OCT/NOV/DEC 2013 VOL 06 / Nº 25
Uniting Powerful Leaders
David Mirelez on why Latinos love Target
Manuel Torres’s dream job at Nickelodeon Consumer Products Uniting Powerful Leaders
JACQUELINE ROSA RODRIGO SIERRA ANDREA BAZÁN MARIA SASTRE RICARDO ANZALDUA JORGE PEREZ ROBERT SANCHEZ LISA GARCIA QUIROZ JORGE MAS
ADVOCATING FOR THE LATINA ENTREPRENEUR
For than 65 University of
At the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, educating professionals to improve patient safety and overcome the health care challenges of today and tomorrow is our mission and passion. Under the leadership of Dean Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano, Dr.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N., over more the last decade we’ve expanded our diverse faculty and years, the student body, added new degrees, built new facilities, established a network of more than 140 clinical Miami School partners, and earned a stellar reputation as a research powerhouse.
of Nursing and Health Studies
has been leading the initiative to
Today the school is one of the top 25 nursing schools to receive National Institutes of Health advance the science and research funding, including grants that allow our Center of Excellence for Health Disparities practice of health care on Research (El Centro) to solve problems that disproportionately affect minorities. As one of just 11 Pan a global scale. American Health Organization/World Health Organization Nursing Collaborative Centres in the United States, we are increasing patient safety and workforce development throughout the Americas. Another essential tool for improving patient safety is simulation. In 2006 we unveiled our International Academy for Clinical Simulation and Research, the first center of its kind in the country designed exclusively for nursing and health sciences education. Now we’re taking the next step by building the nation’s first fully functional education-based Simulation Hospital. The 39,000-square-foot facility will be a universal resource for discoveries that improve outcomes and ultimately save lives. It’s a top priority of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, as well as the keystone of our vision to continue advancing the science and practice of health care.
For more information about the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Miami, please call 305-284-3666 or visit www.miami.edu/sonhs.
DEGREE PROGRAMS Our dynamic lineup of academic programs ranges from baccalaureate degrees in nursing, health science, and public health to master’s programs in multiple specialties, Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) programs, and a Ph.D. We are proud to have recently introduced the first nurse anesthesia doctoral degree in Florida, one of only 16 in the nation. Doctoral Programs
B.S.N.-D.N.P. Nurse Anesthesia Track
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program
Family Nurse Practitioner
Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Minor in Public Health
IN THIS ISSUE on the
2013 TOP 10 LÍDERES LEFT PHOTO: BRYAN SHEFFIELD, RIGHT PHOTO: ROBERT KLEMM PHOTOGRAPHY
The Many Faces of Eva: Activist, philanthropist, and businesswoman Eva Longoria kicks off our second annual Top 10 Líderes list, which starts on page 52.
P. 54 P. 61 P. 64 P. 67 P. 70 P. 73 P. 76 P. 79 P. 82 P. 86
Eva Longoria of eva longoria foundation jacqueline rosa of jpmorgan chase & Co. rodrigo sierra of american medical assoc. andrea bazán of united way of metro chicago maria sastre of signature flight support ricardo anzaldua of metlife jorge perez of manpower robert sanchez of ryder Systems, Inc. lisa garcia quiroz of time warner inc. jorge mas of mastec
—P. 150 —P. 104
cover photo by BRYAN SHEFFIELD location courtesy of LOFT ON LAKE hair & makeup by FREDY ANAYA of FACTOR ARTISTS manicure by CENITA SCOTT of FACTOR ARTISTS stylist JESSICA SHEEHAN of EVOLVE
HIGHER EDUCATION We speak with educators that are dedicated towards increasing the profile of Hispanics in the United States.
Dr. Nilda Peragallo Montano, University of Miami Dr. Gladys Ato, National Hispanic University P. 97 Dr. Gil Gonzales, University of New Mexico P. 99 Dr. Elsa Núñez, Eastern Connecticut State University P. 90 P. 94
DR. NILDA PERAGALLO MONTANO UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
DEPARTMENTS EVA LONGORIA is working to empower the growing number of Latina entrepreneurs in the United States.
P. 9 P. 101 P. 145
NEGOCIOS Getting down to business CULTURA Beyond the 9 to 5 VOCES Conversations with movers & shakers
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WHAT COLOR LIDÉR ARE YOU?
• • • •
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
MANY YEARS AGO, I participated in a University of Baltimore leadership retreat in the woodsy nature of western Maryland’s Wisp Resort. Communing with nature isn’t my thing, so the outdoor team-building activities were not enjoyable, but what was enjoyable and the real highlight of this trip—not to mention something that has stayed with me throughout the years—was a personality and leadership assessment test we took called True Colors. The test broke down your personality type and leadership traits to one of four colors: compassionate blue, decisive gold, vivacious orange, and creative green. The Hispanic Executive team recently took the True Colors test and the dialog presented by us all “knowing our colors” got me to think about this year’s Top 10 list. While we here at HE haven’t given any of our Top 10 Lidéres this test, I’m guessing we have all four colors represented: Philanthropist, activist, and actress, Eva Longoria is surely an orange Ricardo Anzaldua of MetLife career determination shows signs of a gold Time Warner Inc.’s Lisa Garcia Quiroz’s creative spirit shines as a green United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Andrea Bazán dedication to advocacy earmarks her as a blue
Colors aside, curating this year’s 2nd annual Top 10 Lidéres (which begins on page 52) has been equal parts challenging and exhilarating. Last year we set the bar high with our inaugural set of leaders and this year we’ve managed to push that bar just a little higher. Hispanic Executive is extremely honored to have the cohost and executive producer of the Alma Awards, Eva Longoria, join our elite club of Lidéres. Lidéres are not just limited to our Top 10. Turn to page 88 to learn about the educators who are helping to shape the business landscape of the future. Who knows, our next cover star might be sitting in one of their classes today. Here in Chicago we are winding down from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 34th annual national convention. Be sure to read our special feature on the USHCC’s Million Dollar Club on page 125. And don’t forget to visit HispanicExecutive.com for web exclusive coverage on the USHCC you won’t find anywhere else.
COMING NEXT ISSUE
• FINANCING SUCCESS: HE chats with the na-
tion’s top financial executives who go beyond crunching numbers.
• MEDIA MOGULS: We tap into the communications and marketing industry to get modern-day insights on this changing business landscape. • GOING GALÁN: Latina trailblazer, Nely Galán,
sits down with us to share her insights on empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Chris Sheppard Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Name dropping with Hispanic Executive
PEOPLE & COMPANIES A B C Aeutus Marketing 11 Almirall, Jose 41 Alonso, Nancy 31 Alonso, Steven 27 Alvarez, Ann 117 American Medical Association 65 Anaya, Alexander B. 11 Anzaldua, Ricardo 73 Arias, Victor 188 Aries Capital 157 Arnold & Porter LLP 191 Astralaga, Andres 111 AT&T 193 Ato, Gladys 94 Barcelos, Elcio 127 Bazán, Andrea 67 Beecher Carlson 154 Bond, Maritza 122 Broadcasting Board of Governors 194 Burger King 41 Burgos, Angel J. 146 Camacho, Ángela María 131 Campoamor, Diana 121 Cardenas, Alberto “Al” 181 Cardenas Partners 181 Casa Central 117 Chiro One Wellness Center 31 Cognizant Technology Solutions 186 Cooley LLP 179 Coss, Alejandro 12 Creative Times, Inc. 20
D E F Donado, Yvette 155 Eastern Area Health Education Center, Inc. 122 Eastern Connecticut State University 99 Ecolab 174 Educational Testing Service 155 Eisai Inc. 133 Ericsson 10 Estrada, Alex 160 Eva Longoria Foundation 54 Exeter Financial 160 Fifth Third Bank 27 Flores, Gaela Gehring 191 Florida International University 146 Florida Panthers 108 Ford 125
183 108 114 127 120 147 114 15
J K L John Barleycorn JPMorgan Chase & Co. Kaiser Permanente Korn/Ferry International Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia Latin United Community Housing Association Linares, Carlos Linares, Juan Carlos Longoria, Eva Lopez, Armando Lopez, Christina
17 61 38 188 12 147 167 147 54 174 157
M N O Maldonado, Monica Marquette University Martinez, Marisol Mas, Jorge MasTec Medina, Brenda Mendes, André Mercado, Jaime Mercer Inc. MetLife Microsoft Mirelez, David Moe’s Cantina Montalvo, Veronica Montano, Nilda Peragallo NFL Media Nickelodeon Nieves, Ellie Núñez, Elsa O’Byrne, Angela Ochoa, Joe Olivas, Mark Ortiz, Luis Owens Corning
15 147 33 86 86 133 194 143 170 73 131 150 17 147 90 111 104 171 99 50 137 47 11 137
P Q R
G H I Galeano, Li, Lei & Villegas Garcia, Hector Garcia-Rodriguez, Maribel Garrido, Terhilda Gerdes, Marta Gonzales, Gil Gonzalez, Benigno
Gonzalez, Noni Hernandez, Elisa Hevia, Sylvia Hewlett-Packard Co. Hispanics in Philanthropy Holton, Mirna Teresa International Latino Cultural Center Interprint Communications
15 186 140 38 36 97 22
Palomarez, Javier Perez, APC Perez, Jorge Platinum Equity Portalatin, Julio Portón, LLC Post University Preston, Carla T.
125 50 76 163 170 147 125
Quiroz, Lisa Garcia Rosa, Jacqueline Ryder System, Inc.
82 61 79
S T U Salazar, Donald Samco Enterprises Sanchez, Robert Sanchez, Sam Santamaria, Jessica Valenzuela Sastre, Maria Serio, Georgina Sierra, Rodrigo Signature Flight Support Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Sobers, Vanessa Sun Products Corp. Tampico Beverages Target The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America The National Hispanic University Time Warner Cable Time Warner Inc. Torres, Manuel Unisource Worldwide United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Universal Building Maintenance University of Miami University of New Mexico University of Texas at Dallas
20 17 79 17 179 70 154 64 71 143 44 167 36 150 171 94 33 82 104 177 125 67 47 90 97 10
V W X Y Z Velasco, Barbara 163 Verges, Dennis 177 Verizon 22 Villegas, Carlos 15
ADVERTISERS Acacia Network Alliant American Foundation for the Blind American Medical Association AMSC Abogados Aon Aries Capital BBDO Bentley University Bingham BlackBerry BMO Harris Bank Bridgeport Hospital Brown Rudnick Capitol Gains
121 162 130 66 132 142 159 142 43 162 25 119 124 164 182
CFS Clinical 133 Chiquita 152 Chiro One Wellness Center 30 Cognizant Technology Solutions 187 Connecticut Health Foundation 124 CoreLogic 26 CUNA 195 David A. Giannotti 166 Deloitte LLP 40 Eastern Connecticut State University 100 Educational Testing Service 156 Eisai Inc. 136 ExxonMobil 116 Firmenich 169 First Data 159 FIS 29 Fisher-Price 107 FTI Consulting 164 Givaudan 166 HACR 85 Hewlett-Packard Co. 129 Hormel Foods 153 HP Networking 96 JAKKS Pacific 103 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 46 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 60 Kelly 178 Korn/Ferry International 126 KPMG 185 MediaCom 139 Medidata Solutions 136 NFL Media 113 Northwestern Mutual (insert) 98-99 Owens Corning 136 Perez, APC 51 PG&E 4 Yum 153 Playmates 102 RAPP 35 Rubies Costume Company 106 Sánchez Devanny 193 School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Miami 2-3 Serenity Packaging 175 Seven Corporate Group 60 SICOM 43 Signature Flight Support 70 Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois 19 StoneTurn 180 Target 149 The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America 173 The National Hispanic University 95 Thomson Reuters 190 Tyson 148 Universal Building Maintenance 47 USHCC 196 Verizon 24 Verizon 46
Getting down to business
“We’ve truly developed a multifaceted brand campaign that brings out all of the unique attributes and benefits of our brand to the consumer.” MARTA GERDES
VP of Marketing Tampico Beverages
Staying ahead of the curve, Luis Ortiz sets a course for marketing innovation
Verizon’s Benigno Gonzalez on bringing a total innovative consumer experience
Jose Almirall helps fast-food powerhouse Burger King become royalty
Alexander B. Anaya channels his entrepreneurial roots into his own business ventures
Steven Alonso on how curiosity is changing the way banking industry does business
Vanessa Sobers on why smart marketing is multicultural marketing
HR guru Nancy Alonso leads with backbone at Chiro One Wellness Centers
The LACC helps Latinos find success in Atlanta
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
Samco Enterprises’ Sam Sanchez gives restaurant customers what they want
Creative Times regroups after national tragedy and emerges a top federal contractor
Marisol Martinez shares her passion for multicultural marketing at Time Warner Cable
Tampico Beverages’ Marta Gerdes is the voice of a brand for a new generation of consumers
Kaiser Permanente’s Terhilda Garrido on the new face of online health care
STEPPING STONES 47
How UBM president, Mark Olivas, learns by doing
Angela O’Byrne shares her path through design and development that brought her home
NEGOCIOS NEXT GENERATION
The Marketing Innovator Luis Ortiz
or 30-year-old Luis Ortiz, the road to Ericsson took a detour through academia. Originally set on becoming a researcher (completing his undergraduate degree and two years of doctoral work in psychology), the Mexico City native came to realize he wanted to put his skills to use towards understanding and influencing people’s decisions in the marketplace. To that end, he shifted his attention and joined the full-time MBA program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he focused on marketing strategy and branding. Since receiving his MBA, Luis Ortiz has gained invaluable experience in advertising at The Richards Group and digital marketing strategy at Fleishman-Hillard. Today, as brand manager for Ericsson in North America, Ortiz combines his extensive quantitative and qualitative research experience with his marketing strategy training to tackle challenges in creative and effective ways.
CAREER GOALS I am interested in continuing to expand my brand-management expertise, business knowledge, communications, and marketing skills to lead an organization in a high-technology environment.
I’d sum up my value in the marketplace as someone who isn’t afraid to take risks, yet who is thoughtful and thorough in my approach to problem solving and overcoming challenges.
WORK EXPERIENCE September 2011 – Present Brand Manager, Region North America
[A job where I'd be] ... in a position to leave a mark in the technology space for marketing innovation. I see a great opportunity for technology to support social good and will continue to pursue careers that allow me to do both.
June 2011 – September 2011 Brand Strategist
EDUCATION Master of Business Administration
University of Texas at Dallas, 2010
January 2011 – June 2011 Digital Marketing Strategist
PhD Candidate (prorogued)
Southern Methodist University, 2009
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
April 2010 – August 2010 Brand Planning Intern
University of Texas at Dallas, 2006
The Richards Group
There is no one person that I hold as my “one and only” role model. I do, however, highly admire people that are brave and are willing to try new ideas and methods in order to make things better—whether it’s for the business, industry, or society—regardless of whether doing so upsets the status quo. Some of the people I admire include Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Sergey Brin in technology, and Richard Branson and Herb Kelleher in the airline business, Salman Khan (founder of the Khan Academy) in education, and the founders of Kickstarter in entrepreneurship.
I am very achievement oriented. I like to see the product of my work take hold and facilitate change quickly. H
NEGOCIOS NEXT GENERATION
Natural Entrepreneur Alexander B. Anaya
orn into a family of business owners, 30-year-old Alexander B. Anaya considers himself an entrepreneur by blood. “That’s why I picked University of Phoenix’s MBA program,” he says. “It gave me the ability to pursue an MBA while giving me the flexibility to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations.” Now Anaya is putting what he’s learned at school into practice by operating his own marketing and consulting firm, Aeutus Marketing, along with his newest venture, Delight Day Spa, LLC. “I recently brought my newest enterprise to reach profits of six figures within the first nine months of operation,” he says. “I see a future in the health and beauty industry and plan to open a 4,500-square-foot facility in the Phoenix metro area by the end of the 2013 summer.”
January 2008 – December 2010 Arizona Regional Director Pro-Cess Professionals under 30
January 2006 – December 2010 Volunteer Thomas J Pappas School for Homeless Children
December 2003 – August 2010 Business Banker M&I Bank
ROLE MODELS Mark-Z: it’s a combo between Jay-Z and Mark Cuban, as they both embody the entrepreneurial spirit.
DEFINE SUCCESS By reaching set goals and feeling satisfied and accomplished.
INDUSTRY PULSE “Self-satisfaction is a growing trend within the health and beauty industry. Marketing to motivated individuals makes this business grow.”
CAREER GOALS Eventually I intend to focus on the growth of my spa, Delight Day Spa, and its expansion into salon suites. The suites will be designed to be a beauty mall for individually operating stylists, aestheticians, and massage therapists. The location will offer a posh look, affordable rent, appointment setting, and access to a marketing consultant. Once financially established, I would like to open a second location within two to three years. H
DREAM JOB To own a professional sports team, specifically soccer (Champions League). As a fan, I can show empathy to the other fans and as a business-minded entrepreneur I would like to add some newer generational flair.
EDUCATION Master of Business Administration University of Phoenix, 2013
Bachelor of Science in Business Management University of Phoenix, 2012
WORK EXPERIENCE January 2012 – Present Owner Delight Day Spa
December 2010 – Present COO & Marketing Consultant Aeutus Marketing
January 2007 – Present Volunteer Central Phoenix Young Life
January 2005 – Present Volunteer Blue Ribbon Coalition
GEORGIA ON MY MIND HELPING A NEW COMMUNITY OF LATINOS BY ZACH BALIVA
A PHOTO: SEAN PAVONE PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK
AT L A N TA , G A
FIND SUCCESS IN AMERICA’S SOUTHEAST
n 1990, there were less than 110,000 Latinos living in the state of Georgia. That started to change in the years leading up to 1996, when the Summer Olympics in Atlanta ushered in an employment boom. By 2000, 435,000 Latinos called the Peach State home. Today, that number sits just south of one million—almost 10 percent of the state’s population. In the middle of the economic growth, Hispanic leaders in the area recognized the opportunities for minority-owned businesses as well as the difficulties associated with entering a new marketplace. Several of those leaders came together in 1998 for the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia (LACC), an organization that facilitates the creation and growth of Hispanic businesses and companies from Latin America. “Latinos were basically new to the Southeast, so we wanted to help them get started here,” says current chamber president Alejandro Coss, who has led the group for the past four years. He came to the area from Mexico 14 years ago while working with his native government in a trade position. “I saw that Atlanta was a city that was going to continue its growth. I knew it was a city and region that would offer a lot to Hispanic businesses,” he recalls. Other Latinos agreed. While many were lured to Georgia and the surrounding areas by construction jobs associated with the Olympics, others followed the growing residential housing market. Many Hispanics started their own companies as vendors or subcontractors, but faced severe difficultly when Atlanta’s housing market dried up overnight. Continued on pg. 16
“We’re here to help [Latinos] prepare, help them start businesses, and help them take advantage of all the great opportunities in Atlanta and the Southeast.” ALEJANDRO COSS President Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia
The number of Latinos in Georgia is expected to reach 1.4 million by 2017
Latinos represent almost 10% of Georgia’s state population
TALKING SHOP MONICA MALDONADO President & CEO Interprint Communications What are some of the advantages or opportunities in the Atlanta market? Atlanta is very diverse in its people and businesses, and serves as hot spot to many top companies that have their corporate headquarters here. This makes it advantageous for small businesses, especially those certified to do businesses with local government and state institutions. What does the region have to offer Latino professionals? The growth of the Hispanic population at national levels and the power of the Latino vote make an attractive market for Latino professionals as corporations and businesses look to assimilate with the market needs, both in selling and buying goods to Hispanic consumers. Atlanta is a growing hub. What is unique about the business climate? I think communities are starting to work together more and the mixture of cultures is evident. What Chamber services do you use? Networking events such as those that bring corporate and small businesses together to learn the relevancy about the Latino culture and business needs. How can the Chamber help businesspeople? The Chamber is interested in learning about individual needs. That help, combined with the programs and alliances make membership worthwhile.
A conversation with two local professionals
Why would you suggest Atlanta to other entrepreneurs? I like the South and its friendly folks and easy to deal with people. Atlanta is great for city or suburban living, so people here have many choices. Everyone can find what they like in and around Atlanta.
start businesses catered to different people. Atlanta’s airport is another key player in our development. There are flights connecting Atlanta to the whole world, and this makes Atlanta a hub for a lot of international travelers.
What do you most appreciate about the Chamber? The LACC is a grassroots chamber that focuses on the needs of its members and brings businesses together to assimilate to the American culture and way of doing business while preserving the roots and the intricacies of where they come from. There are different levels of business representation and we can cater to any size of business need. I am on our board, which is comprised of corporate, entrepreneurial, finance, and law backgrounds. We have the heart of Latino culture and the wisdom of experienced professionals with the creativity of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Has there been growth? The region has shown a lot of growth in various industries. Additionally, the growth within the Hispanic segment has been remarkable. As such, this brings business opportunities from a growing population. For professionals, the human capital has exploded.
CARLOS VILLEGAS CPA & Partner Galeano, Li, Lei & Villegas How would you describe the local market? Atlanta has grown drastically within the past 15 years. After the Olympics, a lot of businesses and people moved to Atlanta and industries such as technology and logistics took off. Additionally, the influx of Hispanics into Atlanta has played a key role in the growth of the state. With the growth and diversity, there are a lot of opportunities to
What benefits exist around Atlanta? The Atlanta area has the benefit of being close to Latin America but also in the middle of the Southeast of the US. We have direct flights to all the major capitals in Latin America. Also, there are major US corporations here so there is a demand for a highly skilled labor force that demands goods and services. How does the Chamber help businesspeople? The Chamber shows them the way in how business is done and provides access to networking events. Businesses can take advantage of the vast resources the Chamber has to offer like contacts in Atlanta’s corporations and nonprofit organizations that provide business insight and information. Would you encourage entrepreneurs to come to Atlanta? I would suggest Atlanta because it is strategically located in the United States with good global access. We are close to a major port and have high diversity, which makes it easier to find diverse employees.
Just 2 of Georgia’s 236 state legislators are Latino despite a population share of 8.8%
Georgia’s national rank in Latino population
77.9% rise in Hispanicowned businesses from 2002 to 2007 2002
The housing crisis created a “double-effect,” from which many Hispanic businesses are still recovering. “Latinos who worked in construction had to find jobs in other industries, but were making less money. Businesses who served those Latinos as consumers were hurting since discretionary income was lower,” Coss explains. That’s where the Chamber—also known as La Cámara—stepped in. Coss and his colleagues focused their resources on development and education, providing classes, workshops, and seminars to help with business skills and operations. “We noticed that many Latino businesses didn’t survive while others knew how to consolidate and even buy competitors,” he says. “We knew we could provide resources and information designed to help those who were hurting figure out how to compete.” The Chamber also teaches its members how to stay compliant with regulations to minimize the risk of fines and closures. Although they make up the smallest group of minority owners, the entrepreneurial spirit of Latinos is strong in Georgia. “We’re here to help them prepare, help them start businesses, and help them take advantage of all the great opportunities in Atlanta and the Southeast,” Coss says. In
2012, his organization hosted four classes designed to improve members’ business skills in areas like marketing and budgeting. One program walks prospective business owners through a process to determine the economic feasibility of an idea. Then, Coss and peers work with the entrepreneurs to clarify their vision, identify networks of support, and draft a proper business plan. La Cámara has members in many industries, and Coss has seen strong numbers in food-service outlets like restaurants and supermarkets. “We’re in an exciting time because we’re seeing many members grow and open new locations,” he says. Existing companies represent another exciting opportunity for Southeastern Hispanics. Georgia is home to several Fortune 500 companies, that Coss says are looking to diversify their supplier base. In fact, 16 Georgia companies are on the 2013 Fortune 500 list. It’s perhaps the biggest upcoming and underleveraged trend—representing a tsunami of revenue that Coss urges Hispanics to harness. Coss sees Latinos and Hispanicowned businesses contributing to Atlanta’s growth in major ways. “We’ll be key players in the continued recovery of the region
“We’ll be key players in the continued recovery of the region and its future growth. Our population has grown tremendously, and so has our spending power. That shouldn’t be overlooked.” ALEJANDRO COSS President Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia
and its future growth,” he says. “Our population has grown tremendously, and so has our spending power. That shouldn’t be overlooked.” Coss sees his role as that of an advisor. “I like to encourage people to take advantage of what they already know and help them find their specific expertise,” he says. All entrepreneurs—Latino or not— must bring knowledge and ideas to have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Those who understand the region will flourish most quickly. For example, knowing that most Latinos in Georgia are Mexican should alert a vendor in the foodservice industry to the desire for authentic Mexican products. The Chamber helps its members study the marketplace, discover if a product exists, and determine how to offer something new, different, or better. As a community, Latinos face unique challenges in Georgia, where lawmakers recently passed and enacted HB 87—the strict and expansive immigration bill is one of the country’s most strongly worded pieces of such legislation. “HB 87 has closed a lot of doors with negative effects on immigrant population,” Coss says. “The consequences for minority-owned businesses have been very real.” Furthermore, the bill adds uncertainty to the Latino consumer and his ability to support other local businesses. Despite its challenges, Coss believes the Latino community is in Georgia to stay. According to the US Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners, there were 32,000 Latino-owned businesses in Georgia, an increase of 78 percent from 2002. Those businesses generated $6 billion in revenue. H
PHOTO: BITCRAFTER MEDIA COMPANY
FINDING THE RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
The hospitality industry is in Sam Sanchez’s blood. His father was in the restaurant business in Mexico; his uncle owned restaurants in Chicago. He worked for both through the years, learning at a young age that a strong work ethic and undeterred dedication are required to make a family-owned business a success. It was a good introduction, and now Sanchez is sharing the family passion through his own ventures, which include John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina. AS TOLD TO JULIE KNUDSON
Congrats, Sam! -From your friends at CBS
WHEN IT’S DONE RIGHT, being involved in the hospitality sector is a lot like working at a party. It seems like pure fun when the lights dim from the customer’s perspective, but before the doors open it is hard work getting everything into place from the staff to the kitchen to the behind-the-scenes administrative work. Every day is different so it never gets boring, and when the day is done there’s a sense of accomplishment that the guests had a great time, good food, and good service. Even though the hospitality industry is very hard work, it’s also very rewarding. The best competitive advantage isn’t setting my sights on what the other restaurants down the street are doing, but how I can improve on my own success. I started asking myself how I could make this project better than the last one. It’s not only operating and running a venue, it’s everything from seeing the grand opening to hearing from the operations manager that we’ve hired almost 200 people. I’m excited to create jobs and add to the local communities we call home.
Many changes have come about in the past five years within the restaurant industry, mostly due to the sluggish economy. Menus today are less focused on entrees and more geared towards building a meal of sharable small plates. People not only want a great meal when they go out, they want the entire experience to be fun and memorable. It’s all about the atmosphere in the room. Another development in the industry is the rise in popularity of the online coupon. These deep-discount coupons may increase a restaurant’s exposure short-term, but the loss in income and perceived reduction in value can end up hurting the restaurant’s image. Good restaurant operators are fighting back, saying this isn’t the way to do business. Instead, it’s important to maintain good quality control and offer incentives as a way to drive repeat traffic. We offer a variety of incentives at our venues including daily specials, a frequent-diner club, and student discounts. This offers value for the customer and builds business long-term.
Opens second John Barleycorn in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood
Opens first Moe’s Cantina location in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood
Becomes operations manager of the original John Barleycorn location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood 2000 1992
Chicago Beverage Systems, LLC A Reyes Holdings Company Purchases John Barleycorn Lincoln Park
441 N. Kilbourn Ave. Chicago Il. 60624 Office 773.826.4100
Launches EMC Construction, which focuses on the hospitality sector
Receives Businessperson of the Year award from the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
The economic recovery has been slow, and hospitality companies need to stay one step ahead and focus on growth to survive. You cannot stop building restaurants. We look for high-density areas and commercial districts for expansion and study the demographics, traffic patterns, and other key components of each prospective neighborhood. Families aren’t going out to eat as much in these tough times, instead it’s the young professionals, so we focus more on communities that appeal to that segment. In my opinion, good menu development contributes to providing customers with the atmosphere and enjoyment they crave. We change our menu four times a year, with the seasons, and we also create specialty plates, where people get even more value for their money. Great food and a great dining experience is the combination will keep people coming back. If restaurant operators concentrate on the atmosphere, and on the quality of service and food, they will beat this bad economy.
Community involvement is important, and all business owners need to find time to give back to those around them. It may not be possible for me to attend every community meeting, but my managers are also involved in the local scene and linking the restaurants to the people they serve. The more visible you are and the more active you are, the more recognition the name of your restaurant gets, and the more people know you are a part of the neighborhood. Even with multiple locations, a strong sense of community can still exist. You can have 20 restaurants in 20 different areas and each should have its own subtle personality beyond the corporate identity. Each location should be targeted towards the community and tailored for the neighborhood where they do business. By caring for and getting involved with the neighborhoods they’re in, each restaurant generates goodwill and interest. That results in better traffic and more customer loyalty. H
Receives Founder’s Award from the Chicago Latino Network
Opens third John Barleycorn in Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago
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New restaurant scheduled to open in summer 2013
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CREATIVE MEASURES Creative Times, Inc.’s Donald Salazar on how one company regrouped after a national tragedy to emerge as a top federal contractor AS TOLD TO ZACH BALIVA
s president and CEO of Creative Times, Inc. (CTI), a design-build company based in his native Ogden, Utah, Donald Salazar leads all management activities from bonding and finance to planning and performance. The company, initially started for another purpose, today serves top clients in the government sector with contracts between $200,000 and $34 million. Over 18 years, CTI has completed more than 1,000 projects for clients like the US Air Force, General Services Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Salazar, the cofounder of the Ogden Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, serves on the board of directors for the Utah Hispanic and national Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. He has a master’s degree in organizational management and is a business transformation graduate from the Tuck School of Business Transformation program at Dartmouth University. Recently, he shared the story behind Creative Times with Hispanic Executive.
SPREAD THE WEALTH “While we’re thriving, I embrace the philosophy of giving back to the community and participating in that way because it’s so important as a business owner,” says Donald Salazar, president and CEO of Creative Times, Inc.
CREATIVE TIMES INC., our construction company, is actually a DBA of Creative Times Day School, Inc. People ask how a day school is in federal construction. Well, many years ago, I was working as a parole officer. There was a family about to get out—the parents out of jail and the kid of our juvenile detention. I was trying to place them in facilities, but nobody would take them. My wife ran day cares at the time and was helping me figure out what to do. I spent all this time setting them up at a place that would take kids on state assistance and then the woman made up an excuse and told me they were full at the last minute. I think the kids were the wrong color. So we decided to
Company is now fully involved in commercial construction with a focus on government work
Company wins the Recognition Award from the Ogden Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for commitment and improvement to the lives of young people
The company starts doing business as Creative Times Day School, Inc. and has a total of three employees
A domestic terrorist bombs the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City including America’s Kids Day Care Center. Creative Times stops building day cares, which are no longer included in federal projects
purchase our own day care and run it ourselves. That was in 1988. We kept expanding and adding more, and pretty soon we were planning lots of construction projects. We decided that we would set aside 25 percent of the spots for kids of color, kids on state assistance, or even just indigent kids. We were able to work with people we had contact with to provide free eye and dental exams and other great programs. Then the Oklahoma City bombings happened and that kind of put the end to our plan to add day-care facilities in federal buildings. But, we had learned the building and the contracting world. We were certified to work on all kinds of federal projects, so [we] headed in another direction. I remember that I had $1 million of volume in my mind as a great goal. Well, we hit that goal in 2000. Then, in 2003, we did $3.2 million, and then just kept expanding to where we did $60 million in 2011. We just kept getting better and faster. It’s like
CTI is named the 2003 Minority Business of the Year by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Center
building a box—you do it 100 times and all of a sudden you learn all the tricks to building a great box. Our tagline is “quality service from quality people.” We really focus on doing everything the absolute best with a great team of people. In those days, I was going back to school for my master’s degree [while] I was still the president of CTI and a full-time parole officer. I’ve learned that there are ways to make everything work. I was working 16 hours per day for many years. I often hear smallbusiness people say they don’t have time for something and I think to myself “sure you do.” Things don’t always come easy, but if you want them bad enough, they do come. Today, we’re doing jobs in several states, on federal facilities, and all over the place. Most of what we do is in government projects. One building is a $34 million project which was just completed. We’ve been able to prove that we have the ability to complete various projects and compete at an
CTI and its employees work on projects such as the Fort Carson Physical Fitness Facility, (Colorado Springs, CO, $32.7 million) and Fort Bliss Fire and Military Police Station (Fort Bliss, TX, $13.9 million)
above-standard level with anyone else. There used to be two boats in the sea, but now there are 200. It’s gotten so crowded and competitive in this government work because all companies try to be here, now that the residential and commercial worlds aren’t what they used to be. But here, you learn from experience, you learn from doing, and we’ve done it. We’ll keep moving forward, doing what we’ve always done. While we’re thriving, I embrace the philosophy of giving back to the community and participating in that way because it’s so important as a business owner. I’m still on the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce advisory board and helped start the Hispanic Chamber in Ogden. I was asked, too, to join the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and consider it such an honor and privilege because we have the chance to influence legislation and also teach, train, and affect other state chambers and members throughout the United States. H
MUNDO CONECTADO Verizon’s Benigno Gonzalez connects the dots between business and a totally innovative consumer experience BY RUTH E. DÁVILA
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BENIGNO GONZALEZ he projects that Benigno Gonzalez oversees at Verizon are the stuff that techies and scifi junkies dream of. Even for “light users” of technology, the scale of connectivity that Verizon is conceiving, along with leading companies, is on the verge of reconstructing the definition of everyday interactions with the world. From driving to shopping to health care, the common denominator for change is an ever-growing mobility platform. By 2020, Verizon estimates there will be 50 billion devices connected to mobile networks in the United States. “If you look into the future, in the next five years, the biggest drivers will be wireless with 4G LTE network and cloud services,” says Dominican Republic-born Gonzalez, vice president of global marketing and communications for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “The intersection of those two—when enterprise customers embrace the cloud—is the next big wave of innovation.” Gonzalez, an engineer-turned-marketer with a 20-year Verizon résumé, gives Hispanic Executive a sneak peek at what’s ahead. “When you come to our innovation labs,” Gonzalez says, “you actually see a defense car or a vending machine or an MRI machine ... My role is to make sure that companies see the value of our network and use it as part of their designs for new solutions and services for the public.”
PHOTOS: DOUG DAVIES
REVOLUTIONIZED RETAIL In the future, customers across the country will be able to scan their smartphone over an item in a department store to get instant access to real reviews, comparative prices, or “help” videos. “You will be able to walk into the store and have a glance of all the information you have in the store, just by tapping your phone in multiple locations,” Gonzalez says. The technology behind this mobile-enhanced commerce is near-field communication—the same functionality found in a security badge that one swipes to access a building, Gonzalez explains.
Are you a tech junkie? I have five devices between smartphones and tablets. I enjoy being connected. Biggest pleasure is to read multiple newspapers on my tablet on Sunday morning. What would you be doing with your life, if not this? In my early years, I worked at the University of the Dominican Republic as associate director for the dean of engineering. (I thought I was going to be an engineering professor.) Now that I’ve done my MBA, my dream is to go back and teach marketing and business. It’s my passion; I love it. Best thing about being bilingual? It’s not only about being bilingual; it’s about working with multiple cultures and understanding how business is conducted … Being bilingual in New York allows me to enjoy the best the city has to offer. Do you dance? If so, what’s your favorite style? Merengue. Favorite spot in the world? North Fork of Long Island in New York.
“If you tap the phone anywhere in a store—a pair of shoes, for example—you will not only see multiple colors, but also customer reviews and matching outfit recommendations,” he says. Customers can even tag the items that pop up on their screen, and the store’s staff will have them waiting for them at checkout. This hyper-connected model extends to advertising. “You’re in a subway and see an ad on the wall for a product you like,” Gonzalez says. “You just tap the phone into the ad and you can order it to have it delivered to your home.”
Think beyond quick response (QR) codes (a square graphic that can be scanned with a smartphone, opening to a website). This smartphone technology will enable customers to turn their devices into electronic wallets. “You could go into Starbucks and pay for your coffee just by tapping the register,” he says.
CONNECTED CARS In the US market, the average driver spends about an hour and a half commuting each day, Gonzalez says. Yet the in-car experience has not been substantially upgraded in years. “When we think about the connected car, think that not only is your car intelligent, but it can talk to other pieces in your life.” “When we look into the future, don’t be surprised that your car will have Internet connectivity, so that you can have access to the cloud,” Gonzalez says. “You could access your music, Pandora; today you are restricted to use your radio station.” Cars could also update your status on social-networking sites. In addition, the Verizon fleet—technicians who install communication services—use the Network Fleet Solution. “We can track how many miles are driven in a day. We have visibility to view how many times the vehicle has been left idle and not turned off, which is part of our green initiative,” he says. By 2020, most cars will be connected, Gonzalez says.
DIGITAL HEALTH CARE Verizon has set out to use digital connected technology to make health care smarter. “Verizon is making a big bet on elements that we can use in our technology to affect society in a better way. The real differentiator is making sure we can connect patients with physicians and making it simple,” Gonzalez says. “Our connected network can handle the demand for sending MRIs, x-rays, and CAT scans over the Internet,” he says. These capabilities are primed to
“Verizon is making a big bet on elements that we can use in our technology to affect society in a better way.” BENIGNO GONZALEZ VP | Global Marketing & Communications Verizon Enterprise Solutions
accelerate health-care communications— all using Verizon’s platforms (although patients would not have to be Verizon customers for it to work). Americans spend roughly $3 trillion a year on health care, and that rate is rising by 5 percent annually, Gonzalez says. With
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remote health-care management, Verizon and its partners in this field—major hospitals and insurance firms—predict that successful health and recovery results will skyrocket. Costs are slated to decrease, too, he says. Hospital readmission costs represent one of the greatest burdens on the medical system, Gonzalez explains. This stems from the fact that many patients fail to follow their treatment plans. “Our technology can help medical practitioners track the treatment processes and be able to articulate with the physicians and nurses back at the hospital that the process is being followed, not only so patients get better, but to trigger early warnings to avoid going back to the hospital,” he says. Monitoring can range from blood sugar levels to blood pressure to weight—all monitored by mobile enabled devices connected to Verizon’s network—sent in real time. And medical professionals won’t be the only ones to receive alerts. “Imagine, you can see remotely if your mother is taking her insulin,” Gonzalez says. “The idea is to make sure people are being proactive in taking care of their health.” H
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BANKING ON CURIOSITY Fifth Third Bank’s Steven Alonso on how the inquisitive bank is changing the way its industry does business
PHOTO: FIFTH THIRD BANK
BY TINA VASQUEZ
echnically, Steven A lonso’s background as a mechanical engineer isn’t that unusual for the consumer banking industry. Sure, he used to work for Procter & Gamble where he was responsible for manufacturing Tide detergent, among other tasks, but according to Alonso he was one of many who left the engineering field behind for banking. In the mid ’80s when banks were consolidating, they began building operational centers and who better to run them than engineers with technical expertise and experience managing people? After a seven-year run as senior vice president and division general manager of consumer lending operations for Household Finance and Household Bank and a six-year tenure as CEO of the consumer financial services group at Bank One, Alonso had a successful stint as an entrepreneur in financial services before finding his way back to big banking as Fifth Third Bank’s executive vice president and head of the consumer bank. Here, Alonso shares four Fifth Third Bank initiatives that have made an impact.
it was the largest project he and his team had ever undertaken. “We now have concise value products,” Alonso says. “We call ourselves the ‘curious bank’ because we’re curious about our customers’ needs. What do they want their retirement to look like? What are their dreams? What are they saving for? We can’t help unless we’re curious about you—and we are.”
it off at the end of the month or over time. “It’s a big deal to roll out a new product because there’s the legal component, the risk, the marketing, etc. There are so many moving pieces and you have to rely on customer feedback to calculate whether people are going to love it or hate it,” Alonso says. “It was no different with the DUO Card, but it’s exceeded our expectations. Last year, we sold more than 60,000 and it continues to grow in popularity. We’re thrilled.”
DUO CARD Fifth Third Bank is the only bank that has a card that acts as both a debit and credit card, allowing customers to choose how they’d like to use it for each transaction. When checking out at a store, customers are often asked to choose between debit and credit no matter the card being swiped. Even if credit is chosen, the money will come directly out of their checking account, but that’s not what happens with the DUO Card. The idea was to give consumers more financial flexibility. When choosing “credit,” for example, their purchase goes against their credit line—just like a normal credit card, giving them the option to pay
MORTGAGE GROWTH Alonso says that thanks to the government keeping mortgage rates low, many have been able to refinance their homes, which “helps the economy and helps customers.” It’s also proving to be good for Fifth Third Bank. When Alonso joined the bank in 2008, it was doing $900 million a month in mortgages; it’s now doing $2.2 billion a month, taking the bank from the 23rd largest to the 13th largest mortgage bank. Clearly, this is significant growth and what benefits the bank also benefits those in need of work. This growth has created hundreds of
STREAMLINING SERVICES After years of acquiring other banks, Fifth Third Bank had 1,325 retail branches in 12 states—and 25 different checking accounts and 17 savings account options. Alonso and his team felt that the products they offered had to have different value propositions for consumers, but the number of accounts available was excessive. Fifth Third Bank decided to directly appeal to more than 1,000 customers with their Voice of the Customer exercise, asking each for their feedback on the features that were most important to them. After mulling over the results, the bank was able to narrow down their offerings to five checking accounts and three savings account options, with almost half of the bank’s customers already switched over to the new products. By springtime, all of the bank’s customers will be enrolled. Alonso says completing the new rollout required a “Herculean effort” by many and
“We call ourselves the ‘curious bank’ because we’re curious about our customers’ needs. What do they want their retirement to look like? What are their dreams? What are they saving for? We can’t help unless we’re curious about you—and we are.” STEVEN ALONSO Executive VP & Head of the Consumer Bank Fifth Third Bank
new jobs in the 12 states that house Fifth Third Banks and as Alonso says, when business grows, jobs grow. UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a doctor. My father was a pediatrician and I had so much respect for him and what he did, but when it came time to cut up a cadaver’s arm in premed I thought, “Maybe this isn’t for me.” Where is your family from? My dad came to the United States to study from Spain in the 1950s. My mom was a nurse at the hospital and after he met her, he decided to stay. We still have close ties to Spain and I spent every summer on farms there. What is your favorite thing to do with your free time? Spend time with my family, especially with my grandson. I also love being on the back of a horse in the woods without my cellphone. What is your favorite vacation spot? I don’t really see Spain as a vacation spot, but it’s my favorite place in the world to go. It’s like going home. My wife and I also really love spending time in Hilton Head, South Carolina. We’ve been going there for 15 years.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER FOR OUR CLIENTS ...
REEMPLOYMENT PILOT “No bank wants to foreclose on a home. Anyone who tells you they do isn’t familiar with how the industry works. We want to keep people in their homes and not only that, but it costs us money when we foreclose on a home,” Alonso says. To keep people in their homes and avoid losing money, Fifth Third Bank partnered up with NextJob, a nationwide reemployment services and software company, for a program unlike any other the industry has ever seen: giving unemployed mortgage borrowers job-search assistance, including one-onone dedicated coaching, weekly webinars, and online job search software, all of which is being fully paid for by Fifth Third Bank. Originally a pilot program, in 2012 unemployed Fifth Third customers who were in serious risk of defaulting on their mortgages were given the opportunity to participate. On average, many of the participants had been out of work for 22 months and after six months in the program, nearly 40 percent were fully employed. The program was so successful that in February 2013, Fifth Third Bank signed a multiyear contract with NextJob, permanently incorporating the program into how the bank does business. “This is something that’s never been done before,” Alonso says. “We expect the industry will embrace it. We want to see banks actively trying to find people jobs and not foreclose on their homes. It will just be another aspect of what we do to help customers.” H
That’s what makes FIS™ the global leader.
FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS PAYMENT SOLUTIONS BUSINESS SOLUTIONS TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
A MESSAGE FROM CORELOGIC CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading property information, analytics and services provider. The company delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. CoreLogic is proud of its working relationship with Fifth Third Bank and truly excited to experience, first hand the hard work and passion Steven Alonso has put forth to fight fraud and augment resources in the current mortgage market.
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LEADING AN HR FORCE WITH BACKBONE Growing exponentially, Chiro One Wellness Center goes out of its way to promote health and wellness for its clients and employees
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
BY TINA VASQUEZ
hiro One Wellness Centers’ chief human resources officer, Nancy Alonso, says it was an unexpected opportunity by way of her background in human resources that led her into health care, but in many ways her career in HR was the result of a bit of good fortune as well. Alonso went to college with the goal of being an industrial psychologist. It was a career she settled on as a child, but when her college offered her an internship doing highvolume recruiting during the holidays, she realized that not only was she good at attracting talent, but she thoroughly enjoyed it. After holding positions as vice president of human resources at both NeuroSource and Vista Health Systems, Alonso found her way to Chiro One, the nation’s fastest-growing chiropractic physician’s group. Here, the HR professional shares four initiatives that have resulted in major success for Chiro One Wellness Centers.
of excellence, the first of which is wellness through education. “The goal is to create a happy, healthy environment so that people can make the right choices about their health,” Alonso says. Part of creating a healthy, happy environment includes offering free chiropractic services to all employees and their family members, which is Chiro One’s second standard of excellence. Number three places an emphasis on lifelong learning, which requires that Alonso and her team help
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an industrial psychologist! When I was 12 or 13 years old my dad brought home a book on the subject and the idea that you could do things to make employees more productive was very interesting to me. I thought the book was the coolest thing.
One of the first things Alonso did when she joined Chiro One in May of 2012 was restructure the organization’s talent acquisition department. “We were bringing people into the organization, but we weren’t making sure they were a good fit for us,” Alonso says. Part of the problem was the organization’s monumental growth. In 2006, Chiro One Wellness Centers had seven locations. By 2012, it had 78 and in 2013 the organization plans on adding 40 additional offices to the list. “We were growing so quickly that some of our support functions weren’t keeping up,” the chief HR officer says. As a result, she and her team redesigned the organization’s selection process, taking special care to identify behavioral traits that make potential employees more apt to be successful in the organization.
MAKING CHIRO ONE THE BEST PLACE TO WORK Alonso has spent a lot of time on the chiropractic group’s culture, defining it, upholding it, and ensuring that the organization is a great place for people to work. She and her team developed seven standards
employees continue their educations, in whatever shape they take, while also offering employees access to seminars, training sessions, and other educational activities. Rounding out Alonso’s standards of excellence are clear communication, great customer service, appearance—which requires that all clinics look the same—and ownership. “Ownership thinking empowers the employees to treat the business as if it’s their own,” Alonso says. “Once you take ownership of something you feel responsible for it and you want to uphold the standards.”
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH
Where are your parents from and where did you grow up? My parents are from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, but I grew up in Chicago. What is your favorite thing to do with your free time? I’m a big movie buff and I love reading. I also spend a lot of time supporting Loyola, volunteering, and serving on their Latino alumni board. What is your favorite vacation spot? Monterrey and Paris—and I don’t get to visit either one enough.
Right off the bat Chiro One Wellness Centers’ employees have it better than 99 percent of the workforce, especially in health care—and that’s because those who work in the organization’s clinics only have a fourday workweek. “In health care it’s very hard to maintain work/life balance because so many are working double shifts six days in a row,” Alonso says. “We’re trying to put systems in place that provide our employees with work/life balance.” Not only do clinic employees have a limited workweek, but each afternoon clinics also shut down for three hours. From the hours of 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., clinic staff members can have lunch with their kids, spend time with their families, nap, or do whatever else their heart desires. “What we’re doing is really different than other health-care organizations and even very different from corporate America,” Alonso says. “Working for us comes with a lot of perks.”
RETHINKING THE SALARY STRUCTURE Chiro One hires a team of individuals for its customer-engagement team, which goes into local communities to educate the public about chiropractic services. The compensation being offered when Alonso first joined the organization wasn’t attracting quality team members so, in late February, Alonso and her team relaunched the program, offering a more competitive salary. “We’re looking for individuals truly interested in wellness,” Alonso says. “We want people who want to be part of a dynamic company and I think that’s who we’ll attract because of these adjustments.” H
MULTICULTURAL MAVEN Marisol Martinez makes waves in Time Warner Cable’s multicultural marketing BY MARY J. LEVINE
LEADING TWC’s Hispanic efforts across various marketing functions, Marisol Martinez serves as senior director of acquisition marketing.
n one sense, you could say that the story of Marisol Martinez is a classic New York story. Born in the Dominican Republic and learning English as her second language, Martinez was raised as the daughter of immigrant parents in Washington Heights on Manhattan’s far north side. She worked and paid her own way through her undergrad career at Manhattan College, where she earned a BS in marketing. Defying the categorizing
statistics of Hispanic girls raised in low-income, underserved communities, she also raised her son as a single parent and walked the thin line of balancing traditional cultural values with independent career goals, later earning her MS in communications from Columbia University. And for the past five years, Martinez has led key roles at Time Warner Cable, where she works as the corporate senior director of acquisition marketing. Hers is a career built
on city smarts and marketing savvy, and while the story is one of steady growth, its phases are clear and defined.
PASSION FOR MULTICULTURAL MARKETING “At first, I formed a background in agencytype business, managing the public relations and promotional programs for several book publishing companies and Columbia House,”
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH
What is your favorite place to visit, either on vacation or during your off time? Rome and Barcelona are two of my favorite vacation spots because of the culture, the relaxed lifestyle, and you can focus on yourself and your family life without the stress of the US. What website do you visit the most? I always try to stay on top of entertainment and strategy, so I’m constantly on Time Warner Cable’s own social-media pages or follow Univision, to stay on top of what’s hot among Hispanic consumers. Favorite TV show of all time, because we’re talking about Time Warner. I love comedy, and I usually gravitate towards that genre. I watch a lot of stand-up on Comedy Central, and I also really like the Office—it’s one of my favorite shows. Sex and the City is also one of my favorites. I like The Apprentice, too. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I didn’t discover my passion for marketing until I got to college, but because of the environment I grew up in, which was very entrepreneurial in spirit, I was inspired by mom’s creative ways to do more with less—she always found ways to help us get ahead.
says Martinez, of the beginning of her career out of the gate at Manhattan College in 1995. “This experience fueled my desire to advocate for the unique cultural needs of my community.” After several years in the agency world where she focused on packaged goods brands produced by Procter & Gamble, she grew to understand the pivotal role agencies play in helping clients create insightful campaigns that aim to own a unique space in the consumer mind. “The most brilliant campaigns are created when both agency and client have a mutual understanding of the strategic vision of a brand,” Martinez explains. “This can only be achieved by establishing a two-way dialogue and allowing the agency a seat at the table from the inception of a project.” Ready to transition to the corporate side, she moved to Verizon Communications in 2001. Verizon Communications was then a fairly new brand formed out of the $52 billion Bell Atlantic/GTE merger in 2000 at the dawn of the so-called mobile era. This allowed Martinez to hone her interests in the entertainment industry and sharpen her marketing skills, while managing a widerange of acquisition, event marketing, retention, philanthropy, and brand-advertising programs aimed at increasing revenue and product penetration in the general and multicultural markets. “After Verizon, I went back to packaged goods at Unilever from 2006 to 2008,” Martinez says. “My journey to eventually arrive at Time Warner Cable came at the right time in my career because my integrated marketing communications experience was then compiled into this amazing job I have now.” For her first three years at Time Warner Cable, drawing on her past marketing and advertising agency experience, Martinez was likewise able to return to multicultural marketing where she was responsible for building a corporate marketing communications center of excellence. “I’m passionate about multicultural marketing, and in this business, marketing thought leaders should have it as a foundation given the ethnic diversity of the US,” Martinez explains.
TOP-DOWN APPROACH “To succeed in the multicultural space, companies need to follow a top-down approach, where senior leadership is committed to the long-term strategic investment and growth of these segments,” Martinez says. “Time Warner Cable is vested in building a relevant infrastructure that meets the needs of
multicultural consumers because this segment represents a significant subscriber base of the communities it serves.” Martinez cites cross-functional accountability as the critical agent here, which serves to establish a marketing organization with multicultural expertise infused across various teams. “Having this type of structure at Time Warner Cable has allowed me to be successful in the programs I manage,” Martinez says.
CATER TO SPECIFIC VALUES Media companies have made a big leap by understanding that the Hispanic community needs to be approached in a different way, catering to specific cultural values, technological and financial behaviors, and media preferences. “Because Hispanics are avid TV viewers for content both in English and Spanish, Time Warner Cable aims to provide them with video packages that offer the content they feel passionate about—regardless of language,” Martinez says. As an example, Time Warner Cable’s recent launch of Time Warner Cable Deportes allows subscribers to watch original Spanish sports programming that profiles Hispanic sports players and personalities in addition to the broadcast of LA Lakers, LA Galaxy, and LA Sparks games in Spanish.
UTILIZE TRAJECTORY “We launched a program about two years ago that has served to fuel a lot of what we’re doing now,” Martinez says. “It involved an application for our movies-on-demand platform, which enables Time Warner Cable subscribers to watch movies (like Fast Five with reggaeton artist Don Omar) in both English and Spanish. To promote this application and the Fast Five movie, Time Warner Cable—in characteristic celebrity-brand partnering—teamed with Don Omar to create a multimedia promotional effort involving a concert tour, prize giveaways, and social-media integration. This has led to Time Warner Cable’s evolution of social-media efforts, which involve its own “Mi Cultura” Facebook page, which delivers relevant content, TV show clips, movie trailers, and celebrity interviews in both Spanish and English to further engage its customers. “What we’re doing is really unique because it positions our brand by highlighting the content and personalities our customers are most passionate about, which allows us to deliver on our ‘Enjoy Better’ brand promise,” Martinez says. H
Personalismo. Marisol, your inspiring leadership, far-reaching vision and uncompromising values can be summed up in this one word. Congratulations, Marisol Martinez, on being named a Leading Latina by Hispanic Executive magazine. Your guidance continues to make the partnership between RAPP and Time Warner Cable a resounding success.
MARKETING WITH A PUNCH With new direction and enthusiasm, Tampico Beverages’ VP of marketing Marta Gerdes is articulating exactly what the company is all about—to exactly the right consumers BY ANNIE MONJAR
n her role as the VP of marketing at Tampico Beverages, a Chicago-based company that makes a unique blend of fruit-flavored punches, Marta Gerdes considers herself a “brand ambassador.” By 2011, when Tampico offered her a position with the company, she had already retired from a nearly 20-year career in corporate marketing, and was working as a consultant on her own time. “I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to continue down that path without giving up the handson, entrepreneurish spirit,” she remembers. Since rejoining the corporate world, Gerdes has worked with bottlers, retailers, and consumers to articulate the brand’s identity as a family and youth-friendly product, and keep the company engaged with their loyal customer base.
ARTICULATING TAMPICO’S MARKETING PRINCIPLES Before Gerdes joined Tampico in 2011, the company had been working to enhance their business profile, boosting certain elements of the business to make sure they were growing, and not simply achieving more of the same. When they brought Gerdes on, they wanted to make sure that same effort would be made with their marketing department, and that the department would resemble that of a world-class company.
“I spent the first few months early on going through and making sure that we had basic marketing principles in place,” Gerdes says. “I wanted to make sure the team was accountable and empowered, and that we were delivering to expectations with very defined goals and objectives.” A major part of that was articulating what the marketing department’s priorities needed to be. Gerdes spent a lot of time with the company’s senior management to understand what their goals were, so she could align her team’s work with those. She made sure all of her team members had clearly defined roles, and that the strategies she was touting were being put into action. “IT’s not just about having strategies,” she says, “it’s about translating those to actions and tactics.”
BOOSTING FIELD MARKETING Even before Gerdes arrived, a huge part of Tampico’s marketing strategy was consumer engagement at the community level: “We’ve really been built on grassroots efforts, in the community, at the retailer level. We’re very much on the ground, versus what national brands traditionally do, which is more broadcast- and advertising-driven.” Gerdes identified Tampico’s key markets, and worked with field marketing agents in those markets—Chicago, LA, Dallas, and
Houston—to coordinate and implement activities that would enhance the business and sales goals in those markets. The company wanted to elevate its community profile, and sought out opportunities to connect with consumers at the ground level. In Chicago, for instance, where Tampico has a strong Mexican consumer base, they showed up at Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day celebrations, offering samples and getting the brand’s name out there. In Texas, they made appearances at soccer clinics and festivals to connect with the families and youth that make up a large part of their customer base. In LA, they did the same at skateboarding parks that were hosting festivals.
DEVELOPMENT OF A SOCIAL-MEDIA CAMPAIGN A substantial chunk of Tampico’s consumer base has always been young adults. As Gerdes knew well, you can’t think about marketing to youth in 2013 if you’re not thinking about social-media marketing. Another of her key initiatives when she joined the Tampico team was investigating digital media marketing trends, and figuring out the best way for Tampico to implement those into their regular marketing agenda. “We wanted to see how we could engage with consumers in a new, efficient manner
with digital and social media,” Gerdes says. “In 2012, we developed and implemented an extensive social digital media campaign where we engaged in digital dialogue with our young adult consumers.” Using special digital promotions and direct online engagement, Tampico leveraged social media as a way to enhance their brand’s profile online. The success has been clear—Tampico gained hoards of new followers on Twitter, and fans on Facebook, where they continue to regularly deliver pertinent information to consumers.
LAUNCH CAMPAIGN GEARED TOWARDS HISPANIC MOMS AND YOUNG ADULTS Over the past few years, in addition to revamping their field marketing, digital media, and broadcast strategies, Tampico has been careful about benchmarking their brand awareness. Using consumer research to evaluate markers like purchase intent, brand acceptance, and more, Tampico has been able to evaluate who their core consumers are, and the best ways to engage with them.
In early 2013, Tampico launched its first-ever brand campaign. It’s a multimedia communication effort geared toward Hispanic mothers and young adults, the consumer Tampico has found it is most indebted to. Using T V, digital, radio, outdoor, and field marketing platforms, Tampico is broadcasting their name in an unprecedented way. “We’ve truly developed a multifaceted brand campaign that brings out all of the unique attributes and benefits of our brand to the consumer,” Gerdes says. H
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH
What’s your favorite part of your job? It’s the people. I’ve been extremely fortunate that we have a fantastic team of players that have landed at Tampico from different areas and all share the same spirit and quest that makes us culturally unique. My ability to interact with this team of people is really a pleasure, and something I look forward to day and day out. What did you want to do before you wanted to do marketing? I was a child psychology major in undergrad. I was really all about early childhood, and wanted to end up at a toy company designing—or playing with, as some of my family used to tell me—toys that would make a different in kids play patterns.
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
What do you do to relax? My husband and I are huge adventure travelers. We just came back from a trip to Antarctica, and from hiking the Inca Trail.
SMART MARKETING By using consumer research to evaluate markers like purchase intent and brand acceptance, Marta Gerdes says Tampico has been able to evaluate who their core consumers are, and how to best engage with them.
Who have been your most important role models? My mother was a woman way ahead of her time. She would have been 80 this year. She finished her PhD, was career-minded with a tremendous sense of family, and was always about reaching further and making a difference.
erhilda Garrido jokingly refers to her colleagues as a “mini SWAT team of consulting.” That’s because she’s infamous for leveraging the experience of her 25 Kaiser Permanente employees across many areas for dynamic results. In 2004, Kaiser Permanente implemented a $4 billion electronic health record investment and more recently analyzed Watson’s ability to affect health care. Although the Jeopardy-playing supercomputer may still be in Kaiser Permanente’s future, Garrido is now focused on helping the nation’s leading nonprofit health plan and hospital network navigate an industry that finds itself in the middle of a revolution.
LEADING THE DIGITAL RENAISSANCE
USHERING IN THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION Terhilda Garrido is helping Kaiser Permanente introduce the secure world of online health care BY ZACH BALIVA
It sounds surprising, but the biggest development in health care today is driven by something simple: computerized files. What hit the banking industry 30 years ago is finally transforming the world of health IT. To someone like Garrido—a Princeton-, Berkeley-, and Harvard-educated analytics and statistics professional—it’s a welcome change. “It’s taken us so long to catch up because the data is unbelievably complex and varied,” she explains. Apart from the sheer intricacies involved, providers have lacked the incentive to computerize and move away from the traditional manila folder system. Garrido has spent half of her 20-year tenure at Kaiser Permanente patiently supporting the gradual implementation and value realization of this transformation into the digital age. It’s now finally a full part of health IT. The computer, after all, should be more than an expensive typewriter. Garrido’s team works tirelessly to monitor the digital revolution to improve the quality of care and service for patients and members. The first step is the collection of best practices in a huge organization with $50 billion in revenue, 37 hospitals, more than 500 medical offices, and 17,000 physicians. Garrido has led her team to become experts in knowledge management and pulling data for new discovery. “We go thorough statistical analysis to discover where there is an impact,” she says.
THE PATIENT PORTAL At Kaiser Permanente, patients experience a different kind of relationship with their physician. “We are empowering patients and
“We are empowering patients and showing them the new way forward in health care.” TERHILDA GARRIDO VP | Health IT Transformation & Analytics Kaiser Permanente
showing them the new way forward in health care,” Garrido says. That’s because Kaiser Permanente has created a patient portal similar to those used in the banking world where users self-authenticate and securely access their health records. Patients can, for example, have a lab test and then access the results on Kaiser Permanente’s website, kp.org. The experience doesn’t stop there—the member portal on kp.org, called My Health Manager, offers comprehensive tools and resources. “Someone with diabetes can click to learn what hemoglobin A1c is and then use online tools to get help,” Garrido explains. Users are even able to send secure e-mails to doctors or use the system to order refills and schedule appointments online. For Garrido, it’s all about leaving the choice to the patient. “We have studied the impact of this over many years and are publishing articles to show how these steps equal better care,” she says, pointing to increased patient loyalty scores and re-enrollment figures. The virtualization of medicine is only expected to continue as technology continues to evolve. Telemedicine—a system in which patients interact with their doctor via video—is already gaining traction, and systems like Kaiser Permanente are now robust enough to securely manage these applications. For Garrido, the changes are exciting. “You can take an expensive neurologist and leverage him over a wide geographic area,” she remarks.
MAKING HEALTH CARE MORE EQUITABLE As technological capabilities expand, Garrido is carefully monitoring e-disparity—inequalities in access to Internet and mobilecare tools due to race and ethnicity. A recent analysis of data such as income and education levels for users of My Health Manager revealed discrepancies. African-Americans,
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A business solicitor scared me into thinking college was too expensive so I became a valedictorian who took stenography. Thankfully, I had a great counselor who saw that I was skilled in math and science and encouraged me to follow that path. What activities do you enjoy outside of work? I love sports and dancing. I play tennis and take all kinds of dance classes. I ski, and wakeboard, and golf … and I travel with my family as often as possible. Where is your family from? My father is from a small town and met and married my mother in Mexico City. He was an undocumented worker for a period of time and then they became documented residents and naturalized citizens. I became the first woman in both sides of the family to attend college.
Latinos, and Asian-Americans enroll for the system—which is equally available—at a slower rate. With the data in hand, Garrido set out to support full navigation tools in Spanish. Because the secure e-mails on important technical topics are difficult to turn around quickly, her team is investigating the accuracy of automated translation program and has contracted with the National Security Agency’s software provider.
A BRAVE NEW WORLD IBM approached Kaiser Permanente to discuss Watson—the AI natural language-processing computer system. “They wanted to know how a computer that wins chess games can impact the medical field,” Garrido says. Her group worked for four months to understand the technology and investigate potential uses within electronic health-care records. “There is lots of potential, but we found Watson had not graduated from medical school,” Garrido jokes, adding that Kaiser Permanente and IBM remain open to talking again in a few years once Watson’s abilities have developed further. Garrido can envision a scenario in which Watson-style machines aid in simple databased decision making, perhaps scanning a rash, for example, and suggesting a certain topical cream. And while a fully robotic clinic may sound intimidating, Garrido insists that nobody is advocating the end of medicine as we know it. “Technology can enhance patient care without eliminating human interaction,” she says. “Nurses are busy documenting, and computers can free them up to spend more face-to-face time with patients.” The goal is to find places where technology can step in to lower costs and increase efficiencies. For now, her job is to harness the potential of an ever-evolving system and find new ways to improve the patient experience in a digital world. H
Instilling confidence by inspiring it. Deloitte congratulates Terhilda Garrido on this outstanding achievement.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Copyright © 2013 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved. Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
MAKING BK KING Jose Almirall shares the projects he’s tackled for fast-food powerhouse Burger King as VP of North America Operations and Global Standards BY TINA VASQUEZ
BRINGING THE FLAVOR Jose Almirall helped to bring digital-menu boards to Burger King and even made ice cream at the burger chain sweeter.
ith a bachelor’s degree in finance in hand, Jose Almirall began his career with AT&T in heavily analytical roles, eventually leaving the company to pursue an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Upon graduating, he made his way to IBM in yet another highly analytical role and though he enjoyed the work, he felt removed from the action. “With 400,000 employees, IBM just felt too big to make a real, tangible impact. Also, as I came to find out, the technology sector wasn’t really my calling.” In 2008, Almirall and his wife were on the move to Florida, where they wanted to settle to be closer to family. When looking into job prospects in the area, Burger King Corporation immediately became a top contender. Almirall was born and raised in Puerto Rico—where the popular restaurant chain opened its first store in 1963—and he grew up eating at the franchise. So while the attraction was initially nostalgic in nature, he soon found that he was a strong fit with the company personally and professionally. Almirall was hired in 2010, a transformative time for the Burger King brand in North America. Now as vice president of North America Operations and Global Standards, Almirall shares with us some of the innovative projects he’s taken on over the past three years.
SOFT-SERVE When Almirall began his career at Burger King Corporation he was analyzing
“When they first told me I’d be leading this project, I thought I’d be responsible for getting soft-serve toppings to restaurants. I remember thinking, ‘How hard could this be?’ I severely underestimated the task. It was the most ambitious project I’ve ever done.” JOSE ALMIRALL VP | North America Operations and Global Standards Burger King
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promotional campaigns, allowing him to learn about all aspects of the business, from how many Whopper sandwiches were sold on any given day to the profit margin on every menu item. Three months into his tenure; however, the company was acquired by the global investment firm 3G Capital, which restructured his department, making Almirall project manager for the brand’s national roll out of its softserve platform in the United States. It was Almirall’s responsibility to manage all aspects of the launch, including equipment deployment, ingredient sourcing, pricing, and merchandising. It was the equipment deployment that represented the biggest challenge—as Almirall was asked to do the full roll out to the whole country in just five months. “When they first told me I’d be leading this project, I thought I’d be responsible for getting soft-serve toppings to restaurants. I remember thinking, ‘How hard could this be?’” Almirall says. “I severely underestimated the task. It was the most ambitious project I’ve ever done.” The United States was the only country in which Burger King restaurants were not serving soft-serve, but today, the platform generates significant sales to the entire system.
GAME CHANGER After proving his skills on the soft-serve roll out, Almirall was moved from marketing to operations to lead the national deployment of the largest menu overhaul in the brand’s history. The goal was to address gaps in the
market, so it was time for the fast-food giant to introduce smoothies, premium salads, and chicken strips. It was also Almirall’s responsibility to make sure each location in the United States was outfitted with digitalmenu boards, the first of their kind in the quick-service restaurant industry. “This project put me right in the ‘war room’ and though it was a huge undertaking, it was just a few of us working on it,” Almirall says. “It took seven months and there were a million moving parts, but it all came together and I’m so proud of the work we did on this project.”
OPERATIONS COACH PROGRAM After wrapping up the Game Changer initiative, Almirall was named director of operations strategy and execution—essentially leaving the project management post to address more of the day-to-day issues on the frontlines. His first task was relaunching Burger King Corporation’s Operations Coach program, comprised of 250 coaches tasked with visiting restaurants every day in order to train and enforce Burger King brand standards. Almirall set out to change the way in which coaches prioritized their time and efforts—and implemented several changes to better align the field routines to the company’s operations vision and strategy. Almirall’s new audit and coaching program is proving successful. So far, in 2013, Burger King Corporation has seen improvement in restaurant execution. H
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be an entrepreneur like my parents. They are living examples of hard work, perseverance, and determination. Where is your family from? Although I was born in Puerto Rico, my family is from Cuba. My mother is from Havana and my father from Pinar del Rio. What do you like to do outside of work? I like to spend time with my wife and my dogs; we have a beautiful black lab and a red border collie. If you could do anything else for a living, what would you choose? I’ve always loved baseball since I was kid. Someday, I would love the opportunity to work on the executive staff for a Major League Baseball team. What is your dream vacation? I don’t think I have a dream vacation, but my wife and I plan to visit Napa. We would also love to go to the Greek islands.
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NEW MARKET APPEAL Portón’s Vanessa Sobers on why good marketing is multicultural BY ANNIE MONJAR
hough her career has been dedicated to helping companies effectively reach consumers of all backgrounds, Vanessa Sobers is hesitant to draw too stark a line between multicultural marketing and “general” marketing. “If you look at the dynamic of what’s happening within US borders today, diversity is the name of the game,” says Sobers, vice president of marketing for Portón, LLC. “Your success and growth will be astronomically different if you speak to the Latino consumer, which is the fastest-growing population in the US ... A lot of organizations try to separate general and multicultural marketing. In 2001, maybe that was a valid premise; in 2013, absolutely not. Multicultural is general market.”
PORTÓN BOUND Sobers joined on with Portón, LLC—a young spirit company in the United States whose flagship brand, Portón, is categorized as a “Fierce Five” in Technomic’s 2013 Fast 50 Brands in January of 2013— with 10 years of beverage industry marketing behind her. She had never even heard of Portón when she was first recruited by the company in 2012, but after tasting the clear, hand-crafted, distilled-to-proof
Peruvian pisco, trying it with friends and family, and meeting the small executive team (the product’s only been in the United States for a year and a half), she eagerly jumped on board. Friends have told Sobers that the beverage industry seems like a strange place for her. The early years of her marketing career were spent in the fashion industry, at shoe company Converse, and then Tommy Hilfiger. But Sobers’s path to executive success has been anything but predictable. A f ter graduating college, Sobers worked at two different universities in undergraduate admissions identifying highpotential high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and managing their transition into higher education. While she recalls her time in academia as both rewarding and creatively challenging, Sobers wanted to find a career with more potential for growth, and soon found herself researching how the career paths of successful businesswomen evolved. Often, she found, they got their start in marketing. “There are many different aspects of marketing,” she says. “There’s the PR side, the research side, insights, [and] brand. I really wanted to be able to own, control, and shape what I was doing. With that, my natural business savviness, and my own
innate creativity, my journey started. But it was not by any means well-orchestrated.” Sobers decided to get her MBA at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she’d also worked in the undergraduate admissions office. During her final year in the program, a vice president at Converse came to one of her classes to talk about their global operations and doing business in Asia. Once he’d finished, she told him what a big sports fan she was, and that she’d love the opportunity to work with Converse. The VP called her professor for her number, and soon, she had an offer. In general, Sobers says, mentors have played a huge role in her journey, and she considers her series of smart, disciplined, and risk-taking bosses one of the main reasons she’s enjoyed so much success. “Finding my mentors has been a function of being in the right place at the right time, while also being open, respectful, and forthright in the relationship,” Sober says, who received her MBA from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. “I believe mentorship is a two-way street. They will help and guide me, and hopefully at some point I'll have something to bring back to the table to support them.” Sobers first entered the beverage industry in 2001, when she first cut her teeth
on multicultural marketing as an assistant brand manager for Coors. While at that point Coors Light hardly had an enormous marketing budget, and didn’t have the profile in the industry they do today, Sobers says it was that environment that helped her learn about “the art and science of marketing, and how smart marketing is disciplined marketing.”
CAPTURING THEIR HEARTS
PHOTO: MICHAEL CARR
“It created an interesting exercise,” she recalls. “How do we capture the hearts of the consumers? How do we connect with our consumer, break their routine given the fact that we don’t have deep pockets of the competition? It’s a very competitive category at that time. The great news is that we made it happened … we connected and we captured their hearts … we gained share.” After five years at Coors, Sobers headed to Pepsi, a much larger company with a heavy competitor in Coca-Cola, and who needed special expertise in multicultural marketing. After a few years there, she had a short stint with Hasbro (the children’s toy company), and finally found herself talking with the COO of Portón, leading to one of the “true start-up” projects she relishes in. “My family and friends will tell you they haven’t heard this much passion in my voice in a long time,” Sobers says. “I think the time is right, the brand is right, the people are right, and I’m ready. I know it sounds a little utopian, but it really is right. I think we're about to embark on an amazing journey.” H
MULTICULTURAL MARKETING “If you look at the dynamic of what’s happening within US borders today, diversity is the name of the game,” Sobers says.
A MESSAGE FROM BENTLEY UNIVERSITY Bentley University prepares leaders like Vanessa Sobers of Pisco Portón, who earned her MBA at Bentley, for successful careers and lives. Offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in a variety of business disciplines, Bentley provides its students with a unique curricular synergy between business and the arts and sciences, along with hands-on experience, technology to enhance learning, and nationally recognized career planning services. Bentley is proud of Vanessa and applauds the leadership she has displayed.
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NEGOCIOS STEPPING STONES
Cleaning House Universal Building Maintenance’s president, Mark Olivas, shares why it pays to roll up your sleeves and learn by doing BY BENJAMIN VAN LOON
There are two ways to become a business professional. The first is to read the right books, get the right college degree, and find somewhere to land. The second is to “work your way up,” and learn by doing. Both options have their positives and negatives, but for Mark Olivas, learning by doing was—and is—the best route. He got his start in the US Army, and now he’s the president of Universal Building Maintenance—so who can argue?
At the age of 17, Olivas joined up with the US Army in 1984 and served on active duty until 1991, then joining the ranks of active reserves until 1993. During his stint in the military, Olivas spent time with the 101st Airborne Division in the 501st Signal Battalion, later being stationed in various posts nationally and internationally. “I was in communications, and I was always supporting front-line troops—that was my job,” Olivas says. “I’ve been through several management classes in the civilian world, but while I was in the military, I learned a lot of the skills I use now.” Olivas further augmented his education in the military with college extension courses that would help advance his career.
PHOTO: GONZALO SANDOVAL
“When I finally decided that it was time to come home, I thought I would be able to get a job with the phone company,” Olivas explains. “Little did I know, it was a bad time to find a job in the industry.” Fresh out of the Army, Olivas had returned home to a newly deregulated telecommunications industry, so he quickly picked up a job with a cable company. And after a few short months with the cable company, Olivas got a phone call from a friend offering him a new position—in the janitorial business. “It doesn’t happen often, but I was literally given a call and offered the opportunity to become a night supervisor, overseeing around 30 accounts per night,” Olivas says. He said yes.
NEGOCIOS STEPPING STONES
The company Olivas was with—then known as Commercial Building Maintenance (CMB)—was a major player in the southern California property maintenance scene. CBM was acquired by ISS, a international facility service company founded in Denmark in 1901 (which currently employs more than 530,000 worldwide), and soon began a large chain of promotions with increasing responsibility. “In 1992, I became a project manager for two high-rise buildings totaling around one million square feet, and two years later, I became the project manager for the tallest building in LA,” Olivas says.
“When I was promoted to operations manager for ISS in 1996, I was overseeing the entire LA high-rise portfolio which consisted of more than 11 million square feet, and I was overseeing around 300 employees,” Olivas says. By 1998, he was then promoted to branch manager for the region, doubling his square footage oversight. Though Olivas was then completely out of the military, the direct application of the skills he acquired was being both utilized and developed as his career matured.
“I wasn’t unhappy, but a new opportunity presented itself, and it seemed right.” MARK OLIVAS President Universal Building Maintenance
Universal Services of America was founded in 1965, offering Security Guard Services and solutions for various properties throughout the West Coast. In 2008, the company reopened its janitorial arm after seeing the consolidation of janitorial companies on the West Coast. That’s where Olivas came in. “Universal was everywhere, but they asked me if I was interested in becoming president of their janitorial division, and after a five day conversation, we had a new company up and running,” Olivas says. “We started with nothing, but recruited a team, and set out to gain market share in southern California.” The company now manages nearly 60 million square feet with 2,300 employees, and aims to hit $100 million in revenue in five years.
“Every day is a new challenge for me, and that’s why I enjoy this job,” Olivas says. “I can’t imagine doing anything different, as long as I continue to have the support of Lorraine, my best friend of 33 years and fiancé, and our children.” H
ISS sold its acquisition in 2001 and the company Olivas worked with then became OneSource, then a union company, and for a brief window of time, Olivas left to try and start his own nonunion maintenance business, though he wasn’t quite satisfied working with small properties and wanted to return for the increased square footage oversight. In 2001, he became a senior branch manager, and in 2003, he became the vice president of operations for southern California, overseeing $80 million in revenue and covering all properties from LA to San Diego.
“I was overseeing everything from Washington to California, where there was around $160 million in revenue and 7,500 employees,” Olivas says. And then in 2007, another large janitorial company acquired OneSource, which is when Olivas realized that he wanted to move on. “I wasn’t unhappy, but a new opportunity presented itself, and it seemed right,” he says.
A MESSAGE FROM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. Chase Commercial Banking serves nearly 24,000 clients nationally, including corporations, municipalities, financial institutions and not-for profit entities with annual revenue ranging from $20 million to $2 billion. We build long-term relationships by delivering extensive industry knowledge, local expertise and dedicated service, providing comprehensive solutions that meet the domestic and international needs of businesses. A MESSAGE FROM VERIZON WIRELESS Verizon Wireless would like to congratulate Mark Olivas on his recognition in Hispanic Executive magazine. We are proud to be a partner with UBM. Verizon is committed to transforming business throughout the Hispanic community. Verizon offers wireless solutions and technology that helps improve the operational efficiency of your business on the Nation’s Largest and most Reliable 4G LTE Network. Find out more, contact your Verizon business specialist Hector Barajas (949) 910-4877 or email@example.com
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BEN LEGG OF ADKNOWLEDGE MEET THE MARKETING MAVERICK TAKING ON GOOGLE, YAHOO!, AND MICROSOFT
THE STEWARD YANKEE STADIUM OF
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Long Road Home
How Angela O’Byrne’s path through design and development led her home to New Orleans BY ANNIE MONJAR
GOOD NEIGHBORS As president of Perez, APC, Angela O’Byrne says the company likes to make a modern statement that respects its surroundings.
When she joined Perez, APC as a principal architect, Angela O’Byrne had been waiting for the chance to come home to New Orleans. Though she was born in Cali, Colombia, O’Byrne (whose last name is an inheritance from a distant Irish relative) arrived in New Orleans with her family at the age of five; though she had spent 12 years in New York, she had never let go of New Orleans as home. Now the president of Perez, APC, O’Byrne first came to New York for her master’s in real-estate development at Columbia University. She had just earned a degree in architecture from Tulane University, and decided that the development world might give her greater control over the design and execution of building projects: “I wanted to be both an owner and lender, because those people have more control over the field, including what happens to the design,” she says. “I knew I could make those decisions better than people who didn’t know design ... It was the designer zealot in me that wants to have an impact and make a difference and not be a passive bystander that’s dictated to by other owners. That was the real impetus for me wanting to be a developer.” After getting her master’s—her program was a hybrid between the graduate schools of architecture and business—O’Byrne decided she wanted even more exposure to the finance world, and took a job on Wall Street for a year. It wasn’t long, though, before the design world called her name again.
In 1988, O’Byrne moved to upstate New York to work with a firm called Architects North, in Lake Placid. A small firm, with just a few architects, it was owned by a college friend of O’Byrne. Architects North serviced mainly New York state agencies; O’Byrne recalls a project where they redid a rehab center for people with developmental disabilities. The firm also took on private sector projects, though, including hotels and resorts around the Lake Placid area (a heavy tourist destination). O’Byrne spent five years in Lake Placid, but by the time she left in 1992, things had gotten difficult for Architects North. The market took a turn for the worse, and the owner of the firm eventually decided to move to Albany to pursue other projects. O’Byrne, who was going through a divorce and raising three children, decided it was time to find the next step.
While New Orleans never fell off her radar, O’Byrne spent the next six years working at large, multinational firms in New York City. The first of these was Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), where O’Byrne joined as a project manager in late 1992. There, she did interior design work for law firms, hospital renovations, and MTA subway work. “It was a combination of health care, transportation, and interior design,” she says of SOM. She worked at SOM for a year before moving to Gensler, where she worked primarily with investment banks. After Gensler, she went to AECOM, a 6,000-person firm where she spent four years working on building and designing prisons. Her work during these years brought her into contact with many different industries, and O’Byrne says her experience during those years was invaluable. “I learned how to run a big firm, how to run large projects, and large groups of people. I learned what you need to put in place to run a large company. It was fascinating. I liked the resources they had.”
Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Regional Academy
By 1998, O’Byrne’s children were living in New Orleans, and she was commuting down regularly (“almost every weekend”) to see them. At an AIA conference, one of Perez APC’s owners ran into a former boss of O’Byrne’s, and asked if they knew of a senior architect who might be interested in relocating to New Orleans—they were working on a Harrah’s casino in the downtown area, and needed someone to help finish the project. Within a few months, O’Byrne was packing her bags. In 2000, O’Byrne was asked to take over the company; at that point, Perez was an architecture firm that also did interior and landscape design. In 2005, when Katrina hit New Orleans, the firm decided to diversify by expanding into general contracting, procurement, and real-estate development. Eventually, the firm also decided they needed a broader geographic base, and has opened 10 new office locations in the past eight years, landing federal contracts in Germany, Iraq, and West Africa. No matter their location, though, O’Byrne says one of their biggest priorities as a company is being sensitive to the area its in: “Our design philosophy is that context matters a lot. We care about the location—what’s around us, the climate, the site ... We like to make a modern statement that respects its surroundings. We’re all about making sure we’re a good neighbor.” H
Joseph Bartholomew Senior Golf Course Clubhouse
Slidell Senior Center
Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center
Pérez APC, es una empresa de propiedad hispana, especializada en prestar una gama integral de servicios que incluyen, arquitectura, diseño y construcción, paisajismo, construcción y planificación urbana.
www.e-perez.com OCT/NOV/DEC 2013
TOP 10 LÍDERES
h i s pa n i c e x e c u t i v e ’s
TOP 10 LÍDERES
Eva Longoria of Eva Longoria Foundation Jacqueline Rosa of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Rodrigo Sierra of American Medical Association Andrea Bazán of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Maria Sastre of Signature Flight Support Ricardo Anzaldua of MetLife Jorge Perez of Manpower Robert Sanchez of Ryder System, Inc. Lisa Garcia Quiroz of Time Warner Inc. Jorge Mas of MasTec What makes a líder? That’s the question Hispanic Executive faced when choosing 10 incredible executives for our second annual Top 10 Líderes list. It’s more than holding a title or position; our líderes go beyond the boardroom (and in one case, the red carpet) to influence, inspire, and innovate today’s business landscape for tomorrow.
leave it to eva
Thereâ€™s work to be done for Latinas in America, and Eva Longoria is taking a leading role in the job By Michelle Markelz | photos by bryan sheffield
TOP 10 LÍDERES
to the Latino community much higher than many of her contemporaries would dare, or have the political awareness, to reach. Through the Eva Longoria Foundation she is attacking the cycle of Latino poverty. As a coadviser on immigration to President Barack Obama, she took a stand on one of the nation’s most contested issues and publicly stated as much in her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Too tenacious to be relegated, too informed to be ignored—and now with a master’s degree in Chicano studies to prove it—Longoria’s heart isn’t bleeding for Latinas. It’s suiting up for a fight.
There are obstacles as a ninth-
he spike of a black, stiletto pump peeks out of the front row of steel folding chairs. In the cafeteria of Animo Locke Tech Charter High School, its owner sits among parents anxiously awaiting a graduation ceremony. Soon they will hold certificates proving their dedication to their children’s education, but first, an honored guest will address them. And while there is sure to be publicity about the shoes the commencement speaker stands in as she approaches the podium, the story less often told is the cause she stands for. It seems all of our most beloved celebrities have come-from-nothing stories to share, whether they involve busing tables for tips or the pursuit of the “big break,” and in that respect, Eva Longoria is no different. In high school she worked at a Wendy’s, and the role that launched her acting career was a spot on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. Less often, however, do we hear about stars who return to their roots for more than a ribbon-cutting and a welltimed photo. In this way, Longoria is a líder. Emerging as an actress-activist-philanthropist-entrepreneur hybrid, Longoria has demonstrated a rare level of commitment
generation Latin American Longoria herself did not have to face, but which hinder many of the Latinas she meets through her foundation. She joked at the 2013 Women in the World conference that her family didn’t cross the border; “the border crossed us,” she says. In seriousness, however, Longoria admits that she was raised a very “assimilated” Latina, not even learning Spanish until later in life. But perhaps the greatest factor differentiating her from the women and girls whose success she has made her priority, is her family. “Growing up, I didn’t have to look far for good role models,” Longoria says of the 10 educated women who surrounded her in her youth. She credits her mother and nine aunts—many of them teachers—for instilling in her both an appreciation and desire for education. Although the means may have been uncertain, the end of a college degree was never in question for Longoria. But for many Hispanics, particularly girls, secondary education is not even a prospect. For Longoria, that became all too evident when she once asked a Latina child what she wanted to be when she grew up. To the girl’s response of technical assistant, Longoria said, “Instead of working for an engineer, why don’t you be that person?” “Can I be that person?” she asked Longoria with genuine disbelief.
TOP 10 LÍDERES
The achievement gap between His-
Education, is one benefactor of Longoria’s panics and their non-Hispanic peers in edfoundation and teaches parents how to enucation is one element of the equation that gage in their children’s education and hold contributes to the impoverished status of 12 educators accountable. While the program million Latinos living in the United States has a direct correlation to student success— as of 2009. The National Council of La Raza children of graduates have a high school graduation rate of 90 percent—for some (NCLR) reports that in 2010 “only 55.5 percent of Hispanic students graduated from Latino parents, it is just as impactful. high school in four years,” and “14 percent “We had a parent who graduated and of Hispanics age 25 and older held a bachwas crying over the little certificate we give elor’s degree.” The U.S. Department of Eduthem at the end of class,” Longoria recalls. cation has confirmed that a bachelor’s de“It was the only diploma she’d ever received gree resulted in earnings for young adults because she never completed more than a more than twice as high as those without third-grade education.” a high school diploma or its equivalent in 2010. The bottom line for Hispanics then, as Longoria understands, is that poverty must among Labe addressed in the classroom. tina women poses problems in the entrePartnering with UCLA professor Patripreneurial arena as well—a second front on which Longoria is confronting Latino cia Gándara to conduct a study on Latina academic performance, Longoria found that poverty. Latinas are showing the ambition the same barriers that impeded the womto open their own businesses at six times en and girls of her community 30 years ago that national rate, and Longoria herself is still stand in their way today. “It was sura testament to that statistic. As the author prising, but also not surprising,” says Longoof a best-selling cookbook, restaurateur, ria, who wanted to identify the successes in producer, and owner of her own company, Latina education and replicate them. The UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, Longoria restudy, “Making Education Work for Latinas flects the ambition of the women she says in the United States,” suggests that extraare primed to be the next force of change in curricular activities are an important facthe United States. tor in Latina student achievement, but also Unlike Longoria, however, many Lathat Hispanic young women are positively tinas lack the critical resources to sustain influenced by Latina figures of authority them. It may be the capital to invest in in whom they can see themselves reflected. “Those things are easy remedies,” says Longoria with optimism. “We can make a difference right now.” Because Longoria knows those ref lections start at home, you’ll find her sitting among PIQE’s graduating classes as she did at Animo Locke Tech. PIQE, the Parent Ineva longoria | founder | eva longoria foundation stitute for Qualit y
The lack of education
“Whether as soldiers who’ve fought for our country or dynamic businesspeople who’ve been integral to our economy, we [Latinos] are part of the thread of what makes up America.”
TOP 10 Lﾃ好ERES
TOP 10 LĂ?DERES
â€œThe most significant thing about being an actress is educate and spread awareness to causes that are imeva longoria | founder | eva longoria foundation
TOP 10 LÍDERES
inventory or the technical training in marketing or bookkeeping that keep a Latina entrepreneur’s dreams one step from fruition. To that end, Longoria’s foundation has provided microloans that have allowed Latinas to go from selling Avon products to designing their own fashion lines. “One thing I try to promote in both the educational and entrepreneurial spheres of the foundation is to make sure Latinas get
educating Latino youth, an argument Longoria has made to those decision makers less moved by the social woes of her community. Considering projections that Hispanics will constitute nearly a third of the population— therefore sizeable buying power—by midcentury, they have a point. But Latinos are more than numbers on a spreadsheet or ballots in a box, and Longoria knows this as well, which is why she and
that it has given me a platform to portant to our community.”
careers, not just jobs,” Longoria says. “When they develop themselves, they can not only do well for themselves, but have a social impact as well.” Positioning Latinas for success, Longoria believes, will help them direct the charge out of poverty, one family at a time. “There’s a myth that you have to be rich to make a difference, and that’s just not true,” she says. “Some of the greatest changes we’ve seen in our country came from ordinary people who saw injustice and wanted it corrected.” Longoria’s approach is perhaps the most effective aspect of her philanthropy, and a philosophy mirrored by her mentor, Howard Buffett. A partner in her foundation, Buffett believes one can’t just put a bandage on a global problem with aid. Change must be sustainable that a country or community can maintain itself. “To me, that is so remarkable and respectable,” Longoria says. Buffett and Longoria also agree that the US’s economic success is reliant on
others such as Henry R. Muñoz III and Andrés W. López, two coadvisers who served with her on the Obama campaign, have refocused their efforts post-election on the creation of a Smithsonian museum dedicated to Latinos. “Whether as soldiers who’ve fought for our country or dynamic businesspeople who’ve been integral to our economy,” Longoria says, “we [Latinos] are part of the thread of what makes up America. At the National Museum of the American Latino we’d have a place to tell that story.”
reform,” she says. “I don’t need to be appointed or elected to make a difference, so I’ll continue to work with them to realize that goal.” Though her contributions have been many and have opened doors for Latinas, Longoria herself faces a different kind of exclusion despite her success. “The most significant thing about being an actress is that it has given me a platform to educate and spread awareness to causes that are important to our community,” she explains, “but when I get into political advocacy, my occupation as an actress somehow poses a problem.” Vying for legitimacy will continue to require more of the star of Desperate Housewives fame, but it’s a challenge she has embraced. “I take a lot of pride in my education and being civically engaged as an American,” she says. “It’s been a journey for me, but a really fun one. I feel like I haven’t even tapped into the potential I have as a human being.”
One thing Longoria believes that inspired her return to graduate school is that you can’t know where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been. Longoria is proving there’s a leader in every Latina, and no matter where her career takes her next, the future is looking bright for those touched by her advocacy. H
In the political arena, Longoria’s schedule may have thinned since the president’s reelection, but she remains active through two of the nation’s most powerful Hispanic advocacy groups. “Both The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on which I am a member of the board, and NCLR with whom I work closely, are at the forefront of immigration
TOP 10 LÍDERES
Eva Longoria, Rahm Emanuel join HE for USHCC Kickoff Hispanic Executive hosts reception celebrating the power of Latino entrepreneurs. BY CHRIS SHEPPARD PHOTOS BY SHEILA BARABAD & SAMANTHA SIMMONS
ispanic Executive partnered with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to bring the 2013 USHCC Kickoff Reception to HE's hometown of Chicago on June 27. As part of the kickoff, HE welcomed USHCC chairman emeritus Nina Vaca, USHCC president Javier Palomarez
and his guest, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and HE’s special guest Eva Longoria. The inviteonly event, which was sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, happened to coincide with the US Senate passing a massive immigration reform bill earlier that day. The night’s speakers all shared their thoughts and excitement on how this new legislation would help Hispanic entrepreneurs and businesses. Palomarez thanked HE for its work on behalf of the Hispanic community. “Publications like Hispanic Executive highlight the tremendous impact that Hispanic businessmen and women have on their companies and communities, and on this country,” he said. “This is the very message that we at USHCC believe America needs to hear and America needs to hear it now.” Longoria took the stage after a warm introduction by Palomarez and spoke on an issue that sparked her decision to create the Eva Longoria Foundation: Latina entrepreneurs. “Latinas and business aren’t often placed in the same equation, but I’m here
to tell you the power of the Latina entrepreneur is truly a force to be reckoned with,” Longoria said. She went on to say that as more Latinas become empowered, it is the responsibility of business leaders and policymakers to encourage women to take on more leadership roles. She continued, “My responsibility to the Eva Longoria Foundation is to help Latinas build better futures through educational programs, but also entrepreneurial programs. [The foundation] provides the tools that Latinas need whether its career training, mentorship, access to capital, or opportunity; opportunities like the USHCC provides every year through networking.” Marc Rodriguez, chairman of the USHCC, followed Longoria to welcome Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel, who carried on the night’s theme of immigration and small business. “If you’re pro-immigrant you’re prosmall business. If you’re pro-small business you have to be pro-immigrant,” said Emanuel, adding that immigrants started 50 percent of new businesses in Chicago.
TOP LEFT: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Eva Longoria, Hispanic Executive president Pedro Guerrero and Christopher Howe, CEO/publisher of HE TOP CENTER: Longoria and USHCC president, Javier Palomarez TOP RIGHT: Jamie Delgadillo of Northwestern Mutual, Longoria, and Robert Marin of NWM BOTTOM LEFT: USHCC’s chairman emeritus Nina Vaca and her cover BOTTOM CENTER: Top 10 Líderes Jorge Perez and Andrea Bazán with Longoria, Guerrero, and Howe BOTTOM RIGHT: Vaca and Longoria in the crowd during Palomarez's remarks
This lĂderâ€™s influence brings diversity, creativity, and community outreach to JPMorgan Chase & Co. By Melissa French | photos by sheila barabad
an ambassador for diversity
TOP 10 LÍDERES
acqueline Rosa deexperience in the international gaming indevelop and utilize partners that are owned scribes her progresdustry, she continues to fuse together marand operated by minorities, women, milision into corporate kets and community culture; concepts she tary and service-disabled veterans, lesbian, America as a natural was taught in life experiences by growing gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) comcareer path. But how up with an abundance of community and munity members, and disabled individuals, does a Spanish Harfamily support. to name a few. Because she had so much early support lem native with a deIn the last year, the firm has put a strong cade of experience in and encouragement, Rosa believes the onus emphasis on its strategy to continue to form the gaming industry is on her to give back. One of the ways she a partnership between industry and comfind herself as a leadhas given back is by launching a nonprofmunity. Rosa says the interaction between er in supplier diverit organization that focuses on inner-city diverse businesses and the corporate sector sity at one the most young women. “There is so much untapped is a catalyst to job creation. recognized names talent within our community due to lack of This commitment helps promote ecoi n t he f i n a nc i a l access to information,” she says, “I would nomic growth, and ensures access to new industry, JPMorgan like to focus on and bridge that gap.” and innovative products at competitive prices. Being a strong advocate for diChase & Co. (JPMC)? Quite simply, she versity allows JPMC to expand its reach never stops moving. for Rosa; and productivity. her role is far from siloed. She goes from “It has been my experience that diverse As A Better Chance Scholar scholarship advocating business diversity to discussrecipient, Rosa attended the Watertown, companies have more ‘heart.’ They tend to Connecticut-based Taft School, a college ing sourcing strategy to reiterating the imbe more adaptable, competitive, and bring preparatory boarding school. She earned portance of supporting diverse businesses creativity to the table. Employees at diher BA in marketing from Fordham Uniat events. She works across many lines of verse companies very often reflect the deversity, which led her to a sales and marbusiness (LOBs) at JPMC, helping to “conmographics of the communities they are in; keting role in the gaming industry. While nect the dots” between supplier diversity using them enables us to keep these comworking and living in more than 20 differand LOBs by combining strategy, marketmunities strong,” she says. ent countries, she gained, in her words, “vast ing, advocacy, and community outreach. global experience and necessary marketing “To strategically leverage marketing opskills,”—knowledge she carried throughout portunities, one must be open and accepting for the mentors she the next 12 years at Morgan Stanley. of different cultures and thought processes; has encountered along her path to JPMC. In August 2011, Rosa joined JPMC as its that’s where the power of diversity comes She’s thankful for both the ups and downs of director of global corporate supplier diversiinto play,” Rosa says. her career, for each have taught her strength ty. Recently promoted to executive director, Rosa integrates a strategic platform, and encouragement to operate out of her Rosa believes she is at the pinnacle of her which includes accountability and measurcomfort zone. career—an achievement she says would not ing results as one of the guiding principles This fearlessness that Rosa carries has have been possible without being authentic of their supplier diversity program. “Meataught her to be innovative, creative, flexto who she is, what her values are, and besurement is one way we build connections ible, and open to different solutions—tools ing courageous. between suppliers and internal business which have helped her be successful as an partners. It gives us the ability to infuse Synthesizing her professional and foractive community member, a bona fide mal education with 10 years of working the sourcing process with qualified diverse leader, and a Latina who always stands by out-of-country, Rosa’s thought process is businesses, while also evaluating program her convictions. always driven by her global and diversity efficiency and measuring value-add to the “I fully embrace bringing my authenexperience—qualities that have helped her organization,” Rosa says. tic self into the workplace,” she adds. “I am succeed in the global banking world. “I beFor almost two decades, JPMC’s Suppliproud of where I came from and where I lieve that my upbringing and childhood exer Diversity Program has helped the bank am—what you see is what you get.” H periences play a major role in my approach to diverse entrepreneurs; people who are striving to create their own legacies, while influencing job creation and making an impact,” Rosa says. As head of JPMC’s Global Corporate Supplier Program, she views her role acting as an “ambassador for diverse businesses.” Jacqueline rosa | executive director | corporate supplier diversity | jpmorgan chase & co. Taking again from her
No two days are alike
Rosa is grateful
“I am proud of where I came from and where I am.”
In the business of supporting yours
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Communicating for Change
Rodrigo Sierraâ€™s multifaceted background is serving the American Medical Association well at a critical time for US health care By Julie Schaeffer | photo by sheila barabad
TOP 10 LÍDERES
cloudy night, and it’s pitch dark. All I know is there are some helicopters flying around, because I can hear them.”
That was good enough. ABC put Sierra on the radio, and he spoke about what he had heard. The next morning, when hundreds of reporters from networks all over the world had arrived, Sierra learned what he’d heard the night before were the bodies of the dead soldiers being flown onto the island from the ship. “Somehow, with no experience, I’d actually broken national news,” he says. That day, Sierra—who was responsible for developing engagements with ABC-affiliated radio stations across the country— started calling his contacts and asking if they wanted to hear him speak about the disaster. WGN in Chicago bit, and Sierra found himself on its morning drive program for 10 minutes. When the station chief called Sierra a few months later to offer him a job, “I told him the extent of my experience was what he’d heard in the 10-minute call I’d done for his station,” Sierra says. “But it was an opportunity my colleagues at ABC told me I couldn’t turn down. WGN was, and still is, one of the 10 premiere radio stations in the country.” Sierra thought he’d be in Chicago for one or two years; he’s now been there 22, during which time he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in
Latin-American studies from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in business administration from Kellogg School of Management, and worked several jobs in the private and public sector. His first job after WGN News—where he worked for eight years—was as manager of public relations at Peoples Gas, where the “progression to corporate communications … seemed natural,” he says. The second was as deputy press secretary for then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, which Sierra says was the second pivotal moment of his career.
“I called a friend to discuss the opportunity, [and] she told me something that resonates with me to this day,” Sierra says. “She said, ‘You’ve worked in media, and you’ve worked in corporate communications. If this were any other mayor in any other city, I’d probably tell you to stay where you are and work your way up in corporate. But it’s Mayor Daley in Chicago. Few people will get the opportunity to run his press office and see the things that go on in a major urban city.’ So I took her advice, and she was absolutely right. For good or for bad, one thing is for sure: Mayor Daley was passionate about this city and the path that was necessary to move it forward. Being there and seeing how he was able to bring people and communities and large organizations together to make government work to create opportunities was an incredible experience.”
odrigo Sierra’s big break came early, when the 28-year-old California native was working in an administrative position at ABC News in New York. “I just happened to be in Puerto Rico for the convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and while I was there, a cannon on the USS Iowa, a Navy battleship, exploded, killing 46 sailors,” recalls Sierra, now chief communications and marketing officer for the American Medical Association. “ABC called me and said, ‘You’re a reporter now. Get over to that Naval base and tell us what’s going on.’” Sierra rented a car and drove across the island at 1 a.m. to find that he was the first reporter on the scene. “I went to the guard shack and announced, ‘Here I am to cover this story!’” he recalls. When the guards threw Sierra off the property, he made his way to a phone booth at the bottom of the hill and called ABC News. They asked him to describe what he saw, to which he replied, Rodrigo Sierra | Chief Communications & Marketing Officer | “Nothing. It’s 3 a.m. on a
“Somehow, with no experience, I’d actually broken national news.”
american Medical Association
Imagine a line item that costs your business
MORE THAN $500 BILLION A YEAR. That’s the staggering direct and indirect annual cost of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in our country—two diseases that take a tremendous toll on the health and lifespan of so many. While these conditions cross lines of race and ethnicity, they hit minorities especially hard. Learn what the American Medical Association is doing to hit back. ama-assn.org/go/improveoutcomes
Sierra stayed with the Chicago City Hall office for two years, after which he returned to Peoples Gas as vice president of communications, a multifaceted position that allowed him to merge his skills, working in marketing, public relations, corporate giving, and government affairs. In 2010, two years after the company merged, Sierra moved to Johnson Publishing, where he created the structure for its communications department. A year later, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Sierra to a volunteer position on the board of the Chicago Public School system, and he took some time to think about what he wanted to do next professionally. “I have four sons who attended public school, and through them, I saw how difficult it is for children who aren’t as fortunate as I believe mine were—children who don’t have two parents who graduated from college, who work and get them in the right schools, who hound them about their homework,” he says. That got him thinking about making a difference and, ultimately, drew him to a position in which he felt he could.
A former colleague at
Chicago City Hall referred him to the American Medical Association (AMA). The job, says Sierra, was appealing because it allowed him to meld all of the facets of communications he’d developed to that point, and to do it in an industry that was changing dramatically. “It was an incredibly important time for health care in this nation, and the AMA’s new CEO had an aggressive relevant strategy for repositioning the organization,” Sierra says. “It was a strategy that resonated with me, given that I’d worked in media, in the private sector, and in the public sector. I saw working at the AMA as an opportunity to bring all the pieces of my background together in a powerful way around a critical issue at a historic time for health care in the United States.” H
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destined for advocacy
Andrea Bazán never set out to be an advocate or community organizer, but you can’t fight fate. The senior vice president of resource development for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago shares her serendipitous path to service and outstanding leadership. By Michelle Markelz | Photo by Sheila Barabad
TOP 10 LÍDERES
ndrea Bazán watched from the left side of the aisle as the young woman dressed in white made her way toward the altar in slow, measured steps. Only seven years earlier, the bride-to-be was an undocumented, yet promising, immigrant student from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Bazán a passionate, upand-coming community activist. Advocating for the girl in front of the North Carolina General Assembly and Congress, Bazán became more than a lobbyist to the young woman, Nayely, and she more personal than the face of an underserved community.
It was 2005 when Bazán met Nayely.
“El Pueblo was unknown. We had a small office and had to seek out funding. It was a fork in the road in my life, and I just did it.” With a growing population of undocumented Latinos in North Carolina and the Southeast, Bazán saw more than the opportunity, but the necessity for programs in health care, education, public safety, literacy, voter registration, and culture. “I knew every day I was making a big difference,” Bazán says of her experience with El Pueblo. “It was not easy, but it wasn’t a job for me, at all.” After 11 years under her care, the organization grew to represent Latinos statewide and developed an official agenda pushed by Bazán, the first Latina lobbyist in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Though her time in her native Argentina was short, unrest was all she knew. Her parents tried to shelter her, but Bazán could not help but hear heated conversations behind closed doors, notice bombedout buildings on her way to school, witness the changing of presidents not by the democratic process, but rather assassination, or see the face of her tío Mario on a magazine with the caption “Tied to the Subversive Movement.” Mario was a lawyer and defendant of student activists during the war. When soldiers came to her home to inspect the books on her family’s shelves, the danger became personal. Her father, an internationally known scientist, made Bazán,
her mother, and four siblings targets of suspicion. Forced to leave in haste, Bazán and her family could only pack a few suitcases before they caught a plane headed for New Orleans. All she knew of the place she was going was a black-and-white picture of the Superdome her parents had showed her in an encyclopedia. It wasn’t until years later that she found answers to the many questions any adolescent in her position would have had. When Bazán entered her master’s program in social work at UNC, it was a serendipitous decision. At the encouragement of a professor, Bazán sought to define her history in the library. “I remember looking in a book and having real proof of what happened to [tío Mario] in Argentina during the Dirty War,” says Bazán of her uncle who was killed for his beliefs and actions. “The importance of knowing that information wasn’t so much that it revealed my uncle’s story, but that it allowed me to put together where I came from,” she says. Shortly after, she defined her destiny when she reluctantly agreed to organize what would become the first annual La Fiesta del Pueblo festival. “I didn’t realize how important the festival would be,” Bazán says of the project that changed her life and the lives of many in Raleigh and beyond. “As soon as I became engaged with my work, it became extremely important to me.” Taking the cause of advocacy for Hispanics beyond community organizing,
Serving as executive director and chief lobbyist for El Pueblo, a nonprofit benefitting the Latino community of Raleigh and promoting cross-cultural understanding, Bazán had brought El Pueblo a long way from the community festival it started as in 1994 while she was a graduate student at the University of North Carolinav (UNC) at Chapel Hill. With a career in public health and mother of one child with another on the way, El Pueblo became Bazán’s night-and-weekend pet project. “Everyone thought I was making a bad decision when I decided to leave my job and work full time at El Pueblo Andrea Bazán | Senior VP | Resource Development | in early 2000,” she recalls.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of our family-oriented, Hispanic culture as well … We don’t ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather, consider those around us. That’s what I tell my daughters and people who ask.”
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
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“During the campaign I didn’t know anything of Chicago beyond my walk to work, but as I talked to folks about the disparities among communities in the city, I realized that there was a reason the campaign brought me here.”
Andrea Bazán | Senior VP | Resource Development | United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
Bazán was energized to bring the fight for driver’s licenses, health and housing rights, and in-state tuition to the political battleground on the general assembly floor. Though a bill for the latter did not pass, it brought to the forefront the issue of education for immigrant Latinos and inspired decision makers and the community to have an honest discourse on immigration. It also brought Bazán closer to Nayely, a highachieving Latina girl who represented the educational potential of her community.
in 2005, Bazán made the decision to commit herself to a new project as president of Triangle Community Foundation (TCF), an organization addressing community issues in the Triangle Region of North Carolina through philanthropic measures. Bazán was introduced to a new world of advocates and people in need. No longer working exclusively on behalf of Latinos, she came to know the struggles and issues faced by North Carolina’s other underserved communities, as well as the allies she could turn to in the corporate sphere. In her six years with TCF, Bazán grew the $147 million foundation’s assets by 45 percent. Combined with her leadership on
the board of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil-rights organization in the United States, Bazán’s successful efforts to turn around the foundation earned her executive attention. In 2011, she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Having spent her career advocating from the outside, Bazán decided in 2012 to take up the cause internally by joining the Obama campaign for reelection, a decision that took her to Chicago—a city she had never been to—and set her on yet another fateful path. “Maybe because of my background I’m always thinking of the need,” Bazán says of her inclination to advocacy. “During the campaign, I didn’t know anything of Chicago beyond my walk to work, but as I talked to folks about the disparities among communities in the city, I realized that there was a reason the campaign brought me here.” That reason was the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago where she joined the team as senior vice president of resource development less than a month after the president won his second term. She came aboard at a tumultuous time for the city, amid teacher strikes that made national news. With the first installment of the Live United 2020
campaign—a 10-year endeavor to deliver income, education, and health-care services to metropolitan Chicago’s poverty-stricken communities—taking root in the city’s Brighton Park neighborhood in March 2013.
When young people ask her how she did it—become a community advocate, build a grassroots organization, and affected change for entire communities—Bazán says it was such a personal journey, that it can’t be replicated like a template. Her advice to those who seek it: get involved in something that matters to them and do something— anything—to make a difference. “Maybe it’s a little bit of our familyoriented, Hispanic culture as well,” Bazán muses. “We don’t ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather, [we] consider those around us. That’s what I tell my daughters and people who ask.” While Bazán is allowing her trajectory to take her where it may, her passion is clear. Whether genetic, fated, or a combination of the two, her commitment to those she serves make her more than just an advocate; they make her a leader. H
A Cruising Altitude for Success Eclectic experience helps Maria Sastre soar at Signature Flight Support by Zach Baliva
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aviation is a blend of exceptional hospitality and exceptional technical capabilities,” she explains. “I’ve added my lessons from a hospitality background and leading a nonprofit to my commercial airline experience to help us achieve a premium level of service.” Prior to Sastre’s arrival, Signature was dedicated mostly on delivering its technical services. Wanting to differentiate in the marketplace, Sastre drew on her involvement with leading guest-experience teams at Royal Caribbean and United Airlines to improve the customer experience for Signature. As president of a company with 115 locations around the world, Sastre must drive marketing, sales, and customer initiatives within the operational framework of safety, customer service, and delivery while
she says. Restrooms were transformed from industrial and utilitarian to modern and comfortable. Loyalty programs, which customers rated as highly important, saw fresh updates. Sastre’s team even created Signature Status and Signature TailWins, its own private-label loyalty programs for pilots with rewards like preferred parking for aircraft. These important new steps at Signature came as a direct result from its president’s work in the cruiseline business. “It’s something I will never forget,” Sastre explains. “If you [disserve] a customer on their vacation, you never get them back. You only get one shot.” To further enhance the customer experience and provide exceptional service, Sastre empowered her employees
hile many executives can point to their accomplishments in an industry, few have enjoyed success in several fields. Maria Sastre has. By the time she was brought to Signature Flight Support (SFS) four years ago, the Cuban-born leader was already a powerhouse. Not only had she amassed 25 years of international experience with top companies like Royal Caribbean and United Airlines—she had also received numerous awards in the travel and hospitality sectors. At Signature, Sastre has drawn upon maria sastre | president & coo | signature flight support her experience in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Europe to revitalize and transform her company’s customer expericommunicating a well-developed strategy in Signature’s 115 locations to settle issues ence, making Signature Flight Support a to Signature’s parent and board. To do so, on-site. “Customers don’t want bureaucracy world leader in business and private aviashe has rolled out several enterprises, none and approvals. Our management process altion support services. bigger than a renewed emphasis on premier lows our team members to take care of our service. Over the past three years, the comcustomers in the field without escalating ispany has invested $3 million in its network sues,” she says. , Sastre moved to improve customer-facing technology including point-of-sale systems. to Miami when she was four. She got her start in aviation, working in the commercialThese efforts occurred after a serious Its cusresearch phase completed by Signature’s airline business while finishing her master's tomer service scores are flanked by an inprogram. Today, Sastre is in charge of the previous president and designed to underdustry-leading flawless safety performance world’s largest flight-support-service comstand the needs and desires of a Signature and increasing profits. “We take care of our pany for private jets, charter and fractional, customer. “I learned in other industries that customers and we take care of our employmilitary, and aviation operators. To ensure you need to talk to clients and discover what ees,” Sastre says. “That translates to imsuccess, Sastre draws on her previous aviathey want instead of what you think they proved financials even in a down market.” tion industry experience. As an executive at want,” Sastre says. She received the data on Private aviation has taken a hit from the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., for example, day one and worked not only to understand recession and external criticism. Still, SigSastre focused on strategic growth across the research, but also interpret it by talking nature—under the leadership of Sastre— emerging markets and managed all aspects directly to customers. has outperformed the industry. of the guest experience. As vice president of Sastre discovered that Signature cusGood leadership, Sastre says, comes worldwide customer satisfaction for United from observation. “I had no breaks as tomers expected the company’s facility to Airlines, she led a fledgling customer satisrepresent a premium experience from top a female Hispanic-American in a corporate faction division to perfect the customer-serto bottom. While many organizations sacculture dominated by white males in the vice experience. rificed this aspect during the recession, Sas1980s,” she says, adding that she dedicated Those positions, combined with tenure tre refused to compromise on areas critiherself to watching the good and bad habas president and CEO of a nonprofit decal to the customer experience. “We turned its of her superiors. “Good leaders have a signed to help low-income youth escape povaround with how we allocate our capital following and a natural inf luence. Bad and placed a big emphasis on areas most leaders disenchant and disenfranchise,” erty through education, have given Sastre the tools to succeed at Signature. “Private important to people who use our services,” she says. H
“Good leaders have a following and a natural influence. Bad leaders disenchant and disenfranchise.”
Born in Havana, Cuba
The steps have paid off.
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Every Signature FBO is full of character Everywhere you turn there’s a story. Our people bring a dedication for aviation and a commitment to service that you can feel. You’ll know that we’re glad to see you. Every one of us. Everywhere. Check out our worldwide network at SignatureFlight.com.
Ricardo Anzaldua on the pivotal moments of his career that led him to advise insurance giant MetLife as executive vice president and general counsel by Julie Schaeffer | photos by sheila barabad
From Ranch Hand to Legal Lead
â€œThe thing that inspires me the most about this job, apart from the thrilling challenge of advising such a large organization, is the ability to help people develop themselves professionally.â€? Ricardo Anzaldua | Executive VP & General Counsel | MetLife
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icardo Anzaldua was editing publications for the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a think tank at the University of California San Diego, when he received the best advice of his career. “One of the think tank’s visiting fellows, Ralph Reisner, who was a professor at Northwestern University Law School, suggested that I go to law school, then work for a firm in the business of advising foreign sovereigns on development and financing issues,” Anzaldua recalls.
It was pivotal moment: Anzaldua took Reisner’s advice and entered law school in the fall of 1987 and, after a series of welltimed career moves, is now executive vice president and general counsel for insurance giant MetLife, Inc., a position he says was too amazing to pass up. “MetLife is a global company with more than 60,000 employees and 90 million customers, and it’s at the forefront of some of the principal financial regulatory issues of our generation, including the designation of entities as too big to fail,” he says. “It is orders of magnitude larger and more complex than anything I’d done previously, and that presented a challenge that was irresistible.” Looking at Anzaldua’s current role— which he says requires him to “project and inspire confidence in the senior leadership of a complex organization by walking into a room, to listen to complex questions, think on my feet, and respond convincingly and articulately”—you’d never guess how humble were his beginnings. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Anzaldua spent summers in high school picking fruit and helping his father and uncles work their small herd of cattle. “Those experiences taught me a great deal about singleness of purpose, determination, and self-reliance,” he says. “My dad and
his brothers worked hard and focused on their families, and made a lot of sacrifices so their children could have the best education possible.” Anzaldua planned on becoming fighter pilot, but left the US Air Force Academy when he failed a color blindness test. While exploring other colleges, Anzaldua worked in the infant Silicon Valley micro-integrated circuits industry. He landed at Brown University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and wrote his thesis in economics. The combined topics were so compelling to Anzaldua that he decided to pursue graduate studies in Latin American history at the University of California San Diego. “I couldn’t pass up a fellowship that allowed me to research and write about development issues, especially immigration from Mexico to the United States,” he says.
When Anzaldua submitted
his writing to the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, it offered him a full-time position editing its publications. The timing was serendipitous. “I’d come to the decision that I didn’t want to be a professor, and that had left me looking for another challenge,” he says. Three years later, the Latin American debt crisis led Anzaldua to another career examination. Latin American sovereigns that had used bank debt to finance economic development had fallen on hard times and were defaulting on those bank loans; Anzaldua wanted to have influence over the ensuing policy debates. In his position at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, however, that was unlikely. “By that time, I had learned a dirty little secret about academic publishing: that it’s a small world, with many titles directed at a universe of around 50 to 100 readers,” he says. “We could probably get the information to our readers more economically by calling them up and telling them.” It was thus that Anzaldua ended up at law school at Harvard, and subsequently began working for Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, an international firm that advised foreign sovereigns on development and financing issues. His first assignment was representing the government of Kuwait, which was in exile during the Iraqi invasion. “I helped the government negotiate the goods and services they needed to liberate Kuwait, everything from drinking water to mobile hospitals to munitions,” he says. After six months, Anzaldua was tapped for
a new assignment, representing the government of Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. “The process took nearly four years, but we wrote a seminal chapter of the freetrade agreement, which was preserved virtually without change for subsequent use in free-trade agreements with other countries, including Chile and South Korea,” he says. After Anzaldua had been at Cleary for 15 years—where he’d made partner—he began wondering if the firm was the terminal place for his career. Seeking possibilities that might give him another experience, he learned of a job at The Hartford Financial Services Group, working for Neal Wolin, who had been general counsel of the US Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton. “I met him, got the lay of the land, and decided it would be a great opportunity to go in house and learn about how corporate clients implemented the kinds of advice I’d been giving them from the outside,” says Anzaldua, who started in 2007 as leader of The Hartford’s corporate legal function. When he arrived in 2007, Anzaldua had targeted succeeding Wolin as general counsel, but Wolin retired four months later, and Anzaldua wasn’t ready for the job. He ended up working for Alan Kreczko, and was indicated as his successor, largely through his leadership of the company through the financial crisis. Five years later, however, another opportunity arose. “I was happy at The Hartford, but fell into the net of MetLife’s search for a general counsel to succeed Nicholas Latrenta,” he says of the opportunity. In addition to the chance to lead the legal efforts of a global financial-services company, Anzaldua loves the ability the role affords him to create an incubator of talent and development. “The thing that inspires me the most about this job, apart from the thrilling challenge of advising such a large organization, is the ability to help people develop themselves professionally,” he says.
To those seeking to follow in his footsteps, Anzaldua suggests thinking through what a general counsel of a public company needs to do. “You have to understand corporate governance, SEC reporting, leading and managing personnel, to start,” he says. “From there, it’s important to have a substantive background in the legal issues of the particular company for which you want to work. For example, if you’re working for a company that operates in a litigious space such as insurance, experience managing litigation matters is also an important skill.” H
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Getting the Job Done Jorge Perez shares how he’s spent the past decade turning Manpower into one of the most high-profile workforce solutions companies in the world
LOCATION: MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM
by Annie Monjar | photo by sheila barabad
orge Perez went into a very different business from his father. Growing up in Mexico City, his father had been an extraordinarily successful accountant who oversaw the finances of everyone from the president of Mexico and major banks, to private citizens. While Perez isn’t the number cruncher his father was, he remembers his dad’s remarkable ability to connect with people. “My dad gave me the benefit of having perspective in life,” recalls Perez, who now runs the North American branch of Manpower. “One day, we could be going to a beautiful house, where they had a lot of money, and the next day visiting people we were just trying to help.” The ability to connect with workers and clients up and down the executive chain, across industries, is perhaps one of Perez’s greatest assets as an executive. It’s what has allowed him to evaluate the needs of corporations from an executive standpoint and from the perspective of employees in the field, figuring out not only a company’s goals, but the most practical way to implement workforce solutions. Manpower is a division of ManpowerGroup, which was founded as a commercial staffing company in Milwaukee in 1948. Manpower, Perez’s division, still focuses on the commercial staffing line of business, most often placing talent in manufacturing, clerical, light industrial, and contact center roles. ManpowerGroup also includes ManpowerGroup Solutions, an HR solutions company that provides recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and manage service provider (MSP) services, Experis, a brand that focuses on IT, accounting, and finance professionals and solutions; and Right Management, the Group’s HR consulting branch that provides outplacement and career-development services.
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“In this company, we are really proud of what we do: we put people to work.” Jorge Perez | Senior VP | manpower North America
Today, with its focus on providing workforce solutions, ManpowerGroup has a presence in more than 82 different countries, and revenues of $20 billion. ManpowerGroup’s clients include nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller clients. The organization interacts with a wide variety of industries that vary depending on a country’s economic profile. “We have a great brand,” Perez says. “One of the strongest in the industry. As you can imagine, with our different lines of business and different solutions, we have a very comprehensive approach. When we work with a company, we might uncover needs for talent or leadership development. We’re able to understand, and to help. That’s how we partner with organizations and grow our business.”
As a young boy, Perez absorbed a lot at home with his parents and five siblings. His dad, the accountant, was an involved worker, and Perez credits him with “helping me understand what I could do as a person. He gave me a lot of insights and was very hands-on.” He also remembers watching his brother, who is eight years older, working on his engineering homework while in college. Perez also studied engineering in college, and while he ultimately went down a different path, Perez says the analytical and
critical-thinking skills applied in engineering mirror those applied in business. “At the end of the day, business complexity demands a lot of analysis in terms of how things are being built, how you’re looking at the market, and the internal processes going on,” Perez says. “My background has helped me have that capacity. I can chop a problem into pieces and address each one with the right solutions.” In the early 1990s, Perez worked as a mechanical engineer for Domecq, a wine and spirits company. In 1994, Manpower (which only had a small presence in Mexico at the time) asked Perez to help build their local business. He joined the company, and soon, Mexico City was a stronghold for Manpower. By 2000, he’d been put in charge of the Mexico and Central American market. Tasked with growing this branch of the company, Perez took a number of steps. He made some changes to his leadership team; he brought in new technologies to revamp company operations, fundamentally changing their business model. He made significant investments in marketing and PR campaigns to increase Manpower’s profile in the market. In addition, he added more services to the portfolio, and enhanced sales capacity. “We made our processes better, more efficient, and increased Manpower’s visibility,” Perez recalls. The tactics were effective. Within three years, Perez grew the business from 11,000
employees to 50,000. More significantly, Manpower soon had a majority of the market share in the region. In 2007, he was offered the opportunity to join the United States and Canadian Manpower team, globally the second largest after France, as a senior vice president. Perez and his family (his wife and two children, then nine and 12) moved to Milwaukee in 2007, where, he says, he was met with a new slate of challenges, most notably the economy. While the volatile economy brought difficulties, Perez says he and his team focused on client and associate needs, continuing to hold fast to the organization’s mission and grow the business. Today, Perez oversees 1,800 full-time employees, 15,000 clients, and more than 400 North American branches.
Perez has seen a lot of changes over the past 20 years, but while his environment and day-to-day work at Manpower have changed, he still finds deep gratification in the same place he has since first starting with the company. “We ask people to trust their lives and time with us,” he says. “We’re giving them a safe and good job where they can be treated with respect and dignity. That truly means something to me. In this company, we’re really proud of what we do: we put people to work.” H
Although most people know its nameâ€”Ryder System, Inc.â€”few know its business. President and CEO Robert Sanchez intends to change that. by matt alderton | photo by terry townsend
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hen he became president and CEO of Ryder System, Inc. on Jan. 1, 2013, Robert Sanchez recalled his first job at a Carvel Ice Cream store in Miami, where he grew up. He was 14 years old, and his boss had an entrepreneurial epiphany so grand that he still remembers it more than 30 years later. “Carvel is a chain of ice cream stores known for its soft-serve ice cream. We had about 20 flavors that we sold,” says Sanchez, now 47. “Miami was more diverse than most places back then, so we had a lot of customers who came into the store asking for mamey ice cream. Mamey is a tropical fruit that’s very popular in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Carvel was headquartered in Yonkers, New York. So, as you can imagine, mamey was not one of the 20 flavors it carried.” Initially, the franchise owner instructed his employees to offer strawberry to
mamey-starved customers. Unfortunately, its color—red—is the only thing strawberry has in common with mamey. Most customers, therefore, took their business to the Cuban restaurant across the parking lot. “The owner eventually figured out that he needed to find a way to make mamey ice cream, even though Carvel didn’t offer it,” Sanchez says. “So, he went out and bought mamey at a food distributor, and he mixed it in with Carvel ice cream. Within a week it had become the store’s highest-selling ice cream next to vanilla and chocolate. That was my first lesson in business. What it taught me was: you have to really listen to your customers, and then find a way to give them what they want.”
The lesson was as much about problem solving as customer service, and Sanchez has always been a problem solver. In that way, he takes after his father, an engineer who came to the United States with just $100 in his pocket. “My parents came from Cuba by way of Spain in 1962,” says Sanchez, one of three siblings. “My father worked his way into the middle class and always told us we could achieve anything we wanted.” Like his father, Sanchez decided to become an engineer. Upon graduating from the University of Miami, he worked as a controls engineer for aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, then as an applications engineer for Florida Power & Light Company, where his father worked for more than 20 years.
“You have to really listen to your customers, and then find a way to give them what they want.” Robert Sanchez | President & CEO | Ryder System, Inc.
Concurrently, he started a software-writing business with three college friends, which inspired in him a new interest: business. “[In running this company] I realized there were a lot of things about the business world that I really didn’t understand,” Sanchez says. “I knew the technical side, but I didn’t have a competency in the business side. So, I decided to get an MBA.” Sanchez left his job, sold his portion of the software business, and moved north to Philadelphia, where he received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School.
“My life changed dramatically in those two years,” recalls Sanchez, who met his wife in Miami shortly before he left for graduate school. “We had a long-distance relationship for a few months and ultimately decided to get married between my first and second year of graduate school.” That’s how Sanchez ended up at Ryder System, Inc. “My wife had never lived north of Fort Lauderdale, so as you might imagine, winter in Philadelphia was a bit of a shock,” he says. “I was in my last year of graduate school and had a lot of job offers. One that I was really excited about was from a boutique consulting firm in Chicago. I was really excited to tell my wife about it. She listened very intently and said, ‘Listen, I love you very much and I’m really happy for you in your career. I don’t know where you’re going next, but I’m going back to Miami and I’d really like you to come with me.’ So, I looked at Ryder, which was the only company from Miami that was recruiting at Wharton that year.”
Like most people, what Sanchez knew about Ryder was limited to the color of its signature trucks: yellow. When he joined the company in 1993, however, he learned quickly that Ryder was more than moving trucks. In fact, its consumer truck rental business—which it sold in 1996,
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“You can’t just be a leader for Hispanics or for people like you; you have to lead everyone.” Robert Sanchez | President & CEO | Ryder System, Inc.
along with its yellow trucks—at that time made up just 10 percent of the company. The other 90 percent consisted of a breadbasket of various transportation and logistics services, including a robust commercial fleet management business and a thriving commercial truck leasing operation. “Most of Ryder, I learned, works undercover,” says Sanchez, who leads more than 27,000 employees nationwide. “There are so many products that Ryder touches. The razor you use in the morning to shave was probably distributed and transported through our distribution network. The cereal you had in the morning was likely packaged and moved at some point by Ryder. The food at your local quick-service restaurant was likely delivered to the store in a Ryder-leased or -maintained truck. The parts used to build the car that you drove to work were scheduled, coordinated, and delivered to an assembly plant by Ryder. Even your local pharmacy: we deliver products to many drug stores across the country, and it’s usually a Ryder employee wearing the store’s uniform and driving a truck that says the store’s name—although it’s all owned and run by Ryder.” Although his desire to stay married is what attracted him to Ryder, its massive size and diverse business lines is what’s kept Sanchez there for the past 20 years. “I’ve done everything in this company from writing software to dealing with investors to
running businesses,” says Sanchez, who has held numerous positions at Ryder, including chief financial officer, chief information officer, and, most recently, president and chief operating officer. Now that he’s president and CEO, Sanchez craves mamey. “When it comes to truck maintenance, logistics, and supply-chain management, we’re really good at what we do. The next chapter is going to be about growth and finding new ways to solve customer problems,” he says. “It’s really about making mamey ice cream here at Ryder. We have a few flavors we’ve been selling for a long time, but it’s time to provide our services in a different way.” One flavor Sanchez is considering, for example, is maintenance: Ryder maintains tens of thousands of company-owned trucks that it rents and leases to customers; in the future, Sanchez says, the company could use its expertise to likewise service customerowned trucks. Meanwhile, on the logistics side of its business, Ryder regularly coordinates just-in-time inventory delivery for auto manufacturing, a competency it could easily apply to other industries. “I feel really good about our ability to grow by expanding the services we have,” says Sanchez, who also plans to take advantage of transportation industry trends, such as new government regulations requiring cleaner commercial engines, which makes
owning and maintaining trucks more expensive for companies—which, as a result, are more likely to use third-party transportation vendors like Ryder. His many goals will no doubt keep Sanchez busy during his tenure as Ryder’s chief executive. Still, he plans to continue making extracurricular contributions to the Hispanic community, as he has for many years, as chair of the Association of Cuban Engineers’ (ACE) Scholarship Foundation, of which his father was a founding member.
To ACE scholarship recipients and other young people—including teens of all races who he mentors as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters School to Work Program—Sanchez gives four pieces of advice: “First, you have to be competent. You have to learn skills. That’s why you go to school. Second, you have to treat everyone with respect. Not just your boss, but also your peers and subordinates. If you do that, you’ll find that people want to work with you. That is a very important attribute to have in leadership. Third, you have to be yourself. People really appreciate authenticity. Last, as you get into big leadership roles you have to be a big leader, which means you can’t just be a leader for Hispanics or for people like you; you have to lead everyone.” H
ISA GARCIA QUIRO
making media matter Thanks to chief diversity officer Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Time Warner Inc. isnâ€™t just about media. Itâ€™s about a message. by Matt Alderton | photo by sheila barabad
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lthough she grew up in Staten Island, New York, Lisa Garcia Quiroz spent her childhood traveling the world. The daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Mexican father, she mingled with world leaders, conversed with newsmakers, and watched mavericks sway as they rocked the proverbial boat—all without leaving her living room, where the TIME magazine on her family’s coffee table was a passport to important people, places, and things. “I grew up with TIME magazine,” Quiroz says. “[Because of that] I always had a great interest in current affairs.” So, when Quiroz joined Time Inc. in 1990 as a marketing manager for TIME, it wasn’t just a good job. It was a dream job. “I was really excited to be joining the company,” recalls Quiroz, now chief diversity officer and senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Time Warner Inc. “It was a golden age for magazines, and Time Inc. was—and still is, I believe—the largest magazine company in the world.”
Despite her passion for the TIME brand, Quiroz didn’t intend to be a publisher. The first graduate from her high school to attend Harvard University, she was a sociology major who seemed destined for a career in law. “When I went to college I was really involved with the Latino community,” Quiroz says. “So, if my friends had predicted a career for me it would have been that I would be a civil-rights attorney, or someone who worked as an advocate for underrepresented communities.”
When she graduated, however, Quiroz didn’t go to law school. Instead, she spent three years working in the Harvard admissions office, where she assisted with minority recruitment. Then, she did something that surprised everyone who knew her: she enrolled in business school, graduating with an MBA in 1990. “I was less interested in the law than in leading an organization,” says Quiroz, who retained her commitment to advocacy in spite of her business ambitions. “When I graduated, I was really clear about the fact that I wanted very much to utilize my business skills in a place where I felt like I could have some impact on the greater good.” That place turned out to be Time Warner, where Quiroz has spent the past 23 years weaving media and entertainment with social advocacy. She made her first significant stitch in 1993, when she became founder and general manager of TIME for Kids, a weekly classroom newsmagazine that improves literacy by teaching kids social studies, science, and math in the context of current events. For Quiroz, whose family ingrained in her the value of a good education, it was a golden opportunity. “My grandmother was a very cultured, educated woman who had very little formal education,” Quiroz says. “She came to the United States from Mexico when she was 14 and was adopted by a family in Brooklyn who taught her to read and write. She and my grandfather instilled this incredible sense of achievement in their children, and subsequently in us. The same was true of my mother’s family. For all of us, the key to having a better life was always having an education.” Quiroz conceived TIME for Kids when Time Inc.—which used an outside vendor to market TIME magazine to high schools and colleges—decided to bring its education marketing in house, under Quiroz’s direction. “When I took on that role it became clear to me that there was an opportunity for TIME magazine to do something for young kids,” Quiroz says. “I felt the magazine could leverage its newsgathering resources around the world to help make sense of news for young people. So, I wrote a memo that I gave to my boss, and then to the publisher of
TOP 10 LÍDERES
“I didn’t grow up with Latino role models on television, in national publications, or in movies, so to have an influence on how the next generation will grow up and how they’ll think about themselves is really important to me.” Lisa Garcia Quiroz | Chief Diversity Officer & Senior Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility | Time Warner Inc.
TIME magazine, proposing that we test the idea of TIME for Kids.” Quiroz spent two and a half years researching and prototyping TIME for Kids, which formally launched in 1995 and today reaches more than 3.2 million students and 136,000 teachers. “TIME for Kids in many ways is still my proudest achievement,” Quiroz says. “I took a risk to do something that I felt combined my intellectual interest in business with my personal passion in education. I built something from the ground up, and you don’t get the chance to do that too often in corporate America.” Perhaps not. And yet, Quiroz got the chance to do it again in 1997, when she became the launch publisher of People en Español, People magazine’s Spanish-language sibling. “We had never done anything for the US Hispanic market before, and to combine that [business challenge] with my personal passion for the Latino community was a really important opportunity,” Quiroz says. “That magazine was really special because it was a reflection of the passions and interests of the US Latino community. It wasn’t a Mexican import. It wasn’t a Spanish-language translation of an American magazine.
It was something that was reflective of the lives that Latinos led in this country, from who we love and admire to who we watch on television to who we listen to on the radio.” Originally, People en Español was to be a Spanish translation of People. Instead, Quiroz fought to make it an authentic amplification of the Hispanic voice. “My mother and my cousins weren’t interested in reading about Jennifer Aniston in Spanish,” Quiroz says. “They weren’t interested in Friends or English-language television. If they were, they could read about it in English. What they were interested in were the celebrities that spoke to them. They wanted a magazine that was a reflection of their lives.”
Therein lies the power of media, according to Quiroz. “Media influences the people we look up to, it influences how we feel about communities, and it influences how we feel about ourselves,” she says. “I didn’t grow up with Latino role models on television, in national publications, or in movies, so to have an influence on how the next generation will grow up and how they’ll think about themselves is really important to me.”
Although she ceased being publisher of People en Español in 2004, Quiroz continues to have that influence in her current role as Time Warner’s chief diversity officer and senior vice president of corporate social responsibility. Encompassing three different areas—corporate social responsibility, diversity, and multicultural issues, and the Time Warner Foundation— that role coalesces around a vision statement that could easily be the theme for Quiroz’s entire career: “To foster diverse talent and give voice to their exceptional stories.” A mong the initiatives Quiroz currently managers are efforts to support and nurture minority artists in the entertainment industry, including playwrights, screenwriters, and filmmakers; discover, develop, and sponsor diverse talent within Time Warner; and identify new, multicultural markets and audiences for Time Warner’s products, both domestically and internationally. “My charge for this company … is to make sure it has the leadership needed to help it succeed in the 21st century,” Quiroz says. “That means global leadership—people who can be cross-cultural, speak different languages, and create and understand content for different audiences.” Although she hasn’t decided what her next challenge will be, Quiroz plans to continue supporting and advancing the Hispanic community through involvement in groups such the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR), in which she is an active member, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which she has served as a board member—currently as vice chair—for 10 years as part of her lifelong commitment to education. “All roads lead to education,” Quiroz says. “You want more Latinos to own homes? You want more Latinos to vote? You want more Latinos to be small business owners? It all goes back to education.” H
Living up to a Legacy
Jorge Mas inherited more than just the multibilliondollar company MasTec from his late fatherâ€”he inherited a legacy of leading by example by Mary J. Levine | photo by ANA ZANGRONIZ
TOP 10 LÍDERES
or most people going to work on February 14, 1997, it was a normal morning. But for Jorge Mas, that morning marked one of the most important moments of his career. It was 9:29 a.m., and he was standing next to his father, Jorge Mas Canosa, at the New York Stock Exchange, overlooking the trading floor teeming with anxious day traders and stock hounds, sipping coffee and whispering tips. And when the clock turned to 9:30, Mas and his father struck the opening bell, officially opening the morning’s markets and announcing the first day their company, MasTec, went public. Within the space of a year, MasTec (traded as MTZ) was the first Hispanic-owned company to hit the $1 billion revenue mark, and with a current $3.6 billion revenue and workforce of more than 13,000, it’s also consistently rated one of the top five largest Hispanic-owned firms in the United States. “From the day I started with the company, I wanted to take it public, and on that February morning, I was able to ring the opening bell with my late father,” Mas says. “It was a very meaningful moment for me.” In addition to now serving as the chairman of MasTec, Mas is also the chairman of the board for the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), with both positions propelling Mas to leadership roles not only within the business community, but the greater social community.
“My parents taught me that it’s extremely important to give back to your community, and more importantly, to leave a mark—to leave your whole legacy,” Mas says. “I have always tried to conduct my life with this mantra in mind—that we need to make a difference and we need to leave a legacy.” Mas isn’t far from the mark in citing his parents as the source of this ethos, and you could say that he’s a living example of what it means to “leave a legacy.” Any conversation about the Mas family eventually leads back to Mas’s father, who was responsible for founding both MasTec and the CANF. When he passed away in November 1997, at the age of 58, he left behind an expansive legacy.
Even from a young age, Mas looked to his father as an example and a role model. As an example of this, and Mas’s own cultivated interest in the vitality of his family, he cites an early decision he made about his college education. He had applied to various colleges, and got accepted to both Dartmouth and the University of Miami (UM). Mas’s parents were Cuban exiles and Mas himself had grown up in Florida. Mas chose UM, largely due to its proximity to the family business, but also because of how this would help his father. “I had always aspired to be engaged and involved in the family business,” Mas explains. “My late-father’s passion was fighting for a free Cuba. He had started a busi-
our company tripled in size and capacity,” Mas says. “I saw how we were able to still succeed by delivering service to our customers during difficult times, so I also started looking at our largest competitor [Burnup & Sims], gave their chairman a cold call, and started the conversation.” In 1994, after eight months of discussion, the companies were united under one new brand—MasTec—with Mas Canosa serving as chairman and Mas serving as CEO. Combined, the companies shared roughly $60 million in revenue. In 1997, even with MasTec’s going public as a cornerstone for Mas, his father, and their family, Mas Canosa passed away that November—a low contrast to the high point of ringing the opening bell just a few months
“Leadership is not always a bed of roses. A lot of times, it means taking new positions, leading new paths, and doing those things out of conviction.” jorge mas | Chairman | mastec
ness more out of necessity, so I looked at my ability to engage in the family business both as an opportunity to allow my father to engage his passion and while I could also help elevate the family business.” Mas graduated in 1984, and topped it off with an MBA in 1985. MasTec was then operating as Church & Tower, a telephonic infrastructure company originally formed in Cuba and then incorporated in Miami in 1968, with Mas Canosa claiming half ownership and taking over company management in 1969. By 1971, with a borrowed $50,000, Mas Canosa purchased the remaining shares of the company.
By the early 1990s, with efforts spearheaded by Mas, the Church & Tower Group acquired 65 percent of the outstanding stock of Burnup & Sims, Inc., then a publicly traded company, effectively merging the two companies. The event that put Church & Tower in a position for such a large merger, Mas says, was Hurricane Andrew. “In the year following the hurricane, when all of the infrastructure had to be rebuilt,
prior. “This led to a significant amount of reflection on my part,” Mas says. “It forced me to evaluate where we go from here, but it also allowed me to engage and get involved a year later with CANF.” By being active not only at MasTec, but stepping into leadership at CANF, Mas took on his father’s legacy, but also began to set a precedent of his own, bearing both a business and a social responsibility. Mas’s father helped established CANF in 1981 to promote a “free and democratic Cuba.” Presently, 70 percent of America’s 856,000 Cuban Americans live in Florida, reflecting the continued importance of the organization and Mas’s own echoes of his father’s original mission. Mas has served as the chairman of CANF since 1999, and transitioned from CEO to chairman of MasTec in 1997, with his younger brother, Jose, currently serving as CEO. “Leadership is not always a bed of roses. A lot of times, it means taking new positions, leading new paths, and doing those things out of conviction,” Mas reflects. “This is why I believe in leading by example. If people don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, you cannot lead.” H
To Lead, One Must First Learn Here we highlight the trailblazers who never left campus and are helping form the next generation of Latino business leaders
Dr. Nilda Peragallo Montano University of Miami p. 90
Dr. Gil Gonzales University of New Mexico p. 97
Dr. Gladys Ato National Hispanic University p. 94 OCT/NOV/DEC 2013
Dr. Elsa Núñez Eastern Connecticut State University p. 99
KEEPING A With more than 30 years of experience conducting groundbreaking work focused on the health disparities experienced by minorities, the University of Miamiâ€™s Dean Nilda Peragallo Montano shares her holistic insights into health issues and why she never stops being a nurse at heart BY TINA VASQUEZ
PHOTO: ROBERT KLEMM PHOTOGRAPHY
s dean and professor at the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Miami, Dr. Nilda “Nena” Peragallo Montano’s groundbreaking work with health disparities and minority populations includes her establishment of the University of Miami’s Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro in 2007. El Centro, the only school of nursing recipient of a National Institute of Health P60 center grant, is now in its sixth year, with research funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities awarded through 2017. Dean Peragallo Montano has devoted herself to this work for more than 30 years and she has been incredibly successful, though that’s putting it mildly. Peragallo Montano has been a member of the National Advisory Council to the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and a member of the Take Care National Advisory Board. She is also the past president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the founding and current coeditor-in-chief of Hispanic Health Care International.
Her success, Peragallo Montano says, has come as the result of taking every opportunity that came her way when her family emigrated to the United States from Chile, where Peragallo Montano was born.
“When you choose to be a nurse, it’s your compulsion to give back ... Community work is the most rewarding work you can do.” D r. Ni ld a Peraga l lo Mont a no Dea n & P rofes sor Sc hool of Nu r si ng a nd Hea lt h St ud ies Un iver sit y of M ia m i
“I had already obtained my bachelor’s degree in Chile and when my family decided to come to the US, I took advantage of it; every time I moved I obtained a degree,” Peragallo Montano laughs. “In West Virginia I got my master’s, and when I moved to Texas, I got my doctorate. For me, it was important to take advantage of every opportunity in my path.” As a public-health professional in the United States, it was impossible for Peragallo Montano not to be aware of the disparities experienced by Latinos and other immigrant populations, especially as they
pertained to education and access to health care and information. In the nation’s many immigrant communities, there is a tremendous lack of access to health care and treatment options and, according to Peragallo Montano, language barriers only compound the problem. As a result, the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research culturally tailors its programs to community populations, with special emphasis on HIV prevention, STIs, family and partner violence prevention, substance abuse, and mental health. El Centro also collaborates with institutions in Latin American and Caribbean regions to address health disparities in these countries. Peragallo MonOTE tano is also well-reTA K E Ndvice from spected in her field a no Word s of allo Monta g ra for developing a pioe P a d Dr. Nil neering HIV prevenes tion program aimed v ti c je b o h av e d n a , at Latinas during a d r a y ou or k h wher e v er “ If you w t e time when studies g n . a lf c r se , y ou ier is you r solely focusing on r and goa ls a b ly n way, . The o r o u g o y to s Latinas were unheard t e n wa c om or tunit y p p o n of. What initially bea .” n e it Whe aid to ta k fr a e gan as a study of 700 b ’t n y ou c a Chicago-area women from dif ferent countries resulted in a program that addresses treatment and co-occurring issues, such as violence.
“When you ask the community what they need, you learn a lot. You have to ask how you can help or what’s needed to truly have an impact and when we spoke to the women, and asked them what they wanted help with, violence was at the top of the list,” Peragallo Montano says. “There is a lot of gang violence in Chicago and it affects the lives of these women and their children. We also address it in the home: how can you initiate condom use if you’re in a violent relationship? So many of the women we work with didn’t know they were in violent relationships; they thought it was the norm. So yes, it’s HIV prevention, but it’s also a bigger discussion about what violence is and how it affects families. We never tell women what to do; just what they can do.” For Peragallo Montano, the last point is critical. The goal is to always minimize the amount of risk each woman is being placed in, so Peragallo Montano and her team provide resources, escape plans, and tips on how to avoid escalating an argument. “We give them the resources, but the decision is theirs,” the dean says. “The women have truly become a means of support for each other.”
Welcomed Balancing Act
For Peragallo Montano, there are two sides to her work: her research and her teaching. At the University of Miami, she is able to teach the next generation of nurses about her research. Academia was something that interested Peragallo Montano very early on. The dean had her master’s for just one semester before deciding to pursue her
A day in the life of Dean Nilda Peragallo Montano
8:30 – 10 a.m. Welcome the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro for the annual two-day meeting 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Leadership meeting featuring the dean’s top educational and administrative advisors at the School 12 – 12:30 p.m. Interview for faculty position
1:30 – 2 p.m. Greet nursing educators delegation from Universidade de São Paulo, at Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, who have traveled to Miami to tour the School’s International Academy for Clinical Simulation and Research 2 – 3 p.m. Mentor doctoral student on dissertation (topic: HIV prevention intervention in minority women)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch with School’s Momentum2 Campaign cochairs and School’s executive director of advancement regarding fundraising strategy for Simulation Hospital
3 – 4 p.m. Meet with grant writing team, which is submitting a proposal to the National Institutes of Health for funding undergraduate and graduate nursing and health science students to receive mentoring in global health-disparities research
doctorate in public health. Being able to engage students and get them excited about her field of study is still incredibly meaningful to Peragallo Montano, who continues to hold various leadership positions, including her recent appointment to the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program. Though leadership appears to come naturally to her, Peragallo Montano asserts there are no natural-born leaders. “I don’t think anyone is born knowing how to do it; you can be born with leadership qualities, but leading is something you learn to get good at. As you take on
different positions, you learn along the way,” Peragallo Montano says. “You have to have a vision; you have to be able to communicate; you have to be able to convince others of your vision and make decisions that aren’t always easy. You have to be open to new ideas. It helps if you’re doing what you love and working on something about which you are passionate. It’s taken me years to learn how to lead.” Of all her roles—dean, professor, researcher, board member, mentor—the role that Peragallo Montano still finds the most personally meaningful is the one she had from the very start: a nurse. The ability to
4 – 5 p.m. Conference call with executive dean, Australian Catholic University Faculty of Health Sciences, to invite the ACU to serve as foreign mentorship site for the School’s international health disparities research grant application 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner with the School’s alumni association to discuss plans for upcoming year and thank alumni for serving as ambassadors for the School of Nursing and Health Studies
care for someone and to help those in her community continues to be as gratifying as it was when she was a young nursing student in Chile. “When you choose to be a nurse, it’s your compulsion to give back. When you do this work you are being of service to others and it’s very much a give and take because you get so much out of this work,” Peragallo Montano says. “Community work is the most rewarding work you can do. What we do has a great impact on the well-being of our communities. It’s a very unique relationship, one that you can’t have in any other field.” H
T S TA N DI NG UP AND OUT Dr. Gladys Ato taps into her own upbringing to help other Latinos find their voice as provost of The National Hispanic University BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
he familiar feeling of invisibility settled in as Dr. Gladys Ato found a seat among 500 others in her introductory college class at the University of California, San Diego. As a child, she always preferred to fade into the background away from the taunts of bullies and the critical eye of attention. Now, as an undergrad, the future provost of The National Hispanic University (NHU) sought the same shelter that anonymity provides— only this time, her father wasn’t there to force her to confront her fears. Ato never relished the spotlight. It was only by her father’s mandate that she competed with her school’s forensics team from 4th through 12th grade. That his daughters would go to college and create better futures than the poverty from which their parents came from in Mexico and Peru was never in question. It was through migrant labor that Ato’s mother moved to the United states and met Ato’s father in Livingston, California. They began a family, both determined their daughters would only inherit their work ethic, not their line of work. Ato found a new community on the San Diego campus where no one held any preconceptions about her. Where she could experience the messiness of defining herself without caring who could see. Free to grow into herself, she began to discover her strengths in listening, empathizing, and helping others heal. Her interest in psychology grew. Pursuing her clinical psychology doctoral degree and license, she provided therapeutic services to combat veterans in Albany, New York, and worked extensively with children and families with trauma in various hospitals and mental-health centers in Texas, New York, and California.
“I realized,” Ato recalls, “there aren’t many of me in this profession. I was often the only minority in the room. In graduate school, I was the only Latina in my cohort.” What others saw on the outside, Ato was conflicted about on the inside. “I didn’t want to be associated with a race,” she says. “People would ask me what I was, referring to my nationality, and I’d say, ‘I’m Gladys!’” Embracing her heritage, her parents’ origin story, and the thread of hardship, hard work, and hard-won success that tied them together as it does for so many Latinos in America, was a process Ato describes as an “evolution.”
PHOTO: GOODEYE PHOTOGRAPHY + DESIGN
A State of Evolution
In her clinical training, Ato’s first practicum was with preschoolers. She had never envisioned herself working with children, but found that the experience resonated with her. As vice president of the board of directors for Kids’ Turn, a nonprofit supporting parents and children dealing with parental divorce or separation, Ato is able to reconcile parts of her past and be the advocate she knows from experience affected kids need. “I was comfortable not speaking up as a kid,” she says, “but it’s so critical to attend to children and encourage them to have a voice.” At NHU, Ato hopes to provide a similar environment where students can feel confident and capable to use their voices. That’s why she’s meeting with everyone from members of student government to department chairs to create a student experience that is the most conducive for leadership and success. “The one word that brought me here, and which I hear over and over, is ‘passion,’” Ato says. “Passion shows up in many ways, but the passion here is within every person concerned with graduating future leaders who will represent the Hispanic community.” Recalling the uncertain, and sometimes ambivalent, way in which she related to her heritage as a young Latina, Ato becomes emotional when discussing the great opportunity and responsibility her role as provost presents. In the furrowed brows and slumped shoulders of some students she addresses on NHU’s campus, she sees the person she used to be and hopes to change that. “I was okay with being
anonymous,” Ato says, “because I was trying to figure out who I was. Understanding what it means to be Latina has been a process, a journey.” Acknowledging the success of being the first in her family to go to college—an achievement Ato shares with many of the Hispanic students at NHU—was the first step to realizing her potential. “Now I look for every opportunity to help my students understand they have everything inside of them they need to be leaders in and representatives of our community.”
A UNIQUE M.B.A. FOR A CULTURALLY DIVERSE AND GLOBALLY CONNECTED WORLD
One of the Family
To achieve this Ato is focusing on academic quality and student retention, specifically asking what she and the university can do—from the moment students enroll to their first jobs as alumni—to support their success. One area that Ato hopes to expand is online course offerings. Making them more widely available to students, particularly more Hispanics, studying out of state would make the university truly national. More than just opening the courses, however, Ato wants to ensure that every student, online and on campus, feels like familia at NHU, what she says the university represents. Ato believes the students graduating from NHU can be influential as elected officials, doctors, and teachers, but she realizes that their impact begins much closer to home. The value Ato’s parents placed on education was manifest in the three jobs her mother worked to put Ato and her sister through college, and in the way her mother pursued her GED until her death. For many Latinos, Ato says, the purTAKE NOTE suit of education poses a real struggle for survivWords of advice from Dr. Gladys Ato al. “Every student here is making sacrifices that may impact their fami“My dad always told me: ‘You are who lies, but are necessary you are because you want to be that for a better future,” she way.’ To anyone aspiring to accomplish says. “We want every stusomething even they believe may not be dent to graduate not just to get a job, but to be role possible, I would say trust what’s inside models for their cousins, you. Even if the world is saying you can’t siblings, parents, and do it, believe you will become it because grandparents. We want you have all the tools needed within you them to leave a legacy.” H
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to achieve your greatest aspirations.”
The National Hispanic University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), http://www.wascsenior.org.
A greater edge HP Networking partnership is advancing University of New Mexico educational initiatives Needing to keep up with the rapidly expanding needs of its students and faculty, the University of New Mexico (UNM) looked at the top network providers in the world—and wound up focusing on one. HP Networking.
“A critical goal for us is to provide a converged network that delivers voice, data, and video on one network infrastructure, simplifying management and service delivery. We worked very hard to gain a deep understanding of the networking products on the market and how they would operate in our environment. By standardizing our network edge devices with HP Networking, we achieved the best possible outcome.” —Gil Gonzales, Ph.D., chief information officer, University of New Mexico
UNM chief information officer Gil Gonzales and team required an improved and expanded edge network environment that would deliver higher performance, centralized management, and flexible growth capabilities—all while providing significant cost savings. That’s exactly what HP Networking provided. UNM’s network upgrade now supports an overall IT infrastructure that includes more than 800 servers and 4,000 desktop computers, while providing connectivity for more than 100,000 devices. With HP Networking, UNM found an open, reliable, secure, end-to-end network architecture—without sacrificing interoperability. The university was also able to free up nearly $1.4 million in capital and operating expenditures for reinvestment. Perhaps you should look at HP Networking, too. Learn more at hp.com/networking/education
© Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
C R E AT I N G THE HIVE I
PHOTO: UNM COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
At the University of New Mexico (UNM), Dr. Gil Gonzales is committed to projects focused on bringing technology to underserved areas, and helping minority students get the most out of their academic experience as the college’s chief information officer. But, don’t ask him to define his job. The position, he says, is defined more by the way it evolves than its official description. Here, Gonzales shares with HE how he’s using his role to transform UNM’s campus into a hub of connectivity for the entire region. AS TOLD TO ANNIE MONJAR
’m practicing the role of the chief information officer. I emphasize the word “practice” because it’s a dynamic and changing role based on the evolving maturity of the university, which is always rethinking how technology affects administrative functions as well as academic ones. We have the aim of improving graduation and retention rates. In some ways, the role changes every six months or so. The underlying assumption is that the infrastructure a university needs to be more agile and flexible today is constantly changing. We need to prepare the organization for that change. The CIO’s job is one of the newest jobs in higher education. I never got up one morning and said I’d be a CIO. My keen interest is in understanding how technology can change people’s lives and, more importantly, how it can help minority students. Not only in getting through math, English, writing, and so forth, but also in terms of rethinking the movement of people through our systems. I spent time in Phoenix working with cradle-to-grave projects, understanding how students move from one major part of the education process to another. That idea of thinking about minority students and the use of technology was really my interest in getting into information technology.
My background is in history, which
means I spent a lot of time thinking about change over time. Technology is exactly that conversation. Sometimes its use is appropriate, sometimes not. We make mistakes, and, thus, have to reinvent ourselves and the
Internet connectivity. Second, we focused on wireless capabilities. We were interested early on in mobility. For example, we worked with the archaeology department to build wireless lab capacity. They could go out into the field and do a field study in real time, with the data available for class in the afternoon. It was relevant and timely. I was interested in working with organizations that touched minority students, and UNM is the single higher-education research institute in the country that is predominantly minority students. It fit my interest to work in a place that would focus on the education of minority students and particularly Native Americans. We could solve problems on a larger scope. The state of New Mexico has significant broadband deficiencies and a strong need for connectivity in Navajo Nations and small communities, which is a real challenge. There is a sense that it is the university’s role to advocate and support what education should be like. It’s completely fit in to what I was prepared for. We have a new president, Bob Frank, When I worked at California State who has clearly articulated the need for the University, in Monterey Bay, my interests university to be more engaged in the ecowere similar. I was interested in building nomic development of the state. We need to bridges into the Salinas Valley, helping be more internationally focused, and reinmake sure minority students were successvent UNM as a major player in creating new ful. In this case, they were focused on deep jobs in our state. For instance, we can create learning theory: how do you help students enterprise zones so entrepreneurs can connect if they’re sitting in Taos, New Mexico. understand content that is more than reiteration. Secondary was service learning. We Those are the types of things we want to engage in. We want to help reinvent New spent a lot of time building in communities. We went out into the city to homeless shelMexico as a place where students want to ters and food banks. They needed conneclearn, but also want to live. We want busitivity to work with us. We built relationships nesses to be attracted to the state. We have up and down the coast. We focused on a to have a university that is forward-thinkcouple areas: providing high bandwidth for ing about programs and infrastructure. That is the next major challenge: finding a balance between required academic experiences, and being E T s a flagship university le O a z N n TA K E dvice from Dr. Gil Go in the state. a f Word s o The most important thing we’re dock , te feedba ia d ing is preparing the e m ou . quire im lace for y p environment for stut “ If you re s e b e not be th . The dents to learn, and to this may long v iew e th g in k n o ta t ti have options for how a u c o u ed It ’s ab ork ing in w f to learn. We’re engagn o e a e e b h av e whole id titutions ing with other univers t in o n e s ’s e ars . It is that th sities so students can e d s of y e r e c d n n e u ti h a r m. P te s y s around fo o take massive online c e d t-mov ing ble to buil a courses, and so New g the fastes in e b is l, and so Mexicans can in fact is cr itica participate knowing hips .” s n o ti la e r that their f lagship underlying assumptions about technology that we make. Early on, I worked at the University of Arizona, at the Mexican-American Studies and Research Center. We were writing grants under Title 7, and those grants were about helping students navigate the complexities of higher education. Taking those experiences and applying them to an entire organization has been the challenge. Technology is the third leg of the stool, the third piece of the environmental experience students need as they work through universities. The other legs are the people themselves—are they prepared, have they selected a discipline, are they working with faculty, etc. The other leg is the business process—is the organization prepared to make a change of business process that can help a student. If we make information available to students, help them with transcripts, get them meal plans, that will help a student succeed.
Class Schedule A day in the life of Dr. Gil Gonzales
7:30 – 9 a.m. Strategy meeting with Albuquerque City Manager 9:30 – 11 a.m. IT update with executive cabinet, including University president, provost, and other administrative leaders 11 – 11:30 a.m. Meeting with the VP of Research & Economic Development and director of the Center for Advanced Research Computing to discuss managing the Research Data Center 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meeting with the Dean of the Library to discuss Paw Prints, the student printing service 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Monthly meeting with IT staff to discuss department directions and support. 2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Conference call with members of surrounding universities to discuss Gig-U (a high-speed network for universities and their communities) 3:30 - 5 p.m. IT leadership weekly meeting with direct reports
university is engaged and innovative. That’s the most important thing we’re doing. The university has a role in the region, and we must accentuate that. The thing I get most excited about is going out and helping students and faculty be critical about their use of technology. In some ways, we’re beginning to lead in the use of technology. That’s really exciting. H
ACCESSING SUCCESS Education may be the key to success, but Dr. Elsa Núñez believes another door must be unlocked before an education can be attained. Had someone focused on what her college application lacked rather than its potential, she might not be the president of a leading liberal arts university. Now she is working to preserve the same opportunity for the students of Eastern Connecticut State University. BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
PHOTO: STEVEN LASCHEVER PHOTOGRAPHY
r. Elsa Núñez’s parents didn’t fight often, so it was unusual to hear them screaming at each other one Sunday before church. Just before the family of six was to leave their one-bedroom apartment, Juan, the patriarch, slid one arm through a well-worn jacket, then the other. When he turned to his wife, she shouted with frustration that she wouldn’t attend church with him anymore if he continued to wear the distressed apparel. With a tone of finality, Juan boomed, “As long as I have to support my children’s education, I can’t afford another jacket.” That jacket was symbolic of the sacrifices Núñez’s parents made to give their children the best chance at a better life than they had. Fleeing Puerto Rico’s industrial revolution in the late 1930s, Juan had come to the United States first to secure a job. An eight-year-old Núñez, along with her mother and siblings, left their mountain
town of San Sebastián to join him in a country whose language they did not speak and many luxuries they could not afford. Choosing parochial school over a public one forced them to live in public housing in Newark, New Jersey. “If you ever want to get out of this hellhole,” Núñez recalls her father saying to her, “the only way is through education.”
Never S et t l i ng
Excelling in high school, Núñez knew she wanted to attend college. After graduating from Montclair State College, she got a job in a high school. “Coming from a modest family, that was all I knew,” she says. For three years she taught English and on the day her tenure letter landed in her mailbox, she signed her letter of resignation. “I knew if I didn’t leave then, I never would,” Núñez says of the job where she played disciplinarian more than instructor. “I think it was the
best decision I ever made.” She returned to school, first at Fairleigh Dickinson University for her master’s degree and then at Rutgers for her doctorate. Núñez prides herself on being a good listener, so at the insistence of a colleague who recognized her potential, she set her path on administration. From the office of the president at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), Núñez can reflect on the juxtaposition of her life as an immigrant living in poverty to the accomplished doctor of linguistics and mother of two college graduates. As a child, she may have only window-shopped along Manhattan’s famed Fifth Avenue, but “I can go into Bergdorf Goodman now,” Núñez says of the luxury retailer. “We have a lot of material things that I could not have given my children without my bachelor’s degree. I believe that’s the great equalizer in this country. Once you get that, you’re a part of the middle class.”
A Liberal Education. Practically Applied.
As a result of President Elsa Núñez’s outstanding leadership, Eastern Connecticut State University is known for its welcoming, inclusive campus. Named a top 30 regional public university in the North by U.S. News and World Report, Eastern was named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education for the past four years.
As a high school senior applying for college, Núñez TAKE NOTE found hope in the ideal that Words of advice from Dr. Elsa Núñez in the United States, your father’s last name or your mother’s profession would have no bearing on your op“Get the best academic credentials you portunities for higher educan. Once you finish your bachelor’s cation. “I believe it’s our sodegree, keep going. Higher education cietal obligation to provide administration is a club, and if you don’t access to those who might not have it,” Núñez explains. have the right credentials, they don’t That philosophy is the let you in. You can’t even take the first reason Núñez is commitstep toward a career in this field without ted to increasing access to them.” ECSU, especially for students from diverse socioeconomic circumstances. In her scholarship as a professor of English, Núñez studied diversity through the lens of social class. She reasoned that a poor, white person has more in common with a poor African-American or LaBeyond its commitment to educational tino than with a wealthy person of the same access, ECSU is equally determined to prorace. And she published her ideas in her vide occupational opportunities as well. “Our tagline is ‘practically apply,’” Núñez book Pursuing Diversity. “We’ve constructed this idea of diversity that’s incomplete says, referring to the school’s internship probecause it’s too focused on race,” Núñez says gram, which currently partners with Cigna, of the conventional understanding of diverWebster Bank in southern New England, sity. “Class is the unifying factor.” and a handful of nonprofits. Many of ECSU’s students are the first in their families to attend college and don’t have the resourcS et t i ng t he Tone es to relocate for an internship opportunity The only public liberal arts university in the or even commute. “We brought the internstate, ECSU had the most ethnically diverse ships to Work Hub,” Núñez says. Work Hub faculty of any of its 27 peers in the Council is ECSU’s remote location where students of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and highcan intern for partnering employers. Núñez est percentage of minority students of any says the program has been a boon for stuConnecticut institution. Through its dual dents who gain practical experience and the enrollment program, struggling prospective partners who can recruit on campus. “In students from Hartford’s inner city have the two years, all but one of our students that chance to live and learn on its campus in interned with Cigna has gone on to work for the summer, and prepare themselves for the company,” she says with pride. “We’ve the rigors of secondary education. And once gotten companies to outsource to ECSU.” they are admitted, those students can benFor Núñez, so long as there are students efit from ECSU’s academic support center seeking education, her work will remain unwhere tutors in every subject, supplemental finished. Even with the highest graduation instruction, and advisement are in place to rate of Connecticut’s public universities, Núñez explains, “my life has been about maximize retention. The dual enrollment program, now in making sure access is protected in higher its fourth year, has achieved retention rate education. I wouldn’t be here today if someof more than 80 percent. This, among stuone hadn’t provided me access. Someone dents who normally would not meet EClooked at my application and saw potential. SU’s standards for admittance, proves the We have to keep alive that idea of access at public institutions like ECSU.” H program’s effectiveness at developing the potential of students whose backgrounds may be the only hindrance keeping them from that key to social mobility, the bachelor’s degree.
Beyond the 9 to 5
“I was super toy-driven as a child, and even when I was a kid, I knew I would grow up doing something related to children.” MANUEL TORRES
Senior Vice President of Global Toys & Games Nickelodeon
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 104
With a career centered on toys, Manuel Torres lives out every kid’s dream at Nickelodeon
How HR exec Elisa Hernandez keeps the Florida Panthers scoring
Andres Astralaga scores the job of his dreams leading NFL Media’s VP of HR
The International Latino Cultural Center brings promotes Latino culture in “the United Nations” of cities
COMMUNITY IMPACT 117
Leading a nonprofit with a multimillion-dollar budget, Ann Alvarez helps others get back on their feet Hispanics in Philanthropy uses its network to move bigger and better investments into Latino communities Maritza Bond recruits minority students into the health-care field A look into the USHCC’s Million Dollar Club
Brenda Medina shares her secrets to cross-cultural management
Why Joe Ochoa doesn’t mind working backwards if it means learning your audience
Maribel Garcia-Rodriguez navigates intricate marketing differences around the globe
How cultural knowledge helped Jaime Mercado launch Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in Brazil
For Hewlett-Packard’s Elcio Barcelos, going global means staying local
Ángela María Camacho shares crucial insights she’s picked up doing business abroad
Manuel Torres & Nickelodeon
Thank you for being an inspiring champion of creativity and innovation.
JAKKS Pacific Congratulates Manuel Torres
For over a decade, JAKKS Pacific has been a proud licensing partner with Nickelodeon, bringing beloved brands such as Winx Club, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants to life in the toy aisle. Congratulations to Manuel Torres, Senior Vice President, Global Toys and Consumer Products, Nickelodeon, for his industry leadership and vision. It has been an honor working side by side to launch these successful brands. For more information visit www.jakks.com ÂŠ2013 Jakks Pacific. ÂŠ2013 Rainbow S.r.l. and Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Created by Iginio Straffi.
EVEN GROWING UP, Nickelodeon’s Manuel Torres knew he’d be doing something related to children.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FUN AND GAMES Living every kid’s dream, Manuel Torres has led a successful career by staying a kid at heart
BY BENJAMIN VAN LOON
Kids are realists. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and they might say “astronaut” or “fireman” or “movie star.” Though lofty, these professions are still achievable (though you might not hear a kid say the word “profession”). But what kids really want is to play with toys forever. In this way, you could say that Manuel Torres’s childhood dream came true. He’s the senior vice president of global toys and games for Nickelodeon Consumer Products, one of the leading toy producers in the world. It’s like he’s Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big, except that Robert Loggia isn’t his boss. “I remember every single toy I had when I was kid, and I was super toy-driven as a child, and even when I was a kid, I knew I would grow up doing something related to children,” Torres says. “I feel very passionate about this demographic.” Torres was born and raised in Mexico City, though his mixed background—with a Polish/Russian Jewish mother and a Mexican Catholic father—gave him early insight into navigating the intricacies of tastes and interests at cross-cultural intersections. Torres lived in Mexico City until he was 28 years old, and got his career start as a CPA for Arthur Andersen—one of the world’s top accounting firms in the 1980s. By the late ’80s, Arthur Andersen began to diversify its services and provided Torres an opportunity to expand his professional interests in sales and marketing. “I’ve always had an interest in sales, which is strange, because I come from a family of doctors, but it has always been a passion for me,” Torres says. In pursuing this passion, Torres fully transitioned from his work as a CPA to serving as a tax auditor and consultant to help launch distribution business in Mexico City. This was where Torres first began to realize his interest in the children’s market, though, at the time—naïve and not totally financially stable—Torres wasn’t yet able to see a future
in this space. So, he transitioned back to the corporate world as a trainee for Unilever in its personal-care division, on the sales side. “My theory was that if I wanted to end up doing something related to marketing or sales, I should take every opportunity to learn,” Torres says. “And the only way I could gain credibility with the sales force is by working with them, so I went into sales.” It was the early 1990s by the time Torres began to conclude his four-year stint with Unilever, category management for consumer products was becoming increasingly important as big-box retailers like WalMart were expanding throughout North and Central America. Wal-Mart began to form partnerships with its various vendors, such as Torres. “This allowed me to develop a really strong understanding and knowledge not only of retail, but also an incredible new world of consumer goods, and how to manage a brand on a consumer level,” Torres says. While Torres was working in this world of merchandising and store checks, he found himself consistently drawn to the way these practices were executed in a toy department. Gravitating towards the merchandising strategies that make toys “pop,” Torres was soon approached by Mattel Mexico in 1994, which was looking to grow its category management and trade marketing division. “I started as the trade marketing manager for Mattel, but I was also managing a few Fisher-Price brands—like Power Wheels and Hot Wheels, which wa s close t o my heart,” Torres says. “I had a team of over 450 merchandising reps, and it was a very exciting time.” Torres was with Mattel for eight years, spending the first three in Mexico, and then relocating to California, where he took
charge of various trade marketing regions— including Latin America and Europe. Torres eventually got more involved with brand and product development, running international boys toys and games properties for Mattel, which involved brand partnerships with companies like Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon. “During this time I really got a flavor for the licensing world, and that became an area I wanted to learn more about and hopefully master,” Torres says. In 2002, Torres left Mattel and joined up with Warner Brothers, which brought him back to Mexico where he oversaw all of the DC Superheroes and Looney Tunes products. And it was during his time with Warner Brothers that Viacom and Nickelodeon (a Viacom subsidiary) were looking to create a consumer-products business for Latin America. They recruited Torres and he came back to America in 2004 to Miami, then fully joining Nickelodeon the following year. “What I’m doing now—it all started with work in the core financial world, and then it warped into sales, marketing, and product development,” Torres says. “I really believe that accounting helped me out this whole time because it has given me the capability to understand financial metrics and the impact of the decisions that I would be making.” Under Torres’s leadership at Nickelodeon, the company has produced some of its biggest products, lines, and partnerships to date. In 2012, for example, Nickelodeon launched the hit reimagined CGanimated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and successful toy line with Playmates Toys, among others, which were declared one of the “most wanted toys for 2012” by Time to Play magazine and Toys ‘R’ Us. Torres’s team also relaunched the
It’s like he’s Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big.
Floam and Gak brands that rose to prominence in the 1990s, and also developed Preschool toy brands from Nick Jr. shows such as Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, and Bubble Guppies. But even in the midst of all of these fun, colorful names, and products, there is a serious side to the toy business, so an added challenge for Torres is what he can do to still keep the business fun. “There’s the ‘surprise factor’ that is always very strong in entertainment-driven products, and you can never really control the outcome,” Torres says. “On the other hand, however ‘cool’ an item might be, at the end of the day, someone is wanting to profit from it, so the key is creating a good value proposition around that item as part of the storytelling.” This aspect of “story” is ultimately what connects Torres’s upbringing and background into his present work, such that his own diverse background affords him a deeper understanding of diverse markets—and the nuances of those markets—on an international scale. “Even when I was still working in Mexico, I was becoming very interested in the international world, so getting the chance to work with multinationals like Unilever and Mattel and travelling the world with these companies was invaluable,” Torres says. “I’ve always been very interested not only in geography, but also for history, and this has helped me appreciate other cultures, and also increased my understanding.” Now that Torres is approaching veteran years in the toy industry, he’s looking at his next steps to extend beyond the realm of his office and towards his own children, attempting to create the same kind of opportunities for them that his own family created for him. For this reason, Torres also supports various nonprofit organizations, such as Breast Cancer Org. “What I do outside of work I consider very important for mine and my family’s future; there’s so much to contribute to the world, and nonprofit work is very appealing to me. A lot of my energy is going towards this,” Torres says. Torres serves on the board of directors of the Toy Industry Association, the first Latino on the board. H
A MESSAGE FROM RUBIE’S Rubie's Costume Company is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of Halloween costumes and accessories. As a family-run business for over 60 years, Rubie’s offers an extensive line of products for infants, children, tweens, and adults. With all major licenses, we are thrilled to partner with Nickelodeon on the following licensed collections: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, Backyardigans, Blue Clues, NiHao and Wonder Pets. Our combined visions have made these lines an enormous success.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
SILVER LINING During the 2012 lockout impasse, everyone in the organization was tested but, Eliza Hernandez says, it created an opportunity to get close with everyone.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
HOCKEY’S HR GO-GETTER
Elisa Hernandez shares how she kept the Florida Panthers scoring HR goals during the 2012 lockout BY MELISSA FRENCH
Elisa Hernandez comes from a back-
PHOTO: BILL ZIADY
ground of determination and hard work. Born in Newark, New Jersey, and moving to South Florida in the mid-1980s, Hernandez’s native Cuban parents instilled a dogmatic doctrine that has shadowed her throughout her life. Not only is she vice president of human resources and payroll for one of the leading sports and entertainment companies in the business, Sunrise Sports & Entertainment (SSE), Hernandez is the industry’s go-getter. “Throughout the years, I think back to my dad always taking on additional responsibilities with a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude. That’s me—whatever I can do, whatever responsibilities I can take on, I do,” Hernandez says. Hernandez joined SSE—owner of the professional hockey team, the Florida Panthers and its home ice, the BB&T Center— during one of the toughest times for the NHL, the 2012 lockout. Keeping some 140 full-time employees motivated through grim times is a feat not many would take on during their first few weeks with a new job. But Hernandez “tends to be like a steamroller and move forward.” Her pragmatism kept employees involved in the Fort Lauderdale community by actively promoting the launch of Red Fridays, a weekly event where employees were sent to help with different charitable organizations. Activities ranged from building playgrounds
and cleaning livestock farms to packaging meals, cleaning parks and beaches, “anything and everything.” “We bonded and we sort of forgot the concerns over the lockout and didn’t feel so sorry for ourselves because we were out there helping others. Their needs overshadowed anything we were going through,” she says. During the lockout impasse, everyone in the organization was tested but, Hernandez says, it created an opportunity to get close with everyone and realize how quickly they were able to react and respond. Throughout the lockout, there were weekly staff meetings, which brought together the entire workforce to talk about what was going on within the industry and what to expect. Hernandez, along with her boss and mentor, SSE president and COO, Michael R. Yormark, kept the conversation real, sometimes having difficult discussions, but letting everyone know what was coming down and sharing positive news whenever possible. This transparent practice is one in which Hernandez strives for as a best practice and rule of thumb every day at SSE. “While we were waiting for hockey to return, we were focusing on the entertainment side of the business. Something was always happening to keep our organization moving and our employees engaged,” she says. “It was all hands on deck.”
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Her HR background stems from years in the health-care industry, starting out as a payroll specialist fresh out of high school. Over the years she took on higher levels of responsibility, immersing herself into the profession. She obtained her degree from Davie, Florida-based Nova Southeastern University by taking night and weekend classes, while raising two sons with her husband. “Starting my HR career in a heavily regulated industry, [like] health care, created a good foundation for me,” she added. “Over the years, I was able to experience HR in other industries like manufacturing, telecommunications, and then, ultimately, the opportunity came up to enter sports and entertainment.” An avid sports fan from a young age thanks to watching hockey with her dad, Hernandez’s innate ability to thrive in a fastpaced work environment is second nature to her. Never remaining stagnant, Hernandez is very active in a plethora of organizations and nonprofits throughout the Fort Lauderdale area professionally with the Florida Panthers Foundation and personally. “As a community, we have to help each other,” she says. “It’s great to work for an organization where community service is expected. It speaks to our owner and it speaks to who we are.” From helping returning veterans find a job with Mission United to hosting a children’s poetry workshop with the Jason Taylor Foundation, she says it’s the least she can do. She also works with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, and March of Dimes. “It’s been a calling for many years,” she adds. Following the lockout, Hernandez’s focus has been to develop an effective recruitment process. “One of the things I have incorporated is a behavioral profile modeling and behavioral-based interviews, which intend to attract a good bench so that when we need the right person, we have a ready bench of excellent performers,” she says. SSE has an internship program that helps to bring people into the organization. “We look for people with passion, with excitement, and a can-do attitude. Maybe that’s why I relate to
this organization because that was instilled in me so many years ago—you do what it takes.” Hernandez is particularly excited about a new project under development, an executive leadership program, which accepts country-wide applicants to be brought through the rigors of executive leadership. The program, she adds, will expose young professionals to every area of executive leadership with the ultimate goal of having them join SSE. “One thing that I’ve learned in being here is that it takes a certain DNA to thrive and be successful in the sports and entertainment industry,” she says. “It’s not for everyone. It’s tough. It’s fast-paced. But, boy, is it rewarding! Every time I drive up to this gorgeous arena, there’s a big sense of pride. I just can’t believe I’m a part of it.” She believes a leader is someone who treats people with dignity and respect; someone who is honest and transparent while being able to share positive feedback. In problems as foreboding as the NHL lockout, Hernandez has kept those ideals close to her heart. “Sometimes there are solutions. Sometimes there aren’t. So you have to reformulate the problem a little. Everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to HR and dealing with people. There is a shade of gray and you have to know it exists and be able to work through that.” As an HR sponge, Hernandez was taught early in her career the importance and necessity of balancing the needs of the organization and its employees. “It’s interesting to see HR professionals who don’t do that or gravitate towards one over the other. It’s one of the things I think is missing sometimes in HR—the common-sense element.” Regulatory compliance is certainly paramount, Hernandez says, but you can exercise common sense, understand the bigger picture, effectively balance the business as well as the employees’ best interest, and, of course, have some fun along the way. “It doesn’t change no matter what industry you’re in: treat people with dignity and respect. Have fun, enjoy yourself, and wear that smile on your face,” she added. H
“Every time I drive up to this gorgeous arena, there’s a big sense of pride. I just can’t believe I’m a part of it.” ELISA HERNANDEZ VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES SUNRISE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
CHIEF PEOPLE PERSON
TOUCHDOWN Andres Astralaga scores the job of his dreams leading NFL Media
PHOTO: BEN LIEBENBERG/NFL
BY RUTH E. DÁVILA
ANDRES ASTRALAGA’s mother would tell him he’d never go anywhere watching a sports game. Now as NFL Media’s VP of HR, he can’t help but laugh at that.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Thirty years ago, in Syracuse, New
currents of change. “You have to look at York, Andres Astralaga’s mother arrived where we are now, where we want to go, home one night to find Astralaga awake, and where we need to be in the future.” Having worked for media giants in the past his bedtime, watching a Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys past—NBC, Telemundo, and, most recentand Washington Redskins ( fútbol americaly, ESPN, moving virtually every two years no to be precise). Astralaga had only been to a new city—Astralaga has witnessed main the United States for a couple years, havjor internal and external changes. He has ing emigrated with his family at the age of seen great companies face new technical nine. But enough time had passed for him frontiers. “The key is to leverage technolto master the English language, appreciate ogy in a way where it can become a game American culture, and become deeply inchanger—a difference maker in the market trigued by the sport that rules the Ameri... Using technology to your advantage is can zeitgeist—and airways. “¿Qué estás haciendo? (What are you doing?),” Astralaga’s mother reproached. “You’re never going to get anywhere in your life by watching that game.” Today, Astralaga can’t help but chuckle at the memory. As vice president of human resources for NFL Media, he seems to have pulled off an epic “told-youso”—building a career out of childhood pastime. Based in Culver City, California, the 400-employee operation covers the cable network and all NFL digital media assets, such as NFL. com, NFL Mobile, and the NFL Club sites. “The NFL brand itself is very strong,” Astralaga says. “People are really passionate about their teams, and we have to keep it that way to ensure we do everything possible to stay ahead of the game, think outside the box, and deliver great content to our fans from an NFL Media HR LEADER Andres Astralaga chats with stage standpoint.” manager Puma Nelson on Astralaga’s team leads the set of the NFL Nethiring, staffing, onboardwork in Culver City, CA. ing, employee engagement, and the like—critical processes NFL Media is developing new systems to push out content on its multiple platforms. Since joining in August 2012, Astralaga has helped his division steer the organization through these
how the future is going to be pulled.” Even amid fast-paced progress, Astralaga says, HR professionals can’t lose sight of integrity. “You have to do the right thing no matter what. As an HR business partner, you have to walk that line between an employee advocate and a business advocate; and [also] be able to know your role in a meeting with senior leaders where you are holding that employee advocate mantra … ” Astralaga’s upbringing, coexisting between two cultures, gave him an uncanny ability to form a near instant rapport with
Job Number PR-13-21290 Company
“What you learn today may not be relevant six months or two years from now. It will change; that’s the constant.”
Status In Production Start Date
Submitted By Rory Verrett
Project Manager Andrew Conde
VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES Art Director NFL MEDIA Mollie Wilkie
Freelancer/ Designer/ Production Artist Jesse Overlin Est. number of revisions 0 Publication people,EXECUTIVE paving the way for a career in HR. HISPANIC MAGAZINE
PHOTO: BEN LIEBENBERG/NFL
“I was sort of ‘dropped off’ in upstate New York, in a very blue-collar community— Bleedwhich was very middle America—a place [that] Bruce Springsteen and John MellenNon-Bleed camp sing about. But, at the same time, I was raised among a very passionate Latin Widthfamily,” x Height he says. Recalling road trips to visit his aunt in 2.5" X 10.4" New York City, Astralaga says his whole family would delight upon hearing the Color crackling radio signal of salsa music, slow4c ly becoming clearer as the car drew closer to the city. “There was not, at that time in the early ’80s, television or radio in SpanQuantity ish where we lived. So the closest we came 1 to our roots was New York City and this salsa music.” The youngest of three brothers and a Date Submitted 3/13/13 sister, Astralaga looked to his siblings to navigate the US social scene. One of his brothers suggested that he take up a popular sport—lacrosse. “I didn’t know how to speak English yet, but I would be outside with my brother playing lacrosse,” Astralaga says. Not only did it help him integrate
with his peers, but he became so adept that he was able to earn scholarship money to attend Michigan State University. “I always advocate for people to play organized sports, because it teaches you so much about yourself, leadership, and organizations,” Astralaga says. “There is structure and commitment—and you have to put in the time.” After earning a master’s in labor studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Astralaga went on to work at General Electric. “The HR leadership program in GE is one of the best training programs for human resources out there,” he says, attributing much of his success to the program. Lifelong learning remains Astralaga’s passion and priority—at NFL Media and beyond. “I tell kids graduating from college: Don’t think this is over; you still have to read books, be engaged in what’s out there in your industry, learn and understand what’s going on out there,” he says. “What you learn today may not be relevant six months or two years from now. It will change; that’s the constant.” H
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
“Our culture is to share, so to promote it is natural to us.” SYLVIA HEVIA DIRECTOR | DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING INTERNATIONAL LATINO CULTURAL CENTER
CREATING BUZZ It was standing room only for the Chicago Latino Film Festival’s opening night screening of Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
REEL CULTURAL AMBASSADOR
How the International Latino Cultural Center promotes Latino culture in “the United Nations” of cities BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
Growing up in Northwest Indiana,
OPPOSITE PAGE PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD, THIS PAGE PHOTO: JESSICA NICOLAU MANGFESTE
Sylvia Hevia knew Latinos as Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. That’s why she describes Chicago as “the United Nations” when it comes to her culture and the culture she shares with the countless Latinos and non-Latinos alike who benefit from the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC). “Ever since I can remember hearing about ILCC in the late ’90s, I always wanted to work for it because no one else is doing anything like this,” Hevia says.
SWEET HOME CHICAGO International Latino Cultural Center's Sylvia Hevia (pictured below) considers Chicago “the United Nations” when it comes to her culture and the culture she shares with the countless Latinos.
Since 1985, the center has been dedicated to promoting Latino culture and encouraging cross-cultural experiences among Latino communities and between Latinos and non-Latinos through performance arts including music, film, and theater. Representing more than 20 Latino nationalities, the center continues to extend its reach and collaborate with more diverse communities. “Everyone is represented here,” says Hevia, director of development and marketing for the ILCC. By here, Hevia means Chicago, headquarters for the cultural center and the stage for the center’s annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next April. Topping the list of the ILCC’s accomplishments this year is the $100,000 grant it received from the Joyce Foundation to expand its Latino Music Festival, which will take place again this fall in Chicago. Comprised of 20 to 25 concerts, most of which are free, the festival showcases artists with diverse styles with an emphasis on classical Latin American and Spanish music. The center was also recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a $30,000 grant to support community outreach, student matinees, and director Q&A sessions at the CLFF. In 2013, the festival drew directors from Spain, Portugal, and multiple countries in Latin America. To supplement the finances, Hevia says the center will reach out to the consulates of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela. Next, the center hopes to secure funding and a space to construct a “mega cultural center” in Chicago. “That’s our ultimate
goal,” Hevia says. “We’re working longterm to develop a three- to five-year plan.” The space would be a facility where people could enjoy the Latino culture in the forms traditionally endorsed by the center, as well as a location for community events and performance by Latino music, dance, and theatre groups. “Even though economic times have been hard here, we’re thriving by getting really creative with partnerships,” Hevia says. This year the Lyric Opera House and Chicago’s Jewish community joined forces with the ILCC in what may have been previously unexpected partnerships, but proved mutually beneficial. “Promoting Latino culture is an entry point,” Hevia says. “It’s the best way to understand who we are. Our culture is to share, so to promote it is natural for us.” The CLFF found inroads to the Jewish, aging, and LGBTQ communities in feature films whose subjects highlighted shared culture among the communities or spotlighted issues of importance to each, such as the Life Re-Imagined film series, which included films that encouraged 50-and-older viewers to reinvent themselves. The ILCC’s 30th Anniversary Gala this November marks the start of a six-month celebration, culminating in the film festival next spring. An extension of the festival, the Reel Film Club continues to provide programming each month. Films from past festivals are screened, and a cultural experience designed around the film’s country of origin is created. Summers in Chicago usher in the Film in the Parks series, a lineup of eight familyfriendly Latino films shows free of charge in partnership with the Chicago Parks Department. For Hevia, Film in the Parks holds a special significance. When she has the chance to get out from behind the scenes and participate in the center’s events, she’s caught herself standing in awe in the middle of programming. What she’s seen is a testament to the experiences the center provides. “Last summer when we did Film in the Parks,” she recalls, “I got to see families coming as a whole. It was just amazing because of the connection they were having among themselves and then as a community. We’re providing an opportunity they would have never had before. It brings me back to Indiana where we never had anything like this. The children of these families will have memories growing up, and how beautiful that will be.” H
CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
The Impact of One Upon Many: One Woman’s Mission to End Homelessness in Chicago Ann Alvarez, president of Casa Central, a social-services organization in Chicago, has been passionate about serving her local community all of her life
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
BY HILARY SUTTON
CASA CENTRAL’s Ann Alvarez names “integrity” as her greatest value in her work.
CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
nn Alvarez’s passion for offered housing and support to homeless serving the poor and families since 1989. Casa Central renomarginalized in neighvated two buildings that accommodate up borhoods throughout to 20 families. The fully equipped apartChicago was first ignited ments house families ranging in stay from during her childhood in four months or more. As parents reestabBrooklyn. “I was born and lish themselves in the community, children raised in New York in an underserved comhave the consistency of going to school. Parents receive training and counseling munity. From a young age, I was exposed to community needs that were not being met.” with the goal of finding employment and She spent much of her formative years servgetting back on their feet. According to ing at her Presbyterian church. “The mission Alvarez, the program has had astounding [of the church] focused on helping those who results. “Eighty-five to 90 percent of these were less fortunate,” Alvarez remembers. families do not become homeless again. Today, Alvarez is in her 24th year as presThey take ownership of their goals. They ident of Casa Central, an organization that become part of the solution. We cannot rehas provided social services to the Hispanic ally solve their problems for them. We help population in Chicago since 1954. The orand coach them and provide resources,” Alganization has grown to become one of the varez says. most well-respected social services agencies Services for children include after in the country with a staff of more than 550 school programming, tutoring, Head Start and a budget of $17 million. programs in three child-development sites, Alvarez did not always have ambitions and a home-based Head Start Program. Seto lead a nonprofit organization like Casa niors have opportunities to interact daily Central. Her husband, Casa Central foundin wellness programs, activities, and soer Reverend Daniel Alvarez, left his post as cial events. Seniors also receive home-care executive director to work with the mayor services. “Their quality of life improves treof Chicago as commissioner of the Departmendously,” Alvarez says. The Casa Central ment of Human Services in 1989. Alvarez Certified Nursing Assistant training proagreed to serve as president for a short pegram offers low-income people the opporriod. “We all thought it was going to be two tunity to begin their nursing career. years max,” she recalls with a laugh. Alva“We offer 21 different programs and rez was quick to say why she has stayed all services. We’ve been affirmed and acthese years. “I’ve loved my work here beknowledged because of the demonstration cause of the challenge, the opportunity to of quality. It all goes back to impact,” Alreach people in the community that need varez says. Alvarez names “integrity” as her greatservices to sustain their families and move on to meet their goals of employment, our est value in her work. “Are we functioning programs for the elderly, and early learning with best practices? Are we following the programs. I can see directly how what we rules even with limited resources?” offer has a sustainable impact on families.” Thoughtfully Alvarez adds, “When I Alvarez credits the success of Casa look at the faces of the children and seniors, Central to four key aspects: implementing how they benefit, that keeps me going.” H best practices, bringing in highly talented people in management, building a solid infrastructure, and continuing the tradition of the mission—to offer transformational services that propel people of all ages toward self sufficiency and a higher quality of life. Casa Central’s programs focus on serving ANN ALVAREZ children and youth, sePRESIDENT | CASA CENTRAL niors, and homeless families. La Posada Interim Housing Program for Homeless Families has
CASA CENTRAL By the Numbers
Homeless families are housed at La Posada Interim Housing Program as they transition into finding permanent jobs and homes
Preschool age children receive help preparing for kindergarten in Head Start groups
Home-bound senior citizens are visited regularly by homecare aides who provide basic assistance
Domestic abuse victims receive counseling and support through Casa Central’s Violence Prevention and Intervention services
“Eighty-five to 90 percent of these families do not become homeless again. They take ownership of their goals. They become part of the solution.”
Influential women influence us all. BMO Harris Bank is proud to support Casa Central and Ann Alvarez in her mission to serve the local community.
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2013_246_Hispanic Executive Mag.indd 1
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CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
Helping to Fund the Future Working with foundations that donate to nonprofits, Hispanics in Philanthropy uses its network to move bigger and better investments into Latino communities BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
hirty years ago, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) started like many of the community organizations it supports today. A group of 14 people identified a need and chose to be proactive. Their goal today, as it was then, is to encourage foundations, whose combined giving a year is more than $20 billion, to make bigger and better investments in Latinos and Latin America. Much like a grassroots effort, HIP went through some growing pains before perfecting the grant-making process by which it has raised more than $40 million to date. “We began as a group of volunteers, and our aim was to have more representation on the boards and staff of potential donor organizations because we thought that would earn us more grants,” says Diana Campoamor, HIP’s president since 1990. Finding success in building a network of funders and a “talent bank” from which foundations and nonprofits can draw when staffing influential positions, HIP’s winning formula has been a combination of direct and indirect support to facilitate strong Hispanic communities. One of the first recipients of HIP’s grant making was Frente
Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB), a group committed to protecting the rights of indigenous Mexicans in Mexico and the United States. A testament to HIP’s success at fostering the growth of such Latin-serving groups, FIOB has grown from a five- to six-figure budget, and its binational director, Rufino Dominguez, earned recognition as a Ford Foundation Fellow. “Often
the greatest utility for our time and money is to influence the behavior of people who have a hand in public policy or how funding is distributed,” Campoamor says. By 2000, despite having raised $40 million over 17 years, Campoamor and the HIP directors decided that there was yet untapped potential they needed to seize if they were to maximize the impact of their
DIANA CAMPOAMOR speaking with Guatemalan grantees funded by HIP.
fundraising efforts. While large national donors were contributing valuable dollars to after-school tutoring, affordable housing, mobile health clinics, and even theatre troupes, connections had never been fostered between community organizations and small local funders operating in their footprint. With the creation of the Funders’ Collaborative, half of local donors’ funds are matched by national donors to improve the leadership and operations of Latinoserving projects and organizations. “When we started the Funders’ Collaboration, we hoped to generated a pool of $5 million,” Campoamor says. “That seemed like a stretch.” With only a staff of five and a budget of less than $400,000, HIP surpassed that goal eight times over and more than tripled its own size. Campoamor says HIP is beginning to look beyond traditional fundraising channels by exploring crowd funding. Through websites such as Kiva.org and Razoo.com— which broaden the reach of projects and organizations seeking funding by opening up their appeal to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card—HIP can continue to draw from the national partners and attract new support from individuals of all socioeconomic means. “At the end of the day, we’re a network of people who work in foundations that give money to nonprofits,” Campoamor says. “Our job is to use that network to move bigger and better investments into Latino communities.” HIP and its benefactors are in the business of meeting challenges, but one that Campoamor says is central to the sustainability of HIP and the life of Hispanic communities everywhere is perception. “Often we have not seen ourselves as people of abundance or philanthropists,” she explains. Through its capacity building campaigns and emphasis on strong, selfsufficient Latino communities and organizations, Campoamor hopes to cultivate a consciousness that Latinos are “givers,” even if not monetarily. “The first thing we have to do is change our perception of ourselves, then the world around us changes,” Campoamor says. “It’s not just about having billions of dollars. It’s about the heart and the ability to connect with others and share.” H
Health, Housing and Economic Development
By the Numbers
The value of grants and technical assistance provided by HIP to Latino nonprofits
Groups HIP has funded
Funders supporting Latino nonprofits through HIP
Latino CEOs of foundations and corporate giving programs
Since opening our doors in 1969, the Latino based agencies that make up our network have matured into a dynamic and unified community based organization offering a unique constellation of services in the area of health, housing and economic development. Our mission to partner with our communities, lead change, and promote healthy and prosperous individuals and families guides and inspires us to stay grounded while pursuing our goals. We are exceptionally proud of our staff. Each employee performs their responsibilities with the highest degree of dedication based on our values of excellence, commitment, leadership and customer service every day.
300 East 175th Street Bronx, New York 10457
CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
A Healthy Diagnosis for Diversity As executive director of Eastern Area Health Education Center, Inc., Maritza Bond is recruiting minority and nontraditional students into the burgeoning health-care field—and developing groundbreaking programs in the process BY TINA VASQUEZ
aised by her grandmother in the inner city and surrounded by poverty, Maritza Bond knew from an early age that helping people was her calling. The only problem was she didn’t know the capacity in which she could help. “I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse or a health-care provider, but I was interested in providing health awareness,” Bond says. It all fell into place when she took an “Introduction to Public Health” class during her freshman year of college. After a series of volunteering opportunities and internships, including one delivering meals to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, she changed her major to public health. After college, Bond joined Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD), as a community health outreach worker, transitioning into the role of immunization action plan program coordinator before leaving the organization to become a project coordinator for Connecticut’s Southwest Area Health Education Center (SWAHEC) in 2006. One year later, she transitioned to Eastern Area Health Education Center (EAHEC), where she served as program coordinator. The federal Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program was established 40 years ago, with the Connecticut AHEC
Program launching in 1995. The organization’s mission is to improve health outcomes by creating partnerships in education and health care, providing support to healthcare professionals, and strengthening the quality and supply of health-care providers. Bond became executive director of EAHEC in the fall of 2012, but even during her first months on the job she played an integral role in the success of several of the organization’s landmark programs, including an immunization action program and an oral-health initiative. She was also
Underrepresented participants from ethnic and racial backgrounds in EAHEC’s program that prepares middle and high school students to participate in service learning experiences in health-care settings that serve marginalized populations.
a founding member of the Medical Interpreting Association of Connecticut, though Bond made her greatest impact with EAHEC’s medical interpreter program, launched in 2008. The program is still a point of enormous pride for Bond, as it promotes community interpreting and trains health-care interpreters who understand health care as a “cultural system.” That is not to say that becoming director of EAHEC wasn’t a watershed moment for Bond, who was pursuing her master’s degree at the same time. “It was an interesting transition and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressful,” Bond says. “In a lot of ways, it was like starting a new nonprofit from the ground up. It required that I constantly reassess my priorities and goals, which sometimes changed on a daily basis. So while it was a huge challenge, it was also a huge opportunity: it was a chance to demonstrate the skills I acquired. It was also an honor to be the first Latina executive director within the Connecticut AHEC network.” The executive director is giving back to the community in many ways, big and small, while she meets EAHEC’s many goals. These include recruiting minority and nontraditional students into healthcare careers, bringing educators and health-care professionals together, and increasing health-care access for underserved
CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
PHOTO: KIM BOVA PHOTOGRAPHY
BLAZING TRAILS Maritza Bond plans to continue to expose minorities to careers in health care.
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Funds from the Health Justice CT Challenge to implement A First Response to Rural Health Disparities program aimed at recruiting 10 high school students from Windham County to become certified EMTs or EMR.
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populations. Despite her success, Bond feels the need to keep pushing. As far back as 2003, NVHD’s executive director told Bond they saw leadership potential in her and that she could be leading an organization one day. “I remember saying, ‘I don’t want to be the boss!’” Bond reflects. “Of course, I look back now knowing that it inspired me to pursue more. It’s amazing when people see things in you that you don’t even see in yourself and, as an employer, it’s important that I recognize and nurture the abilities of others. It’s a privilege to be able to do that for people. It’s not a responsibility I take lightly.” Moving forward, Bond wants to continue to expose minorities to careers in the health-care field. Many of the people Bond hopes to reach are the first in their family to pursue higher education and they run the risk of dropping out. Securing funding is also a concern. EAHEC depends on state and federal resources and when grants are tied to state and federal monies, it may adversely affect the organization. As a result, Bond and her team are headed to Washington, DC, with national and local colleagues in hopes of increasing awareness of organizational services and securing more funding. “I see it as an opportunity and a challenge,” Bond says. “It’s a difficult position to be in, but it’s important to me that we have more control over our funding. If you go into the health-care field in the nonprofit sector, there’s an understanding that there isn’t going to be a lot of money and that you’re not going to make a lot of money, but that’s not why any of this are in this. We’re here because we want to make a difference in our communities.” H
CULTURA COMMUNITY IMPACT
The USHCC champions diversity through its Million Dollar Club BY TINA VASQUEZ
hen the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) launched its Million Dollar Club in 2009, there was no way the organization could have anticipated how successful some companies would be at championing supplier diversity. The Million Dollar Club was introduced as a way of honoring corporations and procurement executives who demonstrate support for Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs) through spending with Hispanic suppliers. “Each year, some of America’s most iconic corporations, all members of the USHCC, apply to form part of the Million Dollar Club,” USHCC president and CEO, Javier Palomarez says. “This accolade praises trailblazing corporations that are diversifying their supply chains and supporting our nation’s small businesses.” Ford went above and beyond “demonstrating support.” The 109-year-old company has successfully integrated supplier diversity into the way it does business with its 35-year-old Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program. Since 1978 Ford has spent more than $67 billion with minority suppliers and, in 2012 alone, the company spent $5.7 billion with tier-one minorityowned suppliers, $1.2 billion with tier-one women-owned suppliers, and its tier one suppliers spent $2.1 billion with tier-two diverse businesses. Last year was a great year for Ford with the National Minority Supplier Development Council naming Ford as Corporation of the Year for the fourth time. Ford was also just one of three companies designated by USHCC’s Million Dollar Club to have spent at least $500 million on supplier diversity. For two years now, Carla T. Preston has been at the helm of Ford’s awardwinning program as its director. Preston, a former engineering manager, learned about the company’s supplier-diversity program while working in product development. “Many people don’t know that Ford has one of the oldest supplier-diversity
programs in the country and it was started committed to spending 3 percent of its US by Henry Ford II,” Preston says. “Ford has a purchasing budget with qualified veteranlong, storied history of supporting minoriowned businesses and asked its tier-one ties in the US. It was the first company to suppliers to also source to veterans. offer equal pay for equal work, paying workPreston, who was appointed as Chair ers $5 for an eight-hour work day, which of the USHCC’s Procurement Council Adwas double the national average at the visory Board in February 2013, finds her work personally meaningful. She is a Latime. So this is a company that understands the social value of championing divertina working in a male-dominated field and her position enables her to help othsity and working with women, minorities, and veterans.” er women and minorities take their busiDespite Ford’s impressive numbers over nesses to the next level. She says she’s proud the last two years, Preston remains humto be working for a company that has always ble, saying she stepped into an “incredibly recognized the importance of the USHstrong, well-established program.” PresCC, as evidenced by Ford being a foundton takes a great amount of pride in Ford's ing sponsor of the USHCC’s Foundation Aligned Business Framework (ABF), a BizFest, an innovative and intensive entreseries of agreements with select suppliers preneurship program that empowers Latino to strengthen collaboration and develop youth with knowledge and insight into the sustainable business models to drive mubusiness world. “My challenge is always to do more and tual profitability and technological development. Ford currently has 79 production to do better,” Preston says. “It’s not about suppliers and 25 nonproduction ABF supthe numbers; it’s about helping our supplipliers, with 14 of those being minority and ers accomplish more and go further. I alwomen suppliers. ways remember that if our suppliers don’t “We’re constantly creating new technolget contracts or don’t get business, people ogy, but it’s not just for Ford. We share this will lose their jobs.” H technology with our suppliers and they can use it to improve MEMBERS OF THE United States Chamber of Commerce's Million Dollar Club join their businesses and USHCC president and CEO Javier Palomarez (center). expand their reach,” Preston said. “It’s not just about benef iting Ford. We want to see our minorit y-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses become more innovat ive and technologically competitive.” Ford, which is a long-time supporter of the USHCC, intends on making veterans a key focus of its SSD program mov ing for ward. The company has
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CULTURA WORLD VIEW
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCES As vice president of human resources for its printing and personal systems business in the Americas region, Elcio Barcelos is evolving Hewlett-Packard Co. from “multinational” to “multicultural” BY MATT ALDERTON
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
f you ask a seasoned world traveler the best way to navigate a foreign country, they’ll tell you: ask the locals. After all, who knows better than those who live there where to find the freshest seafood, the cheapest drinks, or the best views? For the same reasons they’re useful to tourists, local citizens are valuable to multinational employers, who can utilize their cultural literacy to navigate foreign markets and stimulate global growth. That’s what Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) does, according to Elcio Barcelos, vice president of human resources for the Americas region, serving the company’s printing and personal systems division. Although it’s based in Palo Alto, California, HP operates in more than 170 different countries and generates most of its revenue outside the United States. Local talent, therefore, is critical to its strategic growth. “Multinational executives can’t sit in an ivory tower in the United States and dictate how businesses should be managed globally, because localization is so critically relevant to their success,” Barcelos says. Working with native HR teams—from Canada to Argentina—has taught Barcelos a lot about both localization and globalization. Here, he shares his gleanings from three Latin American countries.
BRAZIL “Brazil is one of the largest markets for PC growth in the world,” explains Barcelos, who was born in the United States but grew up in Brazil. “There are many competitors in the market pushing to further establish themselves there, and we’re no different.” Brazil is unique from a human resources standpoint for several reasons. One, there is a significant gap between the supply and demand for talent, which means companies must pay a premium for it. Two, it’s of Portuguese, not Spanish, descent. “The Portuguese language … creates a unique need for that market,” Barcelos explains. “It’s not as simple as moving someone from a Mexico office to Brazil; you actually have to recruit and develop talent locally because of language and cultural barriers.” Because there is so much competition for talent in emerging markets, HP often “cross-pollinates” young professionals, sending them to markets such as the United States for training and development before
returning them home. The result—local talent with global qualifications—advances both the employee and the company, not to mention the local economy, which benefits from the investments that developed nations make in the local labor force.
ARGENTINA Argentina’s unique trade regulations have created an environment that forces multinationals to adapt their operations to local demands. “Argentineans have developed an international profile of talent that is highly bilingual and highly adaptable to multicountry roles,” explains Barcelos, who says HP often deploys its Argentinean employees across its Latin American footprint. “That allows us to leverage our talent in a more flexible way across the region.” And yet, Argentina has a very distinct culture. “It’s important for our employees in Argentina who are supporting other areas of Latin America to understand that although their neighbors speak Spanish, their values
and customs could be quite different,” Barcelos says. In fact, values and customs in Argentina are an employers’ biggest challenge and also their biggest opportunity. “In Argentina you have a population that is very passionate, driven, and focused on family values,” explains Barcelos, who says Argentineans’ passion translates into their work—provided their employer engages their culture and celebrates their values. “There’s much more that matters to [Argentineans] in their lives than just their jobs. There’s family, for instance, faith, and their social environment. That affects how we create a career path for someone.”
CHILE Although it’s a smaller market, Chile is developing quickly, which makes it an exciting place to do business. “Chile is probably one of the most dynamic emerging countries that we operate in,” Barcelos says. “Socially and economically speaking they’re more
GETTING TO KNOW
ELCIO BARCELOS American born, Elcio Barcelos grew up in Brazil, where he earned a business degree prior to moving back to the United States. He began in sales and marketing, then migrated into retail branch management. In the late 1990s, he discovered human resources, and later was appointed to head recruiting in California for Bank of America. “That’s where I truly understood the impact of people in business results,” Barcelos says. “Anyone can design a product or sell a service; it’s the quality of the people you hire that really makes the difference.” After stints at Bank of America and Wells Fargo, Barcelos was invited to join HP as director of global recruiting. Because he considers himself a “global citizen,” he jumped at the opportunity, eventually assuming a broader human resources function in his current role, in which workforce diversity and equality have become principle interests. “I’m very passionate about providing equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of the challenges they face,” says Barcelos, who advocates for the visually impaired as a board member for the American Foundation for the Blind.
“Multinational executives can’t sit in an ivory tower in the United States and dictate how businesses should be managed globally.” ELCIO BARCELOS VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES | AMERICAS REGION PRINTING AND PERSONAL SYSTEMS | HEWLETT-PACKARD
stable than neighboring countries, and they also have significant diversity in their economic footprint.” From an HR perspective, what stands out most about Chile is its young and energetic workforce. “In Chile we have a really rich Gen Y talent pool that wants to grow,” Barcelos says. “Gen Y has a tendency to want rapid growth … so providing a career path in an accelerated way is absolutely critical.” Equally important is providing a local career path. While HP typically imports and exports talent across many Latin American countries, in Chile it strives to recruit and develop talent within Chilean borders. “What we find is that Chilean talent wants to grow, expand, and evolve in Chile—their country matters,” Barcelos says. “Providing a diverse career path for one to be able to grow within [their] geography, without having to move or transition to another area of Latin America, is important.” His work across the Americas recently prepared Barcelos for an entirely different kind of cultural integration: that of HP’s printing and personal systems groups. “The cultures of these divisions were quite different,” Barcelos says. “One, our printing business, is more stable and mature. The other, our PC business, is more dynamic, and highly competitive. It’s been a great learning experience to drive this cultural integration.” Whether he’s integrating business units or global employees, a former mentor’s words ring true. “A leader of mine once said you
should always approach business with the following view: common where possible, custom where it counts,” Barcelos concludes. “We want to create a common, consistent, and predictable experience for our employees and customers. However, at times you have to create a customized local solution. Balancing those two has been absolutely critical for HP.” H
A MESSAGE FROM KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL Korn/Ferry International is dedicated to diversity and inclusion as a corporate value and competitive differentiator. Since our inception in 1969, we have helped clients recruit world-class, diverse talent, leveraging our time-tested and deep relationships with key national Hispanic organizations and Latino leaders. Building on this heritage, today we are a single source for a wide range of leadership and talent consulting services. We believe that all employees, not just a select few, have the capacity for high-level performance and continuous improvement—and that your organization has the power to create an environment that allows employees to achieve their full potential.
A MESSAGE FROM THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND Helping People with Vision Loss Live Full, Active Lives Over 20 million Americans experience vision loss—a number on the rise and particularly relevant to Latinos, who are at a higher risk. Coping with vision loss can feel overwhelming, but when armed with the right information, those with vision trouble can face the future with confidence. For nearly a century, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has been breaking down barriers, expanding opportunities, and giving people with vision loss the tools they need to thrive. Support AFB’s efforts to expand its information and tools in Spanish and reach this growing audience at afb.org.
Imagine more Calling all big thinkers. If you believe in putting ideas into action, we believe in you. Reach your full potential by helping us reach ours. Ready to touch lives?
Vision Loss is a Growing Health Concern Across the Americas. You can change lives by supporting AFB’s award-winning programs for people with vision loss, their families and the professionals who work with them. Make a difference today by visiting AFB.org. “I am thrilled to support the American Foundation for the Blind’s mission to help people with vision loss achieve their full potential and to celebrate
Special thanks to AFB Trustee
and encourage the advances that are taking
Elcio Barcelos and Hewlett-Packard
place in nations across the Americas, including
for helping us expand possibilities for
my native Brazil.”
millions of people with vision loss.
Elcio Barcelos l VP, Human Resources Printing & Personal Systems, Americas Hewlett-Packard Company
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
CONFESSIONS OF A LATIN AMERICAN GLOBE TROTTER Flying to Mexico one week and Chile the next, Ángela María Camacho shares some crucial insights she’s picked up on how to do business in Latin America’s up-and-coming regions as Microsoft’s associate general counsel for Latin America
s a child, Ángela María Camacho wanted to be president of Colombia. As she got older, however, her focus shifted. “By my first year of high school, I was set on being a lawyer,” Camacho says. Today, as Microsoft’s associate general counsel for Latin America, Camacho is committed to pioneering innovative solutions. BY TINA VASQUEZ
MEXICO Clearly each country is incredibly unique and, according to Camacho, the critical fact to know about Mexico is that it’s a country of contrasts. “There are areas in Mexico’s economy that are some of the most advanced and progressive in the world, while other areas are still emerging and struggling to develop and integrate into today’s global economy,” Camacho says. These growing pains, she says, are worth being a part of. As the closest neighbor to the United States, Mexico is a strategic geographic location and as the country continues to evolve, it’s the youth that will lead the way—youth that will eventually turn into entrepreneurial heavy hitters, but only if they can obtain the education and skills they need. “Something very interesting about Mexico is that the majority of the population is very young,” Camacho says. “In a country with a population of 112 million, 36 million are between the ages of 12 and 29. There is always a lot of talk regarding the digital divide and how it is hindering the youth from unleashing their potential, but I believe it is an opportunity divide.”
PHOTO: JULIYA SIROTINSKAYA
BRAZIL As the largest country in Latin America, it only makes sense that Brazil is Microsoft’s largest subsidiary, equipped with the company’s largest team of lawyers and corporate affairs professionals in the region. Camacho says that it’s an interesting time to be
AMSC ABO GADO S
Bosque de Ciruelos 194 Piso 5 Bosques de las Lomas 11700 México, D.F.
in Brazil. “Their federal and state governments and judicial systems have undergone a major transformation in the past 10 years,” Camacho says. “As the country evolves there are many complexities to be mindful of from a legal perspective, but it’s a great opportunity for us to contribute to the policies and regulations for the future of Brazil.” Camacho says she has seen the social and economic changes in the country as business development continues to increase. Brazil’s unemployment rate is better than that of the United States and many of Brazil’s citizens are working themselves out of poverty, she says. That being said, the major challenge in Brazil continues to be human capital. “With the increased focus in the country there is a real talent war taking place in the market and therefore, finding the right talent we need in Brazil is not easy, but we’re hoping that changes with our investment on innovation,” Camacho says. In November 2012, Microsoft announced a $100 million investment in a series of research, development, and entrepreneurial initiatives in Brazil to be hosted in the Barão de Mauá building, a historic heritage site in the city of Rio. The company’s investment in this initiative is closely aligned to the Brazilian federal information technology plan, TI Maior, put in place by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. At a regional level, Microsoft has invested in creating telecenters, public places that provide access to computers, the Internet, and other digital technologies, enabling visitors to gather information, create, learn, and communicate with others while developing crucial digital skills.
COLOMBIA Colombia has quickly become a key contender in the global marketplace. The once
sluggish economy is now dynamic, growing above the regional average and offering a significant market opportunity as a result of having the third-largest population in Latin America. Camacho says the country is quickly adopting information technologies to improve the quality of life for its citizens. “Colombia’s Vive Digital Plan, one of the most ambitious ITC projects in Latin America, aims to quadruple the number of Internet connections, reduce the digital divide, and provide education and entrepreneurship opportunities to citizens,” Camacho says. “The Colombian government’s effort to secure significant investments in science, technology, and innovation is a clear indication of the long term bet made by the country on this very important pillar for growth.”
CHILE Microsoft has been in Chile for 20 years and, according to Camacho, the company has had a huge impact on local economic development. “With more than 1,500 partners, 120 employees, and success initiatives like our digital inclusion program, more than 2 million people benefitted from computer training,” Camacho says. “Three of Microsoft’s 20 Innovation Centers are based in Chile, where Microsoft also bases its virtual science research network. We are proud that Microsoft Chile has been supporting the Government Digital Agenda for a decade.” From a regulatory perspective, Microsoft’s biggest challenges in the region are the modification of the data protection regulatory framework, the new amendments to the intellectual property law, and the second phase of the state modernization strategy. Camacho and her team are hard at work trying to reduce the region’s software piracy rate. At 61 percent, it’s the highest among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) countries. H
Com +52 (55) 2452-1717 Fax +52 (55) 2452-1777
GETTING TO KNOW
ÁNGELA MARÍA CAMACHO www.amsc.com.mx
Before joining Microsoft, Ángela María Camacho worked as a vice president of legal affairs for AT&T in her native Colombia. She has also held positions with British Petroleum and Shell.
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CULTURA WORLD VIEW
CULTURAL NAVIGATOR Learning to tread the tricky cultural waters across the pond, Brenda Medina of Eisai Inc. shares the secrets to cross-cultural management BY ZACH BALIVA
hen Brenda Medina came to Eisai Inc. in 2006, she joined a global clinical team with offices in New Jersey, London, Tokyo, and many other international locations. As director of clinical business operations, she manages 15 team members on two continents for the well-known prescription drug manufacturer. The implementation of health-care reform and its regulations are changing the way pharmaceutical companies like Eisai operate. In addition to leveraging her accounting background to make sure physicians are paid on time, Medina is now obligated to publish data through government agencies—no small task for a global behemoth whose 2012 sales reached $7.9 billion. Medina led the effort to build a budgeting process and cloud-based tracking tool from scratch and introduce these to each of her international teams.
A BROAD PERSPECTIVE Each product, system, and process must be tweaked for its specific destination. While the US implementation of Eisai’s healthcare standards might seem simple to an American, the process changes overseas. “Unlike the United States, London manages a lot of different countries. What their doctors see and how they accept payment is different in each one,” she explains. A global
director in the pharmaceutical world, therefore, must understand how the relationship between a physician and a drug manufacturer changes from location to location As Medina has found, the intricacies seem never-ending. In parts of India, for example, public transportation is scarce and companies are asked to pay for transportation charges. “Things that are rarely paid in one context can be normal in another,” Medina says.
AN INCLUSIVE MODEL According to Medina, a cross-cultural executive will enjoy the most success after taking time to build trust through sincere relationships. “I make an effort to really know my teams as a family, understand how they operate, and cater the process accordingly,” she says. What works for one team might not work for another. American teams stereotypically listen enthusiastically to costsaving plans while Londoners may prefer to do more of their own research in advance. Medina is careful to adjust her style accordingly. “At the end of the day, I help leaders in both cultures save money, but I know upfront that how they absorb and respond to my proposal will not be the same,” she says. Executives who are technically skilled and take the time to cultivate relationships will build solid global teams that remain connected to one another. Unlike some of her
“I make an effort to really know my teams as a family, understand how they operate, and cater the process accordingly.” BRENDA MEDINA DIRECTOR CLINICAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS EISAI INC.
CULTURA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
“At the end of the day, I help leaders in both cultures save money, but I know up front that how they absorb and respond to my proposal will not be the same.” BRENDA MEDINA DIRECTOR CLINICAL BUSINESS OPERATIONS EISAI INC.
peers, Medina implements all training in London first so the “foreign” teams understand that they are just as important as the “domestic” office.
CULTURAL CONFLICT Naturally, working across three continents presents unique obstacles. For Medina, most issues have been associated with personal interpretation. The friendly and talkative executive from the Dominican Republic felt like a fish-out-of-water in the cold and sometimes sarcastic London world of business. She is often smiling and animated; her Japanese counterparts are not. “I might deliver something warmly that comes back in what I would consider harsh language. I was offended until I understood the cultural differences,” she explains. Since the differences
are everywhere—from body language to vacation habits—Eisai offers American employees Japanese culture classes. Medina has learned a lot. She knows when it’s appropriate to address someone, and when she needs to go to a third party. She understands that Americans are used to the “time is money” cliché while Europeans value time away from the office. We take our six weeks of “vacation” a few days at a time. They take their “holiday” all at once. Americans give blunt feedback, while the Japanese are more reserved. The key to building bridges, she says, is making an effort. She tries to speak foreign languages whenever possible. “It’s difficult and embarrassing because there are mistakes, but it shows that you care,” she says, recalling a Japanese dinner during which she communicated through broken
GETTING TO KNOW
PHOTO: REYNAND VALENZUELA
BRENDA MEDINA An accountant by trade, Brenda Medina started her career in biotech and quickly found a mentor in the world of clinical development. She learned the ropes, observed an initial public offering in the works, and then moved on to a position at Scholastic. She returned to the pharmaceutical field by accepting a position with Eisai Inc. in 2006.
and elementary Japanese, pantomime, and amateur drawings. “Looking back, that dinner went a long way because you’re not just sharing information, you’re building relationships,” she says.
BROADER HORIZONS Medina is quick to promote cross-cultural work. The relationships and experiences have deepened her knowledge and expanded her understanding on significant issues. “Working with other cultures really adds a lot in terms of skills and expertise,” Medina says. She credits groups like Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc., the Latina sorority of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, with helping her discover an aptitude for international work. Participants interact with members from various Latino backgrounds and later enter the workforce with international exposure and an understanding of multiple cultures, world views, and perspectives. This background, after all, is more important than ever in today’s global marketplace where barriers of time and distance are being quickly erased. H A MESSAGE FROM CFS CLINICAL CFS Clinical is proud of its long-standing partnership with Eisai and industry leader, Brenda Medina who has served as business champion to implement standardized, technology-enabled processes to comply with the Sunshine Act, elevate study financial management and enhance investigator relationships. These goals were achieved by leveraging a consistent approach to site budget development and negotiations for study startup, and implementation of a robust investigator payment management solution. The initiatives have resulted in more powerful analytics, increased site satisfaction and unparalleled transparency for Eisai’s clinical research programs.
Medidata Solutions salutes our valued business partner
We focus on the human in human health care
for her commitment to advance clinical research and for her leadership in the life sciences industry and Hispanic community.
OWENS CORNING is a leading global producer of residential and commercial building materials, glass-fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems.
At Eisai, human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and to increasing the benefits that health care 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 www.us.eisai.com
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CULTURA WORLD VIEW
MOVING BACKWARDS TO GO UPWARDS In order to win international business, Joe Ochoa shares why you need to learn your audience first, even if it means working backwards BY BENJAMIN VAN LOON
SUCCESS opens doors, Joe Ochoa says. “Success sets you up to run bigger and bigger organizations.”
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
“When you’re thinking globally, the key is to not come in with your own products, but to understand the local market first—understand what’s there and what the needs are, and then work backwards.” JOE OCHOA VP & GENERAL MANAGER ENGINEERED INSULATION SYSTEMS OWENS CORNING
f you point your web browser to OwensCorning.com, the home page of Owens Corning, you’ll be greeted with the company’s friendly, iconic Pink Panther logo. This time, he’s holding a globe in his hands, and a sliding banner image next to the panther advertises various Owens Corning services that boast they’re making the world beautiful, energyefficient, and comfortable. It’s a global message trickling down to the ethos of all Owens Corning’s diversified business services, such as the Engineered Insulation Systems products and services, which is headed up by Joe Ochoa, vice president and general manager. In this capacity, Ochoa oversees the company’s foam insulation, air handling and mechanical systems, original equipment manufacturing (OEM), and interior systems businesses—one of the largest business units at Owens Corning— and these responsibilities touch all parts of the globe. In 2012, Owens Corning’s overall sales were $5.2 billion, $3.5 billion of which came from the building materials group. “When you’re thinking globally, the key is to not come in with your own products, but to understand the local market first— understand what’s there and what the needs are, and then work backwards,” Ochoa says. “A lot of business has to do with relationships, and with trust—and understanding what that means.” Ochoa originally joined Owens Corning in 2001, relocating to the company’s headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, from Dallas, Texas, after cofounding a start-up that enjoyed a successful IPO and helping lead a second start-up focused on pairing customers with contractors for various home services, such as roofing and siding remodel, and so forth. Owens Corning came on as an investor for the start-up, which is how Ochoa caught the company’s attention.
When Ochoa’s involvement in the startyourself to others, and learn to appreciup began to dissolve, he signed on with Owate the language, the culture, the religion, ens Corning to serve as a general manager the food, the art,” Ochoa says. “At the end, you need to figure out the customs, for the company’s contractor services. Then, in 2003, Owens Corning offered Ochoa an when the customs matter, and how to moopportunity as CFO for the company’s activate people.” quisition of Vitro Fibras, a Mexico CityAfter weathering the hard hits on the US building industry since 2007, Ochoa based company. In business school, Ochoa believes that Owens Corning’s continued had an internship for Dole in Costa Rica, which reignited his passion for the Spanish success can be attributed to product innoculture and language, so the opportunity vation, expansion into international marto relocate to Mexico City promised an opkets, and world-class management. “Owens portunity to development his language in a Corning gives you freedom to pursue your new, foreign-yet-familiar context. business ideas, so I’ve had a lot of oppor“After nine months in Mexico, I took tunities,” Ochoa says. “Success sets you up over as general manager for the building to run bigger and bigger organizations.” H materials side of our business, and I put a plan together that was able to use that platform as a way to get us into all of Latin America,” Ochoa says. “A lot of this had to do with strategy, but it also had to do with understanding how different people do things, and leA Texas native, Joe Ochoa currently serves veraging that with Owens Corning’s strengths.” as vice president and general manager of In his four years in Engineered Insulation Systems for Owens Mexico, prior to again reCorning. Ochoa has a business degree turning to Toledo in 2007 from the University of Texas and after (where he has since been completing his MBA at Stanford University operating from), Ochoa Graduate School of Business, Ochoa won new business for Owens Corning and also worked in various sales and finance roles helped start new plants in for Dole, Procter & Gamble, Frito-Lay, A.T. Brazil and Mexico. This is Kearney, and various Dallas-based starta success he credits both to ups in the mid- to late-1990s, before language and understandjoining Owens Corning in 2001. ing, which itself ref lects Ochoa’s own approach to globalized business strategy. “Others won’t adjust to you. You need to adjust
GETTING TO KNOW
MediaCom is proud to recognize Bayerâ€™s Maribel Garcia-Rodriguez for her immense talent, success and continued dedication to the Hispanic business community.
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
A NUANCED APPROACH Maribel Garcia-Rodriguez on the importance of understanding cultural differences as director of global marketing excellence for Bayer HealthCare BY ZACH BALIVA
aribel Garcia-Rodriguez has an unusual job title—she is the director of global marketing excellence for Bayer HealthCare. It’s a job created four years ago which she accepted after seven years in other positions at the company. A marketing and communications expert with an MBA from NYU and previous experience with Chase Manhattan, Garcia-Rodriguez originally targeted Bayer because of its international reach. Today, as global marketing excellence director, she leads teams that create programs, tools, and processes for markets around the world.
COLOMBIAN ROOTS Although she was born and raised in New York, Garcia-Rodriguez’s international experience dates back to her childhood, when she spent her middle school years in Colombia. Those five years made quite an impression. “Early experience living outside of the United States shaped who I am and expanded my horizons in significant ways,” she recalls. “I got a unique exposure and perspective on the world that I wouldn’t otherwise have.” The era led to a life-long interest in other cultures, and as a mother, GarciaRodriguez is trying to provide her children the same type of experience. As Garcia-Rodriguez developed her business skills, her love of foreign cultures led to an interest in global markets.
EMBRACING EUROPEAN NUANCES Stepping into her international role was the next logical move for Garcia-Rodriguez, who had already managed brands like Aleve, Flintstones, and Bayer Aspirin
domestically. When the global marketing excellence position came along, she seized the opportunity. As director, she works to identify gaps in the world-wide marketing community and then develop steps to improve Bayer’s strategies. Although her work also covers North America, Asia, and Latin America, Garcia-Rodriguez spends much of her time in Europe consulting on marketing strategies and facilitating workshops on various topics such as integrated marketing. The biggest
challenge, she says, is understanding the nuances of each marketing environment. While the distinctions are sometimes regulatory, they are often cultural. “I have to make sure I really understand the social norms and traditional aspects that might impact how we interact in these markets,” she explains. The German workplace and market, for example, follows a more rigid, task-oriented structure than Garcia-Rodriguez found during her Colombian adolescence. In Finland,
STAYING GROUNDED WITH
MARIBEL GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ Maribel Garcia-Rodriguez credits her early years in Colombia with preparing her for an international business position. She moved as a young girl from New York to her father’s native Colombia without yet knowing the Spanish language. The process of language and cultural acquisition, she says, helped shape her openness to exploring and adapting. Now, Garcia-Rodriguez’s 13-year-old son is preparing to travel abroad. In preparation, he was required to write an essay on cultural intelligence—a trait his mother says goes a step beyond cultural sensitivity. “If you’re going to interact successfully with other cultures, you need to be open-minded. You have to be curious, and you have to have a solid foundation to establish credibility,” she explains. In the business world, Garcia-Rodriguez’s credibility came from combining her work in a sophisticated marketing environment with her with her cultural curiosity that stems from her experience growing up in Colombia.
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
seasonality plays a major role as daylight lasts only four hours during winter months. “Cultural and geographical aspects impact consumers and how they use our products. Our job is to use the marketing process to address these issues,” Garcia-Rodriguez says. In Turkey, all Bayer products are kept behind the counter and out of the consumers’ sight. In other markets, consumers can see but not touch products and must always interact with a pharmacist to purchase headache medicine or vitamins. GarciaRodriguez looks for consistent gaps she can work with local markets to address.
“If you’re going to interact successfully with other cultures, you need to be open-minded.” MARIBEL GARCIA-RODRIGUEZ DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MARKETING EXCELLENCE BAYER HEALTHCARE
A HECTIC PACE For someone like Garcia-Rodriguez, it can be hard to keep everything straight. After all, she travels nearly 40 percent of the year. In 2013, she’s been to Germany, Switzerland, China, Malta, France, Mexico, and back to Germany. “I’m often in several time zones and juggling many projects during the same week,” she says, adding that it’s crucial to stay close to each market while maintaining a healthy objectivity. By focusing on synergies—and not only differences—Garcia-Rodriguez leverages her work across all markets and then deals with the nuances on a market-bymarket basis. Bayer’s global brand is designed to be uniform yet f lexible. The international platform allows local markets to adapt appropriately to the local consumer. While a brand like Aleve is positioned for arthritis users in the United States, it might target back pain in markets where arthritis is not treated with over-the-counter solutions. In this manner, brands are able to provide solutions without straying too far from Bayer’s core equity.
A SOLID TEAM Garcia-Rodriguez has discovered the value in leading a competent international group. “We’re finding success because our people and projects are skilled and diverse,” she says. The team helps her learn smart and sensitive ways to approach each market. The continued global exposure has built in Garcia-Rodriguez a broader skill set outside of traditional marketing. She hopes to one day manage a country outside of the United States and become a senior executive responsible for a global function. H
GLOBAL EXPOSURE Maribel GarciaRodriguez on international work: “You have to be curious, and you have to have a solid foundation to establish credibility.”
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CULTURA WORLD VIEW
LIFE IN SÃO PAULO How Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Jaime Mercado went from the housing projects to the Brazilian office of a leading global law firm BY ZACH BALIVA
aime Mercado knew he had come a long way in 2009 when New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP asked him to cohead their Brazil office. Mercado grew up on a small farming community in the Dominican Republic; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is one of the world’s most profitable law firms. Suddenly, the Latino who taught himself English in the Lower East Side housing projects of New York City was about to represent a prestigious partnership in São Paulo.
PHOTO: JEFF CONNELL
A DOMINICAN INFLUENCE Mercado spent the first nine years of his life in rural mountains of the Dominican Republic, living with his grandparents, aunts, and uncles while his mother looked for a better life in the United States. She left her country on a tourist visa before he turned two, overstayed, and eventually married a US citizen from Puerto Rico before returning to the DR and brought Mercado to New York City. Heritage continues to be important for the rising Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner who returns often to his homeland. “I go back about five times a year,” Mercado says. “It’s changed, but is still comfortable for me.” Part of that comfort comes from Mercado’s large family, which includes 57 first cousins on his mother’s side alone.
NY ROOTS Although he is now a partner at a firm with global reach, Jaime Mercado says his early days living in New York City’s Lower East Side define much of what he has done.
CULTURA WORLD VIEW
LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY Still, life in New York City was difficult for young Latinos of the 1980s. “Today, New York is a place where a significant portion of the population is Latino, and the rest is exposed to and knowledgeable of our culture,” Mercado says. “It wasn’t always like that.” Although he is now a partner at an important firm with global reach, Mercado says his early days in New York define much of what he has done. “When people share difficult personal issues or business problems on a transaction it doesn’t faze me because I know we all have things to confront and overcome. Sometimes issues are just a chapter in life,” he says. Mercado struggled with the harsh isolation on the city’s Lower East Side and, despite his parents’ limited resources, pursued a solid education. He persevered, ultimately obtaining a BA from Columbia University in 1989 and his JD from New York University School of Law in 1995. That year, he joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as the only Latino in a class of 37 associates. The Spanish speaking Mercado quickly developed a specialty representing Latin American clients on capital markets, project finance, and other transactions. As Brazil emerged as a viable economy in the late ’90s, Mercado was developing relationships in the investment banking and corporate finance world whose deals
were expanding to include the booming nation. Mercado was tasked with starting an office in São Paulo, which opened in 2009.
THE BRAZILIAN WAY For Mercado, who describes Brazil as “an oversized Dominican Republic,” the move south was almost seamless. “The way the elites live and see the world versus the way the poor live and see the world is similar to a Dominican perspective,” Mercado explains. Now that he’s mastered Portuguese, friends and colleagues in São Paulo joke that Mercado is the most Brazilian person around. The cultural success, he says, comes from studying and respecting the systems, customs, and traditions. “I understand the sensitivities,” he explains. “Staying open-minded and adapting to another way of doing things goes a long way.” Brazil has many problems including infrastructure challenges and government corruption. Mercado blends in well because he has chosen to remind peers and colleagues that these problems are universal. While most Americans and Europeans complain, he strives to relate. Mercado has dealt with transactions in Latin America since 1995 and understands how to adopt a Hispanic worldview without unduly imposing New York ideals. “United States legal culture has a lot of finger
pointing that doesn’t exist in Latin America, where clients prefer to collaborate. They see each other more as friends than adversaries,” he says. Lawyers looking to find international and cross-cultural success, Mercado says, should get a full perspective on the issues and jurisdictions involved. “Don’t read everything through your own culture,” he says. Lawyers who do, will make international clients feel unvalued and dismissed. “Imperialism is part of US history just like slavery,” he adds. “The rest of the world admires us … but they don’t always trust us.” H
A MESSAGE FROM AON RISK SOLUTIONS Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 65,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world's best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager, and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information on Aon and www.aon.com/manchesterunited to learn about Aon’s global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United.
GETTING TO KNOW
JAIME MERCADO Jaime Mercado joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in 1995 and made partner in 2005. Today, Mercado is involved in corporate finance, representing investors, financial institutions, and governments throughout Latin America in transactions concerning corporate financing, loans, project financing, and credit. His clients in the Americans include Banco BHD, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, HSBC, Itaú-BBA ACS Dragados, Aeropuertos Dominicanos, Tractebel Energia, and others. He also advises the government of Peru. With a BA from Columbia University, and a JD from New York University, Mercado was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1996. He currently sits on Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s diversity and personnel committees.
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Aries Capital’s Christina Lopez show how slow and steady comes out ahead
Exeter Financial’s Alex Estrada breaks down his HR mantras
Platinum Equity’s Barbara Velasco reflects on her upbringing and stellar law career
Alberto “Al” Cardenas’s journey from his humble roots as a Cuban immigrant to a top Washington, DC lobbyist
How Noni Gonzalez climbed her way up the corporate leadership ladder to assistant VP at AT&T
Four executives weigh in on the importance of an MBA in the c-suite
Sun Products’ Carlos Linares on getting ahead in consumer goods
Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria shares her journey from farmtown life to legal leader
André Mendes on turning the dial
VOCES VANTAGE POINT
HOW IMPORTANT IS AN MBA IN DEVELOPING A C-SUITE CAREER? 146
SKILLS, ANALYSIS, RELATIONSHIPS: these are the key components of a successful corporate executive. They are the same ingredients that are at the heart of quality MBA programs like the ones I direct at Florida International University. Using financial skills to think both short-term and long-range is built into most MBA courses. So is working in teams to come up with solutions that will outrun the competition in the real world of employees and customers. Since most of us will encounter a “shark tank” in the real world, it is best to first experience the “bite” and marshal the skills of the sharks in the classroom. Business requires the rigor of scientific analysis combined with the subtlety and artistry of human relations. MBA students bring to the classroom their own business experiences. They mix their backgrounds with those of their colleagues to attack the growing challenges of a global business environment and present solutions to them in the most effective way. The capable global business leader is going to have to bridge cultures as well as cross industry boundaries. As Ron Johnson found when he moved from Apple to J.C. Penney, the retail world is a very expensive and unforgiving laboratory for error. And the turnover in the c-suite at Hewlett-Packard has shown that success in one tech company or industry does not automatically translate to another. The effective MBA program replicates the bridges and boundaries—and provides a safe place to make mistakes that might lead to termination in the c-suite. Angel J. Burgos Executive Director MBA Programs Florida International University
VOCES VANTAGE POINT
BUSINESS SCHOOL IS A GREAT PLACE to develop
HAVING AN MBA IS CERTAINLY no guarantee that
and test business ideas, and to fail at them in a safe, constructive environment. This, along with great networking and passion for your work accelerates the drive toward the c-suite. Case studies and exercises are helpful though not sufficient for the business-school experience. They offer the perspectives of professors, companies, and others that have tried, succeeded, and failed at every level. Of course, you can read these on your own, but the value of business school lies in the strategic work with classmates, professors, and industry leaders that foster innovation and confidence. My favorite class discussions have focused on leadership and nonprofit endeavors. Moreover, every individual brings unique qualities to the business school or the workplace, and our Latino experience is no exception. Leverage your distinct cultural background to contribute innovative perspectives in the classroom, and this in turn will give you the tools and confidence to shape your future colleagues’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, particularly in the csuite. Indeed, building relationships with classmates is key as they will be your fellow leaders in business. Lastly, business school is even more valuable when you have already defined your career passion. Business school will enhance your skills in accounting and finance, and marketing and strategy to name a few fundamentals. But knowing your own mission in life will focus your MBA goals and will provide greater benefit to your career in the long run. My Chicago Booth experience has been invaluable to my career path in these regards.
you’ll get a seat in the c-suite. But, a strong MBA program can help you develop both the “hard” and the “soft” skills commonly found in today’s successful executives. For most executives, the climb to the top is just as much about their content knowledge and expertise—the “hard” skills—as it is about their “soft” skills. So, choose a program that now only will build your expertise in a particular area, such as finance or marketing, but also hone your ability to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and be creative (commonly known as the four C’s). These softer skills are becoming more and more critical in an age where companies need to continually evolve to respond to changes in consumer needs and the competitive landscape. You also want to choose a program that is practice-based, so you have an opportunity to immediately apply what you’re learning to real-world business challenges. At The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business Post University, for example, our MBA program is taught by scholar-practitioners, who have terminal degrees and at least 10 years of professional experience in their fields. And our MBA students must also bring at least three to five years of business experience, so discussions move far beyond theory and into practice. These skills, along with the ability to network intelligently and effectively, negotiate successfully, and bring a team together in pursuit of a common goal, are essential for any graduate seeking a c-suite career today. Getting the education you need is always a necessary first step to career advancement. H
HOLTON'S PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
Juan Carlos Linares Director Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA)
EARNING AN MBA CONTINUES TO BE important for advancing into the c-suite, particularly in corporations. While having an MBA does not guarantee success, it has a high value in an increasingly competitive job market. Professional and advanced degrees are also progressively becoming a requirement to advance into executive-level positions in public and nonprofit institutions. The opportunity for MBA holders to develop an executive-level position is clear. Colleges and universities are economic drivers in communities where they are located; while the business model has a vastly different bottom line than corporations, these institutions are in a historical moment of transition. The conditions within which higher-education institutions are currently operating, together with the rate at which faculty and administrative leaders are expected to retire in five to 10 years creates executive level and c-suite career pathways for ambitious workers who have advanced degrees. A person holding an MBA can capitalize on this convergence of opportunity and need by creatively positioning her experience and specific competencies gained through her graduate education. While top universities will only hire a person with a doctorate as president, smaller and nontraditional colleges will consider a person who has proven success in managing complex organizations and holds a graduate degree. Having an MBA can be highly leveraged for a successful career in higher education and in nonprofit.
Veronica Montalvo Vice President Enrollment Management Post University
Mirna Teresa Holton Managing Director Regional Development Marquette University
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VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
TARGETING A PATH TO “MAKE HER LIFE EASIER” In a way, David Mirelez has come full circle. Originally from Indiana, he grew up on a farm, purchased by his grandfather with life savings earned as a migrant worker in the Rio Grande Valley. Now, he’s vice president, merchandise manager, of perishables and food service at Minneapolis-based Target, which in 2009 began a strategic transformation of its stores from general-merchandise meccas to one-stop grocery shops. AS TOLD TO MATT ALDERTON
GOING BACK A GENERATION, my family was originally from Texas. My abuelo was a migrant worker. He ended up saving up enough money to buy his own farm and ended up settling in Indiana. That’s where my father grew up, and where I spent my early years. I spent part of my childhood moving around. Ultimately, we ended up settling down in Minnesota. I went to the University of Minnesota and earned a mechanical engineering degree. When I graduated as an engineer, I was a construction manager building convenience stores and gas stations for ExxonMobil. As part of that work, I got to work closely with convenience-store operators. It was really interesting to see how they applied consumer psychology and used merchandising and visual presentation to drive sales in their stores. I decided retail was a career I wanted to explore, but engineering was not the degree that was going to get me there. So, I got my MBA to facilitate a career change. I ended up coming out of business school and worked in consulting for a brief period, but always intended to go back to retail. I got my true start in retail working at Sears [as a business finance manager], then came to Target. I’ve been here for eight years.
Target is very focused on career development, and as such, you tend to move about every two years into a different role. In my eight-year career here I’ve had four different jobs. I started out in grocery as a buyer, became a senior buyer in grocery, then spent a brief stint in what we call merchandise planning in our housewares division.
MY CURRENT JOB IS vice president, merchandising manager, for our perishables and food service business. Target, over the past five to six years, has been focused on transforming our stores to include more fresh food to provide a more convenient shopping experience for our guests. If you think about the successful perishable food retailers out there, most have been in business for decades. Target’s challenge is quickly getting up to speed in this business so that we can deliver a world-class guest experience. It’s been challenging—we’ve had to figure out how to source, price, and promote products we’ve never had before—but it’s also been rewarding because we’ve had tremendous success. Guests have absolutely responded positively to the addition of fresh food in our stores. The mom who’s in our store buying her children’s diapers and socks doesn’t have to make a second stop to buy dinner
PHOTO: STEPHEN ALLEN
“I can empathize with the farmer and the grower.” DAVID MIRELEZ Vice President | Merchandise Manager | Perishables & Food Service Target
for tonight. Now, she can buy her ground beef, her taco shells, and her tomatoes all in our store. We’ve successfully transformed Target into a one-stop shop for busy moms.
ONE OF OUR KEYS TO SUCCESS has been working
Congratulations, David Mirelez. We are proud to be your partner.
directly with farmers to get fresh produce. I often think about my grandfather and my father being in the fields picking tomatoes and cucumbers. I remember being in the fields with them when I was really, really young. It’s interesting to reflect on how I am now running Target’s perishable-foods business. One of the things my life experience brings me is a holistic perspective. I can empathize with the farmer and the grower. That helps me make good business decisions, and to be a businessperson with high integrity. The best way to talk about Target is through our brand promise: “Expect more. Pay less.” Target obviously has great prices, but the second part—the “expect more” piece—is where our brand really lives. We bring extraordinary products to the guest, as well as low prices. If I were to translate that into my business, it goes back to the story about the busy mom. Because our store is a one-stop shop, we make her life easier. But, we also have exciting, interesting products that resonate with her. One of our focuses in grocery, for example, has been healthier, better-for-you options, such as hormone-free beef and organic produce. It’s been fun to see, over the last eight years, how Target’s affinity with the Hispanic community has grown. Latinos love Target. One of the things that’s happened
TRADING WORDS WITH
DAVID MIRELEZ SUCCESS
Finding your passion in life.
Taking risks and being OK with failing.
over the past eight years is we’ve become really focused on creating better [product] assortments for the Latino guest. An example of that has been food. The Hispanic mom has the same time-starved pressures as any other guest, but when I started at Target we weren’t necessarily fulfilling her needs. So we went through some pretty significant transformational changes at our stores in places like Texas and California to ensure we were bringing in products that appeal to guests in those areas. That was something I led when I came to Target, and our Latino guests absolutely love it. One of the things I’m particularly proud of is Target’s involvement with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA); we are a signature sponsor of NSHMBA. If I look back at my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today without having gone back to business school to get my MBA, but that’s not a common path for many in the Hispanic community. My work at NSHMBA, as well as Target’s sponsorship of it, helps us open up that opportunity to young Hispanic executives.
MENTORING ASPIRING HISPANIC executives is probably the single biggest thing I do. What I tell young people I mentor is: the first and most important thing to be successful is finding your passion in life. It doesn’t matter what you do; if you find what you’re passionate about, you’ll be successful. I’m really fortunate that I discovered something I love to do and a company I love to work for. That’s made all the difference in my career. Without that, it’s hard to reach your maximum potential. If I were to think about what’s next for me, continuing to evolve our Hispanic assortments will be a major focus of mine, from a professional as well as a personal perspective. What I also aspire to do is continue to grow and develop future leaders. We have tremendous leaders at Target, so one of my responsibilities is continuing to grow and develop our pipeline of great future leaders—and hopefully many Latino future leaders, as well. H
Doing the right thing even when it’s really hard.
How proud I am of my family’s history.
A MESSAGE FROM TYSON Congratulations on your accomplishments David! Our strategic business partnership is built on a foundation of our shared core values—our passion for people, our integrity and our shared vision in driving innovative growth. Our companies and our people make a difference every day in the communities we serve. We wish you continued success and look forward to enhancing our strategic business partnership to inspire Target guests.
We at YUM! Value Diversity! AS SUCH
WE ARE PROUD TO WORK WITH
WE VALUE YOUR PARTNERSHIP
DAVID MIRELEZ for stellar career achievements and ongoing leadership at
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“TRYING TO DO MORE WITH LESS” Georgina Serio has come a long way since her first job at McDonald’s at age 14, thanks in part to a commitment to ongoing education. In her current role, she’s responsible for client management and business development for one of the nation’s fastest-growing insurance brokerages, Beecher Carlson. AS TOLD TO JULIE SCHAEFFER
I WAS BORN IN CUBA, and migrated to the United States at the age of six in 1967. I lived in a number of cities—New Orleans, Phoenix, and Shreveport—before moving to Miami in 1979. I’m sure the adjustment to a new culture was difficult, but [I] don’t have any specific negative memories. I guess I was too young. I started in the insurance industry in 1979. My getting into the industry was a matter of chance: I had cousin who worked at State Farm, and when I moved to Miami, there was an open position at State Farm Insurance. I stayed at State Farm for two or three years before moving on to work at several smaller firms in the industry. My passion for the industry took off when I started working for Marsh & McLennan Companies in 1998. It was more than a local insurance brokerage; it provided risk management and consulting to businesses all over the world. I joined Beecher Carlson in 2010. I worked at Marsh & McLennan Companies for four and a half years, Aon for four and a half years, and Frank Crystal & Company for nine years before taking my current position. I’m in business development. My job entails looking for new clients and managing existing clients. I have clients in a variety of industries: retail, pharmaceutical, real-estate property management, and more. I’m very passionate about what I do. I initially stayed in the industry for financial reasons: I was a single parent, and working
in the industry allowed me to support my children. Throughout the years, however, I’ve grown to love insurance. I absolutely love being able to help people. Coming into work, taking a look at a clients’ insurance program, and finding ways to improve its terms, conditions, and service is wonderful.
EVERYONE IS TRYING TO DO MORE with less these days. On the client side, we’re seeing a trend of decreased client revenues and lower payrolls. At the same time, the insurance industry is trying to maintain a level of premium that can sustain losses over time. Those things don’t always balance out. It’s a challenge. The changes occurring with the healthcare industry are also challenging. It’s difficult for employers. They’re trying to maintain the same level of coverage in terms of deductibles, but it’s hard when premiums are increasing in the 10 percent range in southern Florida. And, they don’t know what will happen after 2014. Some employers are sitting back and waiting; others are trying to figure out the best scenario now. We don’t know where those changes will take us.
EDUCATION IS CRUCIAL in this industry. Knowledge is power in our industry, and the more knowledge you have, the better you can serve your clients. I did all of my education at night, while working full-time. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree from St.
Thomas University in Miami, Florida, both in business administration. It’s also critical, in this industry, to get insurance designations. The education allows you to stay on top of what’s going on in the industry. We’re required to get a certain number of hours of continuing education, so you might as well use those hours to get a designation. I currently hold three: certified insurance counselor (CIC), certified risk manager (CRM), and construction risk insurance and specialist (CRIS). I’m working on a fourth.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS FOR ME have been primarily personal. I love my work, but I live for my kids. I have four: a 33-year-old daughter, a 23-year-old son, an 18-year-old son, and a 14-year-old daughter. My husband says everything I do in life is about them. Achieving balance can be difficult, but I manage it all with a calendar. If it’s on my calendar, I do it. My kids know that by now, so they’ll often grab my cell phone and enter events they want me to attend themselves. If I had to do it over, I’d start with a larger firm that works with risk-management clients. I started at a local broker, and didn’t join a larger firm until I began working at Marsh & McLennan Companies, which was well into my career. Doing it earlier—maybe 10 years earlier—would have given me broader experience that would have been invaluable. H
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT How Yvette Donado’s business-minded approach to nonprofit work and employee engagement have been essential to the rise of Educational Testing Service’s $1.6 billion sales BY HILARY SUTTON
ffortlessly charismatic and gracious, Yvette Donado is the chief administrative officer and senior vice president of people, process, and communications at Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organization that administers and scores more than 50 million tests every year in more than 180 counties. With such responsibilities, one may be surprised to encounter Donado’s warm personality. Without a trace of “stuffy academician,” Donado peppers her conversations with “darling” and begins by explaining that “people should not get hung up on titles.” ETS is a not-for-profit organization that brings in $1.6 billion each year for developing and administering achievement, admissions, academic, and professional tests. Donado joined ETS in 2001 as the vice president of human resources. With a president at the helm who had business practices in mind, ETS turned to Donado, a graduate of
THIS PAGE PHOTO: J.K. BROWN
MENTOR FOR A MINUTE “People have to know that at the end of the day it’s not about your own agenda. What is in the best interest of the enterprise? That has to be your overriding principle. You’ll lose credibility if it is self-serving.” —Yvette Donado
QUICK HITS WITH YVETTE DONADO
The Hispanic education agenda is America’s education agenda Latinos are a vital part of the nation’s diverse workforce and future global competitiveness. We understand that investing in the educational and economic success of the Hispanic community means investing in the future strength of America. Over the years, ETS has convened national conferences, published research and supported programs that focused on increasing educational opportunities for Latinos. That commitment to help overcome challenges and advance success for Hispanics endures. ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® General and Subject Tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in over 180 countries, at more than 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org Copyright © 2013 by Educational Testing Service. All rights reserved. ETS, the ETS logo, LISTENING. LEARNING. LEADING., GRE, TOEFL and TOEIC are registered trademarks of Educational Testing Service (ETS). THE PRAXIS SERIES is a trademark of ETS. 22626
What are three websites you can’t go a day without checking? My own intranet. It’s imperative to stay on top of your own organization’s business. I read some papers online like the Wall Street Journal. Sometimes women disregard the Wall Street Journal, but it is important to know what’s going on in corporate America because it will affect your business. And Facebook to stay connected with family. While career is very important, you have to have balance. If you define yourself by work and then lose your job you have nothing. If you could go back in time, what college class would you tell yourself to drop and what would you replace it with? I can’t think of a class that I would drop, but I would learn more Mandarin and maybe even Arabic. Understanding global cultures is more essential today than ever. It’s such a global marketplace. This Western-centric ideal is dead.
the Harvard executive MBA program who also has certifications from Wharton, Cornell, and Boston University and experience as a human resources vice president with a booming technology start-up. Donado’s first principle for transitioning into a new leadership position was to seek to understand the culture of the organization before making any changes. Her aim was to “be respectful of what is.” She advises new executives not to “jump to make many changes before understanding the culture and environment you’ve entered. Listen very carefully. Make changes that people will readily see as good.’’ Her approach to engaging departments that underperform would make Dale Carnegie proud. “Instead of creating conflict, I negotiated ... instead of attacking I went with [an attitude of] service,” Donado says. Donado’s strategy upon entering ETS was to determine who had the greatest “pain points.” She proposed to serve them first. “Win them over and now you have an advocate. Success breeds success. You will eventually win over those people who are threatened by you. [It is a process of] developing trust and being impeccable with your word,” she says. Donado is passionate about leaving a legacy. She has spearheaded ETS’s English-language initiative that is currently developing tools to better assess the needs of children who may not be proficient in English. She is also committed to using her influence to help the Hispanic community. She serves on the
board of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA), which enables Hispanic role models to connect with middle school students who may not otherwise meet Hispanic professionals. “If children don’t have access to professionals they can’t even imagine [being one.] We bring folks in who have PhDs and titles to mix it up with the kids. It’s very rewarding,” Donado says. She is also involved with Parents Step Ahead and the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families. Both organizations seek to serve families and increase the opportunities for Latino children to succeed. Donado leads with an attitude of service and respect. The prudence she exhibited in her early days at ETS has paid off. She began by managing a staff of 30; she now leads more than 500 employees and oversees marketing, public affairs, quality assurance, philanthropy, human resources, process management, government and community relations, and facilities. As part of her facilities oversight, she assures the effective management of ETS’s Chauncey Conference Center located on its 370-acre Princeton campus. Donado summarizes her leadership philosophy like this: “If employees do not feel that the channels of communication are open a lot of your efforts will not reap the fruit you’re hoping for. You’ve got to engage folks. That’s how you gain the trust of your community. Without trust and relationships you can’t be successful. That’s at the heart of principled leadership.” H
GROWING INTO LEADERSHIP Aries Capital’s Christina Lopez on her slow and steady rise to the top
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
BY JULIE SCHAEFFER
hristina Lopez was born in Chicago a product of various ethnicities, including Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Indian. Lopez credits this multicultural background for teaching her many traditional values. “My parents didn’t graduate from college, but they were extremely smart and strong people, and instilled in my brother and me the importance of being honest, working hard, and striving to reach our goals,” she says. Lopez got her first job at age 14. “As a child, I was regularly asking my mom when I would be able to work; it amazed her how eager I was,” recalls Lopez, who took the initiative to get an early-age work permit allowing her to work 20 hours a week. The month after Lopez graduated from high school, she began studying accounting at Robert Morris College and found a position as a receptionist at the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding. A little over a year into her associate’s degree, at age 19, Lopez left school and work to give birth to her first child, and a month later, returned to Foote, Cone & Belding, but not to school. “I had a child to support and decided working should be my priority,” she says. Less than a year into her return to Foote, Cone & Belding, Lopez started getting calls from recruiters. She turned down the first recruiter, but agreed to hear out the second, which had a job at Aries Capital, a national full-service commercial mortgage and real-estate investment banking firm. The timing was fortuitous. “I was seeing constant shifting in the advertising industry that made me think it was time to leave,” recalls Lopez, who began as an office assistant position at Aries Capital. “Keeping your job was hit or miss.” Lopez was promoted to marketing and human resources coordinator after a little more than a year. “It was the height of the commercial mortgage-backed securities boom, and business was flourishing, with loans closing left and right, so we needed to market,” Lopez says. “At the same time, we opened up three offices and went from a staff of five to over 20, so there was a need for a more formal human resources function.” Lopez left Aries Capital for an administrative assistant position at another advertising agency, Walter Latham, in Oakbrook, Ill. She stayed in touch with Neil Freeman, chairman and CEO of Aries Capital, and occasionally doing freelance work for him. “As needed, I���d come in and make
“As a child, I was regularly asking my mom when I would be able to work; it amazed her how eager I was.” Christina Lopez VP of Operations | Aries Capital
PowerPoint presentations or work on other projects,” Lopez says. Lopez eventually returned to Aries because, “sometimes things are just meant to be.” Aries was in need of an office manager and Lopez was offered the position. She’s been at Aries ever since. A year after Lopez’s return, she became Freeman’s executive assistant. “I was always the one who stepped in when an assistant was on vacation, and we had a good working relationship. He’s a great mentor to me. In addition to doing office work, I handle some personal work, so his family and I are close as well.” Lopez also began a concerted effort to mentor whenever she could. “The mentoring experiences I’ve had have allowed me to guide other people in their careers, and
many of them are doing really well now because of it,” she says. Lopez’s duties expanded when Aries Capital’s affiliate, Urban Development Fund (UDF), became involved with the New Markets Tax Credit Program, which was established in 2000 as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act 2000. The program, which seeks to revitalize low-income communities, provides taxcredit incentives to equity investors in certified community development entities that invest in low-income communities. UDF created dozens of new entities—currently 56, though the number could rise to more than 100—incorporated in many different states. “I’m helping the two gentlemen running the program keep track of those companies,” Lopez says. “It’s a big project.” H
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CREATING “HAPPY PROBLEMS” Exeter Financial’s Alex Estrada shares his HR mantras that help him keep the human in human resources BY MELISSA FRENCH
ou could say Alex Estrada creates a synergy that Irving, Texas-based Exeter Financial Corp. has never seen before. As vice president of human resources for the sub-prime loan corporation, Estrada and his team of seven hired more than 500 people in the last year and expect to hire another 700 this year. Learning from the ground up, Estrada’s seasoned nobility catalyze his innate talent of forming a dream team. When he headed to college, like many entering freshman, Estrada was bewildered for a career choice. Call it fate or happenstance, but Estrada found his calling after taking an HR elective course at his alma mater, the University of North Texas. Fresh out of college with an HR degree, Estrada landed his first career-driven job at Dallas-based The Mail Box, Inc., a privately held direct-mail company. Over the course of 13 years, Estrada was instrumental in increasing the employee base from 88 to 800, growing more than 800 percent. Estrada hit the ground running for The Mail Box—acting as an entire HR department. He handled everything from hiring and firing, to disciplinary actions, insurance enrollment, workers compensation, and background checks. “That’s where I learned
TRADING WORDS WITH
ALEX ESTRADA SUCCESS
Means having a satisfying customer experience.
Working collaboratively, with all the available resources.
I pride myself in having extreme integrity. We have to ensure integrity in personal and regulatory issues, especially in an HR role.
It gives me the diversity I need to be effective with a broader scope of people; an understanding of how they interact and thrive. Whether it’s apparent or not the culture is in me.
all of my HR skills, because I literally did all of it from the ground up,” Estrada says. But, Estrada wanted to expand his career. He transitioned from the small company to a vice president position with mediaconglomerate Time Warner Cable, formerly a subsidiary of Time Inc. Estrada was there for 10 years before moving on to Brink’s, Inc., another large international company. Estrada received a LinkedIn message that changed his career path yet again. Beginning with a fundamental background in small business and transitioning into corporate conglomerations, his business model and intrepid professionalism got him hired with Exeter, which is owned by asset management company, Blackstone Group. Estrada’s skills to form an effective HR team would be conducive to the company’s objective to rapidly grow. “This exponential, crazy growth has been organic growth,” says Estrada, who believes that the constantly changing cultural landscape of the company is a “happy problem” that creates an invigorating office-wide excitement. “What makes this so much fun here at Exeter, is that we’re in this culture change together.” Estrada strives for his tenacious team to be transparent and work together. As one of the most important aspects to his
career, he aims to keep the human in human resources, by providing real answers to questions, ensuring that each employee feels like HR is there for them as a partner and not just as a department. “My concern is not getting in the way of the growth and helping the business grow the business; [while] also ensuring we have great customer service.” Amongst Exeter’s constant flux, Estrada focuses on the recruiting group, which has tripled since he joined in September 2011. “We call it our ‘WIG,’ a Wildly Important Goal: add people, but add the right kind of people.” His general approach is one of collaboration and consensus. He likes to lead, but he likes to do it collaboratively, knowing that everyone has something to offer—going forward with an entire team effort. That way, it’s not shortsighted or
farsighted; it’s considering everything that the company has to offer front and center, he says. At Exeter, there is a commonly shared nonthreatening philosophy of helping customers understand how they can pay their car loans based on their income. Through dedicated call centers, Exeter trains their employees on how to do “soft collections” by partnering with the customers so they feel comfortable sharing their financial situations to find a fitting budget plan. “Our goal is to be one of the best and largest, used-car finance companies in the country. When we master that, then maybe we will start going into new car financing, but we need to grow to a certain point,” he says. “We’re not there yet, but when we get there, we will take a step back, survey the landscape, and ask, ‘What’s next for Exeter?’” “We know we’re building something
unique,” Estrada adds. “We love being a part of that. We’re all on the ground floor of this thing. That makes you want to come to work and say, ‘What challenges are there today that I can fix?’” For Estrada, HR is all about customer service and supporting the employees and management staff. Sincerity is his mantra. “You can give good news, but you can also give bad news, if you do it sincerely,” he says. Estrada recognizes the importance of being consistent and treating people fairly by retaining an open-door policy. Starting with an empty slate and climbing up the managerial latter, Estrada has taken on the human-resources industry by creating a well-built symbiosis in the work place. By unifying a small-business background with corporate culture, Estrada adds, “it has molded me in a way that I can function in this environment and function in it well.” H
“We call it our ‘WIG,’ a Wildly Important Goal—add people, add the right kind of people.” Alex Estrada VP of Human Resources | Exeter Financial Corp.
© 20 13 B in g h am Mc Cu t c h en L L P O n e F ed er a l S t r eet , B o s t o n MA 0 2 110 T. 6 17 .951.8 0 0 0 P r i o r r es u lt s d o n o t g u a r a n t ee a s i m i la r o u t c o m e. B i n g h a m Mc Cu t c h en ®
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VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
PAYING IT FORWARD LIKE MANY CUBANS IN THE 1960s, Barbara Velasco’s parents each immigrated to the United States in search of
PHOTO: JOEY IKEMOTO
a better life and hoping to give their children everything they didn’t have. Her parents’ experiences shaped Velasco tremendously, instilling in her a belief in the American dream and the certainty she could achieve anything she set her mind to. Now as assistant general counsel based out of Platinum Equity’s Beverly Hills office, Velasco’s work for the global firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and operations is just as important to her as the pro bono work she now performs for Los Angeles’s Hispanic community. AS TOLD TO TINA VASQUEZ
BROWN RUDNICK congratulates Barbara Velasco on her well deser ved recognition by Hispanic Executive Magazine. Brown Rudnick has had the privilege of serving as counsel to Platinum Equity on several litigation and corporate matters.
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O R A N G E CO U N T Y
LO N D O N
N E W YO R K
WA S H I N G TO N
BROWN RUDN I CK .CO M
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
MY PARENTS LEFT THEIR HOME COUNTRY and everything they knew behind them in pursuit of the American dream. They truly believed in the freedom of the United States; they believed in the American dream and once they were here, they lived it. Seeing this, I really believed I could achieve anything. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. I still believe that if you want something badly enough and are willing to work hard for it, you can achieve it. That’s how I was raised and it influenced my work ethic. My father has always been a fan of the legal profession, which I believe arises from the political hardships he encountered in Cuba. He was a big proponent of me becoming a lawyer. In college at UCLA, I majored in English, but I had always been interested in the law and considered becoming a lawyer early on. I thought I’d excel at it because I was a good writer and communicator. I was also interested in pursuing a career that afforded me many different opportunities. With law, you can work for a law firm, a company, the public sector, or teach—the possibilities are endless. While at UCLA, I worked at a small law firm, and although it was for less than a
year, it was a great introduction to the legal profession. After my second year at Loyola Law School, I worked as a summer associate at Jones Day in Los Angeles, where I also worked after graduation as a corporate associate for about five years. This was a very important time for me. Most lawyers start off at a firm to learn the building blocks of their profession and it was no different for me. While at Jones Day, I was offered an opportunity at a large privately held company in Los Angeles and it put me at a crossroads: I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the leap into the in-house world at that stage in my career. It was a leap of faith, but it paid off. I really loved the work and the fast-paced environment. The combination of practicing law in a business setting was very interesting to me and it was also very educational. I worked with a general counsel who expertly balanced the legal and business perspectives. Working for him, I think he passed that ability on to me. I joined Platinum Equity in 2007, which gave me the opportunity to use the experience I had gained while opening me up to new experiences and challenges. Platinum Equity is a global M&A&O
QUICK HITS WITH BARBARA VELASCO What are three websites you can’t go a day without checking? I like to stay up on current events, so I check newyorktimes.com and cnn.com daily. Similarly, I like to stay [up-to-date] on the lives of my friends and family, so I check Facebook on a daily basis. If you could go back in time, what college class would you tell yourself to drop and what would you replace it with? I can’t say there is any class I would have dropped because I think learned from all of them in varying degrees, but I would have certainly added additional business courses, such as accounting or economics. What has been one key piece of advice you’ve been given that you always draw upon? Early in my career I was advised by a partner that “perception is everything.” While I don't believe it’s everything, I do believe it’s important to be aware of how you are perceived in the workplace and make sure that you are perceived accurately and as you want to be perceived. This can be particularly difficult in today’s day and age of technology and diminishing face-to-face interactions.
firm specialized in mergers, acquisitions, and operations of companies that provide mission-critical products, services, and solutions in diverse industries. In many cases, they are operationally complex businesses. As a result, there is a constant flow of very interesting and challenging legal work for me to do—and I love a challenge. From the outset, I felt that I was a good fit with Platinum Equity. From a company culture perspective, the firm’s values align with mine. The firm was founded based on 16 guiding principles that resonated with me, including acting with resolve, having passion for your work, and a commitment to succeed. These principles help create an environment in which the employees strive for success, and personally, I know I thrive in this kind of passionate, fastpaced environment. When I was starting out, I wish I had taken the time to find a mentor, which is something we always encourage young Latinas to do when looking to enter a field. It really is so important. In my case, and with anyone who didn’t have a mentor, we have to learn things the hard way. With a mentor, I would have learned many of these things sooner, rather than as I went along. In school we know that success is tied to knowledge and hard work. In the real world, however, being successful requires these things and much more. It requires working well with all types of personalities, learning the company culture and understanding corporate politics. If you have a mentor when you’re starting out, you can get a jump start on these things. It’s good to have that guidance and that advantage.
I CURRENTLY SIT ON THE PRO BONO committee of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, which was formed early this year. They’re a fantastic group and I love the work we are doing. As the committee’s pro bono projects expand, I look forward to becoming more involved. In addition, I’ve participated in other pro bono projects involving the Hispanic community, including home-building events of Habitat for Humanity’s Power Women Power Tools in Los Angeles. I understand that not everyone has had the opportunities, luck, or blessings that I have had in my life, so it’s very important to me that I give back to my community. H
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LEARNING TO LEAD Carlos Linares of Sun Products Corp. explains what it takes to get ahead in consumer goods
PHOTO: DONNA CALLIGHAN’S PHOTO DESIGNS
BY JULIE SCHAEFFER
n 2005, Carlos Linares was almost two decades into a career in chemical engineering when a new opportunity presented itself. “I’d been working in product development, and eventually worked my way into leadership roles, but I’d never transformed an organization, and was given the chance to do so,” says Linares of a job at
Alberto Culver Company, which manufactures beauty products. The move would ultimately lead Linares where he is today, serving as chief technology officer for Sun Products Corp., a $2 billion Connecticut-based provider of household products, including laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dish-care products, among others.
Linares’s story began in 1969, when he came from Cuba to the United States at age five. Growing up in West New York, New Jersey, home to the largest Cuban community outside of Florida, taught him the values that would stay with him. “Looking back at how I’ve approached my life, a lot of what drives me comes from my community,” he says. “After coming to this country, my
parents took on whatever jobs they could to better the lives of my brother and me, and that’s at the core of who I am. I drive for success for myself, but I also drive for success for them. It’s a duty.” That internal drive led Linares to Cornell University, where he studied chemical engineering. “I had a general sense that I wanted to be in the sciences through programs I’d been exposed to in high school, then within the sciences I gravitated toward chemical engineering both from [an] interest perspective and also with a sense that it would quickly get me into the workforce after graduation,” he says. Linares’s first job was as a process engineer for Proctor & Gamble. He began working with fabric softeners such as Bounce and Downy (the same products that are his current company’s main competitors), then moved into skin-care categories, ultimately gaining exhaustive knowledge of the entire product-development process. Then, nine years into his career, Linares moved to Johnson & Johnson, initially doing productdevelopment work, but gradually working his way into leadership positions. Then, after 10 years at Johnson & Johnson, the Alberto Culver opportunity arose. Looking back, Linares says the Culver position was the most challenging of his career, as it gave him the opportunity to
MENTOR FOR A MINUTE “You have to take the time to teach others what you know.” —Carlos Linares
QUICK HITS WITH CARLOS LINARES What are three websites you can’t go a day without checking? I mostly check the news, but not necessarily all through the web; I read newspapers and catch up via the radio during my commute. If you could travel in time to your college-age self, what college class would you tell yourself to drop? I don't think I’d drop any classes, but I’d certainly look for more classes in business and personal finance. What has been one key piece of advice you've been given that you always draw upon? Steve Wynn, who owned Golden Nugget casino, which gave me a scholarship, said at a dinner that we didn’t need to give back to him, but to those who were coming up after us. That taught me the value of mentoring.
essentially create a new organization. “It wasn’t about running projects anymore, but about leading an organization—creating a vision, developing a strategy for getting there, then driving that change,” he says. “I had to recruit people to fill the right roles, build a great team, and develop the culture. And we were successful. We called ourselves followers before the change; afterward, we were real leaders.” That learning experience—which taught Linares to lead through change—gave him the skill set to take on his current position as Sun Products. Early on, he says, individual projects—namely, taking two key products out of the theoretical laboratory and into the marketplace—taught him to grow as an individual contributor. It would have been easy to do that again and again, but Linares
“We called ourselves followers before the change; afterward, we were real leaders.” Carlos Linares Chief Technology Officer | Sun Products Corp.
didn’t. “Sometimes you get into roles that are more of the same; Alberto Culver was so much more,” he says. “I was doing things I’d never had the opportunity to do before, and that gave me the knowledge and the confidence to do it again … It’s only once or twice in a lifetime you get a chance to make a change like that.” Today, as chief technology officer for Sun Products, Linares leads the company’s research and development organization, which includes product and process development, engineering, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance. “The job at Sun Products presented me with the opportunity to grow even more as a leader by allowing me to broaden my scope and drive change—more innovation, more growth,” he says. “It’s a terrific opportunity to work with a talented executive team and take on an exciting organizational challenge. How do you come in, assess an organization, and change it so you take it in an entirely new direction?” H A MESSAGE FROM FIRMENICH Firmenich is the largest privately-owned company in the perfume and flavor business. Swiss and family owned, we have created many of the world’s favorite perfumes for over 100 years and produced a number of the most well known flavors we enjoy each day. Our passion for perfumes and flavors, our creativity and innovation, together with our exceptional understanding of sensory perceptions and trends, have forged our world-class reputation. Our consistently superior investments in R&D substantiate our desire to understand, share, and reinvent the best of what nature has to offer in the realms of smell and taste.
Firmenich congratulates Carlos Linares His drive for excellence, break-through innovations and solution oriented thinking continues to elevate his teams, his partnerships and the outstanding products he delivers to consumers .
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“I ALLOWED THEM TO INFLUENCE ME BEFORE TRYING TO EXERT MY INFLUENCE.” Just over a year after assuming leadership of the $4 billion global HR consulting company, Mercer Inc., Julio Portalatin is transforming the way his colleagues and clients consider inclusion and diversity. Whether through the implementation of a merit-based incentive system or requiring his executive committee members to contribute time and talent to two philanthropic events per year, this visionary CEO leaves no doubt about his dedication to a culture that embraces inclusion and makes the company better for it. AS TOLD TO MICHELLE MARKELZ
ON MY FIRST DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL, I walked into an environment where it was obvious to others I was different. I enjoyed basketball like my classmates, but I was not asked to play in pick-up games. As I sat on the sidelines one day, the ball rolled my way. I decided I would go on the court with it and put myself into the game. Soon enough, a fight started over what I had done. But, something interesting happened as people took sides. Some of them saw me as an underdog and began to reassess the situation rather than simply judge my physical appearance, and that started an incredible transformation in their thinking. Growing up, I realized I was different— both ethnically and in terms of my personality. I began to understand how to be effective while being unafraid to express my differences. My dad had come to the United States from the Dominican Republic because he believed in democracy. He always taught his children to stand by our positions and— with logic and peaceful, intelligent means— make a difference in the world. After I took that stand on the basketball court, I went on to make a difference in my school as student council president. Ever since, I have been guided by my father’s philosophy. At Mercer, I stand by the philosophy that you need to create an environment where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged, where everyone’s opinion matters, and where everyone feels valued and believes they can be successful. Companies who do that have a competitive advantage. For too long, diversity and inclusion have been thought of as a program or an initiative, not as the core of people strategy. But, it is
nothing more than executing on a strategic plan. Moving the conversation about getting the most out of your people to a conversation about inclusion and diversity as an imperative is not easy, but the answer is not any more elusive than practicing the same skills we do for any business strategy. My first assignment in my first job out of college was to manage a group of keypunch operators. As a newcomer—and a man—in a room full of women accustomed to frequently changing supervisors, I faced the challenge and gratification of finding out how to earn their respect and impart my authority. I learned how to observe and thoughtfully analyze before leading, how to be transparent about what you know and humble about what you don’t. I sat next to the operators for one full day learning about their work. I learned what motivated them and what allowed them to participate in a more meaningful way in the work they did for the company. I allowed them to influence me before trying to exert my influence. At Mercer ... we’ve reengineered our employee resource groups to function as business resource groups. Before,
these groups operated under the notion that they were nice to have for our thousands of global employees. Now, we’re looking at how they align themselves in support of our mission, operating imperatives, and what we call our “PRIIDE” values: Passion to be the best, Respect for inclusion and diversity, Integrity, Inclusiveness, Dedication to quality service, and Empowerment for accountability. They will now focus on proactively improving business results, thus ensuring their sustainability. Now at Mercer, our global inclusion and diversity committee is headed by the CEO. Assuming that responsibility affirms my commitment to implementing inclusiveness and transparency both internally and externally among the clients we consult. Combined, we are turning the people aspect of leadership into a sustainable practice that produces a competitive advantage in our industry and beyond. My father had to be proactive to escape dictatorship and stand up for what he believed in. At Mercer, we are doing the same. This is a journey, but clearly one worth taking. H A CASE FOR DIVERSITY Julio Portalatin (center) works to create an environment at Mercer Inc., where “everyone feels valued.”
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
OPPOSITE PAGE PHOTO: P.BAGULHO@RXF
“AT T H E H E A R T O F E V E R Y T H I N G I’VE DONE IS THE INTERSECTION O F C O M M U N I C AT I O N A N D P O L I T I C S .” Fresh out of law school, Ellie Nieves cut her teeth in the high stakes game of New York City politics. Often the youngest, and many times the only woman sitting at the table, she earned a reputation as a much sought-after strategist. Today, Nieves is assistant vice president and senior counsel for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America where she represents the company before legislators, executive branch officials, and administrative agencies at both the federal and state level. AS TOLD TO TINA VASQUEZ
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
MY CAREER HAS SPANNED government, business, and law, but at the heart of everything I’ve done is the intersection of communication and politics—a combination that was influenced by my parents. My mom was a community activist, so I learned the importance of political involvement at an early age. My dad was a part-time radio newscaster at a Spanish-language radio station and my mom and I would tune in to listen to him report the news on air. My love for public speaking and politics and the understanding that both have a powerful effect on people came from my parents. Originally, I aspired to be a journalist, but once in college my focus shifted to law, though not because I wanted to be an attorney; I wanted to be a legislator and figured I needed a firm understanding of the law if I was going to make laws. After law school, I worked on several local and statewide political campaigns with a focus on get-out-the-vote efforts in Latino communities. In 2000, I gained the attention of Vice President Al Gore’s political campaign team and was asked to become the New York state political director for his presidential campaign.
AFTER THE GORE CAMPAIGN, I worked as deputy counsel and eventually campaign manager for the person who would have been New York’s first Latino mayor, Fernando Ferrer. Although he didn’t win, it was a great time for Latinos in New York City. Soon after, I became a state lobbyist for MetLife. No longer was it about running political
TRADING WORDS WITH
ELLIE NIEVES JUSTICE
Even playing field.
“My love for public speaking and politics and the understanding that both have a powerful effect on people came from my parents.” Ellie Nieves Assistant VP & Senior Counsel | The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
campaigns, it was about the legislative process. I did this work for almost five years before being recruited to work as chief of staff to the president of MetLife International. In that role, I gained a global business perspective as well as important insight and exposure to the c-suite. The role piqued my interest in learning more about the fundamentals of running a business.
MY NEW FOUND INTEREST in business led to a short stint in the entertainment industry working as chief of staff to rapper, record producer, fashion designer, and business mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs. My work for Mr. Combs exposed me to a broad range of businesses, including recording, music publishing, artist management, television and film production, recording studios, apparel, fragrances, and restaurants. I served as a liaison between the company’s various business entities and internal departments. Today, I am assistant vice president and senior counsel for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, a life insurance and financial services provider. As AVP and senior counsel, I develop and implement
lobbying strategy for several issues, including life insurance, investments, dental, and federal health-care reform. I also provide regular briefings to senior executives on relevant legislative and political developments. I spend a lot of time on the road traveling to state capitols to meet with legislators and insurance regulators. With the support of Guardian, I recently enrolled in New York University’s executive MBA program where I plan to specialize in leadership. In my spare time, I host a women’s leadership podcast and I speak at women’s leadership events.
LOOKING BACK AT MY CAREER, my time in politics running campaigns, building coalitions, and plotting political strategy laid a strong foundation for my current role at Guardian. The ability to be strategic, develop a personal brand, and build alliances is key to success in corporate America. My personal experiences as a young Latina climbing up the ranks in politics—a male-dominated field—instilled in me a passion to motivate, inspire, and challenge women to achieve their best. H
ellie nieves on her achievements
Life • Disability Income • Investments • Retirement • Employee Benefits Investments are offered through Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS), 7 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004. PAS is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) New York, NY. Member FINRA, SIPC. Disability income products underwritten and issues by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA, a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY, or provided by Guardian. Product provisions and features may vary from state to state.
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APPLYING THE “RULE OF FOUR” Armando Lopez shares his method to getting work done and building relationships at Ecolab BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
r mando L opez w ill do four things for you before he asks for something in return. The Rule of Four, as he calls it, is a clever tactic to improve relationships and get work accomplished, but it’s also a personal commitment. At Ecolab, Lopez relies on a support network to ensure production planning and logistics are carried out successfully while he aspires to be a professor. Whether helping someone realize their potential or striving to reach his own, Lopez knows that results are never free, but are always worth working for. It’s an ethic Lopez learned from a mentor and friend, but one he witnessed at an early age as well. Watching his father lead a family of seven as the patriarch, his small Mexican town as the local registrar, and an alcohol abuse recovery program (though he was not an alcoholic himself), Lopez observed what earned a leader trust and respect—humility—and how to excel when all eyes turn to you for guidance: discipline. When he arrived in the United States, Lopez was 18 and ambitious. Though he didn’t speak the language, he was encouraged by the opportunities he saw before him. He quickly learned that he wanted more for himself than working nights and weekends as a busboy in a restaurant. When he learned of a job in manufacturing at Ecolab, a water, hygiene, and energy technology and services provider, he jumped at the opportunity. Beginning as an hourly associate in production, Lopez was on his way up as
he advanced to supervisor when he hit his first obstacle. “My English skills were limited,” he recalls. “When I started getting more exposure to professionals, I realized I needed to do better.” To add to his hurdles, Lopez found that company policy was changing as he was setting his sights higher. Where once managers could lead with only general education degree, now they required a bachelor’s degree. “After seeing how hard my father worked for what he accomplished,” Lopez says, “I decided that was what I needed to do as
well.” Though it took almost five years for the then father of two and husband, Lopez completed his undergraduate program and took another step toward his goal. Lopez wasted no time proving himself with his degree in hand. In the same year he graduated from DeVry University, he took on a complex merger between Ecolab facilities in Memphis and Chicago. In less than two months, he hired more than 100 employees and executed an on-boarding program that would prepare them to handle assembly, distribution, and refurbishing at a
QUICK HITS WITH ARMANDO LOPEZ What are three websites you can’t go a day without checking? Google News, TD Ameritrade, Bloomberg. If you could go back in time, what college class would you tell yourself to drop and what would you replace it with? Quantitative methods. I would replace it with some IT or computer-science class. What has been one key piece of advice you’ve been given that you always draw upon? I live by the understanding that nothing is free, so you have to work hard for what you desire.
plant that was built to accommodate only the first two of the three. Having learned the logistics of a successful merger and ever-enterprising, Lopez saw opportunity between facilities he managed in California and Chicago. This time it was at his proposal that the facilities fused their resources. So impressed were his superiors that Lopez was then tasked for a third merger with a facility in Canada. Shortly after, Lopez was again tasked with using his experience to improve the company. In the Dominican Republic, he used his language skills and knowledge of Ecolab logistics to improve inventory control and distribution, which earned him responsibilities in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Mexico as well. The extensive travel could be physically and emotionally taxing—he could be away from his family for weeks at a time—but Lopez continued to keep his perspective on a horizon that promised more. “I saw it as an opportunity,” Lopez says. “If I did a good job, there’d be
PHOTO: PORTRAIT INNOVATIONS
REALIZING MORE MANAGERS were required to have a bachelor’s degree, Armando Lopez enrolled in college, balancing his responsibilities as a father of two and husband. “After seeing how hard my father worked for what he accomplished,” he says, “I decided that was what I needed to do as well.”
something better.” A year later, his wife and children joined him on his trip to Minneapolis, home of the Ecolab corporate office. As director of materials management for the global health care division of Ecolab, Lopez might find himself in his office or in the field making improvements that allow Ecolab to thrive. Though hard work has earned him his title, he is not one to forget those who helped him along the way. Through Ecolab’s Menttium program, Lopez was paired with Artie Lynnworth, a mentor-turned-friend who taught him how to operate from a strategic perspective, opening doors with upper-level management and bridging divides with associates on the ground. Lopez recalls one particular facility in Jacksonville, Florida, where he called upon that guidance. When he arrived at the troubled site, Lopez learned backlogs of inventory, database issues, and wasted inputting time were plaguing operations. Coming from the corporate office, he remembered what Lynnworth had told him about flexing his influence. “I became a doer,” Lopez recalls. Putting the Rule of Four into action, he mapped out an efficient shipping and receiving process, bought scanners to alleviate the workforce of manual inputting, and implemented an inventory tracking process. “Those were ice breakers,” he says. “Today this facility is delivering outstanding results.” Having spent his life striving to improve himself, it seems only natural that Lopez’s next aspiration is to help others do the same. “It’s something that really fascinates me,” he says of the prospect of teaching. With EcoMundo, an employee network at Ecolab, Lopez is part of a group that champions international knowledge through travel and multicultural experiences. In the future, he hopes to instruct at the university level. It’s an opportunity that appeals to his strengths as a leader and facilitator, but draws on another part of him that has been a continual influence in his life. “I saw my father speaking in front of groups and leading discussion, and I felt so proud of him,” Lopez remembers. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that is influencing me.” H
Serenity Packaging commends
Armando Lopez, Ecolab for his distinguished leadership, outstanding achievements and contributions to the Hispanic community and the industry.
Serenity Packaging Corporation is a leader in the packaging industry serving all of North America.
Uniting Powerful Leaders in more ways than one
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VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
PUNCHING INTO THE DREAM
PHOTO: JOEY HILL
TRAINING DAY Dennis Verges gave up on his boxing aspirations, but still finds time to help others, like Will Brooks (pictured above), train for their dreams. Verges was also elected as vice president of the Puerto Rican Heritage Organization (PRHO) in Elgin, IL.
2004 was a tough year for Dennis Verges: it was the year he gave up his dream. “I’d boxed from a young age, and I cherished it, I continued to do it when I worked full-time and went to school part time,” he explains. “But, ultimately, I had to make a choice—a choice to have a career.” However, letting go of one dream meant finding another. Today, the half-Puerto Rican and half-Sicilian is the director of credit and collections at Unisource Worldwide, one of the largest independent distributors of paper products in North America, with $4.5 billion in 2011 sales, and he trains several world-class fighters in boxing and mixed martial arts. “I never even expected to go to college, yet I ended up here,” Verges says. AS TOLD TO JULIE SCHAEFFER
STRAIGHT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL I began working
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in credit collections. The jobs I took were just jobs; there was no career path. So I started going to Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, to get into marketing and public relations. By the time I finished college, I had three associate’s degrees. They were in business administration, commercial credit management, and financial management. I realized to go into marketing and public relations I’d have to start over in an entrylevel position, and I didn’t want to do that. So I stuck with finance, where I already had six or seven years of experience.
IN 2004, I GAVE UP BOXING. Up to that point, I had been boxing part-time. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do: be a full-time fighter, a full-time trainer, or a full-time finance guy? But I realized I wasn’t getting younger, and a lot of full-time fighters didn’t have the built-in excuse I did that I lost a fight because I’d just worked a 10-hour day. So I let that dream go. To move on in my career, I had to give away my prize possession, something I’d cherished since I was 10 years old. I went to a software company, ASAP Software. I took a demotion because it was a growing company. I told my wife I’d stay there for two years, and I stayed almost two years to the day. I received two promotions during that time, but felt that without directly taking over my boss’s position, there was no upward mobility. I got the job at Unisource through networking. When I was at ASAP Software, I attended all sorts of networking events. Carter Baldwin Executive Search, contracted by Unisource to hire the management team, heard of me and asked me to be on its team. In 2007, I started here as manager of financial services. We were in the
process of centralizing out back-office finance functions into a shared-service model. We reduced 30 offices to one. I took all of our West Coast business and turned it into a single group in Chicago— [it] did all of the process writing, hiring, systems conversions and management. I’ve been promoted twice, most recently to director. My job is to create the same shared services model for other entities—namely Graphic Communications and the Canadian business utilizing the staffing services of Kelly Financial Resources. Although I work long hours, I find my job insanely easy because I’ve found exactly what I like to do most. I’ve always been entrepreneurial and I was taking something that didn’t exist or was broken and creating something new and better. Around that time I started mentoring. People use a résumé or an interview to show what they can do. A lot of the advice I give people—especially when they’re looking to get promoted—is to use their work instead. I recently passed an employee over for a promotion and she wanted to know why she’d failed her interview. I said, “Every day leading up to today was your interview.”
I’VE NOW CREATED MORE BALANCE. I train several world-class fighters in boxing and mixed martial arts. I’ve also opened a small consulting practice that helps entrepreneurs start companies and small businesses achieve better results. One of my most cherished possessions is a silver business card case. A friend gave it to me. It’s inscribed with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” That has shifted by interactions with others and shaped my priorities from becoming successful via wealth creation to becoming successful via value creation. H
“Every day leading up to today was your interview.” Dennis Verges Director of Credit and Collections | Unisource Worldwide
*According to the Kelly Global Workforce Index, an annual survey conducted by Kelly Services. Kelly Financial Resources ® is a registered trademark of Kelly Services. An Equal Opportunity Employer © 2013 Kelly Services, Inc. Y0176
LEADING A COOL LEGAL CAREER Though Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria only knew of lawyers from what she saw on TV and read in her fatherâ€™s true-crime novels, she was certain she felt a passion for justice and wanted to make a career out of pursuing it BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
y parents will tell you from the time I could talk I always had a healthy sense of skepticism,” says Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria, partner at Cooley LLP. Willing to question things and demand evidence or proof, Valenzuela Santamaria’s always had a personality and mind-set that’s suited to litigation. By the time she was 12, Valenzuela Santamaria knew she wanted to be a lawyer. She grew up in a Latino household, and, as the only daughter out of five children, she was expected to fulfill a traditional female role, just like her mother and her grandmothers. But Valenzuela Santamaria knew she didn’t want that for herself. In high school she was paired with a mentor who introduced her to the real world of law at the Ventura County District Attorney’s office. Through that mentorship program, Valenzuela Santamaria was offered a summer job at the District Attorney’s Office when she returned home from Stanford University, where she attended college. Valenzuela Santamaria saw how, day in and day out, the lawyers with whom she worked were exposed to so many of the negative aspects of society. It was a learning experience that proved to Valenzuela Santamaria that she didn’t want to practice criminal law. After her first year at Stanford Law School, she was hired as a law clerk at McManis Faulkner & Morgan, a boutique litigation firm in San Jose, California. She worked there part-time during law school to help finance her education and continued there as an associate attorney for three years after graduation. Given the ability to manage her own cases and have significant client contact from the get-go, she learned essential litigation skills from an early point in her career. In her first three years as a lawyer, Valenzuela Santamaria had exposure to a number of different aspects of litigation. She took and defended depositions,
StoneTurn congratulates Cooley LLP and Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria on their featured story in Hispanic Executive
Providing dispute consulting, forensic accounting and expert witness services.
One Sansome Street Suite 700 San Francisco, CA 94104
MENTOR FOR A MINUTE
“Always try your hardest, and do your best. Communicate clearly. Understand what your audience wants, whether it is your client, your boss, opposing counsel, or the judge. Prioritize and only worry about things that need to be worried about immediately.”
—Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria AuSTin BOSTOn CHiCAgO HOuSTOn LOndOn n
SAn FrAnCiSCO wASHingTOn d.C. n
presented oral arguments in appellate courts, argued substantive motions, and was generally responsible for all aspects of her cases—an unheard of amount of responsibility for a new lawyer. Valenzuela Santamaria says it’s a bit ironic that she ended up at Cooley because she never thought she wanted to practice at a big firm. “I had heard horror stories that associates at big firms would do nothing but document review for years and never get inside a courtroom,” she recalls. “I was afraid of being viewed as a commodity.” But after several years with the smaller firm, she felt the need for a change. She wanted to work on matters with a broader geographic scope that dealt with cutting-edge legal issues impacting the greater Silicon Valley business community, which a larger firm could offer. Since joining Cooley LLP in 2005, Valenzuela Santamaria’s commercial litigation practice has been focused on defending companies and their directors and officers in securities class actions and litigation related to corporate governance issues, mergers, and acquisitions and proxy-related matters. As a partner, Valenzuela Santamaria now has greater opportunities to play an advisory role for some of the Valley’s most important publicly traded companies. She particularly enjoys being able to advise companies to mitigate risk before a lawsuit has been filed. “I like the intellectual aspects of my work and dealing with problems that require creative solutions,” she explains. “A lot of our clients are on the cutting edge of technology and are coming up with new ideas that the law often hasn’t caught up with.” One of the reasons she wanted to practice litigation at a firm that represents Silicon Valley companies was so she could contribute to the expansion of the law, rather than simply applying existing law to recurring problems. When she’s not in court, Valenzuela Santamaria’s greatest passion is her family, especially her two sons Elias, eight, and Lucas, five. “Growing up with all brothers, raising boys feels very natural for me,” she says. She is also firmly dedicated to increasing diversity in the legal profession and spends a significant amount of her time out of the office working with organizations that share her goal. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara La Raza Lawyers’ Charitable Foundation, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and Cooley’s diversity committee, she feels it is her responsibility to promote minorities in her profession and be a visible example that Hispanics can excel at the highest levels. H
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“WE MADE THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY FEEL WELCOME IN OUR PARTY, AND I CONSIDER THAT PERHAPS MY GREATEST LEGACY IN FLORIDA POLITICS.” When Alberto “Al” Cardenas was elected chairman of the Florida Republican Party in 1998, the Democrats had held a majority in the Florida legislature since the 1860s. Together with Jeb Bush, who had just been elected governor of Florida, Cardenas was able to get the Florida legislature to a Republican majority, where it remains today, in part by garnering the Hispanic vote. “We made the Hispanic community feel welcome in our party, and I consider that perhaps my greatest legacy in Florida politics,” Cardenas says.
PHOTO: SUSAN BRAUN
AS TOLD TO JULIE SCHAEFFER
I CAME TO MIAMI FROM CUBA with the first wave
Congratulations Al Cardenas
of political refugees in 1960. Like most refugees, my family and I came with nothing, but the clothes on our back. My dad, who was a major bank president in Cuba, found a job as a bookkeeper for $45 a week. I helped make ends meet by mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, and selling doughnuts on weekends. I struggled to educate myself. After high school, I received offers to play collegiate sports, but my dad suffered a heart attack and my family needed me to stay nearby and pitch in financially, so I worked as a lifeguard while attending Miami-Dade College. I was able to attend Seton Hall Law School with academic assistance and worked part-time. It was in law school that I developed a passion for public service and politics. I became chairman of the Ocean County Republican Party [in New Jersey] in 1974 at age 21. I had a job with a law firm lined up after law school, but then my father passed away. I didn’t want to leave my mother and sister alone, so I joined them in Miami. I returned to Miami in 1979 to work as a partner in the law firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP. I never lost my passion for public service, but by then I had married and had children (now five), and wanted to provide my family with a better standard of living than I had growing up. I formed a title company that allowed me to make a living and participate in politics. I decided to run for Congress in Miami at age 28. At the time, only 5 to 10 percent of Hispanics were registered voters, the district was primarily Democrat, and the
TRADING WORDS WITH
AL CARDENAS SUCCESS
Reward for hard work.
Capitol Gains 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 715 Coral Gables, Florida 33134 Tel 305-444-7535 Fax 305-444-7499
incumbent Claude Pepper was a legend. I lost, but the race was a turning point in my life: it allowed me to meet the stars of the Republican Party, including George W. Bush. His dad came to campaign for me, as did Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole.
WHEN RONALD REAGAN RAN for president in 1980, I headed his campaign in Florida. I was 30 years old. He appointed me chair of the President’s Commission on Small and Minority Business Affairs in 1982 and special ambassador to St. Kitts-Nevis in 1983. When my mentor Mel Greenberg passed on, I decided to start my own law firm. I did so with my friend and neighbor Thomas Tew, and 20 years later we’re still operating Tew Cardenas LLP. I’ve had the privilege to be counsel of record in a number of precedent-setting decisions. For example, we helped the city of Hialeah in South Florida draft a publichealth ordinance when members of the Santería church, which practiced ritual animal slaughter, were leaving animal carcasses around the city. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the ordinance, and we represented the city. We prevailed in the US District Court for the District of Southern Florida and the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. We lost in the US Supreme Court by a fiveto-four margin, but it’s a precedent setting case that’s taught in our law schools today. We also participated in a number of legal issues during the recount of the BushGore campaign. I stayed active in the political process while practicing law. I served three terms as vice chairman and two terms as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, the largest state political party in the country, making me the first Hispanic to lead a major state party and to this day the only Hispanic Republican Party chairman in Florida history. By the time I left the party, we had offices in Tallahassee and Washington, DC, where I started spending more time. One of my most rewarding efforts has been being a leader in promoting the passage of comprehensive immigration reform.
The key to progress.
An essential ingredient for contributing to society.
YOU HAVE TO DEDICATE A LOT of time to a career in law and politics. At some point in your life, opportunity will present itself, and you need to be prepared. Some people call it luck; I call it destiny. Like anything else in life, the rules are simple; it’s the execution that’s hard. Your chances of success are greatly enhanced by focusing not on yourself, but on your mission. H
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“WHATEVER YOU BUILD, IT’S YOUR LEGACY.” Noni Gonzalez never stops building her legacy. Now a recognized Latina leader in the technology industry, she renders the values she learned from her father: never stop improving. Innovating from within, Gonzalez has climbed her way up the corporate leadership latter, lifting her passion and integrity through every rung. AS TOLD TO MELISSA FRENCH
LOSING HER MOTHER at the age of six, Noni Gonzalez and her father were left to discover the United States together. She recalls her father, a native of Cuba, learning English himself, emphasizing hard work and education.
VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“I define influence as making a difference. If the work that you’ve done actually makes a difference, then I believe you’ve been successful.” Noni Gonzalez Assistant VP | Corporate Systems | AT&T
YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT AN organization by the people they choose. When I first started at AT&T, I attended a leadership session for Hispanics. I walked in the room and had the opportunity to meet Ralph de la Vega [president and CEO, AT&T Mobility]. One of the things that struck me was that this man has not only come to this meeting, but he had been in California that morning. He returned to make his commitment to this leadership forum and was headed out that night to go back to California. To me, that’s an example of leadership. One of the things he said was, “You lead by example and you lead with integrity.” And he showed it that day for sure. I went to school to be a political science major and had aspirations of becoming an attorney, but I took a role at ADP in a technology sector and fell in love with technology. I was at ADP for more than 10 years. I had the opportunity to work with really large companies, implementing large payroll systems, general ledger systems, and lots of different kinds of software. I got the opportunity to move to Oracle, a technical company. I branched out from payroll and HR and finance systems to CRM systems, supply-chain systems, [and the] call center; again an opportunity to work with really large systems and transform their business.
TRADING WORDS WITH
NONI GONZALEZ SUCCESS
Making a difference.
In order to innovate, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. You have to be willing to fail and it takes courage.
[It’s] everything; the baseline to everything you do. You need to maintain it no matter what.
A force to be reckoned with.
I’m responsible for the supply chain systems within AT&T and some revenue and time entry systems, and back office finance, including assets. The big pieces are the supply chain. We run both the retail and the network supply chain in my group, whether that’s inventory, replenishment, devices, service depots, insurance, handset subsidies, national retailers, online ordering for devices—we’re really responsible for the entire retail ordering, warehouse systems. On the network side, we’re both wireless and wireline, we’re responsible for all the systems that help plan the equipment out to the field—whether it’s cell towers, or customer premise locations; all sorts of processes that help the business, including transportation management and warehousing.
WE’RE ABSOLUTELY PASSIONATE ABOUT making sure our customers love what we build. I surround myself with the best of the best. I try to create an atmosphere where we feel we have each other’s backs. If you’re in IT, you’re in it because you like to build stuff. And if you like to build stuff, you want people to like what you build. In order to do that, you have to have the best of the best. A lot of work is at night, committing to long hours way into the evening; we need
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do what AT&T needed us to do. That was, for me, one of the proudest moments in my career. To be able to serve so many different customers—retail, online, the guys out in the trucks, the guy that builds the cell towers—to have that diversity in all of our customers and be able to do it singularly on one platform is an IT geek’s dream. Managing across all those businesses, you need a very flat organization, you need to have all of the leads and directors sit around a table in front of a white board and scratch out what the solution is going to be. You have to get rid of all the hierarchies. We don’t have hierarchies. We don’t look at anything by title. We look at everyone by what team they’re on, what project they’re working on. People move across based on expertise and project needs.
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WHATEVER YOU BUILD, it’s your legacy. It’s there. You have to make sure it’s perfect [and] make sure your customers love it, because it’s something you have to own until the end. In my prior jobs, it’s been very easy for me to go into large corporations and make decisions not knowing anything about any one of the politics. It’s been very easy for me to say “Oh, this is the right thing to do. We should just do it.” When you move into a position like I have with AT&T things change. All of a sudden you are having to build the systems, but you’re also having to support them, own them, be responsible for them, make sure your customers love them. I think that’s been a huge experience for me. It’s made me a better IT professional. It’s made me look at the business, not just the technology. It’s helped me understand my customers. For me, everyone should take a role being inside industry before they go out and consult. The world has changed. The world has gone mobile. One of the most successful things that we have done, we have enabled a single platform for wireless/wireline network processes to have different business
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be improving and innovating and doing something different, changing things up. I’ve learned that with my job. The people that I work with are very much the same way. They’re not happy with just building something and saying I’ve done my job. They want to build it and then they want to make it better and then make it better. They’re willing to go back and look at [it] and say “you know what, that doesn’t look quite right. Let’s do it differently to make it better.”
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to have an open environment and atmosphere to build a quality project. I think that’s why my group has been so successful.
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the work that you’ve done actually makes a difference, then I believe you’ve been successful. I define it in the terms have you made a change. I’ve succeeded when I’ve made a difference in my customer’s lives. AT&T really makes an effort with customer experience. We’re in the business where we need to create new businesses. We’re in a business where we need to mobilize everything. Our goal is to stay really good at our basics; make sure we have the supplier diversity that we need; deliver the future for our customers; unleashing human capabilities. As always, operating with integrity and trust. H
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VOCES IN THEIR WORDS
“I TRIED NOT TO STAND OUT, AND AS A CONSEQUENCE, I MISSED OUT ON OPPORTUNITIES.” Hector Garcia knows what it’s like to be a minority in his field. Here, the Cognizant Technology Solutions director of human resources shares how he’s trying to diversify the IT field by creating a welcoming environment and mentorship opportunities for women, Latinos, and veterans. INTERVIEW BY MICHELLE MARKELZ
What was your first experience with the HR function? My father had a propane gas retail and delivery business in Puerto Rico where I grew up. The business became part of the family. When you were old enough to drive, it was time to learn the family trade. Dad was a people person, highly skilled with customers. I learned from him how to listen and engage with people, what it means to provide customer service, and how to grow the business. His model was, “The customer comes first,” which was a great foundation for me as a business professional. What made him successful with customers that you have been able to emulate? My father had great understanding and compassion. I remember once as a young man I made a mistake with one of the customers and was really worried about how my dad would react. When he found out, he just looked at me and said, “Things happen, but when they do, you have to take ownership and focus on the solution.” I was expecting this harsh reprimand, and it was more of an understanding that I got from him.
TRADING WORDS WITH
HECTOR GARCIA INTEGRITY
All decisions must be aligned with our core values. Any decisions or actions that are contrary to any of the core values are not good decisions. Never compromise on your values.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying a different approach to achieve a better outcome. It’s difficult to think out of the box if you are in the box.
Family, friends, and the colleagues that stand by you when times are tough.
Why was it important for Cognizant to create the Women Empowered affinity group? A female leader from one of our client companies commented that most of the staff members at our meetings were men. We committed to her and to our other customers that we’d develop a program to enable females. Cognizant has a great story to tell when it comes to empowering women, and we wanted women to have a resource that reinforced their ability to lead. The IT field tends to have low female participation, so it’s tough to attract women and retain them. We [Cognizant] are now partnered with our customers to host sessions where our female customer leaders engage our female employees for cross mentoring. Do you have plans to create similar affinity group projects for other minority groups for Cognizant? Yes. I’m working on groups for Latinos and veterans next, and we hope to replicate the success we’ve had with the Women Empowered group.
Has your background in the military or your heritage as a Latino helped you in connecting with these groups? Yes, yet on the Latino front it’s been tough. Just as it is for women, there are not many Latinos in IT. We’ve been partnering with campuses for recruiting, and have a good footprint at the University of Arizona where we’ve been hosting diversity engagement sessions with students for the last three years. From a veteran standpoint, it’s been a little easier. Because I know how critical it was for me as a veteran, we’re trying to create a buddy program to help them transition, especially during those critical first 90 days of the on-boarding process.
What is one thing you would do differently in your career if you could go back in time? In the beginning of my career, I felt very self-conscious about my accent and my Latino heritage. I tried not to stand out, and as a consequence, I missed out on opportunities. In retrospect, if I could do it again I would seek out the opportunities that would capitalize on my individuality, my bilingual skills, and Hispanic heritage being central to who I am as a person. Today, I’m the colead for Cognizant’s veteran and Latinos affinity groups and a member of the diversity council. Also, I have been appointed to lead the HR function for Latin America. These are new areas for me and offer opportunities to enhance and develop my career. H
PHOTO: FREDO VIOLA
THE FUTURE IS NOW. LET’S PUT IT TO WORK. cognizant.com/careers
TOP-DOWN RECRUITING Korn/Ferry International’s Victor Arias works to change the face of the corporate boardroom BY JULIE SCHAEFFER
he executive recruiting business isn’t one you aspire to get into when you’re entering the business world,” says Victor Arias, a senior client partner with executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. “The most successful consultants are those that have established careers elsewhere first.” That’s because good recruiters are experts in their fields, Arias says. “They know the sector and the people and the trends, and
that allows them to be effective at finding the right talent,” he adds. Arias—a second-generation Mexican who worked in banking and real estate for almost two decades before joining Korn/Ferry—followed that career path. “Amorphously, I wanted to go into business, because I saw my father, who didn’t finish high school, and my mother, who had only a high school degree, work really hard,” he says. “But I didn’t know where a business career would take me.” What catapulted Arias into a successful
executive recruiting career, he says, was his skill at developing and maintaining personal relationships. Today, he places executives in positions at mid- to large-size global entities, with a focus on boards of director searches for Korn/Ferry, a global giant in executive talent solutions, with 3,000 employees in 80 offices. It’s an area Arias knows well, given his own extensive involvement with boards. In fact, his 1996 appointment to the Stanford University board of trustees, a who’s who of 34 nationally recognized business leaders,
was the inflection point that drove him into recruiting. “I thought, this is an incredibly humbling opportunity to serve with lots of people that I really admire,” he says. That appointment would also connect him with another board member, a partner at a private-equity firm seeking independent directors for a portfolio company, AFC Enterprises, the parent company for Popeye’s Chicken. Arias’s experience there solidified his knowledge of the boardroom. “I’ve sat in those boardroom seats, so I know exactly what clients are looking for, and I know what to convey to potential candidates in terms of the rigor of being a board member and the speed bumps to watch for along the way,” he says. Much of Arias’s work today is dedicated to seeking diversity in the business world.
Although Arias’s parents were born in the United States, he grew up in a traditional Mexican neighborhood of El Paso, Texas, and his first languages were both Spanish and English. “I have strong ties to my culture, and feel strongly that Latinos are very relevant to the continued success of this country, and if the rest of the country doesn’t see it that way, we’re doomed as nation,” Arias says, who was recently named global leader of diversity and inclusion for Korn/Ferry. To increase the number of Latinos in the business world, Arias is starting in a place he knows well: the top. “In the professional world, I see a lot of opportunities for companies to become better at attracting the Hispanic consumer, and the only way they can do that is by starting at the
“I see a lot of opportunities for companies to become better at attracting the Hispanic consumer, and the only way they can do that is by starting at the top and putting in Latino directors.” Victor Arias Senior Client Partner | Korn/Ferry International
MENTOR FOR A MINUTE “You absolutely need to have the highest level of integrity. Be truthful to yourself and to others, and be the best at what you are good at. Don’t try to be something you’re not.”
top and putting in Latino directors. We have to start with the corporate boardroom,” he says. In addition to recruiting Latinos for Korn/Ferry whenever possible, Arias has worked closely with the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR), one of the largest Hispanic advocacy organizations in the country, to create exposure around the topic. Over the past few years, the association has convened thirty-some corporate directors and asked them to develop plans to change the face of boardroom by increasing the number of Latinos on boards. That process was broken down in the documentary feature The Insider Game, which won the Fall 2011 CINE Golden Eagle Award in the professional nontelecast, nonfiction division, and motivational category. “It’s a wonderful documentation of our attempt to reach this goal in that it shows not only the frustrations many of us have experienced, but also the processes we’re using to succeed,” Arias says. “It entails the right business case, both as an outsider game where others can put pressure on boards, as well as an insider game—how those of us on boards can influence the folks we interact with.” H
WE HONOR GAELA GEHRING FLORES’ COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE. Gaela Gehring Flores of Arnold & Porter is recognized for her commitment to excellence in international arbitration and her dedication to being a pillar in the Hispanic community. We’re honored that she’s among the many industry leaders that rely on WestlawNext® to help deliver unparalleled service to their clients. Hear what customers are saying about WestlawNext at WestlawNext.com.
© 2013 Thomson Reuters L-384011/4-13 Thomson Reuters and the Kinesis logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters.
PHOTO: SHEILA BARABAD
SPEAKING UP Gaela Gehring Flores combines her love of language with her passion for law as an international litigator at Arnold & Porter LLP BY MATT ALDERTON
n the 1970s, most kids spent their summers outside, swimming at the public pool, or riding their bikes in search of an ice cream truck. Not Gaela Gehring Flores. While other kids spent their summer vacations in backyards and on beaches, she spent hers learning Spanish at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, an hour outside her rural home. “From age five on, I was in Spanish-immersion school in the summer,” says Gehring Flores, whose mother is first-generation Mexican-American. “Interestingly enough, my mom doesn’t speak that much Spanish. When she was growing up, the most important thing was assimilating. Even though her parents could have taught her Spanish, they decided it was against her best interests—reasonably so at the time. So, when she saw from a very young age that I had an interest in Spanish, it touched her quite a bit.” Every day each summer, her mother drove Gehring Flores an hour each way to Spanish-immersion school. And when she couldn’t, Gehring Flores took the bus. “For most kids, that would have been the pinnacle of drudgery,” says Gehring Flores, now a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, a Washington, DC-based law firm. “But for me, it was an exciting opportunity.” Where her linguistic interests come from is a mystery. “For some reason, I had this huge drive to learn Spanish, even
though there weren’t a lot of people in my town who knew Spanish, or even remotely supported the idea of being bilingual,” Gehring Flores continues. She felt the same drive to become a lawyer, declaring it her chosen profession at age 12. “I told my mother at the very ripe age of five that I was going to be president. I downgraded a bit from there and decided that I wanted to be a lawyer,” Gehring Flores says. She studied political science and international relations at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, after which she got her law degree at Georgetown University. “I’m not sure where I got the idea to become a lawyer; call it divine intervention.” “Divine intervention” is a good way to put it, as Gehring Flores found her calling instinctually, almost as a matter of fate. “My dream manifested itself relatively early on,” she says. “I didn’t just want to be a lawyer; I wanted to be able to use my language skills and my familiarity with Latin American culture to one day help others.” Unfortunately, professors told her that her dream job didn’t exist. “I wanted my linguistic and cultural background to be part of who I was as a lawyer,” Gehring Flores says, “but my professors and mentors warned me that a lot of lawyers with language skills are reduced to being glorified translators.” Initially, those same professors encouraged Gehring Flores to pursue a career in
corporate or transactional law, which is the type of law that most attorneys with language skills practice, flexing their linguistic skills in pursuit of transnational business deals. “Early on in law school, however, I learned that I really liked the litigation aspect of the law more than the corporate or transactional aspects of the law,” Gehring Flores says. “I really enjoyed written and oral advocacy, so my mentors and professors who were with me at that time encouraged me to focus on litigation.” Gehring Flores therefore persisted with her goals, ultimately pursuing a career in international litigation at the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. “Paul Weiss was and still is known for its very prestigious and very robust international litigation practice,” says Gehring Flores, who practiced at Paul Weiss until she was a sixth year associate. “I thought, ‘I’m going to go to a law firm that has a really dynamic international litigation practice and see if I can build something there that fits with my vision.’” At Paul Weiss, Gehring Flores discovered a new legal passion—commercial international arbitration—when she represented the Japanese engineering firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a trade secrets case against an Italian competitor, appearing before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration. Because she loved it so much, she revised her dream appropriately. “I wanted someday to work on arbitration that somehow involved Latin America,” she says. That day came in 2002, when Gehring Flores was offered a job as an associate at the law firm White & Case, which was establishing a Latin American branch of its international investment arbitration practice. “It was my dream job,” says Gehring Flores, who has been at Arnold & Porter since 2007, representing sovereign nations around the world in international investment disputes brought against them by foreign investors, as allowed by thousands of bilateral international investment treaties. “The type of arbitration I do
“I had this vision that Spanishlanguage skills and experience in Latin American culture would provide clients with a particular comparative advantage.” Gaela Gehring Flores Partner | Arnold & Porter LLP
involves disputes regarding investments that are covered by international treaties, which give investors from the signatory countries the ability to sue if they’ve made a foreign investment in a country, and they feel that the country expropriated their investment unlawfully, discriminated against them, or otherwise treated them unfairly.” Gehring Flores—who has represented nations such as Chile, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Venezuela—attributes the success of her practice to the marriage of linguistics with law, which she knew, against all odds, would be advantageous. “Before we built our practice, our clients were happy to be represented by lawyers who didn’t speak their language or understand their culture,” she says. “But I had this vision that Spanish-language skills and experience in Latin American culture would provide clients with a particular comparative advantage, and I think I was right.” The Global Arbitration Review thinks so, too, as it called Arnold & Porter theC “large international arbitration practice that impressed the most” in 2012. “I pinchM myself every day when I think of what I do,”Y says Gehring Flores, who also puts her legal CM and language expertise to work for US Latinos—something she’s done since she wasMY an undergraduate at the University of Illi-CY nois, where she worked as a tutor to minorCMY ity students, many of who were Latino. “It’s very, very important to me that I supportK Latinos in my community, and that I use my linguistic and cultural skills for good.” To that end, Gehring Flores—who serves on her firm’s diversity committee and often mentors minority attorneys—frequently represents documented and undocumented immigrants pro bono in immigration cases, affording them the same opportunity she had to create and pursue a dream. “I think it’s very important to give the people in this country who are the most disenfranchised a voice,” she says. “They deserve legal standing to make themselves heard.” H
A MESSAGE FROM SÁNCHEZ DEVANNY New “Ley de Amparo” Excites Legal Community Mexican Congress is close to approving a new “Ley de Amparo” (law that governs the constitutional review by Federal Judges on authoritative actions). The previous law dated back to 1936, and this new law has provisions intended to protect a broader scope of human rights, in accordance with the International Treaties signed by Mexico. The Mexican legal community would welcome the passage of this new law.
TURNING THE DIAL With only $300 to his name and a one-way ticket in hand, André Mendes boarded a plane headed to the United States in hopes of escaping political upheaval in his native Portugal. Three decades later, Mendes is the CIO and director of the Office of Technology, Services and Innovation for the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, DC. INTERVIEW BY CHRIS SHEPPARD
What made you get into this profession? About 39 years ago my native country underwent a revolution that replaced a 48year fascist dictatorship with a communist regime. My family and I found ourselves huddled around a shortwave radio listening to the Voice of America (VOA) and the BBC as we tried to find out what was happening in our own country. [When] I was offered the opportunity to manage the global infrastructure for VOA and the other US civilian broadcasts abroad ... it was my opportunity to serve this most honorable mission and pay back the gift of information that my family and I had so eagerly received back in the early ’70s.
What is the best advice you have ever received? What is today, won’t be tomorrow. Change will continue to accelerate and you must embrace it or rapidly become obsolete.
What is your favorite thing about working in your field? The fact that it is undertaking such rapid transformation, offering enormous opportunity for impactful leadership.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I have a wallaby as a house-trained pet.
How do you see your industry changing in the next coming years? What advice would you give to others to prepare? Broadcasting will become a gigantic combination of content acquisition, content packaging and content distribution modalities. Media companies must build in standardization and flexibility so that they can accommodate all of the content consumption desires of their target populations. Operational agility will be an imperative. Those who have it will thrive and those who don’t will perish.
Where did you go to school? I got my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Maryland.
Biggest milestone? Landing in the United States of America at Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, at exactly 2:32 on July 31st, 1979. I fulfilled a longtime dream to move to the greatest country in the world and began my journey alone as an independent adult at age 17.
What’s your biggest mistake? Ever thinking that I could drive a massive technology migration project by myself without the support of the organization’s senior leadership.
What’s one story or lesson that you like to share? Early in my career, having nothing to lose, I was an iconoclast that always followed my instincts and did what I thought was right. Later in life, as I became encumbered by financial obligations and expectations, I occasionally become too cautious and wavered in my commitment to embracing change. I saw the error of my ways and once again became energized in my pursuit of thoughtful, meaningful, but constant improvement regardless of the personal risk associated with goring sacred cows.
What advice would you give to others hoping to follow in your footsteps? Always strive to be thoughtful and pragmatic. You can almost always get what you want by wanting what is best for the mission you decide to serve. Choose your mission carefully lest you confuse success with personal gain.
How do you maintain a good work/life balance? I always start a new job with the best of intentions and gradually find myself working longer and longer hours as I become more and more engaged. Once I recognize the pattern I try to pull back a bit and settle on a happy medium, but in today’s environment, it certainly takes a constant effort to recognize and abide by the need to keep that balance. H
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