Posts

Latina worker

Record job losses in December push women out of the workforce en mass

This time last year, we were living in a pre-COVID-19 world. In this world, for three months, something rare happened in the workforce that had only only occurred one other time in history, nearly a decade ago: women held more jobs than men in the U.S. economy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed this narrative, leading to record job losses for women. 

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

Shocking gender gap in December job losses 

New data released last week has revealed that in December employers cut 140,000 jobs. A closer look at the data also reveals a shocking gender gap: Women accounted for all the job losses, losing 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000. Of course many men lost jobs as well in December, but when taken together as a group, they came out ahead while women fell behind. 

Additionally, a separate survey-study of households, which included self-employed workers, showed a wider gender disparity in the workforce while also revealing a significant racial and ethnic disparity: Black and Latina women made up the majority of job losses, while White women made significant gains. 

Racial and ethnic disparity in the workforce 

Black and Latina women disproportionately work in some of the hardest-hit sectors in the pandemic. These positions often lack paid sick leave and the ability to work from home, putting Black and Latina women and families at an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. As schools and daycares closed due to the virus, many women were forced to make the hard choice between work and parenting. In many situations, women chose to leave their careers to take on primary care-giving roles in the home, especially if there was an employed male in the household. 

You might be interested: Mariela Dabbah, the perils of a global pandemic for gender inclusion in the workplace

Overall, women are still down 5.4 million jobs from February, before the pandemic began, as compared to 4.4 million job losses for men. At the start of 2020 men and women were roughly on equal footing, with women holding 50.03% of jobs. However by the end of 2020 the gender disparity in the workforce now shows that women hold 860,000 fewer jobs than their male peers. 

This gap is largely due to increased job losses in three sectors: education — which remains a female-dominated industry — hospitality, and retail. All of these industries have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

In December, restaurants and bars cut the most jobs by far, and part-time workers were hit especially hard. 

Among women, Latinas currently have the highest unemployment rate at 9.1%, followed by Black women at 8.4%. White women have the lowest unemployment rate at 5.7%.

As we continue into 2021, we must work toward recuperating these losses for women in the workforce and create better opportunities.

Latinas in Business Inner Circle

Latina Equal Pay Day is a call to action

Latina Equal Pay Day — the day when Latina pay catches up to that of White, non-Hispanic men from the previous year. This year it is being observed on November 29, 2020.

More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latinas typically earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by White, non-Hispanic men and must work more than 22 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months. Indeed, given that this is the last “Equal Pay Day” observance of the year, Latinas must typically work longer than … everyone.

latina entrepreneurs, latinas in business, latinas in the workplace

Latina entrepreneurs are the slowest growing demographics in revenue and economic growth. 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo participants. 

This disparity hurts not only Latinas, but also the families and communities they support. In 2017, this is unacceptable. We need to act now and let everyone know that we support #LatinaEqualPay! Join the women’s rights community, Latino advocacy organizations, the labor movement and workers’ rights advocates  for the #LatinaEqualPay Day.

Blog contributor Corine Sandifer covers thoroughly the facts on this important issue and the actions to be taken to close this 47% pay gap that hurts Latino families, and follow Latinas into retirement. Read on!

We will be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn using the primary hashtag #LatinaEqualPay and secondary hashtags #Trabajadoras, #EqualPay and #LatinxEqualPay. A toolkit including educational resources, sample promotional tweets, info-graphics, and memes can be found at http://www.latinaequalpay.org/.

Latina equal pay day

Click on the picture to find out how to join in the Call to Action – Latinaequalpay.org

People are overly optimistic about the state of Latinas 

Over four in ten white men think obstacles to advancement for Latinas are gone, but just 32% of Latinas agree. Moreover, nearly 62% of people who are not Latino think that racism, sexism, or both are uncommon in their company. Yet 51% of Latinas say they’ve experienced discrimination at work taken from a Survey by SurveyMonkey conducted on March 22-27, 2018.

This reality is what Latina’s in the U.S. face every day, and it’s holding us back from reaching our highest ambitions and our toughest goals.

2020 Latina Equal Pay Day

Is it because Latinas choose worse paying jobs? 

Many people think the gap exists because Latinas choose worse paying jobs. A third of Americans believe the gap occurs because Latinas work in occupations that don’t pay as much – and four in 10 white men think so. Only 20% of Latinos agree with that assessment yet when Latinas are in the same careers as white man they are paid significantly less. It is important to note that Latinas are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, and underrepresented in high-wage. What is frustrating for me is that they are still paid less than white men in the exact same jobs, even when they have high-wage jobs.

The unfortunate double discrimination

Latinas face unique challenges in the workplace. They are subject to biases for being women and biases for being people of color. This kind of double discrimination can intensify common biases faced by Latinas, but it can also play out in distinct forms of bias not faced by women more broadly.

latinas equal pay day

Read the new report from Lean In and McKinsey & Company https://womenintheworkplace.com

Turn Awareness into Action

These stats are pretty upsetting. We cannot sit back and let this go unnoticed. Obviously, we still have a long way to go to close this wage gap for Latina women. There are ways for all of us (not just Latinas) to fight this wage gap. Here are just a few call to action provocations.

  • Many Equal Rights Advocates are taking the lead on implementation and enforcement efforts related to the Fair Pay Act. Find out who they are in your city.
  • Vote at this year’s election on November 6.
  • Tell your representatives in Congress to vote for legislation that will close the Latina Wage Gap.
  • Read and Share the LeanIn.org & McKinsey annual study on Women in the Workplace
  • Support your Latina co-workers & friends (If you don’t have one, connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram)

You can also turn awareness into action by joining a Lean In circle and taking strides toward a more equal world. Lean In Circles are small peer groups that meet regularly to share ideas, gain skills, seek advice, and show solidarity. They’re a place where women can be unapologetically ambitious. Being in a circle has allowed me to ask for what I want and to aim higher. I am supported by a whole world of powerful women.

This article was also published on LinkedIn On October 31. 2018 and has been updated to October 29, 2020. 

 

 

leader

Fatima Pearn received Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima Pearn was honored with the Latina Leader Award at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition where she also participated as a guest judge. As the current VP Business Development Office at Valley Bank, Fatima has had a lengthy and successful career in banking. She has shown exemplary skills and has acted as a leader and mentor to others while contributing to the expansion and success of multiple banks throughout her 15+ years in the banking industry. Taking to the stage to accept her award, she shared some of her professional journey, inspiring those in the audience with her success story. 

leader

Fatima Pearn, Vally Bank, receives the Latina Leader Award from Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.

Working up from the bottom

Fatima’s banking career began in 1989 at First Fidelity Bank where she worked in the Import and Export Department. After only two years, she put her own career on hold to help her husband at the time with his own business. The couple later divorced, leaving Fatima to support two young boys as a single mother. The four years that followed were difficult, with Fatima working multiple jobs to support her children. Then, in 2001, Fatima decided it was time to make a significant career change.  

“I needed to make a change in my life and start thinking about a new career,” says Fatima. “A career that would give my family and I better health benefits, and also allow me to contribute to a retirement plan.” 

leader

Fatima Pearn accepting the Latina Leader Award during the WINNERS Reception at the 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Fatima decided the best option would be to return to banking, since she already had some previous experience in the field. When an opportunity as a Teller opened up at PNC Bank, Fatima took a chance and applied. 

“I wanted to learn the retail banking industry from the bottom up,” she says. 

Never having pursued a formal higher education, Fatima gained all her expertise by learning on the job from mentors and taking specific courses and accreditations in her field. Beginning from the bottom helped Fatima quickly learn the ins and outs of the banking world and soon became a leader to others.  

New love and opportunities

During this same time, Fatima remarried to the love of her life. Her husband had two children of his own, and together they raised their four children before growing their family with another child together, a baby boy, who is now fourteen years old and a blessing to their lives. Fatima’s husband and their children gave her the drive to better herself and encouraged her to further grow her banking career.  

Soon Fatima was promoted from Teller to Financial Sales Consultant, and then in 2005 she was offered the opportunity to be a Business Development Officer by her Team Leader. This position put her in charge of five branches in Essex and Hudson County with book of business to grow. 

“My job was just to bring new business to the bank and close a minimum of $5 Million dollars in new money in lending, C&I, owner-occupied, Loc and Investment Real estate,” says Fatima. “The first question my Team Leader asked me was: Where do you think you are going to target new clients? I thought about it for a couple of days and got back to him with a plan.” 

Her plan involved three steps. First she did research on Reference USA. Then she reached out to her husband’s relative who was a fireman in Kearny at the time. She asked him if he could share a list of new businesses that opened in Kearny from January to that date. Lastly, she registered to be a member of the Kiwanis, Rotaries and the Chamber of Commerce in the area. This plan proved to be successful as one year later, Fatima was invited to be the Treasurer by the Portuguese American Chamber of Commerce in Newark.

“I also took private lessons to learn the basics on how to play golf in order to be able to participate on golf outings at the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce,” Fatima says. 

After a few months, she started showing great results in her position, and she worked with her retail partners and loan officers to have client appreciation days at their branches after work hours. These events made their clients feel appreciated which lead to the building of Center of Influences (COI’s) for the business.  

Conquering language barriers

Being a Latina has also been incredibly instrumental in Fatima’s success, opening her up to many opportunities to expand her relationships in her career. 

“I was able to connect with many different cultures because of my background and the connections I was making in my community,” says Fatima. 

Her Latina background was especially helpful when it came to language connections. While working in Kearny, Fatima was the only employee who was able to speak Spanish and Portuguese. This allowed Fatima to bring in a lot of new business and relationships to the bank that otherwise would not have been possible due to language barriers. And Fatima knows all too well the struggles of working around a language barrier.  

“When I first came to the USA, I didn’t speak English and it was hard to adjust,” says Fatima reflecting back on her early beginnings. “I worked hard and connected with American people to learn the language. It was very challenging, but also would up being very rewarding.” 

Now Fatima is able to give back and help connect with clients who do not speak English or are not as confident with the language yet. This unique opportunity has driven Fatima to success and has also made her very proud of her past and where she started from. 

“Be proud of your past and who you are today,” says Fatima, “keep working hard, reach out to those around you to gain support as well as provide support. You can be successful in your profession too.”

leader

The Valley Bank Team (L to R) Sofia Cordero, Fatima Pearn and Dorothy Kahlau,
First Sr VP
Valley National Bank

Being a leader to others

Following her time working at Provident Bank in Kearny, Fatima’s reputation as a leader and successful worker offered her multiple opportunities in the years that followed, such as the position of Assistant VP Business Banker II at PNC Bank in 2007. She worked there for eight years managing a book of business with over a hundred clients which grew her book of business to over fifty percent. She then was contacted by Santander Bank where she was offered the position of Vice President Middle Market Relationship Manager. This position covered Essex and Hudson County where Fatima managed a book of business of over 150 clients. During this time she also served as President of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) of the West Orange Chapter in NJ and led her department in Small Business Administration production which included the largest deal size of over $20M in revenue.

In 2018, Fatima accepted a new opportunity at Valley Bank, where she currently works, as the Vice President Commercial Lender. Here she develops and monitors business plans to support the company’s strategic goal of increasing client based and corporate branding. She also participates in community and non-profit organizations. 

Her professional journey has taught Fatima that success is always possible no matter where you begin. It all comes down to your goals and actions. “You may feel like you are nowhere near accomplishing your goals right now, but there is time to change that,” Fatima encourages. “Great things can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and work hard. The first step is to plan and to give yourself goals.” 

You might be interested:  NJ Senator Teresa Ruiz is Inspirational Speaker at 2019 Latina SmallBiz Expo

She believes in the process of working toward short-term goals to build on and reach one’s ultimate goal of success. Additionally Fatima stresses the importance of resources and support. 

“It never hurts to ask for help or support from the people around you.” Reflecting back on her journey, she says, “I never thought that I was going to be the position I am in now. I dreamed of being a nurse because I wanted to help people. I was always a natural leader, always worrying about my friends and family and trying to help them. I realized that nursing wasn’t a good fit for me as I got older. So, I chose to be in banking because I liked to help the small and medium size businesses to grow. I would like to encourage everyone not to give up on your dreams.”

Valley National Bank

Thanks to Valley Bank’s Team for being a constant supporter of Latinas in Business Inc.

Sponsor of the 2019  Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition

 

ALPFA’s 50 Most Powerful Latinas gather in Jersey City to receive awards

Awardees and attendees of different organizations at the 50 Most Powerful Latinas Summit in Jersey City (Photo credit Negocios Hispanos USA) 

The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) gathered the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Corporate America Summit at the Goldman Sachs Headquarters in Jersey City on October 3rd.

 

ALPFA’s list prioritizes women leading large public companies with significant operating roles, rather than C-Level staff roles. It includes women operating global private firms, entrepreneurs who scaled their businesses into the middle market, and Latinas, who although recently retired, exercise leadership roles on Fortune 500 boards.

most powerful latinas

Damian Rivera, CEO, ALPFA

“This list puts a spotlight on Latina executives and amplifies their exposure across the country,” the association emphasized. “The list serves as a platform to continue their legacy and amplify their voices to inspire the next generation of women.”

This years’ summit was focused primarily on building legacies and fostering the next generation of Latina leaders. The Summit Agenda included sessions related to the State of Latina Leadership in Corporate America, Increasing Latinas in Corporate Boards, and breakout sessions to develop younger Latinas  leaders into the pipelines of the corporate landscape.

Hosted by Damian Rivera, new ALPFA CEO since September 2018, Damian and his team raised to the occasion with a very complete agenda covering topics from Financial Acumen to Mindfulness and Wellness for women in corporate boards.

Damian comes from a 21 year-career as Managing Director in Accenture’s Resources Utilities. His focus on social entrepreneurship would come as no surprise to people who know him. In addition to his client roles, he served as Accenture’s Managing Director responsible for North American Hispanic American Employee Resource Group from 2011 – 2017.

The 50 Most Powerful Latinas list

The first four places in the list were awarded to:

most powerful latinas

Myrna Soto, COO of Digital Hands

#1 Myrna Soto

COO of Digital Hands, and Member of several Boards including CMS Energy, Spirit Airlines, Popular Inc, Banco Popular. A seasoned cybersecurity practitioner, she has let multiple cybersecurity transformation programs in major communications, media, hospitality, financial services and critical infrastructure organizations.

#2 Maria Martinez

EVP Chief Customer Experience Office at Cisco Systems, Inc. She oversees Cisco’s $12.5B Services and Customer Success organizations helping customers transform their businesses through Cisco products.

#3 Grace Puma

Executive Vice President Executive VP, Global Operations and Transformation at PepsiCo., Grace leads the global operations center of excellence, global procurement, concentrate operations, safety and security.

most powerful latinas

Nina Vaca, President and CEO. Pinnacle Group

#4 Nina Vaca

Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group. Since founding Pinnacle Group in her mid-20s, the company has been ranked among the Inc. 500/5000 fastest-growing companies in the country for 13 years. The company is now in its global expansion and the launch of its global resource deployment platform.

See the complete list of  the 50 Most Powerful Latinas officially announced on Aug. 5.

 

You might be interested: ALPFA National Chair Yvonne Garcia on the 50 Most Powerful Latinas (exclusive interview)

About ALPFA

ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) is the longest standing Latino organization with 80,000+ members assembled in 45 professional and more than 160 student chapters across America. Our ambition is to connect 1 million passionate Latino leaders for exponential impact.

 

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

5 Ways to leverage Latino talent in your organization to its full potential

Luis Moreno contributor Latino talent

Luis Moreno, VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial and co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network

I’m so proud to introduce you to Luis Moreno, our newest contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us! Luis brings impeccable credentials as a Latino talent thought leader in the Financial and Business communities.

The VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial, Luis is also the co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network, a 1,700-member organization that helps students and peers grow personally and professionally.

He was awarded NSHMBA MSP’s “Member of the Year” and has been named “Top National Champion of Diversity” by DiversityBusiness Magazine and “Top 100 Under 50 Executives and Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Luis holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, is a Public Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and is a member of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. We are honored and grateful to have Luis on board!

Got Latino talent in your organization?

Among many other positive characteristics, Latinos are optimistic, enthusiastic, adaptable, and they grow up in highly relationship-based and collective environments. The culture is built around people and loyalty. Interpersonal skills play a big role in our culture. All of these characteristics and skills can be leveraged in any organization to improve results.

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

L to R: Luis Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Gavin Hart, Ruth Elfering, Tomás Perez. Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Launch at Target Fields on February 10th, 2016. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

  1. Latino talent and retention

Latinos can be very loyal if they feel valued in an organization so they can help your retention rate if they are working under favorable conditions and being acknowledged and valued.

They make great employees and team members as they take great pride in the work they do and place high value in earning the respect and appreciation of others. These tendencies will usually be a strong motivation for a Latino employee to want to go the extra mile at work.

2. Latino talent in management roles

As managers and supervisors, Latinos have a general tendency to be in-tune with people matters, given the high weight that the Latino culture places on people.

So, Latino managers and leaders will pay special attention to how employees are feeling, whether they are being acknowledged and recognized. They will also be in tune with employees in their team, and make sure they have the opportunity for flexibility to achieve work-life balance and be there for their families, the most important aspect for Latinos.

Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno. Latino talent

L to R: Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

3. The female Latino talent

Organizations that promote the development and growth of female leaders can find in Latinas great talent and potential. Latinas grow up in highly social environments, which help them develop strong social and communication skills.

Latinas are determined, considerate, and caring, as they play a strong role in the Latino family, home, and community, values that they leverage professionally in the organization.

So, not only having Latinas among the leaders of the organization will help with the organization’s goals and results, but it can also help improve moral, motivation, well-being, and the work-life style balance for employees in the organization.

4. Latino talent in conflict management

When it comes to managing conflict and resolving issues, because of Latino’s natural tendency to build strong personal relationships, such relationships can help in establishing and effectively managing any necessary communication to resolve concerns.

Since Latinos, in general, have a tendency to be cheerful and optimistic, they can help the organization when it comes to having to communicate bad news, because they will try to find an angle of the story to communicate optimism and hope, which can at least help members get and assimilate the unfortunate news more easily.

  1. Latino talent and partner relationship management

Latinos can also help with the organization’s relationship with partners. Leverage Latinos in your organization to help build relationships and trust faster with customers, vendors, and partners, as Latinos have a passion for people.

Go through your list of external partners and see if you have any customers, vendors, or partners from or with operations in Latin America. That can make those relationship-building even easier and faster, as often people tend to feel comfortable doing business and managing matters with people with whom they can more easily relate to, identify with, and with whom they can share some commonalities, such as culture, language, and experiences.

Latino Talent NSHMBAs

L to R: Luis Moreno, Yrma Cova, Dylan Moreno, Tomás Perez. National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Annual Gala on December 4th, 2015. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

Find the organizations that represent them

So, make sure you are leveraging the Latino talent in your organization to its full potential. You can have a treasure right there in your own team ready to be discovered! You can get valuable and useful information about Latinos, their contributions over time, and their benefits in the work place, through many great organizations in various fields which have been building a strong knowledge base and expertise and are happy to help you.

  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), recently rebranded as “Prospanica”. This fantastic organization has been in existence for 28 years, since its foundation in 1988. It has been working on increasing the number of Latinos graduating with MBA’s for over two decades. In 2015, NSHMBA extended its reach beyond the MBA community to undergraduate and high school-level students. They empower Latino professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential. I am very proud to have been an active member for over 15 years.
  • In the STEM field, there is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), founded in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. They have built a really strong national organization of professional engineers, which serve as role models in our Latino community. SHPE has a strong network of professional and student chapters throughout the country and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with multiple of its members for great initiatives to support Latino Engineering students and professionals.
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which was started in 1968 and whose great mission is to improve Latinos’ opportunities for success in achieving the American Dream. They provide research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

Also, there are amazing organizations at the local level, which partner with national organizations and can be of great help. For example in the Midwest, there are really strong organizations supporting Latinos, such as Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Neighborhood House, LatinoLEAD, and many others.

If you have interest in learning about more ways to leverage the Latino talent in your organization and would like some ideas, perspectives, and suggestions, feel free to contact any of these organizations or let me know. I will be more than happy to share some perspectives, insights, and ideas with you. We welcome your comments!

 

Luis Moreno

Luis Moreno new contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us

Luis Moreno contributor Latino talent

Luis Moreno, VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial and co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network

I’m so proud to introduce you to Luis Moreno, our newest contributor to LatinasinBusiness.us! Luis brings impeccable credentials as a Latino talent thought leader in the Financial and Business communities.

The VP of Marketing for Synchrony Financial, Luis is also the co-founder of The Twin Cities Business Peer Network, a 1,700-member organization that helps students and peers grow personally and professionally.

He was awarded NSHMBA MSP’s “Member of the Year” and has been named “Top National Champion of Diversity” by DiversityBusiness Magazine and “Top 100 Under 50 Executives and Emerging Leaders” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Luis holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, is a Public Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and is a member of the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School. We are honored and grateful to have Luis on board!

Got Latino talent in your organization?

Among many other positive characteristics, Latinos are optimistic, enthusiastic, adaptable, and they grow up in highly relationship-based and collective environments. The culture is built around people and loyalty. Interpersonal skills play a big role in our culture. All of these characteristics and skills can be leveraged in any organization to improve results.

Luis Moreno Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Latino talent

L to R: Luis Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Gavin Hart, Ruth Elfering, Tomás Perez. Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota Launch at Target Fields on February 10th, 2016. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

  1. Latino talent and retention

Latinos can be very loyal if they feel valued in an organization so they can help your retention rate if they are working under favorable conditions and being acknowledged and valued.

They make great employees and team members as they take great pride in the work they do and place high value in earning the respect and appreciation of others. These tendencies will usually be a strong motivation for a Latino employee to want to go the extra mile at work.

2. Latino talent in management roles

As managers and supervisors, Latinos have a general tendency to be in-tune with people matters, given the high weight that the Latino culture places on people.

So, Latino managers and leaders will pay special attention to how employees are feeling, whether they are being acknowledged and recognized. They will also be in tune with employees on their team, and make sure they have the opportunity for flexibility to achieve work-life balance and be there for their families, the most important aspect for Latinos.

Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno. Latino talent

L to R: Christian Moreno, Melisa Lopez Franzen, Luis Moreno. Cross-Cultural Marketing event by the Twin Cities Business Peer Network on July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

3. The female Latino talent

Organizations that promote the development and growth of female leaders can find in Latinas great talent and potential. Latinas grow up in highly social environments, which help them develop strong social and communication skills.

Latinas are determined, considerate, and caring, as they play a strong role in the Latino family, home, and community, values that they leverage professionally in the organization.

So, not only having Latinas among the leaders of the organization will help with the organization’s goals and results, but it can also help improve morale, motivation, well-being, and the work-life style balance for employees in the organization.

4. Latino talent in conflict management

When it comes to managing conflict and resolving issues, because of Latino’s natural tendency to build strong personal relationships, such relationships can help in establishing and effectively managing any necessary communication to resolve concerns.

Since Latinos, in general, have a tendency to be cheerful and optimistic, they can help the organization when it comes to having to communicate bad news, because they will try to find an angle of the story to communicate optimism and hope, which can at least help members get and assimilate the unfortunate news more easily.

  1. Latino talent and partner relationship management

Latinos can also help with the organization’s relationship with partners. Leverage Latinos in your organization to help build relationships and trust faster with customers, vendors, and partners, as Latinos have a passion for people.

Go through your list of external partners and see if you have any customers, vendors, or partners from or with operations in Latin America. That can make those relationship-building even easier and faster, as often people tend to feel comfortable doing business and managing matters with people with whom they can more easily relate to, identify with, and with whom they can share some commonalities, such as culture, language, and experiences.

Latino Talent NSHMBAs

L to R: Luis Moreno, Yrma Cova, Dylan Moreno, Tomás Perez. National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Annual Gala on December 4th, 2015. Photo courtesy of Luis Moreno.

Find the organizations that represent them

So, make sure you are leveraging the Latino talent in your organization to its full potential. You can have a treasure right there in your own team ready to be discovered! You can get valuable and useful information about Latinos, their contributions over time, and their benefits in the work place, through many great organizations in various fields which have been building a strong knowledge base and expertise and are happy to help you.

  • The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), recently rebranded as “Prospanica”. This fantastic organization has been in existence for 28 years, since its foundation in 1988. It has been working on increasing the number of Latinos graduating with MBA’s for over two decades. In 2015, NSHMBA extended its reach beyond the MBA community to undergraduate and high school-level students. They empower Latino professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential. I am very proud to have been an active member for over 15 years.
  • In the STEM field, there is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), founded in 1974 by a group of engineers employed by the city of Los Angeles. They have built a really strong national organization of professional engineers, which serve as role models in our Latino community. SHPE has a strong network of professional and student chapters throughout the country and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with multiple of its members for great initiatives to support Latino Engineering students and professionals.
  • National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which was started in 1968 and whose great mission is to improve Latinos’ opportunities for success in achieving the American Dream. They provide research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

Also, there are amazing organizations at the local level, which partner with national organizations and can be of great help. For example in the Midwest, there are really strong organizations supporting Latinos, such as Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Neighborhood House, LatinoLEAD, and many others.

If you have interest in learning about more ways to leverage the Latino talent in your organization and would like some ideas, perspectives, and suggestions, feel free to contact any of these organizations or let me know. I will be more than happy to share some perspectives, insights, and ideas with you. We welcome your comments!

 

Multi-ethnic businesswomen working on laptop

Purpose leadership, mentoring and mentorship

 Multi-ethnic businesswomen working on laptop

Since the beginning of my career, I’ve had mentors. I never asked for one but, fortunately, my supervisors always decided to give me advice on how to improve certain aspects of my professional life. I guess they felt that I was open to it and it was worth the effort.

I will never forget the day I had my first professional interview at a manufacturing company in Puerto Rico. I had to meet with five (5) different managers. They were interviewing recent college graduates for Production Supervisory positions they had available. The company was undergoing a re-engineering process and they wanted to hire junior engineers to help streamline processes and maximize productivity. I was selected by a very refined, yet extremely straight-forward Cuban-American manager. He said to me, “I chose you because although you seem extremely shy, you also seem to have great potential“. That was the beginning of a mentoring process that at that moment I did not see coming.

I was assigned to work the third shift (10 pm to 6 am). However, every morning after my shift ended, he wanted me to stay around for meetings and conference calls with the company US headquarters.  His goal was for me to practice my English language skills, work on my confidence, and learn more about the business. Every time we had one of those conference calls I felt like I was about to die. I had headaches, dizziness, and stomach pains.

Once, he said to me that even when I was doing a terrific job balancing production lines and implementing productivity measuring tools, nobody knew who I was. He indicated that it was extremely important for me to network with the other managers. That suggestion caused me a lot of stress. I could not understand why I needed to talk to anyone else. I was doing my job well, production output was good, I was even implementing tools to measure production efficiency; so to me, this was mean and unnecessary. However, pushing myself to follow his recommendation helped me being promoted very quickly  to the first shift  and also to be considered for a new position as master production planner helping the company to successfully implement a plant-wide supply-chain system.

Like him, I’ve had many supervisors and colleagues who have provided mentoring advice. It has not been in a formal fashion where you meet purposely to discuss a working plan, yet it has been consciously done. It is very difficult to provide advice when none has been requested; however if you have the opportunity to mentor someone, do not let that opportunity pass. Mentoring is a two-way street and it benefits the mentor and the one mentored.

Here are some key points on how to become a mentor:

  1. Observe and Listen: Observing how people perform and what they say is a good way to identify potential in someone. Usually, people who are introverts also have great performance. These types of people usually associate success with end-results. What they don’t realize is the importance of verbal communication and networking. If you see someone like that, talk to that person. Ask about her/his interests. Let them know that if they need information or guidance, you are more than willing to help.
  2. Suggest extra-tasks: Most of the things that I have done in my professional life and that have been outside of my comfort zone, have been assigned to me as extraordinary tasks. I had no choice but to take on those responsibilities. My supervisors would say: “I need you to do this” or “you will be involved in or leading this project“.  They also highlighted that if I had questions or needed any support, not to hesitate to ask for it. They reinforced their confidence in my abilities to get the job done. Actually, one time, one of them said to me “I have more faith in you than you have in yourself. Go and get that job done!“. It was such an eye opener for me that I’ve never forgotten that moment.
  3. Performance reviews are a great tool to provide honest and well-intentioned feedback: Utilize performance reviews not only to go over end-results and new goals but also to discuss potential projects, areas of improvement, and how you can help that person make progress. You can also discuss and suggest other areas of work, lateral career moves, social activities, and potential professional organizations.

Being a mentor is a great privilege but also a huge responsibility. You can really have an impact on people’s careers. You can also an impact on the performance of the organization. I am convinced that employees feel more accountable and productive when they know and feel the organization cares about them.

I will always remember when I was a production supervisor and I had to convince people to work overtime. I always helped my employees on whatever they needed. I was always available to talk to them. Therefore, whenever the company needed them to work extra time, they always said that because I had been there for them, they were going to be there for me. I truly believe in leading by example.

As leaders, we need to have a commitment to continuous improvement. Sometimes we want the glamour of a job position and the money associated with it but we don’t want the greater purpose that goes with it.

Mentors are life-long friends, people that end up knowing you and being part of your success and your journey. My mentors are people that I truly feel grateful for and will forever be connected to.

Pass your knowledge to others. Teach and share your experiences. Connect with others on a deeper level. That’s part of being a leader. Go for it!