ages 18-45 (58%).

Strategies business leaders can use to continue promoting diversity in the workplace:

Communicating clearly about expectations

Set a policy of zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior and communicate it clearly throughout your business. Conduct a thorough audit of your typical communication channels to ensure your message is clear and consistent so there is no confusion about your expectations. This can include emails, signage and orientation materials. It’s important to recognize this won’t be a one-and-done exercise. Commit to issuing periodic reminders to reinforce your expectation for an inclusive culture.

Leading by example

Once your expectations have been defined, it’s up to you to demonstrate how they should be followed. This means taking stock of your business and any areas where you may not be upholding these standards. Ask for input from trusted advisors. You might even consider an audit by a third party to identify any discrepancies. Chances are, you’ll find at least one or two areas for improvement. Take swift and decisive action to make necessary changes, whether it means updating policies, modifying recruitment practices or other adjustments.

Creating programs that support minorities

One way businesses can turn intent into action is to create programs specifically designed to encourage minority participation. When it comes to inclusive ownership, franchising is leading compared to other industries, with nearly one-third (30.8%) of franchises being minority-owned compared to 18.8% of non-franchised businesses, according to an International Franchise Association study. One example is The UPS Store Minority Incentive Program, which provides eligible participants nearly $15,000 off the franchise fee for their first center.

This program, which applies to Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American franchisee candidates, is both an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and a solution meant to help consumers support minority-owned businesses. In addition, these new franchise owners will open a new store design with a focus on modern, tech-forward and open concept features. To learn more about the program and apply, visit*

Making training relevant for your business

The concept of diversity training isn’t new for many businesses, but it may be time to reassess your approach. Reciting a list of generic best practices to a senior leadership team does not constitute as training. Instead, consider creating a training session (or better yet, a series) that addresses the unique nuances of your business and culture. Work to incorporate principles of inclusion that relate to specific scenarios your staff may encounter and involve everyone at each level of the organization in the training.

Eliminating practices that exclude certain groups

Many traditional business practices completely overlook the good that can be gained from a more inclusive approach. In some cases, such as creating a time-off policy that accommodates holidays across different cultures, the benefits are in the form of employee morale. In other cases, such as flexible schedules for working parents, it may be the difference between successfully hiring the best candidate versus settling on someone who may not be the best fit for the position.

Implementing feedback systems

Learning better and doing better is an ongoing process, not a project to check off as completed. Part of refining your culture and creating a truly inclusive environment is enabling employees to report their concerns without fear of repercussions. Engaging your workforce, asking for input and genuinely listening may alert you to areas for improvement you never knew existed.

Creating a more inclusive workplace won’t happen overnight, but taking necessary steps can benefit your business as well as your workforce.

Leverage Consumer Support of Minority Business Owners

As the pandemic recedes, small business owners and entrepreneurs are still looking to receive support from their communities and peers.

A majority of consumers have committed within the past year to buy more products and services from small businesses, according to a survey by The UPS Store, Inc. In particular, consumers indicated plans to buy more from women-owned, Black-owned and veteran-owned businesses.

For entrepreneurial business leaders who aspire to own their own businesses, resources are available to help achieve that goal while providing consumers another avenue for supporting these types of businesses.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

One example is The UPS Store Minority Incentive Program, which offers eligible participants approximately 50% off the franchise fee. The program provides individuals the opportunity to turn their dreams of small-business ownership into reality by offering established brand strength, world-class training programs and a strong network of successful, helpful franchisees.

*This information is not intended as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy a franchise. It is for informational and design purposes only. The UPS Store, Inc. will not offer you a franchise unless and until it has complied with the applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your state, as applicable, and provided you with a Franchise Disclosure Document. Franchise offerings are made by Franchise Disclosure Documents only.

Source: The UPS Store

boardroom, workplace,

Driscoll’s appoints two Latinas as new board members

The Greenwich, Conn-based RSR Partners recently assisted fresh berry provider Driscoll’s in the recruitment of two Latinas as new board members.  

RSR Partners assists in board members recruitment

RSR Partners was founded by Russell S. Reynolds Jr. in 1993, and offers any number of vertical specializations, including consumer goods and services, hospitality, industrial, financial services, retail, board, CEOs, CFOs, CHROs, chief information officers, chief marketing officers, sport leadership, risk, board recruiting, board advisory, management consulting and more.  

Gretchen Crist, who leads the firm’s human capital and consumer goods and services practices, conducted the search for the two new board members. With over 20 years of experience as a senior human resources executive in private equity and public company environments, she has recruited numerous professionals into top human resources roles as well as C-suite and senior executives into various leadership roles. 

Latinas Giannella Alvarez and Graciela Monteagudo join Driscoll’s board 

With the help of RSR Partners, Giannella Alvarez, former CEO and director of the board at Beanitos, and Graciela Monteagudo, the former president and CEO of LALA U.S., were recruited as Driscoll’s new board members. Two very accomplished Latina professionals, they both bring a plethora of expertise and experience to the board. 

Giannella Alvarez, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Giannella Alvarez (Photo: Business Wire)

Giannella Alvarez brings to the Driscoll’s board 35-years of experience across a wide range of industries in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, having led multi-billion-dollar brands for Fortune 100 companies including Procter & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company in senior executive positions. She served as Group President and CEO for Barilla Americas, a Division of Barilla S.p.A., as well as President and CEO of organic food start-ups, including Harmless Harvest Inc. Named one of 2019’s Most Influential Corporate Board Directors by Women Inc., Alvarez is also an experienced public company board director. She brings a deep expertise in marketing, innovation, business scaling and global expansion as well as a passion for food, health and wellness, sustainability and equality, with her experience as an Advisory Board Member of New York University’s Stern School Center for Sustainable Business.

“Giannella is a highly creative and decisive leader who has a proven track record of talent building and energizing organizations across countries, customers and channels,” said J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s Chairman and CEO. “Her significant on-the-ground international experiences will serve as an invaluable asset as Driscoll’s continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.”

Graciela Monteagudo, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Graciela Monteagudo (Photo: Business Wire)

Graciela Monteagudo built her 30-year executive career at multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. She has significant experience in general management roles, previously leading multi-billion-dollar corporations including SVP and Business Unit Head for Sam’s Club in Mexico, and President, Americas and Global Marketing for Mead Johnson Nutrition Americas. She most recently served as CEO and President of LALA U.S. a leading Hispanic Dairy Company owned by Grupo LALA, one of the top 10 dairy companies in North America. Monteagudo is an experienced public company board director who has also been spotlighted in the 2019 Latino Leaders Magazine Latinos on Board report and the 2020 Best of the Boardroom feature of Hispanic Executive Magazine. She brings to the board a diverse perspective regarding domestic and international markets, digital marketing/ecommerce , Hispanic and Latin American consumers, as well as a demonstrated capability in strategic planning, M&A, diversity/inclusion and cultural transformation.

“Graciela’s expertise in addressing the Mexican consumer and retail environment will be invaluable to Driscoll’s as we navigate increasing consumer demand in this important growth market,” shared Reiter. “Her experience in consumer brands, especially in the health and nutrition sector, will bolster Driscoll’s capability and success in markets around the globe.”

You might be interested: 7 Benefits of having women in companies

The new board appointments collectively bring strong brand growth expertise and a clear future-looking vision that will help Driscoll’s accelerate its mission, which is to delight berry consumers with the best tasting berries today and for many years to come.

About Driscoll’s 

Driscoll’s is the global market leader of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage, Driscoll’s is a pioneer of berry flavor innovation and the trusted consumer brand of Only the Finest Berries™. With more than 900 independent growers around the world, Driscoll’s develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods that focus on growing great tasting berries. A dedicated team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant pathologists and entomologists help grow baby seedlings that are then grown on local family farms. Driscoll’s now serves consumers year-round across North America, Australia, Europe and China in over twenty-two countries. As a fourth-generation grower and the son of one of Driscoll’s founders, J. Miles Reiter serves as Chairman and CEO.

diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

6 Benefits of top management diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

The hospitality and tourism industry employs a diverse workforce yet at a senior level there are still issues of equality. Diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry is frequent in lower paid, less skilled jobs. However, senior positions at board level such as CEOs, CFOs and upper management career track are short in minority representation, clearly an issue for the industry’s future and development of skilled workers mirroring its market base.

diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

Minority workers usually get low-paying entry level jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry

When I travel for work or pleasure or attend a conference in the United States, I know I have a great advantage over other attendants and travelers: I speak Spanish.

Hardly I have travelled to any American state that I have not encountered a smiley Latina or Latino willing to go the extra mile to make me feel at home in a hotel or restaurant. The minute I ask, “¿Habla español?” the big smile is there and communication channels open up.

The conversation can go from guessing each other’s nationality to soccer to places I have visited in their country of origin. And they always want to know more about what I do and how I made it there. Inevitably, I feel welcomed, a bond that builds customer loyalty and the desire to be back to that particular place in the near future.

Any major hotel manager or restaurateur’s dream is an organically developed workforce of brand Ambassadors who are proud of their identity, their role in the workplace and interested in their guests’ well-being. Isn’t it?

Now imagine this same effect catapulted from an executive level, transferring their cultural knowledge and perspective from the top down to provide guests with appropriate services included in a strategic and concerted management policy? A win-win situation!

Importance of diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

Lack of career opportunities and discrimination are some of the factors preventing minorities to climb the hospitality and tourism corporate ladder.

The United States Department of Commerce statistics estimated that a total of over 75 million tourists from different parts of the world visited the U.S. in 2014 with a total spending of $220 billion. The US dominates the global markets with a 15 percent share ahead of countries such as France and Spain.

Statistics also show that 8 million people are employed in the travel and tourism industry and the report further reported that 1.2 million of those jobs are linked directly and supported with international tourists. These statistics confirm just how diverse the workforce composition in the industry needs to be.

Certified Diversity Meeting Professionals Class of 2015 at Atlantic City, NJ

You might be interested: Travel industry presents booming opportunities for Hispanic meeting planners

Benefits of diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

Workplace diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry is therefore a key factor in facilitating cultural exchange on a global level. Here are some benefits to expanding diversity into the management workforce:

  1. The industry presents a unique opportunity to learn new cultural experiences for both employees and tourists. Personnel needs to be trained in the respect and appreciation of differences to enhance the nature of their interactions with guests of varied cultures, religions, races, creeds, colors, ages, genders and sexual orientations.
  2. This cultural knowledge cannot be left in the hands of personnel who even with the best intentions, might not completely appreciate and accommodate people from around the world. Only individuals with a diverse background in higher management positions can design a corporate vision that not only facilitates understanding of different cultural and social behaviors but also enhances the delivery of satisfactory services through communication and observation.
  3. In such competitive environment, diversity at higher levels –which should be the most visible face of the corporation–also enables businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry to nurture and portray a positive image of inclusiveness –equal employment opportunities for all without regard to race, gender, age, nationality or any other diversity marker.
  4. Diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry is crucial. Recruitment from a talent pool also needs a clear vision into diversity. If employers in hospitality and tourism continue to carry a reputation for a lack of diversity at a senior level, talented employees from minority groups will be hesitant to enter the industry. People will certainly not gravitate towards organizations that have a track record of discrimination.
  5. Studies highlight that developing a diverse workforce at all levels can create a competitive advantage for a business, improving staff moral while increasing levels of worker retention. In the hospitality industry specifically, where customers are sourced from across the globe, a diverse workforce allows employees to bring a stronger cultural insight and understanding of the clients they are serving.
  6. With the staggering growth of social media, the hotel and tourism industry is one of the most exposed industries out there. Any detail or any complaint can go viral in a matter of minutes. Companies need to be prepared to deal with such type of reputation crisis which definitely hurts their branding efforts.
diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

Jeffrey W. Montague, Associate Vice Dean, School of Tourism & Hospitality Management at Temple University.

“Acquiring diverse talent into the hospitality corporate market place initiates a few progressive thoughts: innovation and creativity from a much different cultural perspective; secondly, minority management talent will provide more of a cultural sensitivity perspective when managing a diverse work force,” said Jeffrey W. Montague, Associate Vice Dean, School of Tourism & Hospitality Management at Temple University.

The National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), the Hispanic Hotel Owners Association (HHOA), International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals (IAHMP) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) are some of several organizations attempting to address this issue by linking people of color with hospitality company sponsors, industry representatives, hospitality organizations, advisors, and mentors to support the leadership pipeline for minorities in the industry.

The benefits of diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry including increased levels of employee retention, recruiting from a wider talent pool and developing a competitive advantage are all essential for any business. Subsequently, promoting diversity at board levels in the hospitality and tourism industry continues to be the treasure yet to be discovered.


diversity in the hospitality and tourism industry

From SKYFT (

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

The Dolezal case: Can a White person be a diversity leader?

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

Rachel Dolezal, NCCP leader, before and after

A few days ago, the American public was shocked with the news that Rachel Dolezal, a 37-year-old woman heading a local NAACP chapter in Washington, had been misleadingly portraying herself as a black woman, her mother revealed.

I remembered then a short paragraph of my book, “¡Hola, amigos! A Plan for Latino Outreach” in which I discussed the question title of this article: Can a White person be a diversity leader?

“Regardless of race or ethnicity,” I said in 2010, “people from different backgrounds have a genuine interest in promoting diversity. However, White people might experience exclusion by some people of color, who may distrust the motives of a White person who promotes diversity or feel the person does not have the credibility to be a diversity leader—I have personally experienced this issue because I’m a White Latina from Argentina” (Baumann, page 36).

For clarification purposes, my background of origin goes back to Switzerland and Poland on my father’s side and Italy –all “spaghetti” – on my mother’s side: Comotto, Comini, Bellatti, Bellini.

“Country of origin or nationality might be another obstacle to diversity leadership,” I continued to say. “Some people of color might consider themselves natural diversity leaders because they have resided for a long time in a community or because they feel they have seniority in diversity issues.”

Belonging to a particular race or origin does not instantaneously turns you out to be a qualified diversity leader, nor does your country of origin. I have heard some diversity leaders of main academic institutions who identify themselves as “brown” refusing to admit that I was Caucasian. “You are ‘brown’, I was told.”

Does it really matter?

I had also the same situation at a conference, where the speaker was pointing out diversity issues related to “brown” people. I had to bring up again my “whiteness,” which made me somehow uncomfortable and put the speaker in an embarrassing situation.

I am unaware of the motives for Dolezal to publicly lie- if that is the case- about her race. Was she trying to gain an advantage in her career or was she confronted with the same situation, her “whiteness” being a major obstacle in her advocacy efforts?

For sure, such convoluted situation can bring frustration and discouragement to anyone who truly believes in advocating for diversity. When this type of situation happens in the workplace, it is necessary to review the elements that make us all diverse, which are not limited to race, color, or national origin. Gender, age, abilities, religion, sexual preferences, and other variables make us all diverse in many ways.

Most importantly, becoming an advocate for diversity does not disqualify any race or ethnicity. Moreover, being White is just another shade in the diversity rainbow.

However, the dominance and privilege of certain race over others is the matter of discussion, and diversity competency in the workplace should be a number one priority in ensuring a fair game.

“Acquiring diversity competency in the workplace not only has to do with recognizing issues of disparities, but also with issues of equality,” I said.  “You need to find out how you can bring everybody to an equal playing field so all have the same opportunities. Discover the issues in your workplace, and bring them to an open discussion in the training context.”

A productive way to promote diversity leadership and support your staff in becoming diversity leaders is to encourage them to participate in the community they serve, no matter the race, ethnicity or any other diversity qualifier they might carry. Companies must mirror the communities they reach out to, and that mirror needs to be reflected at all levels of the company.

Anybody can advocate for a more open, equitable society if they sincerely believe and live that truth every day.

What is your opinion on this matter? Is Dolezal right or wrong?