Monthly Archives: August 2010

Latino Organizations Doing Excellent Work….

I wanted to bring your attention to a wonderful event happening in Atlanta on October 14th. The Hispanic Achievement & Business Leadership Awards (HABLA) is an annual luncheon recognizing the contributions and successes of Latino community leaders in corporate executive, civic-community, small-business and unsung hero categories.

This year’s keynote speaker, Cristina Benitez, is the author of one of my favorite books,”Latinization: How Latino Culture is Transforming the U.S.” Dr. Benitez’s book covers a number of topics including Hispanic talent and the Hispanic workforce. I referenced the book in my doctoral dissertation. Please also review the biographies of this year’s award recipients. Each is a leader in his or her respective category and serves as an inspiration for Latinos.

The event will also serve as an opportunity to award scholarships to some very deserving Latino students. Take note that scholarships are available for graduating high school seniors or current college freshmen or sophomores. You can find more scholarship information here.

 Great work HABLA and congratulations on a wonderful event!

Voicing Values in the Workplace

Mary Gentile, director of business curriculum at Babson College, discusses the topic of values in the workplace. An interesting video (via McKinsey) regarding ethics and today’s business environment. The video provides excellent advice to new college graduates as well as senior executives. The question becomes essentially, when is it a good time to be ethical? Professor Gentile provides some marvelous insights about ethical dilemmas and how to act on them. Enjoy!

Rankings Shmankings…

I’ve never been a big fan of college rankings. When I directed a couple of college recruiting departments years ago, it seemed I was always pressured by senior management to recruit at a “top-ten school” for no reason other than it was on a business magazine list. I’m not knocking these great schools, simply making the point that rankings shouldn’t be the foundation for a sound college recruiting strategy.  This article in USA Today articulates my point. Money line:

Rankings are not evil. Students and families need information. Four years of undergraduate education is not a trivial commitment. But the rankings game is on the verge of parodying itself. Worse, it threatens to drive strategic decisions on campuses in ways that have little to do with what should be important.


The Chronicle of Higher Education comes out with a similar article on rankings –  along with a detailed graphic. The article’s money line is here and well said:

Much of the emphasis is on “input measures” such as student selectivity, faculty-student ratio, and retention of freshmen. Except for graduation rates, almost no “outcome measures,” such as whether a student comes out prepared to succeed in the work force, are used.


An Innovative Approach to Economic Development

Having been involved in economic development initiatives many years ago for the City of El Paso, I realize how challenging it is to recruit new organizations into a community. Companies consider so many factors: city infrastructure, employment base, education, transporation, tax abatements, and many other things. Cities like San Antonio were very innovative years ago when they focused on creating economic development opportunities around specific industries like healthcare before it was on anyone’s radar. Now the medical industry is one of San Antonio’s largest employers. Today I came across another innovative idea – this one being driven by higher education to rebuild urban communities. Legislation in congress called the ” Urban University Renaissance Act of the 21st Century” focuses on helping rebuild neighborhoods in urban areas around the country. What a great idea. The law would award grants to institutions of higher education to establish and maintain community outreach partnership centers and expand existing community engagement activities that address urban problems.  What better way to rebuild communities than by investing in education?

8/31 – Update

St. Mary’s in San Antonio is already following this approach. Read how. h/t  @StMarysU

Meet an Impressive Group of Latino Leaders

In a teleconference yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet some very impressive Latino leaders in preparation for my participation in the Center for Hispanic Leadership Summit September 18th in Los Angeles. I’ll be participating on two panels, “The Power of Our Immigrant Perspective and Vision” and “The War for Talent in the Workplace.”

I’m excited to be part of this great event but more important, I’m more excited to meet an excellent group of Latino professionals who have dedicated their time and efforts to support the leadership development of Hispanic talent. When you have a chance, browse through of the impressive list of summit delegates attending the CHL Summit.

I hope to meet you there!

Menudo of Interesting Links!

Busy days with different projects and meetings this week — but a few things caught my eye today that I wanted to share around the topics of the Hispanic workforce/demographics, mentoring, and education. Enjoy!

UCLA Project Examining Latino Baby Boomers: I was speaking with a colleague earlier in the week regarding Hispanic population trends. We discussed how there’s been a lot of analysis on immigration, educational, and workforce related topics. We both agreed we’d start seeing more of the type of studies being conducted by Latinos and Econmic Security (LES) and UCLA. An excellent report which discusses the characteristics of Baby Boomer Latinos. A definite must read. Also browse around LES website to see the fine research work they do! You also might want to review the work of Dr. Fred Bonner who has written extensively on the learning attributes of Hispanic millennials.

Why Men Still Earn More than Women: Excellent piece by Harvard Business Magazine examining the reasons why men still earn more than women. The article was co-written by Herminia Ibarra one of my favorite researchers. I included a lot of her research in my doctoral work. Much of the article’s discussion centers on mentoring — which happens to be in line with my post a couple days ago. Check out the article and Google Dr. Ibarra’s work – she’s excellent at what she does.

Unlearning Teaching: Another great piece I found via Alastair Creelman, who works with net-based learning at Linnaeus University, Kalmar in south-east Sweden. He also writes the blog Corridor of Uncertainty. As an online instructor for over eight years now, I found his thoughts very much in line with what I attempt to do in my online classes. Alastair shares this entry from the original source, Will Richardson, “Learner in Chief” at Connective Learning:

“I think that’s one of the hardest shifts in thinking for teachers to make, the idea that they are no longer central to student learning simply because they are in the room. When learning value can be found in a billion different places, the teacher has to see herself as one of many nodes of learning, and she has to be willing to help students find, vet, and interact with those other nodes in ways that place value at the center of the interaction, meaning both ways. It’s not just enough to add those who bring value; we must create value in our networks as well.”

Lifelong Learning to Remain Viable

I’m passionate about education. I’ve been teaching online for a few colleges for nearly a decade now. I’m always inspired by students especially those that are single moms, career changers, and working adults. These students and others always remind me of how education needs to be a lifelong experience.  The New York Times has an excellent piece on the importance of continuing education. It profiles one Hispanic college student, too! The article provides a nice overview of how lifelong learning is imperative to remain viable in an work environment that is consistently changing. I’d encourage you to take a look when you have a chance. Great read.

Lift As You Climb

I’m often asked by Latino professionals what the ONE activity they can do to help increase the representation of Latino talent in leadership positions. Obviously, there are many things you and I could suggest. However, when it involves assisting Latino professionals, I always recommend mentoring. Thinking back to the start of my career, I found it challenging to find a mentor that understood my background and experiences. Given my non-traditional educational and career path, I probably wouldn’t have found anyone!

Aside from the counsel, support, and guidance, mentors can also lift as they climb.

Remember that mentoring doesn’t simply involve encouragement; it must also involve career (and leadership) development. Although some organizations have made diversity a priority, many have yet to strike a diverse balance at their senior-levels. There are many reasons for the lack of representation, one of which can be associated with mentoring. People that reach leadership positions are there in part because of a mentor: someone that’s “connected.” Research demonstrates that Hispanics and other minorities are not mentored as much as other groups. This is primarily due to the lack of diversity within senior-level positions. And so it goes – the continual loop.

So ask yourselves: have you created opportunities for Latinos? Have you made the effort to lift as you climb?

Random Thought on Career Segregation

Gender is often a factor by which we categorize all our experiences. It’s no surprise then it provides a basis by which we organize our lives, identity, behavior, and viewpoints. This process begins very early in our lives – just think of how many parents choose between pink and blue for a new child’s room. Naturally, all men and women do not have the same perspective, and using gender as a category doesn’t suggest concepts of equality. However, there are still social and cultural forces that compel men and women to follow their “role.” We see this in the workplace as well.

Gender schemas can often be associated with specific industries or functions. This type of conformity is still evident, even in careers women and men pursue (e.g. male/engineering & female/nursing). Despite years of study and research on career segregation, there is no single-factor that explains why this still happens. Clear, however, are the consequences: the continued undervaluation of women in the workplace.

New Normal: Domestic Globalization

For many years now we’ve heard the term ‘globalization’ tossed around in business environments. Frankly, I think it’s been overused to describe a future event that has already arrived. It’s here – a new type of normal. Globalization doesn’t only happen when an international transaction of some kind occurs, globalization can occur domestically – on a street corner or standing in line at the grocery store. Globalization happens when we meet someone whose culture is distinctly different than our own.  Culture embodies a global perspective regardless of where it occurs.

Interacting or working across cultures suggests that we have an ability to connect different world views. Possessing such a skill means that a person is able to understand and appreciate another’s perspective. When people are unable to do so, they become frustrated and irritated. Angry. Perhaps they blame others for not being reasonable or accommodating. People do so without recognizing that no one is to blame. People of different cultures might simply approach a particular issue differently.

Organizations need to appreciate this new reality. Many traditional management models and approaches do not fit this new era of domestic globalization. In order to function in it, organizations need to better understand cultural differences and how to work across them in their own businesses – locally. This is where globalization is actually occurring – within organizational walls.

Think of it this way. The cultural diversity found within U.S. organizations today didn’t exist a generation ago. Hence, culture exemplifies change. And it’s the type of change that will continue to reappear.