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latina executives

3 Latina Executives breaking biases in the boardroom 

Historically, Latinos are the least represented in corporations compared to any other group. Only 3% of the Fortune 1000 company board seats are held by Latinos, despite the large size of the U.S. Latino population.

“We are being left behind,” said Esther Aguilera, CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA). “In fact, over the last 10 years, between 2010 and 2020, Latinos only gained 1%. We went from 2% of corporate board seats to 3%. Latinos and Latinas are invisible in the C-suite and the boardroom. For Latinas, it’s even smaller. Only about 1% of the public company board seats are held by Latinas. Yet, we are such a large and contributing sector, we have a long tradition of entrepreneurship and growing corporate business businesses nationwide.”

We want to shine a spotlight on some of the Latina executives who are breaking biases and diversifying corporate leadership positions. These three Latina executives show that Latina leaders are strong, capable, and necessary in the boardroom. They bring their own unique experiences, culture, and knowledge to their positions, adding much needed diversity to leadership positions. 

Spotlight on Latina Executives

latina executives

Independent Board Director, Potlatch Deltic and Senior Advisor, Pollination Group and Trail Head Capital. Former SVP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Corteva. (Photo source)

Anne Alonzo

Anne L. Alonzo is the former Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for Corteva Agriscience and currently serves as an Independent Board Director at Potlatch Deltic, a leading timber and wood products public company focused on sustainable forest practices. Anne also serves as a Senior Advisor to Pollination, a global climate change and investment advisory firm and as an Advisor to Trail Head Capital, a social impact capital
investment firm.

She is a recognized global food and agriculture leader and has forged a highly successful and diverse career in the public, non-profit and corporate sectors. Throughout her career, she has served in various senior leadership roles including as President & CEO of the American Egg Board, the marketing arm of the $9B egg industry, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service as Administrator of the $5B, 4300 person federal agency and as Vice President of Global Public Policy at Kraft Foods leading all global corporate affairs work in the areas of sustainability, health and wellness and its issue/risk management team.

She has also served as Senior Vice President at the National Foreign Trade Council, a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy, Mexico as well as senior regional counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, IL.

As a Latina leader, Anne has been recognized for her leadership supporting and mentoring Latinos across the U.S. and was honored with awards such as “Top 100 Most Influential Latinas” by Latino Leaders, “Top 100 Latinos” by Board IQ, Chicago United People of Color Award, “Maestro Award for Entrepreneurship” by Latino Leaders, “Brava” (courage) Award by LATINO Magazine and Corporate Elite Ranking, Hispanic Magazine.

latina executives

LULAC Chief Executive Officer. (Photo Source)

Sindy M. Benavides

Sindy Marisol Benavides is a Honduran-American immigrant who has experienced the American dream, and now devotes her career to public service, ensuring that countless young people, women, and immigrants have the same opportunity. She is currently Chief Executive Officer for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country.

She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer and National Director for Civic Engagement and Community Mobilization for LULAC, Vice President of Field & Political Operations for Voto Latino and as Northern Virginia Political Director for the 2012 Kaine for Virginia senatorial campaign. She has also been National Director of Community Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and Latino Liaison and Director of Gubernatorial Appointments for Governor Timothy M. Kaine.

Sindy is the founder, co-founder, and founding board member of LULAC Council 4611, VA Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN), VA Coalition of Immigrant Rights (VACIR), and the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action (HOLA). She uses her various platforms to continue to serve and support Latinos. 

Vice President of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at LinkedIn. (Photo source)

Rosanna Durruthy 

Rosanna Durruthy is a queer, Afro-Latina working to empower and diversify the corporate world. Currently, she is LinkedIn’s Vice President of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. At LinkedIn, Rosanna’s focus is on empowering all employees, members and customers to realize their full potential. With Rosanna’s leadership, LinkedIn continues to build a strong culture that values diversity, inclusion and creating a sense of belonging, for all of their employees.

In addition to her role at LinkedIn, Rosanna is an angel investor and advisor to startups that include Viridis Learning, Encantos Media, and Strive. She is also a former member of the Human Rights Campaign Business Advisory Council and served on the Board of Lambda Legal, where she provided expertise and counsel on LGBTQ workplace issues.. She has been recognized as one of the country’s leading professional Hispanic women and an influential mind in the diversity and inclusion space.


These Latinas represent a small but growing group of Latina executives. In a time where representation and diversity is crucial and Latino populations are on the rise, we need to see more Latina executives, leaders, and founders on the corporate level. Latinas can no longer be left behind in the boardroom.

Esther Aguilera, LCDA

“We are being left behind” in the C-suite and boardroom says LCDA CEO Esther Aguilera

Esther Aguilera is the CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA).  With 30 years of experience working in Washington, DC. Esther is passionate about elevating Latinxs to positions of power and preparing them for a seat at the table. 

Esther Aguilera, LCDA CEO (Photo courtesy LCDA)

LCDA serves as an advocate and resource to corporate boards, search firms, private equity, and institutional investors interested in gaining access to exceptional Latinx board talent.

In the second installment of the National Leaders for Latinx Advancement Series, Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann, spoke to Esther about LCDA’s work in advancing Latinx visibility in C-level positions and company boards. 

“We are being left behind” in the C-suite and boardroom 

The Latino Corporate Directors Association became fully operational in 2016 and was founded by a pioneering group of Latino corporate directors, serving on publicly traded or large private company boards who had grown tired of the low number of Latinos in the boardroom. Search firms and companies were saying, “We can’t find qualified Latinos for the boardroom.” LCDA was established as a way to address this issue and increase the number of U.S. Latinos on corporate boards. 

Historically, Latinos are the least represented compared to any other group. Only 3% of the Fortune 1000 company board seats are held by Latinos, despite the large size of the U.S. Latino population.

“We are being left behind,” said Esther. “In fact, over the last 10 years, between 2010 and 2020, Latinos only gained 1%. We went from 2% of corporate board seats to 3%. Latinos and Latinas are invisible in the C-suite and the boardroom. For Latinas, it’s even smaller. Only about 1% of the public company board seats are held by Latinas. Yet, we are such a large and contributing sector, we have a long tradition of entrepreneurship and growing corporate business businesses nationwide.”

Visibility is the main challenge facing Latinas and Latinos aspiring for C-level positions and this is what LCDA is working to address through its programs and membership. One of the ways they are doing this is by growing the pool of Latino board-qualified candidates. 

“What we have done is focused on growing the supply. Our membership has tripled in the last couple of years and we are showcasing and bringing together qualified Latinos for the boardroom,” said Esther.  

By doing this, it takes away the excuse so many have used in the past, that they simply cannot find qualified Latinos for board positions. The Latino Corporate Directors Association brings together ample talent from corporate directors, current and former corporate CEOs, to C-suite and top executives in corporate America in a one-of-a-kind network that has never existed for the Latino community before. 

“We have set it upon ourselves, so now that we have the talent pool, and the supply, we work directly with companies,” said Esther. “We’re writing to companies to say, there is ample talent, and we can help you find it. We work with companies, search firms, private equity, to tap that talent.” 

The LCDA’s efforts have made historic numbers this past year. In just the first six months of 2021, LCDA has, directly and indirectly, influenced 175 corporate board appointments, which is four times greater than last year’s 43 appointments. 

You might be interested: New America Alliance CEO Solange Brooks says, “Diversity is one of the elements of success”

Latinx workplace advancement opportunities 

Another challenge facing Latinx individuals in corporate America is access to advancement opportunities. 

Esther Aguilera, LCDA CEO, speaking at the 4th Annual LCDA Board Leaders Convening 2019 (Photo courtesy LCDA)

“I have a couple of stories working with some of our Latina executives and they shared with me some of the barriers that they have faced. One of them was approached by her HR person, and they said, ‘Here’s a job for you to consider, it pays a little more, etc.’ And she went to a mentor and said, ‘HR is steering me in this direction. What should I be aware of?’ And her mentor said, ‘I’m so glad you came to me, that job is a dead-end job. It will take you maybe another step. But then there’s no opportunity for advancement there.’”

This story is one many Latinos and Latinas have faced before. They are presented with a seemingly great opportunity only to later discover the new position offers no room for further advancement. In the case of this particular woman’s story, the power of a good mentor helped steer her in the right direction to make the best choice for her career. 

In the LCDA’s network, mentorship and coaching from experienced directors helps advance aspiring executives as they pay it forward and prepare the next group of executives for the boardroom. 

LCDA, BoardReady Institute

The BoardReady Institute prepares executives for the boardroom. (Graphic Source)

One of the Association’s key programs is the BoardReady Institute, a unique and comprehensive program that prepares interested executives for boardroom positions. The program is comprised of four components. The first is a toolkit that helps executives prepare their board bio and practice their pitch. The second component is corporate governance and the third is all about the network and coaching. Finally, the fourth component is promoting the executives for board opportunities.

“Last year, we helped with about 105, board search requests. Today, we’re already at 200, and will likely help with about 300 by the end of the year. We get requests for certain skillsets for a board position and we sort through our membership and give them as many qualified people and work with them to make sure that we can connect them to board talent.” 

The work achieved so far by the Latino Corporate Directors Association shows that Latino advancement is not only possible but necessary. By increasing Latinx visibility in the C-suite and boardroom, corporate America has no more excuses for excluding Latino and Latinas from the table.