Monthly Archives: September 2013

Latino Leaders in Corporate America

Four thought leaders weigh in on the state of Latino leaders in the workforce. Excerpts below – full article here:

Phyllis Barajas, Founder and Executive Director of Conexión
One is the fact that the pipeline to upward mobility for Latinos is faulty. It is not only about being educated. It is also about the type of jobs performed and networks that Latinos become part of in the workplace.

 Juana Bordas, President of Mestiza Leadership International
Strategic thinking and the ability to analyze and synthesize information are key leadership functions that require objectivity. These actions often necessitate a mental separation from a problem or group. This can sometimes be difficult for Latinos because the culture is much more feeling and process oriented.

Darío Collado, Program Manager of the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI)
It is going to be very interesting to see exactly how the access to power through leadership positions will transform and influence the power structure in mainstream environment that is still to be realized.

Dr. Robert Rodriguez, President of DRR Advisors.
As more Latinos view their heritage as an asset, their leadership potential grows. Corporate Latino leadership development programs are also flourishing further accelerating the growth of Latino leaders.

Cultural Edgewalkers

National Geographic’s Racial Card Project highlights what we already know – we’re fast becoming a nation of mutts.

The six-word tales that have poured into the Race Card Project create a portal that allows us to dive beyond the surface into the deeply nuanced issues of racial ambiguity and cultural identity. They are by no means comprehensive. It is not possible to explain every facet of multiracial life. But the six-word stories present a broad mosaic that informs us in these times and will serve as an amazing archive in the future as we try to understand the years when America was steaming toward a majority-minority status.

Picture via NationalGeographic

More Bang for the College Buck?

Interesting trend shows that an increasing number of Latinos are using certification as an alternative educational strategy to enter the workforce faster and with better pay. A Georgetown Center on Education and Workforce report shows this strategy as an option for many low-income students who are not convinced a four-year college degree will pay off.

Certificates with economic value are cost-effective, partly because they are the quickest education and job training awards offered by American higher education. Certificates almost always take less than two years to complete, and more than half take less than one year. They also often pay off more than two-year degrees and sometimes pay off more than four-year degrees.

Show Me You Understand

Florida State student Karen Garza shares advice regarding Latino consumers; however, the same important advice should be understood by organizations targeting Latino talent:

The Hispanic consumer doesn’t want to buy from a company whose only goal is to sell a product, but wants a product that will enhance or add to their cultural identity. What sets the Hispanic market apart from non-Hispanics is that once companies prove themselves to their Latino consumer, they will get not only a happy customer, but a loyal one who is willing to tell others about a product.



Google for Entrepreneurs is supporting Latino tech start ups in a big way:

“Our mission with Google for Entrepreneurs is to grow entrepreneurial communities and equip them with the resources and technology they need to tackle big ideas and build great companies,” said Mary Grove, Director of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach at Google.”

It’s exactly what Google is doing in partnership with Manos Accelerator, a mentorship-driven program that provides education, resources and guidance for promising startup companies led by Latinos.

Building the Glass Ceiling

Fascinating article in the NYT this morning about Harvard’ Business School’s  “experiment” aimed at improving women performance and the college’s gender relations.  The case study addresses pay equity, faculty representation, and social dynamics. As one might guess, HBS faculty and successful alums are still white male dominated.

At the end of every semester, students gave professors teaching scores from a low of 1 to a high of 7, and some of the female junior faculty scores looked beyond redemption. More of the male professors arrived at Harvard after long careers, regaling students with real-life experiences. Because the pool of businesswomen was smaller, female professors were more likely to be academics, and students saw female stars as exceptions.

Graphic via NYT


A Growing Global Achievement Gap

While cities and regions in U.S. are confronting their own academic achievement gaps, this issue is having a global impact. While more kids around the world are attending primary schools, many are not demonstrating basic reading or writing skills. The issue has ripple effects starting from elementary to higher education – and ultimately the workforce. Consider Liberia:

And, sadly, Liberia’s woes are hardly unique. Around the developing world, hundreds of millions of students are learning only a fraction of what the syllabuses suggest they should, and often they leave school without even a basic grasp of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Unaddressed, the global learning challenge is likely to become a serious drag on worldwide growth.


Identifying the Leaks

I’ve written about the Latino education “pipeline,” particularly the leaky points from college enrollment to graduation. Three new reports again highlight the educational leaks, however, this time from a broader view.

According to the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, by 2040 Latinos will comprise a large chunk of elementary and high school students.

(Graphic via Washington Post)

An increasing number of these Latino students are heading to college. As compared to other population groups, Latino college enrollments are surging. According to this recent Census report:

Hispanics didn’t follow the trend, as the number enrolled in college grew by 447,000 from 2011 to 2012. Meanwhile, non-Hispanic white enrollment declined by 1.1 million and black enrollment by 108,000. From 2006 to 2012, the percentage of all college students who were Hispanic rose from 11 percent to 17 percent.

Great news, right? Well, yes and no. It’s exciting to see more Latinos heading to college, the problem is getting them to graduate. According to FactTank:

But despite these gains, the share of Latino adults nationally that have a bachelor’s degree, 13.4%, remains significantly below that of whites (31.8%), Asians (50.3%) and blacks (18.7%).

We know where the leaks are – let’s fix them.