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Starting the New Year in Harmony

By Marisa Rivera.

I am very proud of my Latina colleagues who work in Corporate America. It is a highly competitive and coveted position that very few manage to navigate and succeed in. According to the 2016 HACER report, only four percent of all executive positions are held by Hispanics in Corporate America and Latinas make up only one percent of the executive ranks. With those numbers, Corporate America is missing out an enormous competitive advantage at reaching out to the largest growing market. Today, the Hispanic population of the United States constitutes 57 million or 17.6 percent of the nation’s total population, making them the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016).

For those who are working in Corporate America, I take this time to remind you that you are in a very privileged and advantageous position. More so than most Latinos, at least financially. The median income of Hispanic households in 2016 was $45,150 (Income & Poverty in the U.S.: 2015, U.S. Census Bureau). This is much less than what Latinos are making in Corporate positions. It is important that we never forget where we come from and I often think back on a quote from President Kennedy, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.”

For those Latinas/os who are working in corporate jobs, I would like to urge you to think in the many ways you can serve and give back to your community. Here are several ways in which you can influence service while working in Corporate America:

  • Show the Ropes to Others: Mentor others at your company and outside the company to prepare them to be successful in a corporate environment.

  • Introduce Volunteer Opportunities at Work: cleaning neighborhoods, racing or running for the cure- cancer, diabetes, etc., reading at local schools, working in soup kitchens or pantries. The list could go on and on! Your presence will set an example.

  • Belong or Develop Employee Resource Groups: Not only participate in them, but take on leadership positions to bring much necessary changes in the company.

  • Speak-up: As the strength of the Hispanic consumer continues to grow, educate corporate America on key competitive advantages and essential market growth opportunities.

  • Hire Latina and Latino interns to work and experience what it is like to work in Corporate America and prepare them for a successful career.

  • Many Corporations have Foundation Funding. Advocate internally on causes that are dear to your heart and help non-profits and worthwhile causes know the process on how to apply.

  • Donate from your own Pocket. There are many ways you can donate. You can donate time, treasures, money or talent.

  • Run for Board and Commission seats: Your presence, your business skills and your experience could greatly benefit boards in our communities.

  • Work with our Youth: Volunteer as a coach, teacher, or teach a skill you know to our youth, they desperately need to hear from you.

  • Organize brown bag lunches at your work and bring speakers that will help you challenge the status quo and built the case for diversity and inclusion within.

  • Organize tours to your corporate facilities or host activities at your company, so others can have a taste of what it could be and for the company get used to seeing more Hispanics at their premises.

  • And last, but not least, never forget where you came from. Be proud of who you are, and celebrate your Latinaness every day. Go out there and serve with a servant heart.

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant.

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