Page 1

April/May/June 2012 Vol. 5, No. 19

International Chameleons



Global players reveal why being bicultural pays off

Corporate Counsel Meet the secret weapons behind some of today’s most powerful companies


Setter Traveling the world is all in a day’s work for Whirlpool’s top Latino executive, Alejandro Quiroz p.148

April/May/June 2012



COVINGTON From our offices in the

US, Europe, and Asia, we practice as one firm, holding closely to core values that start with a deep commitment to our clients and the quality of our work on their behalf. Our lawyers are

recognized nationally and internationally


for their legal skills and the depth of their expertise. Their diversity strengthens our ability to evaluate issues confronting our clients and to communicate effectively.


And because




Hispanic Executive

every client is a client of the firm, not of any specific lawyer, every client has the ability to call on any of our lawyers as needed.



NBCUniversal Media, LLC’s Nestor Barrero always had a knack for teamwork. “My personality was more collaborative,” Barrero explains. “An in-house environment offered the chance to get to know a business very well and become a partner to management at all stages of a particular matter.” p.65

C OR P ORATE C HAM P I ONS As comfortable in the boardroom as they are in the courtroom, meet the legal heavyweights representing some of today’s most powerful companies. In the face of heightened scrutiny, competition, and constant change, this group of in-house counsel is charged with minding the legalities and the bottom line. Beyond legal advisors, these 10 “corporate champions” view themselves as business partners—and as such, they’re in a class of their own.


i n t e r n at i o n a l chamelions

hispanic executive

We sit down with four global players from the US Department of State, IBM, Accenture, and Molex to discuss how their bicultural backgrounds give them a competitive edge in today’s increasingly interdependent world.

April/May/June 2012

INTERNATIONAL CHAMELEONS Global players reveal why being bicultural pays off

*SPOTLIGHT where business meets culture

Corporate Counsel Meet the secret weapons behind some of today’s most powerful companies

April/May/June 2012 -Vol. 5, N0. 19

on t he o c ver


SETTER Traveling the world is all in a day’s work for Whirlpool’s top Latino executive, Alejandro Quiroz p.148


April/May/June 2012

On any given day, jet setter Alejandro Quiroz, vice president of global advanced manufacturing for Whirlpool Corporation, could be anywhere from India to Poland to the middle of the Amazon. The Mexico native takes us on a wild ride through his fast-paced job for the home-appliances giant, where no day is ever the same. Find out why Whirlpool’s top Latino executive says this global position is his dream job on p.148. Photo: Helen Ledgard

1/20/12 12:05 PM


In this issue 9

Negocios Getting down to business



Philadelphia p. 10


Next Generation

Vivianna Coello-Wilson p. 14



Liz Palacios p. 20



Oscar Madrid p. 36


Stepping Stones

Adolph Galindo p. 46


Cultura Beyond the 9 to 5


Arts & Entertainment

Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez p. 95


Family Heritage

Alfredo Flores Jr. p. 108


Community Impact

Yvonne Garcia p. 144


World View

Suzette Recinos p. 158


Voces Conversations with movers & shakers



Sean Reyes p. 168



Cristobal Rivera p. 212



Rosanna Durruthy p. 282



Cesar L. Alvarez p. 290

Brian Solis, featured in Issue 1, 2012’s cover story (“Follow the Leaders,” p. 64) was no longer with FutureWorks at the time that issue went to print. He has been a principal at Altimeter Group since March 2011.



Hispanic Executive


Who’s Who Name dropping with Hispanic Executive people & companies

g h i

a b c

A.C. Advisory, Inc. 181 Accenture 88 Adobe Systems Inc. 86 ADS Seafood and Sea Delight 112 Ageenko, Ilieva 236 Alamo Music Center 108 ALPFA 144 Alvarado, Ron 26 Amaro, Gerard 277 AMC Entertainment Inc. 95 Amylin 264 Arellanes, Brian 275 Atlantis Packaging 130 Avila, Edward 24 Avon Products, Inc. 80 Bancomer Transfer Services 207 Bank of America 236 Barnes-Euresti, Norma 56 Barrero, Nestor 65 Barroso, Blanca Acosta


BBVA Bancomer USA Benitez, Jorge Boffa, Diana Bristol-Myers Squibb Cabello, David Cabrera, Ivonne Cabrera, Mike Caterpillar Inc. Cepeda, Adela Cervantes, Pedro Chavez, Miguel Chevron Corporation Cigna Corsair Components

207 89 108 188 280 172 118 77 181 257 125 83 282 259

d e f

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 220 DeJesús Jr., Pedro 248 Delta Scale, Inc. 46 Donoso, Raquel 138 Durruthy, Rosanna 282 E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) 286 eBay, Inc. 69 Eisai Inc. 164 El Rey Mexican Products Inc. 114 Equipco Manufacturing, Inc. 122 Escudero, Iñaki 261 Estrella, Rosa 164 eTAGZ 168 Feldman, Fox & Morgado, PA 197 Feliciano, Julia 264 Fernandez, Jose W. 88 Fernandez, Varsovia

Fi-Med Management, Inc. Fleches, Henry Flores Jr., Alfredo Flores Sr., Alfredo Flores, Adriana

Fox Networks Group Franchini, Indrani

April/May/June 2012

11 270 277 108 108 108 216 73

Galindo, Adolph Garcia Construction Group Garcia Jr., Ernesto Garcia, Charlie Garcia, LaKisha Garcia, Yvonne

p q r


Paez, Luis Palacios, Liz Pardo, Claudia


Partner’s Produce, Inc.


Peralta, Jorge Perez, Marc

46 184


GE Capital Aviation Services 252 GenQuest, Inc. 272 Giron-Gordon, Terri 272 GlobalWorks Group 261 Goldberg Weisman Cairo 141 Gonzalez-Sanabria, Olga 199 Gonzalez, Frederick 259 Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 11 Guerra, Nelson 28 Guerrero, Juan 266 Gutiérrez, Horacio 60 Hanna, George 202 Home Box Office, Inc. 31 Hyatt Hotels Corporation 240 IBM 88 Intel Corp. 227 Intersil 24 Ionnou, Sofia 106 Isabella Foods 28 ITSource Technology 275 j k l Jaime, Jim Jimenez, Freddy

132 244

Johnson & Johnson 244 Kellogg Company 56 Knowles Electronics 172 Krause, Christine 270 Latino Community Foundation 138 Levy, Guillermo


Liz Palacios Designs


Lopez, Gerardo “Gerry”


m n o

Madrid Engineering Group, Inc. 254 Madrid, Larry 254 Madrid, Oscar 36 Marr, Zachary 108 Martinez, Lucinda 31 MasterCard Worldwide 225 Mateo-Harris, Gray


McDonald’s 39 Menper Distributors Inc. 127 Michigan Pipe & Valve–Saginaw 132 Microsoft Corporation 60 MillerCoors LLC 212 MJA Cooling, Inc. 125 Molex 88 Montoya, Joseph E. 39 Morgado, Dale 197 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 199 NBCUniversal Media, LLC 65 Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP 191 Novus Staffing Solutions 26 Office Depot 266

Perry Ellis International, Inc. Pfizer Inc. Pitney Bowes Inc. Prego, Mayda ProVen Management Quintano, Laura Quiroz, Alejandro Ramirez, Joe Recinos, Suzette Reyes, Sean Rivera, Cristobal Rodriguez, Ana Rodriguez, George Rodriguez, Nesha Rodriguez, Raul Rodriguez, Rick Rosales, Arabel Alva Ruderman, Natalia Maria

234 20 161 16 179 127 234 73 158 83 154 80 148 86 158 168 212 89 16 130 141 130 102 88

s t u Sanchez-Lindsay, Adriana Santiago, Susan Solis, Perfecto M.


Sony Pictures Television


Stable, Nicolas Perez


112 220

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. 42 Tampico Beverages, Inc. 248 Teran, Claudia 216 The Nielsen Company 161 Tollison, Thomas Felix 53 Torpoco, Edward 69 Torres, Joe 176 Trison Services, Inc. 176 Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law 257 Tristan, Homero 257 Tucker, Tammy Truxillo 194 U-Haul International, Inc. 53 Unilever 230 United Building Maintenance, Inc. 118 United Data Technologies 277 UNO 134 US Department of State 88 Utreras, Celia Meza 49 v w x y z Vallejo, Hector Varela, Alan Veciana-Muiño, Sira Velasquez, Adrian Vélez-Silva, José

42 154 209 270 261

Verizon Communications Inc. 36 Viacom International Media Networks 106 Vilarin, Luis Felipe 188 Villarreal, Olivia Vizcarra, Joseph

114 230

Warnock, Thomas 286 Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield 202 WellPoint, Inc. 194 Whirlpool Corporation 148 Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri LLP 280 World Ground, Inc. 179 Yrun-Ostapuk, Benjamin 227


360Facility 120 A.C. Advisory, Inc. 175 Accenture 237, 238 Acedo Santamarina 160 Adecco 162 Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. 133 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP 72, 76 245 Alston & Bird LLP 285 Amegy Bank 281 Arent Fox 175 Arnold & Porter LLP 187 Atlantis Packaging 129 avVenta 226 Basilico, Santurio & Andrada 210 Bingham McHale LLP 187 Blakely Sokoloff Taylor Zafman LLP 260 BMO Harris Bank 182, 183 Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP 288 Bristol-Myers Squibb 190 Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP 63 CAGE Inc. 219 Cal Pacific Specialty Foods 124 Cardinal Logistics Management 267, 268 Caterpillar Inc. 76 Chadbourne & Parke LLP 163, 165, 171 Chelar Tool & Die 150 Chicago Latino Film Festival 292 Christie Digital 94 Cigna 284 Clifford Chance LLP 254 CNN 34 Cocina Poblana 137 COMPA Industries, Inc. 273 Cooley LLP 68 Covinton & Burling LLP 2, 62 CP&Y, Inc. 222 Del Rey Marketing 231, 232 Deutsche Bank 183, 182, 193 Dura Mold Inc. 147 Dykema 174 Eagle Press & Equipment Co. Ltd. 147, 152 Eckhoff Accountancy Corporation 274 Eclipse Marketing Services, Inc. 32 Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge UK LLP 160



Who’s Who Eisai 165 Endicott Interconnect Technologies, Inc. 64 Entertainment Properties Trust 98 Equipco Manufacturing, Inc. 124 Eric F. Greenberg P.C. 247 Expomar - Frumar 111 Feldman, Fox & Morgado, P.A. 196 Fender 111 Fifth Third Bank 186 Fish and Richardson 229 Fortessa 239 Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz 81 Fried Frank 247 Gallagher Construction Services 153 Garnier-Thiebaut 243 GE Capital 251 General Growth Properties, Inc. 100 Global Works 263 Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP 63 Goya Foods, Inc. 115 Greenberg Traurig, LLP 58, 59, 218 Hazen Transport Group, Inc. 269 Heffernan Insurance Brokers 137, 140 Hirsch & Westheimer P.C. 206 Hogan Lovells 263 Instant Care Medical Group 140 Intersil 23 Isabella Foods 29 IT Source Technologies 276 Ivener & Fullmer LLP 66 J Bar Brand 241 Jacobs 222 Jesta I.S. Inc. 233 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 66 Kaye Scholer LLP 74 Kirkland & Ellis LLP 204, 228 La Preferida 23, 38 Lapidus & Lapidus, P.L.C. 55 Larson • King, LLP 52 Latham & Watkins LLP 86 Latin Alternative Music Conference 92 LEMCO Construction Services 223 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company 143 Littler Mendelson 57, 58 Liz Palacios Design 19 Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP 52 Lopez Negrete Communications 37, 38 Madrid Engineering 256 Mantz Automation, Inc. 147 Mazursky Constantine LLC 201 McCann Erickson 223 McGuire Woods LLP 55 Menper Distributors, Inc. 128 Mid America Bank 269 MillerCoors LLC 215


Hispanic Executive

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 74, 76 Morris James 288 MT Technology 274 NBCUniversal Media, LLC 64 Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP 193 Nyemaster Goode, P.C. 206 Ogletree Deakins 66 Parsons Corporation 225 Paul Hastings LLP 81 Perkins Coie LLP 228 Perry Ellis International, Inc. 235 Philips 101 Phillips Lytle LLP 289 Pia Anderson Dorius Reynard & Moss, LLC 170 Pitney Bowes Inc. 157 Popular Community Bank 121 Premium Steel Sales 121 PrōVen Management 156 QinetiQ 201 Rafles Transportation 142 Revoluction 34 Ringo 27 Rivero Mestre LLP 85 Ropes & Gray LLP 245 Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc. 182 Sattell, Johnson, Appel & Co, S.C 269 Seitlin 278 Seyfarth Shaw LLP 250 Sidley Austin LLP 61, 246 SJI Associates 30 Smart Candle, LLC 243 SNR Denton 247 Sony Electronics Inc. 100 Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. 211 Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC 291 Spring USA 241 Standard Tool & Die, Inc. 153 Stanley Black & Decker 43 Sunron International LLC 146, 152 TechInsurance 274, 276 The Coca-Cola Company 96 The Nielsen Company 160 Total Electric Inc. 19 TransFresh Corporation 124, 126 Trison Services, Inc. 178 Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law 256 UBM Facility Services, Inc. 120 Utreras Law Offices 50 Verizon Communications Inc. 35 Vistar 98 Watson Insurance 48 Webb-Stiles Company 153 Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP 253 WMF Americas Group 241 Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri, L.L.P. 279 World Ground 178



Editor-in-Chief Christopher Howe

Director of Strategic Partnerships George Bozonelos

Managing Editor Kathy Kantorski Features Editor Darhiana Mateo Copy Editor Cyndi Loza Correspondents Thalia A-M Bruehl, Cristina Adams, Chris Allsop, Matt Alderton, Ashley Cisneros Ruth E. Dávila, Sally Deering Tricia Despres, Julie Edwards Chuck Green, Jeff Hampton Javacia Harris Bowser, Kelly Hayes, Jennifer Hogeland, Keith Loria, Aaron Mays Trenna Nees, Zipporah Porton, Seth Putnam, Suchi Rudra, Lynn Russo Whylly Ovetta Sampson, Jennifer Samuels, Julie Schaeffer Kaleena Thompson Tina Vasquez

Associate Director of Marketing Jeff Powell Editorial Research Managers Anthony D’Amico Carolyn Marx Editorial Research Coordinator Adam Castillo Editorial Researchers Vianni Busquets Pablo Soto

Publishing Guerrero Howe, LLC President Pedro Guerrero CEO & Publisher Christopher Howe

Art Creative Director Karin Bolliger Senior Designer Jessica Henry Designer Aaron Lewis Photo Editors Samantha Simmons Sheila Barabad

Office 205 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 3200 Chicago, IL 60601

Subscriptions For a free subscription, please visit Hispanic Executive® is a registered trademark of Guerrero Howe, LLC Reprints For reprint information, contact Stacy Kraft at 312-256-8460 or e-mail Printed in South Korea. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of Guerrero Howe, LLC.

Editor’s Note Advertising Director of Sales Titus Dawson

Size Matters

Assistant Director Of Sales Krista Lane Williams

Sales Representatives James R. Ainscough Emily Boyd Becky Cattie Logan Distefano Benjamin Fongers Matthew Hardy Michelle Harris Jessica Holmes Gianna Isaia Justin Joseph Rebekah Mayer Brittany Townsley Jennifer Ublasi


Business Development Manager/Reprint Manager Stacy Kraft

Executive Assistant Ashley Bigg

Flirting with 300 pages, you hold in your hands the biggest and most exciting edition of Hispanic Executive to date—a true labor of love. And though we’ve always upheld a quality-over-quantity philosophy, it’s a cause for celebration when both collide. We’re incredibly proud of—and inspired by— the caliber and diversity of executives gracing our pages; Latinos at the top of their game across every imaginable industry. In our “Corporate Champions” (p. 51) special section, we talk shop with the cream of the crop of in-house counsel: 10 legal heavyweights representing some of the most recognized corporations in the world, including Microsoft, NBCUniversal, eBay, Pfizer, and Chevron. A common thread uniting this elite group is their recognition that in order to thrive in their demanding roles, they must grow beyond “legal advisor” into a true business partner. Few things facilitate professional growth more than being pushed outside of one’s comfort zone—both figuratively and literally. It’s no surprise that Latinos’ inherent knack for living in two worlds and adapting to shifting cultural milieus translates into a competitive edge in our increasingly interdependent world. HE chats candidly with four “international chameleons” from Accenture, IBM, the US Department of State, and Molex in our trend feature (p. 88) about how they leverage their bicultural backgrounds to succeed in the global stage. And in our cover story (p. 149), jet setter Alejandro Quiroz, VP of global advanced manufacturing for Whirlpool Corporation, gives us an intimate peek into his whirlwind life overseeing global manufacturing processes for the home-appliances giant. While AMC Entertainment Inc.’s Gerry Lopez may not travel the world quite as often for his role as CEO and president, he is keenly aware of the powerful escape movies symbolize for today’s changing audiences. In this issue’s “Going to the Movies: Part 2,” (p. 95) Lopez reveals how AMC is responding to challenges facing the movie-exhibition business by redefining the moviegoing experience. “For years, the movie-exhibition business has been a fairly straightforward operation,” Lopez says. “Lately though, as the opportunities for leisure time and the opportunities for entertainment have multiplied, the notion of ‘building a [movie] theater and they will come’ falls short.” Whatever challenges lie ahead, we at HE know that Latino visionaries like those featured in this issue will be ready and willing to lead the way [or forge whole new paths] with creativity, passion, and wisdom.

Circulation Manager Lee Posey

Hasta pronto,

Director of Account Management Cheyenne Eiswald Account Managers Lindsay Craig Amy Lara William Winter Ashley Zorrilla

Administrative Controller Andrea DeMarte Accounting Assistant Mokena Trigueros Human Resources Generalist Greg Waechter

Receptionist Samantha Childs

Darhiana Mateo Features Editor

April/May/June 2012


calendar 2012

Must-attend events tailored to the Latino business community

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa May


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24 25 26 27 28 29 30








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10 11

21 22 23 24 25 26

27 28 29 30 31




06 07 08 09


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01 02 03 04 05 06 07

ISM’s International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit May 6-9, Baltimore Now in its 97th year, the Institute for Supply Management’s annual event boasts professionals from more than 30 different countries representing a diverse array of industries, including entertainment, energy, retail, aerospace, city government, national defense, and many more. Attendees are described as a diverse group of decision makers looking for face-to-face interaction with suppliers.

LatinVision’s Marketing to Latinas Conference June 14, New York City LatinVision’s Marketing to Latinas Conference aims to parlay a broad knowledge of the market’s best practices to help businesses understand “the demands of an increasingly mobile, fragmented, and elusive target audience.” The event will also demonstrate how New York City is supporting Latinas as well as how Latina-owned businesses can benefit the future of the country.

Annual EEI Supplier Diversity Conference May 23-25, Palm Desert, California Hosted by Southern California Edison, the 29th Annual Edison Electric Institute Supplier Diversity Conference will be held at the Hyatt Grand Champions in Palm Desert, California, and is billed as the electric industry’s top networking event.

NCLR Annual Conference July 7-10, Las Vegas Attributing its growth to its gente, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference aims to provide a forum for people in the business of social change to network, generate new partnerships, and learn about ongoing and new issues in the Hispanic community. As the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, NCLR’s conference will host some of the nation’s most influential people, organizations, institutions, and companies working within the Latino community.

AMAC/FAA Airport Business Diversity Conference June 9-12, St. Louis Presented by the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the 28th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference will be held in St. Louis. The annual event is viewed as an important vehicle for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise community to engage with the airport business environment, network with peers, and learn about public-policy issues impacting the aviation industry. Airport directors, commissioners, corporations, minority and women-owned businesses, and government officials are expected to attend.


Hispanic Executive


Negocios cityscope


Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love offers a prime East Coast location


31 HBO Latino’s Lucinda

Martinez strikes a chord with viewers 36 Oscar Madrid says no


Get to know upand-comers Viviana Coello-Wilson and Elena C. Chavez Carey



Peeling back the many layers of Partner’s Produce’s George Rodriguez


Liz Palacios’s penchant for vintage jewelry sparks a colorful career


Edward Avila changes the game via Facebook app myJoblinx

to generic bundles for Verizon’s ethnic consumers

Getting down to business

stepping stones

46 A look at Adolph

Galindo’s 28 years at the helm of Delta Scale 49 Celia Meza Utreras

and husband Mario’s professional paths converge

39 McDonald’s franchise

owner Joseph E. Montoya celebrates 20 years in business 42 Multicultural market-

ing manager Hector Vallejo drills into the Hispanic construction segment

26 Ron Alvarado taps

into need for temporary workers 28 From small tortillería to

Isabella Foods, Nelson Guerra corners Mexican-food market

April/May/June April/May/June2012 2012 99

Negocios “The Hispanic business climate in Philadelphia is highly entrepreneurial.” ­Varsovia Fernandez President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


Hispanic Executive

CityScope Negocios


The City of Brotherly Amor by Thalia A-M Bruehl


ight in the heart of the world’s fifth-largest economy sits the city of Philadelphia, with its prime location on the East Coast, affordable real estate, and world-class transportation system. Through its airport, rail, and highway connections, and booming port, the city of brotherly love is linked to a regional market of $2.8 trillion within a 200-mile radius accounting for 122 companies on the Fortune 500 list. It’s also home to one of the country’s fastest-growing Hispanic populations. As Philadelphia’s key industries have matured in the last few years, Hispanics have found more job opportunities at larger firms and the chance to live the American dream by becoming business owners themselves. Philadelphia’s largest industries include: financial and trade activities, professional and business services, information and communications technology, energy, advanced manufacturing, and logistics. “We see these industries prospering because raw materials, manufactured goods, and finished products can move easily in, out, and across the region, thanks to one of the most extensive and reliable multimodal-transportation networks in the world,” says Varsovia Fernandez, president and CEO of

April/May/June 2012

the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC). Growth among Hispanicowned business can best be seen through industries like retail and food services, construction, health care, and other services. “The Hispanic business climate in Philadelphia is highly entrepreneurial,” Fernandez says. “Philadelphia is still a small Hispanic market, but as we are set in a larger regional market, businesses have access to resources and can easily learn from large markets like New York.” Hispanic-owned businesses based in Philadelphia can also utilize a number of resources including the GPHCC, which has established partnerships with multiple organizations, and offers aid to small businesses with a focus on expansion and development. Even with the great growth the city has seen, Philadelphia is still only the 16th-largest Hispanic market in the country, and Hispanics residing in the city continue to face challenges when it comes to doing business. Fernandez identifies a lack of mentorship opportunities for small businesses as the number-one problem affecting business-minded Latinos, but the GPHCC is working to provide forward-looking support in order to sustain the vigorous growth of the city’s Hispanic community.


Negocios CityScope Philadelphia

Philadelphia is home to the second-largest Puerto Rican population in the United States

Facts & Figures

Philadelphia’s ethnic makeup (2010)

Hispanics in Philadelphia

puerto rican










US Census (2010)

In Pennsylvania, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses increased by approximately


between 2002 and 2007


of Philadelphia’s businesses are Hispanic owned


of Pennsylvania’s businesses are Hispanic owned US Census (2010)

In the Greater Philadelphia region, Latinos are mostly concentrated in the counties of: 1. Cumberland (23.5% of the total population) 2. Camden (12.1%)

The average age of Hispanics in the Philadelphia area is 24 years old Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2011)

23.4% Of foreign-born Philadelphians come from Latin America US Census (2007)

3. Philadelphia (11%)

Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2011)


Hispanic Executive

CityScope Negocios Philadelphia

Q&A with Philadelphia’s Latino Business Leaders

Mike Muñoz President & CEO Revenue Collections Bureau, Inc.

What makes Philadelphia a great place for a Hispanic business like yours? Philadelphia is a great city with a rich history and a large variety of amenities conducive to business opportunities and growth. What neighborhood/district would you recommend to a new business? Strategically located with modern air, land, and sea transportation facilities, the city is able to accommodate most business needs for both those looking to relocate and start-ups. Any business interested in relocating to Philadelphia will have several location options, depending on the goods and/or services it offers.


Is your business local or national/ international? My business is local. As an internationally recognized destination, Philadelphia promotes an environment that is business friendly and that provides the necessary resources for successful business operations.

Mercy Susana Mosquera General Manager Tierra Colombiana Restaurant & Night Club

Paul Lima Managing Partner Lima Consulting Group

What makes Philadelphia a great place for a Hispanic business like yours? Philadelphia for me is a perfect place with the doors ready to open for a Hispanic business not just because we are increasing in population but because there are not that many Hispanic businesses in the city offering our varieties.

What makes Philadelphia a great place for a Hispanic business like yours? Our people, our chamber, and our business community. We are the second-largest Hispanic market in the Northeast and our numbers have elevated our region’s importance to a national level. We have what we call the “Latino Corridor,” which is the same five counties that determine the state’s electoral votes for the presidential elections. Presidential hopefuls know that to win Pennsylvania, they have to win the Latino Corridor. [Also],the percent increase of Hispanic-owned businesses in Pennsylvania between 2002 and 2007 was almost nine times the state average for all businesses and more than double the national average.

How do you stay connected to other professionals in your area? Right now, it’s not that hard to get connected thanks to technologies such as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and more. What neighborhood/district would you recommend to a new business looking to set up shop in Philadelphia? If we are talking about opening a different business than the ones that already exist in the city, it has to be in the heart of the Hispanic community: North Philadelphia, “El Bloque de Oro” [The Golden Block].

“Strategically located with modern air, land, and sea transportation facilities, the city is able to accommodate most business needs for both those looking to relocate and start-ups.” Mike Muñoz, President & CEO, Revenue Collections Bureau, Inc.

April/May/June 2012

Describe Philadelphia’s business climate in three words or less. Bustling. Innovative. Inspirational. Is your business local or national/ international? We have offices in Pennsylvania, Uruguay, and São Paulo, Brazil, and most of our business today is along the mid-Atlantic corridor. Our Brazilian operations should overshadow our US operations in 2012 given their explosive growth, strong economic fundamentals, and the benefits of hosting the World Cup 2014 and Olympics in 2016.


Negocios Next Generation

“Success is knowing that no matter what storms and challenges you might face, you will persevere.”

Career goal To lead an organization that delivers value to our customers, shareholders, and stakeholders by providing innovative technologies in a sustainable manner.

Education Executive Master of Business Administration Baldwin-Wallace College, May 2012 Master of Engineering Case Western Reserve University, May 2003 Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering University of Kansas, May 2000 Associate of Science Butler County Community College, May 1998

Challenge Seeker

Viviana Coello-Wilson

Work experience January 2010–current: Market Development Manager Lubrizol September 2005–December 2009: R&D Engineer Lubrizol June 2000–September 2005: Technology Engineer Energizer Battery Company

Viviana Coello-Wilson, 33, has never been one to steer away from a challenge. Born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador, she recalls always yearning to learn another foreign language and experience different cultures. With the support of her parents, she was able to work toward her goals and attend college in the United States. Now married with two children, she works as market development manager for Lubrizol. “I am taking steps toward a business-leadership role that will help me set the direction for the business and contribute to the advancement of society,” says Coello-Wilson, who expects to graduate with an executive MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College in May.

Why Hire Me Where others might see challenges, I see possibilities.


Hispanic Executive

Role models My parents Throughout my life I have had various role models: my parents, my husband, and mentors who have influenced me in many different ways. My parents have had the greatest impact. They provided me with a strong foundation of values and morals that have guided me along the way.

Dream job My dream job will continuously challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. One of my strengths is learning and adapting to changing situations. I thrive when I can push the boundaries on what is possible; develop, implement, and execute strategies that will lead to success.

Define success Success is about taking chances. It is not only about achieving a goal but also enjoying the journey and learning along the way.

Next Generation Negocios Care Giver

Career goal

Elena C. Chavez Carey Elena C. Chavez Carey, 30, makes it her business to care about high-quality health care for Mexican Americans. As a first-generation Mexican American, she struggles with the level of preventable disease that is growing within this demographic. “Despite living in such a wealthy country, Mexican Americans are becoming less healthy with each generation,” she explains. “Thus, I am committed to learning and understanding ways of providing high-quality health care at a population level.” The Harvard alumnus currently brings her passion to The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. as its managerial consultant. “Making a difference in health care requires a multidisciplinary skill set, which includes the business fundamentals I learned in my MBA training.”

To be a leader and change agent in promoting affordable, sustainable, and preventative health care.

Education Master of Business Administration Graduate School of Management (public health management concentration), University of California, Davis, June 2010 Bachelor of Arts Social Studies, Harvard University, 2002

Work experience April 2011–current: Managerial Consultant The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. June 2010–April 2011: Senior Consulting Associate The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. Summer 2009: CalPERS Project Management MBA Intern Blue Shield of California March–December 2008: Project Consultant & Researcher Reducing Health Disparities, Contra Costa County Health Services February 2007–February 2008: Senior Program Planning & Budget Administrator Planned Parenthood Federation of America January 2006–February 2007: Senior Project Manager Planned Parenthood Federation of America January 2004–December 2005: Project Manager Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Role models My parents As first-generation college graduates, they worked tirelessly to provide me opportunities to pursue my skills and talents. They modeled a strong work ethic and encouraged giving back to the community.

Dream job

Why Hire Me Hire me if you have a health-care qualityimprovement project where it will take working with different stakeholders to design and implement a solution. I have the ability to bring diverse groups of people together to work on complicated issues.

April/May/June 2012

I am very fortunate to be currently working at my dream job. I have the opportunity to work with motivated, passionate people who are committed to providing the highest-quality patient-centered health care. In my role, I use my project-management and consulting skills to improve the quality of patient care.

Define success I am successful when I use my skills and talents, and work with the talents of others, to create a lasting difference in people’s lives. I feel most successful when I create strong working relationships and am able to communicate effectively to a diverse group of people, inspiring them to accomplish something bigger than themselves.


Negocios Entrepreneurs

Peeling Back the Layers George Rodriguez takes delight in the little things—like stopping by Costco to see his onions on display. As founder and president of Partner’s Produce, Inc., Rodriguez leads one of the largest producers of onions in the country. Still, he knows a thing or two about humble beginnings. As one of the youngest of nine children in a family of migrant farmworkers, Rodriguez worked the fields as a child and encountered more than his fair share of hardships. Now, what started off as a dusty three-acre field has evolved into a full-service onion grower, packer, and processing company in Payette, Idaho, that purchased more than $5 million in onions from local growers in 2009, and even more in 2010. as told to Tina Vasquez


Hispanic Executive


I grew up in the field, it was all I knew. During the school year, my oldest brother Feliciano made sure we went to school and during the summer, we all worked the fields together. When I got older I began working at Ontario Produce Company in Oregon and when I was 18, I married my

April/May/June 2012

wife Lupe. My father-in-law was a farmer in the Ontario area and he urged me to start farming, so he gave us a three-acre field. I’d work all day at Ontario and then come home and my wife and I would work our own field with our three kids. Around midnight we’d eat dinner and my wife would bathe the children. The next day, we’d start all over again.

The year we first planted there was a hurricane and it wiped out a lot of crops, but most of our onions survived. My boss at Ontario Produce bought the field from us at $3.75 a bag and gave me a check for $18,000. I’d never had that kind of money in my life; I thought I could buy Ontario. After 25 years of service, I was fired from Ontario Produce because I was told I’d become ‘too

THE FAMILY MAN George Rodriguez (shown above on couch) credits his work ethic and family for his success as founder and president of Partner’s Produce, Inc. “There were times when things were very hard, but we never quit,” he says.


Negocios Entrepreneurs

Working the fields as a child, Rodriguez (center) recalls enduring his fair share of hardships. “I suffered as a child, but I was determined to give my family something better and together, we worked toward a better life,” he says.

independent.’ I didn’t understand what he meant, so I looked it up and it meant someone that can’t be told what to do; it’s someone who can take charge. I took that as a compliment, but it still really messed me up. After two years my two sons convinced me to move forward. My wife and I experienced racism when trying to rent land, so we found a place in Idaho in 1998 that is now Partner’s Produce. We now have 1,400 acres. We work 600 of it and lease the rest. We’re called Partner’s Produce because six years ago we started with five partners. My sons George Jr. and Eddie asked me why we were sending our onions somewhere else to get processed when we could do it ourselves. My three partners didn’t like the idea, but it was apparent I was going to side with my


Hispanic Executive

sons. The partners wanted to be bought out because they didn’t agree, but we didn’t have the money. We also had to purchase all of the equipment to process the onions. I’ll never forget the day that the Intermountain Community Bank took a chance on us. We were loaned the money for the buyout and the supplies and after we had everything we needed, business really took off. There were times when things were very hard, but we never quit. If it takes working seven days a week, 24 hours a day, we’ll do it. Being a Mexican family, we experienced discrimination, but when you pay your bills on time and become successful, people treat you differently. People still come in looking for the boss and they’ll walk right past my two sons and I, but we push

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with George Rodriguez Growth in all directions and in many forms is what George Rodriguez, founder and president of Partner’s Produce, envisions for his evolving company. In the near future, he plans to: • Expand existing processing plant by purchasing additional machinery and equipment, etc. • Venture more into the retail sector (Albertson, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger’s) • Become more efficient through restructuring the organization to increase senior management and pass more responsibilities to seasoned employees of the firm

“People still come in looking for the boss and they’ll walk right past my two sons and I, but we push past that. My son George Jr. says we have to be better and tougher because of our brown skin; we prove people wrong with our work ethic.”











Founder & President

April/May/June 2012


M a d e in S a n F r a n c is c o S ince 1987

George Rodriguez

past that. My son George Jr. says we have to be better and tougher because of our brown skin; we prove people wrong with our work ethic. Sometimes when I’m walking around the company I still think, ‘Wow, we did all of this.’ We went from nothing, to selling to Campbell’s, Costco, and Sysco; we sell to nearly every state in the US and internationally to Mexico and Canada; we now have almost 200 employees. America has a lot to offer if you’re willing to work hard and take risks. If I didn’t listen to my sons’ idea about processing, we wouldn’t be where we are. This is our livelihood; we’ve put everything into it. I suffered as a child, but I was determined to give my family something better and together, we worked toward a better life. I look at all of my grandkids and I couldn’t take them working the fields and because of our hard work, they’ll never have to. I tell my three kids that when their children ask how we did all of this, tell them it all came from hard work.


1 .8 0 0 .5 35.5548 in fo@l iz pal acio m w w w.l i z p a lacios. com

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Precious Piedras as told to Kaleena Thompson

Becoming an entrepreneur stemmed from my parents’ struggle to obtain a successful life here in the States. My parents’ divorce put a stamp on who I was going to be as a woman. As a child, I watched my mom struggle as she raised my two sisters and me. She eventually sent


Hispanic Executive

From her humble beginnings selling jewelry at flea markets to being featured at Nordstrom, Liz Palacios’s career is as colorful as the jewelry she creates. The eldest of three sisters, New York Citynative Palacios discovered her interest in jewelry as a teenager, traveling the world growing her collection. She shares how her family of Colombian immigrants—which she calls “creative types”—pushed her to follow her passion and launch her successful business, Liz Palacios Designs.

us to Colombia for two years. I remember thinking I’m not going to be like that. I wanted to work hard to take care of myself and not be taken care of. My grandmother and my mother were creative types; my mother painted and my abuela made jewelry. As a teenager, I traveled extensively, exploring Europe and Israel. So, at 18 years old, when most young people were heading off to college, I traipsed the world. The vintage shops had collections of vintage jewelry, and I fell in love with the crystals and colors. And it was in England where I bought my first vintage pieces. Once I came back to the States, a friend of mine encouraged me to sell

costume jewelry in the San Francisco flea markets. As I started to sell other people’s jewelry, I started to teach myself about metal, brass, and sewing with crystal. It was an opportunity I had to pursue, which led me to sign up at a city college and learn about jewelry and how to cast and solder jewelry. My first piece took me 25 hours! I told myself, “It’s beautiful, but I’m not going to be able to sell it.” I started putting together a game plan of how to make this a business. Launching Liz Palacios Designs into a full-service business took about four years, from selling at street fairs to Nordstrom. The luxury department store was our first entry into the mar-

Photo by: Jeanette Vonier

Entrepreneurs Negocios Negocios

TREASURE HUNT When most teenagers were heading off to college, New York City-native Liz Palacios traveled the world, drawn by the allure of exotic gems. “The vintage shops had collections of vintage jewelry, and I fell in love with the crystals and colors,� Palacios says. Today, guided by that same appreciation for craftsmanship and vibrant hues, her collections (next page) continue to captivate US jewelry lovers.

April/May/June 2012


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Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Liz Palacios The future is shining even brighter for Liz Palacios Designs. Palacios shares that within the next five years she plans to: • Cement her signature making it known that her jewelry has been made in the United States since 1987. “We stand behind our quality, and our products are guaranteed for life,” Palacios says. • Continue to design beautiful vintage pieces, and educate the public that the company is a branding partner with Swarovski elements. • Maintain the multicultural work environment at the company. “I hope to continue to work with people of all ethnicities and backgrounds,” Palacios says. “We also give back to the communities, from the arts to children’s charities. We hope to continue our philanthropic efforts. For me, it’s important to give back to the community that has supported my success.


Hispanic Executive

ket, which led us to cement our image as a reputable USA design company. Now, I continue to be hands-on in the designing process in our offices in San Francisco. Our prime focus is quality and American-made. I make jewelry that you can pass down from generation to generation, which is why I use a fine mixture of semiprecious stones, fresh water pearls, and Swarovski elements. We design five collections a year, and within each there are three separate collections, consisting of rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. As a designer, you have to create for the seasons. Even though my jewelry is a vintage feel, they have a trendy edge that can be timeless such as chunky or dainty bracelets, long and short necklaces. My Spring and Summer collections

feature lots of bright and soft colors. Our Basics collection can complement a teenager and an older woman, while the Rock Candy collection stemmed from my own bead collection. And our Classic Cross collection is a staple in our company. As I continue to make jewelry, I never want to compromise quality. Business may get harder due to the economy, but I stand behind my products. I encourage all other young women who desire to become entrepreneurs to be true to yourself, believe in your product, and make it unique. When I was just starting out in this industry, I was seeing great workmanship with vintage jewelry that didn’t exist anymore. I wanted to resurrect those gems in a new way. And, I believe, I’m creating jewelry that leaves a timeless impression.

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Edward Avila, cofounder of the revolutionary Facebook app myJoblinx, helps bridge the gap between job seekers and recruiters in the age of social media.

Changing the Game as told to Julie Edwards


Hispanic Executive

As the human-resources director at Intersil, Edward Avila spends his days providing guidance to management and developing workforce strategies. While brainstorming creative options for sourcing talent during a coffee break with a colleague, Avila experienced his “a-ha” moment: Why wasn’t there an option on Facebook for employment recruitment? Within four months, what began as a crazy coffee-shop dream evolved into myJoblinx, a novel Facebook app that matches employers with candidates by harnessing the power of social media.

Entrepreneurs Negocios

“If myJoblinx can assist the job-search process and make it easy for candidates to land their dream job, then I know that I have made a difference in transforming how job seekers and companies use social networking to find jobs.” Edward Avila

Creator/Owner of myJoblinx & HR Director, Intersil

I’d been envisioning the concept of myJoblinx for a couple of years before I actually put the idea on paper. In 2009, I was volunteering and conducting workshops at local community centers for active job seekers. Many participants were Facebook users and would ask me why there wasn’t a Facebook solution for job searchers.The second time the idea came up was in 2010 while I was at a local coffee shop with one of my Intersil colleagues.We were discussing the growth of social media and brainstorming creative options for driving employee referrals on Facebook. We didn’t see any effective sourcing tools specifically on Facebook, so we soon had a crazy idea to develop a product that would raise the bar for recruiting on Facebook. Within four months, we’d designed a solution and myJoblinx was born. A turnkey recruiting application on Facebook that harnesses the power of social media, myJoblinx allows

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users to employ Facebook as a professional-networking solution through creating and managing professional profiles or requesting an introduction to top companies by trusted friends. Users also can share job postings with Facebook friends through messages and wall posts. For employers, myJoblinx provides a simple solution for recruiters to find potential candidates, create unique talent networks, and showcase their employment brand on Facebook. It’s a unique solution, which complements a company’s Face-

book page and makes it easy for Facebook users to browse open positions, apply for jobs, share job postings, and see inside connections at the company that posted an opening. myJoblinx is being recognized and used by a growing list of clients from various industries that range from start-ups like Digital Chocolate and Cloudera to Fortune 100 companies like Adobe and Agilent Technologies. It was also featured in US News & World Report and was selected as the “app of the week” by the SmallBiz Technology.

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Edward Avila For Avila, myJoblinx marks a first step in an emerging market. “With the ongoing growth of Facebook, it’s only a matter of time before companies do more to leverage Facebook to source and engage with potential candidates,” Avila says. Within the next five years, the entrepreneur would like to: • Continue to enhance the analytics feature on the recruiter’s portal of myJoblinx • Expand how users can leverage their social graph to find insights to companies and jobs • Scale appropriately in order to meet demand from both users and companies regardless of industries

I feel that myJoblinx stands out from similar applications because it was created and developed by recruiters for recruiters. I also am proud to be able to represent the small but growing field of Hispanic entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, and hope my success will be an inspiration to other minorities in this field. In a short period of time, I’ve seen myJoblinx go from an idea to an actual working product that offers the rich analytics needed to measure ongoing results and performance. With the application, we aim to disrupt the traditional job-board methods for both job seekers and recruiters. Considering the emergence of social media, a solution like myJoblinx creates an innovative way for Facebook users to gain unique insights into companies and for companies to engage with a larger pool of potential candidates. These are exciting times to be a game changer and challenge the status quo on how we engage with employees and job seekers. If myJoblinx can assist the job-search process and make it easy for candidates to land their dream job, then I know that I have made a difference in transforming how job seekers and companies use social networking to find jobs.”


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Full-Time Perks Ron Alvarado chose an odd time to launch a recruitment-services company. In 2009, as the country was experiencing some of the most financially troubling times in history, the premise of Alvarado’s Novus Staffing Solutions was to find people jobs when no one was hiring. Despite the odds, Novus experienced revenue growth of 159 percent in its second year. Since then, the company has developed employment opportunities for more than 600 people in southwestern Pennsylvania. Though Alvarado is now a successful entrepreneur and a seasoned professional, he tells HE why his introduction to the industry was less than glamorous.

Most of us didn’t grow up with a silver spoon; we had to work very hard to earn what we have. My family owned a drycleaning establishment in New York City and I practically grew up in the store. From a very young age, I helped out in the business and as I reached my teen years, I began taking on more responsibilities and I eventually found myself having to wear multiple hats and operate in a fastpaced environment. It was exhausting, but I learned how to multitask and prioritize my daily activities. I stumbled upon the staffing business in 1984 and I had no idea what it was about. At the time, I was an outside salesperson for a copier company


Hispanic Executive

covering the Long Island market and I owned an old, beat up AMC Pacer [automobile]. While driving to a sales meeting, the car broke down. I happened to be wearing brand-new shoes and after walking about a mile to get to the office, I developed severe blisters. The Pacer never started again. Carless, I was forced to find a job that didn’t require driving. I saw an ad for a staffing salesperson in Manhattan and the rest is history. I’ve been in the business ever since. I saw a business opportunity while working with a start-up that focused on developing national and international staffing programs for Fortune 1000 companies. I felt that small/midsized users of staffing could benefit from the type of programs I was developing for Fortune 1000 firms. I began giving serious thought to how my business would look and I spent many days drafting a solid, pragmatic-business plan. When I launched Novus, no one was hiring

full-time employees, but several industry verticals were actively hiring temporary workers. We officially opened our doors in February 2009 and within two months we were working on 400 job openings. Last year, we secured our first RPO [Recruitment Process Outsourcing] project and have since successfully completed four additional RPO engagements. Earlier this year, we secured our first MSP [Managed Services Provider] engagement. We’ve executed all of the key elements in that original business plan. A key part of our strategy has been a very focused approach to the type of business skill sets we service. The mortgageservices industry was created in Pittsburgh and we have a high concentration of these companies within a 25-mile radius of our office. The cyclical nature of these businesses creates a perfect scenario for the use of a contingent workforce. Our goal, from the outset, was to position Novus as a market-

as told to Tina Vasquez

leader in this niche and I’m happy to say we have accomplished this. Young people should seriously consider entrepreneurship as a career option. I spent many years employed by someone else. I was able to climb the corporate ladder; I had the big corner office and all of the frills associated with being a senior manager in a large company, but nothing compares to building your own company from scratch, creating your company culture, and knowing that the time and effort you put in today will reap benefits for many years to come.” A MESSAGE FROM RINGO For more than a decade, RINGO’s technology has been providing greater efficiency and cost savings to the procurement of human capital, forging valued partnerships with corporations, healthcare systems and employment industry professionals such as Novus Staffing. Visit www.goRingo. com for more information, or call 631.393.8700, ext. 15.

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Ron Alvarado may have stumbled into the staffing industry by chance, but years later, he carved a successful niche providing companies with a muchneeded contingent workforce—despite the recession.

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Ron Alvarado Within the next five years Ron Alvarado wants to continue Novus Staffing Solutions’ exponential growth through: • An increase of staffing-services revenue within the company’s existing client base

RINGO’s vendor management technology supports quality and cost containment control goals to effectively manage human capital usage across all verticals, enterprise wide. Access to a broad spectrum of data metrics enable real time insights into usage, expense control, accrual management and consolidated invoicing. Be a Rainmaker with RINGO and gain the greatest return on your investment in human capital. Live web demo available.

• Strategic expansion into new geographic markets • Growth within new service lines, including executive search, recruitment process outsourcing, and managed services

631.393.8700, ext. 15 April/May/June 2012

Negocios Entrepreneurs

Flipping a Niche When the opportunity to buy a small tortilla manufacturing company, or tortillería, presented itself back in 1978, Puerto Rican Nelson Guerra jumped in feet first. Over time, the company grew and added the distribution of tortilla-related products to its list of services. In 2000, having sold the original tortillería in 1992, Guerra and one of his sons formed Isabella Foods, and in 2001, began doing business with the goal of eventually becoming a serious player in the production and distribution of Mexican foods. With distribution in West Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, the El Paso, Texasbased company is now well on its way.

as told to Cristina Adams*


Hispanic Executive

I like to say that I come from the university of life. When I graduated from high school, I enrolled in short courses on accounting and business, [but]I didn’t get the whole university experience. I eventually began working in the clothing industry in my hometown of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Then, in 1978, I met someone from El Paso, Texas, got married, and went there to live. I wanted to continue working in the clothing industry, and I thought I would be able to, but it just wasn’t possible. There weren’t many jobs at that time. Then one day, I found an opportunity outside my field—I bought a small tortillería, a tortilla-manufacturing company. I started very,

very small, and the company grew until we got into the distribution of tortilla-related products. I had that business for about 14 years, and I’ve been working in the food industry since then. Isabella Foods was founded in December 2001. We are dedicated to manufacturing Mexican foods, including tortillas, salsas, and prepared foods like tamales, flautas, corn chips, chiles rellenos, and more. As president of the company, what I try to do is find a niche in which we can compete effectively. Take our tortillas, for example. We haven’t seen a similar product with this particular taste. The special way we process the corn makes it different from what you usually find on the market. The tortillas are more like home-cooked tortillas, with fewer preservatives. That’s what makes them so good. Little by little, they’ve


Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Nelson Guerra With distribution in West Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, Isabella Foods has become a serious player in the market of Mexican-food products since it started doing business in 2001. Guerra only sees his company expanding in the next five years. • The company plans to go from regional to national. “Our goal is to be able to sell nationwide through a national chain like Walmart,” Guerra says. “We already do business with them, and would like to see that expand.” • Finding investors will be the key to taking the company’s growth to the next level. “We’re already projecting annual growth of 35%, and we have the infrastructure to support more growth and development,” Guerra says. • New products are of much importance on the horizon. “In 2012, we’re looking at launching an innovative corn product, something that people aren’t used to seeing in a corn tortilla,” Guerra says.

become very popular. We also have a green salsa that’s considered number one in greater El Paso. You can go to a supermarket in El Paso and ask for the most popular green salsa, and they’ll point you to ours. We’ve made a point of trying to make the best-tasting salsa that people will like and buy. That’s a niche we’ve found that we work well in. Another niche we are in is private-label branding. We work with distributors who buy our products and sell it under their own name—we put their label on our product, but they distribute it. Our product is a little more expensive than our competitors’, but what our customers get in terms of service and the quality of the product is superior. That’s where we differentiate ourselves from the competition, and that’s why retailers like Walmart and convenience stores like

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7-Eleven like to do business with us. When I think about young Latinos going out onto the job market for the first time, I want to offer them three pieces of advice that I gave my three sons. First, be sure to do something you love, and always believe in what you do. Second, don’t attach so much importance to the economics of it. In other words, be prepared to make sacrifices in order to succeed. People nowadays invest themselves in making the money right now and not so much in thinking ahead and longterm goals. Last, I always tell them never to give up. Plenty of people start projects and businesses, but they don’t persevere. Perseverance leads to success. *This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated to English.

Providing delicious foods using the highest quality ingredients with the largest variety of salsas, tortillas, and ready-to-eat frozen products Authentic Mexican Food!

1133 Barranca Dr. El Paso, TX 79935 915-590-1899


SJI Associates

warmly congratulates

Lucinda Martinez Vice President Domestic Network Distribution and Multicultural Marketing

for her leadership

in multicultural marketing and her service

to the Hispanic community.

design & advertising


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ucinda Martinez is a powerful personality in her own right. She is also vice president, domestic network distribution and multicultural marketing, for pay-TV programmer, Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO). She began in the entertainment industry in 1995, and her career has involved two stints with HBO (which she calls “home”) on either side of a spell working at Comedy Central. In her role, she oversees marketing to hyper-focused groups such as Hispanics, as well as working on domestic network distribution where she oversees sales and content distribution to direct/satellite operators such as DIRECTV. Here, she shares the various HBO initiatives targeted to capture the Latino audience, and explains why dubbing Boardwalk Empire in Spanish is just not enough.


PHOTO: courtesy of HBO Latino

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by Chris Allsop

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Programming with Purpose

Everybody has monthly bills that they pay—and dread. “Our job is to make sure that our subscribers see the value in the service we provide,” says Martinez, “and an engagement with our brand. I want people to spend money every month and I want them to do it joyfully. It’s not your electricity bill, and those decisions become harder in this economic environment, so we have to be very conscious that we’re


Innovative Passionate

Connected Tech-savvy

You’re our kind of Latina,


Thank you for your support of Nexos Latinos® magazine and Eclipse Hispanic Marketing.

providing programming that is entertaining, groundbreaking, and worth every penny.” Showcasing All Stars

HBO launched a campaign around its HBO documentary film, The Latino List. “What was exciting was how this documentary showcased influential Latinos in so many areas,” Martinez says. “We featured people in fields such as entertainment and law—we even had the first Latino astronaut—all speaking about what it’s like being a Latino in the US. Very often, our stories are told from a negative standpoint, from the point of view of the struggle. In this case, even if someone was discussing their struggle, it was in the context of a beautiful struggle, how uplifting that can be, and what it meant specifically to that person. For example, to hear Sonia Sotomayor talking about what it was like growing up in the Bronx, audiences got to see a side of her they don’t usually get to.” Rebranding HBO Latino

WINNER! Top Hispanic Print Media Innovation Portada 2011 Excellence in Multicultural Marketing NAMIC 2010 & 2011

Publisherr of:



Martinez embarked on her first major campaign with HBO in 2008, when the programmer rebranded HBO Latino. “We relaunched that network to be exactly what we envisioned for that specific market,” she explains. “It was a huge investment and we created a campaign that was significant and important for Latinos. Sometimes targeted markets are underserved or ignored altogether and don’t get the very best. That was never even part of the conversation at HBO. The strategy was: how do we create what HBO means to the general consumer, making it mean the same thing to Latinos.” For Martinez and her team at HBO, it wasn’t enough to just take Boardwalk Empire and dub it into Spanish. “We are dedicated to providing truly original and high-quality targeted entertainment to Latino audiences, including

“Sometimes targeted markets are underserved or ignored altogether and don’t get the very best. That was never even part of the conversation at HBO.” Lucinda Martinez

Vice President, Domestic Network Distribution & Multicultural Marketing

Initiatives Negocios Up Close & Personal Getting to know Lucinda Martinez

What makes you tick, personally and professionally? A long time ago, I heeded the advice of a mentor who told me that true integrity is when your private and public personas are integrated. I think if you ask people about me, they’ll say that what you see is what you get. Nobody is confused about my standpoint on things or, to put it another way, I keep it too real! But what makes me tick is the drive for excellence; even if I’m wrong, I’d rather be dead wrong than not to have tried at all. Why the entertainment industry? It’s exciting. You’re shaping minds through media but at the same time you can’t take it too seriously—it’s entertainment. How do you keep your work enjoyable? The fun follows me, I can’t help it! We work hard and play hard. There’s always a way to make it fun. I would say my most enjoyable campaign is always my latest campaign as I’m always trying to outdo what we did last time, do it smarter, better, … and with less!

STAR POWER HBO Latino is home to celebrated Latino actors such as Eva Longoria (top left) and John Leguizamo (bottom right) in the HBO documentary film, The Latino List, Ana de la Reguera (top right) in the HBO drama series, Capadocia, and Diego Luna (bottom left) in the film Solo Quiero Caminar.

series like Capadocia, Alice, and Mandrake to name a few,” she says. “Another example is when we have some big Latino fighters that may not be as recognized in the general market, but we know that they have huge presence and following with Latinos. So, we will premiere that fight, with our own announcers, on HBO Latino.” Creating a premium network that caters directly to her Spanish-speaking audience, and the bold way in which it was marketed, remains one of Martinez’s proudest moments. Surviving Heart Disease

photos: courtesy of HBO Latino

Another source of orgullo for Martinez? Being a heartdisease survivor and working to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease in the Latino community. On her way to work one day she collapsed, and woke up in a cardiac critical unit. “Even with my education and my background, I had no idea that I was susceptible to heart disease,” she says. “That’s why I became the first Latina on the New York City board of the American Heart Association in 2010. I sit on this board with cardiologists, neurologists, and even the head fire chief of NYC! At first

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it was very intimidating—what did I have to contribute? But my personal experience and understanding of this market have worked well alongside their deep pockets and associations.” Together, Martinez and the people she works with have created the annual Latino Health Summit for the New York metro area and are trying, as a board, to reduce cardiovascular disease amongst the Latino population by 20 percent. “From a personal standpoint, it’s been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done,” she adds. A MESSAGE FROM Eclipse Marketing Services Inc. Nexos Latinos® is an advertisersupported, quarterly, bilingual lifestyle and entertainment magazine which engages its Hispanic audience by speaking to its passions—like movies, music, sports, technology, family, cooking, telenovelas—while promoting various ways to connect to those passions. It’s published by Eclipse Hispanic Marketing (a division of Eclipse Marketing Services, Inc.), which specializes in creative direct marketing solutions in the Hispanic marketing arena. Tell us your goals. We’ll make them ours. Contact Tim Brittan: 973.695.0332.


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Bring it! At Verizon, we’re inspired by inception and realization- by the thrill of seeing a medley of diverse ideas through from concept to execution. When you partner with our team of poineers, you’ll set your talent and creativity free in an environment that lets you shine. And you’ll find the technology, the teamwork, and the tireless commitment to innovation to give wings to your vision, and fuel for your future. Take the lead at You can also like us on Facebook at for information on career opportunities and upcoming events.

Careers For Everything You Are

Verizon is an equal opportunity employer m/f/d/v.

April/May/June 2012


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Fostering Connections Verizon’s Oscar Madrid steers clear of “generic bundles” when it comes to targeting the ethnic consumer for the top US wireless-services provider by Tricia Despres


s the number-one US wireless-services provider, Verizon Communications Inc. owes much of its success to the millions of subscribers who turn to the telecom company every day for virtually all of their communication needs. Among those millions of subscribers are an increasing number of Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians whose communication needs continue to evolve. To best reach this market, director of multicultural marketing Oscar Madrid has led his team in project efforts specifically designed to reach these groups with Verizon’s growing fiber-optic suite of services for television, voice, and Internet. Hispanic Executive sat down with Madrid to discuss specific initiatives he has worked on since joining the company in 1989 to better engage the ethnic consumer. Verizon Training Course

“We always say that embracing diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also crucial to our longevity as a successful company. We show this every day in our words and actions,” says Oscar Madrid, director of multicultural marketing for Verizon.


Hispanic Executive

Several years ago, during a trip to a Verizon store in California, Madrid witnessed firsthand the struggle that some Verizon staff had communicating and selling to a long line of Spanish-speaking customers. “I was watch-

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Up Close & Personal Getting to know Oscar Madrid

What’s your favorite TV show? ABC’s Modern Family. I love how it shows what a true family looks like in this country these days. What’s your favorite vacation spot? I have traveled many times to Madrid, Spain—and not just because it is my last name. I love that city. What’s your favorite sports team? New York Yankees How do you relax? Spending time with my partner and playing with our dogs What’s your favorite Verizon product? After watching the World Cup at home with FiOS last year, I was hooked!

ing how adolescents were there acting as interpreters, and how essential it was to give our employees insight into this particular culture,” Madrid says. Soon after, Madrid developed a companywide training course to better educate employees on how to best sell to the Latino segment, helping to “build strong relationships and trust between this important customer segment and our employees.” Verizon FiOS

With its triple play, or “bundle” offering of fiberoptic television, Internet, and voice, Verizon FiOS was specifically designed to cater to the customer looking for a breathtaking picture, ultra-fast Internet speeds, and reliable voice service. Yet, Madrid also saw a way to expand on the FiOS offering to better reach the Hispanic-consumer marketplace. “Our studies showed that the Hispanic consumer did not want some generic bundle of programming with a Spanish component added on,” says Madrid, who is active with the Association of National Advertisers

April/May/June 2012

and lectured in the past at the US Hispanic Marketing Conference. “They wanted the whole package deal. It was also important to deliver a wide range of Spanish and English programming. They didn’t just want the Univisions and Telemundos of the world. They wanted networks like Nick Jr., also, to satisfy the needs of the entire family. With multiple generations coming together to watch television, a true mix of programming was key.” Last year, Verizon FiOS launched La Conexion, a bundle that includes TV, Internet, and voice service and over 30 of the most popular Spanish channels.

designed with the Hispanic consumer in mind. The website myfabulousquince. com details a contest in which current 14 and 15 year olds can submit essays as to why they deserve an all-expenses-paid quinceañera. Verizon plays a crucial part in the contest, participating in various community events surrounding the contest and putting on expos featuring local vendors such as bakeries, dress designers, and photographers. A MESSAGE FROM Lopez Negrete Communications

look for ways to evolve. “We recently launched a new microsite (enciendetefios. com) designed to ensure our consumers understand [the] ever-expanding capabilities of our fiber-optic network,” Madrid says. “We did some focus groups at the beginning of the year, and it was amazing to listen to these parents who have the Verizon FiOS internet service in their home, and they spoke of it like it was their very own badge of honor. It certainly hits home, especially with me.” Quinceañera Contest

Madrid and his team recently announced details of a contest, specifically

Lopez Negrete Communications is honored to be the Hispanic Agency of Record for Verizon Communications, where Oscar Madrid is at the helm of multicultural marketing. Oscar, a visionary leader in his own right, is a pillar of the community and a role model for all. Verizon understands and embraces the important role that Hispanic consumers play in Verizon’s long-term business success. Both Verizon’s and Oscar’s commitment to the Hispanic community mirrors our own, reflecting shared values and stewardship of this important marketplace. We are proud to call Verizon and Oscar members of the Lopez Negrete familia, both professionally and personally.

Marketing to the Ethnic Population

Utilizing online/digital marketing and microsites with multicultural testimonials to get people to click on banner ads, Verizon has embraced the fact that Latinos are more socially engaged online than their general-market counterparts. As they are currently in the midst of building their multicultural social-media platform, they continue to

“With multiple generations coming together to watch television, a true mix of programming was key.” Oscar Madrid

Director of Multicultural Marketing


We focus on who. We’ve earned a reputation for protecting the envirnoment, breakthrough document and data technologies, and advanced business processes in healthcare, finance, and human resources. How? We focus on who, not what, is next. Our citizenship programs and the Xerox Foundation support education so those who aspire to create, innovate, and help others will have a home with our diversified family. Freedom to focus on what matters. ACS® and the ACS design are trademarks of ACS Marketing LP in the US and/or other countries. XEROX® and XEROX and Design® are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Initiatives Negocios

With five successful McDonald’s restaurants under his belt, Joseph E. Montoya has no plans of slowing down—let alone retire. “If I come across more opportunities to own restaurants, I’ll jump,” says the franchisee, who runs stores in the greater Washington, DC area.

Making a Franchise McFlourish Celebrating 20 years as owner/operator at McDonald’s, Joseph E. Montoya shares his tried-and-true strategies for running a successful franchise with golden arches by Jennifer Samuels

April/May/June 2012


hough all of his childhood friends may be retired, Joseph E. Montoya, a top franchisee in the McDonald’s corporation, shows no signs of slowing down. “If I come across more opportunities to own restaurants, I’ll jump,” says the franchisee, who successfully runs five stores in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Though he celebrates more than 20 years as owner/operator at McDonald’s, Montoya recalls first connecting with the fastfood giant in the mid-1960s. At the time, Montoya’s real-estate connections in New Mexico attracted the McDonald’s brand,


Negocios Initiatives which was having difficulty implementing new restaurants in that region. After Montoya provided consultation services, McDonald’s executives encouraged Montoya to become an owner/operator. His first store in New Mexico surpassed expectations, but personal circumstances prompted Montoya to relocate to Washington, DC, in late 1997. Over the next three years, he opened four more locations that continue to thrive today. Comprehensive Training

“Success starts with the selection of people,” explains Montoya, who personally hires and trains each manager in each restaurant that he oversees. “I’ve always had an aggressive outreach for good people who are inquisitive and looking for challenge. Being able to channel that energy has made me successful.” McDonald’s has a well-orchestrated training program that starts with in-store trainings, continues with outside classes, and finally culminates with the completion of a degree from Hamburger University, McDonald’s worldwide management-training center located in Oak Brook, Illinois. While a student at the renowned university, Montoya received the Archie award as the top student in his class. Community Engagement

In the face of diversity and adversity, Montoya has been able to increase sales and profits by engaging the community. “My philosophy is that each store’s employees should reflect the local population,” he says. “In each restaurant that I own, the first step was to examine the makeup of the surrounding community and then reach out to schools, churches, and employment institutions to


Hispanic Executive

As part of McDonald’s global “re-imaging” program, newer restaurants are serving up a more contemporary feel, complete with free Web access. Within this year, Montoya plans to similarly revamp one of his own restaurants to meet the changing needs of customers.

What role does your son play in your career? His name is Joseph Eugene, Jr., but everyone calls him JJ. After he graduated from college, he worked for me in New Mexico. When his mother passed away, McDonald’s recognized his potential and eventually promoted him to manager of the largest store in Las Vegas. Five years ago, he joined my organization and recently became owner/operator on his own. He also participates with me in the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s hero program.

attract employees that are good for McDonald’s and good for our neighborhoods.” Following the mantra of McDonald’s founder—Ray Kroc—Montoya is committed to giving back to the community. He also works directly with the Hispanic population, specifically. He serves as a Hispanic “hero” for the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, giving scholarship advice to high school graduates during daylong seminars. Montoya also has endowed in perpetuity a scholarship in his wife’s name to Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he completed his education. Each year, the scholarship is granted to one graduate from his high school alma mater—West Las Vegas High School.

When will you retire? I work every day, and I love what I do. When you love what you do, you never get old, you never get tired, and you always want to come back and do more.

Rather than losing talent and energy, Montoya explains he likes to build upon both. “The

Up Close & Personal Getting to know Joseph E. Montoya What are your career milestones? First, I recognize McDonald’s for what it is—a magnificent organization on the leading edge of offering opportunities. Second, I made the decision to relocate to Washington, DC. Third, my son became part of McDonald’s second generation. What influenced your decision to relocate in 1997? My wife and I met on our first day of college. We graduated in the morning, got married in the afternoon, and stayed together for the next 34 years. In 1995, she passed away. I asked my regional manager to help me relocate, and I moved to Washington, DC, on Thanksgiving Day 1997.

Employee Longevity

For generations, La Preferida has been “The Preferred” choice for quality food for the entire family. La Preferida offers a complete line of products to reflect regional cooking preferences. Our products come in a variety of sizes to suit your cooking needs. We also offer large “economy” size bags for family-style home cooking. Trendy “new” ethnic foods that customers now demand have been staples in our product line for years. Our in-depth knowledge of Hispanic products keeps our finger on the pulse of the market.

PHOTO: Callie Lipkin

After developing a particular fondness for senior citizens who visit his restaurants daily, Montoya implemented weekly “Seniors’ Bingo” events at his restaurants where customers play for food coupons and the grand prize of a McDonald’s cake.

first employee that I hired in Washington, DC, is now the store manager of one of my most successful restaurants, and I’ve never lost a store manager since I’ve been a McDonald’s operator,” he says. “That is testimony to the initiative that you’re only as good as your people.” Montoya cites one particular employee, Marvin Ebraca, who stands out as a success story. Ebraca first joined McDonald’s more than 10 years ago as a teenage-crew person. Today, he manages Montoya’s highestvolume McDonald’s in Maryland and recently served as a judge in McDonald’s’ singing contest in Washington, DC. “His wife works for us, and when his children are older they’ll probably work for us too,” Montoya says. “I’m very proud of him.” Relying on the standards that Kroc set for McDon-

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ald’s, Montoya injects his own creative energy into the organization’s tried-and-true formula for success. “That’s what I’ve done for the entire 20 years that I’ve been with McDonald’s,” he says. “It’s been a wonderful ride.”

“The first employee that I hired in Washington, DC, is now the store manager of one of my most successful restaurants, and I’ve never lost a store manager since I’ve been a McDonald’s operator. That is testimony to the initiative that you’re only as good as your people.” Joseph E. Montoya


The delicious Mexican specialties that we provide to our Hispanic customers will convince everyone else that La Preferida means authentic Mexican food. It all adds up to a name you can trust - from the company that knows the Hispanic and Anglo customers.

3400 W. 35th Street Chicago, IL 60632


Negocios Initiatives

Hitting the Nail on the Head Hector Vallejo breaks down how he’s helped drill into the Hispanic construction segment as multicultural marketing manager for Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. by Chuck Green


n the throes of a declining economy that was cutting a bleak swath through the construction industry, Hector Vallejo knew he had his work cut out three years ago when Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. tapped him to develop a multicultural marketing strategy targeted at the Hispanic construction segment. The move was prompted when budgetary constraints forced the company to abandon its highly successful tactical approach to a more comprehensive strategic operation. While the rebooted game plan essentially meant executing a major strategic turn on the dime, the mission certainly was in the wheelhouse of Vallejo, a 13year employee of the leading tool manufacturer with an edict to maintain and further enhance the company’s market standing. Learn how Vallejo is helping the tools-and-hardware company market in a “culturally relevant way” to the Latino construction segment.


Hispanic Executive

Stanley Black & Decker, one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies, is a diversified global provider of hand tools, power tools and related accessories, mechanical access solutions and electronic security solutions, engineered fastening systems, and more.

Š2011 Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.

Learn more at

April/May/June 2012


Negocios Initiatives

“A cookie-cutter strategy doesn’t work anymore; you have to start developing more targeted strategies to reach certain groups of consumers that respond in different ways.” Hector Vallejo

Multicultural Marketing Manager

Going Where They Buy

One way the company targets Hispanic contractors is by going where they buy, such as distributors like Home Depot and Lowe’s. To facilitate that effort, Vallejo established marketing teams that visit distributors where they carry out several retail strategies specially targeted to those contractors, he says. Marketing team members also drive tool-laden trucks as they market the DEWALT brand—a brand targeting professional residential and commercial contractors who make a living using power tools—and products directly to Hispanic contractors at their worksites, added Vallejo. “They don’t sell, they just market the product and show contractors the benefits of how these can increase productivity on the jobsites through innovative features and better performance,” he explains. Team members provide contractors, among other things, training on the jobsite, including proper use of power tools, and show them new and innovative tools that help them do their job “better and faster.” Helping maximize the potential for success among


Hispanic Executive

team members, DEWALT focused on studding its force with those who have a construction background, advanced knowledge of Hispanic contractors, and reside in the communities in which they work, he explains. For example, SB&D has a team of five in southern California, all of whom are from the area, Latino or of Latino background, and who’ve previously worked in the construction industry. The combination instantly and significantly spikes their credibility among Hispanic contractors the moment they arrive on a job site. “No one in our industry has anything like that,” Vallejo says. Partnering with Trade Organizations

Also reaching Hispanic contractors where they learn, DEWALT established a number of partnerships with trade organizations that provide training to contractors, ranging from safety to how to read blueprints and bid on contracts. Furthermore, DEWALT teamed with an organization called the National Hispanic Contractor Association, which helps develop and train Hispanic

Up Close & Personal Getting to know Hector Vallejo

What’s your favorite appliance? Crockpot What do you like to do in your free time? Play soccer and travel with my family What’s your favorite place to vacation? The beach, in particular the Bay Islands in Honduras As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An athlete

contractors. Vallejo also sits on the board of Corporate Advisors. “It’s important that Hispanic contractors succeed and be safe on the job so they can provide for their families and contribute to the US economy,” Vallejo says. He added that he’s “a big supporter” of organizations that provide tools for them to better themselves. “That’s what we want for everyone in our society.” Additionally, Stanley Black & Decker professionaltool brands are highly visible at sports events like NASCAR, baseball and rodeos, as well as soccer and boxing, the company’s primary sports

platform marketing to the Hispanic segment, Vallejo says. For example, DEWALT forged a relationship with Golden Boy Promotions, the largest US-based boxing promoter in the world. “Boxing requires hard work, speed and endurance—attributes that not only fit well with our tools, but describe the character of the professional contractor who uses them,” Vallejo says. “So, it’s a perfect match.” Avoiding Cookie-Cutter Strategies

Overall, Stanley Black & Decker believes it’s incumbent to continue to grow

PHOTO (BOTTOM): Gene Blevins

Initiatives Negocios

In order to market the DEWALT brand to the growing segment of Hispanic contractors, DEWALT hires team members who have construction expertise, are of Latino background, and who live in the communities they work in. This combination instantly spikes their credibility with target consumers, says Vallejo. “No one in our industry has anything like that,” he explains.

April/May/June 2012

the multicultural market as the country trends in that direction, he says. “A cookiecutter strategy doesn’t work anymore; you have to start developing more targeted strategies to reach certain groups of consumers that respond in different ways,” he explains. Vallejo’s convinced the Latino construction worker is the future of the industry. “They’re growing exponentially, learning other trades outside of traditional homebuilding, entering commercial markets, and starting their own businesses,” he notes. “If they are successful in the industry, we’re successful.” Consequently, Stanley Black & Decker believes it’s essential to continue to provide resources that help them succeed and remain safe on jobsites, adds Vallejo.


Negocios Stepping Stones

Following his time in the army, Galindo had a tough time finding work. He worked as a janitor at his old high school, did drafting work, and played drums in a band at night. He also entered the National Guard and used his Army training to work on radios and radar systems. In a short period of time, he became an instructor. He was fortunate enough to land his job with Toledo Scale, starting with a two-year apprenticeship. He completed this in a year and a half and went on to work as a field service technician.

Armed with Work Ethic Propelled by skills he learned in the army, Adolph Galindo has spent the last 28 years making Delta Scale, Inc. a leading industry force by Keith Loria


Hispanic Executive



s a youngster growing up on his granddad’s farm and ranch in San Antonio, Adolph Galindo was instilled with a worth ethic second to none. “We could play until we were 12 years old and then we had to take responsibility by doing chores, feeding animals, and working hard,” Galindo says. “Granddad would tell us, ‘You work for what you need and you pray for what you want.’ He told me if you remember that, you won’t have any trouble in life.”



After high school, Galindo found himself with two choices—become a policeman or join the military. So, the next year, he joined the 2nd Armored Division and began learning about electronics. “I became a sergeant and even though I didn’t have to, I did what [my unit] did. I found out that if they see me working, they would respond positively to my supervision,” he says. “The discipline I learned at home just carried over to the army.”

Stepping Stones Negocios

He was promoted to district service manager in San Antonio where he operated a very successful service department for the next five years. In the following years, he received several promotions and was transferred to Reliance Electric, the corporate owners of Toledo Scale. He became the division manager of the southeast United States.

Uncle Sam called Galindo back to service. He was sent to school to upgrade his skills and later stationed at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in the avionics section. Here he installed radios and radar systems in the Huey Gun Ships. He oversaw a section comprised of 12 men, charged with completely rewiring each Huey Gun ship. These helicopters were brought in from Vietnam to be refurbished and put back into service.


On a personal front, Galindo married Judith Winters in December 13, 1966. He was also transferred by Toledo to Corpus Christi, Texas, as a service manager.

April/May/June 2012



Galindo was released from Army duties and returned to Toledo Scale in 1969. Later that year, he was offered a job at Toledo Scale factory in Toledo, Ohio, as an instructor on scale systems.



During a conversation with his wife, Judy, in May of that year, Galindo brought up the prospect of starting his own business, an idea that she had heard over and over again through the years. She offered him this advice: “Either do it or stop talking about it!” Galindo decided right there and then that he was finally going to follow his dream. He was working at the time for Reliance Electric, and had hoped to open up his own Toledo Scale distributorship. “I asked Toledo if I could get an authorized distributorship and they said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I wrote my letter of resignation and gave them six months.”


Negocios Stepping Stones

The company didn’t want to see Galindo go and offered him other opportunities within the company. However, he kept turning them down, asking them to reconsider his idea, but the answer was always “no.” “By October of that year, I had established my company Delta Scale, Inc. I received a call from my boss telling me that I may be getting the distributorship,” Galindo says. “They finally agreed and I bought their little office of five people and had to take on everything—the parts, trucks, the people and the debt—and in 1983 we opened the doors and started doing business.”

1982 to 1983

Over the course of the last 29 years, Delta Scale, Inc. has evolved into a leading scale distributor of Mettler-Toledo Scales and a food-service dealer. It supplies all scales, grinders, mixers, and saws to grocery industry, hospitals, restaurants, and the restaurant- supply business. The company is the exclusive distributor of MettlerToledo products in the region of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Galindo has since brought his son, Clayton Galindo, into the business as corporate vice president with plans to have him take over if and when he decides to stop. “I may never retire, but there needs to be new blood with new ideas so the company can keep improving and support the future growth,” Galindo says.



With accounts in the retail-grocery business, including Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Kroger, Delta Scale has continued to leave its mark on the industry. Our commercial division includes Mettler Toledo heavy-duty scales, such as truck scales, floor scales, bench, and portable scales. “I am 70 years old and I love coming to work every day; I still enjoy it,” Galindo says. “My job today entails more of operations manager. I still stay involved every day, but my son is the VP and I have other managers. But I still want to know the pulse of the business. I see every invoice, sign every check, and am trying to train my son to look at things the way I do.”


Hispanic Executive

Stepping Stones Negocios

The Law of


Celia Meza Utreras tells HE how her accomplished legal career led her back full circle to work alongside her husband Mario at Utreras Law Offices by Tricia Despres

Celia joined the Department of Justice US Attorney’s Office as an assistant US attorney where she worked in the criminal division until 2005. “This was around the time when I was faced with the reality that if you stay in the government sector too long, private companies will begin to think that’s all you can do,” Celia says.


hicago attorney Celia Meza Utreras says she always felt as if the plan for her life had been laid out neatly in front of her. Of course, there were challenges along the way, but from the moment she became the first female in her family to attend college, she had a clear focus on what she needed to do to accomplish her dreams. “My parents both came from migrant farming families in Texas,” she recalls. “My mom was the oldest of 11, and received nothing more than a fifth-grade education. My father, too, only had a second-grade education. So when my parents were married, their goal for all of their children was to give them a chance at a complete education. And from the beginning, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.” Her path began at the University of Illinois. It was the place she started her advanced education and where she would meet her future husband Mario. After graduation from college in 1991, Celia would move on to the University of Iowa College of Law. The following year Mario joined her at Iowa where he too attended law school.

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1988 to 1991



“I graduated [law school] May 13 of 1994, and Mario and I married on May 20 of 1994,” says Celia with a chuckle. “We both felt we were on the path to making all the right steps in our career, but as we all know, sometimes the best laid plans don’t always work.” In fact, the married couple would soon find that their profession would take them to different states. After graduation, Celia served as a law clerk with the Minnesota Supreme Court, after which she moved to Chicago and began working in the City of Chicago’s Law Department. Mario, on the other hand, moved to Washington DC to work as a law clerk in the Department of Justice Honor’s Program. After two years pursuing their respective legal careers in different cities, the married couple finally found themselves together in Chicago.


Negocios Stepping Stones

Celia moved to the corporate side of law, working in-house at Exelon Corporation as an assistant general counsel. But after just two years, she was drawn back to the City of Chicago Law Department, where she managed the Employment Litigation Division and held the title of deputy corporation counsel from 2007 to 2009. Then, in 2009, Celia became the general counsel and chief compliance officer of a privately owned healthcare-billing company where she stayed until September 2011.


Their different paths have now converged. “The ability to market our skills together was something that we have found to be completely rewarding,” Celia says. “I have always been confident on the path I took and where my career was headed, and this next step makes me feel that I am right where I was always supposed to be. I love the client interaction and the interaction between the both of us, and now we can come together to help so many different clients. It’s an amazing time for the both of us.”


“Mario had just moved his law firm from the northwest side of Chicago, to a new downtown location to more centrally serve his clients, and I started wondering if it was time for me to start a new chapter of my career,” says Celia. “I felt confident that I had effectively built the background and experiences I needed to go work at my own firm.” And so, the opportunity to work alongside the man she met in college, and with whom she had shared so much of her legal career, albeit on different paths, was something she could not pass up. You can now find this dynamic law duo working alongside one another at Utreras Law Offices, the Chicago-based law firm Mario started in 2004. The firm’s practice areas include employment law, general litigation, corporate and business law, health care law, and criminal defense.


LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW HEALTH CARE LAW CORPORATE & BUSINESS LAW CRIMINAL DEFENSE If you are involved in an employment law or business law dispute, require a corporate lawyer, are the target of a health care fraud investigation, or have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor in federal or state court, Utreras Law can help. We are a minority owned Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to providing our clients with legal excellence and value at reasonable rates.

205 W. Wacker Suite 1600 Chicago, Illinois 60606 312.263.5580


Hispanic Executive

corporate champions In the business arena, the role of legal professionals is as layered as the companies they counsel and as dynamic as the industries they represent. In the face of heightened scrutiny, competition, and almost daily innovations, corporate counsel today must be nimble, strategic, and fearless. Most of all, they must pack as powerful a punch in the boardroom as they do in the courtroom.

Meet the heavyweights behind some of today’s most renowned companies.

April/May/June 2012


Highly Diverse. Locke Lord celebrates individuality and diversity. We support

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organizations that share our commitment with our time and our funds. Our diversity is broad-based and stems from varying ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations,

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languages, nationalities and religions. All of these factors aid us as we strive for a workplace where attorneys can thrive as legal

Forward leader. Congratulations, Tom. We’re proud to be on your team.

practitioners and genuinely enjoy the company of their colleagues.

We proudly support the

Hispanic Executive Issue as it honors

Tom Tollison Thank you for facilitating change in industry standards and practices.

Practical Wisdom, Trusted Advice.

The Larson • King, LLP law firm serves clients from coast to coast in the areas of business litigation, employment litigation and insurance disputes. More information at

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corporate champions

THOMAS FELÍX TOLLISON U-Haul International, Inc.

Senior Assistant General Counsel, Marketing Group by Matt Alderton


ne of the country’s most recognizable vehicles is a U-Haul truck. White with an iconic orange

cummerbund, it’s a mascot of the American roadway. While everyone knows its trucks, what few people realize about U-Haul International is that a husband and wife started it in a garage in 1945 with only $5,000 in savings—an entrepreneurial origin that makes it a perfect fit for Thomas “Tom” Felíx Tollison, senior assistant general counsel for U-Haul’s marketing group. “I come from a background of entrepreneurs,” says Tollison, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1968. “My family emigrated here from northern Spain. They weren’t doctors or lawyers, so they started their own businesses. For example, my grandfather had a grocery store, and at one time he had a restaurant and a roller-skating rink.” Originally a teacher, Tollison’s mother also was a business owner, as she started her own in-home health-care company in 1981. “I remember very specifically—even in high school—running errands, answering phones, and filing papers for my mother in her business,” Tollison says. “More poignantly, I remember

April/May/June 2012

there being quite a lot of regulations and issues that involved attorneys and state governments and contracts. I remember my mother trying to understand those things, and I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, it would be nice if we had a lawyer on staff or in the family who could help my mother out with those things.’” Determined to be that lawyer, Tollison went to law school at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, which was known for graduating corporate attorneys and in-house counsel. “I had no desire to be a trial lawyer,” he says. “I wanted very specifically to be involved in a company, working hand-in-hand with the business. I learned that from working in my mother’s small in-home health-care business.” Shortly after graduating from SMU in 1995, Tollison moved back to Albuquerque, where he took a job with a large healthcare company as director of contracts and compliance. Although he lived in New Mexico, he took the Arizona bar exam in 1997, which allowed him to accept a position as contracts attorney with another health-care company—Phoenix-based Banner Health, which owns and operates 23 hospitals and health-care facilities across the United States—in 1999, further developing his niche in contracts and compliance. That niche is what attracted Phoenix-based U-Haul, according to Tollison, who gave a presentation to the local business community in 2001 on the topic of health-care regulations. The


corporate champions

memorable Milestones Summer 1984

August 1992

May 1997

January 1999

November 2000

October 2010

Joins Mother’s Business

Attends SMU

Passes Arizona Bar Exam

Joins Banner Health

Recruited By U-Haul

Named Regional President of HNBA

Taking the Arizona bar exam as a New Mexico resident positions Tollison for future opportunities in Phoenix—home to his next two employers.

As contracts attorney at Banner Health, where eventually he was promoted to assistant director of compliance and research contracts attorney, Tollison delivers a lecture on healthcare regulations to the local business community.

U-Haul hires Tollison as marketing staff attorney and later promotes him to senior assistant general counsel in its marketing group, affording him the opportunity to contribute to a company as a member of its business-strategy team.

As a regional president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, Tollison works hard to develop Hispanic attorneys by helping them network with prospective clients.

Tollison decides to become an in-house attorney when he sees how badly his mother needed one to help her with the in-home healthcare company she’d started in 1981.

Tollison is accepted into Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which is known for graduating corporate attorneys. He joins All Season’s Home Care Inc. four years later as director of contracts and compliance, commencing his contracts and compliance specialty.

“I had no desire to be a trial lawyer. I wanted very specifically to be involved in a company, working hand-in-hand with the business.”

presentation, he believes, caught on you,” Tollison says. “There’s not the attention of an executive in a lot of micromanagement. They give you big goals and tasks, and U-Haul’s marketing division. “I received a call from the executive they say, ‘Go get it done.’ That’s vice president of U-Haul and she how I’ve always worked. Growtold me about a position,” Tolliing up in a small business with my mother, we didn’t have a lot of son says. “She said, ‘Part of my division is the marketing group, resources. You just had to figure which is the largest division of it out. Even though U-Haul is this big-monster company, there’s still U-Haul. We have 12 attorneys here at U-Haul and all they do is that small-business spirit. I apprelitigation, litigation, litigation. ciate that.” W hile he awa its t he nex t We need somebody who w ill physically work with us and our chapter of his career, Tollison is team, separated from the legal committed to giving back to the THOMAS “TOM” FELĺX Tollison department, to help us with the Hispanic community. A regional Senior Assistant General Counsel, following: contracts, compliance, president for the Hispanic NaMarketing Group, U-Haul International marketing, intellectual property, tional Bar Association, he is a volunteer for several nonprofits and a and anything else we give you.’” It was exactly what Tollmentor for Hispanic attorneys. Of ison had envisioned when he decided to become an in-house atcourse, the most important person he’s helped is his mother, who torney. “My offices were next door to the president and the project finally had the benefit of legal counsel when her son passed the bar managers and vice presidents and directors,” says Tollison, who exam. “I basically became her unpaid in-house attorney,” Tollison was hired as marketing staff attorney and later promoted to sesays. “She was really grateful for that.” nior assistant general counsel. “I was not physically in the legal A MESSAGE FROM department and I was not a member of the legal department. I Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, LLP was a member of the business team.” Although he’s remained a member of that business team for Congratulations to Tom Tollison for being recognized by Hispanic Executhe past 11 years, and continues to be its lead counsel, Tollison tive for his outstanding work with U-Haul. Locke Lord is a full-service, now serves the legal department, as well, and assists U-Haul with international law firm. We have distinguished ourselves from our peers in everything from offensive litigation, business contracts, and the AmLaw 100 by embracing diversity at all levels, starting from the top. trademark disputes to land zoning issues, international business We are proud that many of the nation’s largest companies have identified agreements, and marketing strategy. “What I like about U-Haul Locke Lord as a go-to firm for exceptional and diverse counsel capable of is that they really do trust you, and they put a lot of responsibility handling the most complex legal matters.


Hispanic Executive



Lapidus & Lapidus is proud to represent U-Haul and congratulates Tom Tollison on his recognition in Hispanic Executive. Lapidus & Lapidus is a full service litigation and civil practice law firm located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. We provide customized and pragmatic advice to help our clients prevail in their disputes and otherwise achieve their strategic goals. Lapidus & Lapidus, P.L.C. 177 South Beverly Drive Beverly Hills, California 90212 Phone: 310-550-8700 Fax: 310-943-2471

Dedicated to client service, McGuireWoods LLP brings innovative perspectives to each client’s legal and business challenges in order to strategically address the issues. Serving public, private, government and nonprofit clients from countless industries, we help them reach their objectives from virtually any area of law. McGuireWoods proudly congratulates Norma Barnes-Euresti on her career achievements. She is a bright, talented and hardworking in-house partner. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Norma and Kellogg Company.

Curtis L. Mack, Partner 404.443.5722 | Halima Horton, Partner 404.443.5715 | Promenade II 1230 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 2100 Atlanta, Georgia 30309-3534

900 Lawyers | 19 Offices

corporate Negocios champions

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

Norma Barnes-Euresti Kellogg Company

Vice President & Chief Counsel interview by Lisa Ryan


eople across the globe recognize Kellogg as a brand to trust, and invite its products—from cereal to convenience foods—into their homes each day. Behind the scenes, the company’s vice president and chief counsel Norma Barnes-Euresti manages all of Kellogg’s business units in the area of labor and employment, ensuring that it’s also a brand its approximately 31,000 employees can trust. Hispanic Executive caught up with the busy Barnes-Euresti to chat about her journey from law school to becoming Kellogg’s in-house legal support, in addition to the roadblocks she faced as a Latina executive.


Hispanic Executive

My mom worked for an organization that supported migrant workers—in particular, she worked in their clinic with the on-site doctors. She helped to translate the conversations between the patients and the doctors, who did not speak Spanish, to ensure the doctors understood the patients’ symptoms and the patients understood the doctors’ instructions for care. She did tremendous work to help make a difference in the lives of these workers, and impressed upon me the importance of helping to support others. That’s the main reason why I decided to pursue a career in law—to help support others when they might need it most and to make a difference in their lives. How were you able to translate that desire to help others into your law career?

I’m a strong believer that if you want peace, you have to work for justice. When I entered the field of law, I wanted to be a force for good. In my roles with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Illinois Human Rights Commission, I was either representing people or making decisions in cases where something bad may have already happened. In some cases, a person had experienced something

Norma Barnes-Euresti Powerful. Influential. Committed. Littler congratulates Norma for her accomplishments as a leader in the legal profession and her contributions to the Hispanic community. We share your passion for diversity and for fostering inclusive working environments. We are proud to be your partner in business. • Littler Mendelson, P.C. 2049 Century Park East, 5th Floor • Los Angeles, CA 90067 • 310.553.0308

Corporate champions

memorable Milestones May 1992

Obtains Law Degree Barnes-Euresti graduates from Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. “While I was at Campbell, I had a terrific professor named Rick Lord, who was very encouraging to me,” she says. “Now, thanks in part to him, I am serving on the Board of Visitors at Campbell.”

June 1992

tackles First Big Case A couple of weeks after starting with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, Barnes-Euresti was asked to give an oral argument in an appellate case. “It was a privilege to be given this opportunity, being so new to the organization,” Barnes-Euresti says.

October 1996

Protecting the Vulnerable Serves an administrative law judge for the Illinois Human Rights Commission in helping to bring justice to those who had been wronged or discriminated against.

November 1999

Joins the Keebler Family Is hired by Keebler in 1999, then becomes part of the Kellogg team during its acquisition of Keebler in 2001.

July 2009

Proudest Achievement Barnes-Euresti helps establish Kellogg’s K-Pride and Allies employee-resource group to promote a safe and open working environment for LGBT employees. She currently serves as its executive sponsor.


Hispanic Executive

“There are stereotypes out there—stereotypes that perpetuate how a woman, how a Latina, or how a lawyer should look and act. I don’t look or act like these stereotypes.” Norma Barnes-Euresti Vice President & Chief Counsel, KELLOGG company

awful or tragic in his or her life, and that couldn’t be undone. Sure, in these cases I could help them to obtain some justice for that act, but it couldn’t take that memory away. Some of my most important work with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago was supporting battered women and children, helping them to obtain protection orders and representing women in divorce proceedings. This was very meaningful work—we were helping to protect the lives of women and children in very serious and dangerous situations. And as I thought back to the lessons of my mother, this work certainly helped to support people when they needed it the most, and I hope, made a difference in their lives. Why did you ultimately choose to move into an inhouse counsel role?

When I was approached by Keebler, I saw it as an opportunity to affect change, an opportunity to help ensure that people who worked for Keebler—and now Kellogg—have a positive experience when they come to work each day, that they’re treated fairly, and treated well. I’m also able to help many more people than

I could in my other roles—we have approximately 31,000 people at Kellogg. That’s a big difference when you compare to only being able to help one plaintiff at a time. Have you faced any unique challenges as a woman and a Latina in your field?

As much as I wish it were otherwise, discrimination is still alive and well in and out of the workplace. There are stereotypes out there— stereotypes that perpetuate how a woman, how a Latina, or how a lawyer should look and act. I don’t look or act like these stereotypes. In fact, when I first meet people, some are often surprised to learn that I’m a lawyer. They often assume I do more of a manual job. What advice do you have for young minorities preparing to enter the corporate world?

You can’t let negative attitudes and perceptions defeat you. Ignore them or they will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have to believe in yourself, believe that you can achieve your goals and objectives, and by doing so, you’ll affect change. Change doesn’t happen by simply wishing that things will change—[it] happens when people actually do something.

A MESSAGE FROM Greenberg Traurig, LLP Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, full-service law firm with approximately 1,800 attorneys serving clients from more than 30 offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In the US, the firm has more offices than any other among the Top 10 on The National Law Journal’s 2011 NLJ 250. In the UK, the firm operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. Greenberg Traurig has a strategic alliance with the independent law firm, Studio Santa Maria in Milan and Rome. The firm was Chambers and Partners’ USA Law Firm of the Year in 2007 and among the Top 3 in the International Law Firm of the Year at the 2009 The Lawyer Awards. For additional information, please visit A MESSAGE FROM Littler Mendelson Littler is a proud business partner of Kellogg and Norma Barnes-Euresti, a dedicated leader and advocate for diversity. Littler’s 800 attorneys make us the nation’s largest labor and employment law firm. But our strength comes from the diversity of our culture and the depth of our experience. As the only US member of the Ius Laboris global alliance, we also have international resources and even more diverse input to assist our clients in an increasingly interconnected world.

In Celebration of Leadership and Commitment We join Hispanic Executive in recognizing Norma Barnes-Euresti for her leadership and focus on excellence. We are proud to share in your commitment to diversity. Congratulations, Norma. ALBANY | AMSTERDAM | ATLANTA | AUSTIN | BOSTON | CHICAGO | DALLAS | DELAWARE | DENVER | FORT LAUDERDALE | HOUSTON | LAS VEGAS | LONDON* LOS ANGELES | MEXICO CITY+ | MIAMI | NEW JERSEY | NEW YORK | ORANGE COUNTY | ORLANDO | PALM BEACH COUNTY | PHILADELPHIA | PHOENIX SACRAMENTO | SAN FRANCISCO | SHANGHAI | SILICON VALLEY | TALLAHASSEE | TAMPA | TYSONS CORNER | WASHINGTON, D.C. | WHITE PLAINS

1800 Attorneys 33 Locations° The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and our experience. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2010 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Contact: Cesar L. Alvarez in Miami at 305.579.0500 or James N. Boudreau in Philadelphia at 215.988.7800. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. *Operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. +Operates as Greenberg Traurig, S.C. 12595



hen it comes to protecting intellectual property, Horacio Gutiérrez is a formidable fighter—but he knows when to pick his battles. Since taking over as head of the intellectual property (IP) group at Microsoft Corporation in 2006, the corporate vice president and deputy general counsel filed the firm’s first lawsuits for IP infringement, to protect patented innovations. But it is in deal making that the Venezuela native has helped change the course of the technology sector. Positioning Microsoft’s patents as assets for barter, Gutiérrez has turned the world’s top-selling software company into a partner, rather than rival, orchestrating licensing agreements with brands such as Novell, HTC, and Samsung. It seems the battle cry of this Harvard Law School Fulbright scholar isn’t to attack, but to collaborate.

Horacio GutiÉrrez Microsoft corporation

Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel as told to Ruth E. Dávila

You don’t have to be a technology expert to know we’re living in a revolution. A mobile device that fits in the palm of your hand carries exponentially more computing power than the Apollo 11 capsule carried to the moon. People use smartphones to chat, text, browse, take pictures, capture video, play games, watch shows, and download apps. Yet all of these technologies were developed by dozens if not hundreds of companies around the world, each owning a piece of the intellectual property. When IP is managed properly, the products consumers crave can come to market quickly, without being tied up in courts.


Hispanic Executive

Negocios For a company like Microsoft that is in the business of innovation, IP represents our crown jewels. To be sure, leading the intellectual property group has been the most dynamic and exciting role I’ve ever had in my career. I have a smart, creative, and hungry team that understands how IP can foster innovation in the marketplace. I knew early in life I would be an attorney, but I didn’t set out to work for a global corporation, much less in the United States. Growing up in Maracaibo, Venezuela, my dad was a lawyer and, at one point, a judge. At 16, I convinced my parents to let me move to the capital to study at the country’s best law school. Within six years, in 1993, I left a partner position at a Caracas law firm to become vice president of a Latin American investment bank. While in Miami on assignment, the company began to lay people off. Looking for job security, I took a position at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and decided to make my home in the United States. Microsoft called me in 1998, after reading an article I published in a law journal. The job offer came as such a surprise, I turned it down a few times before accepting, but it was the best career decision I’ve ever made. As I’ve moved up in the company, I’ve been able to see it, and the world, from different vantages. Perhaps the biggest highlight was living between Paris and Brussels, Belgium, for four years, honing my French skills while serving as chief legal officer of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. What I love about my job now is that there is no shortage of challenges. Microsoft has invested in R&D (research and development) more than any company on the face of the earth—over $9 billion in 2011 alone. The result is breakthrough software. For example, we recently unveiled OmniTouch, which enables interactive, multitouch applications on everyday surfaces—like your notebook, or a wall, or even the back of your hand. Another technology, Holodesk, combines an optical, see-through display, and Kinect camera to create the illusion that users are interacting directly with 3-D graphics. We have more than 68,000 patents such as these, issued and pending. More important than the number, however, is their quality; they consistently rank at the top of independent scorecards.

is proud to support the

Hispanic Executive in honoring

Horacio E. Gutiérrez Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation beijing brussels chicago dallas FranKFurT geneVa hong Kong london los angeles new yorK Palo alTo san Francisco shanghai singaPore sydney ToKyo washingTon, d.c. Attorney Advertising. For purposes of compliance with New York State Bar rules, Sidley Austin LLP’s headquarters are 787 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, 212.839.5300 and One South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603, 312.853.7000.

April/May/June 2012


MEMORABLE Milestones 1986

Earns First Law Degree Gutiérrez completes his first law degree from Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela. He later earns advanced law degrees from Catholic University Andrés Bello two years later, the University of Miami in 1998, and Harvard Law School in 1991.


finds his niche A few years after making partner, at 24, for a banking and corporate finance law boutique firm in Caracas, Gutiérrez gets hired by an investment bank, Vestrust Securities, as vice president of structured finance. Later, he returns to practicing law in Miami.


Recruited by Microsoft Gutiérrez works in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a corporate and commercial attorney for Latin America and the Caribbean. In two years, he transfers to Redmond, Washington, headquarters to lead software-licensingworldwide programs for large customers.


Represents Microsoft before US District Court for DC Gutiérrez participates during the remedies phase of the antitrust litigation by the US Department of Justice and several states


ascends to chief legal officer for Europe, Middle East, and AFRICA Shortly after the hearings end, Microsoft transfers him to Paris. He spends most of his time in Brussels, Belgium, working on regulatory matters with the European Commission.


Man in charge Gutiérrez returns to Redmond to lead what is now the intellectual property group. He is in charge of Microsoft’s patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, licensing, intellectual property investments, and intellectual property policy groups.


Hispanic Executive

Occasionally we have to enforce our rights to keep others from free riding on our investment. In the history of Microsoft, there have been less than 10 offensive patent litigations. While those have been under my watch, it’s still quite low compared to industry averages. In the smartphone-patent wars, we prefer to solve disputes by making business deals. Microsoft has signed more than 1,000 license agreements in the last decade. In 2011, I led nine significant smartphone and tablet patent-licensing agreements, the most prominent of which was with Samsung. We cross-licensed a major part of our patent portfolio with theirs, which is even larger. We also arranged for Samsung to invest more heavily in the Windows phone and in the Microsoft platform more generally. Beyond the millions of dollars in revenue these deals generate, they open new opportunities for our products. My role is to find paths that not only resolve IP disputes, but open up channels for collaboration. There are a number of complex legal, regulatory, and public-policy issues that need to be sorted out as we realize the promise of technology. We will continue to tackle those challenges head-on and foster more collaboration around IP. This will enhance the IT ecosystem by enabling more diverse and cutting-edge products. There will always be a new mountain to climb—and that’s what keeps me going. A MESSAGE FROM Covington and Burling LLP Covington lawyers draw upon the firm’s expertise and experience in a broad array of industries to provide solutions to difficult, complex, and novel problems and issues, whether in litigation, transactions, or regulatory proceedings. We are particularly experienced in finding solutions for clients in regulated and networked industries, with complex and often global supply and distribution chains. Our 800 lawyers offer clients the full range of corporate, litigation and regulatory representation.

We are pleased to join in recognizing Horacio E. Gutiérrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation, for his commitment and service to the legal profession.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP New York London Charlotte Washington Houston Beijing Hong Kong Brussels


Innovators in Microelectronics Packaging 1093 Clark Street Endicott, NY 13760 Phone 866-820-4820 Fax 607-755-7000 Accredited Catergory IV Department of Defense Trusted Supplier.





corporate champions

Nestor Barrero NBCUniversal MEDIA, LLC

Vice President, Employment Law by Cristina Adams

Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC


ecoming a lawyer wasn’t a lifelong dream for Nestor Barrero. As a kid grow-

ing up in Southern California, he wasn’t familiar with the law, except to know that he shouldn’t break it. Instead, Barrero set his sights on becoming a high school or college guidance counselor. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in psychology, Barrero landed a job as a caseworker with a nonprofit social-service agency, where he counseled and worked with young people, just like he had planned. But, even the best-laid plans can occasionally hit an unexpected bump in the road.

April/May/June 2012

As it turned out, Barrero and social work weren’t rea lly cut out for each other. Good thing, too, or he might never have gone to law school. He went to work for an insurance company as a claims representative, handling liability and workers’ compensation cases. It was there that Barrero’s interest in the law was piqued. “After meeting many lawyers in my work there, I realized that I was as smart and capable as any of them,” Barrero recalls. “So I decided to apply to law school.” Born in Bogota, Colombia, Barrero was two years old when his parents moved to the United States. His father, Ricardo, spoke no English, but persevered through night school and went to work as an accounting clerk at ARCO, where he stayed for 30 years. Indeed, Barrero credits his father with inspiring him to reach higher and achieve more. “He always encouraged me to keep learning,” says Barrero, who grew up speaking both Spanish and English. As a young lawyer, he racked up experience at a Los Angeles law firm—in maritime-law, personal-injury, and product-liability cases. But it was after tackling some cases involving employment


Negocios Congratulations to our friend Nestor Barrero Ogletree Deakins congratulates

Nestor Barrero and NBCUniversal Media for their recognition within the Latino community.

for his achievements and leadership within the Hispanic business community. We salute

many diverse branches...

NBCUniversal for its vision and commitment in promoting diversity.

“Being Hispanic has always been a bonus that I try to pitch as a reason to hire me or include me on a committee... I try to leverage my heritage as an advocate, a sounding board, and as a company representative and mentor for others.” nestor Barrero VP, employment law, NBCUniversal Media

A MESSAGE FROM Ogletree Deakins

Diversity Committee Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity Women’s Leadership Forum Minority Associates Committee Minority Scholarship Program GLBT Coalition


Ogletree Deakins represents employers of all sizes and across many industries, including more than half of the Fortune 50. The firm has over 120 lawyers listed in the 2011 Best Lawyers in America (with over 110 Best lawyers listed in the field of labor and employment law). Ogletree Deakins Law Firm is committed to diversity. We believe our diverse group makes us better—as lawyers, and as people.

Charlotte Chicago Irving London Los Angeles New York Oakland Washington, DC London Affiliate: Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP

At Katten, we understand that a diverse team of attorneys enhances our ability to successfully serve our clients. Consistent with our founding principles of client service and legal innovation, diversity is one of the core values by which we do business every day. We are proud to be recognized as a firm dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women and minorities within the firm and in the broader legal and business community.

corporate champions

memorable milestones 1987




First Political Asylum Case

It’s Who You Know

You’ve Got Mail

Volunteering & Serving

While still in private practice, Barrero volunteers to help “Oscar,” a 21-yearold Salvadoran immigrant, obtain political asylum in the United States as a conscientious objector to military service on religious grounds. “Oscar” stayed in the country, got a job, settled down and had children. Eventually, they lost touch. Then not long ago, they found each other on LinkedIn. Turns out “Oscar’s” son recently graduated from college with a degree in film, and Barrero is helping him find an internship at NBC Universal.

While at lunch with a former colleague who had moved to Universal Studios, Barrero told her that he’d love to have a job like hers. To which she suggested that he apply because she was transferring within the company. One phone call led to another, and before he knew it, Barrero was hired at the company that became NBCUniversal. “It inspired me to become the ‘who you know’ for other Latino lawyers and professionals,” he says.

While participating in a wrongfultermination jury trial as the client representative, Barrero got a good look at how the legal process could turn ordinary conversations, interactions, and e-mails into ammunition. In the end, the jury ruled against NBCUniversal. Barrero uses this example to illustrate to managers that “e-mails can be their worst enemy.”

Barrero had always been passionate about giving back to the community, but his interest reached a new level when he was recruited to join the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational programs and opportunities to inner-city youth. He became cochair of the Internship Committee in an effort to push for more paid high school internships, which, he says, are critical to Latino youth. Since 2004, he has also helped guide interns at Telemundo (an NBCUniversal company) and at the various California theme parks.

law that Barrero had his “a-ha” moment. “Employment law was a great fit for my personality and background in psychology,” Barrero says. “Everyone can relate to being an employee or a manager of people, and the patterns and issues make it a dynamic and rapidly changing specialty.” So he became an expert, in both employment law and litigation, and moved to another large firm, Sheppard Mullin, where he found mentors who encouraged him to strengthen and refine his knowledge. He spent more than five years working in the corporate-law environment before transitioning to in-house counsel positions. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the fast-paced, go-go world of corporate law; he just couldn’t see himself spending his entire career as an employment litigator. “My personality was more collaborative,” Barrero explains. “An in-house environment offered the chance to get to know a business very well and become a partner to management at all stages of a particular matter.” So that’s exactly what he did. After leaving corporate law, he became senior counsel at Union Bank of California, the state’s third-largest financial institution, and in 1998, stepped into the world of movies and theme parks as vice president-employment law at Universal Studios, now NBCUniversal. But there is nothing make-believe about what Barrero does. As one of a team of five lawyers, he advises management across the various divisions of NBCUniversal on matters of employment law and issues. Much of his day-to-day routine involves training managers on how to avoid sticky employment law situations and strategizing responses to employee-related legal issues—even

April/May/June 2012

though “normal” legal rules are challenging to apply to such particular work environments as a theme park, a film production or a television show. “Many issues arise simply from a lack of information,” he says. “I enjoy knowing that my advice and training can often lead to a better outcome not only for the business, but also for the individual employee.” Working in a unique industry, Barrero is all the more rare for being one of the few Latinos in a senior position in the entertainment field. In 2007, he was recognized by the Imagen Foundation as one of the most influential Latinos in that business, although he claims that being influential is often a question of age, experience, and having a good network. What he would like to see are more Latinos in every facet of the entertainment world, from acting to directing to corporate. To that end, he mentors Hispanic students considering careers in law or entertainment, and serves on various boards, including the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the UCLA Academic Advancement Program, Los Angeles Universal Preschool, and the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. In 2011, Barrero was appointed a part-time adjunct professor at Pasadena City College. “Being Hispanic has always been a bonus that I try to pitch as a reason to hire me or include me on a committee,” says Barrero, who, with his Ecuadorean-born wife, has raised his two daughters to be bilingual. “It goes beyond being able to speak to executives at Telemundo; I try to leverage my heritage as an advocate, a sounding board, and as a company representative and mentor for others.”


“We are at our best in the courtroom.”

Cooley Chairman Steve Neal

At Cooley, we know what it takes to win. Whether in the courtroom or the boardroom, our team has won cases and secured deals at critical stages for established market leaders and entrepreneurs with big dreams. From bet-the-company litigation, to game-changing deals, Cooley attorneys achieve results.

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corporate champions

Edward Torpoco eBay, Inc.

Senior Director & Legal Counsel, Commercial & Product interview by Zipporah Porton


fter serving in the public sector for more than eight years, Edward Torpoco transitioned to eBay, Inc. in 2006 as regulatory counsel—lured by the chance to help the Internet pioneer navigate novel legal waters. Since his start with the United States’s top e-commerce company, Torpoco has tackled several roles, including a stint in Spain, and is currently the senior commercial and product counsel for the company that earned more than $9.2 billion in sales in 2010. Despite his responsibility, Torpoco has made it his top priority to mentor young, Hispanic lawyers, explaining that one of his greatest challenges was not having many Hispanic attorney mentors of his own.

April/May/June 2012


What appealed to you about the legal profession?

One summer while attending Georgetown University, I volunteered as an intern at a local district attorney’s office in Southern California, where I am from. I was really inspired by the dedication of the attorneys working in the criminal-justice system—on both the prosecution and defense sides—and was struck by their passion and commitment to the pursuit of justice. Apart from the intellectual challenge, the law appeals to me as a field that enables one to help shape society for the better. What were you doing before joining eBay in 2006?

After law school, I clerked for a US district court judge, the honorable Irma E. Gonzalez, in San Diego. She was a terrific role model for me and inspired me to pursue a career in the public sector as a means of acquiring some trial experience early on in my legal career. After my clerkship, I was a state and federal prosecutor for seven years.

Why did you shift gears?

I was happy working in the public sector, and felt tremendous pride and satisfaction representing the US in court as my client. However, I felt like the time was right to step outside of my comfort zone and pursue an area of the law that was cutting edge. I took the job at eBay because I was excited at the prospect of working as a lawyer for the world’s largest e-commerce site and tackling the sorts of complex and novel legal issues that come with representing an Internet pioneer. I started as eBay’s regulatory counsel, where I helped to manage the company’s relationships with federal and state regulators, lawenforcement agencies, and legislators. I also provided legal counsel to eBay’s policymakers and teams of investigators. How has your role changed over the years?

eBay’s general counsel has been incredibly supportive of my desire to challenge myself constantly. After

memorable milestones September 1995– June 1998

October 1999

April–August 2007

Intellectual Inspiration

Conquering the Courtroom

Law a la Spain

Edward Torpoco describes his three years at Harvard Law School as some of the most intellectually rewarding years of his life, particularly his time as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.


Hispanic Executive

During his first jury trial as a prosecutor, Torpoco gets a conviction, on the facts, that nobody thought was possible. “It was a small misdemeanor case but it felt huge to me,” Torpoco says.

As the only lawyer for eBay’s subsidiary in Madrid, Spain during a six-month transfer, Torpoco manages complex civil-litigation matters and negotiates commercial deals, laying the groundwork for subsequent roles.

September 2008

March 2009

Time to Testify

Going to Trial

Torpoco says he was honored to represent eBay in testimony before a congressional committee and witness the political process in action.

He was part of the trial team that successfully defends eBay in an important trademark infringement suit in London [L’Oreal v. eBay].

corporate champions

“Given the glaring absence of Hispanic representation in the legal profession, I believe strongly in the need to reach out to Hispanic high school and college students in order to encourage them to consider law careers.” Edward Torpoco Senior Commercial & Product Counsel, ebay, inc.

serving as regulatory counsel, in 2007, I was acting legal counsel for eBay Spain International as part of a six-month secondment in Madrid (Spain). In 2008, I transitioned to senior litigation counsel. In that role, I took on some high-profile civil-litigation matters for the company, both in the US and in Europe. In May of 2011, I transitioned to yet another role, senior commercial and product counsel. Currently, I do commercial deals and product counseling in support of the eBay marketplaces business. As an attorney for eBay, I’m

April/May/June 2012

thrilled to be a part of a company that is reinventing shopping every day.

sion and raise scholarship funds for Hispanic law students.

Why did you join the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association?

How have you mentored other Hispanic lawyers?

The San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association is the local chapter of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). When I moved to the Bay Area in 2002, I didn’t know anybody in the legal community. I joined the local chapter of the HNBA because I wanted to be an active contributor in the association’s efforts to support diversity in the legal profes-

I’ve been a mentor to dozens of young, Hispanic lawyers through the HBNA and other local bar associations. Also, given the glaring absence of Hispanic representation in the legal profession, I believe strongly in the need to reach out to Hispanic high school and college students in order to encourage them to consider law careers. For example, I’ve spoken to kids participating in Break-

through Silicon Valley about the importance of going to college and pursuing careers in the law during their visits to the eBay campus. What advice would you give other Latinos who aspire to become lawyers?

First, I would say, “we need you.” Hispanics make up roughly 16 percent of the population of the United States, but only 3.5 percent of the lawyers. Second, I would say, “work hard and believe in yourself and you can achieve anything.” The difference between success and failure is determination.


Strength in Diversity Since its founding, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has committed itself to ensuring meaningful diversity at every level of the firm. Just as we work across borders and practices, we also reach across boundaries of race, gender, ethnicity, faith and sexual orientation because we believe that, through their mix of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences, our lawyers and advisers can arrive at more-creative and better-informed solutions for our clients. One example of that is the work of partner Jorge Lopez Jr., who heads our national health industry practice and sits on the firmwide management committee. Mr. Lopez has been regularly ranked among the nation’s top health care lawyers by Chambers and Partners for his work advising clients on a wide range of health regulatory and public policy issues. It is from this broad, rich mix of experiences and backgrounds that Jorge Lopez and all of the firm’s diverse attorneys draw to run Akin Gump as a nationally ranked global law firm and, more importantly, to offer clients the insightful, imaginative strategies that a diverse workplace provides.





Š 2011 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

corporate champions


en years ago, after Enron Corp. declared bankruptcy, Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceuticals firm, made a push to grow their compliance division. Indrani Franchini, who today serves as chief compliance counsel for Global Pharmaceuticals at Pfizer, came aboard in 2003 as one of the first members of the new team. Before starting at Pfizer, Franchini’s résumé was already full of international work including time with the Supreme Court of Argentina and four years with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, where she was an associate with the cross-border financing team in both Japan and New York. Franchini shares with Hispanic Executive how she became a pioneer in compliance work at Pfizer and the secret behind building an innovative team.

My mother is from Puerto Rico and father is from Guyana. He was the first doctor in my family on both sides and my brother and I really looked up to him. For many years, I thought I wanted to be a brain surgeon and then I found out very quickly after being a candy striper in junior high that I couldn’t stand needles or the sight of blood. I ended up in the pharmaceutical industry, which has always been funny to me because it’s about as close as a lawyer can get to the medical field. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer in high school when I interned at the prosecutor’s office in Detroit. It was amazing to see the prosecutors defend people and seek justice. My hope was always to combine my passion for law with my love of

Indrani Franchini Pfizer Inc.

Chief Compliance Counsel for Global Pharmaceutical, Vice President, and Assistant General Counsel as told to Thalia A-M Bruehl

April/May/June 2012


diverse different perspectives At Morgan Lewis, we value differences — in the types of work we do, the clients we partner with, the lawyers who make up our practices, and the perspectives we apply to today’s business challenges.

Kaye Scholer Salutes Pfizer’s Indrani Franchini Kaye Scholer 425 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022 United States (212) 836-8000

Congratulations to Indrani Franchini , Deputy Compliance Officer at Pfizer Inc., for being recognized as an outstanding executive in the Hispanic community.

This communication is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Attorney advertising. The photo in this material is a dramatization. © Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

corporate champions

memorable Milestones May 1989

First Legal Experience The opportunity to see the law in action and justice at work was pivotal in Franchini’s decision to pursue a career in law.

May 1994

“The space we operate in has few blackand-white answers—we operate in the gray. My team spends a lot of time coming up with solutions that are unique.” Indrani Franchini Chief Compliance Counsel for Global Pharmaceuticals, Vice President, & Assistant General Counsel, pfizer inc.

Cum Laude Franchini graduates cum laude from Princeton University. This challenging experience opened doors for her including the Fulbright Fellowship to Japan she would soon be awarded.

September 1994

Receives Fulbright Fellowship Seeing a different society deal with diversity gave Franchini a greater appreciation for the strides minorities have made in the United States. Her research on human rights and minority groups in Japan also opened her eyes to the commonality of human struggles across the globe.

February 2001

Joins First Firm In the New York and Tokyo offices of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Franchini worked on large project financings. This work also led her to look for an opportunity at a multinational [firm] like Pfizer Inc.

September 2008

Showcases Advances in Compliance Franchini works on team to negotiate Pfizer Inc’s Corporate integrity agreement with OIG HHS [Office of Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services].

June 2010

Establishes Innovative Team After years of research, Franchini put together a new part of the already wellestablished compliance team, the first embedded compliance team in Pfizer’s pharmaceutical business.

April/May/June 2012

international travel. Being from a biracial household, I was always interested in different cultures and enjoyed learning about different countries. After spending time in Japan on a Fulbright Fellowship, I went to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP where my work performing cross-border financings allowed me to spend time in Japan as a junior associate. By 2003, Pfizer was fully committed to establishing an industry-leading compliance program and was building out the team; I was one of the key hires on this team. I came over not knowing a ton about compliance, but I knew how to do project finance work. I understood that compliance was about evaluating the risks, the benefits, and pursuing a way to work together. That’s still very well in line with what I do today. Pfizer really deserves credit when it comes to my role as a pioneer in the field of compliance. They never said, “This is how it should be done.” They left a lot of room for innovation. I’ve been given the opportunity to think about new ways to monitor, new ways to audit, and most importantly to me, new ways to train my team. Even my group is a testament to how Pfizer supports pioneering work. They see that there is no “one size fits all” for this job. When I started to build my team a couple of years ago, it was fashioned in such a way that it ultimately mirrored the business itself. I have a direct report in each of the pharmaceutical business units, which includes primary-care, specialty-care, oncology, and establishedcare business units as well as a unit that looks at emerging markets and is set up geographically.

There are two things that I stress to my team: communication and candor. There is a lot of pressure in this business and we’re always under great regulatory scrutiny. The space we operate in has few black-and-white answers— we operate in the gray. My team spends a lot of time coming up with solutions that are unique and we strive to always be honest with one another. When you are dealing with a space with no clear answers you have to feel comfortable challenging each other. That’s how we come to the best solutions. In my current position, I don’t take part in cases. The way I get involved is by talking to regulators and other governmental agencies about our compliance program, Pfizer’s approach, and what we’re doing as a company to make sure we’re ahead of the ball. This means I also explain how we’re managing risk and how we deal with difficult situations when things don’t go exactly as planned. Those are the opportunities in which I get to be an advocate for the company’s compliance program even though it’s not necessarily in a courtroom setting. I still work internationally as well, as Pfizer is in over 70 countries around the world. As the risks and markets are different everywhere, it is important to make sure we have the right policies and procedures, and make sure we hold ourselves up to the highest standards when it comes to anti-bribery and anticorruption. I love the global part of my job, especially working with Asia and Latin America. I can’t imagine doing anything else in the near future. My space here


is continuing to develop and I don’t feel as if I’m ever not challenged. I’ve never had a day where I’ve been even the smallest bit bored and that it truly very fulfilling. I see myself continuing to work in the compliance area and I look forward to discovering new and innovative ways to face the challenges we see both as an industry and as a corporation.


A Message from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP We congratulate Indrani Franchini on this well-deserved recognition. Her work at Pfizer as assistant general counsel and chief compliance counsel exemplifies the worldview necessary for corporations to survive and thrive in today’s evolving business and regulatory environment. We at Akin Gump share her commitment not only to responsible corporate citizenship, but also to public service in support of our communities with respect to foundational matters such as education, economic opportunity, and health.

From Calgary to Cairo and from Sydney to Salt Lake City, Caterpillar’s global reach is unmatched in the industry. Our global presence, product breadth and financial strength enable us to win in today’s competitive marketplaces. Serving customers in more than 180 countries around the globe, our manufacturing, marketing, logistics, service, R&D and related facilities along with our dealer locations total more than 500 worldwide. This ensures that wherever our customers are, we are too. It’s just one more way that Caterpillar is making sustainable progress possible.

A Message from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Morgan Lewis provides comprehensive transactional, litigation, regulatory, labor and employment, and intellectual property legal services to clients of all sizes—from global Fortune 100 companies to just-conceived start-ups—across all major industries. Our regulatory and industry-focused practices help clients craft and execute strategies to successfully address legal, government, and policy challenges in today’s rapidly changing economic and regulatory environment.


© 2011 Caterpillar All Rights Reserved CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos, “Caterpillar Yellow,” as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.

Hispanic Executive Cat ad_5x10.4.indd 1

8/3/11 4:13 PM

corporate Negocioschampions

Guillermo Levy Caterpillar Inc.

Corporate Counsel interview by Tina Vasquez

April/May/June 2012



s the 39-year-old corporate counsel for Caterpillar Inc., the number-one maker of earthmoving machinery and agriculture equipment in the world, Guillermo Levy has come a long way from his humble roots as a teenage immigrant from Colombia. Now based in Geneva, Switzerland, Levy is once again a stranger in a new land. His current task entails providing legal support to Caterpillar’s regional-marketing team in connection with distribution matters throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East—a challenge he embraces with characteristic gusto. Levy credits part of his achievements to his multicultural background—relying on the lessons he learned as a Colombian immigrant to help him thrive in his latest professional adventure.

Why did you decide to go the in-house counsel route?

I wanted more variety in my day-to-day job and a career that was more closely aligned with the business. Another factor was that my wife and I decided to start a family and she is also an attorney. We made a conscious decision to find career paths that were both professionally fulfilling and that allowed better worklife balance than traditional big-firm environments. In April 2011 you moved to Geneva. How is the work you’re doing now different than the work you were handling for Caterpillar’s Latin America and Caribbean business?

In my current role, I provide legal support to our regional marketing team in connection with all dealer and product-distribution

memorable Milestones September 1995

September 2000

February 2008

April 2011

Falling In Love with Law

Learning From Mentors

Taking the Lead

Relocating to Geneva

While it was clear to Guillermo Levy’s wife since the age of 15 that she wanted to be an attorney, Levy himself recalls being unsure of how he would leverage his undergraduate degrees in political science and international relations. However, his wife’s “passion for the law convinced me that I should give law school a try,” he says. “Within the first 10 minutes of my first constitutional-law class, I knew I wanted to become a lawyer.”

Levy learns to be a corporate lawyer at Steel Hector & Davis (now Squire Sanders & Dempsey) under the guidance of two great attorneys, Tom McGuigan and James Morgan. “What I learned most from them is the value of work ethic and attention to detail,” Levy says.

Starting in the fall of 2007 and culminating in February 2008, Levy leads negotiations for a turn-key engineering, procurement, and construction project to build a large-power plant in northern Chile. This project represents a professional milestone for Levy as he had never been the lead lawyer in previous deals of this magnitude.


Hispanic Executive

Levy joins people in Geneva from all over the world who are hoping to make their mark in international business or as part of an international organization. “I’m proud to be a part of this and will work hard to leave my positive mark,” he says.

corporate champions

matters throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EAME). I am also responsible for antitrust/ competition matters in this region. In my previous role as counsel for Latin America and the Caribbean in Miami, I was exposed to a variety of commercial, litigation, and compliance matters. However, my main responsibility was providing legal support for complex-commercial transactions in the large power generation field, including equipment sales and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects. My focus here in Geneva is mostly on the distribution side of the business, which is a critical part of the Caterpillar business model. Within the distribution context, the issues in EAME are similar to those in Latin America. Professionally, however, this part of the world is new to me so there’s definitely a steep learning curve when trying to get up to speed culturally and geopolitically. What experiences prepared you for this role and the unique responsibilities that accompany it?

I arrived in the United States as a teenager from Colombia and I did not speak or understand any English, much less the complexities of being an American teenager. My mother’s faith and optimism and the work ethic my father instilled in me helped me succeed. Eventually, I graduated high school with honors. I have found myself once again in a country where I do not speak the lan-

April/May/June 2012

guage and in an office where I am a stranger. I know that the lessons I learned as an immigrant will help me succeed professionally. Do you think Latinos have inherent qualities they can leverage to succeed in the global arena?

I think immigrants have a desire to improve their lives and those of their children. It is this inherent drive that compels them to leave their home country, whether for economic, political, or social reasons. My grandfather moved his wife and three kids out of Germany in 1939, destined for Colombia. He didn’t know the language, the culture, or what he was going to do once they arrived. Roughly 50 years later, my father made the same choice; he moved his wife and his three youngest kids to the United States. While the conditions were different, the expectations were the same: A better future for his family. This drive to find a better future in a new environment is a defining characteristic that can help Latinos succeed in the global arena. How has your Latino background helped shape your career, especially as it pertains to working internationally?

gual and multicultural. Not only do I bring a Colombian background to the table, but my father’s German heritage also provides me with an understanding of European views. My story is not unique. Many Latinos share a multicultural background because of the history of Latin America, and even if they do not come to the business world with that background, they live in an environment where multiculturalism thrives. This makes Latinos especially poised to succeed in an international work environment.

“This drive to find a better future in a new environment is a defining characteristic that can help Latinos succeed in the global arena.” Guillermo Levy Corporate Counsel, caterpillar inc.

The better part of my career has been devoted to international work, whether in Latin America, Europe, Africa, or the Middle East. Without a doubt, I can say that I would not be as good at my job if it was not for my international background. In international business, it helps to be both multilin-


corporate champions

Laura Quintano Avon Products, Inc.

Chief Global Marketing Counsel as told to Ruth E. Dávila


hile pressure and grueling hours can drive some up-and-coming attorneys over the edge, it just made Laura Quintano stronger. The New York City native sailed through the Ivy League and prestigious law firms serenely, then worked her way up to chief global marketing counsel of Avon Products, Inc. Raking in more than $10 billion annually—predominantly from its cosmetic, skin care, and fragrance lines—Avon’s marketing claims are subject to scrutiny. Quintano keeps the beauty giant’s promotional tactics in line, from on-package claims to celebrity endorsements. In this high-profile position, humility and a “good perspective” have kept her grounded. If only such qualities could be bottled up and sold.


Hispanic Executive

My best friend in law school once said, “You’re so nonchalant; everything just rolls off your back—everything!” Over the years, I’ve realized she was right. Things like losing my mom when I was 18 or witnessing poverty and injustices in the world tend to put the small stuff into perspective. At Harvard Law School in the early ’90s, I watched people around me have difficulty coping with some of the new challenges facing them. During my first exam, the student behind me started crying hysterically. (It was one of those courses where a one-shot final exam defines your grade.) I remember feeling nervous, but emotional outbursts aren’t in my DNA. I was born and raised in the Bronx. My grandparents are from Puerto Rico

(father’s side) and Cuba (mother’s side). My dad was a NYC police officer; my mom was a secretary, which exposed me to business culture. Watching them, I knew that I wanted to help people when I grew up—and sit behind a desk. Although my parents expected me to do my best, there was constant reassurance that if I failed, there would be a soft place to land. I was fortunate to attend prestigious schools. At Columbia University, I studied sociology, hoping to work in a community-related field. Upon a professor’s advice, I decided to pursue a law degree and was accepted into Harvard. An Ivy-League education opened many doors and exposed me to the importance of brand clout.

Protecting a Brand

We Congratulate



Avon is Lucky to Have You.

Terri Seligman and Your Friends at

We are pleased to work with Avon and Laura Quintano. We value our relationship and we share Avon’s commitment to diversity.

18 Offices Worldwide I Paul Hastings LLP I

Once practicing, I specialized in trademark law, which is, in part, about protecting brands from infringement. Later, I went to work for a pharmaceutical company, delving into advertising law. From there I landed my position at Avon Products, Inc., the world’s largest direct seller (distributing through independent sales representatives, with Latin America as the top region). Since 2009 I’ve taken on broadened responsibilities in supporting its global marketing business unit and have been fortunate to work alongside a worldclass legal team all these years. Beauty marketing is a fun field of law; it’s about communicating the power of the brand with integrity. The Food and Drug Administration regulates cosmetics to ensure products claim to beautify one’s appearance, rather than to alter the body’s structure or function. Avon has more than 200 scientists, and all of our product claims are supported by years of research, robust testing, and consumer and clinical studies. It’s a challenge to balance our desire to give consumers as much information as we can about an exciting new product or technology, while staying within the government’s guardrails. Truthfulness and accuracy are the bedrocks of our communications. Although negotiating and drafting contracts might sound tedious, I enjoy overseeing Avon’s celebrity alliance

“Beauty marketing is a fun field of law; it’s about communicating the power of the brand with integrity.” Laura Quintano Chief Global Marketing Counsel, AVON products, inc.

agreements. I’ve worked on endorsements and license deals with stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Fergie, Patrick Dempsey, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Salma Hayek, Suze Orman, Zoe Saldana, and Venus and Serena Williams, and fashion houses such as Christian Lacroix, Herve Leger, Marimekko, and Ungaro. Talent (and their representatives) often present us with relationships that are more complex than when working with traditional partners. Luckily, none of this is a problem for us, as Avon is known for its very high-touch, personal, family-like culture. I’ve enjoyed building relationships and taking part in such successful alliance teams. My own culture has impacted my work tremendously; I’ve always been involved in issues affecting Latinos

and minorities. I represented low-income plaintiffs pro bono in a housing discrimination litigation, mentored minority high school students, worked on programming for minorities in the legal profession, and participated in the Puerto Rican Bar Association, among other things. More recently, I’ve served on the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now called Latino Justice PRLDEF). After having my first child a few years ago, I put volunteerism on hold to seek a better work-life balance. But I look forward to returning to community work. While I enjoy the creative flair of my day job, the chance to help people is what initially inspired me to become an attorney.

memorable Milestones 1992– 1995

Summer 1993

Summer 1994

September 1995

March 1999

July 2000Present

Accepted to Harvard Law

Tricks of the Trade

Builds expertise

expands skill set

Shifting gears

Gains first exposure to trademark law at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP as a summer associate.

Quintano continues to pursue her interest in trademark law and intellectual property as a summer associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

While specializing in trademark prosecution and litigation, Quintano also takes on false advertising litigation, promotions work, and advertisement review counseling.

Moving in-house as counsel, consumer products, regulatory affairs, for Warner-Lambert Co. (acquired by Pfizer in 2000) Quintano focuses on advertisement review and consumer-product marketing.

Joins Avon Products, Inc.

After graduating from Columbia University with a sociology degree, Laura Quintano follows a professor’s advice and applies to several law schools. She is accepted into Harvard.


Hispanic Executive

Hired as senior counsel in 2000, Quintano is promoted to assistant general counsel in 2003 and to chief global marketing counsel in 2009.

corporate Negocioschampions

Mayda Prego Chevron Corporation

Senior Counsel by Kelly Hayes


o me, the energy business is important in our daily lives. We see the

impact every day in national security, when we fly, when we drive, when we turn our lights on … It is an indispensible part of our lives,” says Mayda Prego, senior counsel for Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company. Prior to focusing on energy law, Prego—who was born and raised in Manhattan by a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother—worked in Miami as an attorney for New York-based firm, Hughes Hubbard and Reed, where she became experienced in complex civil and criminal litigation as well as international litigation and arbitration. “Before Chevron, I was a litigator,” Prego explains. “I joined Chevron’s in-house legal department because I wanted to expand my skills as an attorney by getting closer to the

April/May/June 2012

“I have the opportunity to tap into my international experience and practice law from that perspective when working with different legal systems around the world.” Mayda Prego Senior Counsel, chevron corporation


corporate champions

memorable milestones 1988

Ivy League Status Mayda Prego earns her bachelor’s degree from Yale.


The Lawyer Jokes Begin Prego obtains a juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

1992 business and the business decision makers. Having the ability to work hand in hand with your business clients is one of the main differences from private practice. When I first joined Chevron, I continued to work on important litigation matters as I had in private practice, but then also expanded my practice into corporate, labor, and transactional matters for the countries within my portfolio, giving me the opportunity to stretch my legal skills in a whole new direction.” Prego joined Chevron in 2007 in the Coral Gables, Floridabased office and worked on the downstream side of the business covering Latin America and Caribbean, handling a broad scope of matters for her international clients. In 2010, she joined the upstream side of the business in Houston handling transactional matters for Latin America and Africa. “We operate in a fast-paced, dynamic environment supporting our business clients with contracts, advice on local law with the assistance of outside counsel, transactions such as acquisitions and divestitures, new ventures, and compliance, just to name a few things,” says Prego, of the number-two oil company in the US. “When required, we travel the globe with our business clients to support them in meeting the company’s goals and objectives. We also spend time on internal corporate initiatives including training.” Although she has extensive experience practicing international law, Prego embraces the role of eager student when it comes to navigating the energy side of her role. “One positive challenge [of my position with Chevron] is having the opportunity to learn as much as a lawyer can about the technical and scientific areas of the business,” Prego explains. “A typical day may include working side-by-side with technical and scientific experts in the petroleum business who are passionate about their work and take the time to explain those critical aspects of the business. For instance, I may receive a primer on a particular area of exploration, like drilling, which then provides me with the understanding I need to be able to support such an activity from a legal perspective. Those important technical and scientific lessons are invaluable to a liberal arts major like me to better understand the business, allowing me to provide the clients with the legal support they need.”


Hispanic Executive

Big Apple Business She moves to New York City to practice law at a large firm.


From Skyscrapers to Palm Trees Relocates again to Miami and works at Hughes Hubbard and Reed, a New Yorkbased law firm, specializing in litigation.


Getting Down to Business Prego joins Chevron in Coral Gables, Florida, working on the downstream side of the business covering Latin America and Caribbean.


A Natural leader Prego is appointed president of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.


Globally Minded She moves to Houston and joins the upstream side of business, which she describes as an ongoing learning experience. Prego thrives on the international aspects of her new role as counsel for Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company.


“One positive challenge [of my position with Chevron] is having the opportunity to learn as much as a lawyer can about the technical and scientific areas of the business.” Mayda Prego Senior Counsel, chevron corporation

Prego—who is fluent in Spanish with intermediate skills in French, Italian, and Portuguese—says she also enjoys the travel that inevitably comes with working in international law. “Visiting the places where we do business allows me firsthand to appreciate the diversity of cultures and how that impacts how we do business in different countries,” Prego explains. “I have the opportunity to tap into my international experience and practice law from that perspective when working with different legal systems around the world.” Prego’s Hispanic background and American legal training has been an advantage to working in Latin America. “I understand the cultural and legal-system differences,” says Prego, who is also the president of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation (HNBF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the Hispanic community through education and diversifying the legal profession. “I can support Chevron with my US-lawyer training, and I can work with colleagues in Latin America in Spanish, which makes a big difference.” As fulfilling as her current role with Chevron is, Prego says her involvement with HNBF is equally invigorating. “The organization is important to me because I believe it is imperative to give back to the next generation of Hispanic students,” she says. “I am also tremendously proud to collaborate with my fellow board members who not only are distinguished members of the legal profession but also are passionate about only one agenda—to uplift Hispanic students.” When asked about her goals for the future, the pragmatic Prego shakes her head at the notion of a five-year plan: “While I look prospectively, I focus on the present,” she explains. “I can plan for something in five years, but as our lives unfold, we encounter circumstances that could take us in a different direction. We should be flexible to embrace that change that may not have been part of our plan and be open to seize [unexpected] opportunities.”

Businesses that have been sued by commercial rivals, erstwhile partners, class ation plaintiffs’ lawyers, or shareholders rarely ask how the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure work. We know how they work. But we also know that solving your business problem is what counts. That’s why we get hired to take on the tough cases.


305 | 4452500

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© 2011 Rivero Mestre LLP

April/May/June 2012


corporate champions

Joe Ramirez Adobe Systems Inc.

Vice President of Licensing & Associate General Counsel interview by Julie Schaeffer

Is there any one thing that you would say defines you professionally?


career in law was a natural choice for Joe Ramirez, vice president of licensing and associate general counsel for Adobe Systems Inc., a San Jose-based software company. “When I was a high-school senior, the guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and when I said I wasn’t sure, he handed me a big vocational book and said, ‘Take it home, read it, and come back in a couple of days and tell me what you think you should do with yourself,’” Ramirez says. “I really did that, and of all the careers I could choose from, law fascinated me for two reasons: You have to love to read, which I do, and you have to love to argue, which is inherent in my family.” Ramirez shares with Hispanic Executive his unusual career path.


Hispanic Executive

I know how to do a lot of different things. There are plenty of lawyers who are better at law than I am, but few lawyers are better at business, because I’ve been exposed to so many areas of business over the years, from operations to sales. That allows me to look at things from a different perspective. How did you gain that experience?

When I first interviewed at Adobe in 2003, Jim Stephens, who was then executive vice president of sales and field operations, looked at my résumé and said, “In the past 15 years I’ve been at Adobe, and you’ve had about seven or eight jobs.” It’s true: I worked at a Fortune 500 company, National Semiconductor, a multinational information-technology equipment and services

Negocios company, Fujitsu-ICL Systems; a small engineering firm, Quadrex; even a start-up. Sometimes the tenures were short, but I always learned a lot. Is there a single position that has stood out?

Prior to joining Adobe, my second job out of law school, with National Advanced Systems, a company that sold memory and storage devices, stands out. It was owned by National Semiconductor, and at that point you couldn’t ask for a better company. The Wall Street Journal once called National Semiconductor “the animals of the Silicon Valley.” There was no hierarchy; they pretty much let you do what you wanted to do. It was such a joy to work there, and I learned so much, doing all sorts of sales deals. That opened all sorts of doors for me. It was Silicon Valley in the early 1980s, so I was in the right place at the right time. Was there ever a significant turning point in your career?

When I left National Advanced Systems, I took my first

general-counsel job at a company called Masstor Systems, which had 17 straight quarters of losses. It was the worst and best experience of my life. On one hand, the company started a rebound for about 18 months and then, due to an executive shakeout, ultimately ended up going in the wrong direction. But working there, I gained confidence in my abilities, and learned what I bring to the table. I have a lot to offer, and my unique skill set can take me far.

On behalf of Latham and Watkins, it is my great pleasure to congratulate Joe Ramirez and all other industry leaders featured in this issue. It is a testament to the stellar reputation of all of you to be recognized alongside an industry great like Joe.

How does someone who thrives on change end up staying at Adobe for eight years and counting?

I joined Adobe because I had worked for a number of startups, and when the last one, Brio Software, was sold, I wanted to see if I could I make a difference at a larger organization. I ultimately stayed at Adobe because they’re always innovating. That carries over to what I do because I’m always asking how we can improve things; I’m a change agent. The lawyers are kind of like salespeople here. We’re selling stuff; we’re just doing it differently.

memorable Milestones March 1992

March 1995

June 1999

June 2003

Start-up Mentality

Tackles the Big Leagues

New Role

Laying Roots

Accepts position as general counsel for Brio Software, a startup that was ultimately acquired by Hyperion, leading him to seek another position.

Moves to his current position at Adobe Systems, where he has worked for eight years and counting.

Accepts a position as general counsel at Silicon Valley start-up Kubota Graphics, which receives $100 million in venture-capital funding, allowing him to create the legal function from the ground up by doing everything from development deals to marketing and sales transactions.

Moves to NASDAQ-listed Network Computing Devices Inc., demonstrating that he could successfully handle the role of general counsel for a publicly traded company.

Having worked closely with Joe for many years on strategic acquisitions, commercial/IP transactions and international work, his unique and unsurpassed combination of premiere legal expertise, business judgment and negotiating prowess make him a phenomenally effective legal and business adviser to Adobe. I have watched Joe move seamlessly between the complicated macro and micro issues of a deal, while at the same time never losing sight of the need to recognize the real issues at hand and find solutions to those issues. All of this, coupled with his team spirit, integrity and compassion make Joe a wonderful leader and someone I am very proud to know as a business partner and friend. Congratulations Joe! – Glenn Nash, Latham & Watkins LLP

April/May/June 2012

In our increasingly interdependent world, Latino executives’ natural ability to adapt to changing cultural milieus and finesse a flexible mindset translates into greater opportunities in the global business arena. Business leaders are leveraging their bicultural backgrounds to forge relationships across borders—and oceans. Hispanic Executive recently sat down with four such international conquerors, from the US Department of State, IBM, Accenture, and Molex, to discuss how their unique backgrounds give them a competitive edge. by Sally Deering

International Chameleons T

hough many would think you’d have to travel the world to earn a crash course in different cultures, it was in West New York, New Jersey, a small town right across the Hudson River from Manhattan, where Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic, energy, and business affairs, received a crash course in cultural sensitivity. “Having lived in New York City, I was involved in giving scholarships to high-school students in Queens and the students were Jewish Orthodox,” says Fernandez, who’s of Cuban decent. “The first day my secretary went to shake their hands and they said, ‘No, I can’t shake your hand.’ It’s part of their


Hispanic Executive

religious tradition. You learn as you go and as long as you’re respectful, you’re not offending anyone.” His lessons in West New York still serve him well today as Fernandez leads the US Department of State bureau responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for US businesses and the private sector overseas. “We work hard to sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world,” says Fernandez, whose

bureau comprises 200-plus officers serving in the United States and more than 1,000 overseas. The ability to effectively work with a culturally diverse team is critical when working internationally, says Natalia Maria Ruderman, vice president of corporate financial risk assessment at IBM, an information-technology company with more than 400,000 employees operating in more than 170 countries and reported revenues just shy of $100 billion for 2010. “The ability to be patient, to listen and adapt to different leadership styles, is critical in any global role,” she says. “Many of the Latinos I’ve met and worked with in the US and many other countries do this very well

because adaptation and flexibility has been key to their survival and success in the business world.” Jorge Benitez, chief executive, United States and managing director, North America at Accenture says the family dynamics inherent in the Hispanic culture often result in highly sociable people who are good at building and sustaining relationships. “All careers have a personal aspect and Hispanics excel in this area,” Benitez says. With clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture’s clientele spans a full range of industries and include 94 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. Benitez says, overall, the leader-

April/May/June 2012

ship of successful companies is already international and there is increasingly a place for multiple cultures and nationalities to be around the leadership table and gain perspective and knowledge from one another’s insights. “Many of our clients have diverse executive teams, certainly more than there were 10-15 years ago,” Benitez says. “A day sitting in our offices in Miami, London, or Singapore can expose you to insights from all over the world, not just your part of it. Being truly global is one way we serve our clients. It’s also one way we help our people grow their careers.” Chicago-native Ana Rodriguez, senior vice president of global human resources at Molex, is currently living in

Natalia Maria Ruderman:

“Being comfortable and familiar with the values, practices, and languages of multiple cultures has enabled me to recognize that there are differences and therefore I am more comfortable in making the effort to bridge the gaps that inevitably crop up between cultures.”


Jose W. Fernandez

Shanghai, China, for a year to gain perspective of the employment environment in Asia. Her company, Molex Incorporated, employs 70 percent of its workforce in Asia, manufacturing electronic, electrical, and fiber-optic interconnection systems for several markets including datacom, automotive, consumer electronics, telecommunications, medical, and military/aerospace. From Rodriguez’s perspective, China’s young workforce doesn’t want to stay in a company for more than three years, because they feel they’re not moving up. It’s up to Rodriguez and her team to create initiatives that will get this workforce

to stay on with Molex past those three years. “Molex is global but we have a USbased history, values, and culture,” says Rodriguez, of the 72-year-old company that has 39 manufacturing locations in 16 countries. “How do you translate that to employees with very different values? It’s a challenge.” Rodriguez says the best advice she can give is to be very good at what you do and make sure to develop those skills and competencies that are highly valued today by employers: a global perspective (willingness to travel and interact with other cultures), critical thinking and problem solving, strong communication and networking skills, and the ability to get things done with a sense of urgency. “Take the plunge—don’t wait because the train has left the station on globalization,” Rodriguez says. “ … Meet with as many people from that country or culture—immerse yourself in that culture. Remember that Latinos by nature tend to be warm, expressive and emotional, but in other cultures—e.g. the US and UK—people, especially in the business world, tend to be more even-tempered and unemotional. Knowing this, temper yourself, because you want to bring attention to your insights and expertise

Natalia Maria Ruderman

Ruderman, vice president of corporate financial risk assessment at IBM, says the ability to be patient, to listen, and to adapt to different leadership styles is second nature to Latinos.


Hispanic Executive

Photo: Christopher Maharry (Jose w. fernandez)

“Being successful ultimately means setting an example of competence, being respectful, and treating people well,” says Fernandez, who oversees the US Department of State’s international trade work. “It goes beyond celebrating your cultural identity.”

jorge benitez

Jorge Benitez, chief executive for Accenture’s US operations, says the inherent family dynamics within Latino culture often creates “highly sociable people good at building and sustaining relationships.”

versus external factors that may interfere with business discussions.” Ultimately, in business as in life, being successful means setting an example of competence, being respectful, and treating people well, Fernandez says. “It goes beyond celebrating your cultural identity,” he says. “Professionally, at the end of the day you’re judged by your competence.” More than any other time in our world history, we live in a global economy and it only takes a glance at the daily headlines to see that what happens in China, Europe and all over the world affects us all, Benitez says. And for businesspeople in particular, embracing this new global mentality is a must. After all, “International business is the new normal,” he says.

Global Business Etiquette Spain

Do feel free to conduct business at lunch—a working lunch is quite typical in Spain Don’t schedule dinner before 10 p.m.

April/May/June 2012


ana rodriguez

Currently living in Shanghai, China, Rodriguez, senior VP of global human resources at Molex, urges others to broaden their horizons. “Take the plunge—don’t wait because the train has left the station on globalization,” she says.

*Tips provided by Ana Rodriguez, Natalia Maria Ruderman, Jorge Benitez, and Jose W. Fernandez mexico

Do dress fashionably– it is beyond expected, it is admired

Do expect warm handshakes, hugs, and kisses on the cheek

Don’t plan a meeting in August

Don’t set rigid schedules; build enough flexibility into your meeting to accommodate frequent delays


Do respect the hierarchy at all times Don’t be late for appointments— punctuality is a sign of respect


Do read some history and current events about countries you are visiting Don’t be quick to judge foreign behaviors and traditions



Cultura arts & entertainment

95 Gerardo “Gerry”

Lopez , CEO and president of AMC Entertainment, redefines the moviegoing experience 102 The visionary behind

Latino Fashion Week, Arabel Alva Rosales, takes a bow 106 Sofia Ioannou

goes from counsel for MTV Latin America to managing director of Viacom family heritage

108 Alfredo Flores Sr. runs

a mecca for music lovers in San Antonio 112 ADS Seafood and Sea

Delight sails sustainable waters 114 El Rey Mexican Prod-

ucts feeds craving in Milwaukee and beyond 118 UBM president Mike

Cabrera expands on father’s dream

Beyond the 9 to 5

world view

122 Daddy’s girl Blanca

148 Alejandro Quiroz

Acosta Barroso becomes her own boss

travels the globe for Whirlpool

125 Miguel Chavez enjoys

the fruits of his labor

154 Alan Varela expands

construction business to Chile

127 Marc Perez distributes

health and beauty by the bottle

158 Pitney Bowes’ chief

counsel prefers face-toface interactions

130 The only destination

for Rick Rodriguez of Atlantis Packaging is up

161 Claudia Pardo of The

Nielsen Company engages consumers

132 Jim Jaime’s pipe

dreams materialize

164 Rosa Estrella exer-

cises cultural tact community impact

134 Juan Rangel leads

nontraditional nonprofit, UNO 138 The Latino Com-

munity Foundation tackles barriers facing families 141 Personal-injury attor-

ney Raul Rodriguez fights for blue-collar workers 144 ALPFA’s Yvonne

Garcia connects Latino professionals nationwide

April/May/June April/May/June 2012 2012 9393

Congratulations to Gerry Lopez for your continuous pursuit of excellence in cinema entertainment. For complete visual technology solutions, visit us at

Š 2011 Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. All rights reserved.

Kudos to Gerry Lopez CEO and President, AMC

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

As CEO and president of AMC Entertainment Inc., Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez aims to understand what drives people to the cinema and explore new ways to optimize the moviegoing experience.

Entertainment E xecutive

Going to the Movies : part 2 by Aaron Mays

April/May/June 2012


veryone is waiting for the movie screen to light up. The previews have finally come to an end. People silence their cell phones and unwrap their candy while a few stragglers find their seats. As the lights overhead dim, the crowd quiets down, and the film begins. This is a typical night at the movies. And on one of these nights, Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez, CEO and president

of AMC Entertainment Inc., might be one of the many movie watchers. As the head of the second largest movie-theater chain in the United States, Lopez has to know more than what’s flashing on the marquee or the stars in the latest blockbuste. He must understand what drives people to the cinema before they even step inside. “For years, the movie exhibition business has been a fairly straightforward operation,” Lopez


Arts & Entertainment Cultura

Photo(Top): AccuSoft Inc.

says. “Lately though, as the opportunities for leisure time and the opportunities for entertainment have multiplied, the notion of ‘building a [movie] theater and they will come’ falls short.” Lopez admits, however, there hasn’t been much innovation among movie exhibition until recently. So, in addition to the newest movie release, what else can the cinema offer? Entertainment marketers and movie houses alike must answer why consumers should buy what they’re selling. In order to compete, Lopez is looking to build a much richer customer experience to outpace the Hulus and Redboxes of the world. “You have to start thinking … what is going to the movies really about?” he says. An Industry In Flux As a middle-school kid, Lopez was already a dedicated movie lover. He fondly recalls asking his mother, on numerous occasions, for money so he could catch the latest movie at The Regency in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez was only 11 or 12 at the time but the actual experience of

April/May/June 2012

In an effort to keep today’s moviegoers happy, Lopez has implemented a proprietary large-format screen concept in theaters (like Century City 15 in Los Angeles, pictured at top) and more IMAX venues. AMC has also added dining venues within its cinemas (pictured above), giving patrons the option to enjoy “a dinner and a movie” all in one location.


We Are Focused We Are Dynamic We Are Disciplined We Are Proven Entertainment Properties (NYSE: EPR) is a specialty real estate investment trust (REIT), we invest in properties in select categories which require unique industry knowledge, and offer stable and attractive returns.

We are proud to be a business partner with Gerry Lopez, Chief Executive Officer and President of AMC Entertainment Holdings. We congratulate him on his outstanding career and his continued success. (888) EPR-REIT


Arts & Entertainment Cultura

CLOSE UP with Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez

“You have to start thinking … what is going to the movies really about?” Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez

CEO & President What’s your favorite concession-stand item? Popcorn. Always! It’s very tough to watch a movie without popcorn. In our dine-in theater locations, it’s a burger. What’s your favorite movie? The “Stars” movies (Star Trek, Star Wars).

Even as a middle-school kid in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lopez was already a dedicated moviegoer. He recalls his excitement purchasing his ticket, the large silver screen, walking through the theater’s lobby that smelled of popcorn very fondly—an inherent thrill he believes still exists with patrons today.

going to the theater is what he remembers most—purchasing his ticket, walking through the theater’s lobby, the large silver screen, and the smell of popcorn in the air. For Lopez, there was an inherent thrill in it all, one that he believes still exists. March 2012 marks Lopez’s threeyear anniversary serving as AMC’s chief executive. Since that time, a number of things have changed in the industry such as the introduction of 3-D films. The digitization of films, which enables 3-D and other advancements in projections, has accelerated in the past two years—a strategic move spearheaded by Lopez. “Now it is not unusual for a movie to do 50 percent of its business in 3-D in a given weekend,” he says. “And in some cases, studios have raked in 90-95 percent of its ticket sales from 3-D movies.” Among the changes in the industry, Lopez has launched several strategies to keep moviegoers satisfied. Part of his approach is enhancing “the big sound and the big screen” quality of AMC cinemas by installing a proprietary large-format screen concept, called ETX, and adding more IMAX venues than AMC’s top two

April/May/June 2012

Favorite type of movie: thriller, drama, comedy, romantic comedy, or action? Definitely action movies. What’s your Oscar pick? Haven’t even begun to look at that—it’s too soon to tell. Did love Martin Sheen in his movie, The Way. How do you like your popcorn? Plain? Salt and butter? Salt and butter. How many movies do you see a week? Do you prefer the 2-D or 3-D experience? I see as many movies as possible. Definitely enjoy the 3-D experience when it’s available. If you could remake any movie, what would it be? Oh no—not going there … I would, however, love to see a sequel to Top Gun! Also one of my favorites.

competitors. Secondly, AMC is adding dining venues within its cinemas. Guests who want to enjoy “a dinner and a movie” can do so in one location and add more convenience to their leisure time. “Moviegoing is woven into the social fabric of this country,” Lopez says. “There is something special about going to the movies with other people, about watching something on a big screen in a dark auditorium with a room full of strangers who can have a collective, communal experience. That social element is misunderstood and underestimated.” Redefining the special, social element, and delivering it to moviegoers, is a part of Lopez’s mission. But now the social fabric of America is more like a megabyte in a supercomputer than threads in a quilt. For some, meeting up at a physical hangout spot is as old-fashioned as a jukebox. Instead, any cell phone-equipped person can link up on Twitter, Foursquare, or Facebook without seeing the other face-to-face. However, Lopez believes that social media is not a threat. “If anything, social media will enhance the role that movies play. We are using them as a tool to drive the relevance of the moviegoing experience,” he says. One foreseeable hurdle for AMC is building a bridge between the social aspect of moviegoing and social media. To create that bridge, Lopez knew integrating social-media platforms into AMC Stubs, the company’s new rewards program, was essential. “One of the key components of AMC Stubs is its integration with Facebook because that is the way people share experiences,” Lopez says. AMC Stubs is a big step for the company and one of the first of its kind for movie theaters, offering members a $10 reward for every $100 they


spend at the theater, free upgrades on concession items, fees waived on online ticket purchases, and access to a personal online ticket-stub collection. Once AMC Stubs members finish watching a movie, they can post a Facebook status about their experiences. Sharing these experiences online pushes AMC into a new direction, one that is totally different from what Lopez first experienced years ago as a young moviegoer. However, connecting with consumers in multiple ways, both in person and virtually, will drive AMC to the next level. “At AMC, we are enabling people to share their experiences easily and quickly,” he says. “We think this will be a part of the moviegoing experience of the future.” A MESSAGE FROM Philips Special Lighting Americas In 2009 the AMC Cinema chain began the transition to digital projection for its over 5,500 screens in North America— a major investment in new technology. AMC did a thorough test of Sony equipment and chose to install Sony’s equipment in the majority of its auditoriums. Philips Digital Cinema Xenon lamps are the approved light source for Sony projectors for AMC Theatres and are installed and used in the majority of AMC theatres. These powerful 4200 watt sources must be handled carefully and are replaced several times a year. A MESSAGE FROM Sony Electronics Sony is proud to team with AMC Entertainment, combining their vision for quality entertainment and superior service with our immersive 4K digital projection technology and end-to-end cinema solutions. We are thrilled to honor Gerry for his many contributions to the entertainment industry and the Hispanic community.

Thanks for helping us create the ultimate WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A THEATRE.


Hispanic Executive

many years, AMC! General Growth Properties has been in the shopping center business for more than 50 years, blending innovation, tradition

Immersive digital projection with ultra-high 4K resolution, outstanding picture quality, and advanced 3D imagery. It’s what to look for in a theatre.

and reputation to create some of the country’s unparalleled shopping locales, including such premier destinations as Ala Moana Center (Honolulu), Tysons Galleria (D.C.), Glendale Galleria (Los Angeles) and Water Tower Place (Chicago). The entire GGP portfolio totals 170 million square feet of retail space and includes more than 24,000 retail stores. These include international retailers and anchors, as well as popular regional stores covering

A MESSAGE FROM Vistar Vistar has a long and successful history as the wholesale candy, snack and beverage specialist member of the Performance Food Group family. We have enjoyed a 25-year partnership with AMC and are a major distributor of Starbucks products to the office coffee service segment. Being able to deliver quality products for AMC’s concession operation from Vistar and quality food products from Performance Foodservice allows them to provide the best possible experience for their customers. We recognize and welcome Gerry’s leadership and creativity and look forward to many successful years together.

experience for so

a colorful range of categories. More than just places to shop, our malls serve as entertainment centers for the community by offering theaters, restaurants, ice-skating rinks and many other family activities.

CUSTOMer Built For You Since 1954 110 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606 © 2011 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice. Sony, Sony Digital Cinema, and Sony Digital Cinema 4K and their respective logos are trademarks of Sony.





to life

The cinema industry can rely on Philips lamps to transform the theatre experience, bringing movies to life to delight, amaze and fascinate audiences.

authorized supplier of Digital Cinema Xenon lamps for their projectors to light up cinema screens around the world.

High performance, low cost Philips Digital Cinema Xenon lamps have a high light intensity that optimizes on-screen brightness to produce sharp digital pictures in brilliant, vivid colors. The robust design also has a long lifetime to minimize operation costs while maximizing the cinema experience.

Lighting up leading movie theatres Since 2009, AMC cinema chain has invested in Sony digital projectors for more than 5500 of its cinema screens in North America. As the approved light source for Sony projectors, powerful 4200 watt Philips Digital Cinema Xenon lamps are now installed and used in the majority of AMC theatres.

Always a perfect match Philips works closely with leading projector manufacturers to ensure that lamp performance is a perfect match to projector requirements. And they’re already getting great reviews. Sony, Barco and NEC have all certified Philips as an

The ultimate support With offices around the globe, there’s always a Philips Lighting expert close at hand to offer help and advice. So Philips Lighting can provide the ultimate support network for cinema lighting from the opening titles to the final credits.

To find out more about Philips cinema lighting solutions please visit April/May/June 2012


Cultura Arts & Entertainment The visionary behind Latino Fashion Week, Arabel Alva Rosales is starting a fashion revolution—one Latino designer at a time.


by Kelly Hayes


Showcasing the Fabric of Latinidad 102

Hispanic Executive

t’s not a fashion show, it’s a movement,” explains Arabel Alva Rosales, cofounder and co-executive producer of Latino Fashion Week, the only fashion week in the United States created to support the talent of local, national, and international Latino designers and models. “Our mission is to elevate [the] perception of [the] Latino community, and do it through fashion, art, and sharing creativity.” Originally launched and hosted in Chicago in 2006, Latino Fashion Week—with the marketing slogan “by Latinos, for everyone”—has since been hosted in a few cities throughout the United States, returning to the Windy City in 2011 to celebrate its fifth anniversary with the theme “Art in fashion.” The week featured runway shows, celebrity appearances, VIP parties, and a three-day fashion lounge and expo, with a media redcarpet reception showcasing Chicago’s top local Latino designers such as Jacqueline Amezcua, Goca, Karol Barrero, Que Shebley, and Zoë Damacela. Celebrities including Hollywood fashion photographer Christian Rios and actor Nico Tortorella also made appearances, and models including Nicole Su-

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

Before the start of each Latino Fashion Week, Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon (far right) say a few prayers for the show’s success. The annual sensation counts people such as reality TV hosts from Puerto Rico, Frederick Valentin and Melvin Roman, and Christian Carabias (center), actor, model, and producer of Vida Miami TV, as supporters.

arez, Nuestra Belleza Latina finalist, Christian Carabias, model, and telenovela actor, and the nuvoTV’s Model Latinas, graced the runway. Although it has grown to attract international designers and big-box corporate sponsors including McDonalds, Macy’s, Fiat, Arbonne, American Airlines, and Walgreens, Latino Fashion Week didn’t start off as such a big event. “Initially it started kind of small with just a few local designers, and now it’s grown into something much bigger than us,” Rosales says. “It really helps develop business for designers and models, photographers, makeup artists, and hairstylists.” Rosales, whose father was a tailor from Mexico who moved to the United States to launch a men’s-

April/May/June 2012

clothing manufacturing business, has seen firsthand the difficulties involved with running a business in the industry. “I know how tough it is for these designers [after working with my dad],” she says. Still, challenges only seem to motivate Rosales, a self-made business mogul who worked as a senior policy advisor to then-governor Jim Edgar of Illinois right out of school and 12 years ago founded AAR & Associates Ltd., an IT firm. Most impressively, even while producing and planning Latino Fashion Week, running her firm, and being mother to a teenage daughter, Rosales still finds time to do more for her community. She does volunteer work for Chicago Public Schools and

“Initially it started kind of small with just a few local designers, and now it’s grown into something much bigger than us. It really helps develop business for designers and models, photographers, makeup artists, and hairstylists.” Arabel Alva Rosales

Cofounder & Co-Executive Producer 103


Hispanic Executive


Arts & Entertainment Cultura

Returning to the Windy City to celebrate its fifth anniversary, last year’s Latino Fashion Week featured runway shows, celebrity appearances, VIP parties, and a three-day fashion lounge and expo, with a media red-carpet reception showcasing Chicago’s top local Latino designers. Among the participants were actor Nico Tortorella (top left) models Mila Ugryn (center), Laura Silva (bottom left), and Noelle Lynch (below) and Nuestra Belleza Latina finalist Nicole Suarez (bottom center).

serves as secretary of the Illiniois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) and the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC). “I think it’s important to give back to the community and to help,” she says. The WBDC Childcare Expo, one project Rosales is especially passionate about, was inspired by the birth of her own child. “It came about when both I and another

woman at the center were both pregnant at the same time about 14 years ago,” Rosales explains. “We were looking at childcare, like many other women who have dual roles as mom and businesswoman, and we found that a lot of the childcare providers were dropping out after six months because they couldn’t sustain their businesses. They weren’t running their businesses [effectively]. So we, the WBDC, came up with the idea to have childcare providers learn more about childcare and give them tools to grow their business. We’ve gotten all kinds of awards and helped them grow childcare businesses in a huge way. Some started small and now have many different centers.” In addition to staying active in the community and speaking out about issues affecting women and the Latino community, Rosales thinks it’s important to mentor young people. She says it’s important to “pass on” the guidance and inspiration she received from her own mentors, including her father

and former-governor Edgar. She makes an effort to hire interns at her IT firm as well as for Latino Fashion Week, and teaches aspiring business owners and designers to marry their creativity and business skills. “I talk about business being my life canvas,” she says. “There’s a lot of creativity involved in Latino Fashion Week, but the bottom line is, it’s still a business.” Rosales also teaches her protégés to believe in their ideas and what they are creating, even when they have doubts. “We still say a number of prayers before we start Latino Fashion Week,” Rosales admits. “A lot of people don’t RSVP and we have to go on strong faith that what we’re doing is something important. We’re bringing in designers that are amazing.” Planning to expand the event over the next few years—possibly launching a multicity tour in 2012— Rosales also looks forward to further leveraging online social media and web marketing as a way to attract new designers and sponsors. And while she has no plans to stop juggling her IT firm, community councils, or being a mom, Latino Fashion Week will always have a special place in her heart. As she says, “I call it my love project!”

“I talk about business being my life canvas. There’s a lot of creativity involved in Latino Fashion Week, but the bottom line is, it’s still a business.” Arabel Alva Rosales

Cofounder & Co-executive Producer

April/May/June 2012 105

Cultura Arts & Entertainment

Media E xecutive

Changing the Channel by Matt Alderton


n 2010, just 37.8 percent of the voting-age population voted in the US general election. By contrast, AC Nielsen Co. reports 99 percent of US households have at least one television. Meanwhile, 85 and 76 percent of Americans, respectively, own a cell phone and computer, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The numbers say it all: The best place to affect change isn’t always in the government. Often times, it’s through the media. Just ask Sofia Ioannou. As managing director of Viacom International Media Networks for The Americas division, she’s responsible for the business and creative development of Viacom’s entertainment brands in Canada, Latin America, and the US Hispanic market. That includes MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and their respective properties in Spanish-speaking countries, as well as Nickelodeon and VH1 in Brazil. As a young woman, she wanted to become a politician. Eventually, however, she realized she could do as much good for the world on the airwaves as she could in the Beltway—and perhaps even more. “I’ve always wanted to drive change,” says Ioannou, who is based in Miami. “Right or wrong, I really thought I’d be able to do that as a politician.” Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ioannou immigrated to the United States with her family at age 15 and later graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in political science and justice from American University in Washington, DC. After that, she went to law school to further her political career. Instead, the result was an unplanned journey into corporate law—that eventually landed her a position as junior counsel for MTV Latin America. That was in 1995. In the 13 years that followed, Ioannou climbed Viacom’s corporate ladder, eventually ascending to the position of general counsel for


Hispanic Executive

As a young woman, Sofia Ioannou dreamed of driving change as an influential politician. She later realized she can do as much good for the world on the airwaves.

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

As managing director of Viacom International Media Networks for The Americas division, Ioannou (far right) meets her share of celebrities, such as (from left to right): Carlos Mencia, Daisy Fuentes, Jose Tillan (executive vice president and general manager of Tr3s), and Daddy Yankee.

MTV Networks International. “I basically ran all the legal teams around the world for Viacom,” Ioannou says. “That proved to be quite a good background because it gave me a view of different areas of the business, whether it was the financial side of the organization or the creative side.” Still, the side of the business she’s always liked most is the sociopolitical side, which satiates her inner politician. “Even though it’s very much a corporate entity, Viacom as an organization has a keen ability to reach its audience and speak to them in a way others cannot,” continues Ioannou, who left the legal side of the business to assume her current position in 2008. “Because of the brands we manage and the credibility we have in the eyes of our audience, we have the ability to touch people, whether it’s through MTV or Nickelodeon or even, frankly, Comedy Central. It’s very special, and as such we do a lot of pro-social efforts through our networks that allow me to drive change.”

April/May/June 2012

Viacom’s pro-social initiatives leverage its partnerships and programming to raise awareness about social, educational, health, and environmental issues, including everything from arts education to HIV to obesity to diversity. “Our pro-social fabric is very close to my heart,” Ioannou says. “It’s something I will never stop doing and never stop talking about, because we can’t lose sight of the ability we have to get to our audience.” Whether it’s advocacy or entertainment, the key to effective communication is engaging content, according to Ioannou. “Whether it’s television or digital media, content must be king,” she says, “although the ways we are able to transmit that content have certainly evolved.” In the three years that she’s been managing director of Viacom’s Americas division, Ioannou has embraced a 360-degree approach to content that’s extended even further the reach of Viacom’s brands. One of her team’s proudest accomplishments, for instance, has been growing Tr3s, MTV’s bilingual network for US

Latinos. Launched in 2006 and rebranded in 2010 under Ioannou’s direction, the network achieved its highest-ever ratings in the first quarter of 2011 thanks to its diverse content mix, which includes original TV programming, mobile apps, social networking, and live events, such as a forthcoming MTV Unplugged performance by Latino recording artist Juanes. “Viacom understands the importance of the US Hispanic community,” Ioannou says. “Through what we’re doing with Tr3s, I like to think we’re making a difference in that community.” Tr3s is no doubt influencing a new generation of Latinos, and so is Ioannou, who tries to be a positive role model for young Latinos—including her three children, ages 3, 12, and 13. “What I would tell my kids as they go into the world is this: Don’t let labels be labels; let them become opportunities,” she says. “At the end of the day, if you are focused on something you want to accomplish, and you apply yourself, you will get there. It sounds cliché, but I firmly believe it to be the truth.” 107

Cultura Family Heritage Then:

A San Antonio piano store Now:

A complete “mecca” for local music lovers with two sprawling locations by Ruth E. Dávila

Today, Alamo Music’s anchor store spans 30,000 square feet, an entire block in downtown San Antonio, along with a second 10,000 square-foot location in the northside area of town.


Hispanic Executive

Family Heritage Cultura


lfredo Flores Sr. never played an instrument, but he sold a small fortune’s worth, building the largest music store in San Antonio. Upon retiring some 40 years ago, he handed the reins to his son, Alfredo Flores Jr., who expanded Alamo Music Center into a mini-mecca for local music lovers. “Our mission is to have people enjoy life more through music,” Flores Jr., CEO, says. Alamo Music hosts an array of events for all ages: professional recitals, workshops, children’s “rock camps,” and even ukulele and harmonica clubs, among others. Some 500 students attend private music classes there each month. “Lessons are a fundamental part of our business,” Flores Jr. says. “If you sell a product to someone and that’s all, you’re a furniture store. But if you sell a product and make sure they learn to play, you have changed their life.” Flores Sr. was an instinctively good salesman. He emigrated from Mexico in 1916 at 10 years old. As a teenager, he got a job repairing pianos. Before long, he realized it was more profitable to sell them¸ so he opened shop. “He called it Fresh Air Piano Company, because he didn’t have a storefront, just a truck,” Flores Jr. recalls. “Later it was Alamo Piano Exchange, because he would take a pig, a horse, a gun, anything as payment.” Growing up, Flores Jr. watched his father cultivate the store. Although a

April/May/June 2012

well-versed trumpet player (and jackof-all brass), Flores Jr. never imagined taking over. Instead, he earned an economics degree from the University of Texas, then an MBA from the University of Berkeley in California. Back in San Antonio, uncertain about his career path, he enrolled in law school. That’s when his father attempted to recruit him into the family business. Flores Jr. accepted on one condition: to be allowed to branch out beyond pianos, bringing in the brass instruments of jazz and the guitars of rock and roll. One year later, in 1966, they moved and rebranded as Alamo Music Center. Flores Jr. helped his father put Alamo on the map as “complete music store.” They won over the professional community. “We would reach out to

When Flores Jr. (pictured above) took over the family business, he overhauled its image from just a store that sold instruments to a beloved community resource that hosts workshops, recitals, rock camps, and much more.

music teachers, because they were the key to reaching the students,” Flores says. “We tried to find out what they wanted and follow their philosophy.” Today, Alamo Music’s anchor store spans 30,000 square feet, an entire block in downtown San Antonio. Flores’s wife, Hortencia, runs a second 10,000 squarefoot location, in the northside area. Flores lauds his spouse as Alamo Music’s top salesperson ever and his “finest achievement in life.” Now, as a store manager, she trains sales staff “to be 109

Cultura Family Heritage

Consejos de papá “My father always told me the difference between a wise man and a fool is shown in the way he uses what he has. People are successful because they use what they have in the best way they can.” Alfredo Flores Jr. CEO (Above left) When Flores Jr. (right) joined the family business, he and his father (left) proved to be a formidable duo, putting Alamo on the map as a “complete music store.” (Above right) The third generation of the Flores family has helped usher the company into the 21st century through efforts such as a website redesign and online marketing.

“More than half of our salespeople were stuck in the old paradigm of just phone calls and sending notes. Now they are all sending e-mails and some are doing YouTube videos to present an instrument to you right online.” Alfredo Flores Jr. CEO


Hispanic Executive

your own music store within our store, and to have a good time.” Flores Jr.’s sister Diana Boffa runs payroll; his daughter, Adriana Flores, manages the office; and his grandson, Zachary Marr, a recent Princeton grad, is general manager. Marr has taken Alamo Music into the 21st century. He revamped the accounting system, installed a point-of-sale program, led a website redesign, and formed a marketing strategy that has added “clicks” to Alamo’s brick-and-mortar operation. “More than half of our salespeople were stuck in the old paradigm of just phone calls and sending notes,” Flores Jr. says, crediting Marr for the new approach. “Now they are all sending e-mails and some are doing YouTube videos to present an instrument to you right online.” Over the years, Flores Jr. has played out his musical dreams by giving back to the community. Most notably, he serves as a board member for the National Association of Music Merchants, developing curriculums for music dealers. He offers store resources for a variety of local causes, such as Soldiers Angels, teaching wounded soldiers to play music for therapeutic healing. Flores Sr. is impressed with Alamo Music’s civic engagement. And at 103, while he doesn’t clock in every day, he still keeps check on the family business. “I go by his house every morning,” Flores Jr. says. “We have coffee, and the first thing he wants to know every day: What did you sell yesterday?” It seems, after all these years, what Alamo Music truly sells is enjoyment—to the tune of every instrument.






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Cultura Family Heritage

Fishing for Better Practices Overseeing ADS Seafood and Sea Delight’s sustainability efforts, Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay is making sure her father’s business continues to sail toward a bright horizon by Jennifer Hogeland


erseverance and innovation are responsible for the founding and success of ADS Seafood and Sea Delight. This Florida-based company is a family-owned and operated business with Eugenio Sanchez at the helm. Originally from Spain, Eugenio came to the United States from Venezuela in 1986 with the idea of importing shrimp and seafood from his country into the United States. At the time, he had no money and spoke little English so he took menial jobs to support himself while this initiative capitalized. It is during this time that he was offered the opportunity to become a seafood buyer with a company located in Tampa, Florida. As a buyer of seafood imported from South America, Eugenio learned the inner workings of the industry. And eventually, through hard work and resolve, he was able to launch his own company. In 1995 Eugenio started ADS Seafood, Inc., doing business as Atlanta Fisheries, an importer of southern species of fresh seafood in the Miami area. Just over 10 years later, he founded Sea Delight, LLC, targeting the frozen-seafood market. Family was incorporated into the business early on. Today the company has about 20 employees; nearly half are related to Eugenio. His wife, Margarita Sanchez, works in the human-resources department. The couple’s three daughters are also part of the company. Marilyn and Annabelle work in accounting,


Hispanic Executive

and Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay oversees incoming shipments and the company’s sustainability efforts. Cesar Bencosme, their nephew, is the vice president and works within the sales and marketing division. “Joining the business was an ongoing conversation with my dad,” Adriana says. “The company was growing and he was looking for people he could trust and that would look out for the best interest of the company.” And, as a family-oriented company, Eugenio wanted to provide his children with an opportunity for professional growth and a legacy for their own children. Adriana adds, “I knew it was going to be challenging but I also thought it would be interesting, especially with the sustainability aspect.” Adriana spent the last year studying the impact overfishing and general fishing practices had on the environment. The company’s commitment to sustainability drove it to develop cooperative efforts with World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia, Central America, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Adriana also worked with Trace Register, the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise conservation program, and a handful of other vendors to advance their sustainability goals. Her top initiatives included pushing the agenda of sustainability, continuing to work with fishery improvement projects, and providing resources to local fishermen in Indone-

“Joining the business was an ongoing conversation with my dad. The company was growing and he was looking for people he could trust and that would look out for the best interest of the company … I knew it was going to be challenging but I also thought it would be interesting, especially with the sustainability aspect.” Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay

Seafood Import & Sustainability Coordinator

Family Heritage Cultura

Consejos de papá Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay names her father, Eugenio, as her role model because of his determination to learn the industry and succeed. She says, “He didn’t have a background in seafood. He started the company from nothing and built it with hard work.”

From the start, family played a crucial role in helping the business stay afloat, particularly the sustainability efforts of Adriana Sanchez-Lindsay (top photo, left). Eugenio Sanchez’s nephew, Cesar Bencosme (bottom), works as the company’s vice president, focusing on cultivating long-term relationships with suppliers and customers.

sia and Vietnam to test the use of circle hooks. Their passion for sustainability is twofold, Adriana explains. Market trends reveal there is a huge wave of interest from consumers in wholesome, organic, and environmentally friendly foods. “We do it because there is a demand for it and we believe in it,” she says. “Sustainability is important to the industry and to maintain our business

April/May/June 2012

for the long-term,” Bencosme adds. “The challenge is how to combine the economic point and the actual practice.” Actively participating in the charge for environmentally safe fishing, Sea Delight works with fishery improvement projects (FIP) to educate and improve practices at the source level. Sea Delight is currently sponsoring circle hook trials on longline vessels operating out

of Vietnam’s Nha Trang and Tuy Hoa. “We are providing fishermen with 400 hooks per vessel so they can try out the hooks and see that they can have similar catch rates for target species while being environmentally conscious by reducing bycatch,” Adriana says. Despite the fact that the seafood industry is extremely competitive, Sea Delight is in the number two or three spot for treated seafood products. “This is one of our competitive advantages,” Bencosme says. “We concentrate on big distributors that aren’t able to do their own importing.” With nearly 25 years in the seafood business, Eugenio has developed key relationships that have contributed to where the company is today. They have a vision of continued growth. “You can’t stop on your growth path, looking for new customers or opportunities, because you’ll eventually expire,” Bencosme adds. “Our goal is to keep growing and expanding.” ADS Seafood and Sea Delight continues to enhance their national reach as they prepare to enter the Canadian market. High-quality and superior service are a priority as the Sanchez family prepares to dive into the next level. “The key is to develop partnerships with our suppliers and customers and to forge long-term relationships,” Bencosme says. While bringing in talented, wellconnected employees may be critical to company growth, Bencosme says family will always remain the core of the company.


Cultura Family Heritage


A small grocery store and tortilla plant started by the Villarreal brothers Now:

El Rey Mexican Products Inc. is one of the biggest Hispanic-owned corporations in Wisconsin, with an annual revenue of $75 million by Kelly Hayes


sk any Mexicanrestaurant owner in Wisconsin where they get their products, and they’ll probably say they use tortillas, chilies, or cheeses from Milwaukee-based El Rey Mexican Products Inc., now one of the biggest Hispanic-owned corporations in the state. In fact, the company—with an annual revenue of $74.9 million in 2010—owns and operates four neighborhood grocery stores, manufactures and sells its own tortillas, and even, at one time, shipped its products overseas to Europe. But like many family-owned and operated businesses, El Rey started out small, as a simple conversation between two brothers. “My fatherin-law, Octavio, had a small grocery store [in Milwaukee], but for people to have corn tortillas, they would have to drive to Chicago to get them,” explains Olivia Villarreal, business partner and wife of Ernesto, president of the


Hispanic Executive

company. “In the 1970s, it was hard, not everybody knew how to get there. Also, there were the chilies that we were used to, fresh cheeses, and the Mexican bakery. That is when [Ernesto and my brother-in-law, Heriberto] decided we needed a store that also had a tortilla plant here in Wisconsin.” Originally, both families flocked from Mexico to the Midwest in pursuit of new opportunities. “It was the Industrial Belt in the 1940s and 1950s,” Villarreal explains. “My dad settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin, worked at Grede Foundries for over 30 years, and moved us here in 1957. Ernesto and Heriberto’s dad followed to Milwaukee in 1964. Both dads knew that working in agriculture was not a good way to raise a family, that their children had a better chance in the Midwest.” In 1978, when Ernesto and Heriberto decided they

wanted to establish a local grocery store and tortilla plant, Super Mercado el Rey was born. While many of the Mexican cheeses—chihuahua, queso fresco, and cotija—could be made in Wisconsin, and the corn for their tortillas was grown in the Midwest, they knew they needed to import much of their produce and sauces. As the demographic shifted and the Hispanic population in the Milwau-

kee region grew, so did the appeal of Mexican and Latin food. “In the early 1980s, Mexican food became very popular,” Villarreal says. “This trend set up the Villarreal’s other branch of their business, wholesaling Hispanic-food products [to restaurants].” In the early 90s, as the business grew, El Rey studied the possibility of exporting their corn and flour tortillas and other Mexican products

“Our favorite part of the business is that we can share our success with our children and their spouses, and we can share ideas easily, no matter where we are.” Olivia Villarreal

Business Partner

11_GFJ_079 Hispanic Executive_curves.indd 1

10/13/11 6:04 PM

Cultura Family Heritage

Consejos de mi esposo “Ernesto and Heriberto have always said that there are no shortcuts to success. Hard work is necessary! For almost five years, we worked day and night with almost no time off to get this business off the ground. Our children made a lot of sacrifices, so we have always said this is just as much their business as it is ours.” Olivia Villarreal

Business Partner

(above) As Milwaukee’s demographics shifted and the Hispanic population grew, so did the appeal of El Rey’s Mexican food, including its meat; (below) El Rey’s famous tortilla, made fresh daily, are bestsellers; (opposite, top) Murals depicting the City of Milwaukee, the United States, and the history of corn and Mexico adorn the inside of Supermercado El Rey; (opposite page, bottom) A shot of the company headquarters on Cesar E. Chavez Drive in Milwaukee; three other stores were later opened.


Hispanic Executive

to Germany. In 1994, the first shipments of their items were sent and a wave of Mexican cuisine was started in Germany. “For months before the first shipment of corn tortilla chips and nacho cheese, they had billboards placed throughout Germany stating, ‘EL REY NACHOS ARE COMING,’” Villarreal explains. “This really piqued people’s curiosity, and soon many companies began bringing Mexican food to Europe.” Today, El Rey employs about 325 people between its four grocery stores, their wholesale operation, and the tortilla plant. But even with its success, Villarreal is quick to point out that growing the business was never easy. “The most challenging part of starting our business was the financing,” she explains. “We were lucky that my sister-in-law Criselda and I worked at our bank. The bank was a bit leery to finance our first real estate, which was to house our first store, but they took a chance on our character.” While there have been many challenges to owning and operating a company, Villarreal says she loves sharing the business with her and Ernesto’s four children and nine grandchildren, along with Heriberto and Criselda’s children and grandchildren. “Our favor-

ite part of the business is that we can share our success with our children and their spouses, and we can share ideas easily, no matter where we are,” she explains. El Rey also gives back to the community by hosting golf outings to raise money for scholarships for Hispanic youth and giving tours of the store to students every spring. They also provide food, which people can make themselves and sell to church groups and festivals each year. “We believe that instead of handing over a check, that they need to own the raising of the funds so we enable them to raise their own funds,” Villarreal says. With all their donations, it’s important to the Villarreal family that El Rey is not only providing great Mexican-food products to the people of Wisconsin, but also helping to integrate the Hispanic and Anglo communities there. “All of our children were born in America,” Villarreal says. “They are Americans first, but we teach them not to forget their parents’ roots. It is important for the Hispanic community to be open to the American way, and for the Anglo community to understand that we are all the same. We are hoping that our food and stores, along with our children and their spouses, are closing those gaps.”

Family Heritage Cultura

A MESSAGE FROM Goya Foods Goya Foods congratulates El Rey Mexican Products on its 34 years in business serving the culinary needs of Hispanics and those who love Hispanic food in Wisconsin. Goya, also celebrating a landmark anniversary, its 75th, is proud of the long association with El Rey and hopes to continue it in the future. As Hispanic-owned companies in the United States, we share a commitment to excellence in quality and the traditional values inherent in our culture.

April/May/June 2012


Cultura Family Heritage Then:

A carpet-cleaning business with one truck and a cleaning machine Now:

A full-fledged facility-maintenance firm with 2,000 employees by Chris Allsop


hen Mike Cabrera was younger, his father, James, owner of JC’s Carpet Cleaning Business, used to ask him what he wanted to do when he grew up. Mike would always give the right answer: “I want to be a JC’s Carpet Cleaning man.” Now 33, Mike Cabrera is president of United Building Maintenance, Inc. (UBM), what was formerly JC’s Carpet Cleaning. And he doesn’t seem too unhappy about the name change: UBM is the consequence of James’s entrepreneurial expansion from one truck and a carpet-cleaning machine to a firm offering a full suite of facility-maintenance services throughout Illinois and parts of Wisconsin and Indiana. The company today has approximately 2,000 employees, is one of the largest Hispanic-owned companies in the state, and anticipated annual sales of


Hispanic Executive

over $60 million by 2011 [at press time]. “I usually joke and say I’ve been here for 33 years,” says Mike, when asked how long he’d been involved with his father’s business. “I worked in the warehouse during high school, and through college, working in the summers.” This experience provided the future president with hands-on knowledge of all aspects of the business, whether it was cleaning buildings or driving a snow plow. Upon graduating, Mike was handed a new landscaping division to oversee, and since then has proceeded to work his way up to his current role. “There were times, when I first came out of college, when I wondered if this is what I wanted to do with my career,” he says. “I talked to my dad about it. And as I got more involved, with more responsibility and reward, you think: if you’re going

“I learned a tremendous amount about business from my dad, but it pales in comparison to what he’s taught me about life, about what it means to be a man, father, and a husband.” Mike Cabrera


to work this hard, why not do it for yourself and your family? Once I started to see tangible results, that’s when I got really excited and engaged with the business.” His father, as CEO, still works alongside Mike in the business. “He’s still a young man. I can’t see him slowing down any time soon,” Mike says. The continued interaction on a professional level is something that the son

cherishes. “I’m fortunate to receive that knowledge for free on a daily basis. It’s exciting, to be able to talk and have dialogue with someone who has been so successful in his career and in building a business.” According to Mike, father and son have complementary management styles. Also similar is Mike’s commitment to the Hispanic business com-

Family Heritage Cultura

Consejos de papá “[My father (pictured above) always advised me to uphold an] attitude of gratitude and giving maximum service–it’s important. Do good things, treat people the right way, and it’ll come back to you. It’s not just a business thing; it’s a philosophy on how I choose to live my life.” Mike Cabrera President


With almost 33 years spent at what is now UBM, Mike Cabrera acquired an intimate understanding of all aspects of the family business, one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in Illinois.

munity, following in his father’s footsteps by serving on the board of directors for the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council and as a director of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “I do my part out there, in whatever way, shape or form that I can,” he says. Back at UBM, it’s an exciting time. “We’ve added additional services including a Mechanical Services

April/May/June 2012

and Union Painting Division to better serve our customers.” Mike attributes the continuing success of UBM to the fact that the company is self-performing, rather than choosing to outsource to other companies (like some competitors), thereby controlling the quality and cost of their work. Employees play an enormous part as well, with family members on board (including Mike’s siblings, an uncle, and two

cousins). “UBM functions at a very high level due to the expertise that my brother, Jim, and my sister, Amy, and the rest of the family contributes on a daily basis,” he says. “We are truly a great team.” Mike is also quick to point out other employees who aren’t blood related have become “like family” after 20-plus years with UBM. But, ultimately, his own success comes down

to his father’s guidance. “I learned a tremendous amount about business from my dad, but it pales in comparison to what he’s taught me about life, about what it means to be a man, father, and a husband,” he says. “You want to be a successful business person, but more importantly you want to be a good person—a steward of the community—and sometimes it’s just a by-product of doing what is right.” 119



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Cultura Family Heritage Then:

A teenager working alongside her Cuban father, “Chico,” a veteran in the waste-handling industry NOW:

The boss of her own successful enterprise, Equipco Manufacturing, Inc.—with her father in tow by Jeff Hampton


lanca Acosta Barroso doesn’t waste time. After all, she has been working in the waste-handling industry since she was 13 years old. “I have a passion for it,” says Acosta Barroso, now owner and president of Equipco Manufacturing, Inc., of a business where she has never seen another woman. For her, it’s a great fit because it’s ultimately about relationships and working alongside her greatest mentor—her father. Equipco manufactures containers, compactors, and other handling equipment for the waste-disposal industry. Acosta Barroso is following in her father’s footsteps, but rather than inherit his business, she built her own company based on experience and lessons learned from a lifetime of working with her dad. Evelio Acosta, a Cuban immigrant to South Florida whose formal education is equivalent to that of grade school, worked his way through the ranks at United Sanitation, which eventually was purchased by Waste Management, Inc. (WMI). He was a local supervisor at United Sanitation until 1969 when he founded HESCO Sales in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, Florida, to make containers for trash-hauling companies—including Industrial Waste Service, Browning Ferris Industries, and WMI. “He grew the business, sold it off for stock in the 1980s, and then started again,” Acosta Barroso says.

122 Hispanic Executive

One of the few female executives in the waste-handling industry, Blanca Acosta Barroso has built her own business, Equipco Manufacturing, Inc., based on lessons gleaned from a lifetime of working alongside her father.

Family Heritage Cultura

Consejos de papá “My father has been my biggest mentor. He’s taught me everything he knows about how to run a business and how to build good equipment. Today, many customers shop on price and not on quality and longevity of the equipment. His philosophy is that when you build something heavy-duty, people will remember you.” Blanca Acosta Barroso Owner & President

“My father and I have a passion for this. I get to build equipment that people need, and I get to continue growing in something I have done since I was a child.” Blanca Acosta Barroso Owner & President

Next, “Chico” (as he was known in the industry) bought a vacant lot in 1989 in the nearby community of Medley, Florida, built a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and relocated the business there. He sold that venture in 1998 to High Rise Recycling Company, a publicly traded company, which manufactured equipment for high-rise offices and residences. High Rise got so highly leveraged from numerous acquisitions that it eventually declared bankruptcy. “Thankfully we never sold them the property,” Acosta Barroso says, explaining that the empty building provided the impetus for her to incorporate Equipco Manufacturing. She made her

April/May/June 2012

first sale in 2003, and it’s been steady growth ever since. Acosta Barroso says the business has changed considerably over the years. With the construction industry in a lull, demand for trash roll-offs has declined, while compactors are on the rise as more building owners contract with thirdparty haulers. Concern about environmental hazards has brought demand for equipment and containers that won’t leak, and businesses want compacting and processing machines that can be activated remotely from home or other locations. What hasn’t changed is the importance of relationships. “We focus on relationships and consistency with our customers,” Acosta Barroso says. “When we receive an order for a machine, we go out to the site to make sure they are getting the right equipment for their building and the haul.” Acosta Barroso says that when she started marketing Equipco, people said, “Chico and his daughter are back in business.” However, this time around she is the boss, and her father is concentrating on research and development. “Custom design is his forte,” she says. That’s important because many of Equipco’s products are designed for unique situations. “When people design trash rooms, they often don’t think about the equipment that has to be taken in and out,” she explains. In one location, the customer had to

dispose of large amounts of cardboard and garbage but they didn’t have enough room for multiple handlers. So Equipco built a “split compactor”—half for cardboard and half for garbage. In another case, Equipco designed and built equipment that is operated inside a refrigerated warehouse. Relationships with employees are equally important to Acosta Barroso. “We have loyal people, many who have been with us for many years,” she says. “We have the right people working in the right places, and they work very hard.” Others in the family have spent time in the business but have ultimately moved on. “It wasn’t their thing,” Acosta Barroso says. “My father and I have a passion for this. I get to build equipment that people need, and I get to continue growing in something I have done since I was a child.” Acosta Barroso’s passion has led her to expand Equipco regionally, but national business is more difficult because the cost of shipping equipment is so expensive. Undeterred, Acosta Barroso is working on a solution. “We’re looking at establishing distributorships that will receive the machines unassembled and finish the assembly,” she says. With plans for growth, Acosta Barroso and Equipco Manufacturing are in it for the long haul. “It’s a good business,” she says. “Regardless of how we process or recycle material, we will always have refuse and always have a need to dispose of it in some fashion.” 123


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Family Heritage Cultura

Strawberry Fields The only thing sweeter than the strawberries Miguel Chavez’s cools through his company, MJA Cooling, Inc., is the success he’s built through hard work and family

by Ovetta Sampson


iguel Chavez immigrated to America for a dollar. Not to make money, but for an actual dollar bill. It was 1967 and the 21-year-old needed a bit for his donkey. Back then bits cost 12 pesos, about one dollar, and he didn’t have money. But he had seen well-dressed Mexicans stroll through his small town who had been to this wondrous place called the United States. His path was set. Thirty-two years after climbing into a secret compartment of a coyote’s truck and illegally emmigrating to California, Miguel owned a 300-acre strawberry farm and employed more than 400 seasonal pickers. Today his family owns an agriculture-cooling operation in Santa Maria, California, which cools up to 90,000 packages of strawberries a day in peak season. So, how did this man who could not read or write manage to trade his burro for a Bentley? Chavez’s success is an inspiring story of a father’s dedication to his family and a work ethic so strong it overshadowed all obstacles including poverty, discrimination, and fear. “I never went to school, I didn’t know how to read or write,” says Miguel in Span-

April/May/June 2012

For father and son, Miguel and Juan Chavez, the American Dream tastes just like fresh-picked strawberries.

ish, his daughter-in-law Alejandra interpreting for him. “I didn’t know English but I’ve always been a thinker and I always think ahead, I always thought of my family, I always wanted more for their future.”

Miguel’s first job in the US was picking strawberries. He was so proficient at it, a “hippy” coworker got angry and reported Miguel as illegal and he was deported. He came back and worked various jobs from fruit picker,

broccoli-sprinkler operator, and landscaper, whatever job he could get. “One day I was picking strawberries and I looked up the hill and I saw an inspector drive up in a brand new green Chevy and I thought, ‘I want one 125

Cultura Family Heritage

126 Hispanic Executive

The day before giving birth to Juan Chavez, now president of MJA Cooling, Inc., Miguel’s wife and business partner, Alicia, picked 34 boxes of strawberries.

to work with respect and truth and provide the best service that we can to all our shippers.” Going into the family business became just as expected of his wife, Alejandra. “I work for my husband and my father-in-law and it has its advantages and disadvantages,” says Alejandra, the company’s CFO, “but it’s awesome for my kids … We see each other every day. We have such unity as a family.” At age 65, Miguel gets up on the tractor because he wants to, not because he has to. And as he looks over the 60 or so acres of strawberry fields he and his son farm he can’t help but shake his head in disbelief. Hard work and family truly is an amazing formula for success. A MESSAGE FROM Transfresh Corp. Proudly serving over 8,000 nonprofits nationwide including the Latino Community Foundation. Heffernan Nonprofit Choice, a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, specializes in exclusive property and casualty insurance programs to nonprofits. In addition, we offer support through our Charitable Contributions program and volunteer efforts. Learn more at

Consejos de papá “My father always says, ‘with dedication and hard work, the sky’s the limit.’ My parents have been the most influential people in my life; they have taught me the true meaning of hard work and discipline. Both my father and mother came to this country to reach their ‘American dream’ and with hard work and sweat they reached it. I am so proud to be their son, I can only hope that I can be as a great influence to my children like they are to me.” Juan Chavez President


of those.’” Miguel says. He received amnesty in 1974 and in 1976, when he got married; Miguel began thinking seriously about his future. By that time he had worked so hard he hurt his back. His wife Alicia worked enough for both of them, picking strawberries in the morning and working a second shift processing them at night. Miguel received a $5,000 workers’ compensation check for the back injury and bought his new family a home. When his wife became pregnant he decided he needed a more permanent solution to his money problems. “I wanted something more,” Miguel says. “I never looked for any kind of help; I couldn’t get any help from anyone. I knew I needed to work hard.” So Miguel leased three acres of farm land from a relative and began growing strawberries on his own. With his wife’s help—the day before she gave birth to their son, Juan, she picked 34 boxes of strawberries—he built a business. He carried little debt, always paid creditors early and never strayed from his core business. His son took note of his father’s business acumen but noticed something else: “My parents always worked,” he says. “There was little time for me because they always came home from work stressed or tired.” Even so, when Juan graduated from high school, he did one year at a community college before the inevitable. “All I knew growing up was strawberries,” he says. “I never really had other aspirations to do anything else … I am the only son, if not me who?” In 2000, Miguel became president and CEO of state-of-the-art cooling facility for fruits and vegetables, MJA Cooling, Inc., (each letter standing for their names Miguel, Juan, Alicia) and Juan became vice president. Currently, Miguel leases most of his land to other farmers who cool their product before shipping it nationwide. The result is a business that always wins, no matter the weather. At age 36, Juan owns his own strawberry farm and runs the day-today operations for the cooling company. “There are many coolers in this area,” Juan says. “But all we can do is continue

Family Heritage Cultura Then:

Cuban pharmacist Alberto Perez flees political persecution and opens several Miami-area pharmacies NOW:

Grandson Marc, 23, primes himself to take over the reins and expand the reach of Menper Distributors Inc. by Keith Loria


t was back in 1961 that Cuban pharmacist Alberto Perez came to the United States to escape the political persecution on the island at the time, and had the idea of opening a Miami pharmacy that would cater to the growing Hispanic community. “He worked in a town called Sagua la Grande and came to the US and, in time, owned a series of

April/May/June 2012

pharmacies here in the Miami area and realized he had customers coming to the store to ask for items from Cuba,” says Marc Perez, the 23-year-old grandson of Alberto. “He realized he could create products that could replicate those traditional remedies or products familiar to those customers and sell them on a limited basis in his stores in Miami.”

As other Hispanic communities found their way to the area, Perez expanded his products to include those items difficult to find in the United States and catered to this niche market by manufacturing creative products that suited the different regions—such as Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. In 1982, Perez created Menper Distributors Inc., a Hispanic-owned distributor of health and beauty products based out of Miami. It also serves as the parent company of a subsidiary company Suero Oral, and a manufacturing company Pharmalab Enterprises, both of which operate under the management of and are owned by the Perez family. Marc Perez currently serves as the vice president of the company, coming aboard full-time two years ago, after graduating from Duke University. “I worked with the company while I was in school during summers and right before I was to graduate, my grandfather asked me if I wanted to come work for the business. It was never our plan,” Marc says. “I came on in July of 2010 and have been here ever since.” At 77, Alberto Perez is gracefully going into retirement, and his grandson now owns an equity stake in the company, with the idea that he will one day 127

Cultura Family Heritage

take over the family business alongside the founder’s son (and Marc’s uncle), Alberto Perez Jr., who serves as the head of Pharmalab Enterprises and oversees manufacturing for the companies. “We discussed that as the long-term plan,” Marc says. “I think it’s a source of familial pride for both my uncle and me, because it’s something that my grandfather has built from scratch and there’s extra motivation because we’re not just working for ourselves, we are carrying on a family legacy, which we are both pretty proud of.” His grandfather has taught him many things, but Marc believes the most important is patience. “As a young, somewhat naive 20-something year old, you are always looking to launch headfirst into new opportunities or are overeager to take on new products but he is always in control and has given me perspective on taking tasks one at a time,” Marc says. Over the last decade, the company has transformed from operating as a small regional company in Florida to expanding nationally, creating and selling products that replicate the Spanish tradition for the Hispanic population in the United States. Currently, the company’s top-selling product, which they made and branded, is called Suero Oral, a Gatorade-type product specifically designed for the Hispanic market. Marc was attracted to the family business both on a personal and professional level. “More pragmatically, the company is well positioned for the future,” he says. “We have a couple of products that have been growing a lot recently and fits in with the changing population of the United States and we think we are well positioned for growth going forward.” The differences between the three generations of Perez Family, Alberto Sr., Alberto Jr., and Marc Perez has helped the company in its growth and will continue to do so. “My grandfather, uncle, and I complement each other well. My grandfather is an older Hispanic guy and I’m younger and eager to expand upon the foundation he has built. My uncle is extremely detail oriented and does a fantastic job maintaining the quality of manufacturing operations,” Marc says. “The strong foundation of our company has allowed us to be aggressive in seeking new and larger customers.”

128 Hispanic Executive

Consejos de abuelo “My grandfather has been a perfect model of patience and integrity. In the years I’ve known him, he’s always placed people before profits, morals over money. He has centered his life and our business on honesty, believing that sticking to your core values will always pay off in the long run.”

SINCE 1982

Marc Perez Vice President

One of those is Walgreens. Thanks to the efforts of the younger Perez, Marc, the company has just reached an agreement with the retail giant to sell the Suero Oral product on a national level. “About three months after I came in, we were approached by Walgreens Pharmacies about them bringing in one of our products to their national distribution line,” Marc says. “My grandfather never felt he had the bandwidth or the ability to present a presentation and financial projections to service a company like Walgreens on a national scale. I went and met with them and put together a plan and we secured that account last [August]. I think there are people who I can relate to better.” Looking ahead, Marc has big plans for the future in preserving the company’s legacy and watching it expand to new heights. “It’s a constant struggle to take what my grandfather has built here and try to position it into something that will grow, but we have a few products that I believe will grow,” Marc says. “It’s up to our team to try to develop more products that can be successful on this wide-range scale. Creating those products or identifying those that have already been developed and replicate what we’ve done with Suero Oral and positioning ourselves as the Hispanic provider of health-care products across the country.”

Over 29 Years in Business Supplying health and Beauty products including vitamins, OTC pharmaceuticals and Dietary Supplements of the highest quality, to the Hispanic Population of the United States.



Packaging Industr y

“Rethink—Redesign” www.a t l a n t is p k g .c om April/May/June 2012 129

Cultura Family Heritage Rick Rodriguez, founder of Atlantis Packaging, says his proudest achievement is securing his family’s future. What my family can take away from my success is the fact that they’ll still be able to make a lucrative living after I retire,” Rodriguez says.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered With the support of his two children, Rick Rodriguez knows the only destination for Atlantis Packaging is up by Lisa Ryan


t Atlantis Packaging, it’s all in the family. Founded in 1986 by Rick Rodriguez, the full-service packaging-product distributor also employs Rodriguez’s son Eric as its president as well as [his daughter] Nesha as its manager of computer systems. “It’s nice to turn the company over to somebody in the family,” Rodriguez says, “and they’re doing a great job.” Prior to founding his Chino, California-based company, Rodriguez had been working for a larger distrib-

130 Hispanic Executive

uting firm, but decided to venture out on his own, founding Mill Packaging along with a colleague. Unfortunately, “the partnership didn’t work out,” Rodriguez says. The company folded after four years, but the ever-resilient Rodriguez eventually launched a new business for the second time: Atlantis Packaging. Atlantis Packaging has built its reputation on excellent service and creative solutions with competitive pricing. Bringing the company to its next

level was the next challenge, which prompted Rodriguez to bring in his son, Eric. “He was at the time a sales manager with Circuit City and therefore had proper training,” Rodriguez says. Since hiring his son as president of the company, Rodriguez has been able to focus more on the internal aspects of Atlantis Packaging, rather than devoting his time solely to sales. “I’m able to work on the inside a little bit more and he works on the outside,” Rodriguez explains.

Family Heritage Cultura

Consejos para mis hijos Rodriguez has been on his own for quite some time—he joined the Air Force at the age of 19. He has two sisters, a mother, and his wife, Audrey, who has always been supportive of his efforts. He says the best advice he has to offer is “to simply be tenacious.” Rick Rodriguez Chief Financial Officer

Atlantis Packaging has also grown substantially since that time, though it is still a smaller operation. In addition to their organization affiliations, Rodriguez and his son attract business the old-fashioned way, though grassroots marketing. “We’re simply knocking on doors, and our name is on our truck, as well as utilizing the web and cataloging to broaden the company’s exposure in the community,” he says. Atlantis Packaging looks for customers who want large quantities and have issues with packaging, which gives the company an opportunity to solve their problems. Once Atlantis gains the customer’s confidence and a rapport is built, the companies tend to give Atlantis more of their in-stock items. The company currently works with some of the largest and most renowned corporations in the country, including Tropicana and CVS, and now generates $2.2 million in annual sales. Rodriguez and his son are currently investigating ways to continue their momentum. “The next level is hiring

April/May/June 2012

a good sales force and increasing our sales while maintaining our focus on customer service and quality products,” Rodriguez says. “Additionally, we are adding janitorial products to our line.” Despite the company’s success, Rodriguez is most proud of the longstanding effect that it will have on his family. “What my family can take away from my success is the fact that they’ll still be able to make a lucrative living after I retire,” Rodriguez says. “Atlantis Packaging has helped my two children to learn about the business world.”

Atlantis Packaging positions itself as a problem solver for companies who want large quantities and have issues with packaging (top, bottom). Clients include Tropicana and CVS.


Cultura Family Heritage Then:

A humble water-and-sewer supply company NOW:

One of the top 500 largest Hispanicowned companies in the country for three years in a row by Kaleena Thompson


amily-owned and operated Saginaw, Michigan-company Michigan Pipe & Valve was formed when a close family friend of Jim Jaime coaxed him into joining his water-and-sewer distribution company. “Art Valls approached me at a time when I was working for a newspaper in advertising,” Jaime recalls. “He had an opening in sales, and he believed that I could sell anything.” A year later, Jaime joined his golf and bowling buddy in his business venture. That was 24 years ago. What started out as a fulfilling and lucrative career change turned into Jaime convincing his friend to start a new business together: Michigan Pipe & Valve-Saginaw, a water-andsewer supply company. Founded in 1998, Jaime and Valls put in place a business philosophy rooted in building relationships with customers, and treating them like family. “We believe in building those relationships with dignity and honesty,” Jaime says. “It has always paid off. When we left our other company, we took 80 percent of that business because of our relationships.” Those humble beginnings segued through the decade, and he hopes will continue with his children. When Art Valls retired in 2007, Jaime bought out his shares. He and his wife Patricia have five adult children, three of whom work alongside their proud father. His son,

132 Hispanic Executive

Truly a family-run operation, three of Jaime’s five kids as well as a daughter-in-law work in the company. (Standing left to right) His son, Justin, is the vice president; daughter, Maria, is the assistant to the office manager; daughter-in-law, Theresa, is the office manager; and son, Jonathan, is the yard manager.

“When you look at the industry we are in, the future looks very bright.” Jim Jaime


Justin, is the vice president; daughterin-law, Theresa, is the office manager; son, Jonathan, is the yard manager; and daughter, Maria, is the assistant to the office manager. So, from vice president to an office manager, his children are taking a leading role as Jaime prepares to retire this year. Already one the largest distributors of water, storm, and sewer materials in Michigan and the only Hispanic-owned distribution company, Jaime has positioned his children to take the business into the next echelon. “It impacts the business as I get ready to retire,” he says, who also stays hands-on in the networking, operations, and sales department. “We want to be able to grow the business and give other opportunities to other family members as we expand. I know they can maintain the philosophy and success—the foundation of this company.” Even in tumultuous economic times, the underground distribution company has been profitable and successful. “It all goes back to our service and philosophy,” Jaime says. “We’ve been in the top 500 largest Hispanic-owned companies in the country the past three years. That reflects our ability to build relationships and maintain a good margin.” For Jaime, he wants to give young Hispanics a footprint in this industry. The company’s ambition is evident as it supports minorities not only at Michigan Pipe & Valve, but in the community. “We’re involved with the local Hispanic

Business Association, helping train young professional Hispanics to be leaders in the community.” In addition, Jaime redefines diversity, and encourages other corporations about the importance of inclusion. “It’s our voice and example that demonstrates how we promote diversity in our company and others,” he says. Another part of the company’s longevity and growth is happy employees. Even though it’s a family company, the nonfamily employees are treated as such. “We include them in family weddings, graduations and birthdays,” gushes Jaime, who is a grandfather of five, soon to be seven. “During summer we go on golf trips; Christmas, we have bowling outings; and during the fall season, we go on pheasant hunts.” Combining all of those elements, Michigan Pipe & Valve-Saginaw will move forward with those same business philosophies. “My hope is that it will continue to be successful and that my children will come up with new ways to do business,” Jaime says. “When you look at the industry we are in, the future looks very bright.” A MESSAGE FROM Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. has enjoyed a strong relationship with Michigan Pipe & Valve – Saginaw and owner Jim Jaime for over a decade. ADS would like to thank Michigan Pipe & Valve – Saginaw for being an integral part of ADS’ success.

Consejos de familia “I credit my parents as to imparting life’s philosophy: be a good person, work hard, and give back to the community. They made me understand what’s important in life: family and faith. Also, my aunts and uncles shared the same philosophy with me. Loving people and treating them fairly gives you strength and character. And if you fall, those people will be there to catch you.” Jim Jaime President

April/May/June 2012 133

Cultura Community Impact

Revolutionary Chicagobased group refuses to “act like a nonprofit” While activists are known for their idealism, United Neighborhood Organization’s CEO, Juan Rangel, prides himself on taking a pragmatic approach to the issues affecting Chicago’s many Hispanic immigrants—helping manage UNO’s 11-school charter network to produce the next generation of game changers [not victims]


uan Rangel almost missed his calling with Chicago’s 27-yearold United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) three times. He first heard about the group when he was 18 years old. UNO was hosting a community gathering in a church gym to discuss crime in the area and though he thought the work they were doing was admirable, he felt too young to play a part. Rangel did, however, feel inspired by UNO’s urging to get involved in the community, so he nominated himself to serve on the local school council. UNO extended an invitation for him to attend training. He accepted, but got cold feet and stood outside of the building watching other trainees stream in, almost missing his first opportunity to join one of the most influential community-organizing groups in the country. Eventually, he stepped inside and ended up becoming a regular volunteer. Rangel turned down two jobs with UNO before accepting his


Hispanic Executive

first position as director of UNO’s Little Village chapter. “When I first encountered UNO, something really stuck with me: You can simply want change, or you can build power to make change. I didn’t want to be a powerless person,” said Rangel, now CEO of UNO. “I didn’t want to grow old and bitter about the system. What drew me to UNO was their understanding of the world as it is, instead of the world as they’d like it to be. They understood the practicality of the public arena and how to win and succeed in that arena. We’re still very pragmatic in our approach.” Twenty-two years later, Rangel feels like his work with UNO is just beginning. Since its inception, the organization has challenged Hispanics to play active roles in the development of their communities while leading several important campaigns, from Chicago’s schoolreform movement in the 1980s to its naturalization drive in the ’90s, which assisted 65,000 individuals in becoming

American citizens. These days, Rangel spends a majority of his time managing UNO’s 11-school charter network that serves 5,500 low-income children, hoping to produce students that will help combat the public perception that they are a “victimized minority group” when he believes Hispanics are the next successful wave of immigrants. “My parents came to this country from rural Mexico; they crossed the border illegally and made a life here for our family. All nine of us lived in a small attic above an apartment complex. People in the community, like my parents, don’t see themselves as victims. The problem is that public leaders try to portray us as victims in order to fulfill their political goals. If you look at the history of our nation, especially in Chicago, Irish and German immigrants worked hard to get ahead and were never seen as victims,” Rangel said. “I don’t see the community we serve as a ‘challenge.’ Statistically, we serve


by Tina Vasquez


UNO’s passionate CEO, Juan Rangel, challenges the notion that nonprofits, however well intentioned, lack practicality. Rather than being characterized as a group looking for a handout, Rangel sees UNO as a business investing in the “next wave of successful immigrants”: Latinos.

April/May/June 2012 135


Hispanic Executive


(top, bottom left) Rangel does not see the community UNO serves as a challenge. “Statistically, we serve a high-poverty area, but within this area are people who are family orientated, churchgoing, mostly two-parent households; these are people who have incredible work ethics and entrepreneurial spirits,” he says.” I see the assets we have as a community, not the challenges that must be overcome.”


Population: 2.7 million Ethnic makeup: White 45%, AfricanAmerican 32.9%, Hispanic 28.9%


Size: 227.2 square miles Interesting fact: In the 1940s, Hispanic immigrants began to arrive in Chicago from Mexico and Puerto Rico, but many Cubans also arrived in the city to escape the rise of Fidel Castro.

a high-poverty area, but within this area are people who are family orientated, churchgoing, mostly two-parent households; these are people who have incredible work ethics and entrepreneurial spirits. I see the assets we have as a community, not the challenges that must be overcome.” To combat these negative perceptions, UNO leads by example, developing young Hispanic leaders who are redefining the public arena. Ironically, Rangel also works to combat the misconceptions surrounding nonprofits. The CEO says many young people believe nonprofits are well-intentioned, but offer little room for advancement and require taking a “vow of poverty.” Currently, UNO is operating with a $100 million budget and Rangel hires top talent in various sectors and makes sure they are well compensated because the work they do affects the lives of countless families. Rangel says that while UNO may be a nonprofit, they do not look or act like one, which reminds him of his mother’s philosophy when he was growing up: “Just because we’re poor, doesn’t mean we have to look dirty.” UNO’s charter schools are expertly managed and spotless in appearance. Rather than being characterized as a nonprofit looking for a handout, Rangel sees UNO as business in the nonprofit sector that is investing in the future of this country. “Many Hispanic immigrants here today thought they would eventually return to their country of origin. It’s tragic that they weren’t able to, but we should encourage them to stay for the long haul,” Rangel said. “We are the new Irish and we have a lot to offer this country. There’s a reason so many people are coming here. The United States is a very generous place. It isn’t an easy place and it offers no guarantees, but it provides opportunity to those willing to work for it.”

April/May/June 2012

Heffernan Para su Familia y Negocio Helping to insure and support the Hispanic community and its families since 1988 1320 65th Street Emeryville, California 94608 499 Embarcadero West Oakland, California 94606


Learn more at 1.888.99.HABLO

Cultura Community Impact

San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit tackles financial and educational barriers facing Latino families As executive director of the Latino Community Foundation, Raquel Donoso supports community organizations across eight counties in their efforts to build a better future for Latinos in California


aquel Donoso has always known that supporting and furthering the Latino community was her passion. Perhaps her drive came from her father, who immigrated to the United States from Quito, Ecuador, where his family made a living as small business owners, or possibly from her mother, whose family moved to Texas from Puebla, Mexico, before settling in Los Angeles. Most likely it was a combination of both, as well as the lessons they imparted on her and the push they gave her, a constant repetition of, “anything is possible.” While working toward her graduate degree at University of California, Los Angeles, Donoso had her first opportunity to become involved with leadership programs—one in particular, a Latino-leadership program, stood out to her. “The program introduced me


Hispanic Executive

to public policy where we drafted and advocated for a bill in Sacramento to train and pay home health workers a better wage,” Donoso explains. “This work led to me focus on public policy and specifically health policy.” Donoso’s publicpolicy efforts continued at UCLA where she also began working for the Center for Health Policy Research, making research and data more accessible to community-based organizations, especially those working to improve the health of their community. “After graduate school I joined the Latino Issues Forum in San Francisco to manage their health-policy program,” Donoso says. “As the program manager I was responsible for statewide policy to increase health access and outcomes for the Latino community.” Within a few short years she climbed the ranks to associate director of the organiza-


by Thalia A-M Bruehl

Community Impact Cultura San Francisco Bay Area, California Counties served: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. In the near future, LFC has plans to expand to the Central Valley and Southern California. Population: 7.15 million Ethnic makeup: 52.5% White, 6.7% non-Hispanic AfricanAmerican, 23.5% Hispanic or Latino, 23.3% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 10.8% other races, 5.4% two or more races Interesting fact: In 2007, 47 Bay Area residents made Forbes 400 richest Americans list—a wealth not reflected in its Hispanic communities.


tion and was responsible for multiple programs focused on health, education, and the environment. “After seven years with the Latino Issues Forum, I left to join the Latino Community Foundation. I wanted to start building a better future for California by investing in Latino children and their families.” This move brought Donoso’s lifelong desire to become more involved with the Latino community full circle. Today, she serves as the executive director of the nonprofit organization. The Latino Community Foundation (LCF), which was originally started in 1989 with the goal of increasing philanthropy to and from the Latino community, currently works in

eight counties of the San Francisco Bay area and will be expanding to two more shortly. “It was long known that foundation funding to Latino-based organizations was not sufficient to meet the growing needs of the Latino community,” Donoso explains. “LCF was developed to address this issue and invest in programs that would build a better future for Latinos.” Over the years, LCF has authored several reports highlighting the educational and financial issues of the Bay Area’s Latino community. Based on this research, LCF has created several programs to address these issues including Lee y Seras, which encouraged early literacy and parent engagement among school-age

“More and more people are understanding that Latino children are the future of this state and the country, therefore, more resources and attention need to be paid to make sure that our children receive the educational opportunities to succeed as a community.” (top, bottom) As executive director of the Latino Community Foundation, Donoso invests in future-facing programs—from Internet access to early literacy—that will empower Latino children and their families.

April/May/June 2012

Raquel Donoso Executive Director 139

“I wanted to start building a better future for California by investing in Latino children and their families.” Raquel Donoso Executive Director


Instant Care Medical Group is a worker’s compensation medical facility specializing in the care and treatment of patients injured at work. What sets Instant

children, and an Internet access program that helps Latino families connect with computers and the Internet in hopes of providing them with the skills necessary to join the 21st century workforce. Donoso also considers the foundation’s Children & Youth Initiative to be one of their most successful programs to date. “More and more people are understanding that Latino children are the future of this state and the country, therefore, more resources and attention need to be paid to make sure that our children receive the educational opportunities to succeed as a community,” she says. The Children & Youth Initiative, which is just over four years old, has invested more than $1 million in 18 different organizations. The organization’s missions range from providing early educational opportunities to increasing parent engagement in learning to preventing teen pregnancy. For Donoso, the best part of the job is giving out grants to organizations on tight-budgets that are dedicated to making the community and the families within it thrive. “I love to participate in community events that demonstrate how powerful these organizations are,” she says. “It’s absolutely the best part of my work. I meet so many hardworking families that are trying to make a better life for their children in this country. I work with them and for them to make that possible.” Just as her own parents did for her. A MESSAGE FROM Heffernan Nonprofit Choice Proudly serving over 8,000 nonprofits nationwide including the Latino Community Foundation. Heffernan Nonprofit Choice, a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, specializes in exclusive property & casualty insurance programs to nonprofits. In addition we offer support through our Charitable Contributions program and volunteer efforts. Learn more at

Care Medical Group apart from other facilities is our coordination of patient care to ensure that they get the medical care necessary for their particular injury. We have professional case managers who are dedicated to assisting our patients with all of their medical needs, including referrals to the proper specialist; scheduling all necessary appointments with doctors, physical therapists or diagnostic centers; and ensuring they understand and are comfortable with the process. Instant Care Medical Group will communicate with the patient's attorney regarding their ongoing medical treatment and any issues that may arise with the worker's compensation insurance carriers. Instant Care Medical Group works with dozens of physicians from all medical specialties with offices located throughout the Chicagoland area and its surrounding suburbs. Instant Care Medical Group also works with dozens of attorneys in the Chicagoland area who specialize in the representation of injured workers, including Goldberg Weisman & Cairo. We have been honored to treat patients represented by GWC and acknowledge all of their strives and great work in ensuring that injured workers receive proper medical care and are fairly compensated for their injuries. Congratulations to Raul V. Rodriguez for all of his accomplishments in both the legal and Hispanic community.


Hispanic Executive

Community Impact Cultura

Latino lawyer fights for Chicago’s blue-collar workers Through his work with the Mexican Consulate and Goldberg Weisman Cairo, personal-injury attorney Raul Rodriguez takes pride in his mission to defend underserved Hispanic communities by Seth Putnam


t wasn’t until raul Rodriguez moved to Chicago that he began to view race as a barrier firsthand. He had come to attend law school at DePaul University, and he lived in a dorm. There, he noticed a subtle vibe from some of the other Hispanic students. “I think they isolated themselves in some ways,” he remembers. “Almost [like] they felt they came from a world different than the rest of the students. And that of course is a product of being in the minority.” But growing up in Miami, the opposite was true for Rodriguez. “I never thought twice about it,” says Rodriguez, of the well-integrated city where he grew up. “In Miami, you never think your race could hold you back. But up here, I could tell the community sort of felt that it can.” As of the 2010 Census, 70 percent of Miami’s population self-identified as having Hispanic heritage. In Chicago, the number is much less: around 25 percent. Of that figure, many have a blue-collar background.

April/May/June 2012


Cultura Community Impact Rodriguez, now a personal-injury attorney at Goldberg Weisman Cairo (GWC) in Chicago, has made a specific effort over the years to reach an underserved Latino community. “The firm was looking for help, and it was a good fit,” Rodriguez says. “In the Hispanic community, no one cares about your pedigree as a lawyer. It’s a tight-knit, family-centric atmosphere and what matters is whether you can relate.” Rodriguez can, of course. The son of an Ecuadorian father and a Cuban mother, he grew up with all of the Latin culture of South Beach, Miami. Before he began at GWC, the firm had undertaken initiatives at the Father Gary Graf Center, an immigration and social-services program in Waukegan, Illinois. But they wanted to expand their presence in the community. Rodriguez has since worked closely with the Mexican Consulate, which has opened many doors to other parts of the community, including the often hard-to-crack realm of union labor. “In Chicago, a lot of the Latino population is working class,” Rodriguez explains. “And sometimes the thing they need to hear most is, ‘You can make it. The world isn’t closed to you.’” A lot of the message also comes down to a simple education on workers’ rights. “A surprising amount of employers rely on fear to manipulate their workers,” Rodriguez says. “If someone does get injured, they’ll lure them with the promise of friendship or threaten to fire the person. I’m not anti-management by any means, but the current system can create a huge gulf between management and labor. It’s always sad when you see someone with a really bad injury, and the boss is at fault, but he says he’ll pro-

“In the Hispanic community, no one cares about your pedigree as a lawyer. It’s a tight-knit, family-centric atmosphere and what matters is whether you can relate.” Raul Rodriguez Personal-Injury Attorney


Hispanic Executive

Chicago Population: 2.7 million Ethnic makeup: White 45%, AfricanAmerican 32.9 %, Hispanic 28.9% Size: 11,841.8 people per square mile Interesting fact: 8.7% of firms in Chicago are Hispanic-owned

tect them if they don’t take legal action, then fires them.” That managerial bent toward selfpreservation has characterized several of Rodriguez’s cases, including one of his proudest victories. While on the job, a diabetic bus driver slipped down a flight of stairs and broke her ankle, but the employers refused to pay workers’ compensation because they deemed the employee to “not be in the course of employ.” Though others counseled the bus driver that pursuing legal action wasn’t worth it, Rodriguez saw an injustice that needed to be righted. Thanks to a keen legal understanding and tireless effort, he was able to win the case on appeal. It’s an intriguing duel: On one side, a company with plenty of resources. On the other, a lone employee. Both trying to get an edge through the legal system. “The best thing workers can do is arm themselves,” Rodriguez says. “The company is going to have an army of attorneys behind them, and workers need to have a chance to protect themselves.” Rodriguez says he became a lawyer—the first in his family in the United States—so he could stand up for inequality. So he could fight for the little guy. “It was the idea of creating change, affecting society for the better as an attorney,” he says. “Not to mention that it creates a lot of power in society that you can use for good.” And has he? “I feel like we do the best we can within the system,” Rodriguez qualifies his answer, explaining that if it were up to him, the foundations of the management-employee system would look a little different. “I think about this a lot. If we would just treat workers as assets instead of expenses, I think it would really help labor in this country. They’re not the enemy.”

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Cultura Community Impact

While raising two small children and training for the Boston Marathon, Yvonne Garcia works to make the business world a better place for Latino professionals through her role as national vice president of ALPFA by Lynn Russo Whylly


Hispanic Executive


hen describing Yvonne Garcia, the words “tireless” and “dedicated” come to mind. Garcia, director of segment marketing for Liberty Mutual in Boston, is also national vice president for ALPFA [Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting], the largest national association of Latino professionals in the United States. The organiza-

tion, which boasts more than 17,000 members, shortened its name last year from the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting to the acronym. They also added the tagline “Building Latino Business Leaders” to accommodate its growth in new fields, including law, insurance, manufacturing, and information technology. Garcia also sits on the organization’s National Corporate Advisory Board for


Boston native helps connect Latino professionals nationwide

Community Impact Cultura ALPFA Countries served: United States and Puerto Rico Year established: 1972 Membership: 17,500 Makeup: 58% students, 42% professionals Top student majors: 40% accounting, 27% business, 14% finance Top industries: 35% accounting; 29% banking and finance Interesting fact: Hosts 350 events annually Website:

Women of ALPFA and chairs both its marketing committee and ALPFA Cares committee, the latter being the organization’s philanthropic arm. Garcia has a long history of serving on boards, such as La Alianza Hispana, the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, Governor Patrick’s Latino American Advisory Committee, and Milagros Para Niños (Children’s Hospital) in Boston, to name a few. While raising two small children, Garcia has also found the time to train and participate in the Boston Marathon for the last two years. She holds an MBA from Boston University in finance and marketing, a bachelor’s from La Sorbonne in Paris where she studied economics and culture and has a Six Sigma Black Belt—which she attained while opening up more than 80 wealth centers throughout China. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has been selected as one of the “Most Influential Latina Leaders” in Massachusetts five years in a row. It’s this drive and determination that sets her apart and gives her the platform to lead by example. For ALPFA, Garcia works tirelessly to reach as many Latinos as possible and give them the professional support they need to realize their career goals. ALPFA provides young professionals with mentorship, hands-on experience,

April/May/June 2012

scholarships, and exposure to potential employers. Continuously learning and, in turn, inspiring others, is “who I’ve been for the last 20 years,” she says, noting that most of what she does in the community is to advance education. “Latino youth is a segment that lags behind in terms of high-school graduation rates, so I’m always striving to be there for them, as a mentor, a role model, or even just a friend. I try to inspire them and show them the benefits of receiving an education and how it can translate into a powerful tool for their future endeavors. I constantly encourage them to keep moving forward beyond college and in their careers and to continue to add tools to their résumé, as it will only make them that much more competitive.” With ALPFA Cares, she and other leaders are working to find a national partner with robust programming that can help with mentoring and role modeling for highschool students. Through this program, “We hope to inspire leadership in young adults and positively influence not only their career, but also their life choices, such as financial literacy and health and wellness,” Garcia says. In 2011, Garcia focused much of her attention on expanding ALPFA. Along with national president Hector Perez and CEO Manny Espinoza, ALPFA is opening

“Our Latino youth [are] a segment that really lag behind in terms of high school graduation rates. So I am always striving to be there for them, as a mentor, a role model, or even just a friend. I try to inspire them and show them the benefits of receiving an education and how it can translate into a powerful tool for their future endeavors.” Yvonne Garcia National Vice President

several chapters in 2012 in areas where the Hispanic community was showing significant growth and places where industries were seeking a diverse workforce, such as Kansas City, Omaha, and Cincinnati. Last summer, ALPFA launched the ALPFA Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, which provides programs emphasizing diversity and inclusion, talent and thoughtleadership development, and Hispanic outreach and engagement. ALPFA also partners with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which is supported by several corporations, and awards more than $130,000 in scholarships

annually. In addition, the top 50 students are brought to ALPFA’s annual convention and given access to leadership training, a strong network, and a career fair with more than 100 national corporate partners. August 11-16, ALPFA will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the 2012 Annual Convention in Las Vegas, where Garcia will be up for election as national president of ALPFA. The slogan, “Shining the Light on 40 Years of Latino Leadership,” is aptly named not only for the success of the past, but as a nod toward the future as well, thanks to strong role models like Yvonne Garcia leading the way. 145

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“I was brought in to create strategies to better influence product development earlier in the value chain. That work ultimately prepares the manufacturing facilities for future production phases.� Alejandro Quiroz Vice President of Global Advanced Manufacturing


Hispanic Executive

World View Cultura

Alejandro Quiroz on his journey from scooping yogurt at his father’s shop in Mexico to overseeing Whirlpool’s global manufacturing processes

by Thalia A-M Bruehl



n the 1980s, before Pinkberry frozen yogurt was popping up in cities all over the country, Alejandro Quiroz was helping his father run a yogurt ice-cream shop in Puebla, Mexico, to great success. It was in that shop, where Quiroz, now the vice president of global advanced manufacturing for Whirlpool Corporation, learned the management skills he has carried with him throughout his career. “At 12 years old, I was already very interested in customer interaction, and learning to serve clientele,” Quiroz says. “I saw that if your consumer is happy with the product and the service, they’ll come back again.” After his father’s passing, Quiroz continued run-

April/May/June 2012

ning the shop to help pay the remainder of his college tuition that wasn’t covered by his sport’s scholarship. During that time, he recalls truly developing a passion for managing people. “When I had the opportunity to go to larger organizations and factories, the work came very naturally to me and my management skills gave me an advantage and helped me get noticed by my supervisors.” As a child, Quiroz always wanted to see the world, and after finishing school for engineering, he was able to take a position at an automotive company that sent him on his first international assignment to Buenos Aires, Argentina. “I developed a keen knowledge of the global footprint during my time work-

ing for automotive suppliers, and after starting in South America, I moved to Europe, and then worked with factories in China, Japan, and India,” Quiroz explains. While in the States in 2005, he pursued an executive MBA at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and later brought his automotive and business acumen to the home-appliance industry. Before turning 40, Quiroz had made it to Whirlpool’s Senior Leadership team. “My role at Whirlpool Corporation is to develop an advanced manufacturing function with a global team and to build the required capabilities,” Quiroz says. “I was brought in to create strategies to better influence product development earlier in 149

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Hispanic Executive

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World View Cultura

the value chain. That work ultimately prepares the manufacturing facilities for future production phases.” Globally, Quiroz makes sure factories have the right manufacturing processes for all products; this is true from the detailed designs to checking that products are being made at the lowest cost and highest quality. “My team looks at how we’re developing future products to assess which manufacturing processes the factories will use and the type of equipment and tooling that will be needed to create our products.” Whirlpool Corporation, which includes such brands as Maytag, KitchenAid, Amana, Gladiator, Jenn-Air, and Whirlpool as well as international brands like Brastemp, Consul, and Bauknecht, is the leader in the global home-appliance industry. The company has seen great growth in the last three decades thanks to innovative products, strategic global acquisitions, and an integrated manufacturing footprint. “The power of the brand is very important,” says Quiroz, who conducts business in English, Spanish, and German and chats in Italian and Portuguese. “We introduced KitchenAid in South America as a super premium brand, while here in the US it is considered premium. Through regional market research we’re able to see what does and doesn’t work.” Quiroz and his global team look at the manufacturing processes to support all the Whirlpool brands connecting them to the operating platform; Whirlpool and KitchenAid are global brands, the remaining brands are regional. “Most homes in Brazil have a Consul brand product and we offer Brastemp if they want to have a higher-end model,” Quiroz adds. “Brastemp is a highly recognized and desired brand in the Brazilian market; it is our flagship brand for our customers in Brazil.” Quiroz, as one of the top 60 Senior Executives within the company, spends on average 35 percent of the year traveling internationally and 15 percent traveling domestically, with most trips lasting between one to two weeks. “I travel and focus on a region per trip,” he says. “I’ll go to Europe and

April/May/June 2012

On any given day, Quiroz could be visiting process engineers in the field anywhere from India to Poland to Ohio—he must even visit a manufacturing plant in the Amazon, where parts are mainly moved by a series of sea and river boats.


Cultura World View Take Note

Alejandro Quiroz’s tips for succeeding in the global market

Really put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Take a firsthand look at the experience of that particular consumer, go to the local stores, shopping mall, take the subway, the bus. Dedicate time to understand your user. Develop trust. Not many regions will respond as easily as you might think. Plan on spending extra face time to develop that trust; make the extra investment and nurture the relationship.

see four to six factories as well as visit the regional headquarters to spend face time with functional partners.” On any given day, Quiroz could be visiting process engineers in the field anywhere from India to Poland to Ohio—he must even visit a manufacturing plant in the Amazon, where parts are mainly moved by a series of sea and river boats. “This global position is indeed my dream job,” Quiroz says. “On top of the travel, Whirlpool, which was recently named a top 10 Global Company for Leaders, has great people who truly live the company values, which include Whirlpool’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I can’t imagine a place where I’d be more at home.”


Hispanic Executive

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Cultura World View

Alan Varela on constructing a successful career in the US and coming full circle by expanding to Chile by Jennifer Hogeland


merica has been built by immigrants who come to this country on a shoe string, with no more than a dream to make a better life for themselves and their families—Alan Varela is no exception and epitomizes the American success story. Born and raised in Chile, Varela came to the United States in September 1982 armed with a student visa and in pursuit of a business degree. Upon arrival, his application for a work visa was


Hispanic Executive

denied leaving him little choice but to tap into his hard-earned and limited savings. In another blow, the Chilean peso had devalued leaving Varela a destitute student. Without a job or savings, Varela spent his time studying and attending university until finally, after working a series of intermittent jobs, he was hired on as truck driver by a Boston construction company. While continuing his education and moonlighting in construction, Varela

quickly worked his way from truck driver to equipment operator to foreman. In 1986, Varela earned degrees in finance and banking from Boston University. However, Varela was surprised to learn that his construction experience was as valuable as his hard-earned education. “As I looked for a job in the financial sector, I realized that the starting salary was one third of what I could earn on the construction site,” Varela says. He remained loyal to the construction industry, paid remnant debt from his education, saved for and bought his first house and, before he knew it, 20 years had passed and he found himself still happily entrenched in construction. Ambitious, hard-working, and honest, Varela excelled in his chosen career progressing from estimator to project manager to general manager for a familyowned construction company. With a vision for expanding into new markets and developing new strategies for obtaining bids, Varela felt that the time was ripe to take his talents in a new direction—business ownership. Bidding fond farewell to his employer, Varela struck out on his own and never looked back. Given the East Coast’s inclement weather and abbreviated construction season, Varela knew California was the place he ought to be so, in 1989, he packed his bags and headed west. As soon as he obtained his construction license and set up his business an earthquake hit. The terrible natural catastrophe turned out to be a golden opportunity for Varela, and he jumped at the opportunity

World View Cultura

INSIDE PORTFOLIO ProVen Management specializes in infrastructural work such as pump stations, waste-water treatment plants, transportation projects, and environmental restoration.

“The economy in Chile is fairing better than the US. We felt it would be beneficial to diversify our geographical reach so we are not so dependent on a single market.”


Alan Varela Owner

to help rebuild the structures and spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area. Varela established ProVen Management in 1991, amidst tough economic times. Varela admits, “The first four to five years were fairly tough with a lot of work and little profit. It was a challenge to settle into a new area, acquire equipment, and invest capital in the business in such uncertain times.” However, true to form and as a testament to his work ethic and calculated risk taking, Varela overcame the odds and furthered his American success story. Over the last 20 years, ProVen Management has acquired

April/May/June 2012

more than 300 pieces of equipment and now employs 150 people. This clientfocused company has earned a reputation in the Bay Area for outstanding, efficient work, and professionalism. ProVen Management specializes in infrastructural work such as pump stations, waste-water treatment plants, environmental restoration, and transportation projects. It is also expanding into plant services. Two recent notable projects are the Victoria Canal Intake and Pump Station project in Holt, California, and the Tulloch Hydroelectric project in Jamestown, California. The Canal

Intake project was a $32 million, awardwinning Alternative Intake Project (AIP) constructed to deliver water to 550,000 customers of the Contra Costa Water District. The Tulloch Hydroelectric project involved construction of a Phase III $10 million state-of-the-art multilevel concrete power house at an existing powergeneration facility. Historically, ProVen Management’s work has been primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area; however, recent projects have expanded ProVen’s reach into Oregon, Southern California, and Washington. “We are expanding slowly but surely, although the bulk of 155


Take Note

Alan Varela’s tips for succeeding in the global marketplace

Understand the local economy. Research the trends and understand the way business is done in the international market. Hire local people to perform the work. Locals understand the marketplace and have established business relationships.


is a San Francisco-based, full-service,

Be well capitalized to weather any potential storms. Regardless of the strength of your business plan, expect cost and time overruns in the short term.

self-performing, general engineering firm serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area and is now expanding the range of its expertise to the international community.


PrōVen has received many awards and recognitions and has earned a


reputation for its outstanding work with emphasis on civil construction. The PrōVen team is client-focused and is dedicated to superior quality service in a variety of markets including water infrastructure


improvements, transportation, power, mining, marine, and environmental restoration.


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our work is still within the San Francisco Bay Area,” Varela says. Although global work remains a small portion of ProVen’s overall business, its expansion includes projects in the Midwest and Eastern United States. In 2011, ProVen Management opened its first office in Chile. Valera explains his reasons for tapping the Chilean market are twofold: first, his familiarity with his home country; and second, Chile’s booming economy. He adds, “The economy in Chile is fairing better than the US. We felt it would be beneficial to diversify our geographical reach so we are not so dependent on a single market.” Varela perceives that the most striking difference between the construction business in the US and in foreign countries is the way business is done. Varela explains, “In Chile business is done through relationships—it’s who you know. Over here, it is a little more transparent. Most jobs are publically bid. Being awarded a job has more to do with pricing and submitting the proper documents rather than an accomplishment of relationships.” Because Varela already had connections in Chile, the transition has been relatively smooth. He adds, “It is easy to create new connections through mutual friends and acquaintances.” As for ProVen Management’s future, Valera’s is focused on further expansion into Chile and throughout the western United States. He relentlessly searches for opportunities to diversify his company’s contributions and to perform more challenging and interesting projects.


There’s a lot more here than you think.

Nurturing individuality. At Pitney Bowes, we create space for you to grow, engage, and flourish. If you thrive best in a culture of inclusion, we welcome your contribution to deliver solutions, innovation and value to our business customers worldwide. Whether you are a seasoned professional — or a seed yet to be planted, Pitney Bowes welcomes all garden varieties at April/May/June 2012 © 2011 Pitney Bowes Inc. 157

Cultura World View

Suzette Recinos on why spending a day or two with an international client is more valuable than an entire year of phone calls


eadquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Suzette Recinos has ample opportunities to apply her language skills on an international scale. Her role as chief counsel, DMT [Document Messaging Technologies] and Latin America at Pitney Bowes Inc. takes her on frequent business trips to Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Her current job position isn’t the first time that Recinos has been exposed to international cultures. Born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, she got married after graduating from Iowa State, and spent the next seven years living in a variety of cities in Italy and France with her husband. . “After living abroad for seven years, I enjoyed meeting people from diverse cultures,” Recinos says. Eventually, Recinos returned to the United States and completed law school. The single mother of three children accepted a job as an associate at a law firm in Florida, where she completed venture-capital work and merger and acquisitions. “I had great exposure to Latin America while working at the Florida law firm, where I had the opportunity to work directly with clients, acquire drafting and negotiating skills, and generate my own clients,” Recinos recalls. “A combination of these skills helped me become a good leader and a good candidate for an in-house position.” In 2003, Recinos met her current husband and her family expanded to include two more children. She relocated to Stamford, Connecticut and began commuting to her law firm’s New York location. When she discovered an inhouse job opening at Pitney Bowes (PB), supporting Canada and Latin America,


Hispanic Executive

she was immediately intrigued. Also, PB is headquartered in Stamford, which allows Recinos a more flexible schedule. “With my in-house position, I work long hours and busy days, but I return home and have dinner with my children each night. I have greater control over my schedule.” Of course, having a supportive spouse is helpful, as well. During her global travels, Recinos visits each of her businesses once per year. In 2011, she participated in mediation proceedings that took her to Mexico several times. Preferring to travel with companions, Recinos coordinates her itinerary with her clients and colleagues. “Traveling with senior-management executives is informative from a legal and business standpoint because they have presentations prepared for our clients to educate them about the Pitney Bowes business.” Recinos emphasizes the importance of touching base with international clients on an annual basis. “The day or

Take Note

Suzette Recinos’s tips for succeeding in the global market

Touch base with your clients at least once per year Be culturally sensitive, and develop language skills. This will help you determine goals and achieve solutions in an efficient manner. Involve local experts who have knowledge of local networks and strategies

two that you spend with your client is more valuable than an entire year of phone calls,” she says. “Face-to-face interaction requires trust both ways, creating relationships that often preempt legal issues.” Also, before traveling she frequently reaches out to local counsel to discuss logistics to further maximize the business value of the trip. Excelling beyond the scope of her job requirements, Recinos serves as head of Pitney Bowes’ diversity committee. “We visit our supplier law firms and ensure that each has goals and results with respect to diversity initiatives,” Recinos explains. “We want to not only achieve raw numbers, but also have conversations about initiatives, and we conduct one-on-one interviews with associates to gain their perspectives.” Although the diversity committee traditionally focuses on its law-firm suppliers, currently it’s branching out to address internal employees. “We work with a diversity expert on a company-wide level to promote a feeling of inclusion for all our employees,” Recinos says. The daughter of Guatemalan natives, Recinos serves as a mentor to law students and is head of the international committee for the Hispanic National Bar Association. “My Guatemalan parents [instilled] such a strong work ethic and sense of accountability in me,” Recinos says. “Giving back is not only a nice act, but it’s required.” Citing international travel and applying language skills as her favorite aspects about her job, Recinos also instills these values in her own children. “I tell my kids all the time that language skills are becoming increasingly important as business continues to globalize.”

Photo by Mia McDonald0

by Jennifer Samuels

World View Cultura

“Face-to-face interaction requires trust both ways, creating relationships that often preempt legal issues.” Suzette Recinos Chief Counsel, DMT & Latin America

April/May/June 2012 159


Acedo Santamarina

Law Firm based and providing legal advice in Mexico Areas of Practice • Corporate and Transactional Negotiations • Financing, Insolvency and Restructure • Communications and Telecommunications

• Litigation and Arbitration • Probono Bosque de Ciruelos 186, 10 B Col. Bosques de las Lomas 11700, México, D.F., México

Tel: Dir: Fax: Email: Contact:

(52 55) 5950 2222 (52 55) 5950 2244 (52 55) 5950 2233 Andrés Acedo M. 160

Hispanic Executive

an uncommon sense of the consumer. Nielsen knows people. No one offers a more complete understanding, worldwide, of what people watch and buy. We measure over half of all global advertising. Provide TV ratings for 30 countries around the world. Track 80 percent of all internet usage. Scan billions of purchases every year. All to provide the clearest picture of the relationship between content and commerce. Because the more you know, the closer you get.

Copyright © 2011 The Nielsen Company. All rights reserved. Nielsen and the Nielsen logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of CZT/ACN Trademarks, L.L.C 3960/1011

• Energy

World View Cultura

Peruvian-native Claudia Pardo on engaging Hispanic consumers while mastering US communication norms by Tina Vasquez


hen claudia pardo came to the United States in 1999, she had every intention of returning to her native Peru. While pursuing her master’s degree, however, she met the man who would eventually become her husband and the rest, as they say, is history. Pardo now serves as The Nielsen Company’s senior vice president, strategic account manager, and though she currently has a firm grasp of the American market, picking up on the nuances of communication proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of moving to the states. “Growing up in Peru, I learned English, but the real challenge was understanding conversational English,” Pardo explains. “When you move to a new country, you may know the language, but there are cultural nuances that have to be understood. There are formal and informal ways of communicating that are vital to effective communication.” Pardo’s role at Nielsen, a leading global provider of insights and analytics into what consumers watch and buy, has her working closely with Univision, the leading media company serving Hispanic America. Her goal is to help the network increase its business by better understanding its audience, how it’s growing, and how habits concerning the consumption of media are evolving. The Hispanic population accounted for more than half of the nation’s growth over the past decade, seeing an increase of 43 percent in

April/May/June 2012


Cultura World View

“If you’re focused on growth—expanding your business or increasing your visibility and reach— you cannot even talk about it without knowing how Hispanics contribute to growth.” Claudia Pardo Senior Vice President, Strategic Account Manager

2010. Latinos now constitute 16 percent of the nation’s total population and as Pardo points out, no matter what your industry, where you’re located, or how you conduct business, you can’t discuss growth without factoring in the Hispanic community. “If you’re focused on growth—expanding your business or increasing your visibility and reach—you cannot even talk about it without knowing how Hispanics contribute to growth. You have to have the information and you have to know what it means, how it translates. Information doesn’t help unless you know how to read it,” Pardo says. In 2010, as a way of recognizing the contributions and culture of Hispanics in the United States, Nielsen created a snapshot of Hispanic media usage in the United States, finding that the community is much less homogeneous than many assumed. It was actually discovered that as a group, Hispanics are more diverse than any other ethnic group in the country because of factors such as citizenship, country of origin, socioeconomic status, and education. It is because of these factors and the innate diversity in the community that Pardo believes those of Hispanic descent are well suited for business. The energy, personality, warmth, and openness the Pardo believes to be inherent in the community are also key in forming lasting business relationships. “I believe Hispanics have a lot to contribute to the business world,” Pardo says. “I can only speak for myself, but when I recall the limitations I had to overcome while living in Peru, it forced me to be more creative. I believe many have a similar experience and we end up being very innovative; we think outside of the box and this diversity of thought is very beneficial to companies,” she explains. “There’s also a social aspect in the Hispanic community. We have large

families, we have many close friends, from an early age we learn to navigate extended networks of relationships and by the time we’re in the professional world, this comes very naturally to us. Not only is it useful when developing business relationships with clients, but it’s also useful when working in teams.” As a result, Pardo believes the media industry is the perfect place for young Hispanics—as long as they are committed to giving it their all. “Passion is crucial, but it has to go beyond passion. You have to be on top of what’s going on, know what’s relevant, and bring energy to whatever you do. Don’t just do your job, volunteer for projects, go above and beyond to help the organization. If you do these things, you will succeed.”

Take Note

Claudia Pardo’s tips for succeeding in the global market

Understand core differences in communication. I used to communicate in a way that circumnavigated the issue, but in the United States you have to be direct. Be on top of things. Things move very fast in the United States and to be at the forefront of the industry, you have to be ahead of the curve. No matter where you come from, things are very different in the United States and you have to adjust to the pace. Join a support group. Mentors are helpful, but sometimes they don’t share your life experiences. Employee resource groups, such as Nielsen’s HOLA [Hispanic Organization of Leaders in Action], can put you in touch with others you can relate to who are going through a similar transition.

Diversity is changing the face of today’s workforce. And so are we. At Adecco, we are using our position as the world leader in workforce solutions to be at the forefront of this evolution. Every day, we help build a workforce for ourselves and for our clients that values and embraces differences. For more information on how our diversity initiatives and partnerships are helping people realize their full potential, enrich lives and strengthen communities, please contact us today.


©2011 Adecco 162

Hispanic Executive


Putting the

in human health care

Chadbourne and Parke LLP is honored and privileged to work with Rosa Estrella, a dedicated attorney with an outstanding record of providing legal and strategic counsel to Eisai. Chadbourne has assisted Eisai’s global operations on a variety of corporate matters. We understand the global marketplace as it pertains to pharmaceuticals as we have a long history of representing international companies in the pharmaceutical industry through a full range of legal issues, including both transactional and litigation matters. Lawyers throughout Chadbourne effectively serve the needs of our pharmaceutical clients, which include manufacturers and distributors of both over-the-counter and prescription products as well as medical devices.

For more inFormation about Chadbourne or its pharmaCeutiCal praCtiCe please ContaCt:

Frank S. Vellucci Partner +1 (212) 408-1127

Founded in 1902, Chadbourne has grown into an international law firm with 13 offices around the world. Since the 1980s, Chadbourne has been one of the most active international law firms in Latin America. Chadbourne has represented clients in many of the highest profile transactions in the region, in such areas as capital markets, project finance, bank finance, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation and arbitration. The Firm in recent years has expanded its presence in the region by opening offices in Mexico City and São Paulo. Chadbourne’s Latin America practice provides broad coverage of the region, with notable clients in every major jurisdiction and across a broad array of industry sectors. New York


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Cultura World View

Rosa Estrella on how cultural tact has been her ticket to international success by Trenna Nees


ominican-born Rosa Estrella appreciates the cultural value of her family roots, which provided invaluable lessons on respect, hard work, and being proud of who you are. Although she and her family moved to the United States before her first birthday, her upbringing was split between New York City’s Latin neighborhoods of Washington Heights and the Bronx, and later, back to the Dominican Republic. “When I was about 10, my parents decided to move us back,” Estrella recalls. “At the time, I respected their decision, but I was not happy about leaving what I had always known—my friends and the incomparable diversity of New York.” Today, she sees the experience as one she would never trade. For five years, Estrella attended local Dominican schools, learning the language and the culture amidst her extremely large and boisterous family. “I definitely see where these two factors have influenced me,” Estrella shares. Returning with her family to New York in her midteens, Estrella prepared herself for continuing education and became the very first member of her family to complete college, let alone obtain a professional degree. Although, she admits, her decision to go away to college was not met with immediate approval. Estrella openly shares that there was a clear distinction in her own cultural upbringing about what roles men and women generally play. Not exactly what the tenacious Latina envisioned for herself. “Although I may have conducted myself according to my cultural expectation, I had an inherent drive to be independent and to assert myself, which is still true today,” Estrella explains.


Hispanic Executive

Having represented many international clients in the past, and now as senior legal director for Eisai Inc., Estrella looks for common ground when working with her Japanese associates, and with her Latin American partners or counterparties, while also respecting cultural differences. “Regardless of where I may travel or even in the context of a conference call with our Japanese-based colleagues or other global affiliates, I find it is important to make sure that I have at least some understanding or sensitivity of the cultural expectations,” says Estrella, of her company, which is the US pharmaceutical operation of Eisai Co., Ltd., a Japanese research-based human health-care company that discovers, develops, and markets products throughout the world. “It could be something as simple as being sensitive to the time differences when scheduling a meeting or knowledge of the observance of particular holidays. I have found that making an effort or a gesture to understand goes a long way.” Acknowledging that cultural awareness is one of her strengths, Estrella admits that it has been especially invaluable in helping her to earn the trust of her Latin American counterparts or business partners. She believes that it automatically lends itself to feeling comfortable in the working relationship because she is able to relate to cultural needs, able to communicate effectively in their language, and to have a personal understanding of how they conduct themselves in their personal lives.

Take Note

Rosa Estrella’s tips for succeeding in the global market

Make a concerted effort to fully understand cultures and expectations of the countries and locales that you visit. Simple gestures create a sense of trust. Respect the differences whether traveling abroad or entertaining foreign guests. Finding comforts of home are appreciated tokens of respect. Be gracious, but not overly. Keen awareness of cultural differences is appreciated, but be mindful of how far you go as to not to mistakenly mock the culture.

April/May/June 2012

As a corporate-transactions lawyer and a seasoned traveler, Estrella often travels abroad to support the company in strategies and initiatives relating to promotion and licensing agreements with third parties. She also takes advantage of these travels to meet with Eisai’s international partners or distributors and provide counsel in connection with new-business development and marketexpansion opportunities, particularly in Latin America the last two years, in connection with Eisai’s new market group. The group, she says, plays an instrumental role in effectively expanding Eisai’s international presence. Estrella also travels domestically to support Eisai’s manufacturing group in North Carolina and to support US-based business-development efforts. “Being able to support many different groups and functions within the same organization that represent a very diverse cross section is key in my current role,” Estrella says. “Pharmaceuticals is a very complex industry that touches many disciplines, areas of expertise, and corners of the world. While I am still learning, having the right finesse and understanding the importance of genuinely obliging differences has contributed to not only my professional success, but my personal satisfaction as well.” A MESSAGE FROM Chadbourne & Parke LLP Chadbourne & Parke LLP salutes Rosa Estrella and her dedication to both Eisai and the legal profession. With Rosa’s energy and focus, it is easy to see why she has been so successful. Rosa has such a bright future ahead. Chadbourne has advised public and private pharmaceutical companies on all aspects of corporate transactions and litigation matters. Chadbourne’s experience with a wide range of pharmaceutical clients gives us the skills to address legal matters arising at companies of any size, from mature multinationals to start-ups developing their first pharmaceutical products. Chadbourne understands the global marketplace as it pertains to pharmaceutical companies and handles multiple matters, including corporate transactions (e.g., merger and acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing transactions, venture financings, royalty financings and bank financings) products liability and commercial litigation, intellectual property and tax matters.

We focus on the human in human health care At Eisai, human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their familes, and to increasing the benefits that healthcare provides. Eisai is committed to growing our already diverse organization. We believe our diversity enables and empowers us to make significant contributions. To learn more about an opportunity at Eisai, visit us at

Eisai is an Equal Opportunity Employer 165



Conversations with movers & shakers


168 Sean Reyes, gen-

eral counsel of eTAGZ, channels talents for good


191 Gray Mateo-Harris of

NGE tackles employment and labor issues 194 WellPoint’s Tammy

172 Knowles Electronics

VP of business affairs and general counsel sees big picture

Truxillo Tucker manages $12 billion in premiums 197 Dale Morgado of

176 Joe Torres of Trison

Services pays his dues 179 World Ground’s Jorge

Peralta drives in the fast lane

Feldman, Fox & Morgado, PA, plays to win 199 NASA’s Olga Gonzalez-

Sanabria reaches for the stars

212 MillerCoors brand

manager taps into Latino market 216 Claudia Teran of Fox

Network Group balances business and legal functions 220 Perfecto M. Solis’s

career soars high aboard DFW Intl. Airport 224 MasterCard’s LaKisha

Garcia takes charge 227 Intel Corp.’s senior

181 Financial advisor Adela

Cepeda gets results

202 George Hanna of

Wellmark doesn’t shy away from change

184 Garcia Construction

Group’s founder champions company culture

207 Ernesto Garcia Jr.

works for win-win situations

188 BMS’ Luis Felipe

Vilarin ensures nothing gets lost in translation

* 166

209 Sony Picture Television’s

Sira Veciana-Muiño holds her head high

iPad Exclusive Want to know the key legal challenges impacting businesses today? For this issue only, Vantage Point is available via our brand-new tablet edition. Download our app for the full scoop.

Hispanic Executive

litigation counsel compares job to watching Discovery Channel



230 Unilever’s Joseph Viz-

carra connects with multicultural market 234 Luis Paez of Perry Ellis

Intl. gives apparel industry a technological makeover

248 Tampico’s Pedro

DeJesús Jr. finds change refreshing 252 9/11 reroutes Nicolas

Perez Stable’s career plans 254 Larry Madrid launch-

236 Managing risk with

Ilieva Ageenko of Bank of America

es three sustainable business ventures 257 Partners Homero

240 Hyatt Hotels’ Susan

Santiago shares food for thought 244 Assistant general coun-

sel Freddy Jimenez lands back home at Johnson & Johnson

Tristan and Pedro Cervantes take the road less traveled 259 Frederick Gonzalez

helps Corsair Components go public

turns risky start-up into high-tech success story 272 GenQuest’s Terri Giron-

Gordon makes friends with competitors 275 Brian Arellanes helps

Fortune 500 clients stay ahead of digital curve 277 United Data

Technologies’ founders join forces to tackle I T challenges 280 IP attorney David Cabello

deals in trade secrets 282 Rosanna Durruthy

261 GlobalWorks’ dynamic

duo are anything but two-dimensional 264 Amylin’s VP of legal

Julia Feliciano makes inroads 266 Juan Guerrero recon-

figures Office Depot’s distribution network

April/May/June April/May/June 2012 2012

270 Adrian Velasquez

went from Harvard to homeless to Cigna’s chief diversity officer 286 DuPont lawyer Thomas

Warnock pushes ahead


290 Cesar L. Alvarez on the

value of servant leadership 167 167

Voces Insights

PUBLIC GOOD Sean Reyes, general counsel of eTAGZ, has channeled his diverse heritage to represent people of all walks of life throughout his impressive legal career. Next up: a run for attorney general in Utah.


Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces

“[Law] takes me back to the days in the tough neighborhoods, where the bigger kids were there to defend the little kids. I’ve always been one to protect the underdog.” Growing up in a rough neighborhood in the outskirts of Los Angeles, Sean Reyes was taught to always dream big— despite all odds. Now as general counsel of eTAGZ, the 41-year-old legal prodigy has created a résumé filled to the brim with accomplishments and accolades. At press time, he was gearing up to tackle his biggest challenge to date as he plans to seek the office of attorney general for the State of Utah in the November general election. Reyes recently sat down with Hispanic Executive to discuss where he came from and where he wants to go.

as told to Tricia Despres

April/May/June 2012

My father is Spanish and Filipino and was a nationally recognized artist and entertainer who came to the United States from the Philippines to start anew. He left an amazing career to come

here. His uncle, Ramon Magsaysay, had been president of the country. My mom was born and raised in Hawaii, met my dad in LA, and began raising our family in a humble neighborhood there. Still, my parents would always tell me that we were so blessed to be in America, and that we should never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. It was still tough, though. Growing up,

I worked doing everything from DJing at parties to modeling in the store windows of a local mall. All the money I earned went right back to the family. Education was always at the forefront within the family. Mom was a high school teacher and, later, a principal. I think I was grounded for getting an A- once. I got straight A’s in high school and college after that. But while money was tight, my parents measured richness by who they could help. Once it was time to go to college, I was offered many scholarships with which I could have gone virtually anywhere in the country. I ultimately chose Brigham

Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. After serving a Spanish-speaking mission 169


Voces Insights


PADRM is proud to affiliate with Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General Candidate and General Counsel of eTagz Our lawyers include expert litigators and transactional attorneys from nationally recognized law firms. Our attorneys handle complex civil matters and also provide strategic counseling outside the litigation context.

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I am a quarter Hispanic, a quarter Polynesian, and half Asian. I grew up surrounded by diverse cultures in Hawaii and Los Angeles. It definitely has helped me represent people of all walks of life, and reminds me that there is no cookie-cutter approach to law. Sean Reyes General Counsel

to Chicago for the LDS [Latter-day Saints] Church, I returned to BYU. I wanted a career in teaching, but one of my English professors suggested I look into law. I believe his exact words were “I think you will regret it if you don’t take this opportunity.” So I did. I went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, finished my collegiate volleyball career there, and received a Juris Doctorate with honors in 1997.

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Looking back, I can see that law has always inspired me. It takes me back to

the days in the tough neighborhoods, where the bigger kids were there to defend the smaller kids. I’ve always been one to protect the underdog. I think my diverse background has also helped me in my practice. I am a quarter Hispanic, a quarter Polynesian, and half Asian. I grew up surrounded by diverse cultures in Hawaii and Los Angeles. It definitely has helped me represent people of all walks of life, and reminds me that there is no cookie-cutter approach to law. I spent over 13 years with Parsons Behle & Latimer, Utah’s largest firm. There, I litigated or tried some of the nation’s largest and most high-profile cases, including the Sir Alan Stanford multibillion-dollar international fraud case and the Yellowstone Club billiondollar bankruptcy in Montana and, yet, some of my most gratifying cases were pro bono ones for refugees or others of limited means. I have used my legal skills to serve on numerous boards, commissions, and

appointments in both the public and private sector throughout my career,

including the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Somos Education Foundation, which I helped establish. We’ve given over $1 million in scholarships to Latino students in the past six years alone. It is an important responsibility of being a lawyer—to serve— and that is the mentality I want to bring as Utah’s next attorney general. I was honored to be the Utah Young Lawyer of the Year and then the American Bar Association’s first-ever National Outstanding Young Lawyer in 2008. Later that year, I began to consider running for public office. I had only ever been involved at a grass-roots level. But, too often, successful business people get so focused on pursuing their career, they don’t heed the call to public service. I turned [41] this year, and I am excited about everything in my life. I have an

amazing wife and six brilliant children and I just finished serving on a US Congressional Commission regarding Latino issues, including the creation of a national museum with the Smithsonian. My venture partners and I have several small businesses that are flourishing. I’m extremely proud to represent a company such as eTAGZ, which has a wonderful business model and exciting opportunities ahead. I’m also quite excited to be involved in the race for Utah’s attorney general [office]. Our founding fathers heeded a call to leave their farms and businesses to serve the public … and I feel that call as well.

Insights Voces

We Celebrate Greatness The law firm of Dykema congratulates Ivonne Cabrera, Vice President, Business Affairs and General Counsel, Knowles Electronics, as she’s profiled in this special issue of Hispanic Executive. Ivonne's drive, determination and unyielding commitment to excellence inspire greatness in all those who work with her. California | Illinois | Michigan | North Carolina | Texas | Washington, D.C.

Voces Insights

“As general counsel, I have to know when to step back from details and see a bigger picture when decisions are considered.” Ivonne Cabrera’s path into the legal field began as an undergraduate when she was invited into a conversation with the dean of the University of Miami School of Law. She was headed for mathematics or for medicine, but that conversation about the law and what a young woman could achieve with a legal career made her switch paths. Now as vice president of business affairs and general counsel at Knowles Electronics, in Itasca, Illinois, a subsidiary of Dover Corporation, Cabrera handles the full panoply of corporate legal issues while also working closely with the management team and traveling extensively to Knowles’ far-flung company locations. With one foot on legal grounds and the other firmly planted on business affairs, Cabrera explains how her hybrid role has expanded her perspective—and career possibilities.

as told to Kaleena Thompson


Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces

After serving at Dover Corporation, the parent company of Knowles Electronics, I was asked to join Knowles—a growing and innovative subsidiary—in a combined business and legal assignment. The new assignment was

an opportunity to take on more varied responsibilities, to get corporate-wide experience and to extend my legal knowledge in new ways. It’s a real challenge. Knowles is one of Dover’s largest operations, a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced microacoustic components for the consumer electronics and hearing-health markets. It is thriving. It has more than 6,000 employees and 16 offices worldwide. I feel like I am thriving, too. At Knowles

I am the key legal advisor; I oversee the company’s compliance with different business regulations and practices around the world—literally everywhere it operates. I am responsible for assessing risks, overseeing intellectual property issues, considering conflict of interest rules, and ensuring right and legal practices. But at Knowles I am also actively involved with the management team—targeting commercial matters from factory locations to new-product development. This is really unusual experience, the kind of experience that lawyers don’t typically have. I was sent to Knowles to become a different kind of corporate lawyer, and that is certainly what is happening. One special responsibility is helping integrate new acquisitions into Knowles’

corporate culture. For me, working directly with an acquired company, solving the problems of aligning it with everything else we do, has been a great education. The legal issues are part of the challenge, but my involvement goes way beyond the legal issues. It is really interesting when the legal and the business aspects of an acquisition just don’t fit neatly together—both sides of my job are put to the test. Traveling abroad has been crucial both to my work at Knowles and to my future with Dover Corporation. I

came to Knowles with little day-to-day knowledge about manufacturing or marketing. Visiting the company’s sites and its people all over the world, I’ve had

April/May/June 2012

I was sent to Knowles to become a different kind of corporate lawyer, and that is certainly what is happening. Ivonne Cabrera Vice President of Business Affairs & General Counsel

to learn a lot that I never learned in law school. I’ve learned the importance of automation and innovation. I’ve become familiar with manufacturing processes and the decisions that have to be made in the field. I’ve learned how standards are set for our products, and what’s important to our customers. In so many ways, my skills and my perspectives have expanded. I come from a family of strong men and women, and maybe that’s the reason I

am so dedicated to work and equally to family. My parents and grandparents emigrated from Cuba and had demanding jobs. They were ambitious; unstoppable, really. They raised me and my sister with ideals of hard work and high regard for others. They counted on us to do well. The Cuban community that surrounded us was warm and nourishing, too, and I think it also set a path for success. Knowles has encouraged me to gain leadership experience. At Knowles, we

have a solid group of professionals who work together, facing the risks and challenges of our business. We have conviction in what we are doing, and we have shared purpose. I have to make difficult decisions; we all do. But sometimes lawyers in particular have to advise in areas and on issues that are unusually grey and complicated. As general counsel, I have to know when to step back from details and see a bigger picture when decisions are considered. I have to look through a frame of law and policy. All of us have to get the questions right and find solutions that are practical.

What I enjoy most about my job is the broad array of issues that I encounter every day. I like the exposure to differ-

ent countries and different cultures. I like working with business leaders internationally, confronting the global issues that impact business. I really look forward to taking all the experience I’ve had at Knowles back to Dover, where my next challenge is likely to be. What I really hope is that my training, my expanded interests in business and the law, are preparing me to get the best out of work and out of life.

A MESSAGE FROM Covington and Burling LLP With Covington’s significant presence in the US, Europe, and Asia, leading companies around the world look to our depth of intellectual property and litigation expertise when faced with their most challenging intellectual property issues. We meet these IP challenges effectively and efficiently by combining a deep understanding of patent, copyright, trade secret, and trademark law and knowledge of our clients’ industries and technologies, including the relevant business and regulatory environments, with first class litigation talent. A MESSAGE FROM Arent Fox Arent Fox LLP extends its sincere congratulations to Ivonne Cabrera in her new role as General Counsel of Dover Corporation. Arent Fox LLP is proud to work with Dover Corporation and Ivonne Cabrera in ensuring that Dover’s international business is conducted with integrity and in compliance with law. 173

Integrity Means Being the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

Ivonne Cabrera’s many friends at Chadbourne & Parke salute a truly Inspirational, dynamic and visionary leader who puts ethics and integrity at the very heart of everything she does. And while we like the quote about the dog, we think the way Ivonne says it is even better...“Integrity counts.” We couldn’t agree more. New York


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Voces Insights

“You have to be willing to pay your dues. A lot of what we do requires getting dirty.”

When it began in 2003, Savannah, Georgia’s Trison Services, Inc. only offered infrastructure and information-technology (IT) management for the government market, but the small company has since branched out to offer construction services and specialty coatings. Its owner and president, Joe Torres, had the courage to dream big and now his rapidly evolving company is looking to expand its presence internationally.

as told to Tina Vasquez


Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces By combining construction services with IT, Trison Services, Inc. has gained a competitive edge in a tough industry, says owner and president Joe Torres.

When I first started in this business 16 years ago, my family would call me a nomad because I was constantly travel-

ing from military base to military base trying to drum up business. Originally, I was going to college for sports medicine, but I left to work in telecommunications and almost immediately, I became hooked. It was a whole-new world for me. I went back to school and became Cisco, BICSI [Building Industry Consulting Service International], and RCDD [Registered Communications Distribution Designer] certified. I enjoyed the cutting edge, fast-paced aspects of IT. Trison Services started in 2003 with three others and myself. We were basi-

cally traveling consultants offering infrastructure and IT services, but we’ve since branched out and have experienced significant growth despite the economy. Last year, we had 300-percent growth without a single sales person and the first quarter of this year, we’ve contracted more than we did for all of last year. In many ways what we offer is unusual, but I always envisioned Trison as being multifaceted and I think it’s what gives us our competitive edge. Very few companies offer IT and construction services, but when we

April/May/June 2012

completed an upgrade for the National Guard’s Regional Training Institute (RTI) we realized that IT and construction can go hand in hand. RTI required a great deal of work, including construction, HVAC upgrades, lighting, and custom-IT infrastructure. As a result of this project, we’ve branched out even further and now have a new specialty-coatings division. It’s a total departure from anything we’ve done before, but once we recognized there was a need for it, we knew it was something we had to offer. These specialty coatings can extend the lifespan of existing structures, so this service is especially beneficial to sites where money can be saved by extending the life cycle of a structure. Working with such a passionate, amazing team of people makes things a lot easier, but there are still challenges in this industry. Finding qualified

talent can be a huge hurdle. We come across a lot of people who have the educational background, but they don’t have any hands-on experience. Textbook knowledge is great, but it’s not very useful without any experience in the field. Working with government agencies can also be very challenging. Contracts can be awarded, but funding

As we’ve expanded, it’s been a little difficult for me to let loose and delegate. I put my heart and soul into this company and I built it with my own hands. When you see your dreams coming true, it doesn’t always look or feel the way you think it’s going to. Joe Torres Owner & President

may not get approved for a year. The sales cycle is very long. You could put a lot of time and effort into a particular proposal—and that equals money in the business world—but it could be 177

Voces Insights

The only chauffeured transportation company in the Hispanic Business 500

A lot of people told me I was wasting my time, but I’m living proof that if you put in the time and the hard work, anything is possible. Don’t just dream—dream big. Joe Torres Owner & President

Dedication. Commitment. Your world class service provider a very long time before you’re actually reimbursed. A couple of years ago the competition was very stiff. Many companies were bidding on government work, but they didn’t have the qualifications or experience necessary to do the job correctly. Thankfully the government is no longer just looking for the best price; they’re looking for the best value. As we’ve expanded, it’s been a little difficult for me to let loose and delegate. I put my heart and

soul into this company and I built it with my own hands. When you see your dreams coming true, it doesn’t always look or feel the way you think it’s going to. Sometimes your expectations for people don’t always pan out. I’ve learned that a big part of this job is finding the right people to put on the bus and helping them find the right seat on the bus. This is a great industry for Latinos, but it’s just a good industry—period. You have to be willing to pay your dues. A lot of what we do requires getting dirty. It’s a great opportunity for anyone eager to learn, but ambition can only take you so far. You’ve got to be a go-getter. A lot of people told me I was wasting my time, but I’m living proof that if you put in the time and the hard work, anything is possible. Don’t just dream—dream big.

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Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces

“I was working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I loved the adrenaline.” Jorge Peralta was just nine years old when his family pulled up its stakes in Miraflores, Peru, and followed his father to New Jersey, where he had gotten a job with Volkswagen. Leaving his native home behind, the young Peralta soon discovered his natural talent as a dispatcher for a limousine company. Lured by the frenetic pace of the reallife game of car chess, he became the company’s youngest dispatcher at 19—and he never looked back. For the next 20 years, he made the chauffeured transportation industry his life, proving to be indispensable in several positions and companies, until eventually launching his own chauffeuring business, World Ground, Inc.

as told to Seth Putnam

April/May/June 2012 179

Voces Insights

Pull quote: “You have to deal with traffic, weather, drivers—much of which you can’t control. You have to figure out solutions to all of these things on the fly. It’s about adaptability.” Jorge Peralta, Owner

You have to deal with traffic, weather, drivers— much of which you can’t control. You have to figure out solutions to all of these things on the fly. It’s about adaptability. Jorge Peralta Owner

grow up around that kind of stuff. My father never had to take business trips or anything like that. We used to do everything on paper.

Peru was always very neighborly.

Between relatives and friends, it was [truly] a communal environment. There was always something going on, someone outside having a soccer game going. When I came to America, it was another world. In Peru, I was used to shopping with my mom in an open-air market, waiting in line 20 hours for milk because the truck wouldn’t be there again for a while. To walk into a supermarket in the United States and see milk and meat everywhere, and no flies—it was crazy. I was very influenced by my parents’ work ethic. When I was 14, my dad would

come home from working at Volkswagen, have a sandwich, and then go clean offices at night. When I got older, I would go with him and clean toilets and vacuum the carpets. You can’t be afraid to work. I’ll never forget: There was a new Chinese restaurant opening, and I walked by around 1 a.m. and saw workers laying brick by floodlight. When I went back later, they were the same people serving inside the restaurant. Things are attainable here if you work hard.


Hispanic Executive

I was drawn to the limousine industry because of the pace. My old boss said to

me, “Imagine dispatching as a game of chess, and right as you have your strategy set, someone moves your pieces.” I said, “That sounds fun.” I would take home maps, blank out the towns, and fill them in. I was working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I loved the adrenaline. It was exhausting, but rewarding. When I started at 19 years old, I was the youngest dispatcher. Over the years,

I moved up. One day the company I worked for was discussing its goals to start doing about $5 million in sales per year. I’ve always been a business junkie, so I blurted out, “Why don’t we shoot for $10 million?” Everyone thought it was ridiculous at the time, but over the next few years we actually surpassed that. The owner, David Seelinger, was a very forward-thinking guy, and he wanted to start incorporating computers into the business. They started sending me out on exploratory trips to Chicago, Los Angles, Florida—which was a big deal, especially when you’re Hispanic, because you don’t

The efficiency computers brought to dispatching was tremendous. Before that, you depended on one guy, your head dispatcher, to know where all the drivers were. Now you have a program that goes into Google Maps and says: Here’s the distance from the driver to the destination, and there’s traffic. Before, you just had to know those patterns and think, “Okay, it’s Friday. It’s five o’clock. The trip that’s normally 30 minutes is going to take 45 today.” That was all in a person’s head. I’ll never forget starting World Ground.

Unluckily for me, it was after the first weekend they had announced Lehman Brothers was going under. It was the wrong time to start a limousine company. One of the biggest providers of work in this area are financial companies. But it took off. We’re looking at a huge leap in sales next year. And we’re working with clients like Sean John, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, British Petroleum, and Valerie Wilson Travel, among others. It’s about handling variables. You have

to deal with traffic, weather, drivers— much of which you can’t control. You have to figure out solutions to all of these things on the fly. It’s about adaptability. I read biographies of business people in my spare time. You won’t read about someone who’s successful who gave up on the first try. And believe me, there will be a first try.

Insights Voces

“What I like about finance for women is that you can always quantify what you’re doing. Did you save money for the client? Did you bring in revenue?” Adela Cepeda is living the American dream. A Colombian immigrant who moved to the United States with her parents in 1964, she’s a self-made woman who’s turned her penchant for numbers into a thriving financial career. At once a mother and an entrepreneur, she’s raised three daughters as well as her very own business, A.C. Advisory, Inc., a Chicago- and New Yorkbased financial-advisory firm that specializes in the structuring and execution of municipal bonds and has advised on over $85 billion of financings since its founding in 1995. An honors graduate of Harvard University, Cepeda hopes her story inspires a new generation of working Latinas.

as told to Matt Alderton

April/May/June 2012 181

Voces Insights Education was huge in my family. I’m from Colombia, and education was the reason my parents came to the United States. As the oldest of five, I felt an obligation to make my parents happy in that respect. Hispanics have very strong disadvantages educationally, so many of our kids are not even graduating from high school. If you graduate from high school, you’re already a high achiever in our community. So, it’s been extremely important to my career, having had parents that pushed so hard about education I’ve always had an affinity for numbers.

My mother was in finance; she was a bookkeeper and a [controller] in her company, so I was always around it. Because of my knack for numbers, I ended up staying in the area of finance and studied economics at Harvard University, eventually starting my career as an investment banker with Smith Barney. What I like about finance for women is that you can always quantify what you’re doing. Did you save money for the

client? How much did something cost? Did you bring in revenue? The quantification aspect enables you to better measure your performance, so there’s less room for subjective evaluation. It’s very clear-cut, and in that respect it’s very good for women. In fact, more and more women are developing an expertise in finance for that reason. When I started my career, there weren’t very many minorities of any kind—including women—in this field. It’s very different today. I always thought I would run companies. I serve on the boards of several

mutual funds, including UBS, Morgan Stanley/Citigroup, and Mercer. Serving on a board is running a business because you’re supervising the people that run it. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing, and a lot of companies need directors with financial expertise, so that’s been helpful to me.

schools, new roads, airports, transportation, etc. It’s all for the public good. The most important thing I’ve had to do is raise my girls. Their dad died

when they were very little, so I’ve basically raised them on my own. The most important lesson I’ve tried to convey to them is to find happiness. If you’re happy when you’re working, it’s so much more possible to succeed. People that are successful enjoy what they do, so they excel at it. That’s what I underscore for them. For me, I enjoy working; I love being financially independent, and I can’t imagine a world where Latinas don’t work. I’ve always believed you have to be involved with others beyond your immediate self. I’ve been fortunate to have


So when your future comes you’ll be ready

opportunities to serve in leadership capacities for a number of not-for-profits, including the Ravinia Festival Association and the Girl Scouts. It’s a sense of obligation and giving back, and it allows me to be a voice for Latinos when it’s needed. It’s important to me to be an example to other Latinos; we are united by our language and our culture, and it’s important to demonstrate that you can succeed in the United States despite the strong discrimination against immigrants in this country. A MESSAGE FROM Deutsche Bank By using Deutsche Bank, our clients gain access to the experience and expertise of one of the world’s leading specialists in corporate trust services. With a consistent focus on client satisfaction, a worldwide team of dedicated trust and securities experts and a record of product innovation, we offer our clients the most professional services in the market. We administer financings that total more than $1 trillion in US and international debt and equity securities.

I founded A.C. Advisory in 1995. It was

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the suggestion of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. I started it to work with the City of Chicago, to help them on some bond financings. Since building on that relationship, I have expanded to include issuers like the State of Connecticut and the City of New York, and most recently the State of New York. I’ve had this firm for over 15 years. It’s my proudest achievement because it’s not just doing busy work. Everything I do shows up a year or two later as bricks and mortar—new

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Hispanic Executive

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Voces Insights

“I believe the company culture has to reflect the leadership ... it has to be entrepreneurial.”

as told to Suchi Rudra


Hispanic Executive

When we were establishing Garcia Construction, we knew it was important to look at where the growth was for the next 10 to 15 years, and we

checked the markets both nationally and locally. But just as important was the caliber of talent and experience we could bring into the company to diversify our portfolio. It’s probably one of the most difficult things to do. Talented people almost never want to go to a small company. But now the recession has actually worked to our benefit, so we are building up our [staff] of highly skilled individuals. However, someone can have an incredible résumé, but not fit with the company culture. Still, we have made

great strides in that area. For a whole year, I had a behavioral psychologist in the company who spent time with the employees and myself to put together a foundation for our company culture. I believe the company culture has to reflect the leadership, and because I’m entrepreneurial, it has to be entrepreneurial. This kind of a culture sets clearly defined values and allows people to have access to the resources they need to succeed. You can have other types of cultures, none are good or bad; but for us, the entrepreneurial culture makes the most sense. A couple books I’ve read also influenced my decision in creating this company culture: Good to Great and E-Myth. You need to surround


It didn’t take long for Charlie Garcia to find his way in the world. Growing up with a single working mother and three siblings in a San Francisco housing project, Garcia quickly realized that the only way to get the things he wanted was to work for them. Dragging a little wagon out on the streets, young Garcia collected bottles and traded them in for nickels, saving enough for a comic book, candy, or even shoes. Garcia’s chispa stuck with him through college where he worked nights, weekends, and summers. Today, Garcia stands at the helm of Garcia Construction Group and four other businesses, but says the childhood experiences that motivated him back then continue to drive his future.

Even as a young child, Charlie Garcia already demonstrated a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. Now as president of Garcia Construction Group, he imparts his philosophy on his staff and the projects they complete, such as the Indianapolis KeyBank (pictured here) and the Indianapolis International Airport (pictured below).

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Making His Mark your people with the right tools and invest in their success, and then they will be creative, innovative, and assert themselves. The environment has to make the employees feel successful, supported, and rewarded.

The attorneys of Bingham McHale and I are proud to applaud Charlie Garcia, President and CEO of Garcia Construction Group.

At this time, we could easily double our size, but because we take a conservative approach to our environment, our country, and our world, we




have to be cautious about how much and when we expand. When I look at the industry, there are a lot of multiple cycles, so this caution is becoming more and more necessary. To this end, I have an employee who spends half his time doing research to find indicators and looking for potential cycles that C would affect us in the next six months. M That’s the type of due diligence we have never had to do before. You couple that Y research with technology, which has CM grown dramatically, and we can now be better stewards of our business and MY prepare for the future. CY In the next 5 to 10 years, I see a flat economy, which is not bad. So we are


Small businesses are the building blocks of national economic growth. We are proud to partner with companies like Garcia Construction, tackling their legal challenges so they can make their mark. —

Arnold & Porter LLP congratulates

Luis Vilarin Assistant General Counsel Bristol-Myers Squibb

for his outstanding leadership. We’re proud to partner with Luis and BMS on initiatives that reflect our shared commitment to diversity.

Rafael Sanchez, Partner


taking somewhat of a flat approach and reducing our budget by 15 percent—just in case. We have a backlog to continue, but we’re doing this in preparation. All of our businesses need to anticipate some kind of downturn. Basically, you need to position yourself on the cutting edge, yet be conservative. It’s an oxymoron, but that’s the type of environment we live in today, and if you can achieve that balance, you’ll be successful. That’s what we are doing now—today is not the time to roll the dice too quickly. A MESSAGE FROM Bingham McHale Rafael Sanchez and the attorneys of Bingham McHale are proud to partner with Charlie Garcia. Garcia Construction Group is a leader in its field, planning and controlling how well projects progress so that its clients can succeed. Similarly, Bingham McHale tackles legal challenges that stand in the way of our clients’ business success. We share values of integrity and high quality, knowing that our clients are valuable contributors to our communities and country. Brussels Los Angeles San Francisco

n n



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Voces Insights

“Growing up in the United States to immigrant parents has inspired me to work hard, to never take anything for granted, and to seize every opportunity.�

A first-generation American whose parents fled Chile for political reasons, Luis Felipe Vilarin has leveraged his cultural roots into a competitive advantage when doing business abroad. As assistant general counsel for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), he has tapped into his background to help BMS acquire four companies over the last few years. In addition to working globally alongside people of various cultures, Vilarin says the biggest challenge of working as an in-house corporate attorney is learning and incorporating the complex aspects of the biopharmaceutical world into his legal work. The goal? Ensuring clear communications of legal concepts in terms that people of diverse backgrounds within a pharmaceutical company can grasp.

as told to Kelly Hayes

I have been with BMS since 2003, starting when I was seconded from an international law firm as an associate counsel in the Technical Operations legal group. [I became] a full-time law-

yer with BMS in 2004. I was trained as a transactional lawyer in private practice, handling a variety of transactional matters for pharmaceutical and biotech companies and continue to leverage


Hispanic Executive

that expertise as an in-house transactional lawyer. Working at BMS has allowed me to utilize my experience as a transactional lawyer and my economics training to contribute as a business advisor, not just as a lawyer. I really appreci-

ate the latitude that my colleagues and internal clients have given me to expand

on my talents and to contribute to the mission of the company in a meaningful and rewarding way. During my tenure at BMS, I have handled a variety of different corporate transactional matters. These include

international transactions to support commercial and technical operations, establishing strategic outsourcing arrangements, and supporting licensing, distribution, acquisitions, and divestitures. For me, a transactional lawyer that understands the business risks, and is able to communicate with their client in a knowledgeable manner, is much more than a lawyer, but a valuable business advisor that facilitates a transaction instead of frustrating the deal with legal technicalities. I have

found that immersing myself into a business topic by attending meetings, reading trade journals, and receiving mentoring and technical training from business colleagues has helped me to understand the risks that the business is willing to tolerate and avoid in a business transaction. This makes it easier when negotiating a transaction or drafting agreements to memorialize the transaction. Growing up in the United States to immigrant parents has inspired me to work hard, to never take anything for granted, and to seize every opportunity. It has also taught me to appreci-

ate the value of diverse thinking and

Insights Voces Taking pride in his Chilean and Spanish background, Luis Felipe Vilarin credits his upbringing as a major factor in his success. “It ... taught me to appreciate the value of diverse thinking and to value different approaches to solve problems,� Vilarin says.

to value different approaches to solve problems. All told, I am proud to be of Chilean and Spanish descent and thank my parents for the opportunities they gave me and the advice that they offered me growing up. Understanding different cultures is an important part of working at a global company. Our department works with

regulatory, legal, and health authorities around the world who have different policies, practices, and concerns. Every transaction that we negotiate is different due to the facts and circumstances surrounding the transaction. When there is cultural awareness from both negotiating teams it makes the interaction much more rewarding. As a Latino lawyer, it is important to stay in touch with trade associations and other organizations that support and embrace diversity initiatives. I

For me, a transactional lawyer that understands the business risks, and is able to communicate with their client in a knowledgeable manner, is much more than a lawyer, but a valuable business advisor. Luis Felipe Vilarin Assistant General Counsel

April/May/June 2012

have been involved with the Hispanic National Bar Association for a few years and was recently recognized by the organization as one of its Top Lawyers Under 40. I am also a member of the BMS Law Department Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serve as a liaison with the MCCA [Minority Corporate Counsel Association] and plan on working closely with the MCCA’s new leadership to enhance our own diversity initiatives and to support the MCCA in their mission. In the future, I look forward to continuing to evolve as a business advisor

and working with new clients to advance the mission of BMS. I also look forward to expanding my responsibilities and managing other in-house lawyers and to continue being recognized as a valuable contributor to the company. 189

Inclusion begins with opportunity And results in diversity. Diversity broadens our knowledge and skills, heightens our awareness of and sensitivity to cultural issues and equips us to respond to the needs of our clients around the world. Mayer Brown is proud to see our client and friend, Luis Vilarin, recognized by Hispanic Executive. We join Bristol-Myers Squibb in valuing Luis’ skills and sagacity. Americas | Asia | Europe | Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the “Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. “Mayer Brown” and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

Insights Voces

“Since I was a child, I’ve been aware of the importance of labor and employment issues on an individual’s day-to-day life.” Growing up in Chicago’s West Side, Gray Mateo-Harris saw firsthand the impact of unfair working conditions on the lives of blue-collar, minority workers like her parents. But never one to see issues in black and white, she also recognized the need for passionate, morally driven professionals to work on the side of employers to prevent and redress labor and employment claims. Only 28, she has already defended employers in litigation at the state court and federal court level and represented employers in arbitrations, union negotiations, and before the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the National Labor Relations Board. With her drive, zest for taking on new challenges, and unique perspective, it’s clear the fourth-year associate of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP (NGE) is just getting started.

as told to Thalia A-M Bruehl

April/May/June 2012


Voces Insights Witnessing my parents’ struggles at work [in the United States] and with their unions sparked my interest in labor and employment law. When I

was only seven years old, my family left the Dominican Republic to pursue the American dream. My mother was a professor and my father was an agricultural engineer. But despite their educations, both were forced into the humble work of the labor industry, as are so many immigrants in the US. Since I was a child, I’ve been aware of the importance of labor and employment issues on an individual’s day-to-day life. My family also ingrained in me early on that education was the key to success. I graduated from the University

of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, cum laude, with a triple major [in psychology, gender and women’s studies, and speech communication] and received my Juris Doctorate cum laude from the College of Law. But the greatest honor for me was being the first in my family to attain a collegiate education in the US—let alone a law degree. During my first year of law school, NGE sponsored my scholarship through the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Scholarship Fund.

From that moment, I knew there was something unique about the firm, and that it would be a place where I’d be able to make a difference. I was intrigued by the fact that NGE was one of the largest single-office law firms in the country, which allows for a more centralized leadership team, a more unified family of lawyers, and a deeper, more clientfocused approach to the practice of law. This is the way I wanted to practice law. I have always been humble and appreciative of my opportunities, and I think the success I’ve [experienced] at NGE is due to that. I am grateful every day for

the amazing breaks I’ve been given here and, consequently, I try not to take any project—no matter how big or small—for granted. My diverse background and experiences dialoguing about difficult topics with different types of people has helped me develop strong working relationships with clients, attorneys, support staff, and other members of the legal system from all walks of life. As a young Latina, it’s been important for me to take ownership of my career


Hispanic Executive

Like many first-generation Latinas, Dominican-born Gray Mateo-Harris was the first member of her family to graduate from college in the United States—let alone go on to law school.

Gracias a usted,

the people in every community we touch have the chance to grow, thrive, and lead healthier lives.

My diverse background and experiences dialoguing about difficult topics with different types of people has helped me develop strong working relationships with clients, attorneys, and other members of the legal system from all walks of life. Gray Mateo-Harris Attorney


and to continue to seek challenging and fulfilling work. The life I’ve created

for myself is one in which I set aside time for my family, hobbies, and the projects I enjoy. I’ve been able to provide pro bono services in a political-asylum case, as well as to the Latino Policy Forum, Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), and the Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Violence Clinic. I also dedicate my time to diversity-related efforts and activities I care about. I work with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce whenever possible and am deeply involved as a board member with RVA, and an associate board member with the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. My most enjoyable experiences, however, have come from mentoring diverse students [interested in pursuing the field of law]. I love my work, even the toughest cases, but the greatest highlights of my career have been seeing the proud faces of my family at my law school

graduation, swearing-in ceremony, and during their first trip to my office at NGE. Everything that lies ahead, including taking on leadership roles at NGE and in my community, it’s all just thrilling, and will ultimately allow me to continue my lifelong goal of showing others like me that, “Hey, I made it—and so can you!”

The world is getting smaller, while demand for international know-how grows more critical every day. Thankfully, we have one address for all of your

WellPoint is working with Hispanic communities to make a positive impact on the health and wellness of each person. Through education, outreach, and the support of our Hispanic associate resource group, SOMOS, we’re sharing our knowledge and providing services to influence health, care, and value.

needs. From one office in Chicago, we cover the globe. So you get crucial, on-theground advocacy wherever it’s required without having

Better Health Care, Gracias a usted. Visit us online at

to keep track of legal counsel the world over.




One office. Worldwide.

® Registered Trademark, WellPoint, Inc. ® Registered Trademark, DiversityInc Media LLC © 2011 WellPoint, Inc. All Rights Reserved. EOE

Voces Insights

“Health care appealed to me because it was a field that was open to women; it wasn’t the ‘good ol’ boy’ kind of culture.” Born into a family focused on the dance business, Tammy Truxillo Tucker happened upon the health-care industry by accident. The first person in her family to attend college, Tucker’s simple goal was to be a self-reliant businesswoman. Twenty-eight years later, she is now the vice president, account management of WellPoint, Inc., the largest health insurer in the United States. Through it all, her focus has been on achieving the business and financial goals of the companies she has worked for, and empowering fellow Latinas to choreograph their own career paths.

I grew up in Houston, where my father owned Arthur Murray Dance Studio franchises, in addition to Baton Rouge, Miami, Mexico City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was actually born

in San Juan, where we lived until I was four. My first language was Spanish, and I remember loving the wonderful culture there. My father is from Truxillo, Spain, and it is fun having a maiden name that originates from a small city! Our ancestors settled in Baton Rouge during the Louisiana Purchase, where they married Acadian-French settlers from France, and the Cajun ethnicity was born. I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college. I attended

as told to Zipporah Porton


Hispanic Executive

Southern Nazarene University, where my goal was to be a businesswoman. I also knew that I wanted to be selfreliant and never depend on anyone. Graduating with high marks was also important, and I ended up cum laude with a degree in business administration. I always had straight A’s, and it wasn’t a stretch for me to do well, but my family was very proud of me.

as told to Thalia A-M Bruehl Role Model As vice president, account management for the largest health insurer in the country, Tammy Truxillo Tucker is one of few women–and even fewer Latinas—in this role. Tucker says she’s part of the changing face of CorWhen I porate America: “Women was only seven years have accelerated their posi-old, my family left tionsDominican in the management the Republic to pursue the ranks, and aredream. becoming a mo American My more representative presence in the boardrooms of America,” she says.

Witnessing my parents’ struggles at work [in the United States] and with their unions sparked my interest in labor and employment law.

Voces Insights

FFM Congratulates Dale Morgado for his focus on the Hispanic Community

In 2008, I started with WellPoint and managed a million lives. Now I lead an organization that manages 3.4 million lives, and 4,414 customers, with almost $12 billion in premiums. Tammy Truxillo Tucker Vice President, Account Management

At Feldman, Fox & Morgado, P.A., we have earned a reputation as effective trial lawyers. We don't enter litigation lightly, but we will not hesitate to take your case to a judge or jury when it is the best strategy. We can negotiate on your behalf, counsel you in mediation or arbitration, or fiercely protect your interests at trial.

Protecting Your Interests. Enforcing Your Rights. Areas of Practice: Though I’ve now been in the healthcare industry for over 28 years, I fell into the field by accident. Right out of

college I found a job running the employee benefits at 3D/International, an architectural firm in Houston. In 1983, I was speaking with an account executive from Maxicare Texas, and asked if she liked her career. I expressed confidence in entering the sales field, and Maxicare gave me the opportunity to learn the industry, travel, lead a sales team, and run a profitable business. I opened health plans in three other cities, and was the youngest executive to be promoted to vice president in the history of the company at 29 years old. Health care appealed to me because it was a field that was open to women; it wasn’t the “good ol’ boy” kind of

culture. I also enjoyed helping people and mentoring upand-comers and teams of people with diverse backgrounds. One of my mentors, Rita Duarte from Health Net, was a Latina businesswoman who taught me about self-confidence and leading other women by example. Since starting with WellPoint three years ago, I have tripled the amount


Hispanic Executive

of business that I manage. In 2008, I

started with WellPoint and managed a million lives. Now I lead an organization that manages 3.4 million lives, and 4,414 customers, with almost $12 billion in premiums. I work six days a week for over 75 hours, but I love it and I love my team. The challenges that I’ve faced along the way are the same that many women of any heritage would face,

Latina or otherwise. The glass ceiling is always present, and gender has even more to do with discrimination than heritage or race. Although women have a long way to go—only four percent of CEOs in America are women—we are making great strides in the fields of finance, law, and science. Women have accelerated their positions in the management ranks, and are becoming a more representative presence in the boardrooms of America. With great role models like Angela Braly, WellPoint’s CEO, and Pam Kehaly, the president of Anthem Blue Cross in California (WellPoint’s largest health plan), women of all diverse backgrounds see what is possible if we speak confidently about our vision and the value we can bring to any organization.

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Insights Voces

“The fear of failure drives me; I never rest on past successes.” Dale Morgado completed his bachelor’s in business in 24 months. He marched into the dean’s office at Suffolk University demanding permission to take more credits than allowed. He won that case, launching him into a career of wins. In 2011, he was selected by his peers as one of Florida’s “Legal Elite.” With a JD from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Morgado, managing shareholder of the Miami office of Feldman, Fox & Morgado, PA, is an attorney who means business.

as told to Ruth E. Dávila


It’s always been a winner-takes-all game for me.

When I was a kid, growing up outside of Boston, I was captain of the soccer team for years—until the day I was no longer the best player. Then I quit. It’s very telling of how I practice law; I’m in it to win it. At my firm, we seek only to accept the most high-stakes legal challenges. To put it simply, if the parties on each side stay up late at night worrying about their legal issues, it is likely something we are very interested in. Some people refer to it as “bet-the-company litigation.” We call it our niche.

April/May/June 2012 197

Voces Insights Though winning cases is almost second nature to Dale Morgado, he knows the only thing he has total control over is how hard he works. “I can always outwork my opponent,” says Morgado, managing shareholder for Feldman, Fox & Morgado, PA.

class actions in particular, because they benefit people’s livelihoods and futures. Right now wage and hour litigation is the hottest trend. The economy is tight. Employers are getting sued constantly for not paying the proper wages, both in overtime and minimum wage. Additionally, undocumented workers are not being paid minimum wage. Miami is a Mecca for financial, employee benefit, and wage and hour litigation. While I plan to expand the

firm internationally soon, and am considering opening a second office in London or another city, I realize I live in paradise. In many ways, Miami reflects my own background: “United Nations” with a Latin majority: my father’s family is from Portugal and Brazil, and my mother’s roots are English, Scottish, Polish, and German. I didn’t grow up wealthy. There was always food on the table, but it bothered me that my parents struggled with financial pressures. It made me work harder than the rest. It made me choose higher education. It made me never stop trying to get ahead. Although my work is inherently intense, in my office, it’s unacceptable to yell, which is the norm at some law firms. An environment of fear and hostil-


Hispanic Executive

When I was a kid, growing up outside of Boston, I was captain of the soccer team for years—until the day I was no longer the best player. Then I quit. It’s very telling of how I practice law; I’m in it to win it. Dale Morgado Managing Shareholder

ity produces lawyers who are so nervous they are not willing to step out and take a risk for their client. We do expect a lot from our lawyers, but it’s not measured in billable hours alone. It’s about the value they’re producing and the outcomes. Experience representing both defendants and plaintiffs differentiates us from our competitors. We believe you should hire a lawyer who understands what it is like to try a case from both sides of the bench. Too many firms focus on only one side; that means they are always thinking in the same bubble. Would you vote for a judge who had only served as a defense lawyer or a plaintiff’s lawyer? I think not. One issue today, which is little known outside the courts, is the scarcity of judges. A judge recently told me she has

3,500 cases. That’s unacceptable. We have overworked our judges so much that they can’t give sober, considered judgment to each case. More resources must

be allocated for disputes to be settled thoughtfully by a trial judge. Our judicial system is the mechanism that keeps our country in order. I thrive being part of the system that thwarts corruption and upholds our constitution. That is why we have put

our hearts and souls into this law firm, growing it to a staff of 45, with hopes of expanding to 100. It is starting to pay off. I, with the help of my cocounsel, recently secured a $3.8 million dollar arbitration award for a very deserving family, and I couldn’t have been happier for them. At the end of the day, the fear of failure drives me; I never rest on past successes. I know the only thing I can

control is how hard I work. I can always outwork my opponent. If I do that, at least I can sleep at night knowing I have given myself the best shot at success— assuming, of course, I sleep at all.


I’ve always believed you can do the most good for your fellow man by participating in mass or class actions, where one decision will affect millions of people. I enjoy pension

Insights Voces

“Our mission is to take technologies that are on the cusp of being proven, and take [them] to the next step.” Olga Gonzalez-Sanabria has never been one to shy away from reaching for the stars. As director of engineering at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, she is responsible for more than 400 personnel and leads her team in advancing technologies into missions. Here, she shares with HE her experience with the space agency where she has forged a successful career spanning more than 30 years.

as told to Jennifer Hogeland

April/May/June 2012 199

Voces Insights A chemical engineer by training, Olga GonzalezSanabria was hired by NASA directly out of college more than 30 years ago. “The targeted improvement of life on earth combined with the power systems for spacecraft and space operations enticed me to accept the position,” recalls Gonzalez-Sanabria, director of engineering for the Glenn Research Center.

One of the best things about my position is that every day is unique. We don’t do something more than once. We are constantly experiencing new things—new programs and new projects. We strive to apply any of the knowledge gained to the community or industry. Olga Gonzalez-Sanabria Director of Engineering

We don’t do something more than once. We are constantly experiencing new things—new programs and new projects. We strive to apply any of the knowledge gained to the community or industry. Our mission is to take technologies that are on the cusp of being proven, and take [them] to the next step. We do the engineering analysis, design, development, and testing to verify the hardware or software can survive the environment if it is put into space. We just passed a systems review and are preparing to deliver a system called Connect—a communications and networking test bed to test new communications protocols. This payload will be put in space and we will be able to reconfigure it from the ground and conduct various tests. Most technology demonstrations go unnoticed but they are what enable the new missions. NASA has changed dramatically over my 30-plus years with the organization. NASA’s internal environment

I call my career choice lucky. I found

out about engineering my last year of high school because I went to a school that took us to a university career day. I was sitting in the auditorium and I was listening to them talk about engineering and my brain is clicking, “Yes, yes, yes, that is what I want to do.” I began working at NASA at the time of the first energy crisis. A chemical

engineer by training, I interviewed and was hired by NASA directly out of college. During those days NASA was doing a lot of work in energy such as batteries, fuel cells, and wind, in support of different ways to reduce our energy consumption. The targeted improvement of life on earth combined with the power systems for spacecraft and space operations enticed me to accept the position.


Hispanic Executive

I spent my first nearly nine years in research but I wanted to round out my competencies so I took various positions within NASA. I went from

research to project management—concentrating on technology experiments in micro-gravity science—to learning how the centers do business. When an executive officer position for the Center director opened, I applied and got it. Many urged me not to take the position because it was seen as more of an administrative position but it provided me an opportunity to see the organization at a higher level. I took my first supervisor job in 2000 and have been the director of engineering, Glenn Research Center, for the last seven years. One of the best things about my position is that every day is unique.

changed for the best, it is more culturally accepting. But, the thing that has become more challenging is the political environment. We see constant programmatic changes. Fortunately, in recent months, NASA received approval from Congress to move forward on some of the new programs. I get involved in various organizations because we continue to see very few Hispanic women engineers.

It is not significant what I did or do, but it is important that little girls see Hispanic women doing things that are not traditional. You typically make a decision based on what you know. So, it is important to actually let children know there are other opportunities out there and there are people like them that are doing it—putting that face out there so kids consider different careers is critical.




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Voces Insights

“If you’re a lawyer who wants to move to the business side of things, you have to love challenges and be willing to transition to new roles.” Even while acting as Wellmark’s chief legal officer, I never limited myself.

I don’t believe in the approach of “this is your role and this is mine.” As a lawyer, you’re continuously learning because laws change and so does the industry and you have to adapt. Taking on new responsibilities can be truly rewarding, but before taking the leap you have to know it’s something you’re passionate about. I joined Wellmark as general counsel in July of 2007. In 2008, the CEO approached me and asked if I was interested in taking on a new role so, for about a year, I served as group vice president of sales and marketing. I integrated the two departments and we were able to create a high-performing team. It was truly rewarding to see the team develop and achieve success. Having an open-minded, creative CEO makes all the difference in the world.

as told to Tina Vasquez


Hispanic Executive

The CEO is a great judge of character and he expects and helps his team adapt to change. Some people may stay in the same role for many years and they’ll remain there until they retire—and that’s


In Jamaica where George Hanna grew up, his cousin served as chief justice of the Jamaican Supreme Court and his uncle, also a lawyer, had a knack for putting together business deals in a way that left a lasting impression. In the 1970s when Hanna was just 11 years old, his family emigrated to the United States to escape political unrest, settling in Miami where he would later graduate with a finance and law degree from the University of Miami. As executive vice president of sales and marketing at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hanna has had an impressive—yet unpredictable—career track, requiring he constantly take on new operational responsibilities. Here, the former chief legal officer shares how he successfully transitioned to the business side of the company.

Making Moves George Hanna’s career is anything but static. Hanna has gone back and forth between the legal and sales and marketing departments at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, strategic moves which he says have allowed him to understand the business on a broader scale.

Insights Voces When George Hanna took on his current role for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, he admits he experienced some anxiety. “I believe the fear of not being able to deliver drives high performance and it ensures you don’t get complacent,” he says. “Learning different parts of the business makes you a better lawyer.”

what works for them and the company. But, if you’re a lawyer who wants to move to the business side of things, you have to love challenges and be willing to transition to new roles. Many lawyers are risk averse, but they should take informed, calculated risks and take advantage of opportunities. In 2009, I went back to the chief legal role. I began having discussions with the CEO about an emerging legal trend of shifting from a regulatory model to a risk-based model. The challenge was determining how to align legal, audit, regulatory, and compliance into a risk continuum. Since the CEO and board believe in continuous improvement, we were able to successfully make this transition.


When I stepped into my current role as vice president of sales and marketing, there was anxiety, but that’s not a bad thing. I believe the fear of not being

able to deliver drives high performance and it ensures you don’t get complacent. Learning different parts of the business makes you a better lawyer. As I shifted into this new role, I was worried that not practicing law each day would feel like a loss, but it didn’t. Having a background in law makes the department and the company stronger and if you can get the right person in the right role—even if it’s new to them—or if you get the right people working on a team, you’ll have

April/May/June 2012

I was worried that not practicing law each day would feel like a loss, but it didn’t. Having a background in law makes the department and the company stronger and if you can get the right person in the right role—even if it’s new to them—you’ll have phenomenal results. George Hanna Vice President of Sales & Marketing

phenomenal results and that’s one of Wellmark’s strengths. Growing up, I saw where hard work could get you. Six months after my family moved

to Miami, I waited for my dad to come home from work so that I could talk to him about moving back to Jamaica. I heard my parents talking and for the first time in my life, I heard my father telling my mother that he felt as if he failed us and it was looking like his business wouldn’t succeed. That was a turning point. I spent the next several weeks canvassing the neighborhood to find pools to clean and cars to wash to make pocket money because I 205

As we move into a global economy, we’re all immigrants. Those open to continuous improvement and new challenges will succeed in the global marketplace.

Congratulations to Wellmark and

George Hanna Vice President of Sales & Marketing

George Hanna from your didn’t want to be a burden. A year later, I was going to school full time and working at my parents’ store. My parents’ business eventually grew to become one of the largest independent shoe retailers in the US and it was through hard work and determination. I had a great example growing up and I take this work ethic and the lessons I learned from my parents to work each day. I was once asked if this work ethic is specific to immigrants, but my answer is as we move into a global economy, we’re all immigrants. Those open to continuous improvement and new challenges will succeed in the global marketplace. A MESSAGE FROM MAZURSKY CONSTANTINE LLC Mazursky Constantine LLC applauds George Hanna’s recognition by Hispanic Executive, and we congratulate George and Wellmark on their many successes. We value our relationship with this exemplary company and its people. Mazursky Constantine guides employers through their Human Resource challenges, concentrating on Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and ERISA Litigation.


Hispanic Executive

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Insights Voces

“There’s a limited window where you can resolve a claim in litigation efficiently and make it a win-win situation. Past that point, it’s either a win-lose or a lose-lose for both parties.” Ernesto Garcia Jr. leads the legal team and outside counsel at Bancomer Transfer Services and BBVA Bancomer USA, Houston-based subsidiaries of $43 million Mexican bank BBVA Bancomer, as vice president and general counsel. He handles all matters related to the money-service business—from contract negotiations to intellectual-property decisions—tackling anything that involves helping the company mitigate risk while growing the business. A graduate of the University of Houston Law Center and Princeton University, he finds running and law have two things in common: they both give him a sharp focus and the stamina to never give up.

as told to Lynn Russo Whylly

April/May/June 2012 207

Voces Insights

There’s always a point in litigation where reasonableness can prevail, but you have to be aware of what your goals are, otherwise, one or both of the parties might determine that the dispute has become too expensive to resolve without winning a jury award. Ernesto Garcia Jr. Vice President & General Counsel

Private practice gave me a good overview and a global perspective of the legal process in general. As a private

practitioner, I tried to limit costs and expenses for my clients, and at the same time, give [them] the best outcome possible. It’s the same in the corporate-law setting. We’re on a limited budget. That requires me to allocate resources based on what I determine the company’s legal priorities to be. I like solving problems—I think that’s what the legal profession allows me to do. I like to think of creative solutions

based on my foundation of legal expertise to formulate solutions to problems that arise, whether that involves litigation or everyday contract negotiations. Being a corporate lawyer, I no longer have to worry about billable hours.

That’s nice. And I don’t have multiple clients. All my clients are in-house and there is no to need to market my legal skills to the broader public. That would be one of the best aspects. As a result, I tend to have a better work-life balance than I had as a private lawyer, and can spend more time with my family—my wife and two young sons. There’s always a point in litigation where reasonableness can prevail, but you have to be aware of what your goals are, otherwise, one or both of

the parties might determine that the


Hispanic Executive

dispute has become too expensive to resolve without winning a jury award. There’s a limited window where you can resolve a claim in litigation efficiently and make it a win-win situation. Once you get past that point, it’s either a winlose or a lose-lose for both parties. For young Latinos who want to go into law, it’s not enough just to be bilingual. They also have to know all the

important legal terms in both languages and be aware of the sometimes subtle and sometimes profound cultural differences between Spanish-speaking countries. So, I would urge them to continue to become proficient in being bilingual in legal terminology and not to assume that a legal term or any other bilingual word carries the same meaning across borders. In the legal profession, we have an obligation to reach out to college students and law students to make sure they are aware of the many opportunities out there for them. Law

professionals should volunteer to speak at Latino organizations. I’ve spoken at my alma mater, University of Houston Law Center. I’ve also been invited to attend different professional expos where I have a table and speak about what I do. Students are always appreciative of such efforts, and maybe you’ll touch someone in a way that will help guide their career and life.

I would also encourage students to reach out to their college Hispanic professional organizations and law associations, as well as to go beyond

the law school to other professional organizations for networking. Some legal professional organizations will give membership discounts to students, or even waive the fee if they stay on after they pass the bar. The Association of Corporate Counsel,

a national organization that serves professional legal counsel, holds seminars monthly, mostly presented by law firms, which I find very helpful. At Abogados Corporativos, a subgroup, attorneys get together to discuss legal matters involving Latin American divisions of international companies. It’s all voluntary. I use it as a networking tool to meet other people in the legal profession and to reconnect with old friends.

Insights Voces

“My mother ingrained in me that the minute I walked out the door, I was representing my family, my Christian faith, my culture, and my nationality.” Sira Veciana-Muiño might work in the glitziest niche of the law, but she couldn’t be more grounded. Previously, at MTV Networks, she enjoyed working on musical “high notes” such as MTV Unplugged for Alejandro Sanz and the MTV Video Music Awards Latin America. Since 2008, she’s been at Sony Pictures Television as director of business affairs, networks, Latin America and Brazil, based in Miami. There, Veciana-Muiño has lent her legal expertise to productions such as Latin American Idol, Brazil’s Next Top Model and Mexico’s Next Top Model, and one of her favorite hit series, Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas (Gentlemen Prefer Them Dumb). She shares with Hispanic Executive some downto-earth wisdom on how to rise above the reality that—just as the strong female protagonist of Los Caballeros can attest—it’s a tough world for Latinas, who are smart, independent, and savvy.

as told to Ruth E. Dávila

April/May/June 2012 209

Voces Insights

Both my parents survived dictatorship and hardship. My mother fled

Franco’s Spain and then later Castro’s Cuba with my father and older siblings. My parents emphasized the importance of our education and faith in God. They reminded us that at any given time, all of your physical possessions can be taken away, but no one can rob you of the faith in your heart and the education in your mind. Because of their sacrifices, it was important that I repay them by becoming successful. Early on, I realized if I went

to law school, I could be a lawyer or take on a business role in any company, but if I went to business school, my opportunities would be limited to a pure business role. This is how I made my decision to pursue a law degree. Attending “elite” institutions—Duke for undergrad and Columbia Law School— gave me credibility and an extra edge.

BS&A would like to congratulate Sira Veciana-Muino and all of Sony Pictures Television on their feature in Hispanic Executive. We wish you continued success. BS&A renders a wide diversity of services with a distinctive style of work. Over the years, BS&A has achieved an optimum size and has been recognized for its ideal mix of highly qualified professionals and an organization that warrants the provision of customized, top quality legal services.

5411.4310.3986 Marcelo T. De Alvear 684 Piso 2 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Their alumni networks are strong, expansive, and loyal and help in establishing relationships with potential clients, new vendors, and future employers. Going to Duke changed the way I view the world. I was surrounded by people of

all races, religions, ethnicities, and walks of life. This gave me the ability to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and these skills are crucial for any business person or manager. Constant education is an equalizer in society. I always encourage young attor-

neys to be proactive about their learning. In any position, you can never read enough or learn enough about your craft or about your industry. Access to the wisdom of an accomplished individual in your field is very helpful. Mentors can guide you through career minefields. They’ve been there, done that, and not only survived, but also achieved. No matter what organization you are in, you need to play the game and continuously advocate on your own behalf. Although this does not come

naturally to me, it is clear that (as the book says) Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. This book should be a must-read for every professional woman, especially Latinas.

Mentors can guide you through career minefields. They’ve been there, done that, and not only survived, but also achieved. Sira Veciana-Muiño Director, Business Affairs, Networks, Latin America & Brazil

I was always taught to be humble; however, to excel in the business world, humility must be set aside. You need to take credit when credit is given and you need to promote yourself whenever possible. While self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me, giving back does. I am

involved in various programs advocating for immigrants’ rights and the passage of the Dream Act. My husband and I teach “Know Your Rights” seminars to empower immigrants. Most of my community service is done through my church, where I provide pro-bono legal services to indigent members or members of modest means. I also mentor law students who are interested in pursuing a career in entertainment law. It is unfair that many people think Hispanics are lazy or spend their days

drinking tequila and beer. It is also unfair that the image of Latinas is that they are hot and sexy, but have no substance or intelligence. I strive to go above and beyond to prove that this is not the case. I think that it is for this reason that I have such a strong work ethic. My mother ingrained in me that the minute I walked out the door, I was

representing my family, my Christian faith, my culture, and my nationality. When people see me, I want them to see an intelligent, hard-working, strong, and compassionate Latina.


Proudly Congratulates Sira Veciana-Muino on her recognition in Hispanic Executive magazine

Sony Pictures values and celebrates the diverse perspectives of our employees and audiences around the world, and salutes Sira’s rich bi-cultural heritage that enhances her personal and professional interactions.





OF ACCEPTANCE & INCLUSION AT SPE © 2012 Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Voces Insiders

Tapping into the Latino market with Cristobal Rivera of MillerCoors LLC interview by Sally Deering

When Latinos encounter a Coors Light ad, it’s up to Cristobal Rivera to ensure they know, “Coors Light gets me.” As a brand manager for MillerCoors LLC in Chicago, Rivera oversees the short and long-term planning and execution of the Coors Light brand within the Hispanic market. Since graduating from Duke University in 1998—the first member of his family to attain a college degree—Rivera gained experience in e-commerce, compliance, sales, and marketing in positions held at Prudential Financial and PepsiCo before joining MillerCoors in 2010. Within a year, he was promoted to brand manager and works with various creative agencies to create Coors Light TV, radio, and billboards for the marketplace.

Can you give an overview of the popular products and services at MillerCoors?

MillerCoors is the second-largest beer company in America. With almost 200 years of brewing heritage, the company makes, markets, and sells over 30 well-known brands— like Coors Light, Miller Lite, Blue Moon, and Keystone Light to name a diverse few—that appeal to pretty much all beer lovers across the board. Can you describe your day-to-day responsibilities as brand manager?

My daily tasks vary from month to month. In the early part of the year, I’m focused on the fun part of the job, which is overseeing getting the bulk of the brand’s marketing out the door. To do so, I work with various creative agencies to create Coors Light TV, radio, and billboards for the marketplace. By the middle of the year, my focus has changed


Hispanic Executive


“If we get the mix of research and communication elements right, our consumer will instantly feel connected to the piece and respond positively to our brand.�

Voces Insiders As a brand manager for MillerCoors, Cristobal Rivera knows firsthand the lengths the beer company will go to in order to understand its Latino consumers. “We do extensive research to understand them and the occasions in which they enjoy beer, which differ from consumer group to consumer group,” Rivera says.

Can you describe your outreach efforts to the Hispanic market?

Coors Light is focused on delivering refreshment “as Cold as the Rockies,” as our tagline says, to all consumers. For the Latino market, we’re delivering this cold refreshment message via the brand’s sponsorship of the Mexican soccer league’s Primera División. As the first brand to ever commercialize this soccer league in the US, we leverage our guys’ number-one passion point—soccer—to expose them to the brand. As fanatics of soccer, we work hard to provide our consumers with cool programs, promotions, and special experiences to give them an inside look into the league. A recent launch we’re quite proud of is our digital platform, It’s the most soccer-centric site for the Primera División Mexican soccer league out there. Take a look, it’s informative and very interactive … and has plenty of cool, unique content for fans. Please describe the differences between branding a product to the Hispanic consumer and other consumers?

A lot of work and attention to detail goes into marketing authentically to Latino consumers. Our mission is to ensure that when Latinos see a Coors Light communication, they feel and say, “Coors Light


Hispanic Executive

gets me.” To do this, we do extensive research to understand them and the occasions in which they enjoy beer, which differ from consumer group to consumer group. We then spend countless hours translating these insights from research into our communication’s copy and imagery. If we get the mix of research and communication elements right, our consumer will instantly feel connected to the piece and respond positively to our brand.

Executive Timeline The career of Cristobal Rivera

2002 After graduating from Duke University, joins Prudential Financial in the Leadership Development Program 2003–2006

What advice do you have for younger executives interested in brand management? What skill set do you need to succeed?

Brand management is an amazing career. Given that the job’s mission is to advocate for consumers’ needs and wants, the job keeps you on your toes and your ears to the ground at all times. As for skills to develop for promising new marketers, communication skills are a huge must. It is critical to have clear, compelling, and simple communication when trying to sell your solutions to the business, communicate with consumers, or problem solve with an agency. A second skill that is critical to the position is the ability to collaborate with others. As a brand manager, yes, you direct the ship ... but with the help of a lot of experts from supply chain, operations, finance to sales. It is important that you are able to partner with these internal partners to solve your business’ issues.

Holds various roles from e-commerce, compliance, to sales and marketing at the firm 2006–2008 Attends Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College 2008–2010 Works at PepsiCo on the Tropicana brand where he serves on various innovation, brand, and customer marketing projects 2010 Joins MillerCoors as associate brand manager for Coors Light Hispanic where he is promoted within one year to brand manager


to ensuring execution of the Hispanic marketing plan in local markets. I’ll spend a great deal of time partnering with the local sales and marketing teams to ensure they have the information and resources to win in the market. Rounding out the year, I transition to planning for the upcoming year’s strategy and communication. This is a laborious process of consumer research, analysis of business performance, and understanding our competitors’ current and potential moves.


COMUNIDAD ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Guided by our vision to be the best beer company in America, MillerCoors is commited to inspiring and supporting the next generation of great American business owners. With an investment of more than $1 million in business grants and resources, it is our goal to create more job opportunities in our communities across the nation. For more information on our community involvement, please visit

Š 2011 MillerCoors LLC, Chicago, IL

Voces Insiders

Tuning into a corporate counsel career with Claudia Teran of Fox Networks Group

interview by Chris Allsop


Hispanic Executive

Claudia Teran—recognized in 2008, and again in 2011, by The Imagen Foundation as one of the most influential Latinos in entertainment—is the executive vice president, business and legal affairs, and deputy general counsel for Fox Networks Group. Today, she oversees a team of 28 professionals tasked with handling the business and legal affairs needs for many of Fox’s domestic and international cable and broadcast networks and properties. Her parents are Bolivian nationals who lived all over the world prior to moving to the United States—something that sparked an early interest in languages: she speaks English, Spanish, and French. She hasn’t traveled to Bolivia in many years, but adds, “It’s one of the locations on the holiday travel list that I’m really hoping to get back to soon.”

Photo: Michael Becker

“When I was in kindergarten and got the usual question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ the response was always the same: ‘I want to be a judge.’”

Insiders Voces

Executive Timeline The career of Claudia Teran

1994 Graduates from the University of California, Berkeley Did your parents ever have trouble getting you to do your homework?

Homework wasn’t the problem. From a young age, I was a voracious reader. If you ask my parents, they are likely to say the problem was getting me to put the book down, or better yet, to turn off the flashlight that I was using to read after bedtime. What drew you to the law?

When I was in kindergarten and got the usual question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the response was always the same: “I want to be a judge.” I had no idea what it was to study the law or, worse yet, that you needed to be a lawyer to be a judge. I was really lucky, because even without that knowledge, that initial interest steered me in the right direction. Of course, I ended up nowhere near a courtroom life. As a young lawyer, I quickly realized that working on deals in a business setting was far more appealing to me. Did you ever consider doing anything else?

In all honesty, no. I’ve been very lucky. My role at Fox has included both business and legal functions. My job is constantly evolving as we are always looking at new business models and expanding into new arenas. As a team, we are always moving at high speed and strategizing with our business executives about what we want to do next. My role continues to morph over time and that’s what keeps me enthused about it. Are you a sports fan?

I am now! I started at a division called Fox Sports International, where a lot of the initial work that I did was focused on the acquisition and distribution of international-sports rights in the US and abroad, and it included a lot of day-today interaction with our Spanish-language sports businesses in the US and Latin America. Through that introduction to the business, I was immersed in world-class sports around the globe— and it made me into a fan. I’ve come to really enjoy it.

April/May/June 2012

How did it feel to be recognized as one of the most influential Latinos by the Imagen Foundation and what has been the impact following this award?

It is a huge honor. Imagen is an incredible organization—and to be acknowledged by one’s own community, well, it is even more special. The biggest impact has been an unexpected one: the opportunity that I’ve been given to advise and mentor others. The recognition really comes with [the] responsibility to give back and “pay it forward” by sharing the knowledge we’ve attained thus far. How are you exercising this responsibility?

My primary focus is education and opportunity. Anything I can do to help young people in this regard—especially to motivate kids to stay in school and help them understand the importance of what they’re doing and how it’s going to impact their future—is important to me. If we can mentor people at the formative times in their development (and in their careers provide them with positive role models and help guide where they put their focus) it goes a long way to help counteract a lot of the negative stereotypes and pressure from society telling them they won’t achieve their hopes and dreams. What are your future goals?

Personally, I’m negotiating with my mom to motivate her to train for a marathon together! We’ll see … Professionally, I’ve been very lucky to be in a position that presents me with a constant brainteaser. It feels like every morning there’s a new device, a new delivery system, something changing in the way people are consuming media, or another change to the existing business model. I love those continual challenges—they create amazing opportunities.

1997 Obtains degree from New York University School of Law 1997 Joins Sidley & Austin, Los Angeles as an associate 2000 Works at Fox as director business & legal affairs, Fox Sports International 2002 Earns promoted to VP, business and legal affairs, Fox Cable Networks 2003 Becomes a member of the launch team for Fuel TV, Fox’s first youthoriented cable network and the nation’s only action-sports network 2004 Is appointed to SVP, business and legal affairs, Fox Cable Networks 2007 Given oversight of legal affairs for Fox Digital Media and Fox Cable Distribution 2009 Ascends to SVP and associate general counsel for Fox Cable Networks 2011 Serves as executive vice president and deputy general counsel for Fox 217

Celebrating A Shared Commitment to Diversity Greenberg Traurig joins Hispanic Executive in recognizing Claudia Teran for her leadership, focus on excellence and commitment to advancing diversity. We are proud to share in your dedication to providing everyone an equal opportunity. Congratulations, Claudia. ALBANY | AMSTerdAM | ATLANTA | AuSTiN | BOSTON | ChiCAGO | dALLAS | deLAWAre | deNver | FT LAuderdALe | hOuSTON | LAS veGAS | LONdON* LOS ANGeLeS | MexiCO CiTY+ | MiAMi | NeW JerSeY | NeW YOrk | OrANGe COuNTY | OrLANdO | PALM BeACh COuNTY | PhiLAdeLPhiA | PhOeNix SACrAMeNTO | SAN FrANCiSCO | ShANGhAi | SiLiCON vALLeY | TALLAhASSee | TAMPA | TYSONS COrNer | WAShiNGTON, d.C. | WhiTe PLAiNS

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Flying high with Perfecto M. Solis of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport What do you do if you want to be an Air Force pilot but you find out you’re color blind? If you’re Perfecto M. Solis, you turn your love of aviation into a successful engineering career that earns you numerous awards and accolades. Serving as vice president of airport development and engineering for Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, Solis oversees a multimilliondollar budget and up to 100 projects at a time including his larger project to date—a seven-year, $2 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP). Solis tells Hispanic Executive about the people that impacted his professional journey, the core fundamentals of his business beliefs, and how his passion for aviation took flight. interview by Julie Edwards

What influences led you to the field you are in today?

As a child in Laredo, Texas, I had an intense interest in construction and aviation. If there was any construction equipment around, I’d be the first kid going to look at what they were doing. I also loved aviation, and have been fortunate to find a career that has combined all those passions I had as a child. Were there any other events from your youth that impacted your career?

The summer before my senior year of high school, my father passed away. The single most important event in my life, his passing took me from being a typical self-absorbed teenager to being the man of the house. The most important lesson I took from this time was that I could be more than I dreamed. It just takes hard work and discipline. How did your first job in the field shape you professionally?

Financing college was a burden following my father’s death. Thanks to Jack Davis, a friend of my parents, I was given the opportunity to meet with Mr. H.B. Zachry, owner of Zachry Construction Company in San Antonio. Mr. Zachry offered me a deal I could not refuse: Finish my civil engineering degree and he would provide a job to allow me to fund my education while going to school. Through his generosity, I not only finished my degree


Hispanic Executive

in civil engineering from Texas A&M, but also gained real-time experience in the profession I’d chosen. Are there others who’ve deeply influenced what you’re committed to in your work and life?

Every path has led me to someone who has taken an interest in my success. Obviously, a great deal can be attributed to my parents who were lifelong educators and my family who provide ongoing support. In high school, I had two people that to this day impact my life: Armandina De Los Santos, my trigonometry teacher, and Viola Moore, my high school principal. At DFW, so many people have taken an interest in me, as well. My CEO

and executive staff have reinforced the importance of collaboration, coordination, and communication. In this industry, it’s not just about being a technical expert; it’s about being part of a team. How has your career path prepared you for your current role?

After college graduation, I worked as a structural test engineer on aircrafts, then spent time working as a senior design structural engineer with the FAA, which is where I began to understand engineering on airfield projects. That lead me to DFW Airport in 1996 where I’ve been ever since, working my way through the ranks. As vice president for airport development and engineering, it’s my respon-

“Over the past six years that I have worked with Perfecto, I have grown to depend on his good judgment, fair assessment of situations, and thoughtful approach on how the airport should move forward. As a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, I rely on this expertise and integrity when making decisions about the future of the airport.” Francisco Hernandez Chair, Board of Directors, DFW Intl. Airport

“The thing that has surprised me most is that people believing in you can make all the difference.”

Executive Timeline The career of Perfecto Solis

1983 Begins career as a field engineer with Zachry Construction Company in San Antonio 1990 Joins Parsons Brinkerhoff as a senior design structural engineer 1991 Achieves status of registered professional engineer 1998 Gets promoted to senior project manager at DFW Airport 2003 Accepts promotion to assistant vice president of project development for DFW Airport sibility to manage large-scale projects, like TRIP, and lead a multidisciplined team that is responsible for maintaining an average of more than $100 million worth of annual ongoing projects. What is the best business decision you’ve made in your current role?

Hire the best people you can find and give them the tools and authority to get their jobs done. This belief has been a long-standing practice at DFW Airport and one I completely embrace. I’ve surrounded myself with a team that has always delivered. You’ve accomplished quite a bit in 26 years … what’s next?

Right now, I’m in the middle of a large renewal of four of the five terminals at DFW Airport, which will not be completed until 2017. I’m charged with basically gutting the entire terminal and starting over with the existing structure while keeping DFW Airport operational through this major construction. Were there any surprises along the way in your career?

The thing that has surprised me most is that people believing in you can make all the difference. From my promotion to a senior project manager to my current role as a vice president, others belief in me and my abilities has really been key to my success. A MESSAGE FROM LEMCO Construction LEMCO Construction Services specializes in aviation construction. We are proud to provide construction services to the Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport on a continual basis for ten years. We look forward to expanding our partnership to include projects within the current Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP). A MESSAGE FROM Parsons

Parsons, celebrating more than 65 years of growth in the engineering and construction industry, is a leader in many diversified markets with a focus on infrastructure, environmental, and defense/ security. Parsons delivers design/designbuild, program/construction manage-

2006 Steps into current role as vice president of airport development and engineering for DFW Airport

ment, professional services, and innovative alternative delivery solutions to federal, regional, and local government agencies, as well as to private industrial customers worldwide. For more about Parsons, please visit A MESSAGE FROM Jacobs

Jacobs is proud to be partnered with DFW International Airport’s leadership for the continued success of the Terminal Renewal & Improvement Program. Currently engaged in the design of the passenger terminal, parking structure and DART Rail Station at Terminal A, Jacobs is dedicated to unparalleled results. Jacobs is one of the world’s largest providers of architecture, engineering and specialty consulting services.

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Taking charge with LaKisha Garcia of MasterCard

“Thanks in part to our efforts, people are becoming more aware of what a prepaid card is and how it helps you figure out in advance how you’ll manage your money.”

As part of MasterCard’s US multicultural marketing team, LaKisha Garcia, director of US marketing for MasterCard Worldwide, spends her days developing programs that provide multicultural audiences with information about flexible and reliable payments tools. As the second most widely used payment system in the United States, MasterCard has put Garcia in charge of this sizable task, a responsibility she has rightfully earned through her 11-year tenure with the company. In fact, it was during her first-ever summer internship with MasterCard International that Garcia’s passion for marketing was sparked—and she’s been maximizing her talents ever since. interview by Tina Vasquez

What drew you to MasterCard?

What initially drew me to MasterCard were the people. I had the benefit of working with smart people and MasterCard is a place that constantly offers employees the opportunity to grow. I have a passion for what I do and I take great pride in representing MasterCard. What is a typical day like for you?

There is no such thing as a typical work day. I focus on providing our issuers with resources that support our mutual business objectives—to reach new and existing audiences, enhance customer satisfaction and retention, and drive revenue growth. This is accomplished by producing thorough research and strategizing ways to reach multicultural audiences with insights, financial education, products, and services in a way that’s

Insiders Voces relevant, tailored, and interesting. Aside from that, you can find me coordinating production, executing programs, evaluating results, collecting data, or staying in touch with what’s down the road for internal and external partners. How do you define success in your industry and at your particular job?

I define success in the prepaid industry as eliminating the ambiguity in the meaning of prepaid financial services. Thanks in part to our efforts, people are becoming more aware of what a prepaid card is and how it helps you figure out in advance how you’ll manage your money.

obstacles when trying to meet challenging goals?

Balancing the brand and product messages is a daily goal. Brand management is about creating an emotional connection to a commodity. It’s about balancing the product attributes and about the way the product makes the consumer feel. What does the future hold for you?

Design Innovate Build Deliver

In the immediate future, I envision a role in advancing digital wallets and mobile payments. I also see myself as a teacher, giving back to the community and building on the knowledge I’ve gained educating key audiences while working at MasterCard.

How do you target your audience while also meeting the needs of different financial segments?

The US market is very diverse; gone are the one-size-fits-all days. At MasterCard, we are always looking for ways to ensure that we provide consumers with products and services that not only meet their varied needs and preferences, but also tie closely to their interests and passions—such as music, movies, family, and culture. Many of our programs focus on educating consumers about the benefits of prepaid cards. There are several million consumers in the US that do not have access to traditional banking relationships, so we are focused on delivering them secure and relevant products that help them with financial management. A large area of concentration for us is the Hispanic segment. We partnered with Univision in 2009 to develop prepaidcard products for the Hispanic audience, including the Univision prepaid MasterCard card—a flexible payment tool that helps meet the everyday payment needs of Hispanic consumers. In the 11 years since you’ve been at MasterCard, social media has made major strides. How do you incorporate social media into your programs and how has this changed the way you do your job?

Our research shows that multicultural consumers are very connected, so we make sure all of our programs incorporate a strong digital element, in conjunction with other strategies like advertising, partnerships, and traditional media. Engaging in social media is a necessity, not an opportunity. What are the most difficult aspects of your job and how do you overcome

Executive Timeline The career of LaKisha Garcia

1997 Accepts an internship with MasterCard International 1998

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — Texas

Becomes an administrative specialist and coordinator with International Business Machines in Somers, New York 2000 Returns to MasterCard International as a marketing coordinator 2004–2007 Works as an advertising specialist, building the MasterCard brand for Brazil and Mexico 2007–2010 Delivers all MasterCard Worldwide’s marketing programs for youth, Hispanic, and sponsorships as program manager 2010–Present Serves as marketing director, with a focus on building MasterCard’s prepaid business

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April/May/June 2012

Voces Insiders

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Insiders Voces

Discovering law outside of Newton’s with Benjamin Yrun-Ostapuk of Intel Corp.

“It’s like watching custom Discovery Channel because the scientists and engineers at Intel are breaking the laws of physics every two years by making newer, faster, smaller devices.”

interview by Matt Alderton

April/May/June 2012

As a boy in Tucson, Arizona, the only laws that interested Benjamin Yrun-Ostapuk were Newton’s. Eventually, however, the aspiring physicist followed in the footsteps of his parents—his Polish father and his Mexican mother—both of whom were attorneys. Armed with a law degree from Stanford Law School, he spent 11 years developing an expertise in patent litigation at major law firms like Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Now, as senior litigation counsel at Intel Corp., he’s using that expertise to help the world’s leading producer of microprocessors and semiconductors define the rules of engagement in the emerging world of mobile connectivity. 227

Voces Insiders


We are proud to salute Ben Ostapuk for his work and leadership as Intel in-house counsel on patent litigation matters. Ben’s enormous depth and breadth of experience in private practice, combined with his exceptional technical and legal acumen, superior writing talent, keen negotiating skills, and stellar sense of humor, make him a

We are honored to salute ben ostapuk for his business and community leadership.

very rare breed.

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Insiders Voces Why did you become a lawyer?

I grew up wanting to be a physicist and was a math/science guy in high school, so I went off to Cornell and studied physics. Within a couple years, however, I realized I was not going to be the next great Nobel Prize winner. On the other hand, I could read and write really well, so over time I drifted into law. Ultimately, I thought, “Hey, I sure would like to fuse my interest in science and math with law.” So, I started getting into patent litigation, and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. What, exactly, is patent litigation?


Just because someone’s a brilliant scientist doesn’t mean they can communicate their ideas in a nontechnical way to other people. There’s a serious need for somebody that can serve that translation function. With patent litigation, you’ve got to get down into the weeds with hardcore scientists, then ultimately communicate their concepts in a really easily understandable way to either a lay jury or lay judges. So, I basically get to meet with all these brilliant scientists, engineers, and experts in the field and have them tutor me in the stuff I’m interested in anyway. It’s like watching custom Discovery Channel because the scientists and engineers at Intel are breaking the laws of physics every two years by making newer, faster, smaller devices. I get paid to spend time with these people. Then, when there’s a case Intel’s involved in— whether it’s as a plaintiff or defendant— I get to decide with my legal hat on: What’s the most advantageous way to approach this from a litigation perspective? How do I position my legal argument in a way that has in mind what the technical reality is, but then also is very much about rhetorical strategy and communication? It’s pretty much a dream-come-true position.

Going from science to law may seem like a huge change in career paths, but Benjamin YrunOstapuk found his two interests coincide at Intel. “I basically get to meet with all these brilliant scientists, engineers, and experts in the field and have them tutor me in the stuff I’m interested in anyway,” Yrun-Ostapuk says.

lawsuits against each other to basically put taxes on each other’s products through litigation-based settlements and licenses. We haven’t seen that kind of company-to-company litigation in a generation. It sounds like a pretty exciting time to be in your position. What’s next?

Right now, I’m working on broadening my business acumen—thinking like a businessperson, not just a lawyer. That to some extent is a new gig for me. Longer term, I definitely would like to serve in a board role or in some other senior executive role. Number one, I think that would be really personally interesting. Number two, I have a renewed appreciation for the extent to which that brings a different kind of power and voice to the Hispanic community, because it enables you to support people underneath you and to open people’s minds and hearts who aren’t of your heritage.

Why is patent litigation so important for a company like Intel?

Speaking of the Hispanic community, what’s your advice for young Latinos in Corporate America?

Motorola’s got not just the phone, but also the docking station that turns the phone into a computer. Apple’s coming out with iPads and other things that turn on their head traditional ideas about what a desktop computer is. And Google’s buying handset makers so they can get away from being just a search engine company. Everybody’s colliding into one another’s market segments, but none of the legal relationships have been worked out yet. So, people are trying to either use patents they already have or acquire patents, then they’re bringing

In top-level Corporate America, there’s still a big focus on credentials. Those credentials give you so much more ability and flexibility, but to get them you have to be willing to bite the bullet and make some sacrifices. Life definitely isn’t balanced on a day-to-day basis, and that can be particularly hard in our community, with its strong importance on family ties and family events. It’s hard, but if you can hang on and make whatever sacrifices you need to make in the short term, you’ll open so many doors in the long term.

Executive Timeline The career of Benjamin Yrun-Ostapuk

1971 Yrun-Ostapuk is born in Tucson, Arizona, the son of two attorneys 1989 Attends Cornell University to study physics, but later decides to study law 1996 Graduates from Stanford Law School. Although he initially pursues a career in pro-bono criminal defense, he eventually decides to focus on patent litigation. 1998 Gets his first patent-litigation case while working at Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP. This qualifies him for a position in the patent-litigation practice of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and, after that, Kirkland & Ellis LLP. 2010 Joins Intel Corp. as one of four attorneys in its high-profile patentlitigation practice 229

Voces Insiders

Reaching the multicultural market with Joseph Vizcarra of Unilever Even at a young age, Joseph Vizcarra recalls noticing a difference in the way that companies marketed their products to different cultures. His interest in marketing grew as a student at Arizona State University, prompting him to join a Phoenix firm upon graduation in 1997. Currently, he serves as multicultural marketing manager with Unilever, a global leader in foods and personal care with brands including Dove, Knorr, Degree, Lipton, AXE, Hellmann’s, and Ben & Jerry’s. Here, Vizcarra shares with Hispanic Executive how he combines his passions for culture and marketing in this exciting, and evolving, industry.

“I would watch Telemundo at my grandmother’s house and see that the ads on those stations were different from what I saw on ABC, though it was the same product. This always stuck in my mind.”

What are your key responsibilities as a multicultural marketing manager?

interview by Zipporah Porton


Hispanic Executive

I manage Unilever’s ViveMejor program, which means “live better.” It’s a consumer-facing platform that I helped initiate four years ago. It’s everything from in-store efforts to creating the website ( where, as a company, we speak to Hispanic consumers with one voice. Unilever’s ViveMejor platform has reached millions of

Hispanic consumers since its launch in 2007. We’ve grown our Hispanic database by over 400,000 people, we’ve seen a 350-percent increase in website visitors over 2010, and gained more than 70,000 Facebook “likes” since November 2010. The ViveMejor program has also partnered with retailers like Walmart and Target. I also work with the shopper marketing team on all Hispanic activations, and with our

Insiders Voces

brands on their overall advertising and marketing campaigns for the Hispanic audience. How did you become interested in multicultural marketing?

I have always observed what kind of marketing was out there for the Hispanic culture. When I was young, I would watch Telemundo at my grandmother’s house and see that the ads on those stations were different from what I saw on ABC, though it was the same product. This always stuck in my mind. Multicultural marketing is my passion, partly because of my MexicanAmerican background. I also like that it gives me the opportunity to be creative and always work on something new. Although there are fewer set processes when it comes to Hispanic marketing, [since]it’s a newer industry, as the consumer landscape evolves, so do the marketing opportunities.

can see how the industry is evolving with digital media and social media. There are more dollars going into it from companies, and more media opportunities. There are also dozens of Hispanic TV networks out there now, as opposed to a handful when I first started.

As a multicultural marketing manager, Joseph Vizcarra has helped Unilever connect with millions of Hispanic consumers online and at in-store events via the ViveMejor campaign.

What advice do you have for other Latino professionals who want to work in marketing?

The career of Joseph Vizcarra

I would definitely say “come on in,” because it would only benefit whatever company you’re joining to bring diverse cultural ways of thinking to the table. However, within multicultural marketing, you’ll need a thick skin, because at some point you’ll have to defend why you’re there. People will ask: “Why should we be allocating Hispanic dollars?” Your job will be to have the answer in clear business-growth terms, and then prove results.

Has multicultural marketing changed over the years?

What I’m doing today is completely different from what we did 10 years ago. Even the consumer has changed. You

April/May/June 2012

1997 Receives bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State University, Phoenix 1997 Serves as assistant account executive at Hispanic advertising/ promotional agency in Phoenix 1998 Gets promoted to account executive 2000

Has being involved with Hispanic Retail 360 benefited your career?

I have attended the conference for the past four years and it’s one of the biggest and best conferences for the Hispanic market. Aside from the speakers and the educational aspect, it’s a great place to make new connections. In 2010, Unilever sponsored a cocktail hour for retailers to discuss what we were doing in the Hispanic space. We had a great turnout, and it brought about numerous business-development opportunities.

Executive Timeline

Works as account executive for The Motta Company in Los Angeles A MESSAGE FROM Del Rey Marketing Del Rey Marketing has successfully been connecting the top National brands with Hispanic consumers for over 15 years with customized programs such as “Disfruta La Pasion de la Vida” ( for Unilever. The expansion and growth of this grass-roots program has been possible due to the support of professionals like Joe Vizcarra. His passion and dedication to multicultural marketing is evident through the nationally recognized platform of ViveMejor®. We congratulate Joe on all of his accomplishments!

2001 Accepts the position of business development manager at Hispanic marketing consulting firm in Passaic, New Jersey 2002 Takes a job at The Bravo Group in New York City as senior account executive 2005-Present Directs his passion to his position as multicultural marketing manager with Unilever 231

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Voces Insiders

Giving the apparel industry a technological makeover with Luis Paez of Perry Ellis International, Inc. “I have never once had to say that I wanted to do this or that and that I needed money. They have always been right there, ready and willing to make the investment.”

Known as one of the largest men’s sportswear companies in the world, Perry Ellis International, Inc. is also a leading designer and distributor of women’s and children’s apparel, accessories, and fragrances. Currently flirting with the $1 billion-revenue mark, the company is at a place in the industry that many companies can only dream about. Such is the case with Perry Ellis CIO Luis Paez, a man who has led the successful implementation of a number of business systems that have permitted his company to prosper and gain a competitive advantage during a time when the apparel industry in the United States has been consolidating and shrinking. Hispanic Executive recently sat down with Paez to discuss the relentless work ethic that began as a child growing up in Miami and has propelled him throughout his career. interview by Tricia Despres

You have said that your whole life has prepared you for your current role as Perry Ellis’s CIO. In what ways do you believe this to be true?

When I was 11 years old, my family and I left Cuba and moved to Spain because of political reasons. We lived in Spain for three years before moving to the United States. I was always interested in finding ways to bring additional dollars in to help my family. When I was in the 10th grade, my father was very sick, and I ended up getting my first apparel job in Miami. I was working there 10 hours a day so my mother could take care of my father. As a kid, you just do what you have to do to make ends meet. Eventu-


Hispanic Executive


ally, we received a court order saying that I needed to go back to school. You entered a work program at your high school. What was that like?

It was at that time that I really started getting interested in electronics. I would attend school all day and then work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night. I was growing up very quickly. I worked as a sewing-machine mechanic and also started to dabble with computers and how they were poised to really affect the apparel industry.

Executive Timeline The career of Luis Paez

1977 Takes job at Suave Shoe 1978 Begins his college career at Miami Dade Community College where he earns a degree in engineering 1983 Continues his education at University of Miami on an academic scholarship

Eventually you continued your studies at the University of Miami, but you left apparel for flight simulators?

[Laughs] Yes, I did work with flight simulators for a while. The bottom line was my love for technology. Through the years, I worked with everything from robotics to fiber-optic networks to automation of payroll within a company. How did you end up at Perry Ellis?

I was introduced to the current CEO of Perry Ellis, George Feldenkreis, and he wanted to hire me. Back in the early ’90s, I had a wife, child, and a house. So, of course, I was ready to listen to his offer. This company has been amazing to me from the very beginning. Back in 1994, this was a $50 million company. This fiscal year [ending in January 2012], we think we will hit $1 billion [at press time]. I have never once had to say that I wanted to do this or that and that I needed money. They have always been right there, ready and willing to make the investment. You now spend much of your time mentoring public high-school students who are interested in the field of technology. Why is this so important to you?

I want to make technology exciting for young people. The Academy of Information Technology allows students who might not have had the funds to do so learn more about the great field of technology. Right now, if you are good, you will find a job in the technology field. I can’t find enough good people right now. We have a student in the program right now whose grades are certainly not the best, but is true

April/May/June 2012

1986 Takes position as digital design engineer at GE Simulation & Control Systems 1990 Joins Suave Shoe as system engineering director 1994 Is named MIS director for Perry Ellis International, Inc. 2000 Earns appointment to CIO of Perry Ellis, overseeing the company’s technology infrastructure 2006 Recognized as one of the top 100 most important Hispanics in technology and business by Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology and Science Spectrum magazines


Harvard material. Raised by a single mom, he just doesn’t have the time to put to his studies. Does he remind you of yourself back in the day?

Perhaps. My parents have always been proud of me. Everyone just needs someone in their life to show them their inner power, and then provide guidance … and often, just a little push.


Voces Insiders

Managing risk with Ilieva Ageenko of Bank of America Whether it’s in financial services or academia, Ilieva Ageenko is one of those decision makers with the Midas touch. Not many executives can say they pioneered mobile baking in the US market, but Ageenko can. Senior executive, economist, PhD—all of these titles fit under her name with a few accolades, as well. In 2009, she was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in Information Technology by the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC). With more than 25 years of experience, Ageenko is now Bank of America’s senior vice president and quantitative risk-technology executive where she strategically plans enterprise technology delivery with the bank’s business partners. Ageenko shares her story and her wisdom with Hispanic Executive. interview by Aaron Mays

Can you describe what quantitativerisk technology entails?

In today’s global financial markets, managing risk has become a very complex business activity that requires the use of sophisticated analytics to understand and predict how the bank’s credit portfolio will behave under different macroeconomic scenarios. Quantitative-risk technology enables the bank to run multiple Monte-Carlo simulations using massive parallel computers and to stress the portfolio under different macroeconomic conditions. At what point in your professional development did you decide this is what you wanted to do?

I have a background in mathematical economics and many years of leadership experience managing technology and a global workforce. However, until now, I never had a true opportunity to use all these skills at the same time. The closest I came to [doing] that was about 10 years ago when I managed a group of predictive marketing but afterward I took a role in e-commerce where I managed emerging e-commerce technologies. In 2010, I decided to look for an executive role that would allow me to combine my diverse skills to develop complex-quantitative technology


Hispanic Executive

solutions to solve complex-analytical problems in the financial markets.

What has been a major turning point in your career?

What is the riskiest business decision that you’ve made?

After I obtained my PhD and decided to switch from working in a research field to financial services.

The riskiest business decision I have made was to sign a multimilliondollar agreement with AT&T to develop and launch the next generation of mobile banking and bill pay in the US market. There was an enormous competitive pressure at the time in financial services to develop the first mobile banking and bill-pay application; the technology solutions were not mature then and the mobile industry lacked a common standard. While making a decision to become the industry leader was very risky at the time, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences in my career as a bank executive. This decision gave me the opportunity to lead the market and bring mobile banking to millions of customers in the US. Who would you consider an instrumental figure or mentor in your career and why?

My mother was a role model in my career. She was a very successful psychologist and university professor and taught me many lessons on how to balance career and family.

Tell me one thing people would be surprised to know about you.

I wrote a book titled Connecting My Dots, which provides advice to women on how to balance your career, family, and personal goals. Writing this book was the last opportunity I had to work with my mother. Together, we interviewed many successful women who shared their advice and wisdom with us. During an event at the Capitol Hill, I had the opportunity to present a copy of my book to the US secretary of labor Hilda Solis. The banking industry has seen some peaks and valleys. Any advice for young professionals, especially young Latinas in your field?

I consider mentoring young professional women as one of my key contributions as a Latina executive in corporate America. Young women lack female role models in the quantitative-finance field so I take advantage of multiple opportunities through different employee mentoring programs at Bank of America to provide career advice to young women. Unfortunately, I have not seen many young

Insiders Voces

“While making a decision to become the industry leader was very risky at the time, it ... gave me the opportunity to lead the market and bring mobile banking to millions of customers in the US.”

Executive Timeline The career of Ilieva Ageenko


Latinas selecting a career in this field. I believe that while the number of women is the quantitative finance field is limited, the opportunities are endless. The quantitative field is quite challenging and the application to the financial markets is very interesting. However, science, math, and technology are growing fields in today’s global economy and an excellent opportunity for young Latinas to have a successful career. My main advice for young Latinas is to have a career plan, to persevere in achieving career goals, to not be afraid of taking risks, and to work with passion. A MESSAGE FROM Accenture

Accenture congratulates Ilieva for her distinguished leadership at Bank of America. She is an inspiration to professionals in the field of technology risk management. Accenture has enjoyed a long partnership with Bank of America

April/May/June 2012

and is pleased to help support the riskmanagement technology initiative. With Ilieva’s vision and focus, Bank of America is a leader in risk management, helping to provide key metrics in managing the business risk. Her hard work is helping the bank manage overall business risk and ultimately improving customer and shareholder value. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 236,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. Its home page is

Works as a research economist, Institute of Economic Research, Cuba 1998-1999 Becomes VP, manager of marketing predictive analytics at First Union 2000-2005 Transitions to VP, Internet CRM manager at Wachovia 2005-2009 Climbs the ranks to SVP, director of eCommerce Emerging Technologies at Wachovia 2009 Changes gears to SVP, ecommerce money movement executive at Bank of America 2011 Is currently employed as SVP, quantitative risk technology executive at Bank of America 237

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Food for thought with Susan Santiago of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

“When I started with Hyatt 20 years ago, we had three female general managers. We’ve now grown that to about 15. It’s not where we should be, but I’m out there leading the cause within Hyatt.”

interview by Matt Alderton


Hispanic Executive

How did you end up in the hospitality industry?

I grew up in a modest financial household and certainly didn’t have the finer things in life, thus I made the decision at an early age that I wanted to become successful. Eventually, I decided to be an elementary school teacher. After graduating from college, I taught elementary school for two years and decided to get my master’s degree. I moved to Tampa and worked at Hyatt Regency Westshore as a server in their restaurant, just to put myself through school. Unfortunately, I had a tragedy in my family when my younger brother was killed. I decided life was way too short and I was just going to quit everything and live a life without responsibilities. The only thing I didn’t quit was my job at the Hyatt because it was paying my bills. Three months later it was


Because she’s moved 12 times in 20 years, Susan Santiago likens a career in the hospitality industry to one in the armed forces. Instead of military bases, however, her tours of duty have taken her to top-tier destinations like Orlando, Florida, New York, Phoenix, and the Caribbean, among others. Perhaps the most important place they’ve taken her, however, is up: Santiago began working for Hyatt as a server at the former Hyatt Regency Westshore in Tampa Bay, Florida, in 1992. Since then, she’s worked at several of Hyatt’s 456 properties worldwide in progressively senior positions, eventually rising to her current position as vice president of food and beverage for Hyatt, based at its corporate headquarters in Chicago.

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Voces Insiders clear I needed to begin a career, I decided I needed to do something I was passionate about, and my passion has always been and always will be food and beverage. What do you enjoy most about food and beverage?

As vice president of food and beverage, I’m responsible for the financial and service success of all our food-and-beverage operations in North America, Canada, and the Caribbean. My mother owned restaurants all her life but was an accountant by trade, so that gave me an appreciation for the business side of food and beverage. Food and beverage is the division that’s the hardest to make a profit in, and I really enjoy that challenge. What I enjoy most about food and beverage, however,

Executive Timeline The career of Susan Santiago

1967 Susan Santiago is born in Miami; both of her parents have careers in food service 1990 Graduates from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary physical education 1992 Begins working for Hyatt as a server at its Tampa hotel. After a personal tragedy, she quits teaching to pursue a career in food and beverage. 2005 Receives her first generalmanager position in Key West, Florida. Two years later, she becomes general manager of Hyatt’s Aruba resort and is named “GM of the Year” by Hyatt, which she considers a career highlight. 2010 Santiago is promoted to vice president of food and beverage in Hyatt’s corporate office 2010 Celebrates 20th anniversary with Hyatt


Hispanic Executive

Food and beverage is the division that’s the hardest to make a profit in, and I really enjoy that challenge. Susan Santiago Vice President, Food and Beverage

is that it also allows me to be creative. I’m a Pisces, so I’m a very creative person and I have to have the ability to use that creativity, but also to balance it with the business side. Food and beverage gives you the best of both worlds. Has succeeding in the hospitality industry been difficult as a Latina?

This is a very male-dominated industry. There’s no doubt about it. That’s changing, though. When I started with Hyatt 20 years ago, we had three female general managers. We’ve now grown that to about 15. It’s not where we should be, but I’m out there leading the cause within Hyatt. For instance, we have an organization we’re just kicking off—an employee network group called Women@Hyatt—that’s going to focus on addressing the challenges for females in our industry. It’s the same for Latinos and Latinas: You don’t see many minorities in senior-level leadership positions in the industry overall. This is an issue we focus on within Hyatt. What’s the most challenging part of your career?

The biggest challenge for upcoming managers in the industry is time management. I’ve taken time-management classes because it’s a learned skill. When I first started, I had no life outside of Hyatt. Over the years, I’ve developed those time-management skills and now have a much better balance between personal and professional life. I love to work out, for instance—I’m up at 5 a.m. every morning; I do at least 35 minutes of cardio and then I do weight training—and I love to go to the spa. Those things keep me energized so when I do come into work I’m giving 200 percent. What’s your advice to young Latinos and Latinas working in the hospitality industry?

I’ve never looked at my ethnicity or my gender as an obstacle. I’ve always just worked really hard to earn what that next position is. That’s what success comes down to: working hard, being genuine, and being very honest. That’s how you get the support of the teams around you, and working with teams is critical. Lastly, you have to have fun. At the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy what you do, you shouldn’t be doing it. This isn’t a job for me. It’s what I love to do. I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else. A MESSAGE FROM Smart Candle As the leader in LED flameless lighting, Smart Candle understands that quality, reliability and durability are just as important as the ambience our product creates. We offer a full selection of products for commercial use along with a full range of products for the end consumer. Visit A MESSAGE FROM Fortessa At Fortessa we are very proud of our partnership with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Susan Santiago. We pride ourselves on providing innovative products, supported by excellent service, that add value to the guest experience. Our motto of “Leading the Way in Tableware” is more than just a catch slogan: it is the essence of our company. We listen carefully to our customers, taking great care to learn about their evolving needs. We combine that with our unmatched industry expertise to bring products to market that offer real solutions to our customers; like aligning with Hyatt Hotels for high energy Lobby dining, plate sharing and creative presentations that enhance today’s guest experience. We sell directly to you, the end user and we are more than a vendor; we are a resource. Please visit us at


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Shifting from science to health-care law with Freddy Jimenez of Johnson & Johnson Colombia-born Freddy Jimenez didn’t plan on a career in law, but his interest in the life sciences led him to healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, where he quickly found a niche in regulatory affairs. Six years later, he had obtained his law degree by going to school in the evenings and was on a journey that would take him away from Johnson & Johnson— and eventually lead him right back. Below, Jimenez tells Hispanic Executive how he went from a life-sciences undergraduate to assistant general counsel at a $60 billion company.

“I had discovered a niche where I could combine life sciences with the law.”

interview by Julie Schaeffer

Did you always plan to be a lawyer?

No. I’ve always had a love for the life sciences, so I studied biology at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. As I was doing research work in genetics, however, I decided the science path wasn’t for me. Around that time, I stumbled upon a legal-ethics course, and realized I had discovered a niche where I could combine life sciences with the law, which interested me, so I picked up a legal-studies minor.


Hispanic Executive

Where did that lead you after you graduated?

Rutgers University. The path was set for me to be a regulatory lawyer.

I started working at Johnson & Johnson right out of college. I did clinical research for a year, then switched to regulatoryaffairs work.

You didn’t stay at Johnson & Johnson, though?

How did you end up with a law degree?

While I was doing regulatory-affairs work, Johnson & Johnson paid for me to obtain a law degree in the evenings at

No. After I got my law degree, I continued to work at Johnson & Johnson for a year, doing regulatory work, but not as an attorney. Companies like J&J don’t typically hire in-house counsel right out of school, so I had to get some law


experience. I left Johnson & Johnson to work in the food-and-drug practice at a Washington, DC-based law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. After two or three years, I returned to Johnson & Johnson, this time in the law department. What made you return to Johnson & Johnson?

I had two other job offers, one with a small biotech company and one for a large company similar to Johnson & Johnson. But I’d pretty much grown up at Johnson & Johnson. It has a widely diversified business, ethical people, and a culture that allows you to do interesting things as well as the right thing. It wasn’t a hard decision.

Practical legal guidance for a changing world Executive Timeline The career of Freddy Jimenez

1991 Graduates from Brandeis University 1991 Accepts a position at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) 1996 Obtains law degree from Rutgers University by attending school in the evenings 1997 Leaves J&J for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

What is your role like now?

Johnson & Johnson has three business sectors: pharmaceuticals, medical device and diagnostics, and consumer. I head the group of lawyers that provides regulatory legal support to the pharmaceuticals group, so I advise on general administrative law as well as all matters regarding the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and health-care law.

1999 Returns to J&J as a general attorney 2004 Earns promotion to assistant general counsel

What advice would you give people seeking to follow a similar career path?

I often speak to young people about careers in this field, and the two things that grab their attention are the importance of networking and—more practically speaking [and] particularly for people getting their law degree in the evenings—of doing well in law school, participating in Law Review, excelling as

approach, we draw on the unique capabilities of our diverse practice groups,

Can you give me some example of things you might do on a daily basis?

We’re a highly regulated industry so we need to make sure products are compliant. That means we support products from beginning to end. We look at issues such as informed consent that may arise during the course of a clinical trial and we ensure compliance with FDA regulations. We also look at promotional plans and marketing materials. It’s pretty much everything from beginning to end of a product’s life cycle.

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a summer associates, and other things to get yourself noticed, which can be a challenge when you are juggling school and work. Do you have any particular advice for Hispanics in the field?

The path of inside counsel is a useful one to consider because you get to practice law while participating in growing a business. I also think Hispanics bring great and diverse perspective to the corporate legal practice so I encourage people to think about this path among the others they should actively explore.

helping clients manage risk, identify opportunities and achieve the best possible outcomes. to learn more, visit

A MESSAGE FROM Akin Fump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP We congratulate Freddy Jimenez for Hispanic Executive’s recognition of his outstanding career and accomplishments at Johnson & Johnson! ©2011, ropes & gray llP

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is proud to support the

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Freddy Jimenez Assistant General Counsel of Johnson & Johnson William A. Sarraille 1501 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 T: 202.736.8000 | F: 202.736.871

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E R I C F. G R E ENB E R G P. C .

A TASTE FOR CHANGE Pedro DeJesús Jr. has never been one to shy away from a challenge. It’s no surprise then that he has taken on the task of revamping the legal department at Tampico Beverages, Inc. as well as steering the juice company’s culture away from complacency.

Innovators Voces

Pedro DeJesús Jr. has made some bold leaps—from X-ray technician to in-house counsel. Now, as senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Tampico Beverages, Inc., he’s pushing his company to think outside the juice box. by Ruth E. Dávila


edro DeJesús Jr. isn’t afraid to knock on doors—or to get knocked down. In his early years, he would cold-call executives for everything from jobs to advice. His intrepidness has led him to the top of one of the world’s leading juice companies, Tampico Beverages, Inc. As senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, DeJesús Jr. brings order to Tampico’s global brand and pushes it into new territories. The son of Dominican immigrants, DeJesús Jr. graduated from high school in his hometown of Chicago at 16. He got an associate degree in radiologic technology, working to help his mother with bills after his father’s passing. He quickly realized that life as an X-ray tech wouldn’t get him far financially. So he looked to where the money flowed: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. “I walked into the Merc’s administrative office and said, ‘Give me a list of every company in this building,’” DeJesús Jr. recalls. “Then I walked over to a telephone booth, and went down the list, starting with A.” By “G,” he had landed a job as a runner. For two years, DeJesús Jr. worked days at the “Merc” and nights at the hospital,

April/May/June 2012

until he landed a strong opportunity that warranted hanging up his lab coat. But four years later, with little long-term job security, he decided to become an attorney. By 29, he had earned a political science degree from Roosevelt University and entered Northwestern University School of Law. During his first summer, he heard that a Northwestern alum, Ruben Castillo, had just been appointed the first Latino federal judge in Illinois. Though the two had never met, DeJesús Jr. rang his chambers, and within a few weeks, Castillo granted him a meeting. When DeJesús Jr. told Castillo he hoped to work in public-interest law, Castillo advised him to consider joining a big firm first. “If you don’t do it,” DeJesús Jr. recalls Castillo saying, “people assume that it’s because you couldn’t do it. If you still want to work in public interest, a firm can help subsidize those interests for you.” Although DeJesús Jr. took the big-lawfirm track, the pecking order frustrated him. Big decisions, and often the big picture, weren’t privy to him as a junior associate. In 2000, he made a risky leap to a tech firm. Soon after, the dot-com bubble burst, sending DeJesús Jr. back to law-firm

life, but with a clear advantage. “Just to see how business operates, it was a world of learning compressed in a very short time period,” he says. “It’s very difficult at a big law firm to learn that.” In 2004, DeJesús Jr. became vice president and corporate counsel for Information Resources, Inc., a consumer data company. DeJesús Jr.’s experience at IRI prepped him for his current post with Tampico Beverages, which sells its brand in more than 50 world markets. (In 2008, Tampico was acquired by Houchens Industries, Inc., the largest employeeowned company in the United States and, according to Forbes, among the largest privately held companies in North America.) Since 2007, DeJesús Jr. has helped CEO Scott Miller steer Tampico’s culture away from complacency. “When the senior management team came into this business, there was a lack of discipline in legal and business matters,” he says. “Instilling that level of discipline in the organization was one of our big challenges.” Over time, DeJesús Jr. has revamped the legal department, building a new team with “a stronger 249

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At Seyfarth Shaw, we believe that diversity – in terms of people, perspectives and experiences – creates more innovative solutions. We join in recognizing Pedro DeJesús, Jr., General Counsel for Tampico Beverages, for his commitment to playing an active, positive role in the Hispanic community. About Seyfarth Shaw Seyfarth Shaw was founded in 1945 by three lawyers and has grown to more than 750 lawyers across ten offices. We handle issues for our clients in all key areas including labor and employment, commercial litigation,corporate and finance, employee benefits, real estate, and workouts and bankruptcy. Our success is the result of a constant, unrelenting focus on the needs of our clients. Our commitment to excellence and our belief in the strength of a team-based approach to the delivery of our services offers an atmosphere of creative and innovative thinking.

sense of accountability.” He issued a new employee handbook, business ethics and conduct policy, crisis-management plan, and a first-ever contract-approval procedure. He also redrafted Tampico’s bottling-and-licensing agreement and centralized the company’s trademark database, enabling him to manage the trademark portfolio globally. Next up for Tampico is expansion into other Latino food-and-beverage categories. DeJesús Jr. and Miller spent much of 2011 mapping out a growth strategy and evaluating potential acquisitions in “synergistic” industries. As usual, DeJesús Jr. is ready to pounce on a winning opportunity. “More often than not, in both business and life, those who take advantage of change and embrace it—rather than run from it or ignore it—almost always beat out those who do not,” he says. What’s more, DeJesús Jr. believes it’s his duty to create positive change. He serves as a trustee of Roosevelt University, works for government transparency and accountability with the Better Government Association, and serves on the board of Chicago-based Mujeres Latinas en Acción, which offers culturally sensitive services to Hispanic women. In 2010, he was appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Consumer Goods, whose members advise the US Commerce Department on trade agreements impacting the consumer-goods industry.

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Pedro DeJesús Jr.

Success Persistence, perseverance, and drive are the keys to success Innovation Businesses must progress or perish Integrity It must be ingrained in all you do—both personally and professionally Latino A community on the rise

DeJesús Jr. hopes more Latinos follow the path of doing good—and doing well. “We tell people to go to school and get an education, but we also have to instill the importance of being strong corporate leaders and building wealth,” he says, matterof-factly. “Because it puts you in the room with people that are making decisions affecting positions of power.”

GE Capital


If we were all the same, then we couldn’t make a difference. At GE Capital our employees are as diverse as our products and services. That's because we bring together the best of the world's imagination. We’re 50,000 minds operating in more than 50 countries around the world. Without diversity, we just wouldn’t be GE Capital. To learn more, please visit: and

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Nicolas Perez Stable’s early plans to focus on transactional law in Latin America were temporarily grounded by 9/11. After graduating law school in 2001, he wound up specializing in airline restructurings, a serendipitous move that took his career to unforeseen heights aboard GE Capital Aviation Services.

by Jennifer Hogeland


icolas Perez Stable’s interest in law has deep roots that preceded his successful career at GE. Back in high school, Nicolas was an avid debater and was also intrigued by international law and diplomacy. The ultimate push behind pursuing his law degree was to utilize his talent of efficiently resolving issues through thoughtful discussion and a desire to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. “Some of the most interesting issues get debated in the boardroom or at the negotiating table. That is something that always appealed to me about the law, the negotiation and in-depth discussion of issues,” Stable says. Stable, born in Miami, is the son of Cuban-Americans who came to the United States after the Castro revolution in the 1960s. From a cultural perspective, he believes that being Hispanic has made him a better negotiator. “I think we, as Hispanics, are culturally sensitive, empathetic, and skilled at connecting with people,” Stable says. “All of these skills are very important to any successful negotiation.” Nicolas earned his law degree from New York University School of Law in


Hispanic Executive

2001. His legal career began in New York City a week before 9/11 and the first professional lesson he learned was the need to be adaptable. “I started my legal career at a time when there was great flux in the law, and in the world,” he says. “Straight out of law school I expected to work on transactions in Latin America. Instead, I actually got into aviation finance by accident, through the airline restructurings that followed 9/11.” Yet, for Stable this experience was an opportunity to be part of a great team and to learn the ins and outs of transactions from different angles. “My early experiences with restructurings made me a better transactional lawyer and negotiator in the long run,” Stable adds. “My best earlycareer move was to take on challenging work, wherever it may come from.” While Stable eventually worked on multimillion-dollar financings in aviation and Latin America, his adaptability and knowledge of other aspects of the law ultimately helped him land his current position at GE five years ago. Stable is vice president and counsel of GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial-aircraft financing and leasing business of GE. The company is

one of the world’s leading commercialaircraft financing companies, with a fleet of over 1,750 owned and managed aircraft with approximately 245 airlines in 75 countries. As a transactional lawyer, Stable now works primarily on new-aircraft finance transactions, although the occasional restructuring is not uncommon. Approximately a quarter of the GECAS fleet in the United States is under Stable’s watchful eye. His responsibilities are both to negotiate and implement aircraft finance transactions and to understand how public-policy issues affect GECAS, its industry, and GE as a whole. Today, GECAS contributes more than a billion dollars of net profit to GE’s overall bottom line, partially because GECAS has consistently invested in the industry over time. “Although the aviation industry is a cyclical business, GECAS has had success by being a long-term player that tries to see around corners and adapts to changing market conditions,” Stable says. “That is something that I’ve learned working here. To be successful, you have to show a solid commitment to an industry and invest with a long-term vision.” Nicolas is also deeply involved with the GE Hispanic Forum, a volunteer as-


Because Nicolas Perez Stable started his career at a time “when there was great flux in the law, and in the world,” he quickly became a pro at adapting to changing market conditions.

The partners and staff of Weil salute GE Capital Aviation Services and Nicolas P. Stable for their

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Nicolas Perez Stable

Success Avoid being rigid; adapt to new market conditions Innovation People who deeply understand their industry will always have opportunities to grow Integrity Your word is your bond Latino I think of the future and the importance of harnessing the energy and intelligence of this growing group of people

sociation of GE employees whose main objective is to attract, develop, and retain Hispanic talent within GE. Stable does his part by working on the group’s external-outreach initiative. “We try to build bridges and connections with Hispanic organizations and Hispanic government officials to find areas of common ground that we mutually support,” Stable adds. “Some recent successes included the 2010 Census, free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, and various educational and health initiatives in the Hispanic community.” Stable also utilizes GE Six Sigma techniques to analyze issues that the legal department faces, such as rising outside counsel fees. The Six Sigma philosophy (a measurement-based strategy) teaches participants to consider the different variables within a process, isolate the key drivers, and implement a control process to create a more efficient process. “My work at GE and with Six Sigma has reinforced my belief that it is important to have a robust view of all aspects of a transaction, process, and industry in order to truly understand what is important and ultimately find lasting success.”

leadership and dedication to the advancement of diversity in the workplace. International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges has long looked to the GE family of companies for inspiration in the development of its own diversity agenda. GE has been a client of the firm for nearly 50 years, and during that time, the two organizations have teamed up on numerous programs and initiatives – from in-house diversity seminars to pro bono projects – that have helped to frame the diversity conversation and lead others to support diversityrelated objectives.

BEIJING BostoN BudapEst dallas duBaI FRaNKFuRt HoNG KoNG HoustoN loNdoN MIaMI April/May/June 2012


Weil, Gotshal & Manges llp

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“It’s not easy being green” doesn’t quite compute with Larry Madrid. After all, he’s launched three successful sustainable business ventures based on energyefficient buildings that save people money—and help the environment.

by Jennifer Hogeland


Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Larry Madrid

Success It is not the dollars; success is being able to help people in a significant way


arry Madrid started his own business, Madrid Engineering Group, Inc., nearly 20 years ago. Over the years Madrid, founder and president, grew the company to employ 50 people; this year he suspects they’ll reach $7 million in business. It was precisely this growth, and the subsequent need for larger office space, that presented Madrid with two additional business opportunities. As a geotechnical engineer in Florida, Madrid spent the vast majority of his career carving out his niche as a sinkhole expert. “I’ve spent my career making sure the foundations of buildings are stable,” Madrid adds. It wasn’t until he needed to build a new facility that memories of touring a passive solar house on a college field trip came flooding back. Moved by a structure that was both beautiful and energy efficient, Madrid had vowed 30 years prior that if the situation ever presented itself, he’d abide by the same design principles. Three years ago, he built Madrid Engineering Group’s current office. He designed the 4,500-square-foot main office to be LEED compliant. For the first two years, Madrid monitored the building’s energy costs: The main office’s electric bills were $425 a month, less than half of their previous rented office building. “But, we weren’t done. We put 113 solar panels on the roof, which generated $450 of electricity each month,” Madrid adds. Because they were generating solar energy during the hottest parts of the day, they were able to reduce their peak demand, which netted another $150 a month that Madrid wasn’t expecting. “It turned out to be fabulously successful for us. The system will pay itself off in record time and we had the chance to learn more about solar [power],” Madrid adds. Madrid has since formed Greenovative Design and Engineering, LLC. The purpose of the company is to design and evaluate buildings and infrastructure for energy efficiency and sustainability. They

April/May/June 2012

are proposing a 3.2-megawatt solar farm for their city of Bartlow, Florida, so they can also generate renewable energy. Madrid said, “We’ve done evaluations of existing buildings, both offices and residences, and made incredible strides in helping people to cut their energy costs.” A third business opportunity presented itself, this time to build energyefficient houses. He connected with a licensed contractor friend and decided to form Greenovative Homes LLC. They are in the process of building their first energy-efficient home. Based on a preliminary Home Energy Rating System (HERS), the home is nearly twice as efficient as the standard new construction in the United States. “This home is so energy efficient, the heating and cooling costs of this 2,000-square-foot home are estimated to be less than $25 a month,” Madrid says. As a featured green home in the community’s Parade of Homes, hundreds were able to get an up-close look at the sustainable technology at work. He’s done his homework and explored different technologies. In the process, Greenovative Homes invented and patented an insulation product to create their own GreenStar Panels. Made out of extruded polystyrene (EPS), these panels are tremendous insulators. Other technologies are used to make sure heat doesn’t build up in the house, Madrid adds. “It is like a barrier around the house that makes it nearly impossible to heat up, even under the baking

Innovation Flows from creativity Integrity The foundation of business and personal success Latino Family, heritage, great food!

Florida sun.” Madrid explains he’s also working on financial models to make his technology widely available by selling the GreenStar Panels to contractors and homeowners interested in retrofitting their home. These panels allow Greenovative Homes to stand apart from their competitors. He said, “We are just starting in the market but we’ve done a lot of research and created the panels to differentiate ourselves.” Madrid suspects solar may soon compete with other forms of energy, but he believes that energy savings in buildings is a faster and more powerful solution to create wealth in the country. When asked about his future hopes for all three businesses, Madrid explains his immediate goals are to create jobs and reduce people’s energy bills. “I never considered myself a super entrepreneur but these opportunities were big enough I felt I just had to do something with

“We’ve done evaluations of existing buildings, both offices and residences, and made incredible strides in helping people to cut their energy costs.” Larry Madrid President & Founder 255



LEED Certi ied Greenovative Partners work throughout the design and construction process to incorporate the most cost effective, resource ef icient, sustainable building systems. “ALL THINGS GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE”

Primary Contacts Larry D. Madrid, PE, D.GE, F.ASCE David C. Turley, PE

Tristan & Cervantes is a mid size Hispanic-owned law firm providing quality legal services to businesses. The firm’s success is driven by its ability to achieve positive results for its clients through diligence and exceptional legal acumen. PRACTICE AREAS: Construction Law | Labor & Employment Law | Business Law & Commercial Lending Zoning & Real Estate Law | Commercial Litigation Landlord Rights & Responsibilities | Government & Public Affairs

Greenovative Design & Engineering 2030 State Road 60 East Bartow, Florida 33830 863.533.9007 phone 863.533.8997 fax

Tel. 312.345.9200 | Fax. 312.345.1533 | 30 West Monroe Street, Suite 630, Chicago IL 60603

Innovators Voces

Partners Homero Tristan and Pedro Cervantes avoided the obvious road for Latino lawyers. Their detour into business law and government relations, via their namesake firm, allows them to serve Hispanic-owned midsize businesses with their own personal touch.

by Jennifer Samuels



orking at a practice that covers an array of legal services for midsize businesses—a large portion of which are Hispanic owned—Homero Tristan takes pride in walking the road less traveled for a Hispanic lawyer. Rather than taking what some of his peers consider to be the normal route for a Hispanic lawyer—immigration, divorce, and criminal law—he has remained focused throughout his career on ensuring that his firm, Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law, concentrates on business law and government relations. “Before, when I was prosecuting violations of the National Labor Relations Act, my clients were faceless,” Tristan recalls. “Now, I connect with the hearts and souls of my clients, often litigating issues for clients that own companies that their families built. We make a direct impact, and we can see our footprints.”

Born and bred in Chicago, partners Homero Tristan (left) and Pedro Cervantes (right) are among the “very small percentage of practicing Hispanic lawyers in Illinois” specializing in business legal matters, says Tristan.

April/May/June 2012

“We see a huge need and demand for legal services for Hispanic-owned businesses, which deserve quality legal counsel.” Pedro Cervantes Partner 257

Voces Innovators

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Homero Tristan and Pedro Cervantes

Success The ability to work hard every day, reflect on your accomplishments, and know you’re doing good Innovation The willingness to take risks, accept challenges, adapt, and overcome Integrity A trait that we should strive for and achieve in our everyday dealings

“I connect with the hearts and souls of my clients, often litigating issues for clients that own companies that their families built.” Homero Tristan Partner

Latino Opportunity. Being Latino and American provides so much opportunity to be part of a growing number, strength, and economic viability.


Hispanic Executive

Tristan began his early legal career working for the National Labor Relations Board and then a national employment law firm, before venturing out and starting up his private legal practice in 2002. In 2006, Pedro Cervantes joined the firm as an associate attorney, and quickly advanced to managing partner in 2009. Since then, Tristan & Cervantes Attorneys at Law has evolved to include seven full-time attorneys and one of counsel attorney. The pair were both born and raised in Chicago where their law practice is headquartered. Both attorneys credit their Hispanic background for helping them emerge as innovative thinkers in their industry. “Being Hispanic business lawyers is an innovation in itself,” Tristan says. “Hispanic lawyers comprise a small percentage of practicing attorneys in Illinois, and Hispanic lawyers specializing in business legal matters comprise a very small percentage of practicing Hispanic lawyers.” Tristan & Cervantes provides legal services in commercial litigation, labor and employment law, corporate and business law, commercial and residential real estate, zoning and land use, landlord rights and obligations, government relations and advising, and commercial lending. “It’s important that we emerge as innovators in a wide array of law, rather than be pigeonholed into one practice area,” Tristan says. “Our com-

mitment to diversity is reflected in our staff, and we have crossover in our firm. We use a collaborative approach that includes discussing each case with a team of lawyers within our firm.” The law firm’s clientele generally consists of midsize businesses and taxexempt organizations that operate with budgets from $5 to $30 million per year. “A large portion of our clients are Hispanic owned and serve the Hispanic market,” Cervantes says. “We understand our client’s niche, goals, and business needs,” Tristan adds. “We see a huge need and demand for legal services for Hispanicowned businesses, which deserve quality legal counsel.” Providing legal services that assist a Hispanic-operated business to increase profits from $1 million per year to $20 million per year is exceptionally rewarding. “In my opinion, the Hispanic-business market is underserved in the area of legal representation,” Cervantes explains. “That business market is growing and will continue to grow.” A successful legal strategy that Tristan & Cervantes applies to each case is intellectual agility. “We take great pride in combining blue-collar experience with the application of the legal system’s technical procedures,” explains Cervantes. “Intellectual agility is thinking critically from a legal standpoint while simultaneously applying real-world circumstances.”

Innovators Voces

Silicon Valley’s social butterfly Frederick Gonzalez helps high-tech players “go public.” As the legal helm of Corsair Components, his number-one task is to guide its transition into the shifting realm of publicly traded companies. by Cristina Adams


f there’s one thing Frederick “Fred” Gonzalez knows both inside and out, it’s the value of a professional network. Of course, as vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Fremont, California-based Corsair Components, Gonzalez knows quite a bit about a great many things. But he credits much of his success to diligence in building, maintaining, and expanding his network. “A network is one of the biggest assets that a person can have in their career,” says Gonzalez, who has a bachelor’s degree, an MBA, and a law degree from Santa Clara University. “The key is keeping in touch and maintaining it. It’s sounds easy, but it’s not. People don’t usually think of their network until they need it.” Being prepared for the unexpected is something Gonzalez knows all about, which is why he makes a point of keeping his network active. That foresight came in handy as recently as 2010, when the San Francisco native found himself looking for work. His employer, SonicWALL, Inc., a developer of Internet security solutions, had received acquisition overtures from both public and private companies and, as Gonzalez recalls, it was clear that whoever bought SonicWALL, his position as general counsel was precarious at best. But it wasn’t a complete shock; according to Gonzalez, any acquisition usually means jobs losses, especially in the executive ranks. “From a career perspective, a general counsel has to always be on the alert for these kinds of transactions because they’re likely to lose their job,” he says. For Gonzalez, it was a prime opportunity to explore the Silicon Valley job market and to tap into his network for both ideas

April/May/June 2012 259

Voces Innovators

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Frederick Gonzalez




ENDURES Protecting Innovation for Over 30 Years

Not where you are, but how far you’ve come. In my view, a person who starts with nothing and achieves a certain status is more successful than a person who, by accident of birth, has built-in advantages and family connections. Innovation Always thinking outside the box Integrity Doing what you say you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it Latino The most significant emerging group in the country

Leaders in Intellectual Property Law including Patent, Trademark, Copyright, Trade Secrets and Licensing Orange County • Denver • Los Angeles Portland • Seattle • Silicon Valley

and contacts. As he sees it, the generalcounsel job market falls into three groups: companies that are already public, companies that have filed their intent to go public, and fast-growing private companies that anticipate eventually going public. Public companies need someone who has already been a general counsel and understands the intricacies of corporate compliance and governance, and companies that intend to go public need someone who can take them public, again a seasoned general counsel. Then there are those companies for which an IPO [Initial Public Offering] is still far in the future—these are most likely to hire someone who can handle the dayto-day responsibilities, a lawyer who may or may not have the title of general counsel. During his job transition, Gonzalez, who has worked in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years, interviewed with companies in all three groups, and wound up accept-


Hispanic Executive

ing an offer from Corsair Components, which produces sophisticated components—such as cooling systems, solidstate drives, and power-supply units—for the high-end PC gaming market. Corsair has filed a registration statement about its intent to go public. If or when that happens, Gonzalez will be its general counsel. “My job is to get the company prepared to take on the responsibilities of being a publicly traded company,” he says. “When you go public, you have to hit the ground running and know what has changed, in terms of compliance, governance, and new policies. Otherwise, it’s easy to stumble.” It’s an interesting career path for someone who studied chemistry as an undergraduate and went on to get an MBA. After working as a contracts negotiator for a defense contractor, Gonzalez attended law school and, upon graduating, was hired by Amdahl Corp in 1978, one of Silicon Valley’s earliest IPOs. Since then he has been general counsel at a handful of big high-tech players—including Polycom, Extreme Networks, and SonicWALL—while also building his network along the way. Indeed, Gonzalez works at maintaining and growing that network every day. In one week alone, he might meet with a younger attorney seeking job-hunting advice; have lunch with a former colleague who’s in real-estate law; attend an event at Santa Clara University, where he helps guide and mentor upcoming graduates; and attend another lunch with former colleagues now at an IT firm. As he stresses, people tend to narrow their networks, when they should expand them beyond what’s familiar and comfortable to take advantage of opportunities. For Hispanics, that means making contacts outside the Hispanic group. “I always tell attorneys to expand their network as far as they can and build relationships inside and outside the legal job market,” says Gonzalez, whose family is originally from Spain. “Not only does it help you develop your professional persona in the context of many different ethnical and cultural considerations, but you also never know where the next opportunity might come from.” A MESSAGE FROM Blakely Sokoloff Taylor + Zafman Congratulations and continued success to Corsair and general counsel Frederick M. Gonzalez.

Innovators Voces

José Vélez-Silva and Iñaki Escudero are anything but two-dimensional. The GlobalWorks Group visionaries think beyond language to culturally connect with the “most complex, creative market in the world.” by Julie Schaeffer


sing 3-D to sell Cablevision’s “Optimum Triple Play” of phone, television, and Internet services to the Hispanic market was a novel idea, but it also just made sense. “3-D had become a phenomenon among consumers, and TV stations were moving forward in providing 3-D offerings,” says Iñaki Escudero, global creative director for GlobalWorks Group, the New York agency behind the 360-degree campaign, which had 3-D spots running in movie theaters, on televisions, and online. “The consumer could be entertained by our ‘Optimum 3-D Adventure’ while also learning about the product features and benefits.” The campaign—the first in 3-D targeting the Hispanic market—was a success by any definition. “You have to ask if you’re referring to success for the brand, success for the consumer, or success for the agency, and I think we hit all three,” says José Vélez-Silva, director of client services for GlobalWorks Group. That’s a significant achievement in the relatively nascent field of multicultural marketing. Twenty years ago, in fact, Cablevision’s Optimum Triple Play 3-D campaign wouldn’t have existed. “In 1993, when I came to the United States to work in advertising, Hispanic research was scarce,” Vélez-Silva says. “In order to assess appropriate investment levels,

April/May/June 2012

corporations had to trust that there was a sizable market opportunity.” Escudero says not much had changed a few years later, when he got his start in the industry. “Back in 1996, the ability to speak and write in Spanish would get you a job at a Hispanic agency. Today, the Hispanic market is the most complex, creative market in the world,” he adds. What a difference a decade has made. Today, GlobalWorks, which was launched in 1999 with a multicultural and digital focus, has 80 marketing professionals that come from more than 30 countries and speak more than 25 different languages. Led by Escudero, who hails from Spain, and Vélez-Silva who was born in Puerto Rico, they create multidisciplinary advertising campaigns targeting in different cultures, including Hispanic as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), African American, and Asian. One key to the agency’s success has been relationships—not just with clients, but also with consumers. “We’ve created relationship marketing communications instead of just advertising communications,” Vélez-Silva says. “The difference is a two-way communication between the product and the consumer, which speaks in a way that resonates and it is extremely relevant.” A good example, says Escudero, is the agency’s efforts to promote US Bank’s

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with José Vélez-Silva 

Success Communicating a product’s benefit in a way the consumer finds relevant Innovation You either do it, or you’re outdated 

 Integrity It’s the foundation of anything you do as a communicator Latino We’re a mash-up of cultures and influences that make us a new breed 261

Voces Innovators


Hispanic Executive


WE MAKE IT WORK (Opposite page) GlobalWorks Group’s creative director Iñaki Escudero (top left) and director of client services José Vélez-Silva (top right) promote a philosophy of believing “everything is possible, everything will be” and “branding without borders” at their company, which is founded by Yuri Radzievsky and Anna Radzievsky (bottom right). (Bottom left) The agency’s digital capabilities play a key role in its cross-platform communication strategies.

Hogan Lovells is proud to provide legal counsel to Amylin Pharmaceuticals and commends Julia Feliciano for serving as a pillar in the Hispanic community.


savings campaign. “Instead of holdings castings with professional actors, we made it our purpose to put real consumers in front of the camera—people who were already thinking about savings—so they could speak authentically with consumers who have similar needs,” he says. Although GlobalWorks Group has certainly succeeded so far, the two partners note that staying on top requires staying on their toes, given the eclectic nature of the Hispanic market. Escudero explains speaking the language of the consumer is an ongoing challenge because the Hispanic market is a mix of cultures and influences that is constantly evolving. “Hispanics are cultural brokers,” he says. To keep up, Hispanic marketing has evolved. Recently, for example, it has begun moving from a focus on language to a focus on culture—a business model GlobalWorks has followed since its inception. “In Hispanic marketing, most agencies just do TV advertising for the Hispanics who watch Telemundo and Univision,” VélezSilva says. “In contrast, we look at the Hispanic market as a whole because we know there are opportunities to reach [the Hispanic culture] in both English as well as in Spanish, based on language preference.” Whatever changes come, however, Escudero and Vélez-Silva are confident they’ll be able to remain ahead of trends. The executives, who have worked together seamlessly at GlobalWorks and in past positions, know what it takes to succeed. “As an agency, we know the key to success in our industry is to be nimble and our unique knowledge of cultures. We know cultures in all [their] complexities,” VélezSilva says. “That understanding leads us to emotionally connect with consumers in an authentic manner. Placing our digital capabilities into the mix, we build crossplatform communications for brands establishing symbiotic relationships with consumers and delivering messages in the way they have become accustomed to. That’s what sets us apart in our industry and how we build brands without borders,” he adds.

2,300 lawyers. 40+ offices. 21 countries.


© Hogan Lovells 2011. All rights reserved.

Voces Innovators

Some may view the legal department as a squad of naysayers. But Amylin’s vice president of legal Julia Feliciano makes creating inroads with internal constituents as much of a priority as ensuring the pharmaceuticals company she works for is protected and compliant. by Ruth E. Dávila


ulia Feliciano is “Hungarican,” meaning her mother is from Hungary, and her father is from Puerto Rico. (She borrows the funny term from Freddie Prinze, an actor/comedian of the same dual heritage.) “I shared both roots; it made for wonderful food at home,” says Feliciano, a pharmaceutical attorney for more than 20 years, now based in San Diego. “My dad makes a killer arroz con gandules, and my mom makes a killer Hungarian goulash.” Aside from diverse cuisine, Feliciano’s mixed heritage—Caribbean meets Europe—exposed her to a variety of family members whose first language was not English. She learned to listen and observe closely, to read between the lines, to build bridges through communication. Sure enough, those soft skills would help her survive the hard knocks of life as a corporate lawyer. Following law school at Villanova University, Feliciano entered a workforce dominated by older males—first at a Phila-


Hispanic Executive

delphia law firm, Harvey Pennington, and next at Wyeth Laboratories. “I had to learn quickly to stand my ground and not be intimidated,” she recalls. Thankfully, she adds, she has seen more diversity over the years. “A nice thing in the pharmaceutical industry is there are more people of color,” she says. “Researchers and scientists come from all over the world. It’s very nice to feel like you’re working in a melting pot.”

Although Feliciano admits the pharmaceuticals field “gets a bad rap from the public and the media,” it’s an industry she is proud to work in. “Most of the researchers who are trying to come up with new drugs are usually doing it because they had a family member afflicted by the disease,” she says. Her pharmaceuticals career started at Wyeth in 1988. She worked there for 16

“If you don’t listen well, you’re never going to be successful. You have to be a good partner to figure out how to accomplish company goals in a way that’s compliant with the rules and regulations.” Julia Feliciano

Vice President, Legal

Innovators Voces As VP of Amylin’s legal department, Julia Feliciano exercises her listening skills to build bridges and reach goals within the sensitive realm of pharmaceuticals.

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Julia Feliciano

Success Success is being trusted and respected in both your professional and personal life Innovation I like working for a company that develops innovative medicine for serious diseases Integrity The most important attribute for a person to be successful in life Latino Great food. San Diego has a very small Puerto Rican population, but if you look hard enough, you will find the food you miss from back East.

years with numerous products, mainly neuroscience and cardiovascular, but also oncology and other areas. Notably, she was Wyeth’s lead in-house attorney during the mass tort litigation for the diet drug known as “fen-phen.” (This combination of fenfluramine and phentermine was endorsed by physicians and beauty magazines, but was later linked to heartvalve problems and other health issues.) Feliciano made her mark at Wyeth by earning trust and respect, which for her is the ultimate feat in any role. In corporate America, she explains, “legal” can be viewed as a squad of naysayers, particularly by marketers who tend to want to push boundaries. Building inroads with internal constituents is a priority perhaps as high as ensuring the company is protected and compliant, she says. After leaving Wyeth (now Pfizer), in 2005 she went to Elan Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on drugs for multiple sclerosis and

April/May/June 2012

Crohn’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s research. She joined Amylin in 2007, and is now a vice president of legal. Amylin markets injectable drugs to treat diabetes, as well as studying lipodystrophy (a metabolic disease) and obesity. “Diabetes is at epidemic proportions, especially in the Hispanic community. I feel good that the work I do is helping patients with this terrible disease,” she says. Her work involves FDA submissions and counseling on marketing strategies, among other duties. Having worked at different firms, Feliciano says that no matter what your title, it’s essential to demonstrate technical knowledge, empathy, and consistency. “You can’t walk in and in the first year expect people to know you, and trust and respect everything you say,” she says. “If you don’t listen well, you’re never going to be successful. You have to be a good partner to figure out how to ac-

complish company goals in a way that’s compliant with the rules and regulations. You have to understand what (your colleagues’) needs are, to work with them, and find a way to reach the end goal.” Imparting training can help prevent problems upfront, Feliciano says, and it’s one of her favorite tasks. People whom she has coached have thanked her, even later in their careers, for having elucidated the law in such a way that they understood not only the rules, but why they exist. Feliciano has also mentored a fair share of attorneys on her greatest area of expertise: consensus-building. “If you walk into a room and you’re the only person who has that particular opinion, and the other 19 people don’t agree, you’re not going to get anywhere,” she says. Feliciano suggests identifying influencers ahead of time, and explaining your point of view. “You always have to have allies.” 265

Voces Innovators

Juan Guerrero’s supply-chain career includes a foundation in strategic sourcing with PepsiCo and Starbucks. In his most recent post as senior VP, supply chain for Office Depot, Guerrero reconfigured the distribution network to make it more agile and responsive to consumers’ needs. by Jennifer Hogeland


uan Guerrero’s profile doesn’t match that of a typical supply-chain executive. While employees usually operate warehouses or run trucking companies before moving up the supply-chain ladder, Guerrero entered the field from a career as a strategy consultant. With nearly 20 years of experience, he became senior vice president, supply chain for Office Depot, Inc. Native to Texas, Guerrero earned his engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was there he became a closet economist. Out of school, Guerrero joined Mars & Co, a strategic consulting firm headquartered in Paris. He worked for their US operations, in their Connecticut office. “I spent many years working in emerging markets—Brazil, Argentina, Russia—and trying to cut my teeth in terms of analytics and diagnosing company problems in some challenging environments,” Guerrero says. His parents, immigrants from Mexico, raised Guerrero bilingual and bicultural. Little did he know it would pay off dividends later in life. He said, “It was a huge benefit, especially when working in a global organization, to have a cultural understanding as well as multicultural capabilities.”


Hispanic Executive

The time spent in consulting set the foundation for his supply-chain career. Guerrero compares supply-chain management to a big puzzle—the ultimate Rubik’s Cube. He took his first job in procurement at a time people weren’t sure what strategic sourcing was. Guerrero set the foundation of strategic sourcing with PepsiCo; he stayed with the division that became Yum! brands. The next move in Guerrero’s supply-chain career was developing the supply chain for Starbucks’ Latin America business, because he had “been there, done that.” Guerrero was hired to build Starbucks’ Latin America supply chain from scratch. Prepared for his next challenge, Guerrero accepted his current position at Office Depot in April 2010 just as the office-supply company was going through a significant transformation. With the industry already under tremendous competitive pressure, the recession only heightened things. Guerrero says, “Our business is very much linked to the health of small business. And, as small business struggled through the recession, Office Depot struggled to gain top-line growth.” The company looked to reinvent itself, and part of that required rebuilding the supply chain. Moving away from the

superstore philosophy, Guerrero worked to make the supply chain more agile and responsive to consumers’ needs—both the web customers and retailer shoppers. “The single biggest challenge has been to resize our network while maintaining high service levels,” Guerrero says. His team reconfigured the distribution network, resulting in half the number of distribution centers. Each of these facilities became larger to provide multichannel operations. Guerrero starts out his workday early, pulling up Office Depot’s dashboard to see what happened overnight. Most of the deliveries are launched at night for next-day delivery so he knows the direction his day is heading right out of the gate. “I check the dashboard every morning to see if we have any hot spots,” Guerrero adds. “By 8:30 a.m. I typically know how my day is going to be—either I’m going to be getting lots of phone calls or it is going to be a quiet day.” He spends the rest of the day working on forward-looking strategies. Guerrero is constantly looking down the pipeline for network-optimization opportunities and improving other dimensions, such as the green supply chain and inventory optimization. In Guerrero’s eyes, supply-chain diversity has

Innovators Voces

Thinking Out Loud been critical to Office Depot’s success. “Looking at how the industry changed, if we didn’t have small suppliers at the time that were doing something very different with us, we wouldn’t have been able to make some of the transitions we did,” Guerrero says. While his days are busy, outside his professional responsibilities he finds tremendous satisfaction in helping others.

As an advisor to LatinoExecs, a professional placement firm, he guides the business in their search for diverse leads and placing diverse candidates. He also whole-heartedly supports MIT because of their blind basis for admission and tuition. For him, it is critical to create networks for students. He adds, “I believe in the idea that the next Einstein can be anywhere, in any part of society.”

Trading words with Juan Guerrero

Success A personal thing. Successful people are driven by an internal calibration as opposed to an external one. Innovation Dreaming. It is about thinking of the impossible. Integrity I feel [it] comes very early in life. It is part of our foundation. Latino A big melting pot. There is no one face—it is a diverse group of people.

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Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Adrian Velasquez and Christine Krause

Success Enriching others and improving the world; doing what you love and taking it to the next level Innovation Having the creativity to go inside yourself, to find the dream and bring it forward, and to get others excited about it Integrity Standing strong in the face of adversity Latino Pride, beauty, rhythm


Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

When Adrian Velasquez pitched his high-tech start-up idea, banks balked at the risk proposition. These days, with business partner Christine Krause at his side, Fi-Med Management, Inc. is one of the fastest-growing firms in the country. by Lisa Ryan


t’s typically difficult for start-up businesses to emerge when they are centered on new technologies—oldschool financial institutions may view them as risky investments and deny loans, and clients may shy away, afraid of spending money on something not yet proven to be a sure thing. In the face of such adversity, many people give up and retreat, instead deciding to pursue a safer business route—but not Adrian Velasquez. When he and his business partner Christine Krause set out to start their own Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based financialmedical-management firm, Fi-Med Management, they introduced new technological systems to bring business acumen to health-care providers. They never gave up—even when it looked as though all the cards were stacked against them. “Adrian’s ideas were ahead of the industry,” Krause says. “When we moved into technology, banks wouldn’t lend us money. Everybody thought that we were crazy.” Despite the negative reinforcement, the two worked on a shoestring budget for more than two years to get their business off the ground. They operated Fi-Med out of Krause’s basement, and she even took on gigs as a wedding singer to earn extra money on the side. “For the first year, nothing happened. The second year, we made a total of $5,000,” Velasquez says. “It really challenged us and forced us to

April/May/June 2012

examine how much we believed in our idea. And we persevered.” Fi-Med has grown from that small operation into a top national firm with more than 100 employees, offering a diverse array of services for hospitals and physician groups, such as data analysis, business analytics and intelligence, automated audit-risk assessments, chartreviews coding and billing. It has since received numerous awards, including the award for Business Growth in Wisconsin and the Congressional Award for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community in 2006, and has received the INC 500/5000 Fastest Growing Privately Held Businesses in Health Care in the United States award for the past five years in a row. Velasquez and Krause were also honored with the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Persons of the Year Award in 2007. “It was quite an honor to go to our nation’s capitol to receive the award,” Velasquez says. The company has built its reputation through personalized customer service and an innovative approach to the field. “Our niche is in data analytics and identifying hospitals’ and physicians’ risk for audit by federal and private-insurance companies. Once their audit and financial risk is identified, Fi-Med works with their compliance officer to improve their systems so it minimizes their risk,” Velasquez says. He

adds, “We’re very responsive to our clients’ needs and work with them in a personal way to make sure their goals and objectives are accomplished.” Seven years ago, Fi-Med created their own internal bank becoming an aggregator of deposits for their clients that assisted the physicians in reducing administrative costs. They also automated the charge and payment-posting process by extracting data from the paper documents and autoposting. “It sped up our processes, which greatly improved the cash flow to our clients,” Velasquez says. Krause adds, “We’ve also placed scanners in all of our physician offices so that they can digitize the work that they send to us using the Internet.” The duo also devotes much of the company’s resources to giving back to their community. They are extremely involved within the Hispanic community in particular, even participating in the Latino Entrepreneurial Network’s annual Bilingual Entrepreneurship Summer Training (BEST) youth camp, a weeklong program that pairs bilingual youth from age 9 to 17 with local businesses to help familiarize them with the corporate world and realize their professional goals. “We’ve had students who have been in BEST come to work for us in an internship program so they can see exactly what’s involved and how to be a successful entrepreneur,” Velasquez says. 271

Voces Innovators

Growing up, Terri GironGordon says she “always had to be the lead.” But she now attributes her company, GenQuest, Inc.’s, success to an unconventional concept: making friends with competitors. by Ovetta Sampson


he little red cash register was cute, almost quaint. Terri GironGordon utters a chuckle when she thinks about her childhood toy. She lugged it out on many hot summer days in New Mexico, forcing her cousins to play laborers or customers to her imaginary store manager. Her laughter wanes just a bit as she also remembers playing school and preparing worksheets for her playmates because, of course, she


Hispanic Executive

was the teacher. That willingness to lead, to be in charge most assuredly foretold Giron-Gordon’s path to building GenQuest, Inc., which provides temporary staffing, staff augmentation, mediation services, diversity training, and various human-resources consulting to federal agencies. Yet her leadership skills aren’t the only reason Giron-Gordon developed one of the most innovative, yet practical strategies to conquering her competition. She attributes

much of her business triumphs to her ability to be a good team player, a follower, to make peace, when others make war. “I have made lifetime friends with my competitors,” Giron-Gordon says. “I used to work with COMPA Industries where I learned all about federal contracting. They really prepared me for starting out on my own, supporting me. Now we support each other, sharing information with them and helping each other out.” Collaboration has allowed Giron-Gordon to be a successful federal contractor in a state with more than 2,000 government contractors vying for $11 billion in federalcontract work each year. The competition is fierce and a small business like GenQuest could easily lose out to larger, more resourced firms. Yet GenQuest thrives, expanding to 62 full-time employees and more than 70 on-call trainers, seasonal and short-term employees over the last 10 years. And Giron-Gordon says a lot of that success is because she cooperates with a lot of her competitors. For example, recently, a large prime contractor to the government issued a request for proposal for some services. Giron-Gordon had already been working with the agency and knew her company was the front-runner. Yet, she also knew other businesses would be competing for the same contract. So she approached a large firm about doing a team proposal. The idea being that if they teamed up they could easily beat out other firms. “If we win the contract, we’re both winners,” she says of her and her competitor. “We’ll have half of the pie rather than nothing and


“You have to find the right partners, someone who will deliver. Trust is key. You also need to find someone that can be a follower and a leader.” Terri Giron-Gordon

Chairman & CEO

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Terri Giron-Gordon

Success I succeed when I fall and pick myself up quickly. I have done this so many times and am getting pretty good at it! Innovation Learning to “work.Happy” Integrity People with integrity are whole and honest Latino Pride comes to mind when I say Latino. I love my culture, traditions, and language.

we can position ourselves to get to know the agency and perhaps they will put us on another contract. It’s just a model that works.” Collaborating with competitors is not as easy as it sounds. There are some tips to making sure the partnership works. “You have to find the right partners, someone who will deliver,” Giron-Gordon says. “Trust is key. You also need to find someone that can be a follower and a leader, [and] how to be a good team member ... That’s what makes a good partner.” Collaborate not compete, cooperate not contest—it’s a tricky formula but worth considering. In fact, this affinity for coming together also led Giron-Gordon to create trademark healthy-workplaceenvironment guidelines, which she dubs “work.Happy.” “The guidelines help people realize what they’re doing in the workplace, and how they can make their environment better,” Giron-Gordon says. “Our coaches are able to work with organizations and helping them create a happy work environment.” Though Giron-Gordon always had a penchant for partnership—when her family would argue she always played the peacemaker—the proclivity has become essential to her business practice especially when it comes to the issue of diversity. “I don’t want to work with people who agree with me,” she said. “I need diverse ideas and opinions in my business to succeed. I also need diverse working styles for balance and perspective. Diversity is necessary for survival and happiness.”

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Innovators Voces

When Brian Arellanes was in high school he was voted “Most Likely to Work at McDonald’s.” Defying all stereotypes, he now leads a multimillion-dollar tactical team helping Fortune 500 clients stay ahead of the digital curve. by Seth Putnam The diverse executive team of ITSource Technology is comprised of Hispanic, Asian, and African-American leadership. From left: Sammuel Washington, VP; Matt Whitmarsh, EVP; Nina Do, COO; and Brian Arellanes, CEO.



s the son of a single mother in blue-collar Benicia, California, some thought Brian Arellanes’s story was already written for him. And indeed, there were aspects of it that seemed to confirm assumptions based on his Mexican heritage. His mom, reliant on child support in addition to her job as a property manager, struggled to provide for her children. But she always managed to keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths. “We didn’t always have the nicest clothes, but it was more than a lot of people had,” Arellanes recalls. When he was in eighth grade, Arellanes went to live with his father, an Oakland firefighter with an old-school mentality that emphasized hard work.

April/May/June 2012

“He didn’t believe in getting something for nothing,” Arellanes says. He went to work at a gas station in his new, affluent, mostly Caucasian community when he was 14. Although it wasn’t an everyday occurrence, he does remember being the brunt of subtle stereotyping—and sometimes not-so subtle. “I was called out as the only Mexican,” Arellanes explains. “I remember one time in particular, they put me as ‘most likely to work at McDonald’s.’ I look back and laugh about it now, but I was pretty upset about it at the time. You don’t ever want to be thrown into that category.” The jab stayed fresh in his mind throughout high school. He would look around the parking lot and see his classmates’ brand-new cars. Then his eyes

would fall on his old, dented clunker. “We just came from very different situations,” he says. “To be honest, I almost didn’t go to college. I just wanted to get out of there and start life.” At the time, Arellanes dreamed of opening a mechanic shop in the future, but his grandfather talked him into taking a couple of classes at a local college to learn how to run the potential business. From then on, he was hooked. After college, Arellanes started working as a recruiter before moving on to sales and a series of leadership positions. But after making millions for others and becoming disillusioned with their lack of interest in charity, he started his own business in 2006: ITSource Technology, a tactical group dedicated to helping companies stay ahead of the digital curve. He now counts the BD Biosciences, the US Postal Service, Wells Fargo, and Hewlett Packard among his clients, but his real joy lies in the relationships he’s built, not the profits he has made (although there has been plenty of that). For example, at the surface level, ITSource partners with BD Biosciences, a Fortune 500 industry leader, to develop flagship products including medical devices and the software that accompanies them. But moreso than a business partnership, they share a commitment to support Hispanic businesses and hire and promote 275

Voces Innovators

From right: ITSource solution architect, Thomas Jaeger, and CEO Brian Arellanes meet with BD Biosciences president, Alberto Mas, and vice president of R&D, Christoph Hergersberg.

Trading words with Brian Arellanes

Success Meeting your personal and social responsibilities in addition to financial growth Innovation Coming up with solutions that aren’t readily apparent. Looking outside the normal process to find the new, creative answer. Integrity Making sure you honor all parties involved. Not comprising your core values. Latino Strong family values. Hard work.

Hispanics into executive leadership roles, says Arellanes. This is not just a goal but a reality at ITSource, whose diverse executive team includes Hispanic, African-American, and Asian members. In addition to being certified a Minority-owned Business Enterprise, ITSource Technology is ranked in the top 500 largest Hispanic businesses in America. As such, ITSource beat out competitors to become a global consult-


Hispanic Executive

A MESSAGE FROM TechInsurance Congratulations to Brian Arellanes and his team on their remarkable growth and success. There is clearly no limit to what they can achieve. TechInsurance is proud to provide ITSource Technology with its business and professional insurance since 2006. Learn more at We’re privileged to insure over 40,000 IT businesses since 1997.


Thinking Out Loud

ing partner of HP, which has a strong commitment to utilizing Hispanic and other minority vendors. For one particular project, the companies partnered to successfully use one of ITSource’s California-based Tier-I Help Desk teams in an outsourcing model to help create local jobs in addition to building local software-development and IT security teams for a digital-document management solution. One of his company’s biggest accomplishments? Developing a business model to solve critical issues by optimizing clients’ operations and strategies, which has made the company a go-to partner of multimilliondollar projects. In a time when government entities and the private sector are both struggling, ITSource Technology’s formula—as well as its personal touch—has made it invaluable. “A lot of companies are so focused on the sale that they have a ‘turn ‘em and burn ‘em’ attitude, and we don’t focus on that at all,” Arellanes says. “It’s about following the ethical path and knowing that you worked with honor and integrity.” As Arellanes knows all too well, the road is not always easy, but he certainly has come a long way. “You have to stay persistent. I’ve been knocked down quite a few times, and it’s always about getting up,” he says.

Innovators Voces

Henry Fleches and Gerard Amaro were football teammates at Dade Christian High School. They still join forces to tackle IT-related problems through their $70 million company United Data Technologies. by Lynn Russo Whylly

Henry Fleches, president and CEO, served as the Hispanic Business Enterprise chairperson for the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 32nd Annual National Convention and Business Expo. “I was honored,” he says.


enry Fleches and Gerard Amaro were football teammates at Dade Christian High School in Miami Lakes, Florida. Two years older than Fleches, the two friends stayed in touch after Amaro moved on to college, but injuries drove him to leave college football behind and ring up his old friend. “I don’t remember, but he says I told him back then that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a business,”

April/May/June 2012

Fleches says. Both of them worked in sales at the time, but it was after Fleches attended Miami Dade College to study IT that they decided to start developing their dream. “We trusted each other, we both had the work ethic, and we felt we could pull it off,” Fleches says. In 1995, they formed United Data Technologies (UDT), offering computer sales and local area network (LAN) support. Today, UDT is a $70 million-rev-

enue company, and Hewlett-Packard’s fourth-largest independent US partner. With LANs a thing of the past, UDT provides services such as instructionalgrade architecture, cloud transformation, data-center virtualization, collaboration, next-generation information architecture, securing borderless networks, and social-media analytics. The lessons they learned early on were invaluable. At first, Fleches says, “Business was good, but hard to grow because clients trusted us; they didn’t want a staff person they didn’t know, they wanted us.” So, they expanded into something more scalable: product sales, and began marketing components, such as printers and networking equipment to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. By 1998, however, they started to realize the high volatility in Latin American and Caribbean currencies. “We weren’t big enough to weather that storm, so we leaned toward making our business more domestic,” Fleches says. They began querying customers to determine their next move. “We learned that the public sector was thirsty for service,” he says. “They wanted a high-touch customer-care model and we saw that as an area where we could drive value.” It turned out to be a solid strategy for the company. At that time, their competitors were moving away from the public sector and going after the commercial market, leaving a void in that space. Then in 2009, UDT, which by then had three locations in Florida and 110 employees, found that budgets in 277

Voces Innovators DRIVING INNOVATION Delivering Customized Solutions.

“We learned that the public sector was thirsty for service. They wanted a high-touch customercare model and we saw that as an area where we could drive value.” Henry Fleches

President & CEO

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the public sector were shrinking, leaving UDT with a secure, solid practice, but not a lot of growth opportunity. Keeping their public-sector business firmly in tact, they turned to the commercial sector as their competitors were shifting their attention back to the public sector because of the security it offered, again leaving a gap and—an opportunity— in the commercial market. Today, 35 percent of UDT’s business comes from the commercial market, compared with 7 percent in 2009. Some of UDT’s largest clients include Miami Dade County Public Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, the State of Florida, and the Florida Marlins. As the company moves forward, its owners increasingly look toward health care and larger enterprise accounts, including financial services and service providers, for growth opportunities. In addition to services, UDT provides thought leadership, consulting with clients on whether they should move to the cloud or hire a “data scientist,” and train him or her in understanding how to maximize value from social-media analytics. Much of their insight comes from conversations with their partners. “We sit on an advisory council for tech firms such as HP, Cisco, Intel, and Promethean,” Fleches says. “We hear about the technology of the future and can bring that knowledge and information back to our clients.” Conversely, “we’re an advocate for our customers with our manufacturing partners, as well. If something isn’t working as well as it could, or if customers need something that isn’t available, we tell them, ‘You’ve got this great device, but nobody’s using it for these reasons. If you did this, you would increase sales.’” In September 2011, Fleches was asked to serve as the Hispanic Business Enterprise chairperson for the US His-


Hispanic Executive

panic Chamber of Commerce’s (USHCC) 32nd Annual National Convention and Business Expo. “I was honored to participate and be an advocate on behalf of 3 million Hispanic-owned enterprises,” Fleches says. “The USHCC does a great job of representing Hispanic businesses.” As the Hispanic population continues to increase as a percentage of the population, it will become even more important for Hispanic leaders to participate in organizations such as the USHCC, Fleches says. Future growth plans for UDT include continued expansion into the health-care and enterprise sectors, as well as joint ventures and possible acquisition opportunities.

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Henry Fleches

Success Family, legacy, employee development, wealth creation Innovation Education, speed to market, competition Integrity Do the right thing, then do things right—the most important part Latino American Latino, entrepreneurial culture, family, music, freedom, grateful to my country—America

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Voces Innovators

Trained as an electrical engineer, David Cabello never intended to be a lawyer. Today, he’s one of Texas’s top intellectual-property attorneys working at a firm that specializes in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. by Thalia A-M Bruehl


n 2001, Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri LLP, a newly opened, intellectual-property law firm, found itself with Inventec as its anchor client. The Texas-based firm was tasked with defending the high-tech manufacturer against a six-patent lawsuit put forth by Samsung. “We had great success against Samsung,” says David Cabello, founding partner of Wong Cabello.


Hispanic Executive

“Inventec was sued under six of Samsung’s patents and we managed to invalidate five out of those six patents in the course of all of the pretrial work.” In the end, Samsung offered Inventec a license on very reasonable terms. “Samsung was sure they were going to crush Inventec and when they didn’t, and had lost five of their patents in the process, even before the trial, they decided to settle,” Cabello chuckles. “You

could say the firm started on a high note.” Cabello had not originally intended to go into law; he attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. “I began work as an electrical engineer at Brown and Root, and was licensed as a professional engineer in the state of Texas,” he explains. “I was later licensed as a professional engineer


David Cabello and his daughter, Sarah, discuss a copyrighted design drawing involved in a copyright-infringement suit. Raising his two daughters and seeing them become successful lawyers has been his greatest achievement, says Cabello.


Voces in California as well, and worked as an electrical engineer for six years before deciding to attend law school.” Cabello chose to pursue his law degree at South Texas College of Law in night classes while continuing to work as an engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group. In July of 1983, after graduating with high honors, Cabello started working as an attorney for Arnold, White & Durkee where he would first encounter Russell Wong, Lou Bruccleri, and Keith Rutherford—three of the men he would later partner with. By 1987, Cabello had joined Compaq Computers as a patent attorney and through a series of promotions, ultimately became senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. “I left Compaq after 11 years and held a couple of general-counsel jobs for start-ups,” Cabello says. “At some point, I decided it was time to start my own firm as many of the boutique intellectual-property law firms had been acquired by larger general law firms and our prospective clients told us that there was a real need for a law firm that focused solely on intellectualproperty issues.” Today, Wong Cabello specializes in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. “We have a mix of patent and trademark prosecution and litigation,” adds Cabello. The firm also makes a point of being extremely proactive in client counseling, meaning they work with the client to craft a budgetsensitive solution to the clients’ needs. “Given that we all have in-house backgrounds, all of the partners understand the budget pressures that our in-house colleagues face,” explains Cabello. “Many times we find that clients are building a patent portfolio without any sort of strategic vision. In these cases, we do patent application work for them and start talking to them about pulling together a strategy for protecting their intellectual property.” As patent applications are very expensive, Cabello and his team encourage their clients to only go after patents they can ultimately police and enforce. Despite spending much of his time in court arguing cases, and often being bogged down by office work, Cabello has found ways to give back since the beginning of his law career. “A few years ago, I funded a scholarship for Hispanic engineering students at Texas A&M University and have been very active with Our Lady of Guadalupe School,” he says. “I’ve also been on five mission trips with

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with David Cabello

Success It comes from hard work and determination, a good sweat of the brow. You can’t have success without all of it. Innovation Finding creative solutions to problems that confront you. Sometimes when the old things don’t work you must try something new. Integrity The most important value or asset for an attorney. It’s knowing that your clients trust you and believe you. It’s living by commitments and standing behind your name, keeping it unblemished. Being a man of your word. Latino Remembering your roots, but more importantly helping those who share your background


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Voces Innovators

After being accepted to Harvard at age 16, Rosanna Durruthy became homeless. The experience, however, only taught her independence and resourcefulness—paving the way for the wealth of expertise she brings every day to health insurer Cigna as its chief diversity officer. by Chris Allsop

Going from being enrolled at one of the most prestigious universities in the world to relying on the generosity of friends and family to get by is a jarring transition for anyone, but for Rosanna Durruthy, it seemed to only strengthen her resolve. “You hear a lot about people going from homeless to Harvard. I went from Harvard to homeless,” she says, now chief diversity officer with health insurer Cigna. “It taught me about being independent and resourceful.”


Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Rosanna Durruthy

Success Knowing there is no limitation and finding a way to make a difference every day Innovation The willingness to see things and to see the possibilities in those things Integrity


or diversity professional Rosanna Durruthy, her career (and current position as chief diversity officer with health insurer Cigna) is a classic example of genes working in tandem with environmental forces. Of Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage, Durruthy, from an early age, experienced different cultures not only at home, but at her father’s medical practice in the South Bronx. Young Rosanna spent many Saturdays in his office with people who weren’t just her father’s patients—they were also part of a community. “When someone came in to see my father,” says Durruthy, “you didn’t just know the individual, but you often knew who their spouse was, who their parents were, who their children were. I grew up experiencing the importance of caring about your customer.” Durruthy’s well-defined sense of caring for others was no doubt shaped by her own experiences with hardship and having to rely on the generosity of others. While her intelligence and curiosity (she participated in family discussions over New York Times articles every Sunday from the age of five) gained her entrance to Harvard University at 16, she had to take a leave of absence from school when her parents’ marriage fell apart. “I became a casualty of the divorce,” Durruthy recalls. Left with little money, she and her mother were put up by friends and family. “You hear a lot about people going from homeless to Harvard. I went from Harvard to homeless,” she says. “It taught me about being independent and resourceful.” Durruthy entered the professional world starting off in small companies and nonprofits before beginning her career in diversity in 1985 when Citibank hired her. The bank had been plagued

April/May/June 2012

by angry customers gluing ATMs shut to protest the lack of Spanish-speaking customer-service agents, a “classic diversity dilemma,” says Durruthy. In response, she began a program to hire more bilingual employees to serve Spanish-speaking customers. After Citibank, Durruthy helped increase diversity at Merill Lynch, Blockbuster Entertainment, and Seagram (which later became Vivendi Universal). She was working a short stint as a freelance consultant when she joined Cigna as the organization’s first chief diversity officer in September 2010. For Durruthy, diversity represents the unique imprint each person has on the world and the opportunity for “creating valuable things out of our differences.” Her experiences, both professional and academic, have instilled in her a commitment to ongoing learning throughout her life. She’s on the board of directors for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) helping Latinos gain access to the business world “to grow not only as leaders in our society, but also in business.” An example of Durruthy’s strategy is the creation of Colleague Resource Groups (CRGs) across Cigna. Employees from the Latino CRG (there are seven CRGs in total: Women, AfricanAmerican, Asian, LGBT, Millennial, and virtual communities) attended last year’s NSHMBA Latino Healthcare Summit, sponsored by Cigna. The summit focused on how Latinos relate to health. The employees who participated shared what they had learned with their colleagues. The next step of this leadership process is for those involved to help make a difference by tutoring young people in their communities.

Being true to self, chasing everything that’s important to you Latino Empowered, caring, family, lots and lots of love, and amazing food

Other initiatives include a scholarship program and further development of the corporation’s relationship with the NSHMBA. “For the Latino community, Cigna helps by partnering with them in understanding not only how culture contributes to our health and well-being,” she says,” but how much of a part of it is about what brings us joy and what fulfills us.” Cigna’s new brand, launched in September, is symbolic of the company’s commitment to goals that align with Durruthy’s own personal aspirations. She intends to transform how customers relate to health care, and to get them to understand how to better leverage their partnership with Cigna. “A lot of that comes early in life,” she said. “We need to be working with young people to help them to understand what they can to do to ward off obesity, diabetes, and hypertension,” she explains. “I want us to be a company of 30,000 employees whose customers know that we’re not only looking out for them, but we’re going to find ways to connect with them and bring valuable information to them to have healthier lives.” 283

The faces behind


Tom Warnock Senior Counsel, DuPont

We salute Tom’s leadership and commitment to diversity and excellence in the legal profession. We are honored to call you our client and our friend.

Alston & Bird LLP is a leading international AmLaw 50 firm proudly serving as one of DuPont’s Primary Law Firms. The firm has appeared on FORTUNE magazine’s ranking of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” 12 consecutive years, an unprecedented accomplishment among law firms in the United States.

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Voces Innovators

Thomas Warnock was taught to always move forward, never backwards—not even to gain momentum. This childhood mantra continues to propel him as a lawyer for DuPont, a science-based products-and-services company with a penchant for finding outside-the-box solutions.

by Aaron Mays


teve Jobs, Arianna Huffington, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey are counted among America’s most recognizable innovators. These game changers are known for their personalities, inventions, or both, but at the core of every innovator is a philosophy that he or she lives by. For E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) lawyer Thomas Warnock, his philosophy is simply this: “To be better, to do better, and to add value.” While Warnock’s definition is straightforward, the work to accomplish is never that. After graduating from Temple University’s law school in 2001, Warnock began his legal career as an associate at White and Williams LLP. While in the City of Brotherly Love, he embraced his fellow Latino lawyers serving as the president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania. After moving to Wilmington, Delaware, Warnock became deputy regional president of the Hispanic National Bar Associa-


Hispanic Executive

tion and a founding member of the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association. In 2006 Warnock joined DuPont as a senior counsel to manage tort (personal injury cases) and commercial cases. In addition to his legal workload, Warnock has served as a chair for several committees including the Company’s Minority Counsel Network (MCN). As a part of this initiative, Warnock and the DuPont MCN gather legal counselors of color to discuss legal and management issues and to offer professional-development opportunities, along with creating initiatives to build a pipeline of new lawyers. During his tenure as chair, Warnock sought to improve the network’s outreach to its members and to meet their needs. To do so, he established a leadership council to ensure their discussions on diversity lead to a course of action. “I’m always looking at what I’m doing or how I’m doing it to bring more value quicker to help my clients and my community,” he says.

These opportunities have allowed Warnock to hone his leadership skills and to receive praise from others. In 2010, Warnock was given the Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers award from the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. “For leaders, you need passion and commitment. If you are leading without passion and commitment, not many people are going to follow,” he says. “A leader must always find ways to improve and help those around him improve. Complacency has no place in leadership.” Innovation is not just a grand idea or invention; it can be as simple as examining and reexamining an issue and finding a win-win solution. However, Warnock admits that there’s an inherent risk attached to change, but it takes a team of people on all side of the tables—chemists and lawyers alike. “As a company, DuPont is helping to solve many of the world’s problems,” he says. “We have the best scientists and leaders

STANDING TALL “If you are leading without passion and commitment, not many people are going to follow,� says Thomas Warnock, senior counsel for DuPont, one of the leading chemical companies in the world.

Congratulations to Tom Warnock for his well-deserved recognition by Hispanic Executive. We are proud to help him counsel Dupont in their most challenging litigation. We wish him continued success.

Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, based in New York City, has grown to over 240 lawyers practicing in offices strategically located throughout the United States. The Firm regularly serves as lead counsel on complex, high profile global matters. The Firm has established and enjoys a world-class reputation for its highly successful litigation practice. In addition, the Firm has a fast-growing corporate practice, representing corporate clients and financial institutions in significant merger, acquisition, joint-venture, and financing transactions. The Firm has been described by The National Law Journal as “unafraid to venture into controversial” and “high risk” matters and by Lawdragon as “the most powerful litigation turbine in America.”

For over 75 years, Morris James has been serving the needs of its clients such as Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, government agencies, law firms, and our community. With four offices, our attorneys work together across legal disciplines and use the depth of their collective knowledge of Delaware law with our daily experiences in Delaware courts to provide clients with creative solutions and outstanding service. • LITIGATION • TRANSACTIONS • ALFA INTERNATIONAL • DUPONT PRIMARY LAW FIRM • ALTERNATIVE FEE



A feature story about the Firm in The American Lawyer in May 2009 noted that “Donald Flexner, David Boies, and Jonathan Schiller grew the Firm from a boutique into a litigation powerhouse” and that “there’s a solid core of youthful talent and experience … The Boies, Schiller strategy looks built for the times.”

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Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Thomas Warnock

Success Taking action so you don’t have regrets Innovation To be better, to do better, and to add value Integrity Doing the right thing, no matter the stakes or the score Latino

in the world, but there’s an understanding that we can’t do it alone. At DuPont, we believe that through inclusive innovation we are better able to deliver these solutions.” DuPont is one of the top US chemical companies, known for its Fortune 500 status and brands like Teflon, Kevlar, and Tyvek. The Wilmington, Delaware-based company is one with an international reach with operations in nearly 90 countries and a commitment to finding sustainable solutions for industries such as agriculture and energy. In Warnock’s opinion, DuPont serves as a model of origination. “I have the privilege of working at a company that is world renowned for its innovation. DuPont has been innovating and creating the miracles of sciences for over 200 years,” he says. “[From] when it started in the early 1800s as a blackpowder company to what it is today.” Warnock’s drive stems from his parents where he was taught not only to achieve a goal but to build upon it for himself and others around him. His view on innovation also stems from his upbringing, seeing parallels with his own family. His mother and her family emigrated from Cuba 1966, and spent the year in Mexico first, later traveling to the Midwest. “My family had no choice but to innovate every day just to get by and to re-establish themselves,” he says. Later, the young Warnock, along with his mother and father, moved from Chicago to Venezuela, lived in the Dominican Republic, and

A culture of success, innovation, and integrity

ultimately settled in Miami. Although he was born in the States, he values his mother’s courage and the risks she took starting over in new countries. When looking at his family’s immigrant experience and their willingness to embrace change, failure was not an option because they had so much on the line, Warnock says. He remembers the words of his mother: Siempre para adelante, para atrás ni para coger impulso. Or in English: Always forward, backwards not even to get momentum. No matter the language, the underlying message has resonated with Warnock, propelling him to new heights in his career. A MESSAGE FROM Philips Lytle Phillips Lytle is a law firm with a history that spans more than 175 years. It has been privileged to have been a strategic partner with DuPont since 1944. As one of DuPont’s Primary Law Firms, Phillips Lytle is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that enhances contributions to our clients and communities.

Phillips Lytle is pleased to be part of this issue of Hispanic Executive. We applaud Tom Warnock for his accomplishments and his vision for the future. We are proud to be a member of DuPont’s network of Primary Law Firms.

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April/May/June 2012

MentoRing Cesar L. Alvarez on … The value of servant leadership Servant. Leader. Mentor. This is how Cesar L. Alvarez describes his role as executive chairman of Greenberg Traurig—one of the largest Hispanic-chaired firms in the country. The firm has been recognized as the fastest-growing law firm in the United States over the last five years, and is the seventh-largest law firm in the country, thanks in large part to Alvarez’s “servant leadership” philosophy and business-oriented approach. “Organizations can give you titles but only the people you serve can make you a leader,” he says. Before climbing to his current role, Alvarez was Greenberg Traurig’s CEO for 13 years, directing the firm through its dramatic growth over the years. Not bad for a Cuban immigrant who could not speak a word of English when he first arrived at age 13. Alvarez dedicates the little free time he has to charitable work.

Greatest mentor and why: During my early years at Greenberg Traurig, I worked very closely with and under the guidance of Larry Hoffman, whom I consider a father figure. Larry was and is my greatest mentor. He knows when to pat me on the back and when to kick me in the rear. He is brutally honest yet incredibly supportive—the ultimate combination for a great mentor.

What advice would you give to others hoping to follow in your footsteps in the ultracompetitive legal field?

Invest in yourself and always have an ownership mentality

Biggest regret:

Not having a balance between my work and my family 290

Hispanic Executive

Greatest accomplishment: In just one decade, we were able to take a law firm that did not place among the Am Law 200 to a position among the top 10 and surpass $1 billion in revenues

Number of years with Greenberg Traurig:


Niche: Securities, corporate, & international law

What charitable organization or cause is closest to your heart?

I am the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities; a member of the board of directors of the National Council of La Raza; and on the board of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation

Excellence. Value. Get There!


Equipo de Spilman

A talented team creates the most value. A law firm’s success depends upon the ability to attract and develop great talent. At the heart of Spilman’s pursuit of talent is an innovative Associate Development Program that has garnered our firm an enviable reputation among leading law schools. Likewise, Spilman attracts experienced attorneys renowned in their practice areas. Talent. It’s one of the ways Spilman strives for excellence and value.







Committed to diversity Seven strategic office locations A team of 140+ attorneys Accessible & responsive













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Hispanic Executive #19  
Hispanic Executive #19  

April/May/June 2012. Uniting Powerful Leaders.