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Latinas are underrepresented in law, says attorney Anna María Tejada

In nearly every industry, Latinas face obstacles and struggles as both women and ethnic minorities. Latinas face greater difficulties establishing themselves in professional industries and attaining high level positions. The gender-wage gap is also greatest for Latinas, who are the last group to celebrate Equal Pay Day on October 21 and earn on average 55 cents to the dollar white, non-hispanic men earn. Equal Pay Day represents the number of months it takes for women to earn the same amount as men earn in a year. For Latinas, they must work 23 months to earn what a white, non-hispanic man earns in just 12 month.  

One industry in which Latina representation is lacking, is law. Currently, Latinos represent 20 percent of the population, however just 5% of practicing attorneys are Latino, and of that only 2% are Latina. Additionally, from that 2% only about .4 are partners at law firms. 

Anna Maria Tejada is Latina attorney working to create opportunities for young women in her industry. (Photo courtesy Anna Maria Tejada)

Anna Maria Tejada is a Latina attorney who is working to increase opportunities for Latinas in the legal profession. As a daughter of Dominican immigrants, Anna is a first-generation attorney who benefitted from various affirmative action programs in her education such as Headstart, EOF, and the Rutgers MSP Program. She learned from a very young age the importance of law in our everyday lives. 

“I am too familiar with the immigration experience in the United States. I also am very well aware of the role immigration laws play in the lives of dreamers and individuals who simply want to achieve the American Dream,” said Anna. “If it was not for the assistance of a legal services attorney, neither my family nor I would not be here today. Acknowledging the importance attorneys have in impacting social change and individual lives, I knew law could change lives. That is why I chose this career.”

Now, with over 20 years of experience in her industry, Anna is passionate about giving back and aiding other young Latinas in their careers. 

Currently, she is a partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP in Newark, New Jersey where she practices labor and employment law, is the  President of Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) and the Vice President of Membership for the Hispanic National Bar Association.  

“It is not lost on me that to whom much is given, much is required.  It is my responsibility to give back to the generation of attorneys coming behind me, which is why I enjoy volunteering to bar associations and other community organizations. I believe that you have to lift as you rise, and for me, the HBA was critical to where I am today,” said Anna. 

Navigating obstacles as a first-generation law student 

As a first-generation attorney, there was a lot Anna did not know about the profession when she first started out. Her biggest obstacle at the time was navigating the legal world. As a young student entering law school, she knew she wanted to practice law but was unsure of the steps to take to become a successful attorney. 

“To be successful in this profession, you have to understand the language and culture of the legal world.  I found mentors and colleagues with similar experiences who could assist in navigating this career. I had to seek out spaces where I could network with those who are in law and have a similar background as me.”  

As a law student, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) provided Anna with financial support through scholarships. Later, as an attorney, the organization provided a network of experienced attorneys and judges that would serve as mentors and resources. 

Knowing first hand how important mentorship can be to minority youths entering the legal profession, with the HBA-NJ Anna established the American Dream Pipeline Program in 2013, to provide students with exposure to the legal profession and guidance from attorney mentors sharing similar backgrounds and life experiences.

“It is important for students of colors, especially young women, to see successful Latina attorneys and professionals, so they too can achieve their dreams.” (Photo courtesy Anna Maria Tejada)

The Pipeline Program is geared towards high school students (“mentees”) from urban communities – Passaic and Union City High Schools, who come from families that immigrated to the United States and are likely first-generation college-bound students. The purpose of the Pipeline Program is to provide the mentees with opportunities to meet attorneys and other professionals who have come from similar circumstances and can provide guidance to the mentees as they navigate through high school and start their own college application process.   

“It is important for students of colors, especially young women, to see successful Latina attorneys and professionals, so they too can achieve their dreams,” said Anna. 

You might be interested: LUCA founder Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, how the pandemic has impacted Latino college enrollment

Strengthening the professional pipeline for women of color 

In her profession, Anna is a leader and a connector of people. Through her leadership activities, she has made a point to elevate diversity, equity and inclusion issues in my work, which has helped connect me with colleagues and experts across industries and sectors. She brings strong relationships to the firm and in her volunteer and activist work. 

In 2016, Anna joined the Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ), the leading executive women’s organization in NJ. Here, Anna connected with a robust network of professional women executives who have been on similar professional journeys. After years with the organization, Anna became President of EWNJ, beginning in 2020-2021.  

“As Latinas, we often feel we can handle things on our own and we certainly can; however, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.” (Photo courtesy Anna Maria Tejada)

“Seek mentors who look like you, but also mentors who do not look like you but are willing to serve as a resource. Seek out organizations that could elevate you and put you in touch with people who could be critical for your professional development, such as Bar and industry associations, Anna advised for Latinas aspiring to enter the legal profession. “Also groups such as Executive Women of New Jersey whose members cut across all industries and sectors, expose you to a variety of resources for your growth.”

“Number one thing, keep your eye on your goals. With so few Latinas in law, many of us are trailblazers in our communities and in our field of work.”

Most importantly, Anna says is elevating those coming up behind you by paying forward the help you received. 

“This will help strengthen the professional pipeline for women, especially women of color. As Latinas, we often feel we can handle things on our own and we certainly can; however, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.”

NJ Latina leaders announce launch of Latina Civic PAC 

Statewide Latina leaders Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, Laura Matos and Andrea Martinez-Mejia recently announced the launching of a newly formed organization – Latina Civic. 

On Twitter, the organization announced that Latina Civic will be a rebrand / spin-off of LUPE PAC, an organization that began in 1999 in collaboration with the Hispanic National Bar Association to organize a national training event for Latinas interested in running for public office. This initial event led to the official launch of LUPE in 2001. 

Latina Civic

NJ Latina Leaders announce launch of LUPE PAC rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC. (Image source)

For years, LUPE helped Latinas through training and networking opportunities. Then, after successfully graduating many Latinas from campaign training, it became clear that LUPE needed to expand its work beyond training and networking opportunities, and in 2009 LUPE PAC was launched. The  non-partisan political action committee, focused solely on providing financial support to progressive Latinas who make the leap and run for office, is now launching a rebrand / spin-off, Latina Civic PAC, which will work to continue the mission of supporting Latinas’ pursuits in civic life and leadership. 

With an eye on the growing Latina engagement in civic and electoral activities in the state of New Jersey, Latina Civic forms three separate entities that creates diverse opportunities for participation and engagement of Latinas in all aspects of the political process. From education and training to issue advocacy & electoral candidate support the ultimate goal is getting Latinas’ voices heard at the ballot box and in the public sphere.

Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, LUPE PAC board member and Latina Civic Action President. (Image Source)

“Supporting women will continue to be at the forefront of our organization’s mission. New Jersey is a state with so much opportunity and potential for Latinas; our growing numbers as a population also means that we must enhance our capacity to generate policy ideas, advocate on behalf of our families and engage voters to vote for our issues and our candidates. We look forward to working with our partners to increase equity of opportunity and political power for Latinas across the state,” said Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina.

“We are very excited that this incredible group of women will continue to collectively address the dire need for increased representation in all levels of elected and appointed office in New Jersey,” adds Laura Matos. “This continued effort and coordinated approach will be fundamental in making tangible change in the demographics of our elected and appointed officials.” 

Increasing numbers of Latinas in civic leadership

As a non-partisan political action committee, Latina Civic PAC’s mission is to increase the number of Latinas in elected and appointed office in the State of New Jersey. The committee promotes and supports progressive leaders who stand up for an agenda that invests in Latina political leadership and advances critical issues that matter to Latinas in New Jersey. The PAC will also continue to distribute tens of thousands of dollars every election cycle to endorsed Latinas throughout the state.

“Many of us have worked for over twenty years to empower Latinas across the state to be civically engaged. Our community represents over 19% of the population in New Jersey, and we look forward to the day that our representation in elected offices is reflective of that number,” said Arlene Quinones Perez, who will serve as General Counsel.

LUPEPAC’s fact sheet reports that there are over 831,000 Latino eligible voters in New Jersey–the seventh largest Hispanic statewide eligible voter population nationally, and 52% of eligible Latino voters in NJ are Latinas.

Additionally, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, Latina representation in New Jersey’s government is as follows: 

NJ driver's licenses, Senator Teresa Ruiz

Senator Teresa Ruiz (L) with Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc. at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo.

Out of 120 seats in the legislature, only 8 Latinas occupy those seats:

Out of 137 County Freeholder seats, only 4 Latinas occupy those seats:

  • Germaine Ortiz (D-Bergen)
  • Carmen Rodriguez (D-Camden)
  • Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson)
  • Blanquita Valenti (D-Middlesex)

Out of 65 County Constitutional Officers in NJ, only one Latina serves in those seats: Bernice Toledo (D-Passaic). Out 74 cities with population over 30,000 residents, only one Latina serves as Mayor: Wilda Diaz, Perth Amboy. No Latina from New Jersey has ever served as a U.S. Congresswoman or US Senator.

You might be interested: “I’m tired of waiting”: Latina Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz runs for Mass. Governor 

Latina Civic’s mission will be to increase these numbers through education and training. 

“Educating and training Latinas to be civically engaged will be paramount in all that we do at the Foundation. We will work hard to ensure that Latinas receive the necessary tools to be competitive in New Jersey, which has been a difficult process thus far,” added Andrea Martinez-Mejia.

2021 WEES Speaker Maria Piastre: A Latina leader excels in a male-dominated industry 

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre was appointed Metallix Refining Inc. President. Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President.

The 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit motto is THRIVE! with our panels and workshops focusing on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners and give them the tools and insights to propel forward and thrive post-COVID19. 

Our women’s panel,THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success”, will feature guest speakers: Maria Piastre, Marvina Robinson, and Jessie Gabriel as they share insights learned on their journey to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic. Below, Maria shares her story with us of how she rose through the ranks and excelled in a male-dominated industry as a Latina, eventually becoming company CE

 

“The leap of faith never fails”

Maria Piastre was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. She came to the USA in 2000, the start of a new millennium, one that would unveil marriage, a young family, graduation, and professional achievements in business. 

woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre

Maria Piastre, President of Metallix Refining Inc.

As her career path was still uncharted, Maria’s tenacity for success and recognition would prove to be her armor against the many inequalities she would encounter. Later these inequalities would form the foundation for future campaigns.

Maria graduated from Kean University in 2004 with a degree in Economics thanks to the unconditional support of her family.  She then entered the world of business and commerce. Over the next two years, the motivated Latina immigrant excelled in business management, marketing strategy, aesthetic value, with an aptitude for communication at all levels. 

With the end of 2005 insight, Maria reflected on both her achievements and looked towards new challenges that would be more aligned with her goals and those of the organization she would represent. This new chapter of discovery would lead Maria to Metallix and a career in the male-dominated industry of precious metals where her future would soon unfold and be a platform for success.

“Facing new challenges can often be very daunting and come with their own set of risks but taken intelligently, they will open doors to countless possibilities where the rewards can be high,” Maria asserts. 

And she continues, “The leap of faith never fails because you learn something valuable about your decision and the events in your life, bringing growth and confidence.  Survival makes you strong and it is an understanding of failure that makes you realize this is not the end of the line, but just the beginning of a new chapter.” 

Achieving success as a woman in a male-dominated industry

In 2006 Metallix Refining Inc., a precious metals recycling company in New Jersey, announced they were recruiting for an inside sales position to cover Latin America. 

Maria, a native Spanish speaker, fluent in English with a background in sales and marketing, applied for the opening and received an interview offer from Eric Leiner, owner and then President.

For any profession, being prepared for whatever situation you face is crucial; it is a professional obligation to your colleagues and suppliers to answer their questions fully and present them with the best, most relevant, and actionable recommendation.

Maria applied the same professional approach to the Metallix interview. Reading precious metals and refining trade magazines, researching product supply to the industry from gold-plated connectors to solar industry production, all of which made for credibility and confidence during the interview process and responses.

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria during her tour of Asia meeting with our Technical Director Claudio Ferrini and the General Manager of Metallix Refining Asia Mr. SB Sangbae Kim. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

There is always a voice of doubt and moments of anxiousness when you want something which is almost in touching distance, and for Maria, this was no exception. 

However, instead of a second interview, she received a job offer. The strategy had worked, and Eric Leiner was thrilled when Maria accepted.

The best place to work is the place you can be at your best and this was true for Maria.  Maria started to learn the business and soon fell in love with her job and became fascinated by the industry. 

With increasing industry knowledge and eagerness to grow within the company, Maria assumed additional responsibility bringing in new business, developing good relationships with industry partners and leading the way for improvements within Metallix.

In 2007, following the birth of her second son, Maria took a short career break from Metallix.  In a competitive and male-dominated industry time away can often result in missing significant opportunities.  “The progressive mindset of Metallix and their appreciation for my professional achievements and value to the company, secured my time away from the industry – a luxury many working mothers do not enjoy. I will always be grateful for such important consideration to my family,” Maria explained.   

Upon her return, she continued to achieve recognition within Metallix, taking on significant responsibilities assigned by Lerner.  

“The only limits are those you set yourself”

In 2017, after only 12 years working in this male-dominated industry, Maria Piastre  was appointed company President.  Ambition had always been a driving force fueled by a passion for the industry, but never did she imagine to be made President. This was both a pleasant shock and honor. 

woman in a male-dominated industry

Maria interacts with every member of the Metallix Team, making an effort to engage with every employee on her many frequent visits to the Refinery. (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

The sense of humility that Maria brings to the position transcends not just gender but embraces a new generation of values, of learning and reward based on individual merit, with the only limits being those you set yourself.

“As an immigrant to the US, I know only too well the challenges we all will encounter, especially for minority groups. The road will not always be smooth, and regardless of your cultural background, you should believe in yourself, your self-worth, your ability to succeed and that your qualities will always shine through to achieve rewards,” Maria advises Latinas in Business readers. This ethos is ingrained in Maria’s leadership.

One of the most important responsibilities as President was to establish a vision, a long-term mission with short-term objectives.  These will ultimately determine the expectations for the company’s culture and core values that will lead Metallix at multiple levels ensuring alignment throughout. Equally, recruiting talent and nurturing Executive growth for succession planning is key to building sustainability and industry expertise.  

Now guardian of a prestigious and respected precious metals recycling company, with locations in New Jersey, Greenville, and Maxton, North Carolina, the pattern of reinvestment and growth is set to continue. 

In 2019 the company embarked on a significant expansion program establishing Metallix Refining Asia Ltd in South Korean and Metallix Refining Europe Ltd based in the UK. 

These two new facilities secured the recruitment of the industry’s most experienced and respected personnel, opening up new and untapped revenue sources to add to the diverse industries already served by Metallix.

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Evolving with the times

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Maria has witnessed and experienced many changes over the last 12 years and has been influential to many changes herself. Through Maria’s values, Metallix is a multicultural employer with promotions based on ability, not gender, and an environment where there is no place for discrimination or bullying. 

As 2020 has seen the impact of COVID-19 on businesses globally, Metallix has been no exception. 

Maria at the Precious Metals Refining meeting the Metallix Trucks arriving back to the Refinery (Photo courtesy Maria Piastre)

“Business models once tried and tested no longer applied, and the way to survive and grow in this new economic market would be through technology, Maria said.”Metallix has always made a significant investment in equipment and applied sciences resulting in the Metallix Precious Metals Refinery becoming a world-class facility. We now needed to apply the same approach to sales and communication,” Maria explained. 

In addition to travel and face-to-face meetings no longer possible, video conferencing and social media platforms have been tools in which to maintain stability in the supply chain.  Metallix has an experienced team of buyers providing materials management guidance and support, managing social risks to protect our employees, suppliers, and the community. 

Under Maria’s leadership, Metallix Refining Inc. strives to provide exceptional customer service with world-class facilities that continue to achieve excellence for our customers.

Jennifer Cortez, Dallas District 2,

Latina immigration reform activist Jennifer Cortez promises bold change as Dallas City Council candidate 

Jennifer Cortez is a third generation Tejana, immigration reform activist, grassroots community organizer, and Latina entrepreneur running for Dallas City Council’s District 2 seat. 

A leader for the people

Jennifer Cortez, Dallas District 2,

Jennifer Cortez, immigration reform activist Dallas District 2 City Council candidate. (Image Source)

For over 15 years, Jennifer Cortez has been a servant leader and avid reform activist in her community of Dallas, Texas. As a leader, she is committed to creating innovative solutions that are inclusive and welcoming to all. Throughout her career as an activist, Jennifer has worked to uplift the voices of marginalized groups. 

In 2006, as a student Jennifer helped lead a 500,000 people march for immigration reform, the largest protest in Dallas’ history. She then co-founded the North Texas Dream Team, the first immigration reform group in the area, connecting students nationwide to form United We Dream. 

Jennifer’s activism also contributed to the creation of the Black & Brown/Latinx majority serving Congressional District 33 in 2010 when she and other leaders collaborated to increase voter turnout. 

Most recently, Jennifer helped establish Dallas’ first-ever Community Police Oversight board after the police brutality protests last year. The issue of community safety and police accountability is close to Jennifer’s heart after her apartment neighbor, Botham Jean, was shot and killed in his living room by a Dallas Police Officer. 

“Dallas needs a voice who isn’t afraid to strive for bold changes. I’ll tackle criminal justice reform and fight poverty head on,” said Jennifer. 

Jennifer is committed to being the change the community needs. She hopes to use her power, if elected, to bring about positive, inclusive, transformative change.

Bold change for a better future

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light many deep societal issues, including the effects of systemic racism. Black and Latino communities have disproportionately suffered through pandemic related hardships more than other groups. From being more likely to contract the virus due to health disparities and poor access to healthcare, to unemployment and business closures, the pandemic has made very clear the need for reform is now. 

Jennifer herself was inspired to run after her own experience with COVID-19. In an article by Kera News, Jennifer said she decided to run for council while laying on her couch, sick with COVID-19, and unable to move. She described the moment as “spiritual.” 

“I was like, ‘OK, if I live, I will do something.’ I’ll use this privilege to do something bigger and to see what happens if we do the experiment of the people versus the money in the city of Dallas,” Jennifer told Kera News

You might be interested: Change is HER: Inspire women to run for public office 

Now she is running for Dallas City Council District 2 in an effort to finally make the big strides in progress that the people deserve. 

Four key priority areas of Jennifer’s campaign are Housing, Access & Relief, Public Safety, and Mobility & Sustainability. 

Jennifer Cortez, Dallas City Council election,

A leader for Bold Change. Jennifer Cortez’s priorities as District 2 City Council candidate. (Image Source)

If elected to Dallas City Council, Jennifer will work to ensure housing rights for all, equitable access to basic needs and resources, a holistic approach to public safety, mobility solutions, and environmental justice. 

Election day for Dallas City Council is May 1st.

Tanya Ramos-Puig

Tanya Ramos-Puig appointed President of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation 

The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation has appointed Tanya Ramos-Puig as president of the philanthropic arm of the Latin Recording Academy, effective immediately.

Meet the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation’s new President 

Tanya Ramos-Puig

Tanya Ramos-Puig, newly appointed President of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation. 

As President, Tanya Ramos-Puig brings to the organization over two-decades of leadership experience in the nonprofit and education sectors. A tireless advocate for educational equity, she has devoted her career to improving educational opportunities and life outcomes for youth in the most under-resourced communities. Tanya has a proven track record of growing organizations in key leadership roles. Some past organizations she has led include Pencils of Promise, Education Pioneers and The Children’s Aid Society. 

An alumna of Coro New York Leadership Center and INROADS, Tanya has also served as an Adjunct Professor at LaGuardia Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from NYU and a Master of Science in Urban Policy and Management from The New School. In 2009, she graduated from the Executive-Level Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.

Preserving and promoting Latin music for years to come! 

In her new role, Tanay will report to the board of the foundation and Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of the Latin Recording Academy.

“Six years ago, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation was launched with the dream of fostering future generations of Latin music creators and professionals. Today, after changing the lives of many young artists, the Foundation is welcoming a new leader with vast experience in the non-profit and fundraising sector to elevate our team and its mission,” said Abaroa. “I want to thank the Board of Directors of the Foundation, especially Chairman, Luis Cobos, and Treasurer, Raúl Vázquez, for their vision and leadership through the years, and during this transition, allowing Tanya to be fully empowered to accomplish our mutual goals.”

Tanya looks forward to this next chapter for herself and the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. 

“I am honored to take on the leadership of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, an organization with tremendous credibility and an unparalleled commitment to shaping the future of the next generation of talented young musicians, from around the globe, who share a special passion for Latin music,” said Tanya in a statement. “I am energized by the work ahead and look forward to ushering in the next chapter of the Foundation, built with the relentless effort of a committed Board, a dedicated and enthusiastic team, and countless artists, volunteers and supporters. Together we will be able to uphold the promise of preserving and promoting Latin music for years to come!”

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Additionally, music industry veteran Manolo Díaz, who previously led the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation as its Senior Vice President, will continue to serve the Foundation as part of its Board of Directors. Under Díaz’s leadership — and with the support of various artists like Enrique Iglesias, Juan Luis Guerra, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Miguel Bosé, Carlos Vives, Julio Iglesias and Juanes — the Foundation allocated more than $5.7 million in scholarships, assisting over 255 gifted music students around the world, while donating musical instruments to schools in need and providing generous grants to researchers, anthropologists, musicologists, scholars and institutions to further the research and preservation of Latin music.  

About The Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation:

The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established by The Latin Recording Academy in 2015 to further international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture. The Foundation provides college scholarships, educational programs and grants for the research and preservation of its rich musical legacy and heritage, and to date, has donated more than $5.7 million with the support of Latin Recording Academy’s members, artists, corporate sponsors and other generous donors. For additional information, or to make a donation, please visit latingrammyculturalfoundation.com, Amazon Smile or our Facebook page and follow us @latingrammyfdn on Twitter and Instagram.

Healing Leadership

Healing Leadership: A conversation with Dr. Ginny Baro about the need for great leaders

Author of the #1 Bestseller, Fearless Women at Work, delivers her second book, Healing Leadership, that explores the secrets of healing leadership and recommends high-performance habits for improving self-leadership and developing a growth mindset and resilience. 

Ginny Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro, #1 bestselling author, award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, and career strategist

Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning international motivational speaker, certified leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work. Named one of the Top 100 Global Thought Leaders, she delivers coaching programs, trainings, and keynotes to global audiences to develop individual women and leaders and helps Fortune 500 companies build inclusive leadership dream teams. Prior to starting ExecutiveBound®, Baro, who holds a Ph.D. in information systems, an MS in computer science, an MBA in management and a BA in Computer Science and Economics, was a director at Lord, Abbett & Co., LLC. She also worked for Alliance Bernstein and Prudential. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 from the Dominican Republic and speaks fluent Spanish. Healing Leadership (Bavaro Press) is her second book.

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The genesis behind Healing Leadership: A conversation with Susana Baumann and Dr. Ginny Baro

Latinas in Business CEO and President, Susana G Baumann, sat down with Dr. Baro to discuss her upcoming book, Healing Leadership, which comes out April 14th, 2021. 

The highly anticipated book did not start out as a book at all. Originally it began as a series of interviews with five leaders that Ginny conducted for her Fearless Leaders Challenge, a five day training event for Fearless Women At Work, back in the middle of the pandemic during May 2020. The focus of the interviews was to explore three main questions: What are the critical skills that leaders need right now in the middle of a pandemic, where there’s so much uncertainty? What can companies do to develop their leaders and their talent during this time when people are virtual? And what can leaders do to develop a unique edge?

Healing Leadership

Dr. Ginny Baro’s upcoming book, Healing Leadership. Out April 14th.

Ginny Baro 

Those were the three questions that I was very curious about. So I went through the five interviews. And when I finished, I started to write out a framework for the Fearless Leaders Challenge….Well, what I realized is that intuitively, what I wrote out was the table of contents for a new book, not for a five day challenge. There were way too many subjects to be covered in five days. And that was the genesis of Healing Leadership….I know the last 30 years that I’ve been around working, I have been exposed to so many different types of leaders and I knew  from that experience that leaders make or break an organization, and that so many of us leaders never received a manual of how to be great leaders. And so this became my goal to not only talk about my experiences, but also bring other leaders’ experiences to be part of this project. And that’s how you got involved in this book and 40 other leaders along with you.

Susana G Baumann  15:29  

Yes. And I thank you very much for the opportunity. It was fun to do the podcast and then to read the result of the interview was really very, very humbling. Now, Ginny, what is the core topic of healing leaders leadership? What do you think leadership needs to be healed?

Ginny Baro  15:54  

So yes, by the title Healing Leadership, it implies that there’s healing to be done. So that the healing to be done, from my perspective, is that there dis-ease, disease in leadership today. And like I mentioned, there, we were never taught, we were never trained to be good or great leaders and inclusive leaders. If we’re lucky to have a good role model, then we lucked out. But if we don’t have a good role model that we can emulate, we end up doing a lot of things that create the toxic work cultures that marginalize people at work. And that, quite frankly, doesn’t do justice to the talent that we are leading. And so that is really the core of all the topics that I discussed in the book have to do with: how do we show up as leaders in a way that, rather than create a toxic culture, it cultivates the type of inclusive culture that allows all of our talent to flourish based on their qualities and their abilities? How can we as leaders cultivate those talents, so that we can coach, mentor, and develop them and so that those that have what it takes can rise to the top and continue the leading legacy and be able to lead our teams to higher productivity, to be more cohesive, to collaborate, to innovate, and do all the things that we need our businesses to do to survive and thrive.

Susana G Baumann  17:35  

Very, very interesting. Now, you mentioned that you started with five interviews, right? And then you ended having 41. So how did you select the people who were going to be part of your book number one? And second, what was the reaction when you extended the invitation?

Ginny Baro  18:00  

So number one, I just want to say that if you have any project where you’re thinking of involving other people, people, I think, by nature, meet their need for contribution when they say yes to you. And so number one is I made sure that the topic was interesting, “healing leadership”, everybody said, ‘I’ll talk about that.’ Right? Everybody has an opinion about what critical skills leaders need. Everybody has an opinion as to how they should be developing leaders. And everyone has an opinion about how to develop a unique edge, because the leaders that I asked, they had all done all of those things. So I went out with the goal of finding diversity. I wanted to include the voices of leaders who were just emerging, and leaders who had retired. So I speak to Nicole who’s only been in business for four years out of college. And I speak to Jerome and Nick Donofrio who ran IBM, and who also were the CEO of Sealed Air, the inventor of bubble wrap. So everything in-between, including Susana Baumann, the leader of Latinas in Business, of course, and Pilar Avila, who as we know, or everybody who knows Pilar, she’s running Renovad, and she is really transforming how women show up as leaders in business. And so when you get such a beautiful array of people from different sectors, profit, nonprofit, from different industries, from financial services to pharma, all over the place, I believed that that was going to give the book nice texture and background and speaks to the value of diversity and inclusion.

experiential retreats

Pilar Avila, Founder and CEO, InterDUCTUS and Renovad

Susana G Baumann  20:21  

Which gives you a fantastic opportunity to showcase like you said, a very, very wide range of opinions and attitudes towards leadership, and also different modalities and different styles of leadership, which is important for people to be able to choose, ‘Well, this is my my type of leadership that I can follow and service.’ 

Ginny Baro 20:45

Absolutely. Yeah. 

Susana G Baumann 20:47

So Ginny, tell me, just to end this interview: What is the main takeaway? Why do I have to buy the book? 

Ginny Baro  21:16  

For me, it’s really about what I mentioned, we did not get a leadership manual when we became leaders. And I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed, like anything when it comes to self development, when we take ourselves and our development seriously, and we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, setting the vision, being the conduit for change and transformation, leading with flexibility, all those skills that are so important as leaders, that once we know what they are, we can become that type of leader.

Dr. Ginny Baro on leadership: “I believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed…and when we identify what are those leadership skills are: communication, empathy, empowering our team, [etc]…we can become that type of leader.”

And if we’re not leading in our business roles, right now, guess what? We are all leaders in our own life. So my biggest takeaway and desire for this book is for people to have this roadmap. And they can assess, ‘how am I doing against these critical leadership skills?’ And if they don’t have one of those skills, they now know and they have the tools in the book to acquire the skills, and the resources, because I’m also creating a wonderful community of leaders, where they can reach out to any of the 41 leaders, including myself, and learn more, and continue to expand their network. And this is one of the topics that I discussed at length in the book: How to build an inclusive network of allies and supporters that will support your career and that will help you reach your full potential, because we cannot do this alone. And if we even try, we will find out that we will fail really fast.

Susana G Baumann  22:58  

Correct. Yes, we have to create these networks of collaboration among leaders, among businesses, among women, among all the qualifiers and labels that you can imagine, because that’s when you get the momentum that is necessary to develop the type of leadership that we want for our children, for our employees, for our communities. That’s the attitude of service that you have had for many, many years. And I commend you extremely for that. I think you’re a really brilliant professional in what you do. And congratulations on the new book.

Ginny Baro  23:51  

Thank you, Susana, and I’m always so grateful to you.

To get your copy of Healing Leadership, out April 14th, and access everything related to the book from bonuses to downloads and become part of the Healing Leadership community, visit HealingLeadership.com

Apple appoints first Latina ever to board of directors

Apple announced this month that Monica Lozano, president and CEO of College Futures Foundation, has been appointed as the eighth member to Apple’s board of directors. Lozano, of Mexican origin, is the first Latina to hold such a position at the global tech giant—a major first step toward greater diversity and inclusion in higher-level positions.

She brings with her a broad range of leadership experience, as well as a long track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.

Photo by Armand Valendez from Pexels

“A true leader and trailblazer” joins Apple’s Board of Directors

Monica Lozano, Apple

Monica Lozano, Latino Corporate Directors Association and Rockefeller Foundation Board of Directors (Photo credit Rockefeller Foundation)

Prior to joining College Futures Foundation, Lozano spent 30 years in media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the US, helping shine a light on issues from infant mortality to the AIDS epidemic. She went on to become chairman and CEO of La Opinión’s parent company, ImpreMedia. Lozano continues to serve on the boards of Target Corporation and Bank of America Corporation.

She has been recognized for her leadership with awards from organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, in her role as CEO of College Futures Foundation, Lozano has been a tireless advocate for expanding access to higher education, partnering with philanthropic organizations, state and local governments, and local communities to improve opportunities for low-income students and students of color. 

A co-founder of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, and a former chair of both the University of California Board of Regents and the board of directors of the Weingart Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, Lozano is also a former board member of The Walt Disney Company. 

“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”

As a business leader, public servant, and philanthropist, Lozano has made an indelible impact on companies and communities in the US and around the world,  and is sure to do the same at Apple. 

diversity and inclusion

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

A major step in the campaign for corporate diversity & inclusion

Lozano’s appointment to Apple’s board of directors comes after much work was done in 2020 by Latino Corporate Directors Associations’ (LCDA) and other organizations to push for more diversity in higher level positions at major companies. 

Lozano herself is also a LCDA member and the organization’s goal has been to increase the number of Latinos on corporate boards. According to LCDA’s Latino Board Tracker, currently 77% of Fortune 1000 companies lack a single Latino director on their board.

Other findings of LCDA and corporate data provider Equilar state that in California, where Latinos make up almost 40% of the population, they hold only 2.1% of board positions. 

To improve these indicators, the state of California passed Bill 979 in September 2020. This bill now requires public companies to include executives from underrepresented communities on their boards until December 2021.  

Since September, LCDA—along with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and UnidosUS—also launched the Latino Voices for Boardroom Equity campaign. The goal is for Latinos to hold 20% of board seats—roughly their share of the U.S. population.

You might be interested: Corporate executive Beth Marmolejos shares insights on being a Latina leader

“There is an enormous number of talented Latino candidates who can bring a lot of value [to the companies,” says Esther Aguilar, chief executive officer of the Latino Corporate Directors Association. 

Lozano’s appointment to Apple’s board of directors is a major step in diversity and inclusion, especially for Latinas in technology. Hopefully more corporations will look to the tech giant and follow their example. 

On joining Apple’s board, Lozano said: “I’ve always admired Apple’s commitment to the notion that technology, at its best, should empower all people to improve their lives and build a better world. I look forward to working with Tim, Art, and the other board members to help Apple carry those values forward and build on a rich and productive history.”