Author Archives: coronino

The Starbucks of Panaderias?

A new chain of Mexican bakeries has opened in Los Angeles which adds an “upscale” twist to the traditional Mexican “panaderias.” Some see this as the continued gentrification occurring in parts of East Los Angeles, particularly Boyle Heights. The owner of La Monraca disagrees:

Some persons said the first store’s interior and ambiance was “too fancy” and might turn off customers, Cervantes said. He found such remarks offensive and also took issue with those who viewed the expansion of a Latino firm as a symbol of selling out or unwanted gentrification. Cervantes said Latino and other customers have appreciated the stylish interiors as well as the classic conchas, cuernitos and other Mexican baked goods.

“Nobody likes something that’s run down,” Cervantes said. “We are deserving of the best – just like everybody else.”

Hey, if the concept works for upscale Latino beers that taste like horchata, why not? However, I do like my pan dulce and panaderias a little messy – not perfect. The loud hustle and bustle of panaderias is part of the experience for me. But more power to Mr. Cervantes and his new venture. Yelp scores seem to be very positive. I’ll visit one next time I’m in L.A. – but hope it’s better than this review – I do love my tortas!

Arriba, Arriba, and Away!

Graphic via ComicVine.com

I wasn’t much of a comic book reader as a kid but knew most classic super heroes. As the comic book industry grows leaps and bounds (pun intended), it’s nice to see that some very talented and creative Latino artists are taking diversity and inclusion to a much different level. Granted, some Latino super hero powers are still stereotyped, but hopefully this will change – not only because of Latino artists – but because of the market:

But times are changing as awareness grows that the high proportion of white men working in the comics industry is not reflective of the greater population and the potential readership market. The data crunching website FiveThirtyEight.com recently ran the numbers and found that while attendance at comic book conventions split fairly evenly between genders, only one in four comic book characters is female. Now, as the comics industry is trying to better reflect the market’s demographics, Latinos are slowly growing in influence.

The Base…It’s All About the Base

BuzzFeed News shines some light on how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has been all talk and no action in efforts to increase the participation of Latino-owned businesses in the expenditure proposal process.  According to BuzzFeed, a 2014 report revealed that only “1.7% of the $500 million the DNC spent on consulting went to businesses that are minority-owned or a minority principal.” Six months after the report, the DNC seems to be scrambling for explanations:

DNC spokesperson Rebecca Chalif said the meetings thus far have been to grow relationships for the future.

At the DNC we are always working to expand our relationships with minority owned businesses and will continue to look for new and innovative ways to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into the party,” she said in a statement. “We know that one of the Democratic Party’s greatest strength is our diversity and we work every day to ensure that the party’s business practices live up to our commitment to that principle.”

Weak. Very weak.

Diversity Initiatives: Speaking the Wrong Language

DiversityInc.

A factor that often gets overlooked in the discussion regarding diversity in organizations is how it impacts the “bottom line.”  While there is no shortage of companies “investing” in diversity initiatives, these efforts are either limited or negligible as compared to the missed market opportunities.  Additionally, they tend to focus on demographic numbers rather than economic impact or market realities. Given that so called diversity initiatives have been in place at most Fortune 500 organizations for at least two decades, the representation of Latinos, women, and other people of color in their workforce is dismal.

Consider these Latino economic factors: Latinos on average spend more money on a daily basis than the typical adult population in the United States, $96 vs. $90; the number of affluent Latino households, those earning over $100K, is growing; Latinos spend over $90 billion annually on groceries; Latinos will represent more than half of all new home buyers by 2020; and more than 83K, mostly tech savvy Latinos, will turn 18 each month during 2015. The list of statistics can go on and on.

The trouble with most diversity initiatives isn’t the goals – it’s the means. Diversity professionals aren’t speaking the right language – the language of business: profit, marketing, consumption, spending, demand, human capital, income, specialization, trade, and employment. Diversity programs need to be reframed to reflect the priorities of business.  Some organizations understand this reality and are adjusting to capture a changing market, others don’t know how.

Oops!

The U.S. Census projection for U.S. Latinos is just a bit off:

The Hispanic population is expected to reach about 106 million in 2050, about double what it is today, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population projections. But the new Hispanic population projection for 2050 is lower — by nearly 30 million — than earlier population projections published by the bureau.

Tech Companies’ “Super Minority” Problem

Microsoft released its diversity numbers yesterday, and they resemble those of other tech giants. Not pretty. I’ll have more to share on the tech industry’s diversity problem in a later post. In the meantime, pictures always speak louder than words.

Workforce Gender – 71% male:

Leadership – 83% male:

Workforce Diversity – Latinos 5%

(Graphic credit: Fortune Magazine)

Latino Market Growth and Opportunities

Jose Villa at the Engage Hispanics blog outlines eight trends impacting the Latino market in 2015 and beyond. An interesting list that shouldn’t be too surprising given the demographic, economic, and political changes we’ve seen over the last decade in the Latino population. Two of the eight trends focus on education, highlighting the increased representation of U.S. Latinos in “non-traditional” regions.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are 17 states where Latino children comprise at least 20% of the public school kindergarten population. Today’s kindergartners offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics – indicating a much more Hispanic population in states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. In states like California and Texas, Hispanics represent the majority of kindergartners.

Reality Check

Pew Hispanic Research reports that the U.S. born Latinos now account for the majority of Latino workers in the United States. The trend is expected to continue for a number of reasons:

It is likely that the share of the Latino workforce that is U.S. born will continue to increase. The U.S. born currently account for most of the growth in the Latino population, and it is uncertain that Latino migrants will return to the U.S. workforce in larger numbers. Some leading economists are of the view that the U.S. has entered a new era of slower economic growth. If so, jobs growth in the future may not be strong enough to reinvigorate immigration from Latin America. The future direction of U.S. immigration policy is also unknown. Finally, demographers have noted that sharp declines in birth rates in Mexico and other Latin American countries may ease the pressure to emigrate to the U.S. in the longer run.