Monthly Archives: September 2010

Intangibles – Lessons in Business

Despite having a doctorate in management, there’s still so much I need to learn about business. Today I learned this lesson the hard way – and unfortunately it cost me, big time. The details aren’t important. What is important is this.

Who is your confidant? Who is your go to person when it hits the fan? Fortunately for me, someone that I respect very much put things in perspective for me. And although I’m still licking my wounds a bit this evening, it’s great to know I have an ally, a mentor, – a friend who can provide that support when I need it. 

These are the “intangibles of growing a business”, and they’re  a valuable asset to have in your business and especially your  life.

Why the CHL Leadership Summit Matters

Next week I’ll be attending the Center for Hispanic Leadership (CHL) Leadership Summit in Los Angeles. I’m honored to be a participant on two panels.

The CHL Summit arrives at a critical time. It seems to me we are searching for a new kind of leadership. Why? Because leadership in the 21st century can no longer rest on the idea that leadership exists in an individual. Leadership resides within everyone. Its development is holistic – centered in heart, mind, passion, and energy.

The upcoming CHL Summit is based on the concept that leadership is the driving force of innovation; where inclusivity is key and engaging a wider social environment is essential. Leadership can no longer be a dominant/passive role between leaders and followers.  It’s a shared relationship where collaboration helps achieve higher-level outcomes focused on transforming conventional strategies.

This event is important because leaders must possess a deep and diverse basket of competencies to meet a business environment characterized by the “new normal”  – a business environment where economic resiliency is based on global connectedness and is driven by new knowledge using diverse thinking.

I think we’ve entered a new participatory leadership paradigm. One in which each member is trusted, respected and empowered. It’s based on the collaboration between individuals and where the leadership role can shift from person to person. It’s a new paradigm where success is dependent on one’s ability to harness the diversity of the group to develop a community, which can achieve at a higher level than the sum of the individuals.

Leadership like innovation arises collectively.

Latino Leadership: Capturing the #LATISM Perspective

LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) sponsored a great discussion via Twitter on Hispanic Leadership. I adjusted my “Live Blogging” feature via CoverItLive to cut down on the repetitive tweets and focus on the key themes as the discussion progresses. I’ve also added my thoughts and observations. Enjoy!

Click Here to Access the Archive

My thoughts can be found after the jump… Continue reading

Cultural Teams at Luxottica North America

Luxottica Retail North America sponsored a professional networking event yesterday focused on multiculturalism and diversity. The company provided us with an overview of its business, the One Sight Foundation, and diversity efforts. An impressive global organization that incorporates inclusion and diversity into its organizational culture. Very impressive. The event was organized by Luxottica’s Multicultural Team – made up of employees of incredibly diverse backgrounds and disciplines.

Interestingly, employees can participate in ANY cultural group they choose. I sat next to a woman of Latino descent that participated in the Chinese-American group!

Below is a short clip with Alicia Tidwell, Culture Team Manager, explaining the importance of diversity and cultural teams at Luxottica. Enjoy!

What are Words For…

I grew up in the 1980’s listening to a lot of New Wave music – I was even a part-time DJ, great job!  A favorite group of mine at the time was Missing Persons – a classic New Wave group. One of the band’s songs streamed on my laptop today as I was working, “Words” – I’m sure you’ve heard it.

It’s funny how a song can stop you in your tracks and get you thinking about what’s going on. The lyrics of Words got me thinking about the numerous issues and problems we all face today. Many are incredibly complex and need answers, quickly.  However, it seems today we communicate in sound bites and rhetoric rather than sincere, honest, and respectful discussions.  It seems at times everyone is talking but no one is willing to listen. I find this bit of lyrics, and frankly the rest of the song,  appropriate for today’s environment:

Something has to happen to change the direction
What little filters through is giving you the wrong impression
It’s a sorry state I say to myself

At a time when many sit stupefied and traumatized by the rhetoric around them, let’s not forget that words can provide powerful answers to those who listen and to those who speak.

Update 9/9/2010: Maria Hinojosa hits the nail on the head via this insightul and thoughtful discussion.

Paying for Experience

A growing number of college students are graduating with one or possibly two internships under their belt. As the employment market becomes increasingly competitive, particularly in this economic environment, students are going to great lengths to gain meaningful experience before they graduate. Aside from the experience, internships provide students the ability to foster all-important relationships and mentoring opportunities which can pay off later in their careers. These and other benefits are so important that many students are paying for the opportunity to gain experience.

This article in the Washington Post provides an overview of the growing number of firms charging students thousands of dollars for an internship opportunity (the cost might also cover housing, meals, career advice, etc.). Ironically, some of these internships are unpaid. You can probably imagine the debate over such pursuits. Many on the career center side suggest this undermines a student’s capacity to develop strong career search skills – the very kind they’ll need later in their careers. Not to mention, career centers already offer these services to students, paid usually through student service fees.  

I’ve been following this trend for a while now. Browsing through a few students’ Facebook pages recently, I found they were very satisfied with the services, especially at a time when organizations are cutting back on their internship opportunities. Others comment that these firms are undermining equal opportunity, especially for students that can’t afford to pay for these services. Are we creating a new class of leaders  – or elites?

 You be the judge.

Experience the Journey: Follow Feminista PhD

Obtaining a terminal degree (doctorate, PhD, etc. )  is not easy. It’s not easy even under the best conditions; meaning that’s all you’re doing. Working on my doctorate from 2005-2009 was incredibly challenging given that I was working, a stay-at-home dad, and teaching. However, I wouldn’t change one experience. I had the honor of meeting and working with some extraordinary people.

If you want a front row seat about how much work it takes, I’d encourage you to visit Veronica Arreola at  Feminista PhD. I’ve not had a chance to meet her, however, we tweeted a few times during the Latism/NSHMBA party last week.  She can found via Twitter at @veronicaeye . Veronica describes herself as “a mom, married and will continue to work full-time as director of a program for women majoring in science, engineering and math…” while completing her PhD.  Keep in mind that all of these are full-time commitments. Incredible, no? 

I’ll be following and supporting Veronica’s efforts – I hope you will too.

A Labor of Love

As we enter the Labor Day weekend, I wanted to send thanks to all of you that visit HTM.

I’ve had conversations with many of you and shared how this blog has evolved into more than I ever expected. It’s become a conduit to meeting an ever-growing number of creative, intelligent, and driven people that share many of my passions – all in different industries and disciplines. I appreciate each one of you. 

We live in a world where there’s a growing need for innovation, and I think this can only be done by learning from one another. New perspectives. It’s what all of you have given me. Whereas learning was once seen as an individual endeavor, I realize (as an educator, researcher, and now a blogger) that learning also comes from interactions with people of diverse networks. Diverse thinking.  I also think learning comes increasingly from social interactions, debate, and dialogue.

As a result of HTM and my interactions with you, I think we’ve helped spawn new insights, different ways of solving problems, and new approaches to old issues. I understand that trust and reciprocity are key factors in allowing this to occur – and for that – I’m grateful!  

Thank you for letting my efforts here be a labor of love.  Happy Labor Day!

Capturing the Dialogue – LATISM/NSHMBA

I tried a bit of an experiment last night “Live Blogging” the  LATISM/NSHMBA get together on Twitter. The discussion covered a number of topics regarding the Hispanic workforce, education, and other areas.  

I captured tweets from the participants as well as my thoughts (incorporated into the stream as observations). I attempted to incorporate broader themes and perspectives via CoverItLive …. this is my first time using the software so there was some  slips along the way! I’m hoping the captured dialogue and content will serve as a resource for you after the event. 

Click Here to Open Discussion Window

A summary of my observations can be found after the jump below. Continue reading

Life Lessons: Respecting Hard Work

Yesterday an article by Ruben Navarrette regarding “hard work” reminded me of an important lesson I learned long ago. Please read it – it’s wonderful. It’s a lesson that keeps me grounded in what has already been a fortunate life and career.

I started working when I was about seven. Now before you go and contact someone regarding child labor laws, keep in mind this was back in the late 1960’s, and I was working at my elementary school.  At the time, I attended a small Catholic school in Los Angeles along with four other siblings. With three more sisters at a Catholic high school, paying tuition for all of us was always a challenge for my parents. When meeting monthly tuition bills was difficult, the nuns managing the school would come up with creative ways to “balance the books.”

In some instances, it meant my older brother and I would come in early on Saturday mornings to do some school cleaning: washing blackboards, dusting erasers, vacuuming rooms, and mopping hallways. My brother and I had a wonderful time doing it. Not only did we get to run in the hallways (always forbidden), listen to rock music, and invade the cafeteria’s food bank, we took a lot of pride in knowing that we were somehow contributing towards our education. Although we never revealed what we did to other kids in the school, we earned the respect of our teachers because of our work.

Years later as a sophomore in high school, a friend told me that a factory up the street was looking for a couple of students to do some part-time work. Again, mostly maintenance work including scrubbing down the factory floor bathrooms (yes, not fun). Some of the money went in my pocket, some towards paying for high school and the rest for gas money (I had a cool 1964 Ford Ranchero– a classic!).

I never felt embarrassed or regretful in taking on these jobs. I didn’t “miss out” on a regular childhood either.  In fact, these jobs and others growing up probably kept me out of trouble as a teenager – thankfully.  The experiences instilled a strong work ethic. Resilience. Self-respect.

Most important, it implanted in me the belief that anyone doing an honest days work, no matter what it is, deserves my respect.