Monthly Archives: August 2010

Speaking of Leadership…

I’m honored and excited to have been asked to be part of  leadership summit sponsored by the Center for Hispanic Leadership.

The Summit entitled, Embracing Innovation Through Diversity, will take place September 18th in Los Angeles.

The Summit will explore the role of Hispanic professionals and diversity at-large, as well as its impact and influence on propelling innovation in the workplace. By examining the evolving landscape of business, society and the trends that now define the “new normal” – attendees will learn about the new types of leadership opportunities for Hispanic professionals and multicultural groups at-large.

The list of delegates thus far is impressive coming from various industries, backgrounds, and experiences. I’ll be writing more about the event over the next few weeks leading up to it.

Reaching Hispanic Talent: Broad vs Deep

In talking with some organizations about Hispanic recruitment, I’m not surprised by their common response: that is, their current recruitment strategies also encompass reaching Hispanic talent on campus. Participation in Hispanic-related campus activities is a start but certainly doesn’t formulate an effective Hispanic recruitment strategy. Including Hispanic recruitment strategies as an appendage to a wider strategy is not effective.

Such a strategy is broad but not very deep.

It’s not just about modifying recruitment literature either. Reaching Hispanic talent is about making a long-term incremental investment. It’s about moving resources from general to focused strategies. It’s about understanding culture, values, beliefs, lifestyles, and experiences. Organizations that make this adjustment are really able to ‘communicate and reach’ the growing Hispanic talent base.

Indeed, reaching Hispanic talent is more than just about getting your feet wet  – it’s about diving in.

Hispanic Talent: The Future is Now

Earlier today, I had a chance to watch the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ (RMHC)/HACER college scholarship recipient webcast. The RMHC/HACER partnership awards $100,000 to fulfill the college dreams of Hispanic college students. This year marks 25th Anniversary of the RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program.

I was truly inspired by the accomplishments of these young Latino leaders. Many are now in college studying economics, biology, and the arts. While each of these students are deserving of a scholarship for academic achievements, it’s also worth noting that all of them give back to their community. As one recipient aptly noted, “It’s up to us to change the world.”

Despite numerous barriers, at times posed by some in their own family, these scholarship recipients shared how they overcame challenges by believing in themselves and with the support of their colleges and mentors; a critical aspect of successful Hispanic college students. The program did an excellent job of having recipients share their experiences in getting ready for college: SATs, admissions, scholarships, and developing relationships. If the recorded webcast is available, I’ll upload the link. Truly worth watching.

More information about the RMHC and HACR Scholarship for 2011 can be found here.

Focus on Hispanic Interns: Always Be Retaining

We’re right in the middle of Summer and interns have hopefully made themselves at home. All the resources put into developing an internship program are meant to find and retain full-time hires. The year-long efforts put into reviewing resumes, visiting key colleges, conducting interviews, and coordinating internship-related activities have led to this point in the recruitment process. Both students and employers are now turning their attention to the next important phase of this process – evaluation. Students are starting to discern the organization’s culture, evaluate career opportunities, understand department functions, and determine a possible fit. Employers are starting to identify top performers, assessing intern skills, and obtaining feedback from intern supervisors. Employers are also employing an old sales industry adage – Always Be Closing or ABC. From a recruitment context, this might be changed to mean ‘ABR’ or Always Be Retaining.

From a Hispanic perspective, ABR means concentrating on retention factors that are particularly important to Hispanic interns. As you enter this phase of your internship program, assure the following elements are present to increase the likelihood that Hispanic interns are converted to full-time hires.

Mentoring: By far, the most important factor in helping retain future Hispanic employees is to provide an effective mentoring and support program. If at all possible, match Hispanic interns with Hispanic professionals to make the most of this strategy.

Collaboration: Hispanics are extremely loyal once they are part of an organization or team. Assure that your Hispanic interns are indeed part of a team and not working alone. Make adjustments if your intern is working alone and find a way to add collaborative opportunities to their work assignment.

Career Watchers: Appoint “career watchers,” preferably senior-level leaders, who monitor and track Hispanic intern progress (projects, development, etc.). Encourage these individuals to check in with interns routinely.

Significance: Hispanics genuinely embrace the opportunity to “test” their abilities and skills. Assure projects assigned to Hispanic interns are substantial in nature and not simply ‘busy work.’  

Showcase Diversity: Offer Hispanic interns the opportunity to attend workshops, seminars, or round tables that allow them to see your organization’s commitment to diversity. Showcase genuine Hispanic leaders and allow them to facilitate these sessions.

Networking: Provide peer networking opportunities that focus on developing skills, confidence, and professional contact opportunities. Hispanic interns want the chance to build informal communities with other employees.

What's Valuable to You?

I love history. I enjoy reading history. It’s why I take the time to stop and read the inscriptions on monuments. It’s why I read the plaques in historical districts. And it’s why I love to vacation in New England. Most of all, I enjoy “seeing and touching” history. I have an interest in old things made new through restoration: cars, tools, machines, and gadgets. As a budding (amateur) photographer, one of my prized possessions is a 1931 Voigtlander camera built in Germany. Although it’s nearly 80 years old, the camera is still able to take beautiful black and white pictures. A few weeks ago, my kids’ great grandmother gave me another unique gift, a 1922 Remington typewriter, which belonged to her husband. Cloaked in dust and muck for over 40 years, I spent the last few weeks cleaning and restoring the old machine not expecting it to type another letter. I was ecstatic when my son, the great grandson of the original owner, was able to write a few sentences on it.

Today money and prestige is often associated with value. Something of ‘value’ is often regarded as something that’s desired – the degree to which something is useful or is of usefulness. While my old camera and typewriter are no longer useful by today’s standards, they still provide value of another kind – one beyond they’re original purpose. They’ve transcended, at least for me, into things that are beautiful and pleasing. Two examples of paradigms changed. When value is based on the concept of usefulness, we essentially set an expiration date on something, and sometimes someone, without regard to the possibility, aptitude, or promise that can still be found within.