Hispanic Executive #29

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Hispanic Executive

cover photo by SHEILA BARABAD

Robert Chavez and Jorge Ramos lead off our Top 10 Líderes lineup. Both men are shaping American culture in their respective industries. Read how their fellow leaders are leaving their marks across the business landscape.

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IN THIS ISSUE VOCES SPOTLIGHT Carlos Aguilera is promoting diversity at Chevron. Read how the other executives in our Voces section are taking up the same cause. Pg. 150

NEGOCIOS SPOTLIGHT Myrna Soto shares her tips for Internet self-defense. Pg. 38

WORLDVIEW SPOTLIGHT Five experts contribute to our Worldview Latin American field report, providing insights on emerging markets, entry strategy, and the value of heritage. Pg. 129-40

Ana de la Reguera has been admired for her beauty. In Veracruz, she tackled the ugly aftermath of Hurricane Karl. Pg. 108


DEPARTMENTS p. 13 p. 93 p. 149

Negocios Getting Down to Business Cultura Beyond the 9 to 5 Voces Conversations with movers and shakers





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Editor in Chief Christopher Howe

Director of Strategic Partnerships


VP of Production/ Creative Director Karin Bolliger

Krista Lane Horbenko

Reprints Director Stacy Kraft



Managing Editor KC Caldwell

Designer Elena Bragg

Director of Account Management Jeffrey Powell

PR Director Vianni Busquets

Senior Photo Editor/ Staff Photographer Sheila Barabad

Underwrites Director Justin Joseph


Copy Editor Michelle Markelz michelle@hispanicexecutive.com

Staff Writers Michelle Markelz Mary Kenney


Correspondents Matt Alderton Zach Baliva Olivia Castañeda Ruth Dávila Joe Dyton Julie Edwards Rachel Hudak Evan La Ruffa Kelli Lawrence Amy Martino Becky May Julie Schaeffer Kat Silverstein Olivia Sorrel-Dejerine Tina Vasquez Maureen Wilkey

President Pedro Guerrero

Guerrero Howe, LLC

CEO & Publisher Christopher Howe


Account Managers Kyle Evangelista Griselda Reyes Daniela Scarpetta Sales Executives Stacy Kraft Eric Delgadillo Client Services Director Cheyenne Eiswald Senior Client Services Manager Rebekah Pappas


Director of Recruiting and Retention Lauren Miller Staff Accountant Mokena Trigueros Executive Assistants Lauren Kiddy Cassie Rose Receptioninst Amanda Paul Office

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Líderes de Primera

EDITING A TOP 10 LÍDERES ISSUE leaves you to inevitably ponder: What makes a leader? What traits and practices do these extraordinary individuals have in common? The successful Latinos featured in this issue stress a few ideas again and again. Leaders are mentors, and they have their own mentors as well. Leaders are hyperadept at networking. And finally, leaders appreciate a diversity of ideas. In the business realm, that translates to Latinos in C-suite positions and on corporate boards. Hispanos are going to be the majority of the United States population, and capable leaders exist among the ranks, needing only to begin reflecting their demographic at the highest levels.

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2 pg 14

That is the very mission of HACR (the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility). At the beginning of the issue, we introduce the new leadership of HACR{1} as well as ALPFA {2} (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting). Annother common trait well-connected and successful Latinos share is membership and contributions to these and similar organizations. So what’s the holdup? HACR member Mauricio Pincheira {3} says, “We do not have a lot of role models for Hispanics in business, community, or government. We have our George Lopezes, but where are the educators? Where are the CEOs? Where are the government leaders that represent us?” Here are ten of them—our 2014 top 10 líderes. A Latino kid from San Antonio, Robert Chavez {4} worked his way to the helm of Hermès of Paris. Its French “Alta Costura” label is synonymous with exclusivity and luxury. Chavez drives change quietly, shaping the Hermès label in the United States and implementing growth while staying true to the high quality the brand is known for. He is just the sort of CEO and role model Mauricio Pincheira is seeking. Other leaders are not so quiet. Univision’s Jorge Ramos{5}, armed with a TV camera and a microphone, drives change day and night. Whether he is swimming across the Rio Grande to give us an idea of what Latin American refugees are facing, or challenging members of Congress and President Obama on policy and broken promises, Ramos speaks for those who do not have a voice. More than a leader, he is a force of nature.

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4 pg 58


Hispanic Executive will open the new year with a fresh look and feel. Beyond uniting powerful leaders, we will embark on our expanded mission to create a forum for their insights, opinions, and stories—every other month!


All-stars from the professional sports arena open up their business play books for a look at 2015 and beyond. We find out what makes a winning corporate roster and how to score points for the team from the front office.

The remainder of the líderes on our list {6} are equally impressive. Whether they improve lives financially, innovate IT, promote sustainability, insure veterans, invest in growth, champion diversity, propel Latino mobility, or work tirelessly to register Hispanic voters, they are role models of the first order. Hispanic Executive’s mission in this issue is to support and promote the development of those role models. We offer proof of the genius, talent, power, and tidal wave of potential that lies within our numbers. The statistics are known. It’s time to claim leadership.

KC Caldwell Managing Editor

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6 pg 56






The Uniting Powerful Leaders VIP dinner event was held in downtown Los Angeles at trendy rooftop lounge Perch on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. PHOTOS BY NOEL BASS

Hispanic Executive was proud to launch the Uniting Powerful Leaders (UPL) Dinner Series this year in partnership with Northwestern Mutual. Each of the UPL dinners has the mission of bringing together current and past featured executives to celebrate the power of the Hispanic business community and our collective successes. “We are proud to toast in the successes of these distinguished leaders,” says Pedro A. Guerrero, president of Hispanic Executive. “Our continued dedication to advocating for Latino leadership is precisely why we created a dinner series that unites the country’s top Hispanic business leaders in an intimate setting that helps foster long-standing relationships among like-minded executives.”

Perch, Los Angeles

The next Uniting Powerful Leaders dinner will be held in New York City on October 22, 2014 in celebration of HE’s 2014 Top 10 Líderes.

We had the incredible honor of having our July cover star Regina Montoya join us for this intimate gathering. Joining Montoya were Nestor Barrero, vice president of employment law at NBCUniversal; Daisy Auger-Dominguez, vice president of talent acquisition and organization and workforce at ABC Disney Group; Andres Astralaga, vice president of human resources for NFL Media; Art Marquez, senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing at Pac-12 Enterprises; Dorene Dominguez, CEO and chairman of Vanir Group; Alexander Arrieta, vice president of global human resources for JD Power & Associates; Jessica Priego, President and CEO of JPriego Communications; Michael Estrella, producer; Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, executive vice president and chief Hispanic strategist at Walton Isaacson; José Castellon, director of aerospace systems diversity and inclusion at Northtrop Grumman; Berenice Nunez, director of regulatory affairs and Latino affairs for Molina Healthcare; Simon Lopez, president and CEO of HACE; Michelle Bergman, vice president of human relations communications strategy for The Walt Disney Company; Christine Cadena, vice president multicultural initiatives, The Walt Disney Company; Vanessa Robledo, CEO of Black Coyote Wines; Andres Rodriguez of Arenas Marketing; Areva Martin, managing partner at Martin & Martin; Jasmine Medina, and Martin Terrazas, financial advisors at Northwestern Mutual; and Pedro A. Guerrero, president of Hispanic Executive.

UPCOMING EVENTS 09.30-10.04, 2014

Latino Fashion Week Chicago, IL


Uniting Powerful Leaders: Top 10 Líderes Dinner

From left to right: Teresa Samaniego of ABC7, Art Marquez, and Christine Cadena.

From left to right: John Guerra, Dorene Dominguez, Daisy Auger-Dominguez, and our July/Aug/Sept issue cover girl, Regina Montoya.

New York City, NY

11.09-11.11, 2014

2014 ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference Miami, FL

11.20-11.21, 2014

Q4 HITEC Leadership Summit and HITEC 100 Gala Silicon Valley, CA


Hispanic Executive

From left to right: Actor Carlos Carrasco, Jasmine Medina, Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, and Pedro Guerrero.

HE director of strategic partnerships Krista Lane Horbenko (left) and Michael Estrella (right).


The spring session of the series was held at the brand new Nico Osteria located inside the hip Thompson Hotel at 21 E. Bellevue Pl. on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Nico Osteria, Thompson Hotel, Chicago


Joining HE for this event were Peter Muñiz, vice president and general counsel for GE Commercial Distribution Finance; Carlos Cata, managing partner for CTPartners; Andrés Tapia, senior partner for Korn/Ferry International; Manny Sanchez, founding and managing partner of Sanchez Daniels and Hoffman LLP; Lucino Sotelo, head of digital marketing for Grant Thornton; Dr. Patricia Arredondo, president of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Jessica Priego, president of JPriego Communications; Ricardo Rodriguez, director of revenue management for Sara Lee Foods Services, a division of Hillshire Brands; Luis Avila, assistant general counsel for US Foods; Scott Kapp, partner at SNR Denton; Jamie Delgadillo, financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual and Pedro A. Guerrero, president of Hispanic Executive.

Scott Kapp (center) with Carlos Cata (right) and Andrea Gosz (left) of CTPartners.

Jaime Delgadillo (left) and Hispanic Executive managing editor KC Caldwell (right).

Nicholas Delgado (center) with Luis Avila (left) and John Paul Estrada (right).

Andrés Tapia (center), a contributor to HE’s 2014 ERG spotlight, talks to Carlos Cata (left) and Andrea Gosz (right).


The invite-only, VIP event was held in Miami Beach’s beautiful Setai Hotel at 2001 Collins Ave. on Wednesday, February 18, 2014. PHOTOS BY ANA ZANGRONIZ

Setai Hotel, Miami

HE PR director Vianni Busquets (center) with Lorraine Medici (left) and Jesse McLaughlin (right) of Perry Ellis.


Evelina Tejada of Northwestern Mutual gives a toast at UPL Miami.

From left to right: Iñigo Abaroa, Enrique López, Juan Manuel Echeverri, Pedro Guerrero, and Gabriel Abaroa, Jr.

Joining HE for this event were Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of The Latin Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences; Jorge Plasencia and Luis Casamayor, co-owners of ad agency República, LLC; Ana Siegel, senior vice president and general counsel for FOX Latin America; Maria del Busto, global chief human resources officer for Royal Caribbean; Enrique López of Trendy, Inc.; Flora Perez, vice president and deputy general counsel for Ryder System, Inc.; Lorraine Medici, vice president of marketing for Perry Ellis International; Elisa Hernandez, vice president of human resources for the Florida Panthers; Jordan Laser, managing director with Northwestern Mutual; Dan Muehlbach, field marketing consultant with Northwestern Mutual.




Latino designers hit the runway BY CESAR ROLON Latino Fashion Week Founder


atino Fashion Week (LFW) is the only fashion show in the United States dedicated to Latino fashion. For my cofounder, Arabel Alva Rosales, and I, it is more than just a show. It’s a movement. In 2007 I saw the need to create a support system for Latino designers and models here in Chicago. Now with a national tour that stops in Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles, LFW celebrates its eighth year. This year’s theme is “Beyond Exceptional,” and its next show is Chicago, where it all began. LFW’s signature fashion week will be held October 1-5 in Chicago, with the tour making its final stop in Miami in November. Some of the designers and brands featured this year include, Kelvin Giovanni of Puerto Rico, Ximena Valero of Mexico, Tinta Mar of Colombia, Timoteo of Los Angeles, and the incomparable Lazaro Perez.

TINTA MAR Just one of the latest swimwear lines directly from Colombia, Tinta Mar is taking the industry by storm. Their creative designs are elaborated using handcrafted, artisan materials such as sequins, crow beads, and coral thread.

XIMENA VALERO Mexican-born and now living in Los Angeles, Valero has thrived on the fashion scene both in Latin America and the United States. She was the winner of the International Award for Designer of the Year for Excellence in Evening Wear at 2007’s Miami Fashion Week. Valero undoubtedly creates “transformable” fashion—that is, women’s apparel that can be worn in many different ways.


KELVIN GIOVANNIE Positioned in Puerto Rico as one of the upand-coming, top designers of his generation, Giovannie’s inspiration is classic style, sophisticated, feminine, and romantic. His designs and collections are effortless and wearable, reflecting elegance and glamour. His work emphasizes femininity using luxurious fabrics, neutral colors, and finishes to give a touch of craft to enhance the artistry in each piece.

TIMOTEO Timoteo Ocampo is an American designer based in Los Angeles. He launched his signature TIMOTEO fashion line, which consists of underwear, swimwear, sportswear, denim, and accessories. The Timoteo line has quickly grown into a worldwide brand and is sold at specialty stores and online in North America, Europe, Asia, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, and South America.


LAZARO PEREZ Lazaro Perez, designer of the Lazaro and Tara Keely collections, is known for his impeccable fit and glamorous collections featuring exquisite beading and embroidery with dramatic silhouettes. With more than 20 years of design experience, Lazaro is regarded as one of the industry’s premier bridal designers. Lazaro’s work has frequently been recognized by the fashion industry and national news media and is definitely one of my favorites.




Name dropping with Hispanic Executive


A B C Acosta-Rubio, Ariel


Aguilera, Carlos 150 Alaniz, Leo 176 ALPFA 14 Alvarez, Luis 45 Anderson, A. Scott 16 Areas 119 Badia, Alejandro 30 Baltazar, Andres 130A Barragan, Roberto 122 Black Coyote Wines 147 Bordas, Juana 106 Campos, Tim 72 Carvajal, Enrique 124 Castillo, Arnold 131 Cata, Carlos 160 Celistics 138 Cento, Juan 129 Cerdas, Henry 141 Charles, Garcia 14 Chavez D’Angelo, Luella 68 Chavez, Robert 58 Chevron 150 Churromania 29 Cisco Systems 163 CNN en Español 112 Coca-Cola 76 Comcast 38 Consumers Energy 158 Crasqí 20 CTPartners 160

D E F Darden Restaurants 52 De la Reguera, Ana 108 Deloitte 134 Devarie, Elda 22 Diaz, Monica 84 Dominguez, Michael 164 Edison International 173 Egusquiza, Raquel 101 EMD Sales 22 ESPN 84 Facebook 72 FedEx 129 FTI Consulting 131 Fumasoni, Marcelo 126 Fusion 62

G H I Garcia, Charles Garcia, Daniel Garcia, Yvonne Gracias, Antonio Gonzalez, Sandra


Hispanic Executive

14 168 14 80 145

HACR 18 Health Partners Plans 170 Hermès 58 Hernandez, Oscar 119 InPulse Digital 103 Insignares, Valerie 52 Irazú 141

J K L Janiot, Patricia 112 JPMorgan Chase 156 Kaiser Permanente 168 Kumar, Maria Teresa 89 Lancer Corporation 45 Latino Fashion Week 11 Legaz, Mariano 87 Lichtinger, Pedro 136

M N O Machado, Dorys 33 Martinez, Fernando 36 Mata, Os 134 Menéndez, Antonio 94 MGM Resorts 164 MillerCoors 33 NBCUniversal 101 Northern Trust 176 Northwestern Mutual 50A Novartis Pharmaceuticals 126 Oliver Group 26 Oliver-Farrow, Elizabeth 26 OrthoNOW 30

P Q R Palomarez, Javier 16 Paramount Pictures 94 Parkland Health and Hospital System 36 Parthenon Group 48 Pedregal, Alex 20 Pedregal, Astrid 20 Perez, Angelica 145 Perez, Bea 76 Perez Eye Care 145 Perez Vorona, Patricia 145 Phoenix College 161 Pincheira, Mauricio 158 Pollack, Jaime 98 Portocarrero, Rolando J. 170 Prusky, Diego 103 Quiroga, Mariana 166 Ramos, Jorge 62 Ríos, Jose Antonio 138 Rivera, Ileana 163 Robledo, Vanessa 147 Robles, Josue 78 Roosevelt University 116 Rosa, Jacqueline L. 156 Rolon, Cesar 11

S T U Saenz, Andres 48 Sigue 124 Solley, Anna 161 Soto, Myrna 38 UFC 98 Univision 62 USAA 78 USHCC 16

V W X Y Z Valley Economic Development Center 122 Valor Equity 80 Vargas, Israel 116 Vasquez, Gaddi 173 Verizon 87 Voto Latino 89 Western Union 68 Wilson, Cid 18

InPulse Digital 104 JPMorgan Chase 2 Juniper Networks 42 Kaiser Permanente 169 KPMG 34

M N O Medartis National Museum of Mexican Art NCLR NEA Foundation Northwestern Mutual

32 105 10 28 50E

P Q R Parthenon Group 50 Penrhyn Voyer 128 Phoenix College 162 Quaker 3 RGA 172

S T U ADVERTISERS A B C Arbor Networks 40 Areas USA 121 AXS Event Group 70 Boys and Girls Clubs of America 137 Cameron 154 Celistics 140 Check Point 44 Chevron 155 Cisco 37 Comcast 179 Consumers Energy 159

D E F Deloitte 135 Darden 54 Disney 4 DLA 139 EMD Sales 24 Ernst & Young 177 Estudio Garcia 96 Fluor 152 FTI Consulting 133

G H I Go East Design GroupM (Accenture) HACR Halliburton Healthplex HITEC IAE Business School Inca Kola Ink PR

167 41 55 152 171 51 128 24 100

Sigue 125 Southern California Edison 175 Symantec 43 TD Bank 171 Tylenol 180

V W X Y Z Western Union Zinking On

71 97


Getting down to business



ALPFA’s new leadership aims to teach Latinos the power of influence.



USHCC’s annual convention adds Salt Lake flavor to its CEO panel.



HACR’s new CEO will use Wall Street wits to expand the organization’s corporate reach.

HONESTY TO GOODNESS The MillerCoors business transformation.



CYBER SECURITY GUARD Comcast’s first infrastructure and information security officer on digital defense.


Luis Alvarez brought the lean ethic to Lancer.


Andres Saenz started as an intern then quadrupled the business at Parthenon Group.


From playing restaurant to restaurant president: Valerie Insignares’s path to leadership.


FRESH FACES Young swim trunk designers make a splash with prints for men.


THE KEYS TO SUCCESS From EMD Sales, minivan mercado-turned-multimilliondollar enterprise.


ENTREPRENEUR’S PLAYBOOK Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow explains what the most enterprising demographic must do to become staid businessowners.


BRAND EXPANSION Churromania hits the United States.




How OrthoNOW capitalized on emergency room inefficiency.


“Imagine a world in which all of our gadgets—our can openers, garage doors, grills, lights, cars, health devices, TVs, and blenders—are IP-enabled.” MYRNA SOTO

Chief Information & Infrastructure Security Officer Comcast




CEO and president team take ALPFA to a new level Under a new CEO, one of America’s most respected professional organizations aims to increase membership, leadership development, and influence BY ZACH BALIVA


n June of 2014, the board of directors of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), one of the nation’s largest and most established Latino professional organizations, announced that CEO Manny Espinoza would be succeeded by Charles Garcia, a lawyer, business owner, Fortune 500 board member, decorated military officer, bestselling author, and presidential advisor. Garcia’s main objective is to advance ALPFA’s mission to develop leaders of character for CHARLES GARCIA the nation and create lifelong professional opportunities for CEO its robust membership: 23,000 ALPFA members within 42 professional and 128 student chapters across the nation. Hispanic Executive sat down with Charles Garcia and ALPFA national president and chairwoman Yvonne Garcia (no relation) to hear their plans for the future of the organization. What are the most important ways in which ALPFA helps its members? Yvonne Garcia: It provides the best peer-to-peer network, leadership development, high-level networking, and access to top leaders across sectors. In fact, I credit ALPFA for my becoming senior vice president of investment manager services at State Street Corporation. The organization holistically YVONNE de velops le a der s c apable GARCIA of fulfilling top roles in top National President cor porations, inf using its and Chairwoman mission in all regional events ALPFA and programs. Our annual ALPFA convention is a forum for students and professionals to bond with one another, network with corporate


Hispanic Executive

partners, express interest in recruitment, and attend leadership development workshops. Talk about the career development aspect. Is ALPFA just for young professionals? Charles Garcia: Not at all. We hope to capture [Latinos’] hearts and minds in high school, support their development throughout college, and then connect them to professional work they’re passionate about to then help them succeed throughout all stages of their career. We are working to strengthen the pipeline from the student level all the way to Fortune 500 boards. As the new CEO, one of my goals is to strengthen our programs for senior leaders. We often lose members after 8-10 years as they reach senior executive levels and rely more on their own company’s leadership development. But that is going to change. Are your members’ needs changing? And if so, how do you plan to respond? YG: I don’t think our members’ needs are changing, but the business world’s needs are. Technology not only changed the way we communicate and process data, it also drastically changed the speed at which we get things done. Our members strive to be leaders, and our organization is dynamic and responsive to position them. We are constantly improving our delivery and programs to meet both member and industry needs. With a new technology officer and Charlie’s leadership, we will be retooling our delivery model. CG: In the last 20 years, two-thirds of nonfinancial S&P 500 companies have failed to survive. They were replaced with upstart rivals faster than anything capitalism has ever experienced. These f unda ment a l cha nges c a n conf use


TAKING ALPFA PERSONALLY “ALPFA has given me the tools to lead a global team in one of the largest institutional banks in the country, [State Street Corporation]. It has given me professional visibility and an incredible network, which has sought me out when it needed leadership. My last five positions all came from networking and relationships built through ALPFA. ”



“I joined ALPFA after a diverse career in the military, business, government, law, and now the nonprofit world. I seek to leverage my experiences and vast networks for the benefit of ALPFA. As ALPFA’s CEO, I want to change the perception of the Latino. The media portrays us as gardeners or gangsters. I’d like to be a big part of taking that stereotype away. We are developing leaders of character for our nation to keep this country strong.” -CHARLES GARCIA


professionals. For example, you once came to an office with a corporate hierarchy and worked to please your boss. Now big companies typically place employees into teams in which people often work remotely. You have to know how to interact on a team to be successful. YG: Right. So, our members and leaders need to learn how to lead through influence versus authority. That lesson is the biggest gift ALPFA has given me. What are the biggest challenges facing the Latino professional today? C G : P r ofe s sion a l s’ work l i ve s are stressful, being bombarded with information 24/7 from multiple platforms. Balancing their work lives with their families and personal responsibilities—even managing their energy level—is extremely challenging. YG: Yes, balancing work and family is tough. Everybody faces it, of course, but the Latino culture especially comes into play here. We are often responsible for caring for our elders. It’s not uncommon for a Latino professional to have a parent living in his/ her household. Latinas have to balance their cultural instinct of always putting everyone else first. Twelve years ago, three ALPFA members took note of these issues and started our Women of ALPFA program. That’s how ALPFA responds to challenges with leadership. What value does ALPFA bring outside the organization? CG: I took this job because I believe that our country is at a key inflection point. We will have more than 10,000 older, mostly white baby boomers retiring every day for the next 18 years. They want to retire with their social security benefits, and that means we need young people to become workers and pay taxes into the system. One in four people under the age of 18 are Latino, and more than 1 million turn 18 every year. The workforce in some of our larger states is 40 percent Latino. Our country depends on this vibrant workforce for its future, and ALPFA’s mission is to empower and develop these Latino men and women into leaders of character for our nation in every sector of the American economy.

Charles, as the new CEO, what are your plans for the organization? CG: Historically, Latino organizations haven’t been known to pack a punch the likes of the US Chamber of Commerce, AARP, AIPAC, or other large, powerful American nonprofits. We need to learn from them. There are more than 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the United States, but only 150 of them have a budget greater than $50 million. I’d like ALPFA to be on that list. Finally, we intend to grow to more than 100,000 members in the next three years. YG: We are blessed to share a very similar vision on where we see the organization going. Charlie is a proven leader who understands the impact our demographic is having in the United States and abroad but more importantly, how to position us to leverage that. We’re confident in his ability to resonate with our many chapter leaders around the nation and to lead us to the next level. CG: We’ll also be making a big push to go after the entrepreneurial class. The strides in business ownership are particularly apparent among Latino women, who start businesses at a rate six times the national average. We need to support Latino entrepreneurs. Our competitive advantage is that we have professionals in ALPFA all across Fortune 1000 companies. These companies are not just looking for talent; they’re looking for diverse suppliers. We can help these Latino entrepreneurs grow by helping them win business. How do you picture ALPFA in 20 years? CG: Yvonne and I will be replaced with other leaders by then, but we hope that we will be able to closely coach those who will be our successors. I anticipate they will be better than us and will take us to new heights. ALPFA will be a recognized brand everywhere, and it will be one of the most powerful organizations in the United States and internationally. People will come to us for guidance, from business leaders to politicians. I expect to have more than a million members with very strong corporate partnerships. That’s where we’re going. We are creating a stronger America by empowering and developing leaders of character for our nation in every sector of the economy.




CEO Panel provides valuable insight at 35th USHCC convention Salt Lake City’s own A. Scott Anderson chimes in for host state Utah at the largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders in the country BY TINA VASQUEZ


he United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) casts a wide net , encompa ssing members of radically different backgrounds and drastically different industries. It’s a beautiful thing, but it also presents major challenges, especially when preparing for its annual national convention, the largest gathering of Hispanic businesses in the country. Each fall, USHCC’s CEO, Javier Palomarez, and his team strive to provide an educational, informative experience to each attendee. The challenges lie in catering to such a diverse crowd.

The USHCC represents 3.2 million Hispanicowned firms. The conference’s CEO Circle Panel is proving to be a great resource. Debuted several years ago, it features prominent CEOs who engage in a conversation with a guest


Hispanic Executive

moderator. At the 35th national convention, held in Salt Lake City, September 21-23, the president and CEO of Utah’s Zions First National Bank, A. Scott Anderson, spoke to Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large for Atlantic and National Journal. The panel, which is one of the convention’s most popular events, was A. SCOTT Palomarez’s attempt to provide ANDERSON the convention’s attendees with President and CEO some of the wisdom he was able to tap into during his more than Zions First National Bank 20 years in corporate America. “Getting time with CEOs to pick their brains was a very precious thing,” Palomarez says of his own development. “I valued that time, and it helped me develop a better understanding of the business, branding, and economic trends that implicated our industry. It was educational on many levels.” On the flip side, the panel allows USHCC members to hear what CEOs are looking for. Both the speaker and the members walk away with a better understanding of each other’s needs. The CEOs who participate are never


Salt Lake City was chosen as the site of the 2014 convention for its growing Hispanic entrepreneurship and appreciation of diversity.


told which topics to discuss, but inevitably, Palomarez says, they all touch on the importance of Hispanic businesses and consumers. “It’s very heartening,” he says, “for the USHCC and for our members to hear CEOs of major organizations recognize the importance of Hispanic-owned business.”

More than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations connect USHCC members. In order to keep with his goal of making the premiere event beneficial to a diverse crowd, Palomarez seeks out CEOs who vary in age, industry, and gender, though the person chosen must be a seasoned CEO who, ideally, works on a global scale. For the 35th annual convention, Palomarez was excited to snag A. Scott Anderson for the panel. Not only is Anderson headquartered in Salt Lake City, he also has more than two decades of experience. “It was great to have a hometown perspective, and given his experience in his industry, we knew he would give an enlightening, educational talk,” Palomarez says. “More personally, I hold Scott in very high regard. He is a very humble, decent man.”


Palomarez feels the same way about Utah’s governor, Gary Herbert. Herbert has embraced diversity and is welcoming of different cultures in the state, which is part of the reason USHCC chose Salt Lake City as this year’s conference site. The other major reason is that Utah is considered one of the best states to do business, according to recent findings by Forbes. “This is a state that truly embraces people, that recognizes their contributions,” Palomarez says. “They’re doing amazing things in this state. Wall Street Journal recently reported that it’s the number one economy in the country, before New York.

Chamber members contribute more than $468 billion to the American economy. The economy has done well because the state has embraced the Hispanic population, which has grown by 82 percent in 10 years. Hispanics are contributing billions, and the governor, rather than relying on emotion, has embraced these facts,” the USHCC CEO explains proudly. “USHCC is inspired by the state of Utah, and we’re honored to bring our convention here.”

“It’s very heartening for the USHCC and for our members to hear CEOs of major organizations recognize the importance of Hispanic-owned business.” JAVIER PALOMAREZ CEO, USHCC




HACR announces new president and CEO Cid Wilson takes the reins to continue the professional development organization’s mission and advance Hispanic inclusion in the C-suite BY MARY KENNEY


he spotlight Carlos F. Or ta recently stepped out of was a bright one. In his nearly eightyear tenure, the president and CEO of the Hispa nic A ssociation on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) doubled the organization’s revenue, added more than 20 corporate memberships, and designed several programs. After nearly six months of searching, CID the commit tee found a WILSON professional capable and worthy CEO of succeeding him. Cid Wilson HACR brings to HACR more than 20 years of Wall Street experience— he is a top equity analyst—multiple advisory board roles, and recognition by Forbes and Black Enterprise Magazine as an advocate for Afro-Latinos. Wilson, who traces his roots to Dominican-American parents in Washington Heights, N Y, described his plans for HACR to HE.


Hispanic Executive


How has your career prepared you for your role as president and CEO of HACR? This position brings together my greatest strengths. Having worked on Wall Street for two decades, I understand the language of corporate business. Because I’ve served on two corporate advisory boards (PepsiCo and Verizon), I understand them from the inside. I’m combining that background with the mission of HACR, which is to advocate for the inclusion of Latinos in corporations within the C-suite and on the boards of the nation’s largest companies.

“My top priority is to lead the effort to involve more Latinos at the C-suite level. To do that, we must expand our reach among Fortune 500 companies. We also need to produce a solid pool of Latino candidates to fill corporate positions.” CID WILSON

Expand on HACR’s big-picture mission? We’re really advocating for the boards and executive populations of corporations to have diversity that mirrors the buying power and presence of Latinos in the United States. We have well over $1 trillion in buying power. Currently, the diversity of major corporations doesn’t mirror the diversity of the nation, especially on their boards of directors.


What is your first priority at HACR? My top priority is to lead the effort to involve more Latinos at the C-suite level. To do that, we must expand our reach among Fortune 500 companies. We also need to produce a solid pool of Latino candidates to fill corporate positions. We need to have a multipronged approach to accomplish that mission. What needs to happen to make those goals possible? In the short term, we need to start building connections with corporations. In the long term, we need to have educational programs to build the pool of future board members and executives. We want to salute the companies working for diversity, and we want to demonstrate to other companies the ways in which HACR can help them grow diversity efforts. This is particularly true in industries with a heavy presence of Latino consumers, such as retail-oriented industries and businesses in geographic locations with a high concentration of Latinos.


How do you plan to expand HACR’s influence in Fortune 500 companies? We need to make initial contact with companies we haven’t reached before. Sometimes that contact is direct, and other times it comes through one of our current partners. What matters is that we get in. What happens once you’re in? We also need to expand our existing programs to continue developing more Latinos who are ready to serve on boards and in C-suite positions. That requires working with people who have already reached a certain level of achievement. What advantages does HACR already possess to make that possible? We’re not reinventing the wheel. I think we have some great success stories that we can use as models for the next class of potential Latino board members. In 2013, HACR conducted a study that emphasized the growing importance of employee resource groups (ERGs). Describe the ERG business advantage. Employee resource groups are critical to

meeting business goals. They are often the ambassadors of the company. Employees are involved in their communities, and they can identify opportunities for the company to participate in ways that the leaders might not have identified on their own. It’s a win-win-win for the employees, the company, and the community. ERGs achieve multiple goals. They improve retention, which improves productivity, which improves profitability. They also ensure there is a group within the company that can address concerns and challenges and offer solutions in a way that considers the company’s internal structure. That ranges from writing marketing strategies that are consistent with Latino culture to recognizing holidays that are important to different Latino employees. Will this knowledge impact HACR’s future work? Absolutely. ERGs are often the pipeline for Latinos to serve in the C-suite and on boards. ERGs also serve as the internal advocates that allow HACR to fulfill our mission. We’ll be reaching out to these groups because we need their voice to advocate internally the message we’re broadcasting nationally.







omen have hundreds of color and style options when it comes to swimwear. Men’s poolside options, however, are far more limited. Sisters Astrid and Alex Pedregal set out to change that when they founded Crasqí in 2012 in Miami. Astrid’s background in business and Alex’s experience in the film industry gave the two a perfect foundation to create the successful and innovative men’s swimwear business. In addition to giving men options, they’re giving back to the environment by donating one percent of their annual revenue to nonprofit One Percent For the Planet. BY MAUREEN WILKEY


Hispanic Executive


The patterns used in Crasqí designs are inspired by the geometric art created by the Wayuu tribe of Venezuela. Crasqí trunks have a European cut, shorter than most American designs, and a loop on the waistband to hold sunglasses.

on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.


What inspired you to start a men’s swimwear company? Astrid: We talked about starting our own company for years and were constantly brainstorming and looking for opportunities. One day while on vacation in the Caribbean with my boyfriend, I realized that men have so few options when it comes to swimwear, especially in the luxury sector. Alex: We decided to create a luxury men’s swimwear brand that is strongly connected to art. We use quick-dry, lightweight fabrics from Italy and combine them with vibrant patterns that are all inspired in art. How would you describe each of your roles at Crasqí? Are you strictly collaborative or do you divide and conquer? Alex: When you look at the diagram of the right and left sides of the brain, that’s us. I have lots of creative and visual skills— everything from photography and video to choosing the fabrics and designing the patterns. And Astrid is more businessoriented. As the leader of the team, she focuses on strategy and communication, team management, and overseeing the company.

and with you if you’re able to demonstrate the ways in which your company is giving back to the community or supporting the environment. Our philosophy has not only brought us personal fulfillment, but also increased our consumer base. How have you used social media to promote Crasqí? Alex: We’re able to frequently connect with our audience and transmit through imagery and videos what the Crasqí lifestyle and philosophy are all about. We use our social media channels constantly to inspire our audience. We’re currently active

Who are your role models? Astrid: Our dear friend Maickel Melamed is one of our mentors and a very valuable role model. Maickel was born with generalized muscular hypotonia but has not let that hold him back in any way. He started running marathons a few years ago and has competed in marathons in Berlin, New York City, and Chicago and is globally recognized for his tenacity. He emboldens us to tirelessly chase our dreams through his book Si Lo Sueñas, Haz Que Pase. Maickel says, “if you dream it, you can make it happen,” and we are inspired by that every day. Another instrumental role model is Tony Hsieh from Zappos, especially when it comes to customer service and company culture. And back when we were defining our social responsibility model, Blake Mycoskie from Toms Shoes was a great source of inspiration through his book Start Something That Matters.

Alex (left) and Astrid (right) stand with a model at the July 2013 Soho Beach House fashion show for the Crasqí men’s swimwear line.

Why did you decide to make giving to charity a part of your business model? Astrid: Social responsibility has always been important to us and it is becoming a prerequisite in today’s business world. We’re committed to having a positive impact on the planet through our brand, and our customers, followers, and fans are all for that. People are more driven to work for






Devarie’s EMD Sales came in at number six on Baltimore’s 2012 woman-owned business list ranked by revenue.


Hispanic Executive



The CEO of a grassroots, multimillion-dollar enterprise shares her recipes for success collected over a quarter century in business BY EVAN LA RUFFA


hen she started as an independent br ok e r, E ld a Devarie provided services to companies from a spare room in her house. The specialty food company that she would grow to a value of $31 million was born in the back of her minivan. Both endeavors were built from scratch, but the latter, EMD Sales, filled a void in the market: international food distribution. After more than two decades, Devarie has a pretty good idea what Americans are craving—and how to grow a business. 2014 celebrates EMD’s 25th anniversary and Devarie took a moment to sit down with HE to talk food and business growth.


What was the impetus for starting your business? What void in the market were you able to identify? We were able to fill a void that existed for American consumers who wanted authentic, nostalgic food products from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Only a few brands could be found at that time offering tastes from home for immigrants. It was a great opportunity for us to make contacts with brands that are loved in their home countries and bring them to the US market. New generations are in touch with food culturally, and we


provide international foods for customers looking to connect with their roots. We import from 17 different countries with 119 vendors and partners, bringing more than 150 brands to the marketplace. Some of these relationships span 25 years. What challenges did you face in building this business from scratch? Sourcing is always a challenge because you have to comply with a variety of regulations and many manufacturers aren’t necessarily ready to expand internationally, so you have to help them through that process and show them the potential. It’s a learning process for both companies involved in the partnership; they have to be able to make the investment, and we make sure that the product arrives with successful implementation. We’ve proven ourselves by successfully working in both independent stores and major supermarket chains. We take insight from the indie stores and apply it to the supermarkets, allowing us to satisfy all of our clients. Can you describe some of the differences between working with the large chains versus smaller, niche partners? You have to learn to play with the big companies and provide the same level of service and dedication to the account. We



EMD SALES, INC International Foods and Wines


EMD SALES Inc is one of the fastest growing International Foods and Wines Distributors in the Mid-Atlantic region with retail and food services offerings Thanks for your trust and preference! 2010 Washington Blvd Baltimore MD, 21230 www.twitter.com/emdsales


Hispanic Executive

p: 301.322.4503 www.emdsalesinc.com www.facebook.com/emdsalesinc


Workers prepare packages for the Bags of Love program. Since 2009, the donations have helped more than 3,700 families with a total investment of approximately $500,000.

never wanted to be seen as a small company, as we have the ability to provide excellent service. Rather we want to be seen as an asset to our customers. We provide a vision of what communities are looking for and how to satisfy the end consumer. Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or a huge grocery store chain, we’re able to put these great products in your stores. What have been your most successful strategies as a leader? I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who know more than you and can bring something to the table. Hard work and perseverance are also essential. Another must is finding a way to connect with people. Networking and creating those long-term relationships are some of the biggest assets for any business owner. In 25 years, what has been the linchpin of your business? Our relationships, without a doubt. Once you’re part of the food industry, you don’t really leave. Through friendships we’ve


learned from each other, shared information, and joined business associations who teach us how to be better entrepreneurs. Where do you see the company going beyond this milestone? Opportunities to expand geographically are always there, and we’re excited about that. There’s a new generation in our company that’s youthful and embraces technology, and we look forward to them learning from the current management and helping us adapt to the new marketplace. You believe in paying it forward. Can you elaborate more on this? On a personal level, I’ve been very blessed that many people have lent a hand to help me get to where I am. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, and the community has welcomed me with open arms. It’s part of my mission to develop a company where people can grow, take care of their families and prosper. We choose to be a role model and a leader in our community. We are supporting and developing great relationships with

various charitable organizations in the midAtlantic region. We have also developed Bags of Love, a program six years in the making. Essentially we put our vendors, customers, and charitable and religious organizations together to donate 50 pounds of food items and a $25 food gift certificate to 800 families in Maryland; Washington, DC; Virginia; and Pennsylvania. We do this in the dead of winter after Christmas when food bank donations are at the lowest. It shows that somebody cares and that we’re here for them. What’s your biggest inspiration? My biggest source of inspiration is my family and my community. I enjoy being an entrepreneur and being able to pass that on to future generations. As a firstgeneration immigrant in this country, I feel the responsibility to contribute, to be an example of responsibility, and to be a source of inspiration. Anyone willing to work hard and sacrifice can come here and have the chance to make it in this great nation.




BREAKING THE GLASS Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow, founder of three successful businesses, discusses how the most enterprising demographic in America can achieve success in business BY MARY KENNEY

IN TERMS OF SKILL AND QUALIFIand nonprofits,such as CareFirst, Inc., the CATIONS, Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow was USHCC, and the NEA Foundation. As a recsimilar on paper to anyone else in the comognized leader both in the Hispanic communications industry when she started her munity and in her industry, she believes career. Then she hit a glass ceiling. It quickmany Hispanics open their own businessly became apparent that, for a woman from es because, like her, they want to bypass the the South Bronx born to Puerto Rican imcorporate ladder and achieve their dreams. migrants, prejudices are not so “Challenges within the coreasily discarded. porate structure may obstruct ELIZABETH “Being from the South access to the top [for HispanOLIVERBronx, I experienced prejudicics], because they may lack the FARROW es that made me even more deright credentials or networking Founder, termined to achieve my goals,” opportunities,” Oliver-Farrow President & CEO Oliver-Farrow says. “As a kid, explains. The Oliver Group I knew I wanted to be in busiPeople of color face challenges that are often comness, though I wasn’t yet sure pounded for minority women like Oliwhat that meant.” Rather than remain trapped under corver-Farrow. Women are perceived to focus porate expectations, Oliver-Farrow decided more on family than on work and have a relto strike out independently. She had limited atively short history in the American busifinancing options, but a keen insight and ness climate. Oliver-Farrow remembers a sheer determination would propel her to meeting she attended at the Pentagon in found three companies, including The Oliwhich her client assumed she was the comver Group, Inc., where she currently serves pany secretary. as president and CEO. “To the brigadier general’s surprise, the The Small Business Administration reofficers introduced me as their boss. That ported in 2013 that Hispanics were opening was a classic moment!” she says. “But this businesses at a rate three times higher than has happened often throughout my career the national average. Oliver-Farrow has as a business owner.” more than 40 years of experience in public Oliver-Farrow advises young entreprerelations, marketing, and production. She neurs who want to mimic her success to find has also served on several corporate boards a field about which they are passionate and


Hispanic Executive

“To the brigadier general’s surprise, the officers introduced me as their boss. That was a classic moment!” ELIZABETH OLIVER-FARROW



The Oliver Group is a public policy and communications consulting company focused on sustainability, education, and health.




Thank you

Elizabeth Oliver Farrow for supporting powerful, sustainable innovations in teaching and learning.

Educating the Future Q&A with Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow As a board member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Oliver-Farrow discusses the importance of higher education within the Hispanic community

What can be done to increase college enrollment in the Hispanic community? Community leaders can engage with and financially support organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). With more than $430 million in scholarships awarded since its founding in 1975, HSF continues to provide increasing numbers of students all the tools they need to help lead our nation going forward and mentor the generations to come.

“At its heart, the strengths and successes of public education begins with a single moment of connection – the moment when a student meets his or her first educator for the first time. In that moment, this child begins to explore all that public education has to offer.” – Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow

Take every opportunity to mentor students, speak at your local high schools, churches, and get involved with Hispanic youth organizations. Get started during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), a great opportunity to highlight the resources available for Hispanic students, and recruit young Hispanics to be the first in their families to go to college.

What are some of the shortcomings of diversity efforts by university admissions offices? Recruiting and enrollment efforts do not

reflect the level of Hispanic population growth. In many cases, the selection teams are not diverse, and they do not understand that we cannot compete globally unless we educate our diverse Hispanic population. Our investment in them will contribute to our nation’s economy and our national security.

What should be done to offset this deficit? Society as a whole has to support educators who are teaching our children. It truly takes a village to educate them. Cookie-cutter programs eliminate the opportunity for teachers to be creative in their classrooms. According to the Pew Research Center, “Latinos continue to lag other groups when it comes to earning a bachelor’s degree. In 2012, 14.5 percent of Latinos ages 25 and older had earned one. By contrast, 51 percent of Asians, 34.5 percent of whites and 21.2 percent of blacks had earned a bachelor’s degree. Hispanic college students are also less likely than whites to enroll in a four-year college, attend a selective college, and enroll full-time.” We have to change that dynamic.

Former NEA Foundation Board Chair

The NEA Foundation, through the unique strength of its partnership with educators, their unions, school districts and communities advances student achievement by investing in public education that will prepare each of America’s children to learn and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Help Us

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Hispanic Executive

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ask themselves key questions about who their competitors and customers could be. Another important consideration for prospective business owners to keep in mind is their idea of success. Many millennials value work-life balance more than generations before them, which Oliver-Farrow defines as a healthy goal. Her advice is simply to be aware that their definition and expectation of success may vary from that of their senior coworkers. Finally, entrepreneurs must build a relationship with the banker helping them secure financing. Oliver-Farrow advises business owners to keep bankers apprised

of advances, contract wins, and financial revenue projections based on real data. That back-and-forth proved invaluable for Oliver-Farrow when she financed her first business using credit cards, and it continues to serve her now. “Refine your skills, and continue to learn. I never went to college,” she adds, “but I never stopped learning.”

The NEA Foundation is a public charity that supports educator driven solutions to improve student performance. Our work is strengthened by the many contributions of visionary leaders, like Elizabeth Oliver, past board member and chair. Thank you! To learn how you can help, visit www.neafoundation.org.




How Ariel Acosta-Rubio gave rise to an international sweet tooth by reinventing the churro BY EVAN LA RUFFA

EVERY FRIDAY MORNING a group of treat, and they would have ladies in Tampa, FL get together for a sweet little to no competition tradition. They pick a table at their regular selling them in the warm pastry shop, place their orders, and settle city near the ocean. Afin to catch up on each other’s lives while ter some trial and error, a treating themselves to specially great product made, fresh churros. The shop was developed, ARIEL is one of Ariel Acosta-Rubio’s, the menu exACOSTA- RUBIO cofounder of the international panded, and Cofounder & the second lochurro chain, Churromania. CEO Acosta-Rubio’s story is of cation wa s Churromania opened only one Venezuelan entrepreneur’s nine months drive to fill a demand. He dabbled in a few different areas after graduatafter the first. Acosta-Ruing from the University of Tampa, working bio was able to develop on the managerial level in real estate, conhis vision for expansion while long lines of hunstruction, property management, communications, hospitality, and tourism before gry Venezuelan shoppers starting his greatest venture to date. formed outside the stores, Ariel Acosta-Rubio and his wife, María Alejandra Bravo, opened the doors of the first Churromania in 1997 in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. Having a background in so many differand fans waited to secure ent fields has allowed Acosta-Rubio to be their crispy churros and a more effective CEO. Lessons he’s learned rich hot chocolate. Not only did they have a In an effort to gain ground and establish from each of those roles has put him in the delicious offering, they had found a way to a stronger US presence, the team fostered position to achieve sustained growth with tap into cultural norms and became part of relationships with high-profile partners Churromania. Acosta-Rubio built the comtheir consumers’ everyday routines. such as Walmart, Pepsi, ICEE, and Sysco. pany from the ground up, and the CEO is Acosta-Rubio set a clear goal to take Through these partnerships, Acosta-Rubio poised for rapid expansion of an already Churromania global. He knew they had a has been able to introduce their products global business. winning business concept with great franto new markets and thereby increase brand The business began modestly in Puerto chising potential. It would now be a matter awareness. In 2013, they opened six Florida la Cruz in the state of Anzoátegui, Venezueof having targeted focus, attention to delocations in partnership with Walmart Sula. Acosta-Rubio along with his wife, María tail, and scalability. As such, they opened percenters (Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Alejandra Bravo, and his cousin Miguel their first store in the United States in 2001 Plant City, Hialeah, and most recently, KisBravo bought a small storefront at a mall. at the high-traffic, Miami-based Dolphin simmee and Tampa). Churromania’s partNot knowing what to do with the location, Mall to great success, quickly working the ners have helped streamline the company’s when Bravo suggested they sell churros, initial lumps out of the batter—such as the supply process with their nationwide disthe team of three thought it sounded like flour ratio that had to be perfected at the tribution footprint. In these ways, Acosa unique idea. Churros are a cold-weather new location. ta-Rubio was able to fortify the product with great partnerships. Those partnerships have allowed the brand to expand greatly and in a way that allows it to stay authentic CHURROMANIA Founded: 1997 to the product. Headquartered: Caracas, Stories like those of the Friday mornVenezuela and Miami, FL ing regulars make Acosta-Rubio passionLocations: 130 stores ate about the company. He loves Churroworldwide. Thirty stores mania because it brings joy to children in the United States in Florida, Texas, and New and adults alike who crave the nostalgic Jersey. Besides Venezuela, taste of a sweet churro, and the company Churromania has a continues to pursue goals that are aligned presence in Colombia, with what they represent as a successful, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Mexico. Hispanic-owned franchise.





THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW In the emergency room, a broken bone often takes a backseat to more pressing ailments. One orthopedic surgeon breaks that convention, saving patients time and money by cutting out the middleman BY JOE DYTON

DR. ALEJANDRO BADIA CEO and Chief Medical Officer OrthoNOW


Hispanic Executive



DR. ALEJANDRO BADIA KNOWS A GOOD BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY WHEN HE SEES ONE. For years, Badia, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, saw emergency room patients who were sent to him with injuries like wrist fractures or shoulder injuries. Knowing these patients would be better served by going to a specialist right away, Badia thought, why not cut out the emergency room middleman? In its place OrthoNOW was born. OrthoNOW is a network of walk-in urgent care centers focused on treating a full range of injuries from orthopedic to sports medicine. These injuries are anything related to the foot, ankle, knee, wrist, spine, or shoulder, as well as concussion-related injuries. The centers are equipped with industry-leading imaging equipment and offer the latest techniques in surgical and nonsurgical treatments by a staff of board-certified physicians and specialists. Badia wanted to create a medical atmosphere where patients didn’t have to wait in a crowded emergency room for hours on end. OrthoNOW cuts the wait and offers specialized orthopedic care, affordably. Entrepreneur Magazine named OrthoNOW one of the top franchise opportunities in the country in 2014. The flagship center is successfully up and running in Doral, Florida with a second center slated to open in Weston, Florida in October. Over the next two to three years, Badia, the CEO and chief medical officer expects to open several more operations in the state’s Broward County. There are a number of other parties interested in OrthoNow from as far away as Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Despite its recent growth, however, the franchise wasn’t an instant success. Badia was first a franchisee of a general urgent care center, which didn’t pan out for him. “The first urgent care facility I opened didn’t focus on orthopedics,” he says. “I quickly realized that to successfully compete, I needed to make orthopedics the focus,” he explains. “I closed that franchise, licked my wounds, and reopened in five months with a new name, that clearly delineated what it was.” When he opened his center under the name OrthoNOW, Badia felt a certain conviction. It could succeed or fail but it was a risk he was more than willing to take. He confides that he has always had entrepreneurial instincts, thanks in great part to


Lending a hand in the community

Dr. Alejandro Badia uses his skills to make an impact both locally and abroad

» The orthopedic center organizes injury prevention workshops at local schools and sponsors community-wide health awareness events, among a variety of other initiatives and drives. “In the long run, injury prevention education is the most important initiative,” explains Badia. » Dr. Badia has even provided medical care for a number of people in the area, free of charge. For example, he recently treated the injured wrist of a 13-year-old nationally ranked junior tennis player on Medicaid. He also frequently travels to Guatemala and other countries to do charitable surgery missions and educate surgeons as well as maintains an active visiting fellowship program in Miami. Because expenses continue to rise and benefits continue to fall in the health care industry, “I do notice that it is becoming increasingly challenging for physicians to do the charity work most of us enjoy, even in our own community,” Badia says.

» It may be more challenging for doctors to do pro bono work these days, but Badia keeps doing it. “Medicine is a calling,” he explains. His practice has completed 600 physicals for free for Special Olympics athletes who would not have been able to compete otherwise. Badia also offers baseline concussion tests for athletes at local schools for free. These tests give doctors something to compare an athlete’s symptoms to if they suspect the athlete is concussed. “Giving back is a part of my and my staff’s DNA,” says Badia. “We feel good about what we’re doing, which is contributing to the health and well being of the community we serve.”

Badia visits grade schools and sponsors community events to help people understand the preventative measures they can take to avoid injuries.



Innovative Solutions with Smart Implants APTUS® Hand, Wrist, Elbow and Foot Systems

OrthoNOW is defined by its urgent service and its commitment to state-of-the-art technology in diagnosis and treatment.

watching his mom run her own business (an interpreting and translating agency). “Never, even in my residency, when I started to think about jobs, did it occur to me to go work for somebody else,” Badia says. “It was always in my nature to be self-sufficient. I like to think out of the box a little bit, even surgically.” Currently, one of the biggest challenges Badia and his team face at the flagship location in Doral is ensuring that the community knows they exist. Their location, not on a main boulevard or surrounded by other medical service providers, makes it challenging to get noticed. To help get the word out about the center, OrthoNOW enlisted the help of an experienced marketing firm that has helped it understand the community’s demographics and how best to reach them. The practice now partners with local businesses and schools and sees a variety of patients including sports enthusiasts, weekend warriors and members of CrossFit. When Badia started OrthoNOW in 2010, the idea was to help people get orthopedic care more readily and, hopefully, more affordably. OrthoNOW accepts most major medical insurance but also provides affordable fees for the uninsured, with the

www.medartis.com 32

Hispanic Executive

additional convenience of minimal waiting time for service. “A lot of urgent care centers have sprouted up over the years as an alternative to the ER,” says Badia. “However, none specifically address orthopedic injuries. I knew that patients would soon begin questioning why they would have to go to the ER for an ankle sprain. This, together with the skyrocketing cost of health care, led to an obvious solution.” As time goes on, Badia hopes to see his line of medicine considered a primary source of medical care. “There’s so much to think about when you get injured, and seeing the right person quickly can make a big difference. If you can save money along the way, it’s really a win-win,” he says. “We are a more cost-effective solution with the potential to make a huge dent on the overall health care system.”

Medartis commits to providing surgeons and operating room personnel with innovative titanium implants, instruments and services for orthopedic extremity trauma, representing advances in bone fixation. Medartis encourages surgeon education and supports the International Bone Research Association seminars and workshops where Dr. Badia presents as the Latin American Delegate (www.ibra.ch).


DORYS MACHADO Business Transformation Leader MillerCoors

Compliance F on Tap The MillerCoors compliance guru transforms business by simply applying good ethics and having zero tolerance for dishonesty BY TINA VASQUEZ, PHOTOS BY SHEILA BARABAD


or Dorys Machado, honesty is a virtue. Her parents instilled in her a seemingly simple message: do the right things in the right way, and tell the truth. This is why the compliance field interested her while she was still in college. Her career found its path over the course of five years when she worked as an international auditor across Latin America for Altria (formerly Phillip Morris). In 1996 she joined Miller—now MillerCoors—the company behind some of America’s most beloved beer brands, including Miller High Life, Coors, and Blue Moon. She was named business transformation leader in 2013. Here, the certified internal auditor shares some of her most triumphant career initiatives at MillerCoors.



Live. Lead. Inspire. Succeed. The best and the brightest bring together a diverse population. At KPMG, we are proud that our culture embraces diversity and inclusion as a priority in all that we do. We believe our firm is strengthened by reflecting the values of all our people and their unique experiences, talents, ideas and perspectives. And we recognize that the passion, determination, and leadership of your culture helps enrich ours.

© 2014 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. 140404





Machado has held various roles in the controls arena at MillerCoors, including leading an internal audit group and implementing Sarbanes Oxley compliance, which aims to enhance corporate responsibility and financial disclosures to combat fraud. “I do things the right way and in a well-controlled environment for the benefit of the company,” Machado says. “I have no tolerance for dishonesty or a poorly-controlled environment.” When she was approached for the business transformation role to ensure the right business process controls and system security were designed into the company’s new way of doing business, she quickly embraced the role. It was a natural fit. “Doing the right thing has to be in a company’s DNA. It influences the drivers and behaviors at every level,” she says. Machado’s strengths are greatest in the business process controls, but she also oversees new SAP system security aspects—an area she is learning more about along with a team of subject matter experts who, together, are crafting MillerCoors’s future way of working.

Machado’s experience in operating, functional, commercial support, and compliance roles provided her with a well-rounded understanding of the entire business cycle, which she says is crucial when addressing the controls environment holistically. As a business transformation leader, Machado is tasked with being an agent to change. “To drive change,” she says, “you have to have a connection to people and gain mutual trust—that is half the battle.” Machado says she is humbled to have established great working relationships and looks forward to capitalizing on connecting with people to win in this transformational journey.


Machado’s years of experience have provided her with the ability to properly assess a situation and make smart control environment decisions in order to operate successfully within the increasingly complex regulatory environment. To do so requires finding the right balance of controls MillerCoors implements, taking into account the cost and benefit expected, and the operational flexibility to be derived. While the company Chicago provides must to be well-controlled a sample of the MillerCoors customer. to ensure it is in compliThe company’s ance with regulations, the Hispanic ERG, which cost of implementing such Machado started, got controls should not exceed to know a part of that sample on a recent the benefits or the level of visit to the city’s risk it is exposed to, MachPilsen neighborhood. ado explains. “It’s a give and take sometimes.” Other times, though, because certain controls are nonnegotiable (in order to mitigate certain high risks, no matter the cost), “it’s black and white,” the leader says.

HOLA When the MillerCoors headquarters was established in Chicago, the company also incorporated various employee resource groups (ERGs). At the time, there was no Hispanic ERG in Chicago, so Machado jumped at the


MILLERCOORS Headquartered: Chicago, IL Family Heritage: MillerCoors is a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company, both of which have 300 years of combined brewing history. Known For: MillerCoors is responsible for some of America’s most beloved brands, including Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller Genuine Draft, Coors, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Crispin Hard Cider, and Blue Moon.

chance to establish it. HOLA (the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement) was born. The mission has always been to drive understanding and awareness of Hispanic culture while fostering the development of Latinos and contributing to the company’s business success through diversity and inclusion. Machado cites the Hispanic immersion initiative as one of HOLA’s proudest achievements. The event was first held in 2013 during Hispanic Heritage Month. “We immersed ourselves in Latino culture in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and visited Latino-centric retail and on-premise accounts,” says Machado. “It was key to see how the culture is displayed on every corner, to hear the music, to smell and taste the flavorful dishes, and to connect with the retailers selling our product.” Machado and the other attendees not only learned more about Latino culture but developed an understanding for how that culture translates to what is relevant to the company’s Hispanic consumer. Drawing upon HOLA, MillerCoors can develop innovative ways to best connect with that consumer. “It was an all-around success,” Machado confirms.

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Side Effects Include New Industry Standards A Texas health care system with an old reputation is building a new model for the industry BY MARY KENNEY


he health care industry is one way of moving patients between locations, of constant change and develhave to be taken into account. The buildopment, but its current state of ing will span 2.5 million square feet, hold transition is unprec862 beds, and offer parking for edented. As health 6,000 cars. The proposed cost care professionals across the for the building is $1.27 bilFERNANDO country reassess how their lion, funded with support from MARTINEZ products are accessed, delivboth taxpayers and private doChief Information Officer ered, and financed, one hospinations. “This community loves tal system in Dallas is poised Parkland,” says Martinez. “And Parkland Health and Hospital System to take the lead in industry inthat’s allowed us to build a new novation. Parkland Health and environment and design it from Hospital System’s chief inforthe ground up.” mation officer, Fernando Martinez, outlines One change that will impact both emthe hospital’s current projects and its future ployees and patients in the new facility is in driving the industry. the location and use of elevators and hallways. Employees will use separate elevators A NEW HOSPITAL TAKES and corridors from those used by visitors and patients. The new hospital was deCENTER STAGE It was Parkland’s trauma unit that operatsigned in a Disney World-style model, Mared on President John F. Kennedy when he tinez explains. “At Disney World, you have was shot that fateful day—November 22, offstage and onstage. Offstage is where all 1963—in Dallas. Parkland actually treated the workers, supplies, and hospital traffic Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, as well. takes place, out of the view of the customer.” The 60-year-old building and 120-yearold hospital have a place in both American ENABLING TECH TALK and local history, but its goals and needs Another major change the new hospital will outgrew the old building years ago. Right unveil could, and hopefully will, be replinow, Parkland has the perfect opportunicated by health care providers across the ty to build something truly unique, Marcountry. There are many different types of tinez says. Expected to be completed this hardware and technologies used in health year, New Parkland hospital will open in care, and the industry has tried for years to integrate these devices, with varying the spring of 2015. Building a new hospital requires an levels of success. enormous amount of coordination, Marti“We’re introducing a robust and extennez explains. In addition to creative departsive medical device integration layer,” Marments with integrated technology, practical tinez says, “which allows us to interconnect considerations, such as the most efficient all of those devices. The integration allows


Hispanic Executive

“We’re not catering to VIPs and movie stars. We built what is arguably the best health care organization in the country to serve some of the neediest people in the country.” FERNANDO MARTINEZ

various devices to communicate with one another digitally into a common stream of data, so we can then incorporate the data seamlessly into our patients’ medical records without human intervention.” That leap forward is huge for the industry. Removing human error attributed to transcription into electronic medical records will lead to higher accuracy, improved care, and access to additional statistical information. The change will also make current employees more efficient. The task of transcribing used to fall on nurses, who will instead use that time to focus on patient care.

PREDICTING THE FUTURE For years, health care professionals had discussed the use of predictive analytics. Pieces is the name of the first information system that runs predictive models to generate real-time information about patients’ risk of readmission. Once Parkland developed it, and the related research was published, inquiries started pouring in from all over the

country exploring how the system could be implemented at other facilities. Today, “patient-centered care” is a buzzword in the industry, and once again, Parkland is one of the first to take that concept and turn it into a solution. “We’ve actually built a hospital that’s optimized for the patient experience,” Martinez says. “The integration of technology around the patient experience will educate patients and help them make informed decisions about their care.” As Parkland prepares to unveil this model, Martinez explains the type of patient Parkland is specifically designed to serve. As a public health facility, Parkland belongs to some of the most traditionally underserved patients in the country. Thanks to the new hospital, they will now have the most advanced and sophisticated health care available. “We’re not catering to VIPs and movie stars,” Martinez says. “We built what is arguably the best health care organization in the country to serve some of the neediest people in the country.”

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New Parkland Hospital, set to open in 2015, will be larger, more technologically advanced, and more connected than its predecessor. It will be the first hospital to employ analytics to predict patient readmission within 30 days of discharge, which occurs among at least 11 percent of patients in almost all hospital referral regions—and as much as 18 percent in others.


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Untangling the Web An inside look at Myrna Soto’s efforts to protect Comcast and its more than 26 million customers from online harm BY ZACH BALIVA


t’s impossible to know when and where the next data breach or cyber attack will originate. Customers don’t want to take risks, and companies can’t afford to make themselves vulnerable. That’s why Comcast turned to Myrna Soto in 2009. The telecom giant with 22.6 million video customers, 21.1 million Internet customers, and 10.8 million phone customers made the MGM Mirage alumna and cybersecurity expert its first chief infrastructure and information security officer. Soto is responsible for the safety and security of a network that spans 147 million fiber route miles with the ability to connect more than 50 million homes. She’s implementing IP addressing, data loss prevention, and other initiatives designed to protect the $65 billion company and the customer experience.

CYBERSECURITY 2.0: PLAYING DEFENSE In the age of frequent online attacks, a company like Comcast must be prepared for anything that comes its way—and Comcast’s large service delivery network complicates Soto’s work. “The list goes on and on,” she says of potential threats. “We


Hispanic Executive


have to be ready for an incident geared to interrupt our service or introduce malware or customer issues like ID theft and data management. The safety and security of our customers is number one.” Comcast’s network provides video, digital voice, and high-speed data Internet service to customers in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The company ranks top in cable television and Internet and fourth in phone service. Since Soto joined Comcast in 2009, the security team has been taking a proactive approach and investing in its defenses. While staying ahead of every attack is impossible, Soto says she’s designed technologies, systems, and processes that manage evolutions of the threat landscape to stay as prepared as possible. “We’ve developed and implemented a lot of tools in a very strong analytics division that we run on our network to pick up on unusual activities,” she explains. By completing forensics and data analyses, Soto and her colleagues can emulate potential threats and use that data to build solutions shared with tech partners to build best-in-class products. She also sits on an advisory board of tech companies through which she gives input to vendors regarding the safety and security of their products and services.


CONSTANT GUARD Soto has been charged with protecting the customer experience at Comcast, and in 2011, the Comcast team released a suite of security and safety tools known as Constant Guard. The service—provided free of charge to Comcast’s Xfinity Internet customers—offers tools, support, and awareness to enhance security online. By installing Constant Guard, users can safeguard personal information, store IDs, hide credit card information, prevent key-logging, block suspicious programs, identify fraudulent websites, avoid Trojan attacks, and access financial

information through a secure connection. Hackers are able to take control of personal computers and link them together through a “botnet.” The infected computers are then disguised and used for illegal activities like sending spyware, stealing data, or launching attacks. If customer computers are compromised and become part of these botnets, Constant Guard alerts the customers of the compromise and guides them to cleansing activities to remediate.

PARTNERING ON NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY As a member of the Communications, Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Soto represents Comcast and helps develop cybersecurity best practices for her industry. In 2012, Comcast became the first North American Internet service provider to implement domain name system security extensions, which authenticate and secure data. The company shared the practice with CSRIC, which now endorses the adoption of the extensions.

WAYS TO SURF SAFELY Soto shares her tips for safe Internet use Make sure that the websites you access display the secure socket layer “https” in the address bar. The “s” should appear on a safe and secure URL without a user entering the letter. It’s the web hosting owner letting you know there’s another added layer of security. Manage passwords judiciously and use a unique code for each point of entry on the Internet. If you use the same password for everything, you put yourself at greater risk. I suggest coming up with a phrase you will remember and drawing your password from the words in that phrase. Manage the amount of personal info you share. I’m very active on social media, but I tell people to manage their digital presence in the spirit of security because it could be used as a social engineering vector to harm you in the future.

MYRNA SOTO SVP, Chief Information & Infrastructure Security Officer Comcast




Soto inside the Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia. The company was named Company of the Year in 2012 by Latina Style, designating it one of the best places for Latinas to work.


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Hispanic Executive

“I don’t have access to your home computer, nor would [Comcast] want it. But I do want to help you understand how you can use it in the safest way possible.” MYRNA SOTO

When the FCC joined with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to introduce a set of cyber defense practices, Soto told Washington Post that “broadband providers must work collaboratively with government and across various sectors to develop sound industry practices. Comcast will continue working with the chairman, his fellow commissioners, and the dedicated staff at the FCC to help achieve these important goals.” The consortium hopes to shore up defenses, frustrate hackers, and improve national cybersecurity. Soto later told reporters that Comcast would “evaluate [NIST’s guidelines] to assess whether it can be tailored and adapted to our business circumstances and network configuration, and possibly serve as a reference tool for managing the cyber risks and threats we face.”

RAISING AWARENESS Providing tools is important, but Soto says Comcast always wants to educate its customers on how to change their behavior and manage security. “I don’t have access to your home computer, nor would we want it. But I do want to help you understand how you can use it in the safest way possible,” she explains.

The company has published surveys and studies like its 2011 “Internet Safety and Security Survey,” which revealed that only 65 percent of parents talk to their children about appropriate online activities. Comcast then created discussion guides to help parents initiate such conversations in the home as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The survey, which is free online, found that teens use riskier passwords, repeat passwords often, and often post content they later regret sharing. Almost 70 percent of teenagers surveyed admitted to downloading a program or software without parental consent. Two decades in IT and security have taught Soto just how important it is to use appropriate behavior when it comes to interacting online. “I’m a consumer of the Internet, too,” she says. “Based on my experience and what I’ve seen in the security landscape, I’m very attuned to the websites and properties with which I interact.”

IP ADDRESSING Recently, Comcast has emerged as an industry leader in the adoption and implementation of IPv6—the sixth version of Internet protocol (IP) addressing. This latest iteration that provides a unique


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location for Internet-connected devices and directs traffic all across the Internet solves the problem of IP exhaustion. IPv4 was simply out of unique identification codes after issuing approximately four billion unique numbers, the last of which was allocated in 2011. Comcast pioneered in this arena by becoming the first cable service operator to run IPv6 in dual-stack with IPv4 and by employing security technologies adapted for IPv6. “As an organization, we saw that we would continue to grow exponentially in terms of web presence and services. That meant we would require a lot more bandwidth in the IP space,” says Soto. “We needed to be early adopters, and we knew we couldn’t afford to let the security system be open-ended.” That need for robust security motivated Comcast to work with other companies to design network-monitoring capabilities around security, so they would be IPv6-enabled from the start. Comcast’s IPv6 deployment grew to be the world’s largest in just over three months, thanks to support through a wireless gateway that brought the innovation to approximately four million customers. Comcast then partnered with Cisco Systems to take the deployment over its broadband network. In early 2014 Comcast announced the project was 100 percent complete.

6/26/14 4:15 PM

As tech continues to evolve and the Internet continues to grow, Soto is moving to prepare for increased security concerns. “I think that the number of connected devices will just explode over the next decade,” she says. Imagine a world in which all of our gadgets—our can openers, garage doors, grills, lights, cars, health devices, TVs, and blenders—are IP-enabled. Comcast already provides Xfinity Home Security, which uses an Internet connection to allow customers remote monitoring and control via camera and Internet. Now, she’s leading her team to move forward in its unending effort to stay ahead of technology. “The Internet and the security of the Internet of things becomes important for us to work on today to make sure we’re there in the future,” says Soto.

“I think that the number of connected devices will just explode over the next decade. Imagine a world in which all of our gadgets— our can openers, garage doors, grills, lights, cars, health devices, TVs, and blenders—are IP-enabled.” MYRNA SOTO

EMPOWERING FUTURE LEADERS In 2008, Soto joined HITEC, The Hispanic IT Executive Council. In late 2014, after sitting on the organization’s board of directors, she became its vice president. “We want to help the next generation by providing development and mentoring opportunities in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields,” she says, adding that there are great opportunities for women and minorities in companies like Comcast. Soto was born to a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother in south Florida and became the first in her family to graduate from college. She started her career at a cruise line, found her way into a tech job, was given the opportunity to lead a project, and never looked back. Through her work in HITEC, she hopes to give other Hispanics an easier path forward. “Hispanics have a lot to contribute and offer in the STEM fields,” she says. “They just need to be shown that there are opportunities out there.” Myrna Soto’s contribution to the industry is nothing short of remarkable, through her work with educational institutions, across socio-economic boundaries, she has been instrumental in driving diversity at a Senior Leadership level. Her ability to draw people from a myriad of backgrounds & cultures has created an incredible environment for partnership between Comcast Cable and Juniper Networks, achieving extraordinary results related to the Security needs of her business. Working with Myrna has been transformational with regard to partnering & collaboration, and an experience that is truly revolutionary.


Information is the key to protecting information. That’s why our security solutions are backed by world-class intelligence to help you identify threats in real time and keep your information safe. Learn more at symantec.com/security-intelligence When you can do it safely, you can do it all.


Copyright © 2014 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, and the Checkmark Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.



IS YOUR SECURITY READY FOR TOMORROW’S THREATS? Threats are constantly evolving. Is your security architecture? It can. With Software-defined Protection. Software-defined Protection is a dynamic security architecture that quickly adapts to new and evolving threats and IT environments. Security for tomorrow. Today. Learn more at checkpoint.com/sdp

©2014 Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. All rights reserved.


LUIS ALVAREZ President & CEO Lancer


Ahead of the Curve Luis Alvarez has always been ahead of his time. He brought that ethic to Lancer and transformed a business BY JOE DYTON


Some might say Luis Alvarez was destined for big things when he was in second grade. Born in San Diego, he moved to Mexico when he was two. When his parents separated five years later, Alvarez moved back to California with his mother. His schooling in Mexico had been far more advanced than it was in the United States, so with the support of his new school and his mother, he was able to skip from second grade to fifth. Alvarez began high school at age 12 and graduated at 16. “I kind of fit right in,” Alvarez says. Always taller than his own age group, everyone assumed he was two years older. When it came time for dating in high school, though, Alvarez admits, “I was two years younger than the girls in my class, so that was kind of a problem.”



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When Alvarez started college, he was only 16 and wasn’t yet certain what he wanted to study. At the University of San Diego, he tried five different majors, including music. He joined a college rock-and-roll band, but as much as Alvarez enjoyed the musician’s life, he realized there wasn’t much money to be made unless he became a big star. He settled into computer science and received his degree in information systems, now known as IT. Alvarez didn’t go four years straight in college. He took some time off to work instead of going through school unsure of what he wanted to study. While Alvarez took a break from college, he worked for iMEC Corporation as a data processing manager. His computer expertise helped him land the gig, which made him responsible for improving all of the company’s departments. His position helped him learn about process improvement, which would pay dividends in his future employment. His career path changed when he was 22. A managerial role where he learned all the different areas of the company led to a plant manager position when he was 25. It was an odd spot for Alvarez as most of his direct reports were much older, and he didn’t yet have a degree. However, Alvarez continued to move up the ladder until he was named general manager at Plastic Omnium. He received his degree when he was 29. Alvarez developed his leadership in his twenties. He prefers to be a supportive leader rather than a dictator but knows there are times when tough decisions have to be made, and he’s not afraid to make them. “There are times you have to make decisions with whatever information you have at the time, which is usually not enough, so you have to go with your gut and make the tough decisions,” Alvarez says. “A lot of that comes from experiencing the outcomes of past decisions.” When he began at Lancer in 2006, those leadership lessons Alvarez picked up at Plastic Omnium came in handy. He started as vice president of operations


Lancer is a leader in soft-drink dispensing technology. Since coming to Lancer, Alvarez has helped the company improve efficiency using lean principles, a standard that is rooted in automobile manufacturing but applies to many different industrial enterprises.

for the beverage dispensing equipment manufacturer before he was named president and put in charge of Lancer’s operations worldwide in 2009. In an effort to improve the processes at Lancer, Alvarez introduced the lean enterprise, a process to help reduce waste in terms of time and materials. Lean enterprise also aims to make the product more valuable to the customer. Introducing lean has turned Lancer into a world-class company and has succeeded in improving its customers’ experiences. Order numbers are up as a result. However, lean wasn’t initially an easy sell. “Everyone was against it,” Alvarez says. “At the beginning, people thought lean was about having no inventory and putting the customer at risk. People were calling it ‘anorexia.’” Alvarez wasn’t discouraged by his team’s

hesitation. He is a certified lean sensei, and he showed employees how it could benefit everyone firsthand. He also had to reassure concerned customers that lean would improve Lancer as their vendor, citing that the first priority of lean is customer satisfaction. “You cannot risk customer satisfaction and reduce waste first,” Alvarez says. “That’s the wrong way to do it. First you have to satisfy the customer, then you look for ways to reduce waste in all of your processes.” Now lean has spread through Lancer’s international divisions in Belgium, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Mexico with sights set on South America. “It’s good to be growing,” Alvarez says. Satisfied customers buy more, even during tough economic times. “That speaks to the efforts of all of our employees and what they do here. Continuous improvement is the backbone of our company.”




A Pillar of the Practice Andres Saenz has been foundational to the growth and development of Parthenon Group’s private equity practice BY EVAN LA RUFFA


ndres Saenz’s rise within the Parthenon Group has been meteoric. Having grown up in Costa Rica, the pura vida social culture is emblematic of Saenz’s skills and awareness. Valuing family, friends, and community as well as knowing how to listen to people, understand their needs, and understand what fundamentally drives them has served him well since he began working in professional services. Analytics, expertise, and content matter a lot in consulting, but the personal aspect matters the most. That awareness, and being able to keep things light and fun, especially in high-stress environments, has been a valuable resource Saenz has been able to draw upon.


Hispanic Executive

ANDRES SAENZ Partner & Colead of Private Equity

He began at Parthenon as a Parthenon Group summer intern between his junior and senior years at Harvard University. The type of longevity Saenz has enjoyed at Parthenon is a rarity these days, and he feels fortunate to have developed his career within one organization thus far. He says the pace of learning has been so dynamic throughout his more-than-15-year tenure, it’s as if he’s has had 10 different jobs. One of his first assignments was to help a Fortune 500 firm optimize its pricing processes. The client had very complex pricing schemes, and Saenz spent two weeks finding and photocopying each contract and entering data, so he could then spend the rest of the summer analyzing what was going on. Truly loving that ground-floor view of a consultant’s impact, he decided to come back to Parthenon after graduating from college.






Strategic Advisors. Asesores Estratégicos.

Unique Approach. Enfoque Único.

The Parthenon Group is a leading global advisory firm focused on strategy consulting. Since its inception in 1991, Parthenon has been the strategic

He worked for two years as an associate, becoming a senior associate in his third. Most of his clients were corporations, but they ranged from Fortune 500 giants to middle-market firms to entrepreneurial ventures (this was the dot-com era). He saw how using rigorous analytics and proven processes to define a company’s strategy generates insight and buy-in within an organization and makes it stronger.

middle-market private equity firms, serving more than 200 private equity firms ranging from the mega-cap firms to smaller growth funds. Saenz credits his top-notch team with its successes and takes great pride in the advice they give their clients. As the head of recruiting and cohead of the diversity group, Saenz has further been able to assist in a structural and cultural capacity. Knowing that employees want to

To put it simply, Saenz has helped quadruple the business in five years.

advisor of choice for CEOs and business leaders around the globe.

OUR PRACTICE AREAS: Consumer Education Healthcare Industrial Information and Media Private Equity Technology


Find Us & Join the Conversation

www.parthenon.com 50

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He returned to Harvard, this time to the business school, sponsored by Parthenon. Saenz was then offered the opportunity to do a rotation in the private equity group. That is, serving private equity clients with strategic due diligence of potential transactions, and providing strategic advice on the growth of their portfolio companies. He had enjoyed working directly with corporations, so he wasn’t sure about going down this path. He found the work suited him, though, and has been doing it ever since. It’s the essence of strategy: discovering and delivering on what makes a market attractive and what makes a company win within that market. In these types of projects, he and his teams have to deliver solutions within the timing of a deal negotiation. He doesn’t have three years or three months, he has three weeks. It’s a very exciting pace, and he relishes it. Parthenon’s founder and CEO asked Saenz to colead the private equity group after spending years in the private equity practice. It was an exciting challenge. Perhaps what he’s most proud of professionally is what Parthenon has achieved in the private equity sector since he took leadership of it. To put it simply, Saenz has helped quadruple the business in five years. Parthenon has built a significant private equity presence within each of its six worldwide offices as the leading advisor to

join an organization they can take pride in, Parthenon emphasizes the firm’s strengths as well as the opportunities for growth it poses for new hires. “More importantly,” says Saenz, “we’ve learned how to take that message to folks of different backgrounds.” That adaptability is critical for Parthenon, especially since its clients come from every background imaginable—not only in terms of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, but also their professional backgrounds. Having teams that ref lect that richness helps the business not only understand and relate to clients better, but ultimately provide them with the best advice. With the ever-dynamic state of the consulting industry, the larger, strategy-consulting firms are bolstering their operational capabilities as they pursue further growth. At the same time, the traditional accounting houses that have established operational capabilities are acquiring firms in the strategy space. All the while, new boutiques are carving out important niches and putting those stakes in the ground. That said, Saenz believes Parthenon is in a fantastic position to leverage its strengths, continue to grow, and take its share of the market. Under his steady supervision, Parthenon will emphasize developing capabilities, growing sectors, and expanding into new regions, ultimately aiming to serve its clients’ needs better.

# HITECLeaders

Picture Yourself... Surrounded by HITEC Leaders Successful, diverse, inclusive IT executive leaders who just happen to be Hispanic.

HITEC Top 100 Awards Gala & Corporate Awards Reception November 20 - 21, 2014 Palo Alto, California

Join | Mentor | Sponsor Visit HITECGlobal.org @HITECLeaders


Hispanic IT Executive Council


Email: info @ HITECGlobal.org


VALERIE INSIGNARES President of LongHorn Steakhouse Darden Restaurants

Insignares was awarded the 2006 Emerging Leader Award by the Women’s Foodservice Forum for exceptional leadership.


Hispanic Executive


Grade-A Leadership President of LongHorn Steakhouse, Valerie Insignares attributes her success in the restaurant business to her passion, thirst for education, and flexibility BY MAUREEN WILKEY

When Valerie Insignares was growing up on the southeast side of Chicago with her grandparents, both Mexican immigrants, she developed a deep love for food. She loved the way it brought her family together. “When other kids in the neighborhood were playing school, I was playing restaurant,” Insignares says. “I have always known I wanted to be in the business.”


Insignares’s family valued education above all else. She attended the University of Illinois to study finance, concentrating on speculative markets. Insignares liked knowing exactly how a business handled its money. She interned at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a runner in the cattle and hog pits. In her final year as an undergraduate, Insignares met Dr. Phil Garcia, an agricultural professor, who, like Insignares, grew up in an urban environment. He became a valuable mentor and inspired her to get her master’s degree. She was one of just a few female students in her agricultural economics program. Her thesis on managing beef market risk would foretell her future success at Darden Restaurants, the company that ow ns L ongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and other leading restaurant brands.


Leveraging her education and experience, Insignares worked in the purchasing department at Kentucky Fried Chicken, in risk management. She was in charge of trading soybean oil, corn, and wheat futures for the company. The position was the start of her willingness to be geographically flexible. “I could have taken a job in Chicago near my family, but I wanted to be involved in the restaurant industry,” Insignares says. “My willingness to move to different places opened a lot of doors for me.” Insignares moved in 1997 to Orlando, FL where she had responsibility for everything except seafood as the director of commodities purchasing for Darden. Using skills she had already learned through college internships, KFC, and subsequent jobs, she was able to impact a large chain by managing the commodities purchasing for a variety of restaurants instead of just one.

“When other kids in the neighborhood were playing school, I was playing restaurant. I have always known I wanted to be in the business.” VALERIE INSIGNARES

By 1998, Insignares was ready for a new challenge. She accepted a role as the vice president of distribution for Darden, an area in which she had very little experience. She had to learn to manage people as she was no longer the subject matter expert in this role. Managing distribution, IT, and purchasing, she got to know the people side



DIVERSITY of the business. She led a cross-functional team to transition the complex distribution system. “Keeping the progress moving forward was of the utmost importance,” Insignares says. “If we got stuck, it would have put the restaurants’ supply at risk.” The experience inspired her to return to school at the University of Florida where she would earn her MBA. She also got married that year. “People said I was crazy going back to school while I was so busy, but without obtaining that level of education, I wouldn’t have been able to climb to where I am today,” Insignares says.

Darden is a values-based company that embraces a diversity of cultures, perspectives and ideas.

At Darden, we celebrate the diversity of our guests, employees, suppliers and the communities we serve. Our vibrant culture embraces diversity and inclusion as business imperatives. We strongly believe that the distinctions our employees bring, including diversity in race, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation and religion is pivotal to our success. By understanding and embracing our differences, we are in a position to be stronger individuals, that comprised, build a better team.

Olive Garden welcomed Insignares as vice president of operations excellence in 2000. Immersing herself in the business, she went through Darden’s manager-in-training program. She learned how to work the fryer, cut up vegetables, and manage all areas of the restaurants. “I had learned how to be comfortable managing without having to be the expert on everything,” Insignares says. “The program gave me the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up.” By 2001 , Insignares had been promoted to senior vice president of operations, for which she moved to Dallas. From Texas, she led operations in eight southwestern states. Her first daughter was born in Texas in 2003. Continuing to be geographically flexible, Insignares traveled about 80 percent of the time. She was inspired by the diverse, hardworking people staffing the restaurants. “I took it one step at a time and pinched myself along the way,” she says.

DARDEN RESTAURANTS Headquartered: Orlando, FL Founded: 1968 Number of Locations: 1,500+ Known for: LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s, and Yard House.



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In 2004, Insignares moved back to Florida to become the executive vice president of operations for Olive Garden. During this time, the chain underwent an aggressive growth phase. Insignares and her team added more than 250 restaurants in seven years. In 2007, Insignares had her second daughter.

“I took it one step at a time and pinched myself along the way.” VALERIE INSIGNARES

Insignares accepted the newly created position of chief restaurant operations officer (CROO) in 2011. In this role, she helped standardize enterprise operations, such as reviews and bonuses, a nd redesig ned the orga nizationa l structure. “We felt that we needed to reposition our leadership so we were closer to the actual restaurants,” Insignares says. “We made significant changes across our three large brands to make that happen.” Insignares became the president of LongHorn Steakhouse in January of 2013. Darden bought LongHorn in 2007, and while it’s not the biggest chain of steakhouses in the country, Insignares thinks that it can be the best. She was excited to take on a broader leadership role with a strong brand and to be able to craft the vision of the company. Now the company has expanded to 460 restaurants in more than 40 states. She’s proud of the great experiences that the restaurant teams provide guests. “We want to continue the positive momentum we have gained over the last few years,” she says. “With culinary creativity and brand recognition, I think we can make LongHorn America’s favorite steakhouse, one restaurant at a time.”

This marks the third consecutive year Hispanic Executive has published its Top 10 LĂ­deres list, which recognizes Latinos who exemplify leadership and innovation in the business arena. We look for trailblazers shaking up the global marketplace, raising the bar, and serving as role models for other Latinos. We are proud to present 2014's exclusive and elite group representing the best and brightest among us.


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CEO Robert Chavez in the home section of the Hermès Madison Avenue flagship store in New York City.


Hispanic Executive


SADDLESTITCHED INTO THE HERMÈS FAMILY The CEO of Hermès of Paris brings his unique style to the US luxury market while staying true to the craftsmanship of the classic company by Becky May | photos by Sheila Barabad


ome might be surprised to hear that a French high-fashion brand synonymous with wealth and luxury is run by a Hispanic guy from San Antonio. But Robert Chavez considers the 177-year-old Hermès his second home and family. While anxiously waiting for his first interview with Jean-Louis Dumas, Chavez hardly expected the distinguished fifth-generation CEO to break the ice by complimenting his Armani suit fabric. Dumas could have been intimidating, but Chavez was immediately put at ease. “We started talking about food, art, history, and just about anything and everything—except for my relevant work experience,” Chavez laughs. He took the reins of Hermès USA (Hermès of Paris, Inc.) and has been charting the course for the brand in America with a balance of classic and contemporary statements. Fourteen years later, alongside global CEO Axel Dumas, the born-and-raised Texan insists that his real American family and the Hermès household have more similarities than differences. It may seem far-fetched that a family from San Antonio could be akin with a family whose net worth is in the vicinity of $2.2 billion, but Chavez begs to differ. “The Hermès family is very humble and caring,” he says. “It was built on the simple commitment to uncompromising quality and craftsmanship, which is why we are into the sixthgeneration of leadership and 170-plus years in business.” Growing up as the son of two first-generation Latin American immigrants, Chavez lived a humble lifestyle. His father worked in the San Antonio Sheriff’s Department while his mother stayed at home with three sons. Chavez was the middle child. One distinct memory he takes away from his childhood is the impact his teachers had on him. “I still remember






each one of my teachers’ names,” he says. “I look back now and appreciate the way they pushed me to reach my potential and beyond.” When Chavez was 17, his father passed away. Without his father at home, Chavez questioned whether he should leave his mother and go away to college. “It was a difficult decision, but my mother believed in me and my future.” With her support, he carried out his potential at Princeton University. Despite having held high-ranking positions in fashion, such as CEO of Etienne Aigner and president of merchandising for R.H. Macy and Co., Chavez admits he started at the bottom of the retail totem pole. “You have to be willing to do pretty much anything. I had my experience working in the stock room,” Chavez says. After graduation he joined the executive training program for Bloomingdale’s in New York City, and unbeknown to him, would find his niche in retail. It was at Bloomingdale’s that he was exposed to every department from ready-to-wear to beauty. Shortly after completing the program, he became the assistant buyer for the cosmetics department and worked his way up as a buyer in the home furnishings area. In 1986, Chavez acted as merchandise administrator for cosmetics and fragrance at Macy’s. A mere five years later he was promoted to president of

Robert Chavez shows off the saddle stitch that Hermès is famous for. Hermès's Birkin bags (shown here) have been called the most sought-after bags in the world and can retail for around $11,000.


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merchandising. During his tenure with Etienne Aigner, he significantly increased the growth and profitability for the high-fashion house. In 2000, Chavez joined Hermès of Paris, Inc. Like an Hermès scarf adorning the neck of Grace Kelly, Chavez has proven he is a perfect pairing with the company. He describes himself as a “natural fit,” which isn’t an easy task for an establishment that is not just a company, it’s a culture. It was Chavez who noticed how profitable the Hermès men’s market was in China and decided to bring the first American Hermès Boutique for Men to New York. Axel Dumas notes the United States has become a tremendous market the last several years. The first quarter numbers for 2014 revealed 16 percent of accounted sales were brought in by American stores. In light of the US expansion, Chavez also brought Hermès’s celebrated All About Women event to the states on May 20, 2014. The night included an off-season women’s runway show held at the historic J.P. Morgan headquarters at 23 Wall Street. It was the third All About Women affair, having started in Shanghai, China in 2012 and continued in Paris in 2013. Guests were flown from around the world for a whimsical night with Hermès. Dumas and Chavez cohosted the 700-person event, which was conceived to celebrate everything in the “women’s universe” from bracelet watches to shoes, but also to prove that the luxury house can be both classic and contemporary. “Our challenge is to portray Hermès in a modern way without losing our heritage,” Chavez says. “It is an element we are always trying to work on.” Somewhere amid the fortune-tellers, synchronized dancers, and parade of men waving pom-poms, Hermès affirmed it can be daring and playful. Alongside designer Christophe Lemaire’s ready-to-wear fall/winter 2014 collection were Hermès’s classic confections of silk scarves and bags. “Though Hermès consistently strives to be modern, we maintain the most important elements,” Chavez says. In this case, Chavez is not talking about the products themselves. The elements he is referring to are the core values of quality, consistency, creativity, and innovation that the company has preserved through the years. When it comes to quality of the product, the illustrious saddle stitch speaks for itself. It’s a dance between the needle, thread, and craftsman’s fingers that seems


The luxury magnate gives us a look at his casual side.





What is in your closet at the moment? I have suits and a lot of Hermès ties, but my weekend wear is blue jeans and tee shirts. One has to escape from the business world. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? My favorite thing to do is travel for pleasure with my husband. We travel whenever we can. There are so many wonderful places we have been, and there are so many places that we want to discover. For our next trip we’re looking at Peru, Indonesia, or Scandinavia. What Hermès item would you splurge on? I was thinking it would be great to have a messenger bag that I could just bring into work on casual Friday, so I would want to splurge on an Hermès messenger bag. It would be really nice to use on the weekends. What makes Hermès a perfect fit for you? There is something whimsical about Hermès, and I have a certain whimsical side to me. There is a child-like, playful side of me that has never disappeared. I attribute that to my parents.

effortless, but can easily be done incorrectly without the proper technique. The method has been used since Thierry Hermès founded the harness workshop in 1837. Although it is not as time-efficient as a machine, the saddle stitch (when done properly) will never come loose. The hands behind the stitch have years of saddle making and leather schooling before they are brought into the ateliers. As far as consistency goes, one will never see Hermès mass-producing. As a result, many customers spend years pining for certain items. For Hermès, it’s not about what will and will not sell, but about keeping the consistency and authenticity. The company continues to make everything in France, and refuses to outsource, even in a poor economy. These core values are the reason Hermès has become a major force in the luxury market.


W hen C h ave z isn’t planning grandiose events like All About Women, he focuses on recruiting, retaining, and motivating his 650 employees. “Just like my school teachers motivated and inspired me, I try to push people to their potential. I manage everyone in the corporate office, retail, merchandising, HR, communications, and operations.” Chavez says having a solid staff allows all the other pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. Hermès of Par is, Inc. has had its lowest turnover during Chavez’s tenure. He is just one extension of the company’s effort to make its employees feel like part of the family. Another is the triannual “family reunion,” a three-day event that requires all US retail stores to lock their doors and close up shop for the team-building retreat. Chavez takes on whatever task is thrown at him whether it falls under the CEO job description or not. “If I come in for a store visit, and I need to help a customer, answer a call, or work the floor, I don’t mind. Sometimes I'll pick up the phone when associates are calling and they say, ‘Bob? Chavez?’ I’ts actually fun for me,” he says. On a larger scale, he spends his time continuing to expand the US market. There are 28 Hermès stores in the United States with flagships on Madison Avenue in New York and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA. As a veteran in the retail industry, Chavez knows that there is no such thing as an average day. “You need to be prepared for everything,” he says. This includes bad publicity. In 2005, an incident at an Hermès store in Paris sent the Internet into a frenzy after Oprah Winfrey was denied entrance to Hermès at closing time. Although


the incident took place overseas, due to the global CEO’s deteriorating health, Chavez was chosen as the spokesperson to make a public apology on the Oprah Winfrey Show. At the American Express Publishing Summit in April 2013, Chavez tackled another controversy between Hermès and its rival LVMH: Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. Through a series of equity swap contracts, LVMH acquired a 22.6 percent stake in the company brand without disclosing its aims to increase ownership. Despite the legal feud, Chavez made it clear that the brand’s rivalry with LVMH has only empowered the family to keep hold of its shares. “It has made the team more committed to family and everything that Hermès represents,” he says. Despite working for a company whose clientele fall in the richest one percent, Chavez has no problem removing himself from that world. When he isn’t traveling for business, he makes time to travel to new

places with his spouse. Chavez also serves on the board for the Luxury Education Foundation, a public nonprofit organization that connects undergraduate and graduate students with senior executives within the luxury industry. Chavez has become a full-fledged member of the Hermès family, but he never forgets his roots. He attributes his multicultural upbringing as having been fundamental to where he is today. “Growing up in San Antonio in a bilingual household, I saw the world from a lot of different perspectives,” he says. As an inspiration to the fashion world and Latino community, Chavez’s advice reflects his humble personality. “You learn from all your experiences,” he says. “Don't be afraid to start on the selling floor or even in the stockroom. You have to learn it all, and truly understand what each person does to be an effective leader. Never ask anyone to do anything you aren't willing to do yourself.”







THE ACTIVIST ANCHOR Questioning celebrities, presidents, and dictators, Jorge Ramos isn’t just reporting the news, he’s influencing it as well


by Matt Alderton

ext to his silver hair, the first thing one notices about Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos is his eyes. Their hue is distinct—a shade of blue reminiscent of the color of a frozen lake—but despite their icy hue, they're warm. A viewer watching him anchor the evening news or a world leader answering his questions during an exclusive interview can only wonder about everything they’ve seen. Since becoming a journalist 30 years ago, Ramos has covered five wars, interviewed scores of world leaders, and reported some of the most significant events of the modern era, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and now the political battle over immigration reform in the United States.


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In 2000 the Wall Street Journal called Ramos “Star newscaster of Hispanic TV” and “Hispanic TV’s No. 1 correspondent.” Time magazine included him on its 2005 list of “the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States.” And a 2010 survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Ramos is one of the four most-recognized Latino leaders in the country. He has anchored Univision’s evening newscast Noticiero Univision since 1986 and hosted its weekly current affairs program, Al Punto, since 2007, but his newest role as the host of America With Jorge Ramos on the Fusion network is perhaps his most






significant. Launched in October 2013 on fledgling cable TV network Fusion (a partnership between ABC News and Univision) America is Ramos’s English-language debut. A weekly news outlet aimed at the millennial generation, it gives the revered newsman a unique opportunity to interface not only with the nation’s 37 million Spanish-speakers, but also with the next generation of young Americans—Hispanic and non-Hispanic alike.


Ramos, 56, was born in Mexico City in 1958. Originally, he wanted to be an Olympic athlete. When a back injury sidelined him from his track-and-field team, however, he set his sights on journalism.

program at the University of California, Los Angeles. There he spent a year studying television and journalism before landing his first job in American news, as a reporter for KMEX-Channel 14, the Los Angeles affiliate of Univision. “Before I got that first job, I remember a news director in Los Angeles told me I would never work in this country because I have a very big accent in English, and nobody would understand me,” Ramos recalls. “He said I should ‘forget about working for a Spanish-language station, too, because all Mexicans are going to assimilate and Spanish-language media will disappear.’ In the end, he lost his job, and I got mine.” His career was then set on an accelerated trajectory. In 1986, Ramos moved to Mi-

"I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE I HAVE AS A JOURNALIST IS TO CONFRONT THOSE WHO ARE IN POWER AND PREVENT THEIR ABUSE OF IT.” Jorge Ramos He realized that as a journalist he could do three things: witness the world change, talk to those changing it, and travel. “During that time in my life I really wanted to travel and go as far away from Mexico as possible,” says Ramos. His resolve to flee Mexico reached a boiling point in 1982 when, at 24 years old, Ramos worked as a television reporter for the Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa. Known as a mouthpiece for the ruling party, the company censored a report he’d filed criticizing the corrupt government of Mexican President José Lopez Portillo, expunging from it all segments and interviews critical of Portillo’s administration. Furious, Ramos destroyed the censored tape and promptly resigned. “The story never aired, so before they could fire me, I presented my resignation,” says Ramos. “It was impossible to be a free, uncensored journalist in Mexico. So, I sold my car”—a red Volkswagen Beetle—“for $200, and with that money I went to Los Angeles.” When he arrived in Los Angeles in January 1983, Ramos, a graduate of Mexico’s Ibero-American University, was accepted into UNEX, the continuing-education


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ami to anchor the national morning show Mundo Latino. Just a few months later he was named anchor of Noticiero Univision, which now attracts two million nightly viewers. He was just 28 years old and the youngest national news anchor in the history of American television. “What I thought was going to be a one-year adventure in the United States,” says Ramos, “has turned into an incredible 30-year journey.”


His three-decade career as a television journalist has had countless highlights. For Ramos, however, three in particular stand out. The first is having had the opportunity to cover wars from the front lines: the civil war in El Salvador (1980-1992), the Gulf War (1990-1991), the Kosovo War (1998 -1999), the Iraq War (2003-2011), and the War in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 and is scheduled to conclude this year when US troops complete their withdrawal. “There is nothing like going to war,” says Ramos. “And there is nothing like the feeling of coming back alive,” It’s a different universe with a particular set of rules. To be able to report from war zones and survive

has been the most significant career success for the veteran journalist. For people like Ramos who report them, wars are transformational. So, however, are the people who start and end them. “I have been able to talk to the most interesting men and women on Earth,” he says, “from American presidents George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama to the dictators such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.” The unique ability to call the most powerful people in the world and talk with them—Ramos’s second highlight—has earned him eight Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. His third highlight has been using his platform as a journalist to not only deliver news to the Hispanic community, but also to be an advocate for it. “As an immigrant, I speak for other immigrants who don’t have a voice in [the United States]. I’ve taken on an unexpected role” Ramos says. It’s not something the de facto spokesman looked for; it’s something that evolved out of the lack of political representation that Latinos have in America. “For such a large and rapidly growing percent of the population,” says Ramos, “we only have three senators who represent our background.” Ramos feels an obligation to defend fellow immigrants who don’t have a voice and haven’t been as lucky as he has been. Because his viewers respect and rely on him, Ramos often has been called the “Walter Cronkite of Hispanic news.” However, while Cronkite and his contemporaries rejected the idea of “advocacy journalism,” Ramos embraces it. Journalism has a responsibility not only to inform, he believes, but also to influence. “What I am doing is what I call ‘news with a point of view,’” Ramos says. “For that


I have no apologies. I think of Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. She once said that an interview is always a war between the interviewee and the interviewer. I like that concept. I think the most important role I have as a journalist is to confront those who are in power and prevent their abuse of it.” Confrontation is a fixture on Al Punto and America, as well as in Ramos’s weekly columns for the New York Times Syndicate. In a 1991 interview with Fidel Castro, for example, Ramos questioned the infamous dictator about the lack of democracy in


Cuba. In 2007, Ramos questioned Bolivian president Evo Morales on coca leaf production in relation to drug trafficking. In a 2012 interview with Hugo Chávez, Ramos asked the late Venezuelan leader why he stayed in power for 14 years—despite his promise to abdicate the presidency after five. And just last year, Ramos asked President Barack Obama, who promised to deliver immigration reform during his first term, why he reneged on his promise. Whether it’s speaking for undocumented immigrants, criticizing oppressive

governments, or being tough on Latin American presidents who are not used to being questioned, Ramos’s viewers expect him to have a point of view and to defend it. “When talking to dictators, I feel a responsibility to take the position of their victims—those who have no power and are suffering because of [dictators’] abuses.” Likewise, he’s confronting public figures at home, challenging them as both a journalist and an activist on issues such as immigration reform. “Barack Obama has deported almost two million undocumented





immigrants—more than any other president in the history of the United States. [Speaker of the House] John Boehner and the Republicans are blocking immigration reform that would benefit 11 million immigrants. I think it’s my duty as a journalist to make sure they know people are not happy with what they’re doing.”


The goal of confrontation isn’t just ruffling feathers, Ramos insists. It’s inciting change. And things are, in fact, changing for the Hispanic community—rapidly and dramatically. “When I arrived [in the United States] there were only 15 million Latinos,” Ramos says. “Right now there are 55 million, and in 35 years, they’re going to be at least 150 million strong. In other words, one in every



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three Americans is going to be Latino. We are growing fast, gaining power, and going mainstream for the first time in history.” For many decades, Ramos observes, the Hispanic community was called a “sleeping giant.” “Well, in the year 2000, the giant woke up, and now it’s running,” he continues. “What you’re going to see in the near future is Hispanics with much more authority in almost every single industry: from baseball and soccer, to food and music, to politics and media. We’re seeing incredible growth for the Hispanic community, both in English and in Spanish.” For the children of Ramos’s generation, the Hispanic community’s rapid growth is an opportunity. By providing the younger generation with knowledge and perspective, Ramos believes the news can help them make the most of that opportunity—provided it’s presented when, where, and how they want it. Enter America With Jorge Ramos. “There is a whole new generation of Latinos who feel more comfortable in English than in Spanish and who want content they can’t find anywhere else,” says Ramos, himself a father of two children (Nicolás, 16, and Paola, 27). “For instance, if you watch some of our shows you’ll see that we are covering not only issues facing the nation’s youth (like technology and sex) but also issues they care deeply about but can’t find on other networks.” These include updates on the countries their parents are from, especially nations suffering widespread violence or political unrest such as Mexico and Venezuela. “We are covering Venezuela as thoroughly as if we were Caracas’s local news,” says Ramos. “Political unrest in Venezuela is an issue nobody’s covering in the mainstream media, but we are. The turbulence facing Venezuela is just as newsworthy as that in the Ukraine and the Middle East. That’s why we’re doing this program.” In order to connect with young Hispanics, Ramos has had to change not only the issues he reports, but also how he reports them. “Millennials are breaking all the rules of television,” he says. “I grew up making an appointment every night at 6:30 to see what was going on in the world. When millennials watch my show America on Fusion, they already know what’s going on in the world. They can get faster information from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram than from regular networks. Social media is changing the way we are doing journalism.” Consider, for example, one of the biggest stories of 2014:


the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. “I can’t be in Malaysia covering the disappearance of the flight,” explains Ramos. “There are thousands of people in that part of the world with cell phones and computers reporting the news as it happens. I can’t compete with that. But what I can do as a journalist is tell them what’s credible, what’s false, what’s the truth, what’s important, and what’s relevant. That’s my new role.” Ramos the reporter is now also Ramos the interpretor. As news continues to evolve from traditional media to social media, his job is less about recording news and more about filtering and analyzing it. “Social media now presents us with millions and millions of facts and numbers with many different trends and opinions,” Ramos says. “From my point of view, journalists are needed more than ever before to put order to that chaos.” The problem with social media and the Internet is credibility. “Our role as journalists in this environment is to make sure we have the credibility to tell our audience what the truth is.”


Ramos isn’t just a truth-teller. He’s also a forecaster. The same eyes that have seen a remarkable past, also foresee a triumphant future. “The young Hispanic community is only 27 years of age on average,” Ramos says. “It’s incredibly optimistic and hopeful and full of energy, and already changing the nation as we know it. More tortillas are being sold than hamburger buns,” Ramos chuckles. Last summer, Univision was the mostwatched television network, regardless of language. And Ramos predicts that in 2016, for the first time in history, there could be three Hispanic presidential candidates. “It’s not a change that’s going to happen someday in the future,” he says. “It’s already happening right now.” Along with opportunities, however, the burgeoning Hispanic community faces challenges. “We have to go from having just big numbers to having power ref lective of our numbers,” he says. “That’s the whole game. It doesn’t matter if it’s in politics or music or media. We must leverage this incredible growth to gain incredible power. And we don’t have that yet.” Ramos explains that “power” means more Hispanic leaders in government, more Hispanic CEOs in business, more Hispanic


UP TO THE MINUTE WITH JORGE RAMOS It is said the news never sleeps. Univision's Jorge Ramos isn't quite as tireless, but he does put in 16-hour days to keep his viewers informed and in-touch with the world around them. Take a peek at a day in the the journalist's schedule.

6:30 am

8:00 am

Wakes up, reads the newspaper

Drives son, Nicolás, to school

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Starts Noticiero Univision

5:00 pm

Drives home

9:00 pm

Prepares for Noticiero Univision

Works on weekly column for New York Times Syndicate

4:30 pm

10:30 pm

Editorial meeting for weekly program Al Punto

3:30 pm Eats lunch

Watches TV before bed

3:00 pm

Editorial meeting for nightly program Noticiero Univision

faces in media, more Hispanic stars in movies and music, and more Hispanic deans at colleges and universities. The means to that end, according to Ramos, is education. “If you see the media, you might think that [the easiest way to get power] is to be Miley Cyrus or a professional baseball player or a famous actor,” he says. “But really, as a

9:00 am Goes for a run

11:30 am

Prepares for his first interview of the day

12:00 pm

Interview with high-profile diplomat, politician, or leader

1:20 pm

Prerecords segment for America With Jorge Ramos

2:00 pm

Editorial meeting for America With Jorge Ramos

community the only way to achieve more success—more economic power and more political power—is through educational empowerment.” More and more Latinos are finishing high school, going to college, and getting their PhDs. “It’s a process that is well underway,” says Ramos, “but it’s only just beginning.”





Heart of the Union Millions of people transfer money through Western Union every day. Its chief communications officer, Luella Chavez D’Angelo, is driven by her desire to help improve each one of their lives by Maureen Wilkey | photo by Sheila Barabad


estern Union has a story to tell that most people don’t know. Formerly the best-known US company in the business of exchanging telegrams, it is now known primarily for money transfer services. Facilitating more than a million transfers every day, its mission of being the global leader in cross-border transfers is helping grow small businesses, encourage education, and foster family prosperity. For every transaction, there is a sender and a receiver. Whether it’s a customer moving money to family members in another country, a business looking for solutions to pay invoices in different currencies, or a nongovernmental organization trying to get money into the hands of those who need it most after a disaster, each has its own story. As Western Union’s chief communications officer (CCO), Luella Chavez D’Angelo is passionate about telling these stories. “We are a for-profit business that has a social mission in mind,” says Chavez D’Angelo.


Hispanic Executive






Luella Chavez D’Angelo


Chief Communications Officer


Western Union




Englewood, CO


Over 500,000 agent locations worldwide

Bottom Line:

Western Union is an industry leader in global money transfer.



While serving the shareholders and watching the bottom line are priorities, as the value of Western Union’s stock increases, so does the company’s value to society. Working in a way that feels meaningful is a way of life for most Western Union employees. CEO Hikmet Ersek paves the way for his employees to do business with their hearts, encouraging employees to have a higher focus by remembering that so much of what they do is done with the objective of making people’s lives easier. This focus is played out in the Western Union Foundation, where billions of dollars have helped education and small-business causes on every continent. Chavez D’Angelo, who helped start the foundation, calls it the proof point of Western Union. In the year 2000, she was appointed the inaugural director of the First Data Western Union Foundation. During her tenure as Western Union Foundation president, the organization has offered support to more than 2,500 nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations in 130 countries. The foundation demonstrates the ways in which the company leads by example, supporting people of all backgrounds moving forward and bettering their lives. Chavez D’Angelo also enjoys her role as a strategic advisor to the C-suite, business unit executives, and external stakeholder groups. She believes that driving relationship- and expert-based value is critical to operations. Because Western Union transfers more than 120 currencies across 200 countries and territories, its executives have to be experts in money, the foreign exchange market, and relationships with clients. “Customer centricity is at the heart of everything we do,” Chavez D’Angelo says. The CCO’s background makes her uniquely qualified for her position. With one set of grandparents who emigrated from Spain and another from Mexico, she felt the impact of diversity throughout her


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CONGRATULATES Luella Chavez D’Angelo on being chosen as one of Hispanic Executive magazine’s Top 10 Líderes LÍDER INSIGHT “We have really good people, and I get out of their way so they can do their jobs. I watch almost every move they make, but I don’t try to control every move they make. I need to help them remove the barriers that they might be facing along the way. If they’re trying to do something they’ve never done before, I want to pave the road for them.”

childhood. She also understood the importance of education and hard work, thanks to her parents who were both educators— her father was an art teacher and her mother was an elementary school teacher who went on to get a doctorate and become a professor. Having grown up in immigrant communities, they taught their daughter the importance and the value of diversity. Chavez D’Angelo feels that Western Union is a natural fit for her because its values align with hers. Offering services that are used globally, it is natural for Western Union to embrace diversity internally. “Our leadership is like a mini United Nations,” says Chavez D’Angelo. “There are people from all over the world who can contribute fascinating insight about their unique cultures. I find it exciting every day to be a part of that.”






BEHIND FACEBOOK’S WALL CIO Tim Campos takes us behind the scenes of the company that operates the world’s most popular social network by Ruth E. Dávila


ver since he was a kid Tim Campos has had a compulsion to take things apart. He would unscrew radios, clocks, even computers. He had to see how they worked and why. That childhood curiosity segued into a lifelong passion for technology—the perfect backdrop for leading information technology (IT) at the world’s fastest growing company. Campos is chief information officer at Facebook. Since his arrival in 2010, Campos has seen Facebook evolve into the behemoth it is today. Some argue that Facebook’s model is so disruptive that it has impacted world history, changing human behavior from the dynamics of personal relationships to consumer buying choices. And Campos’s IT team of 170+ experts are the masterminds behind the machine that runs the machine. His division focuses on everything technical that doesn’t have to do with the


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consumer-facing Facebook. Rather than the function that determines what shows up in someone’s news feed, Campos concerns himself with the functions that serve the employees, sales functions, and Facebook as an enterprise, such as finance, human resources, and security. Keeping up with the needs of the sales engine of one of the fastest-growing advertising entities in the world is more about quality than quantity. In the tech industry, innovation is premium-grade fuel. As Facebook has become increasingly savvy in its product offerings for marketers, the company’s sales force is tasked with staying ahead of its customers’ trends. Digital (the highest-growth area within advertising in 2014, according to eMarketer) is an ocean rapidly filling with streams of stats and data on user behavior. In this vast sea of consumer information, advertisers often struggle to cast the net in a meaningful direction. Which data points are most meaningful? And how can they be applied to business strategies? In 2012, Campos’s IT team helped deploy an internal tool to give salespeople


Tim Campos


CIO, Vice President of IT




Menlo Park, CA

Bottom Line: Facebook has approximately 1.32 billion active users worldwide.

access to aggregate insights. It was designed to help advertisers make better-informed decisions on ad spending. The capability was so successful that Facebook decided to commercialize it, launching Facebook Audience Insights in May of 2014. The solution helps adver tisers understand their target audience s b e t t er by providing aggregate and anonymous










data on the locations and interests of their customer segments. “The IT team at Facebook excels at addressing business problems with technology,” says Campos, whose team is looking at everything from how Facebook’s salespeople communicate and update customers to how the company reviews its workforce. “We don’t just look at how to make things better internally; we look for opportunities to solve those problems for the world.” Take a tour of the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, CA, and Campos’s influence is evident. In this tech-for-techies epicenter, even mundane office procedures like registration at the reception desk boast a cool factor. Job candidates check in for on-site interviews using an iPad touch screen that automatically notifies the interview panel of their arrival. An acclaimed IT novelty that spun from Campos’s tenure emerged in 2011 as a creative solution to loss prevention, a common problem plaguing companies. “We were trying to find a way to keep up with all of our office supplies and equipment,” Campos recalls. “We had tried a few different solutions, including an antiquated system where employees sign their name when taking supplies. But it didn’t work.” Campos posed the problem to his assistant as a challenge, and the assistant brainstormed a genius response. Partnering with International Vending Machines, Facebook’s IT team devised an internal vending machine for IT equipment. Employees simply swipe their badge to check out products. The safeguarded system worked beautifully, serving as an instant fix for inventory control and cost savings for the company. Today dozens of companies have adopted the Facebook


Hispanic Executive

vending machine for supporting their own employees. “He was always too modest to take credit for it,” Campos says of the assistant, who has since been promoted to a new role, “but he came up with that solution.” Such an invention may not have been possible in a different corporate environment, Campos points out. It is Facebook’s culture of empowerment—and, one might add, Campos’s leadership style—that encourages

LÍDER INSIGHT “Everyone who joins Facebook IT is encouraged to focus both on what we want to achieve now, and to find new solutions that we might not even have known were possible. This allows us to focus on the business and add value to the company. But more importantly, it forces us to think outside of the box, to innovate. By identifying problems that we weren’t even thinking of originally, we’re looking beyond what needs to get done now, and we’re creating new solutions that move us closer to our mission of connecting the world.”

staff to bring to life game-changing systems, regardless of job title. “Facebook has an amazing culture that drives people to make improvements to ordinary things around them, to challenge the norm, and to take on leadership positions that aren’t traditionally possible,” Campos says. It is this human side of Facebook that Campos most admires. STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics) is a core area of funding for the company. Under Campos’s guidance, Facebook has donated thousands of computers to underprivileged students around the country. One of Campos’s personal passions is to close the opportunity divide. For him, education and personal ambition are critical in resetting a family’s path for generations to come. Campos’s father, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, offered his family the example of hard work and academic rigor. He spent much of his career as a psychology professor at the University of Berkeley in California, where Campos earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. Turning his own experiences into teachable moments, Campos volunteers with YearUp, a Bay Area nonprofit serving urban youth. YearUp offers job training, experience, and support. There, Campos has a special focus on mentoring Hispanic students and introducing options in the technology field. “I don’t think that Hispanics are underrepresented because of a lack of knowledge, skill sets, or the desire to work in this field,” Campos says. “I think Hispanic underrepresentation is caused by a lack of role models—people who look like them and come from the same place—to show them the way.” For Campos, opportunity is everything. He encourages young people who possess an insatiable desire to peer behind the curtain—of gadgetry, software, and the information highway—to pursue technology not only as a hobby but as a professional track. “If you feel motivated by fixing problems, few fields compare to technology in terms of gratification,” Campos says. “If you want to truly make a difference in how people live around the world, then technology is the vehicle to make that happen. There are no limits here.”

uniting powerful leaders in more ways than one





Bottling Sustainability Bea Perez, chief sustainability officer at Coca-Cola, shares the ways in which she is helping the company drive change globally by Mary Kenney


Hispanic Executive




hen Bea Perez stepped into her role at Coca-Cola, the biggest challenge that presented itself was not being able to save the whole world. Perez is Coca-Cola’s first chief sustainability officer. She leads the development of the sustainability vision the company intends to meet by the year 2020. “My biggest challenge is having to pick and choose where to focus our initiatives. There are so many problems to be solved in this world,” Perez explains, “however, we have a business to run and finite resources.” Coca-Cola is defining itself as a leader in sustainability efforts worldwide, but Perez maintains that this isn’t the first time the group has set a trend. In 1917, Coca-Cola was the first company to build a relationship with the Red Cross. In 1934 it became the first to appoint a female member to its board of directors. The corporation has always been a first responder; Perez uses the example of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Coca-Cola’s CEO, Muhtar Kent, flew to Tokyo to be with the local teams. “We’re the kind of company that strives to be there the moment communities are in need,” she adds. Perez herself travels often to ensure Coca-Cola’s international network understands the vision and goals as it rolls out sustainability initiatives. Coca-Cola initiatives began 128 years ago, but Perez is responsible for updating the company’s goals. The current goals have an objective of completion by 2020. The company is focusing on three key initiatives, the three W’s: water, women, and well-being. Coca-Cola’s focus on water sustainability comes from water usage for the product itself. Being that water is the most prominent ingredient in Coca-Cola products, its management and distribution is globally critical. The goals set by the company are to improve water usage efficiency by 25 percent, protect healthy freshwater systems, and make the company completely water-neutral. Coca-Cola has invested more than $1 billion in wastewater treatment initiatives over the last decade. Currently, 68 percent of the water used in Coca-Cola beverages is replenished, and the company is working to make it 100 percent by 2020. The company’s water initiatives are part of a larger plan to focus on the environment. Coca-Cola developed the first beverage package made with recycled material in 1991. Eighteen years later, Coca-Cola



Bea Perez


Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President


The Coca-Cola Company


Atlanta, GA

Bottom Line: Coca-Cola is the world’s most valuable brand, according to Interbrand.

launched PlantBottle, which is made partially from plants and designated with a green stamp consumers can find on the label. Coca-Cola asserts that PlantBottle has removed the equivalent of 140,000 metric tons of potential carbon dioxide emissions, falling in line with the company’s goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent throughout its value chain. The second major focus area is on women. Perez notes that about 70 percent

LÍDER INSIGHT “Sustainability can’t be just a side project. It has to be integral to how a corporation operates. We’ve accomplished integration at Coca-Cola, and we will continue to improve. Each employee is involved in this process, identifying opportunities in local communities. You also have to know what you stand for, and if you’re missing opportunities on the ground to make an impact, you have to listen to people on the local level.”

Coca-Cola has a goal to make the company completely waterneutral.

of Coca-Cola’s purchasers are women, but that isn’t the reason the company is championing empowerment efforts. Perez tells the story of Rosemary, a woman in Nairobi who is the second-largest distributor of Coca-Cola products in that country. Perez says with the training and guidance Coca-Cola offers, women around the world can experience financial stability and give back to their communities and families. Coca-Cola wants to economically empower five million women by 2020 by providing training, financial lending, and access to networks of peers and mentors. “We already have programs in place to empower more than 550,000 women across 44 countries,” Perez says. “My CEO says to me, ‘Yes, but that means we have four-and-a-half million left to go,’” she adds with a laugh. Coca-Cola’s third focus area, well-being, targets obesity by helping consumers create the energy balance (calories consumed and calories burned) that’s right for them. The company promotes physical activity programs in 118 countries. An example is Triple Play, an after-school program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Triple Play provides physical activity opportunities and nutrition education to youth. The company also reiterated its commitment to avoid target marketing to children younger than 13 years of age. “We have marketing responsibility guidelines for our entire business, and we don’t market to kids,” Perez explains. “We believe parents are the ones who should be driving the choice to purchase our products.” There is still much left for Perez and other leaders at Coca-Cola to do to accomplish the company’s 2020 goals. Though six years seems like plenty of time, Perez acknowledges that her goals for Coca-Cola are lofty and meeting them will take focus, partnerships, and innovation. Even once those destinations are reached, Perez’s next duty will be to target and formulate goals for 2030. “This is a heavy lift,” Perez says. “It’s not easy to hit the numbers we’ve set. We’ve set bold goals, we’ll have to give 100 percent to get there, and we’re prepared for that.”

Currently, 68% of the water used in Coca-Cola beverages is replenished,

and the company is working to make it 100% by 2020.





Major Commitments Joe Robles may be a retired general and a soon-to-be-retired CEO, but his impact is more relevant than ever by Kelli Lawrence


pend a little time talking to retired major general Josue “Joe” Robles, and you’ll be reminded of everything that’s outstanding about the United States military. Hear of his journey to become a two-star general, fighting in wars stretching from Vietnam to the first Gulf War and beyond, and you’ll know how his impeccably honed leadership skills came to be. Learn of his more than two decades of service at financial services leader USAA, and the deep, abiding respect he has for his fellow veterans becomes clear. Listen to his post-retirement plans—which have everything to do with giving back to his community and very little to do with personal needs—and the military’s commitment to public service echoes through every sentence.


Gen. Josue “Joe” Robles Jr.




USAA (The United Services Automobile Association)




San Antonio, TX


Approximately 25,000


More than 10 million

Bottom Line: USAA is a Texas-based, Fortune 500, diversified financial services group of companies offering banking, investing, and insurance to individuals and families that serve, or have served, in the United States military.


Hispanic Executive

“To say the military had a profound impact on me would be a major understatement,” Robles confirms with a laugh. Something similar can likely be said of the impact he’ll leave on USAA. Come early 2015, those postretirement plans will become reality when Robles steps down as the company’s president and CEO, a position he’s held since 2007. One of the things he hopes to leave behind is an understanding that great leaders and organizations are never done. They must keep learning, evolving, and improving with a disciplined focus on developmental growth of the workforce. For Robles, evolving and improving through education was a concept he understood at an early age. Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Robles was one of nine kids born to a father and mother who acquired only fourth- and ninth-grade educations, respectively. Robles realized his parents’ hardships might have been lessened considerably if they’d been able to continue their schooling. He would see other families that were economically advanced and wonder how they found themselves in such good fortune. “I made that connection [between education and success] pretty quickly,” he says. So when a shortage of doctors prompted his community hospital to pay students’ medical school tuition in exchange for six years of work, Robles jumped at the opportunity. He was working as a lab technician when “Uncle Sam got to me,” as he says, in 1966. Any medical aspirations took a permanent back seat to military commitment. Exemplary performance in basic training set him on a career track that saw him ultimately work his way to becoming a two-star general, the highest permanent rank in the uniformed services.

While nobility factors heavily into Robles’s admiration of the military, it’s the merit-based system of leadership and responsibility that resonates so strongly with everything he does. Robles’s tenure includes fighting fires in Yellowstone and being involved with FEMA efforts among other accomplishments. Ironically, he says he went into the military thinking its leaders were simply appointed to their positions over time. “But leadership’s about having the mental and behavioral attributes,” he explains. “You may not be the most senior person or the one with the most experience, but you have the ability to demonstrate leadership.” Leaders are those with the strongest communication skills, the most knowledge, and the capacity to quickly assess a situation and demonstrate agility and flexibility. It was Robles’s leadership in the military that resulted in multiple overseas tours, as well as appointment to Capitol Hill as Army budget director. He was also commanding general of the 1st Infantry before retiring from the Army in 1994 and turning his attention to USAA, a Fortune 500 company that provides financial services for the military and its families. He’d already served on the corporation’s board for four years while on active duty. By September 1994 he’d become USAA’s CFO and controller. “When I started at USAA, I found that I could influence the language, and more importantly, help with the leadership of the company ... I was hooked,” he says. Hooked, perhaps, but not blind to opportunities for improvement. When he first joined the company, USAA had separate lines of business between leaders and employees that didn’t facilitate a team dynamic. “It wasn’t until I insisted we adopt a teamwork model, a cooperation model, and



a collaboration model,” says Robles, “that we’ve seen our best days.” USAA has greatly increased its commitment to veterans in the past decade. Since 2005, the organization has hired more than 8,000 vets and their spouses who have been able to prepare for specific careers such as claims adjustment and mortgage processing through in-house training programs. Robles takes pride in USAA’s progressive policy, especially with hundreds of thousands expected to leave the military in the near future. “Above all else,” he says, “a company that was built by the military for the military has to take a leading role in advocating for veterans.” Even as the finance industry keeps pace with technology, employee development and customer satisfaction initiatives are critical for building true corporate success through better teams and leaders. “You must always show respect for those who are making you successful,” Robles says of USAA’s workforce. In planning his retirement from USAA, Robles says he gave notice a full year in advance, so the company wouldn’t struggle to make a lot of short-range decisions quickly. He hasn’t devoted much time to the details once that milestone comes around, but medical research still interests him and provides one option for volunteering his time. Education offers another. Both, in his opinion, are critical to the nation’s success and provide a way for him to continue to lead and serve. “There are very few cases in the world of people accomplishing success all by themselves,” says Robles. He may have hung up his fatigues, but you won’t find the major general simply standing at ease so long as there is impact to be made.






Hispanic Executive




THE CITY ON HIS SHOULDERS Antonio Gracias has quietly proven himself by recognizing potential in businesses where others haven’t. Opening his doors in Illinois’s urban core represents that same confidence in a state in need of an entrepreneurial spark by Mary Kenney | photos by Sheila Barabad






he poster that dominates the waiting area at the Valor Equity Partners Chicago headquarters isn’t a generic watercolor of neutral tones. It’s an enlarged memorandum sent by Antonio Gracias, founder and CEO, to his colleagues. Four words presented as tenets for the company are bolded: excellence, humility, integrity, and responsibility. But there is another word that defines both Gracias and Valor that isn’t emblazoned in the lobby: tenacity. If Chicago is famous for having rebuilt itself as one of America’s most important cities after burning completely to the ground, Gracias’s own business parallels the city’s narrative of resilience. Valor invests in high-growth companies to help them scale.

Valor’s office looks out at the wide expanse of blue-gray that is Lake Michigan. It’s cornered between the Chicago Symphony Center and the Art Institute of Chicago. Books filled with glossy color photos and neatly stacked in columns on a wooden table in the waiting area explore many facets of Chicago life: Lake Michigan, downtown, Illinois, the Midwest, and the Great Fire. In every sense, both within and on the surface, Valor is a Chicago company that embodies the Windy City’s tenacity. In 2008, as the national economy buckled under the burden of the financial crisis, Tesla Motors stood on the verge of collapse. The company couldn’t raise the capital to fund research and development. Tesla announced it would lay off nearly one in four of its employees. Few businesspeople were willing to take risks at the time; most were simply trying to survive. But Gracias and Valor chose to take the risk and invest in the automotive company. Gracias knew that Tesla had talented and creative individuals supporting a growing technology. Four years after Valor's intervention, Tesla posted $385.7 million in sales—a 2,600 percent increase from 2008. “It was a moment in time that really defined me,” he says, now with six years of perspective, “not just as an investor, but as a partner and as a person.” For the first quarter of 2014, Tesla Motors generated an impressive 100 percent

variable gross margin year over year while gross profits rose $59 million year over year. “Ultimately, the economy will be in a better place if we can help high-growth companies grow faster,” says Gracias, now a member of Tesla’s board of directors. “They will increase employment and produce lifechanging products.” Antonio Gracias bought his first business while studying law at the University of Chicago and has more than 20 years of experience investing in various sectors. In 2001, he founded Valor Equity Partners and chose to headquarter the company in Chicago. With an unemployment rate 1.6 percent higher than the national average and a corporate income tax rate at seven percent (also higher than the national average), Illinois is often maligned for its unfriendly business environment. These problems didn’t change Gracias’s desire to own a business in Chicago. Rather, he’s taken it upon his firm to be part of the solution. “I don’t see the environment as difficult,” he says. “There are challenges, but what defines you is how you deal with those challenges. The state is beginning to address those challenges, and it’s up to us as business leaders to be maximally supportive of the process.” With all of his passion for the city, Gracias will be the first to tell you the real reason he chose to set up shop in Chicago was to be close to his family.



Hispanic Executive


Antonio Gracias's road to Valor

1988 -1990

Gracias studies international finance and economics at Georgetown's school of foreign service.

1990 -1991

He spends a year abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo.

1991 -1993

Gracias is invited to enter graduate school in lieu of completing his senior year.

1993 -1995

He joins Goldman, Sachs and Co. in New York as an associate.


Gracias attends the University of Chicago Law School. He cofounds MG Capital to buy small businesses. He purchases his first company.


Gracias purchases his second company.


In the same year he purchases his third company, Gracias graduates from law school.


Gracias founds Valor Equity Partners to raise funds and continue investing and scaling high-growth companies.


When he talks about them, a smile spreads across his face. His parents are immigrants and had high expectations for their children. “I have two brothers who are doctors, my sister is a dentist, and I was going to be the lawyer of the family,” Gracias says. He ended up being the entrepreneur. Gracias has also lent his guidance to the city as a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Clean Energy Trust, the board of directors of the Economic Club of Chicago, the board of directors of World Business Chicago, the board of visitors of the University of Chicago Law School, and a trustee of the Field Museum. Chicago’s business environment doesn’t frighten Gracias, at least in part, because he never goes into a decision blind. Valor always knows the inner workings of a business before its leaders decide to invest in it and help it attain higher growth and scale. The firm often chooses companies in which they can see the potential to help a growing venture scale faster and more efficiently, and that attitude has helped Gracias build a brand that includes enterprises as seemingly disparate as Little Caesars and Tesla Motors. As he speaks about the companies in which he’s invested, Gracias punctuates his words by spreading his hands across a conference table and outlining bullet points. “When we stand alone, and other people don’t see what we see, that’s when we make the best investments,” he says. At Little Caesars, Valor’s internal engineers devised efficient processes for everything from food preparation to stocking pizzas. Valor doesn’t follow the normal practice of equity firms (buy up, lay off, break down). Instead, it tries to build upon what’s already there. His firm’s objective is to grow businesses and enhance their value by bringing them to scale. “We are investing in highgrowth companies,” Gracias asserts, “but, fundamentally, we are investing in great people.” As Valor continues to build momentum, it has begun narrowing and specializing its scope. Gracias says the company continues to pursue the projects its leaders are most passionate about, such as improving operational techniques. “We’ve done operations turnarounds, and we’ve been operating managers,” says Gracias. “We’ve realized that the thing that excites us the most—that wakes us up in the morning—is working with great growth companies with terrific teams in place. And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”








Hispanic Executive


Diversity in the Age of Constant Visibility Monica Diaz expertly ensures diversity is evident in ESPN’s 24-hour news cycle by Tina Vasquez



Monica Diaz


Vice President Diversity, Inclusion, & Wellness






Bristol, CN

Size of Diaz's team:


Bottom Line: ESPN is the world’s first 24-hour TV network. Broadcasting comprehensive sports news, analysis, and commentary, it is a strong member of the Disney portfolio.



ery few people get to wake up every day and feel like the work they do truly makes a difference. Monica Diaz counts herself as one of those lucky people. Each morning she is inspired by the opportunity she’s been given to help others recognize their full potential while embracing the beauty of diversity. Diaz’s introduction to the human resources field was 50 percent thoughtful planning and 50 percent serendipity. She majored in psychology but took an opportunity when a friend offered her a job in human resources. She found herself immediately drawn to the profession. “There’s something magical,” Diaz says, “about being able to help people tap into their unique abilities to become more successful.” As it turned out, the work came naturally to her, with one opportunity leading to the next, thanks primarily to word of mouth from colleagues impressed by her skills. Her career spanned globally recognized companies

such as Microsoft, Merck & Co., and Sara Lee Corporation before she made her way to her current role, the one she deems the most life-altering yet: vice president of diversity, inclusion, and wellness at ESPN, the most successful sports network in existence. Diaz says the diversity and inclusion era of her human resources career also came naturally. “I got into this area of the field by following my heart and passions,” she says. When she initially entered the space, colleagues told her to be careful. At the time, diversity and inclusion wasn’t as prevalent as it is now, and they were worried it would put Diaz in a niche. “Once you become a specialist,” they said, “it will be difficult to be a generalist again.” However, Diaz’s reasons to become a specialist weren’t just professional; they were personal. Additionally, that choice took her on an endlessly rewarding path. When Diaz moved to the continental United States from Puerto Rico in 2002, she felt she was “all of a sudden” considered Hispanic. “There were all of these preconceived notions about how I should speak,






think, and behave,” Diaz laughs. “This Hispanic designation wasn’t something I was familiar with before moving here.” By connecting with others who felt the same way, she organized meetings with colleagues from Mexico and Argentina to discuss what diversity really meant for them and how it could be relevant to their businesses. “I became excited by the prospect of working in a field that focused on valuing people’s differences,” Diaz says, “rather than seeing them as challenges to be overcome.” Two very different industry approaches truly prepared Diaz for the work she currently does with ESPN. In the pharmaceutical industry, she learned when to pay attention to the smallest details because the consequences could be massive. There are instances where things cannot be fasttracked. And in the tech industry, Diaz says the speed of innovation is almost as important as the innovation itself. These lessons come together in her work at ESPN, where although she deals with fast-paced media content, time must be taken to understand the network’s diverse audience and how diversity impacts storytelling. ESPN has understood the importance of diversity for a long time and has worked hard to ensure that it hosts an inclusive workplace, both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras. “The time of one-sizefits-all media is long gone,” Diaz says. “The ESPN audience is global; it’s not one homogeneous unit. It’s important that ESPN reflect its diverse audience, and I think we are doing a great job delivering that.” Diaz’s role requires more than just expertise in diversity and inclusion. She is also a wellness leader at ESPN. Diaz says that the wellness aspect of her job brings her great joy. Part of it requires a focus on exercising, healthy eating, and stress reduction, and there is also the component of energy management. “The work I get to do is a true privilege,”


Hispanic Executive

she says. “We take a very holistic approach to wellness, wanting our employees to be in the best health possible. So, our goal every day is to help others recognize the importance of their health. From a diversity perspective, we help people seek and leverage different perspectives—not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because wellness and diversity at ESPN directly drive its business results.” In 2008, ESPN launched eight employee resource groups: young professionals, women, Asians, people with disabilities,

LÍDER INSIGHT “People have the rightful expectation that their leader will have their back. At the end of the day, every successful person can speak about someone who trusted him or her—more than they trusted themselves. I focus on getting to know my team in a way that gives me enough insight to trust that they can deliver more than they even believe they can. I, in turn, develop their trust by listening to their realities, their aspirations, and what’s important to them. Once you realize what motivates your team, personally and professionally, you can figure out which levers to pull to maximize their potential.”

Latinos, families, African-Americans, and LGBT employees. In the years since, the network has received countless awards for its diversity efforts, including recognition among DiversityInc's top 50 companies for diversity and top 10 companies for Latinos. Women in Cable Telecommunications named it one of the best companies for women in pay equity, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awarded it for outstanding TV journalism. Diaz says everyone at ESPN understands how important diversity and inclusion are to the network, which helps with what she considers her biggest challenge: constant visibility. The network’s product is constantly visible to its audience, so the challenge is to strike the right balance of how fast you push content out with vigilance of different viewpoints in the storytelling. “The content ESPN produces has constant exposure to our audience,” says Diaz. “This means that the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts is always visible, and our audience’s reactions are immediate. We’re ‘on’ every minute of every day, figuratively and literally. This is why it’s so important to ensure everyone at ESPN understands why and how to seek out and integrate diverse perspectives in everything we do.” This is easier said than done. Diaz says it’s crucial that the network engages its audience in a natural way. So while employees reflect the ESPN audience, the goal of the programming is to entertain with accuracy. It’s a delicate balance, the vice president says, requiring the network’s approach to diversity and inclusion to be genuine and send the clear message to viewers that diversity is taken very seriously. “We truly enjoy what we do,” Diaz says. “My work in diversity and inclusion is not just a job, it has opened my mind in ways that never stop evolving.”



Dialing In Mariano Legaz is leading Verizon toward the goal of winning the state of Florida with products and services tailored for the Hispanic community by Zach Baliva


ompanies that expect to grow and succeed in Florida must succeed within the Hispanic community. Most Hispanics in the United States live in California, Texas, or Florida. In fact, 23 percent of Florida’s residents checked “Hispanic” or “Latino” on the most recent national Census. The Pew Research Center lists the state’s total Hispanic population at 4,354,000 with a median age of 33 (which reflects national trends). As Florida region president for the largest wireless company in the United States, Mariano Legaz is helping Verizon cater to a vibrant and growing demographic that demands great service and uninterrupted connectivity. Legaz, an electrical engineer by training, grew up and attended university in his native country of Argentina. He took a job with a start-up wireless company then owned by one of the companies that later formed Verizon. That led to an international move. Legaz moved to the United States, performed well in various roles including vice president of supply chain and in 2013 accepted a role in regional leadership. Today, Legaz oversees nearly 2,400 employees while leading efforts in sales, operations, marketing, distribution, customer service, and financial performance.






With 19.3 million residents, Florida is poised to overtake New York as the thirdmost populous state in the union. Verizon’s presence in Florida is ever-growing. Right now the company owns more than 80 retail stores, numerous corporate offices, and a large customer service call center. Verizon spent the last decade becoming the number one brand in the telecommunications industry. Now, the company is looking to add to its competitive advantage shifting more focus to customer service. Legaz’s role is to execute that and other strategies at all levels. To do so, he must know and understand his diverse market. Florida is home to traditional families, retirees, seasonal residents, and that all-important booming Hispanic demographic. The varied market, though a challenge, is something that Legaz is able to use to his advantage. “The variety in Florida allows Verizon to be comprehensive in the solutions and offerings we provide,” he remarks. And while providing great service that caters to all demographics is important, there’s no denying that the Hispanic consumer drives regional growth. “It’s a cornerstone of our strategy,” says Legaz. “We

LÍDER INSIGHT “I have a fantastic team, but without asking I know that they expect me to be engaged and open. They expect me to participate. In return, I want people to be passionate and find areas of work that they love. I don’t want them looking at the clock to see when the end of the day is coming. I try to motivate and energize the team around the company’s strategies by being approachable, responsive, and engaging in the same work I ask them to do.”


Hispanic Executive


Mariano Legaz


Florida Region President




Basking Ridge, NJ

Number of direct reports:

12 with 2,400+ employees in Florida

Bottom line:

Verizon is one of the largest telecom providers in the world offering optimum reliability to its 104.6 million retail connections nationwide in the United States. From 2012 to 2013, the company increased revenues by nearly five billion dollars to $120.6 billion.

Verizon’s 2013 revenues topped $120 billion, and the company is pouring some of those funds back into the community. For Legaz, it’s more about opportunity than obligation. “We’re one of the most successful companies in the country, and that means we are in the unique position to share our tools and expertise to enable groups, programs, and initiatives that benefit our society as a whole,” he says. As region president, he enjoys providing his employees the chance to contribute outside regular business duties. Verizon’s community outreach efforts have centered on education, sustainability, health care, and domestic violence prevention. A national effort known as HopeLine encourages individuals to donate old cell phones, which Verizon recycles. Profits from the program go to shelters that serve families affected by domestic violence in the United States. In addition to phone recycling, Verizon refurbishes phones and loads them with 3,000 anytime minutes and texting, so survivors and victims can call for help as needed. Further, a new HopeLine app provides resources and assistance. Since 2001, the program has gathered 10.8 million phones, donated 180,000 phones,

need to be extremely effective within the Hispanic community.” Generally speaking, Hispanic users are early adopters of new technologies and over-index on data usage. Verizon is responding by offering shared data plans, better pricing, and multiline accounts. Most recently, the provider is introducing long-distance plans that include every country in Latin America. Since Hispanics statistically use COMPANIES THAT EXPECT TO GROW AND so much data, Verizon is offering its More EvSUCCEED IN FLORIDA MUST SUCCEED erything plans that inWITHIN THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY. centivize customers to move up to higher tiers of data. Two other areas are key to regional and awarded $21.4 million to national orgasuccess: personnel and business solutions. nizations. One HopeLine partner in Florida Legaz is actively working to be as diverse is the Department of Children and Families as possible when hiring and is instructing certified domestic violence center known as The Spring, which recently received a his team across the state to do the same. In some Florida locations, as much as 80 $15,000 grant through the program. percent of the employee base is bilingual. In the coming months, Legaz and othThis allows Verizon to serve its customers er region presidents will direct their teams in their language of preference. Secondly, to continue pushing the customer-centric Hispanics in the area are business ownapproach. As they do, Verizon will further ers. Twenty-two percent of area businessmature its XLTE network, which increases—compared to eight percent nationally— es speeds and doubles bandwidth nationare Hispanic-owned. Verizon, therefore, is wide. Other coming advancements include pushing small-business solutions such as Voice over LTE and enhanced video calling. telematics and a suite of products that— “It’s always fun,” says Legaz of the constant among other things—track packages, assist developments. “We look forward to bringin fleet management, and provide real-time ing these new products and services to our Florida consumer base.” analytics.





Maria Teresa Kumar has spent the last ten years registering and equipping the young Latino voter, taking an active stand in the movement to ensure that Latino power in America reflects population size by Zach Baliva






Latinos turn 18 each year. That means the electorate gets an average of 66,500 new Latino voters each month. The presidential elections of 2016 are two years away, and several swing states—where elections are decided by just thousands of votes—are home to millions of young, eligible, Latino voters and thousands of unregistered ones. Maria Teresa Kumar knows that if she can help her community leverage its voting power, they can change the course of the nation and subsequently the world. Kumar is the founding president and CEO of Voto Latino, a nonpartisan organization, chaired and cofounded by actress Rosario Dawson, which looks to engage Latino youth in the democratic process.

Latinos make up about 17% (53 million) of the total US population. Voto Latino has a few key causes, and the issues (immigration reform, health care, and STEM) aren’t light ones. But Kumar believes she can help motivate the 15 million young American Latinos in the United States. “Half of all eligible Latino voters are under age 40,” she says. “We’ve got to seize this opportunity. As our population increases in size and buying power, we have to also increase in voting power.” In 2008, just four years after the organization’s inception, Kumar’s efforts were impacting a presidential election. Voto Latino maximized social media reach in key battleground states, contributing to an increase in Latino voter turnout of at least five percent greater in those states than the national numbers. In its infancy, Voto Latino existed to increase voter registration among Latinos. Now the group is evolving. Kumar and her street teams have taught individuals how to fill out the US Census and helped Latinos navigate the health exchanges associated with the Affordable Care Act. They provide resources and engage young people on immigration, professional development, and tech innovation.


Hispanic Executive

But Voto Latino is about more than inspiring young people to participate. Kumar wants to provide opportunity. “The bottom line is, our numbers are growing so much in this country, but we are severely underrepresented in several key areas. Politics is just one of those areas,” she says. Industry is another. In 2014, after realizing that Latinos make up just seven percent of the workforce in Silicon Valley, Voto Latino created an initiative called the VL Innovators Challenge. The contest invites those between ages 18 and 34 to use design and technology to improve the lives of Latinos. Creators of winning mobile apps, programs, websites, social networking platforms, or other innovative digital tools will split $500,000 in grant money. “Tech employers say they don’t have a pipeline to Latino talent, and we hope this challenge will help identify the talented Latinos ready to be hired,” she says. Kumar was born in Colombia and came to the United States at age four. During summer visits home, she became very aware of the limitations Colombian women suffered in comparison to Americans—particularly women like herself, the child of a single mother. “I appreciated that I was able to define myself in the United States,” she recalls, “and I wanted to take advantage of it.”

Half of all eligible Latino voters are under age 40. When Kumar met a kindred spirit in actress Rosario Dawson, she realized she had the unique chance to “impact America for others to help them fulfill their promise.” Voto Latino, she says, has been successful because of people like Dawson who have given their talents and their celebrity to the

cause and remained dedicated to equipping young Latinos. Today, the organization offers several training programs that help participants find the potential Kumar found in herself at an early age. That’s an important step for a growing community struggling to define itself. The median age of all Latinos living in the United States is 27. There are 53 million Hispanics in the United States. That number will climb above 128 million by 2060. Yet most of these Hispanics are represented in state and local elections by much older white men (the average congressional member is 55). “There’s a divorce between the people who make public policy and the population they serve,” says Kumar. She is proud to be an active part of a demographic growing in both number and influence, concerned with issues like the minimum wage, student debt, and job development.

In 30 years, young Latinos will account for nearly one-third of the total US youth population. After 10 years, Kumar is seeing signs of life. “The 2012 elections were racially charged, and that motivated a lot of people,” she says. Latinos are noticing the changes. When a burger joint in Colorado caused controversy by asking Latinos to prove citizenship before receiving food, eyebrows were raised. “If we don’t raise consciousness and better participate in the process, our views will never be reflected,” says Kumar. Voto Latino has done that by turning to social media and peer-to-peer relationships. But for Voto Latino it’s not enough to have celebrity support. The organization has to convince young people who have registered to vote to talk their friends and family into doing the same. In 2012, Voto Latino debuted a feature that posted voter registration notices to a Facebook user’s wall. Harnessing the power of technology is in Voto Latino’s very fabric. Ten years ago, when people were telling Kumar she was wasting her time, all she had was a URL. She pursued Latino millennials



Maria Teresa Kumar in April 2013 at Voto Latino's "I'm Ready for Immigration Reform" press conference on Capitol Hill. Behind her right shoulder are Wilmer Valderrama and America Ferrera, cochairs of Voto Latino's Artist Coalition. The woman in red is Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.






MIDTERM FORECAST As the national election approaches, Voto Latino is doing a pilot program with Rock the Vote to register young Latinos in southwestern states. The program—called #TrendUrVoice— will be the largestever online campaign to target young Latino voters. Some traditionally partisan states are up for grabs in the election. Texas has

2.5 million

eligible Latino youth voters, but some congressional elections are decided by less than 1,000 votes. Some of those districts have


unregistered Latinos. Other swing states include Colorado and Arizona.


Hispanic Executive

Maria Teresa Kumar with Rosario Dawson (Voto Latino's cofounder and chairwoman) and Jorge Plasencia (chairman and CEO of República) at Voto Latino's Power Summit leadership conference in Miami, FL in June of 2014.


(in English). They said it would take her 25 years. But as with the Green Revolution in Iran and the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, something caught on. Latinos in the United States used MySpace and text messaging to organize one of the biggest and most unknown civil rights movements in the nation’s history. High school students staged massive walkouts in support of immigration reform. Hundreds of thousands boycotted work and shopping. As two million Latinos marched peacefully in the streets, Voto Latino used the momentum they caused to create the very first Get Out the Vote app, which generated an automated reminder to get Latinos to the polls. On election day, Latinos increased turnout by eight percent compared to four percent among whites. Today, Voto Latino continues to leverage technology while states work to modernize the voter registration process. Studies have shown online registration increases turnout by up to 30 percent. They’re also working with national organizations to

11 states have Latino electorates of more than 10 percent: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Arizona, California, and Texas. promote National Voter Registration Day, the largest one-day effort to register American voters. 800,000 Latinos turned 18 in 2013. The biggest obstacle is infrastructure, but there is promise. In 2012, 12 million Latinos voted. That’s half of all eligible voters. Voto Latino registered 93,796 of them. Kumar says the stakes are high. “It’s not just our community that will be left out of the process if we can’t figure out how to engage Latinos,” she says. “America will be left behind. We need everyone involved for the whole thing to work.”




Beyond the 9 to 5


How Paramount is competing with media piracy in Spain.



The Power of Latino Leadership by Juana Bordas.


In a fútbol-focused market, UFC is contending for fighter fans.

101 PERFECT FIT Raquel Egusquiza found in NBCUniversal a company that shares her values.

103 #SOCIAL STRATEGY InPulse cracks the digital marketing code.

In Veracruz, Ana de la Reguera is more than an actress, she’s an activist.


AS SEEN ON TV Patricia Janiot is just as tenacious fighting for Colombia’s children as she is reporting world news.

116 TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH Israel Vargas is connecting to atrisk Chicagoans to help them get off the path he once went down.


“I’m not going to move, and if they need to run me over, then they’ll run me over.” PATRICIA JANIOT


Anchor CNN en Español


Areas USA is able to serve businesses and Hispanics by supporting restaurateurs.

WORLDVIEW 129 MORE THAN YOU BARGAINED FOR Your acquisition is greater than assets. How Juan Cento’s insider insight grew FedEx Latin America after a buyout.

131 BUYER’S GUIDE FTI Consulting informs our Latin American market entry manual.

134 FRIENDS IN MANY PLACES Deloitte leverages an expansive network for businesses breaking into new markets.

136 IT PAYS TO NOT SELL OUT How Pedro Lichtinger rose through corporate America without relinquishing his identity.

138 MARKET WATCH: MOBILITY The CEO of Celistics on an exploding mobile industry and the future of Latin American communication and connectivity.

122 LOAN SPARK VEDC’s commitment to small and women-owned business during the recession ignited a growth surge.

124 ON CALL Sigue is capitalizing on a $50 billion industry and connecting families across borders.

126 MEDICINE MAN How Marcelo Fumasoni is tackling the world’s biggest problems with help from one of its pharmaceutical giants.

FAMILY HERITAGE 141 ORAL TRADITION The second generation of Chicago’s only Costa Rican restaurant.

145 SEEING TRIPLE Three sisters, two optometry practices, one vision.

147 STEPPING OUT The move Vanessa Robledo had to make to pursue her dreams.







The economic situation in Spain is creating a troublesome market for most business sectors. Paramount’s Antonio Menéndez takes on the challenge of reviving the motion picture industry BY EVAN LA RUFFA


ith a down economy and piracy looming large over the entertainment industr y in Europe, Antonio Menéndez, Paramount Pictures’ Spanish marketing director, looks to a mobile future where great content wins. The home media market has decreased by approximately 15-20 percent annually for the past five years, and the market is half the size it was in 2007. These statistics precipitate the need for a dynamic marketing strategy. Menéndez discusses his plans to guide Paramount through digital media with HE.

an interview, did well, and jump-started my career without having any previous orientation toward entertainment or marketing. In 1999 I took a marketing opportunity with L’Oreal in the United States and later attended the University of California, Berkeley, obtaining my MBA. I also worked for Paramount and PepsiCo in the states. Six years ago, though, I came back to Paramount in Madrid. I believe that destiny has definitely taken me to the right place. I have continued academically in Spain as well. Two years ago I finished an advanced management program for directors at the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School.

marketing. Today it’s almost unheard of to release a movie and create a media plan without spending at least 50 percent of the marketing budget on digital media.

How did you get your start in the film industry?

How have you seen Paramount evolve with the rise of social media? Paramount has proven the ability to improve its social media strategies with every release and we continue to increase our social media outreach every single day. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are essential in reaching our consumer base, and our media plans are almost entirely focused on digital

We take a consumer-oriented, very direct approach with the products we create. We are probably one of the most film-focused companies in the industry. Technology drives our business and we have to adapt because at the end of the day, we sell content. The content needs to be enjoyed on mobile devices, so the closer to the consumer we are, the better. We have to understand

My first job after university was with Paramount, actually. I’m from Madrid, Spain, and I got my business degree at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. I saw a job post at my university, and I called Paramount. I had


Hispanic Executive

How do you use digital media to connect with consumers? Digital media is definitely one of the key pillars we have to engage audiences, which is why we are focusing on mobile content accessible from tablets and smartphones to drive that engagement.

What does Paramount’s global marketing strategy look like moving forward?


ANTONIO MENÉNDEZ Spanish Marketing Director Paramount Pictures

“People are demanding content that they can enjoy on their tablets and smartphones, but most of the content they are demanding is coming from an illegal source.” ANTONIO MENÉNDEZ




graphic design advertising creativity printing multimedia

all the ways in which our consumer enjoys movies and what they’re really demanding.

Talk about how that strategy played out in the partnership between Paramount and McDonald’s? McDonald’s is a great platform because they offered a DVD promotion in partnership with Paramount. We selected eight movies with McDonald’s and created the biggest promotion ever in the Spanish home entertainment industry. One of the TV spots featured a family going into a McDonald’s restaurant. Their seven-year-old wanted some fries and treated it like Mission Impossible. It was very well-received and entertaining from an audience’s point of view. We were aggressive in the target of that promotion, and we surpassed our goal.

Describe the Spanish film industry. What are viewers looking for, and what are the trends driving the market? Like so many others, the film industry in Spain is suffering a deep crisis. There are two main factors: The first is the economic crisis that is affecting Europe. The other large problem is piracy. In Spain, we have one of the worst macroeconomic situations in the European Union with 27 percent unemployment. Spain is also the number one country in committing piracy (illegal downloading, not fake copies). Ninetysix percent of movies watched at home in Spain come from an illegal source; only four percent are purchased. It’s true that people are demanding content that they can enjoy on their tablets and smartphones—that’s the positive part—but most of the content they are demanding is coming from an illegal source. We’re trying to find a way to change that.

That’s astounding. How are films specifically impacted by the economy? If we’re talking about cinemas, last year the market decreased 15 percent. The new value-added taxes were raised from 8 percent to 21 percent, so exhibitors had to raise ticket prices, and this has negatively impacted that industry. Money in-hand is down, and the measures that the government is taking are not helping consumption. C/ Isabel Colbrand, 10 Acceso 1 - 5ª planta - oficina 161- 28050 - Madrid - España Tel.: +34 91 314 79 51 - Fax.: +34 91 323 52 76 - e-mail: visioncinco@visioncinco.com


Hispanic Executive

“Our proposal is to sell two hours of dreams for €15.” ANTONIO MENÉNDEZ

Zinking On is a 360º publicity and marketing Spanish agency that delivers insight-led strategy and creativity for leading companies in the Entertainment and Film Industry such as Paramount Home Entertainment Spain. We always chase for the maximum efficiency and perfection in our work, covering a global spectrum of activity.


In what way is your job rewarding? At the end of the day, our proposal is to sell two hours of dreams for €15. We are selling something exciting; a movie.

What are the most popular movie theaters in Madrid? Any of those located on Gran Via, the main street in Madrid. It’s similar to Broadway in New York—old with a lot of history. The biggest theater, though, in the suburbs of Madrid, is called Kinépolis. It has the biggest screen in Europe and is great to enjoy incredible special effects and movies in 3-D.

Do you have a favorite movie quote? It has to be, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” from The Godfather.

What are your top three Paramount pictures? They would have to be The Godfather, the Indiana Jones collection, and Forrest Gump.


Avda. Manoteras, 30 Office A212 28050 Madrid, Spain Tel. +34 91 219 45 13

www.zinkingon360.com @ZinkingOn ZinkingOn Info@zinkingon360.com hispanicexecutive.com



Jaime Pollack brought about a partnership between the UFC and Televisa. The deal brought a new version of the Ultimate Fighter TV show into production. The Latin American series finale is set to take place in Mexico City on Novermber 15, 2014.


Hispanic Executive




OCTAGON WITH JAIME POLLACK The sports and media executive explains how he’s growing the UFC’s brand in Latin America, the challenges he faces, and why the sport appeals to mass markets BY MARY KENNEY


Have you encountered any misconceptions about the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in new markets?

How have you seen the UFC’s presence and popularity in Latin America change?

When I started, there was very little awareness of the UFC in Latin America. I’ve been in countless meetings with highThere were pockets of fans in Mexico level media executives, and within the first and parts of Brazil, and few minutes I realize that it was a very fringe, niche there are some basic and JAIME fan base. Over the last fundamental misconceptions POLLACK three to five years, we’ve about the brand. But by the Senior VP of been able to build the UFC end of the meeting, after International Development and having a chance to showcase brand in the majority of the Latin America GM the UFC as a sport, the Latin American countries, Ultimate Fighting including A rgentina , executives are ready to strike Championship Colombia, Ecuador, and a deal. When we tell people Peru to name a few. Today, there have been no deaths or serious injuries in the UFC, they are usually there is a much broader awareness level of surprised. There are men and women in the UFC brand as a worldwide sport, and every country who love this sport, and they its relevance is known within the different cultures. understand that the fighters are amazing athletes. It’s a contact sport, of course, but it’s actually one of the safest contact sports. What major deals have changed the As a new audience starts to learn the sport, UFC’s scope in Latin America? the virtues of martial arts get reexposed. There have been three big media deals for UFC is about respect, discipline, hard work, the company. The first was our partnership athleticism, and hours of daily training. with Fox Sports. The second, our strong partnership with TV Globo in Brazil, That is why lot of the fighters become role and now we are proud to have a working models.


relationship with Televisa. We recently did an announcement about our partnership with Televisa to produce a localized version of the Ultimate Fighter reality show. We conducted a media tour and press conference in Mexico City this past May. More than 350 people attended, including media outlets from the entire region. It was one of the largest press conferences, both for the UFC and for Televisa.

What makes the Latin American market unique? I think Latinos in general have a fighting spirit. I see a passion in Latin Americans that is different from anywhere else in the world. We see it in our fan base. We see it in our fighters. For the UFC, there are top athletes coming from Latin America, and they’re proud to exhibit their spirit. The UFC fighters have an incredible platform to become role models in their countries. Another unique aspect of Latin America is that the popularity of soccer is ubiquitous, like nowhere else in the world. Outside of soccer, other sports are more niche. With sports in the United States (baseball, football, hockey, and basketball), there is



Bottom: Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos was one of the middleweight fighters of the the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3, the Brazilian version of the American series introduced to the market by Pollack.

much more variety and much more competition for popularity between sports. In the Latin American region, many sports fans have been looking for outlets other than soccer, and until recently, other relevant content didn’t really exist. There is an opportunity for the UFC to fill that demand.

How have marketing initiatives shifted to appeal to Latin American cultures? The tactics are very straightforward. I think the product itself is impressive, and the basics of it cut through all languages, races, skin colors, and economic backgrounds. We also try to highlight how the Ultimate Fighter is a great platform for education and awareness. It serves as a great tool to show people how the fighters train


Hispanic Executive

together, what their background stories are, and where they come from. For example, many of the fighters are fathers and husbands who support their families. There are fighters with college degrees. They’re regular people, and this is their career.

What is your next step in growing the UFC’s presence in Latin America? It all star ts w ith cultivating great relationships, and at this point we have built strong relationships in almost every country. We’re so interconnected with our fans—more than any other sport that I know of. So when the media platform is broad enough to reach the fan on a daily basis, it allows growth for casual and avid fans to make connecting with the sport a part of their lifestyle.


Top: At a press conference in Mexico City, UFC announces its partnership with Televisa­— featuring the first season of the Ultimate Fighter Latin America—and the title fight for heavyweight championship of the world to take place in November.





Raquel “Rocky” Egusquiza shares how her new job at NBCUniversal has helped her tap into her passion for giving back BY OLIVIA N. CASTAÑEDA

What factors went into your decision to take the job as vice president of community affairs and Hispanic enterprises and content at NBCUniversal? As I considered my career trajectory and opportunities, it became important to work for an organization that shares my values. I was particularly impressed by the commitment to the Hispanic community that I saw at Comcast, NBC, and Telemundo. I thought the position was a great opportunity and next step for me professionally.

What NBCUniversal company values resonate with you the most? NBCUniversal acknowledges the fact that the US Hispanic population is 53 million and growing, shaping the nation’s economy and inf luencing its politics. Supporting the Hispanic community is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense. Comcast, NBC, and Telemundo appreciate and celebrate the values that Latinos bring to the jobs on both sides of the camera. The organization has a proven record RAQUEL of supporting the communities where EGUSQUIZA their employees work and live. With VP of Community efforts such as Telemundo’s El Poder Affairs and Hispanic Enterprises and Content de Saber and Vota Por Tu Futuro, it has consistently carried out initiatives that NBC Universal empower Latinos through education and civic engagement. Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has connected more than 1.2 million Americans through the power of at-home Internet. I feel here the presence of commitment, responsibility, and passion to support our community.




Tap into a


“If we are not supporting ourselves as a community, then we are not doing our job.” RAQUEL EGUSQUIZA

As vice president of community affairs, what are your duties and responsibilities? In this role I am located in New York and split my time with the Telemundo headquarters in Miami. I am responsible for developing the company’s long- and short-term strategic direction, planning community relations activities as they relate to NBC News and Telemundo Media. I am also charged with coordinating all of that work with our parent company, Comcast Corporation.



Hispanic Executive

What do you anticipate for the Latino community within the next three to five years? If you look at the Latino community today, one in six Americans is Latino. Among school-age children, Latinos represent one in four. In some cities, such as Los Angeles or Miami, they are every one in two. Hispanics are already a powerful force in the nation’s culture, politics, and economy. I think that over the next five years, our inf luence is only going to increase. As Latinos, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are providing opportunities for those who come after us. We must help others along the way and contribute to the workforce of the next decade. If we are not supporting ourselves as a community, then we are not doing our job. Working as part of Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Telemundo is gratifying because, unlike our competitors, we have the opportunity to reach Latinos in English and Spanish, online, on air, and on demand, wherever they are.

How is the arts and entertainment field changing for Latinos? Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Telemundo recognize and deliver on the importance of engaging Latinos across the production process, in front of and behind the camera. This commitment is reflected in the success of film projects such as the Fast and Furious series, Universal’s highest-grossing franchise with broad diversity across production. Latinos had a major impact at the box office. Another great TV example is La Voz Kids on Telemundo, an expansion of NBC’s the Voice, now in its second season. Behind the cameras, NBC is committed to programs that give Hispanics opportunities to experience the different areas within our business. We have a number of partnership programs; diversity initiatives for writers, future leaders, and pages; as well as workshops and a fellowship for writers to better understand the business and gain experience.

What are your goals for NBCUniversal within the next three to five years? I am looking forward to using my position to make an impact on the community. I want to empower our audience through access to information they need to succeed. We are ex plor ing hea lth, financial, and education opportunities as avenues to continue supporting the Hispanic community by expanding and building upon our civic engagement work.





InPulse Digital is a marketing agency with a specialty in media and entertainment, not a media and entertainment company—and there is a big a difference. The CEO sits down with HE to dissect the changing arena of social media marketing BY JULIE SCHAEFFER

How did you get your start in marketing? I was originally a chemical engineer by trade, and in 1998 I came to the United States from Uruguay to do some work in software development. In 2003, my company In-Style Software was asked by one of the big four record labels to do some Web work. We ended up doing all of that label’s Web sites for US Hispanics and Latin America.

DIEGO PRUSKY Founder and CEO InPulse Digital

That got you into the entertainment industry and Hispanic segment, but how did you transition from Web site development into marketing? MySpace came along, and I realized the record labels didn’t understand the marketing strategy of the Internet. I wanted to be more strategic, so I spun off my division at In-Style Software and cofounded InStyle Digital Marketing. My plan was simply to concentrate on what I knew and liked: digital strategy. But the




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Hispanic Executive

name never felt right. We became InPulse Digital in 2010.

Is the focus on digital strategy what makes you unique? Our methodology makes us different. By different, I mean that we start with strategy and go from there. We also create projects that are regional, not country-specific. Clients come to us because they need a plan that will work for Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, for example. We were originally based in St. Louis, but also in Montevideo, Uruguay, and we have a multinational team. Most people are surprised by that.

Take us through a typical campaign. Rafa Marquez, a player on the Mexican soccer team, is a good example. In 2010 he moved to New York, and although he was well-known in Mexico, he didn’t have a following in America, nor did he have a good relationship with the press. Since 2012 we have been working with him on his social media to give him a direct connection to his fans and media. Today he has four million followers on Facebook and one million followers on Twitter. More importantly, though, he has numerous sponsors, from Samsung to Gillette. So, everybody wins as a result of our strategy: his fans see a picture of him shaving online and think of Gillette. That has a commercial impact.

What’s the key to success in your business? We create the right kind of content to generate traffic. But, you can’t force a consumer to do something; you have to plug into what the consumer is already doing. As an example, E! Online Latino hired us to work the red carpet season in January and February. For E!, we plugged in a “mani-cam” that showed the manicures of celebrities. At the time, there was a big manicure trend in Latin America—women were looking for unique nail colors. So we created an app that allowed women to take photos of their nails, hashtag them, and send them to the E! Online Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. We had a contest, and it was hugely successful.

“You can’t force a consumer to do something; you have to plug into what the consumer is already doing.” DIEGO PRUSKY

How has the industry changed since you founded the business in 2010? Every six months it changes. One way is technology; the tools available to you are constantly being upgraded and becoming more sophisticated. When we started doing social ads with Facebook in 2009, there was one type of advertising option; now there are about five. That’s five ways to engage with your audience, so you can market in a way that is very targeted and sophisticated. But before you can do that, you need the right strategy, and you need to know what works with what audience. The way people use technology has changed as well. Hispanics, for example, now overindex on the use of mobile but underindex on the use of e-commerce. You have to take those tendencies into account when you market to that community.

Discover the National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art opened its doors in 1987 with a boathouse in a park, less than 100 art objects and a budget of $900. A group of activists and educators sought to create an organization that would conserve and share Mexican art and culture with the Chicago community and beyond.

Today, our world-class exhibitions and permanent collection of over 7,600 art objects attract over 150,000 visitors annually, we provide educational programming to over 52,000 students each year, and we are the only Latino Museum in the country that is accredited by the American Association of Museums. 100 a帽os de Posada y su Catrina, the Annual Day of the Dead exhibition with Ofrenda by Alejandro Nelo, and works by Pedro Linares and Carlomagno Martinez. National Museum Of Mexican Art main gallery, 2013. Photo by Michael Tropea

Plan a visit today!

1852 West 19th Street Chicago, IL 60608 For information on exhibitions, education programs, or making a donation visit www.NationalMuseumofMexicanArt.org


La Naci贸n Huichol: From the Sea to the Desert. Work by Benito de la Cruz Carrillo (1967-2008), Las Latas, Santa Catarina, Jalisco. National Museum Of Mexican Art main gallery, 2011.




In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Nuestro Destino


any people believe that the rising Latino influence is a recent phenom e n o n f u e l e d by our exploding demographic. Most Latinos, however, understand that our advancement has taken centuries. Our roots go back to before the United States was a nation. Today we are emerging with a strong identity, embracing our culture and language, gaining economic and political clout, and expanding our global connections. These gains have only been possible because of the vision, hard work, and relentless activism of our leaders. They have

built a legacy of inclusive community leadership based on our values and traditions. Latino leadership has as its purpose to uplift our people and nation. It is leadership by the many, the people who have the power to to change their lives for the better by working together. The Power of Latino Leadership documents the leadership principles and practices that have forged Latino advancement. For young Latinos this knowledge is critical—saber es poder. To actualize our power and potential we must understand and build on the contributions of our leaders who have laid the foundation for our progress as a people.

-Juana Bordas

WHAT LATINO LEADERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE POWER OF LATINO LEADERSHIP “To the joy of some and the panic of others, America grows more diverse by the day. Leaders want to understand and motivate those they lead but may feel intimidated by the complex history and culture of Latinos. Juana Bordas has written a handbook for making sense of it all. The Power of Latino Leadership helps the reader decode the coming America and the changing workforce.” Ray Suarez, Former Senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and former host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation


Hispanic Executive

“Latinos are part of the fabric of America. Our culture and values are perfectly consistent with the American Dream that has made the United States great. The Power of Latino Leadership explores a leadership model to maximize contributions Latinos will make to America’s future growth and prosperity.” Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, TX

“Latinos have advanced because of the activist tradition of our leaders who organized people to address social injustice. As the Latino community comes into power, our future leaders can learn from The Power of Latino Leadership. ‘Sí, se puede. Yes, we can,’ is a call to action. This book captures this spirit.” Dolores Huerta, President, cofounder of the United Farm Workers, author of the slogan “Sí, se puede”

“As one of the foremost experts on leadership in the Latino community, Juana Bordas has mentored generations of young Hispanics. In The Power of Latino Leadership she presents a compelling case for how the strengths Hispanics bring to the table (deep roots, strong values, and our multifaceted culture) can infuse new life into leadership for all our country’s current and future leaders.” Janet Murguía, President, National Council of La Raza


Hispanic Executive is proud to present Juana Bordas and her widely celebrated new book, as well as congratulate her efforts in actualizing the power of Latino leadership


JUANA BORDAS Author The Power of Latino Leadership








In Ana We Trust After a hurricane ravaged Veracruz, Ana de la Reguera brought superstar appeal to her struggling hometown





eat pours down from the Mexican sun onto the old house, standing strong despite its crumbling bricks and mortar, shot through with tree sprouts. Heav y, ponderous tree trunks loom in every window. From her vantage point on the second-floor balcony of a nearby cultural museum, Ana de la Reguera can see the home that belonged to Hernán Cortés 500 years ago. That spot, above the city of La Antigua, is De la Reguera’s favorite place in Veracruz. Ana De la Reguera is many things. Vogue Latinoamérica named her one of the 33 most elegant women in the world, and Univision calls her one of the most influential Latinas in the United States. She has been the face of many brands, such as CoverGirl, Pantene, Macy’s, and Caress, and she has graced the international covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Marie Claire, Esquire, and Elle. In fact, Esquire magazine pinned her as “the impossibly beautiful woman.” She studied performance arts at the

Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura and started her career as the host of Pasarela on Televisa Veracruz. De la Reguera broke into acting with a role in the telenovela Azul in 1996. Her first appearance on American television was on Cara o Cruz, which was marketed to Hispanic populations living in the United States. In 2014, she starred in horror-thriller Jessabelle; cross-border comedy Sun Belt Express; and The Book of Life alongside Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, and Christina Applegate. In addition to her many accolades and titles, De la Reguera carries the distinction of her Mexican nationality. She was born and raised in Veracruz, a tropical state that borders the Gulf of Mexico. She keeps an apartment in Antigua and prioritizes visiting her friends and family every few months. Even if that weren’t the case, it will always remain her home. “Veracruz is my roots,” De la Reguera says. “Having a place for your roots is something you can lose, if you don’t take care of it.” Political issues and conflicts of interest have characterized the state’s bureaucratic governments. Politicians are known for gridlock in decision-making and little unity, and they often champion quick fixes rather than investing in long-term solutions. Despite this, La Antigua remains one of




“I’m very passionate, and my countrymen trust me. They trust me because I’m happy. I’m happy to be here, helping them.” ANA DE LA REGUERA

Mexico’s most important locations. (The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive on the continent, landing in Veracruz. The first church built in Mexico was built in La Antigua, and that’s why it is considered the first official town on the mainland New World.) “There are so many firsts that happened here,” says De la Reguera, “and it’s such an important place historically for Mexico.” That place, despite its importance, was overlooked in its greatest moment of need. Hurricane Karl, the most destructive tropical cyclone ever to hit Mexico, struck Veracruz in 2010. Five people were killed, 200,000 homes were left without power, and around 35,000 people were forced to seek refuge in shelters throughout Veracruz. Seeing the devastation of her home state lit a spark in De la Reguera. She couldn’t simply stand by. Instead, she was inspired to return to Veracruz to create her own philanthropic foundation.

De la Reguera and volunteers clean the beach at Chalchihuecan, Veracruz in October, 2013.


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“I felt like I had the power to do more, and to help,” she says. “So that’s what I did.” She started collaborating with other charitable organizations in Mexico to support and help fund-raise for several groups. The work was challenging because it was difficult to convince people who already had little to donate to a charity. “In the United States, there’s more of a tradition to give back,” De la Reguera asserts. “In other countries, where the economy might be weaker, we don’t always have the culture of giving back. And it’s often additionally challenging [in Mexico] because there’s so much corruption and so much bureaucracy.” Despite the difficulties, De la Reguera knew it was worthwhile. When she returned to Veracruz after the hurricane, many people approached her and tried to hand her money. “We want to help,” they said, “and we trust you.” Her face was familiar. Her countrymen had seen her in telenovelas and makeup ads, saw how much she wanted to help, and in turn, offered their support. That kind of trust is hard to come by in an area often held back by a slow-moving government bound by red tape. The government in Veracruz provided its people with food and essential supplies after the hurricane left so many homeless, but De la Reguera wanted to go further. Government aid solved short-term problems, but she knew the true restoration and reconstruction required a long-term perspective. People who had worked for businesses destroyed in the hurricane needed to find new jobs, so she founded VeracruzANA AC to focus on rebuilding the city and building a new tourism industry in La Antigua. VeracruzANA, now in its fifth year, provides lessons in English, pottery, and other goods that can be sold to tourists and offers free art lessons to community members. The foundation improved infrastructure along rivers prone to flooding. It built parking and roads, as well as a museum open to the public that promotes the culture and identity of the community through images of the city’s historical significance. The facility also has an artistic residence program through which Mexican artists contribute


De La Reguera (middle) promotes the September 7, 2014 race Correr se Siente Bien to benefit the efforts of VeracruzANA.

a few pieces of their work to the museum in exchange for room and board. The touristic boulevard in La Antigua opened in a huge ceremony in June 2012. VeracruzANA helped transform one of Mexico’s most historic but underappreciated communities into a capital-generating tourist attraction. A virally popular Kahlua commercial starring De la Reguera brought international attention to La Antigua. The foundation even published a coffee table book called Antigua Veracruz, Lugar de Raices Profundas (Ancient Veracruz, Place of Deep Roots), which De la Reguera used her star power to promote. “That’s how it all started,” De la Reguera says. “I’m very passionate, and my countrymen trust me. They trust me because I’m happy. I’m happy to be here, helping them.” In fact, the slogan of her foundation, is “ayudar se siente bien”—it feels good to help. This year, on September 7, VeracruzANA held a running race in Boca del Rio, Veracruz. The race, Correr se Siente Bien, (It Feels Good to Run), raised funds and


awareness for the foundation. Participants supported a good cause and the environment for this unique event. De la Reguera explained in a June 2014 press conference, “This race has an environmental aspect in addition to a message of health and fitness. We will promote recycling throughout the race and encourage participants to bring recyclable materials to send an environmentally sound message as well.” As she continues to promote efforts in support of her hometown, when De la Reguera returns, she’s openly stared at as she walks down the tourist boulevard she built. People approach her for photos and autographs with smiles on their faces and words of friendship and gratitude on their lips. From her viewpoint on the museum balcony, she can see her work, the first church, and Cortés’s house laid out like a story quilt. Because of her, those sights are rooted both in La Antigua’s history and its current economy. Like the tree roots that have grown in to the historic Cortés home, they aren’t going anywhere.

“I felt like I had the power to do more, and to help. So that’s what I did.” ANA DE LA REGUERA





Patricia Janiot, senior anchor for CNN en Espa単ol also serves as the advisor to the executive vice president and general manager of the network. Janiot joined CNN in 1992 and leads Panorama Mundial and Nuestro Mundo,


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SHE WON’T BACK DOWN World-famous news anchor Patricia Janiot is known to be daring. Beyond the news desk, her work as an activist sets her apart in the field and in her home country







atricia Janiot stood alone in front of a massive garage door. She’d just flown from Atlanta to Colombia to interview Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio, an activist who spent six and a half years in captivity under guerrillas of the revolutionary group FARC. Janiot was determined to interview the former senator. She waited. “I’m not going to move,” she recalls thinking to herself, “and if they need to run me over, then they’ll run me over.” A long line of vehicles began to pour from the garage. They swerved to avoid hitting her and shouted from the windows, but eventually, just as Janiot hoped, Betancourt spotted her standing in the roadway. Janiot had interviewed Betancourt years before her kidnapping, so the two knew each other. Conceding to Janiot’s tenacity, Betancourt asked her driver to pull over and beckoned Janiot to join her in the vehicle. “Being a journalist has changed me,” Janiot says. “It has made me more daring, more balanced, and more engaged socially.” Janiot’s work on the ground in Latin America has also given her keen insight. She is currently based in Atlanta but travels often to Latin America to cover key world events, including recent elections in her home country of Colombia as well as Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. She has interviewed several Latin American heads of state, including Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Augusto Pinochet. She has also covered political events in the Gaza


A retrospective of Patricia Janiot’s illustrious career

Strip, Israel, Peru, the United Kingdom, the Persian Gulf, and the United States. The knowledge gained through those experiences inspired her to go deeper than her role as an observer and storyteller. Janiot’s natural ease in front of the camera is a skill she has perfected by years of practice. When she was 20 years old, she placed first runner-up in the Miss Colombia pageant. She represented Colombia in the Miss World pageant and graduated with a journalism degree from la Universidad de la Sabana the next year. She knew then that she wanted to work in a profession where she could make an impact. “I wanted to be the voice of those who have no voice,” Janiot explains. “I wanted to amplify the voices of those affected by political decisions.” In addition to being a globally celebrated television journalist—she is a senior anchor for CNN en Español and host of Panorama Mundial and Nuestro Mundo—Janiot is the president and cofounder of Colombianitos. The organization was founded in 2001 to improve Colombian children’s quality of life through sports, health care, education, and recreational activities. Colombianitos’ mission focuses on six vulnerable Colombian communities, providing structured extracurricular activities. “If you think about it, when I’m out there anchoring the news, I’m often the messenger of very, very bad news,” she admits. “We’re talking about wars, scandals, riots, violence, social unrest. It gives your life a very negative charge. I was looking for a way to give a deeper meaning to my life.” Working with local communities to help them live better lives is where Janiot finds that meaning. Colombianitos’ impact is felt when volunteers speak of their joy in

“I’m not going to move, and if they need to run me over, then they’ll run me over.”


Obtains degree in English from Cambridge University


Wins runner-up of the Miss Colombia pageant


Places in the top 15 semifinalists of the Miss World pageant in London


Graduates with a journalism degree from Bogotá’s Universidad de la Sabana


Moves to the United States to coanchor Noticiero KMex on Univision in Los Angeles


Receives Golden Mike Award for best newscast by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California


First interview with Fidel Castro


Interviews Augusto Pinochet


Becomes lead anchor at new network CNN en Español.


Named to the Hispanic Media 100 Cofounds Colombianitos


Earns a Television Industry Award for “Best Female News Personality”


Hosts first televised interview with Ingrid Betancourt, who had been held captive by FARC guerrillas


UN grants her the Women Together Award


White House names her Champion of Change


Emmy Award Nominee for her show Nuestro Mundo



Hispanic Executive



helping youth and when participants talk about the ways having a structured schedule changed their mindset. One theme is prevalent: Colombianitos changes not only individual lives, but entire cultures. In cities where children were once regarded as little more than pests underfoot, they now have a purpose that takes them off the streets. Colombianitos gives these children an opportunity to feel passion for something, whether it be art, fútbol, or just the joy of learning. Janiot’s nonprofit work doesn’t stop there. She recently was appointed codirector for Innovadores de América, a set of awards created to celebrate Latin American projects and innovation. The awards recognize outstanding work on the environment, education, technology, social impact, business, and scientific development.


Award recipients include Susana López Charretón, a Mexican virologist; José Antionio Abreu, a Venezuelan musician and economist; and Dr. Franklin Ramón Chang Díaz, a Costa Rican-American mechanical engineer, physicist, and former NASA astronaut. Janiot hopes that Innovadores will become the Nobel Prize of innovation and entrepreneurship in Latin America. Janiot’s varied roles in nonprofit work and as a journalist tackling the most impactful stories of our time have taught her many important lessons about her role in her community. But for Janiot, one thing is clear: when she is needed, either to complete an interview or improve the lives of thousands of children, nothing—not a fleet of vehicles nor a seemingly impossible number—is going to get her to stand aside.

Janiot with members of the Colombianitos Goals For a Better Life soccer program in Cartagena, Colombia. Ninety-eight percent of the children in this program are enrolled in and attending school. Colombianitos benefits more than 4,300 children.




ISRAEL VARGAS Assistant Provost for College Access Roosevelt University


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Community Conviction After 12 years in prison, Israel Vargas found hope in education and dedicated himself to civic duty. Today, he’s helping others like him reach college as Roosevelt University’s assistant provost for college access by ZACH BALIVA, photo by SHEILA BARABAD






srael Vargas knows a thing or two about second chances. He was born in Chicago but raised in Puerto Rico until his family returned to the city when Vargas turned 13. It was a difficult time for the teenager, who watched a gang war erupt in his neighborhood and city. As the violence escalated, it crept closer to Vargas’s home life. He became addicted to cocaine and started getting into fights. In January 1990, one of his friends shot and killed an opposing gang member. Vargas witnessed the murder. He was convicted as an accomplice and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Today, after serving more than 12 years of his sentence and devoting his life to community work in Chicago’s minority neighborhoods, Vargas is the assistant provost for college access and targeted recruitment programs at Roosevelt University. One look at his résumé makes it hard to believe that Vargas is the same person who once sat behind bars in a prison uniform. He’s tackled some of the biggest issues impacting Chicagoland’s Latino population including access to education, low-income housing, violence, citizenship, and employment. “My family has always been involved in civic engagement and community development,” he says. “It runs in my blood to reach out to people and help my own kind.” Vargas has worked for, volunteered at, and led organizations such as Parents United for Responsible Education, the Leyden Counsel for Community Action, the Resurrection Project, Cease Fire, the Council on Latino Homelessness, and the San Jose Obrero Mission. Vargas remembers reevaluating his life while in prison when a Roosevelt University program provided him with the second chance he was looking for. The University entered the criminal justice program to provide inmates with educational opportunities. Vargas was inspired and attended classes to ensure he stayed out of trouble in prison. “The program gave me hope in my heart and helped me believe I could be successful upon my release,” he says. During his sentence, Vargas completed two associate degrees. Upon his release in 2002, he went to 430 South Michigan Avenue to sign


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up for classes at Roosevelt University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on psychology in 2005 and a master’s in 2008—all while raising a family and working full-time. In early 2014, Vargas returned to his alma mater, accepting a position in outreach to help diversify the student body and bring awareness of higher education to the communities he advocated for. “My university experience gave me hope and the tools to engage my community,” Vargas says. He was just 19 years old when he made one bad decision that impacted the rest of his life. Back then, Vargas wanted to attend college but didn’t know how to prepare himself. “My mom was working, and I didn’t have a role model around,” he recalls. That led him into trouble, and, having experienced it, Vargas knows the stigma that comes with unemployment, disability, homelessness,




the annual funding for San Jose Obrero Mission after five years of Vargas’s work, up from $440,000


the number of beds in the women’s house Vargas added to the mission’s existing 40-bed men’s home


the number of people each year whom the mission provides with residential, supportive, therapeutic, and health services

and crime. “I don’t judge someone or assume they are a bad person if they’ve made bad decisions based on limited access to information,” he says. “My mission is to provide people with enough information to find the right path.” At Roosevelt, Vargas is leveraging his expertise in outreach to improve the university’s adult programs and strengthen civic engagement. He’s developing a social justice inventory and finding opportunities to facilitate those initiatives with student/staff participation. Ultimately, Vargas wants to start a research institute through which students and faculty can address community problems and train workers to respond accordingly. Additionally, he’s creating a college-bound program specifically for Latino high school students. “The university has always been invested in our communities,” says Vargas. “I want to help the less fortunate, and this is a platform from which I can engage Latinos and help them see what higher education can do for their lives.” In June of 2014, Vargas addressed Gage Park High School students at their commencement ceremony. He encouraged them to take the opportunity they had earned and make the most of it by further refining their knowledge. “I hope I showed them how ready they are to impact their communities and the world,” says Vargas. It was a special day for him—he grew up near Gage Park, and the day served as a reminder of all that he’s been through. It’s moments like those that keep Vargas going in his quest to help and serve his fellow man. “I know where some of these people have been, but I also know what they’re capable of.” One man’s story in particular hit home. Vargas met Solomon at one of the man’s lowest points. Although Solomon failed the San Jose Obrero Mission interim housing program four times, Vargas believed in him, encouraged his partners to keep working with him, and watched as the man put his life back together and found work as a security guard. “That’s what we do this kind of work for,” Vargas says. “People who feel they have nothing can pick up the pieces.” In 2002, Vargas started his life over. He’s spent every day since helping others do the same.


Restaurant Staples Oscar Hernandez on the Hispanic community’s growing influence in the restaurant industry and how the industry gives back to the community



rom the ceiling of a steel-encased bakery in the Los Angeles International Airport, a pair of painted, honey-colored eyes stares out from heavy, half-closed eyelids. They seem tired or resigned as they OSCAR HERNANDEZ watch customers approach sandwiches cooling behind curved Executive Vice President of glass. The mural stretches Operations across the ceiling of the shop, an Areas USA urban silhouette against a vibrant landscape. A former gang member, now a member of the Homeboy Industries community, painted it. It is meant to depict the lives of ex-gang members. While the mural is open to the interpretation of the observer, the mission of Homeboy, which owns and operates the bakery in conjunction with Areas USA, is not. The organization’s objective is simple: “Jobs not Jails.” These words appealed to executives at Areas, a company that provides restaurant and retail services to airports and





AREAS USA Headquartered: Miami, FL Global Reach: AREAS, S.A., the parent company of Areas USA, Inc., is present in more than 70 airports in southern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. About: A leading provider of food, beverage, and retail services in the US travel hospitality industry, Areas owns locations in 10 airports, one casino, and two highway service plazas. Areas employs more than 2,000 individuals in 150 restaurants.

The mural on the ceiling of Homeboy’s LAX bakery depicts the former lives of Homeboy employees.


Hispanic Executive

turnpikes. Oscar Hernandez, Areas’ executive vice president of operations, says everyone at the company believes in the power of giving back. Areas has the resources and expertise to partner with Homeboy, an organization that offers counseling, tattoo removal, job training, and other services meant to help formerly gang-involved men and women redirect their lives and become contributing members of society. Working with Homeboy, Hernandez makes a positive impact in the Hispanic community, an initiative that’s close to his heart. He was previously heavily involved with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta and still supports them extensively. When talking about the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hernandez stresses how the importance of providing a network that can offer advice to young, Hispanic entrepreneurs and workers cannot be overstated. “Sometimes it’s difficult for [Hispanics] to seek advice outside of their comfort zone,” Hernandez explains. “The

chamber allows them to network with people who are similar.” Hernandez’s time with Areas and the National Restaurant Association has painted a vivid picture of the impact the Hispanic community has on the American restaurant industry. According to the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan Washington, DC think tank, in 2010, 22 percent of more than 9.5 million restaurant workers were Hispanic or Latino. Hernandez adds that the National Restaurant Association expects business and employment in that sector to grow rapidly because young Americans are more accustomed to dining out than generations before them. The Aspen Institute quantified this growth, saying employment in bars and restaurants is expected to grow by nine percent between 2010 and 2020. This trend goes deeper than familiar arguments about education and employment opportunities. Hernandez believes the restaurant industry at all levels is a

The Homeboy Industries cafe and bakery in the Los Angeles International Airport is owned and operated in partnership with Areas.

natural haven for Hispanic workers because it speaks to their culture. “By nature, Hispanics welcome people into their homes,” he says. “A home environment is often a celebration. It is natural for someone in our culture to be passionate about good food and sharing it with others.” Growth is apparent at all levels of the business, including the C-suite. Hernandez mentions Jose Armario, an executive vice president at McDonald’s Corporation, and Don Thompson, the company’s first African-American CEO. These examples are in Hernandez’s mind when he mentors young business-minded people with little more than a vision and a plan. Hernandez remembers a time in 2005, when he spoke to high school students, explaining that jobs in the restaurant industry go beyond being a dishwasher or busser. Work in a restaurant can grow into a passion that can support an entire family. “Talking to them gave me an opportunity to talk about diversity—not from a race or background perspective, but from a business perspective,” he says. “It is about understanding our markets, which are diverse and multicultural. In the end, it’s about having principles, hospitality, fairness, caregiving, and respect.” With those ideals in mind, more students of Hispanic and other backgrounds can find a career path in the restaurant industry, sometimes through organizations like Homeboy. Hopefully, though, most of them will never need the support of such an organization in the first place. With hope, the pair of hooded, honey-colored eyes depicted in the mural on the bakery ceiling will have the confidence to look toward a brighter future.


In 2010, 22 percent of more than 9.5 million restaurant workers were Hispanic or Latino. [...] Employment in bars and restaurants is expected to grow by nine percent from 2010 to 2020.




Lending a Hand to Small Business How the recession allowed Valley Economic Development Center to empower minority- and women-owned businesses by EVAN LA RUFFA


alley Economic Development Center (VEDC) closed its 2013 fiscal year with less than 0.75 percent in net uncollected debts­­—better than most banks. The company’s president and CEO, Roberto Barragan, credits an underserved market of minority- and women-owned enterprises that only needed a chance to prove themselves. VEDC took on that type of risk, and the payoff has been on the order of millions.

generally we identify companies that have collateral and decent credit with an upward sales trend but might be struggling to have solid, two-year profitability. That type of business might have incredible growth opportunity moving forward with the right loan. In two years, the borrower can graduate from our loan and another bank will come along, see the possibilities and take on the loan themselves.

VEDC is already one of the largest small-business lenders in California, but over the past two years you’ve expanded ROBERTO BARRAGAN all over the country.

President and CEO Yes, we opened in Chicago in 2012 and lent $2 million to 12 small Valley Economic Development businesses. In December of 2012 Center we acquired a nonprofit and now have a full-time staff in Reno, NV. We just opened an office in New York this past December to serve the tri-state area, and we’ve already approved $2 million in loans there. We’re in the process of lending VEDC - VALLEY ECONOMIC another $3 million over the next 18 months.


What is the makeup of the type of business you typically lend to? We have a high focus on women- and minority-owned businesses, but more


Hispanic Executive

Number of Employees: 50 Founded: 1976 Loans: $25 million annually Locations: California, Nevada, Utah, Illinois, and New York

What risks are typically associated with lending to small business? Ensuring that there is enough money to get the job done. If small businesses can’t support a large loan, we can work with the business to raise additional equity and have a heart-to-heart discussion about their business plans. We look at the structure of their budgets, the needs for establishing the businesses, and the working capital. We make sure that if they’re opening locations, they have worked with local government entities and have determined all the costs properly. We ask for projections to be sure that they have an idea of exactly how the business will operate over the first few months.

What about the stigma with lending to these communities? Is it still there? I think the stigmas about lending to these


communities exist, but we’re breaking them. One thing we are heartened by is that women entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment in the country but sometimes have less experience with cash flow or collateral. It takes an organization like ours that will work with them, come to the conclusion that the business owner will make it work, and then make a loan that will help make her successful.

How did you identify this market segment (small business) as a target? Did you see small and Hispanic-owned businesses being underserved? After the financial crisis, credit simply disappeared. Many of the large banks pulled out of small-business lending and other banks disappeared entirely. It was a huge



360,000,000 dollars lent to small businesses to date

change-up in the small-business lending environment, so we stepped into that gap. As we work with other financial institutions and expand into other markets, other financial institutions now recognize that they have a certain responsibility to small business. These institutions are not retail banks. They are investment banks, wealth management firms, immense companies. They meet their Community Reinvestment Act requirements through us by providing capital for our loan programs. It’s great for us that they have a mandated responsibility to support this kind of lending.

How have you seen Hispanicowned businesses grow? The growth in the number of Hispanic-owned small businesses is evident, and they’re significantly larger these days. It’s no longer just the mom-and-pop shop, no longer just the taqueria; it’s the building supply companies and the $25 million trucking companies working on large highway construction projects. It’s very gratifying to see this type of growth. And with our support, they can transition into the more mainstream banking world.

What obstacles did you face in that postrecession period?

the state-by-state issues when it came to the real estate market. Every state handles title and escrow differently. In California you get real-time information about a property, whereas in New York it might take 10 days. There are significant differences in cost and timelines in getting things done from place to place.

Tell us about your partnerships with UBS Bank and Chase. Chase has been an incredible partner of VEDC. It provided $5 million in late 2010 to take our loan programs statewide in California. More recently, it provided support to build up our national infrastructure, and it has continued to be very helpful as we bring on a COO to help build our national platform. UBS is a national partner that has allowed us to expand to Chicago and New York.

What’s next for VEDC? We are moving forward to expand our national platform. We know how to successfully lend to women- and minority-owned businesses in underserved communities and not lose money. It’s the crux of what we’ve created and what we’re trying to expand nationwide. In fact, we’re looking at working in Miami by this fall.

The main challenge was to understand


businesses assisted by VEDC economic development services


jobs created and saved


the percent of VEDC clientele that are low- to moderate-income businesses


Barragan (center) receives the US Small Business Administration 2013 Small Business Champion of the Year Award. On his right stands Gary Toebben, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, and to his left, Victor Parker, US SBA Los Angeles District Director.

the percent of VEDC clientele that are female entrepreneurs





When Lives Are on the Line Enrique Carvajal finds a meaningful career with Sigue, the company that makes providing financial support to friends and family in need as easy as placing a call



very day, people all over the United States drop into panaderías, liquor stores, and pharmacies to place a call on a familiar red phone. They know that someone on the other end can answer them in their language and simplify a money transfer. The transfer could be for something as pleasant as a birthday gift or as urgent as a medical bill payment. The remittances industr y in Latin America is a $50 billion-a-year business, and approximately half of that goes to Mexico, says Enr ique Ca rENRIQUE vajal of Sigue CARVAJAL Corporation, a Global Vice leading global President, Human money transfer Resources company. The Sigue Corp. majority of the time, money is transferred to loved ones out of necessity. Sigue’s primary business is in Latin America, but the company decided to go global about three years ago. As global vice president of human resources, Carvajal’s role is to work with the senior management team and the CEO to drive the business and maintain the balance between the strategic needs of the company and the happiness of employees across the globe.


Hispanic Executive



Along with having a successful career, Carvajal has always wanted to help his community. After spending 18 years at Warner Bros. Entertainment, when a job opportunity presented itself at Sigue, Carvajal says there was no doubt he wanted to take it. “I was immediately attracted to the company and to its mission,” he says of Sigue’s dedication to providing people with a safe and reliable method for sending money to their families and friends. The red phone has come to symbolize not just the Sigue brand, but also a commitment. From the day he started at Sigue in 2011, Carvajal explains that the one set of marching orders he had was to ensure that the company’s values (integrity, passion, service, teamwork, excellence, and competitiveness) were instilled all over the world. He made sure that employees and clients were treated as family. “I couldn’t ask for a better mission,” he says. He also points out the importance of having a system that works well when customers find themselves in difficult situations. “We’ve had major disasters in Mexico, and have been able to help people needing to urgently send money home to their families. We’ve [helped] people whose parents get sick or have passed away. They come to our branches, sometimes in tears, and need to make sure that they can get money back home quickly,” he says. Carvajal’s devotion to helping his community does not end with his current role. He’s also exploring a partnership between Sigue and Soledad Enrichment Action, a Californian nonprofit organization specializing in high school educational services. The idea is to start a mentorship program to help struggling high school kids from the San Fernando Valley, where the graduation rate is only about 40 percent. “They are mainly Latino kids, and I want to show them that they are capable of so much more,” Carvajal explains. This mentorship program would be


“Mentoring is about sharing our stories with the younger generation, about showing we care, and empowering them to believe they have the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow,” ENRIQUE CARVAJAL

transformative for the kids and for Carvajal. “I believe you become a better, more enlightened person when you stop worrying so much about your own career and start developing the careers of others,” he says. “If I didn’t have someone who cared enough and took the time to mentor me, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.” Carvajal’s dream is to get to a point in his career where he can provide human resources consulting for companies in order to have more time to mentor at-risk youth and develop young minds. “Mentoring is about sharing our stories with the younger generation, about showing we care, and empowering them to believe they have the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow,” Carvajal says.




Don’t Quit Your Day Job Being vice president and the head of human resources for Novartis Pharmaceuticals allows Marcelo Fumasoni to be exactly who he is: a humanitarian above all else



a rcelo Fumasoni saves lives all over the world. He work s t ire lessly to defend children aga inst everything from malaria to sex t r a f f ic k i ng. For some, endeavors such as these must be weighed against having a day job. For the vice president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, one complements the other. Fumasoni proudly commits to humanitarian work, sitting on the advisory board of Global Humanitaria, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that covers different parts of Asia (Nepal, India, and Cambodia) as well as Latin America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia). The organization’s objective is to build sustainable communities, strengthen civil rights for women and children, and fight child sex exploitation, particularly in Asia. Global Humanitaria makes a difference by creating solutions in terms of providing education, housing, and meals. Its focus is on human rights and supporting equal participation for women in today’s society by helping them create sustainable communities for themselves. Fumasoni’s most current project with the NGO is creating a shelter in Cambodia where professionals will provide education and psychiatric support to children who


Hispanic Executive

were victims of sex exploitation. “We also collaborate with local authorities to help find the perpetrators and give legal support to the victims to find better solutions to these complex situations,” Fumasoni says. Funding for the project, in conjunction with the launch of Global Humanitaria in the United States, began last October in Miami and New York with a fund-raiser and awareness campaign supported by celebrities Paul Teutul, Sr. of Orange County Choppers, tattoo artist Ami James, and NBA player Ricky Rubio. “I plan to be there by the end of September to collaborate with the last pieces,” says Fumasoni, whose day job at Novartis Pharmaceuticals usually keeps him busy in other locations while still allowing him to make a difference. Novartis is a Switzerland-based health care company with leading positions in pharmaceuticals, eye care, and generic medicines around the world. The company’s basic mission is caring and curing. Novartis is known for having a strong corporate social responsibility. The global corporation allows Fumasoni to easily intertwine his professional career and personal humanitarian work. He has plenty of reasons to feel good about the work he does in his day job, as well. Fumasoni works in human resources where he drives the talent management pipeline, educational agenda, and the overall employee development strategy. Creating the right opportunities for Novartis’s talent is critical to successfully assist the patients and communities it serves. “We do not do




child victims of sexual abuse in Cambodia have been rescued.


vulnerable children have received awareness education.


sex offenders have been arrested.


sex offenders have been sentenced.

ordinary business,” says Fumasoni. “We produce life-changing interventions.” In 2001, the company created the Novartis Malaria Initiative to eradicate the disease and has since been able to provide 600 million treatments for adults and children without making any profit from more than 60 malaria-endemic countries. “Malaria is an enormous challenge,” says


MARCELO FUMASONI VP and Head of Human Resources Novartis Pharmaceuticals


For Executive Talent Acquisition THE WAR ON MALARIA

BY THE NUMBERS The Executive Search Firm with more Gardner Heidrick Awards Serving You in a challenging world since 1979

IAE Business School is pleased to congratulate Mr. Marcelo Fumasoni for his many accomplishments, thanking him for his ongoing support in many joint endeavors.


children suffering from malaria will receive donated medicines from Novartis in partnership with Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign.


the year through which these children will continue to receive donated medicines


the expected year in which malaria cases will be eradicated from the African region

We look forward to furthering our collective efforts to expand and bolster leadership abilities, especially those required to advance Novartis' strategic goals.

For more on IAE Business School, go to www.iae.edu.ar


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malaria treatments are delivered by Novartis every second.

IAE shares Mr. Fumasoni's passion for excellence and commitment to building long-term, trust-based relationships with strategic partners. Our School is honored to have him as one of our clients, and we hope he continues to enhance his already successful career.

About IAE Business School IAE is one of only 57 business schools in the world that have secured the Triple Crown, with accreditations by AMBA (Association of MBAs), Equis (European Quality Improvement System), and AACSB (International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). It ranks among the world’s top 30 business schools in The Financial Times’ higher education ranking.


child per minute dies from malaria.

Amsterdam, Asuncion, Bogota, Boston, Bruxelles, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, La Paz, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico DF, Miami, Milan, Montevideo, Mumbai, Munich, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto, Turin, Varsovia, Vienna, Zurich. LO CATE D I N MI A MI www.penrhynvoyer.com www.penrhyn.com penrhynvoyer@penrhynvoyer.com 1-305-562-2512 / 1-305-600-2350

Fumasoni. Last year, the company partnered with Malaria No More on the Power of One campaign. “We have one of the major products, Coartem, that can help to eradicate malaria,” he says, “but with the product alone, Novartis can only make so much impact.” After medicinal aid is given, its crucial to provide education to those communities, assign volunteers, and partner with NGOs to complete the mission, he explains. “Social responsibility is in my DNA and Novartis fosters that,” says Fumasoni. By bringing together his private and professional missions, Fumasoni feels he can make a real difference, helping patients and communities live better lives. Penrhyn Voyer is a leading Executive Search Firm, member of Penrhyn International, that provides Talent Smart Solutions for sharp, competitive Clients. We act locally and always focus on the present & future business perspective, anywhere our Clients need us (5 Continents). Our Staff consists in renowned professionals proven to deliver Quality Results with respect and confidentiality. The Penrhyn Voyer Miami Office is commited to be a Strategic Hub for those that need to link the Americas, with Talent solutions. www.penrhynvoyer.com


EXPRESS EXPANSION FedEx has quadrupled manpower to accommodate new Latin American markets. Juan Cento’s knowledge of the region has helped scale the business BY ZACH BALIVA



t’s all about having the right people. Twenty-seven years ago, FedEx had little knowledge of the Latin American-Caribbean region. The company knew that if it wanted to expand, it would have to rely on the experience of experts in that arena. When FedEx entered the space in 1987, it did so by acquiring Island Courier and, two years later, Flying Tigers. FedEx retained several employees from the acquired companies, including Juan Cento. Cento brought his exJUAN CENTO pertise in the air cargo and express Regional President for Latin transportation inAmerica and the dustry from FlyCaribbean ing Tigers to FeFedEx dEx. Today, he is FedEx’s regional president for Latin America and the Caribbean. He manages 19,000 employees in more than 50 countries and territories and has spent the past 25 years helping FedEx emerge as a regional growth catalyst. Through acquisitions and organic growth throughout the entire division, FedEx has quadrupled its number of employees and increased the number of shipments tenfold. The challenges associated with the newer markets include the need for better infrastructure. Transportation costs are key to FedEx’s ability to provide cost-effective services, so Cento and his team work alongside governments to help them understand the challenges associated with the industry and how the company’s infrastructure can





Cento speaks at one of many employee events in Mexico, a country whose trade opened up with FedEx’s services.

GETTING TO KNOW JUAN CENTO How has your background influenced the exec you are today? I moved from Cuba when I was young, not knowing the language. My entire family was shaped by our responsibility and commitment to each other, our country, and our community. Being multilingual has helped me in business, but my ability to fully integrate myself in foreign cultures (having lived in five different countries) has been more important.

What’s an experience or circumstance that has shaped your career? I was in Brazil working for a large airline when FedEx came in and made that company its latest acquisition. Back then, FedEx didn’t know much about the Latin American market, but I watched as it relied on the human knowledge and the experience of the company it acquired. Today, we are still performing acquisitions and integrations as well as any global company, but I know that our success boils down to people. If the people in the acquired company have been successful, then everyone will benefit from letting those people teach the parent company what they already know. If the company was acquired it was obviously doing something right, and its leaders are likely to be useful experts.


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provide technology to assist in matters such as collecting duties and taxes.

MEXICO In 1994, Cento relocated to Mexico to take a position as FedEx’s managing director for Mexico and Central America. Thus began FedEx’s major focus on imports and exports between Latin American countries and the rest of the world through an expanding network that covers 220 countries and territories. Countries like Mexico were once isolated from trade, but FedEx has introduced its global network, infrastructure, and experience to provide connectivity. Even then Cento saw Mexico as a strategic region that could drive his company’s future growth. “I envisioned Mexico becoming a manufacturing powerhouse.” Two years later he became vice president of operations. “If you look at Mexico today,” he says, “the entire country makes goods to export. Our customers have been the main drivers for our having a broader footprint.” Most recently, the company has transformed its original model to offer domestic as well as international shipping. FedEx acquired local express package delivery company MultiPack in 2011 and now covers shipping needs for all but two percent of Mexico. Mexico was an important testing ground for FedEx, and Cento has since led similar strategies in countries such as Colombia and Brazil.

BRAZIL Brazil represents another emerging market where FedEx plans to increase services as demand rises. Agriculture has boomed for two decades and scientific and hightech industries are attracting foreign investments. It is the world’s seventh-largest economy and home to a large number of the world’s billionaires. “It wasn’t just the booming economy that made Brazil attractive to us,” says Cento. “We also saw the rate at which they’re adopting e-commerce. Brazil is a market in which we need to operate.” As it did in Mexico, FedEx made a strategic acquisition and is working through its integration phase.

COLOMBIA Cento and his colleagues are also dedicated to expansion in Colombia, a country that has secured a free-trade agreement with the United States. The trade deal, along with a stable economy anchored by farming, health care, and insurance, has made the region especially attractive. “We like the economic balance of Colombia. It’s an easy place in which to do business, and we see it as the next big market,” says Cento. FedEx is introducing specific operations to address each market’s needs. In Colombia, for example, where health care business is critical, FedEx provides adequate refrigeration at facilities to make the shipping and storing of medical samples safe.


INVESTIGATE BEFORE INVESTING Latin America holds lucrative opportunity and liability for foreign investors. FTI Consulting’s Arnold Castillo informs our buyer’s guide to the region BY MICHELLE MARKELZ



oreign investors poured $182 billion into Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013. Central America, South America, and the Caribbean promise economic opportunities in a number of industries from extraction to automotive manufacturing to agriculture. And an emerging middle class stands to capture the attention of consumer brands from every sector. ARNOLD “Latin America, in terms of CASTILLO gross national product, is simManaging Director ilar to China,” noted of MexForensic and Litigation ichem chairman Juan Pablo Del Consulting Valle Perochena in a publication FTI Consulting by FTI Consulting. Latin America and the Caribbean’s 260 million people account for a $3.6 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) annually. “Within 10 years we’ll have 350 million people … making an additional $3.8 trillion of GDP,” he continued. “If that growth doesn’t excite businessmen and entrepreneurs, what does?” From 50,000 feet, Latin America looks like an investor’s playground, but it’s in the absence of a deep dive that interested parties find themselves hacked, sabotaged, or played. The environment is one in which opportunity and potential are counterbalanced by corruption and crime. For more than three decades, global business advisory firm FTI Consulting has been helping businesses assess and mitigate the risks of doing business around the globe. In Miami, Arnold Castillo leads the Latin American team as it investigates, strategizes, and partners with businesses to ensure their operations run safely and efficiently.





Castillo grew up in Peru, cut his teeth in the Lima Stock Exchange (BVL), and facilitated the privatization of the country’s national railroad. Having also worked at top risk consulting and management firm Kroll, Castillo leads regional services from Miami with an insider’s knowledge. Despite its 32-year history and 18 years as the only publicly traded risk consultancy firm, Castillo says only in the last decade have businesses started to use FTI Consulting’s services proactively. Much of the work he does is still reactionary—after the firewall has been breached or the assets lost. One of the biggest contributions to the foreign investment that Central America saw in 2013 was the completed acquisition

of Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Similarly, mergers and acquisitions in the banking and electricity industries fueled an eight percent surge in foreign direct investment in Colombia last year. Such activity has already proved lucrative, but market entry, says Castillo, requires a methodical evaluation to go off without a hitch. There are several relevant issues to consider when looking for a local partner such as the party’s history of litigation, criminal or regulatory actions, troubled transactions, allegations of corrupt or illegal business practices (domestic and foreign), unreported financial difficulties, misrepresentations of management team qualifications, and undisclosed

FTI CONSULTING’S 2014 REGIONAL SECURITY INDEX LATIN AMERICA Sourced by official crime reports and analyses of governmental intervention, the scale measures each country’s progress toward public security.











Danger Level BOLIVIA

Safe country



Very dangerous country


Danger Level Trend ARGENTINA

Trending toward a higher danger grade Stable with possible changes Stable without changes Data provided by FTI Consulting.


Hispanic Executive

related-party transactions. Overlooking any of these areas can be materially and publicly damaging for an investor. For example, a party invested in extraction activities may require construction operations quoted at the outset at $1 billion but, due to collusion, could face a $4 billion completion cost. And even if operations appear smooth on the outside, if trafficking groups become unknowingly involved or illegal business practices are employed to get the job done, the investing party’s hands come out just as red. Foreign investors are rightfully hesitant to trust local resources, especially where trade secrets and business-critical information are involved. “Local resources, especially in very small markets, may switch loyalties or work for competing companies,” says Castillo. “Long-term capital usually requires a macroeconomic environment that is relatively predictable and stable. Latin America has had long periods of hyperinflation, fiscal irresponsibility, and political instability,” said FTI Consulting’s chairman of Latin America, Frank Holder. Weak institutions, a weak regulatory environment, corruption, and arduous conflict resolution also mar local interactions. “Investors require a fair playing ground,” he continued, “and there we have a lot of work to do.” FTI Consulting excels in understanding the nuances of the market, including those that can be damaging to business. Using open source records and discreet source inquiries, Castillo and his team peel back the layers of topical due diligence to find issues that a remote investor can miss. With an extensive network of investigative journalists, forensic accountants, and former FBI, CIA, and police agents, the firm offers the best of both worlds: local immersion and trusted integrity. You don’t need to be an insider to recognize the presence of violence and corruption in Latin America and the risk it can pose to business. Read or listen to the news, and it’s a theme that, as FTI Consulting’s chairman of Europe, Middle East, and Africa consulting has said, many Americans associate with the region. “Corruption and security issues are endemic,” says Castillo, which is why FTI Consulting is constantly counseling clients on ways to mitigate danger. In Latin America specifically, organized crime, delinquency, drug trafficking, and guerrilla presence are particularly pervasive. The firm publishes a security index every year, and for the first time in

a decade, some countries in Latin America are trending toward safety and stability. But many of the dangers, Castillo says, are not going away, they’re just moving. “When you hit hard on crime,” he says, “it migrates. We were involved in the evolution of Panama, and problems that we didn’t see in [neighboring] Costa Rica two years ago are starting to emerge.”

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A DECADE, SOME COUNTRIES IN LATIN AMERICA ARE TRENDING TOWARD SAFETY AND STABILITY. BUT MANY OF THE DANGERS ARE NOT GOING AWAY, THEY’RE JUST MOVING. In Peru, for example, security in the larger cities has declined in the last year, creating a need for crisis management, but the Peruvian government lacks the efficiency to deploy resources. Even in some regions of the country that receive significant royalties from mining operations, funds are not directed toward improving security, infrastructure, or the cultural problems that feed crime and extortion, says Castillo. They end up in networks of local corruption schemes. Similar problems persist in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. Castillo suggests foreign parties make security their responsibility and not leave it up to federal, state, or local authorities, which can be compromised by crime syndicates or internal corruption. “Most of our clients who rely on government support have lost faith in the system,” he continues. For those clients seeking to take security into their own hands, FTI Consulting strategizes to create rings of protection, beginning with security assessments, audits, and designs of surveillance and electronic

security systems, followed by continuity and emergency planning as well as staff training, and rounded out with executive protection. In climates of instability, FTI Consulting is constantly improving its approach to personnel protection. The firm even offers clients and their families courses on prevention and negotiation in the case of abduction. Illegal activities are not the only impediments to business in the region. Latin America’s culture and history of activism make it conducive to social conflict, which, even when legal, can be disruptive. Communities opposed to a commercial presence can be stirred to action without proper communication, especially if a predator or toxic third party becomes involved and exacerbates tensions. In such cases, FTI Consulting will engage in social monitoring and develop a map of stakeholders. It is critical, says Castillo, to know whose interests are at stake in order to effectively relay the impact and the benefits of operations. Some threats are not tied to any region or context. “Geographical position is not of interest to hackers or money launderers,” says Castillo. “They look for the most vulnerable institution.” In the aftermath of recently compromised data in the United States retail market, cyber security is on the minds of many executives. It was not always, says Castillo, and the mentality that cyber security is an expense rather than an investment can get companies into trouble. While financial institutions may be obvious targets, the pervasiveness of software as a service makes almost any industry vulnerable to cyber crime. If compromised, an institution may have more than its own assets to worry about. The information of high-profile clients—even government officials—can be at risk. It’s those reputation-damaging breaches that radically shake up the culture of an institution, says Castillo. “The solution,” if institutions are prudent enough to employ it, he says, “is to be savvy about the way they build their compliance programs and frameworks and to have centralized procedures in case of an outage.” While the risks are serious, FTI Consulting maintains that doing business safely and successfully in Latin America is entirely possible with the proper due diligence and the right partners. “Our presence has been more in demand because of the challenges to security conditions in Latin America,” says Castillo, but “what drives our presence is trust.”

Where experts go for expert advice. Your decisions are only as good as the advice you base them on. FTI Consulting can bring the world’s best business minds to bear on your business issues and opportunities. In today’s complex world, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know and what they know that counts. www.fticonsulting.com

CRITICAL THINKING AT THE CRITICAL TIME™ ©2014 FTI Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved.





OS MATA Americas Consulting Leader Deloitte

THREE DEGREES OF SEPARATION These days, business knows no bounds. That’s why consultation expert Os Mata is often called in to give multinational clients local advice in the global marketplace


t’s not uncommon for Os Mata to log 300,000 airline miles per year. He’s often in a hotel 20 nights per month. A recent trip took him from Chicago to Miami to Buenos Aires, Argentina to Lima, Peru to Bogotá, Colombia and back again. It took six flights, three nights on a plane, and two nights in a hotel. In 2009, international business consulting firm Deloitte launched an


Hispanic Executive


Americas Cooperation Agreement (ACA) to increase cooperation and collaboration between all member firms in the Americas region and to take advantage of cross-country service and border opportunities. As a 26-year veteran and principal in the firm’s Americas consulting practice, Mata works to leverage Deloitte’s capabilities across the region, so the organization can operate seamlessly and better serve its clients’ complex needs. He expands market presence in the region, which includes the United


States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He’s doing so by rolling out standard methods, tools, industry-leading practices, and educational training programs in Latin America to nearly 3,000 consulting professionals with clients across the region. The ACA benefits Deloitte clients with interests in numerous industries and geographies but also has advantages for the organization’s workforce. The agreement allows Deloitte to provide mobility for its professionals. Someone interested in international experience can easily move around the world as needed. If the firm needs to develop a solution or offering to benefit multiple countries, it can do so effectively, Mata explains. For example, as energy reform gains ground in Mexico, Deloitte can leverage its resources and deploy employees to support new opportunities that will be created for clients in the market. Although Mata has a history of accepting international assignments, his cross-cultural work has intensified in his role as Deloitte’s ACA leader in Latin America. It’s a part of the job he enjoys; by spending 80 percent of his time abroad, Mata is able to conduct the majority of his business in Spanish, his native language. There is, however, an art to understanding and managing the nuances between so many countries and cultures. Mata says the most valuable trait is adaptability. He’s also learned to be extremely disciplined in managing his professional and personal schedules. The complexity of Latin American countries alone can be hard to grasp. “Our clients face the challenges of doing business across multiple countries. We help them find ways to get effective results,” Mata explains. It’s his job to understand local language and culture as well as the different regulatory, statutory, and tax requirements across the various economies. But the differences don’t end there—each country has varying levels of technology, human capital, and other business resources. Clients that ship across multiple countries, for example, may want Deloitte to help them find the appropriate tax structure or technology application for their distribution network. The organization’s sheer size gives it a competitive edge. “I like to believe that beyond our considerable bench strength, I’m no more than three phone calls away from finding an expert, so we can apply leading practices to the local context of any country and deliver results through people who know the language and culture,” says Mata.


“I like to believe that I’m no more than three phone calls away from finding an expert, so we can apply leading practices to the local context of any country.” OS MATA

If Deloitte is working with a mining company, for example, Mata’s teams can use predictive analytics to present a set of leading practices regarding an issue like environmental health. The organization takes industry-leading practices, couples them with resources, assigns those resources to a local project, finds people who know the specific culture, and develops systems to give the client a high-quality package of solutions while minimizing costs. Mata is also involved in Deloitte’s diversity campaign. What started as an internal group designed to help people assimilate and share common experiences has turned into HNET, the company’s Hispanic employee networking group, also known as an employee resource group. Now, established members are leveraging their network to aid the community by giving back through local high schools and other organizations. Mata and other Hispanic professionals provide tax writing sessions, immigration advice, and other resources. They’re also collaborating with high schools and universities to develop programs that get students better positioned to enter the job market and land jobs with professional services firms. Mata says his involvement in the group has been instrumental. “I’d encourage anyone to participate in a networking group,” he says because HNET gave him connections to people from many backgrounds and helped him develop skills to succeed globally. Now, as Mata works on the international stage, he’s using HNET to find and develop others who want to work in another country or develop their cross-cultural skills.

Move forward. With confidence. No matter how complex your business questions, we have the capabilities and experience to deliver the answers you need to move forward. As the world’s largest consulting firm, we can help you take decisive action and achieve sustainable results. www.deloitte.com/confidence

Copyright © 2014 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.




ME LLAMO PEDRO What’s in a name? Why Pedro Lichtinger kept his and how the MexicanAmerican turned his heritage into an asset in the world of Big Pharma BY ZACH BALIVA


edro Lichtinger remembers a sleepless night in the 1980s. At age 27, he was leading an animal health division in Brazil for pharmaceutical giant Smith Kline. His role involved identifying talent and building his department, but that’s not what kept him awake. Earlier that day, a friend and mentor called Lichtinger to his office for a chat. “He said that he liked me a lot and that he wanted to help me,” Lichtinger recalls. “He told me he thought I could go all the way to the top of the company—if I changed my name.” Born and raised in Mexico, Lichtinger attended PEDRO the University of MexiLICHTINGER co and earned a degree CEO in engineering before Asterias moving to the United Biotherapeutics States to enroll in the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School MBA program. When he graduated in 1978, the Mexican peso suffered big devaluations, and Lichtinger thought it would be best to stay in the United States. After a twoyear rotational program that sent him through various Smith Kline departments, Lichtinger was offered the Brazil post. Things were going well, but his mentor thought they would go even better if Pedro would Americanize his name. The friend—who also offered to hire a linguist to “correct” Lichtinger’s accent—advised Lichtinger to adopt the name Peter.


Hispanic Executive

The next day, Lichtinger turned down the offer. “I knew I could never face myself in the mirror as Peter. I could never call my mother and say ‘Hi, it’s Peter,’” he recalls. While taking a shortcut to the top seemed appealing, Lichtinger resolved to keep his name and thus retain his identity. “I’m proud to be Mexican,” he says. “If my heritage kept me from my professional goals, then I would prefer opportunities where progress is based on merits and not on ethnicity.” Two weeks later, Lichtinger’s mentor named him vice president in charge of Smith Kline’s operations in southern Europe. That series of events stuck w ith Lichtinger throughout his career. He went on to become president of Smith Kline’s European animal health business. When Pfizer acquired the division of the company, he led prominent teams for its global animal health business and later the global human primary care business that accounted for more than half of company revenues and more than 60 percent of profits. In 2009, he became CEO for Optimer Pharmaceuticals and held that position until 2013. Throughout his career, Lichtinger has gained valuable insight into the Latin American market. He says the region is experiencing many improvements. As its population grows, however, governments, communities, and corporations must address the distribution of wealth and other socioeconomic issues. While challenges remain, he says rapid growth, vast natural resources, and improving infrastructure make Latin America more attractive than ever for multinational companies. Lichtinger says he found success by understanding the differences between two cultures. “Hispanic leaders are different in various ways from our American counterparts. We’re often judged not just on our merits, but also on the image of what a leader is in the white tradition

3:00 p.m. “I’m proud to be Mexican. If my heritage kept me from my professional goals, then I would prefer opportunities where progress is based on merits and not on ethnicity.”

I finally found my rhythm.



of leadership. We can’t ignore that,” he explains. While Hispanic leaders should adjust in some ways to societal cues, Lichtinger believes strongly in corporate diversity. He helped modify Pfizer’s interview process to capture and leverage diversity throughout the global organization. “We shouldn’t expect all employees to hide their identities and fit in with American norms,” he says. “Leaders will create much richer and more successful companies if they embrace differences.” Lichtinger’s style of promoting diversity is simple: he strikes up conversations with his coworkers. He also chairs a diversity initiative to bring cultural events into the workplace to introduce world cultures to employees. Drawing upon the lessons he learned while running some of the biggest publicly traded corporations in the world, he helps guide nonprofit organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. As a national board member, Lichtinger helps define vision and strategy while supporting the CEO and leading Hispanic initiatives. In the early 2000s, the organization reached 700,000 Hispanic children. Today, that number tops one million. Lichtinger and his fellow board members have put into place specific cultural activities like dancing and boxing designed to attract and nurture children with Hispanic backgrounds. As a board member for The Brazil Foundation, Lichtinger supports leaders in favor of social change in that emerging market. “We know there are innovators out there who just need a bit of help moving forward to create social impact,” he says. The foundation raises money to support 30-40 programs each year. Large nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can benefit from business leaders like Lichtinger who are willing to lend a hand. After all, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has 50,000 employees and operates in many ways like a corporation. “NGOs and businesses have similar challenges,” says Lichtinger. “They just don’t have the


same resources.” That’s what motivates him to give back. He helps nonprofit organizations develop a vision of impact, raise capital, review processes, determine best practices, and maximize potential. When he looks back at his career, Lichtinger is proud of his many accomplishments, but one stands out above the others. “I got to where I am because of my talents and my heritage—not in spite of them,” he says. By refusing to compromise for success, Lichtinger made it to the top of his field without sacrificing his identity.


One year after his retirement, Lichtinger is beginning a new chapter. He recently accepted a new position as CEO of biotech company Asterias. The venture is focused on regenerative medicine and is developing therapies in neurology, oncology, and other areas. Key products include treatments for spinal cord injuries and lung cancer. Lichtinger is excited about his new position because it will give him the chance to use his industry expertise to support a company on the verge of scientific breakthrough. “New technologies can help transform the way we look at disease. We can renew damaged tissues, so we don’t have to rely on curing the disease,” he says. “I’m going to the company because I’m passionate about what it can do for patients and society.” Spinal cord injuries can cost patients and insurers more than $4 million per patient. Treatments that improve mobility can have a dramatic impact on patients and the economy alike. At Asterias, Lichtinger will rely on his years of experience in taking products through regulations and to the patient.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) enable some 4 million young people in need to achieve great futures as productive, responsible citizens. The Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors and high-impact academic, health and character-building programs on a daily basis during the critical non-school hours. Pedro Lichtinger has served with distinction on the BGCA Board of Governors since 2003.

With every donation, you help Clubs inspire the creativity in kids. Does it work? Ask Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Kerry Washington, Mario Lopez and nearly 4 million kids served by the Clubs today.

GreatFutures.org hispanicexecutive.com




NO STRINGS ATTACHED Demand is driving innovation in a surging Latin American mobility market and wirelessly connecting the region with the rest of the world BY MARY KENNEY


Hispanic Executive


t would be difficult to overstate the importance of mobile phone technology in Latin America. Hailed “the year of the smartphone in Latin America” by eMarketer, 2013 saw smartphone use grow by 45.3 percent in the region. In 2012, the mobile industry made up 3.7 percent of Latin America’s gross domestic product (GDP)—compared to 1.5 percent of GDP in the United States and 2.1 percent in Europe. At the forefront of the booming mobile industry in Latin America stands Celistics, which uses a portfolio of intelligent logistics solutions to connect the mobile ecosystem. In 2013, the company moved 240 million units for clients such as Grupo América Móvil, Telefónica, BlackBerry, Samsung, and Motorola among others, with a key performance index greater than 98 percent.

Celistics CEO and chairman Jose Antonio Ríos, who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, discusses trends in mobility and the expanding Latin American market.

The mobile phone market has grown rapidly during your time in the industry. Give us a picture of then and now.


Ríos carries three cell phones on a daily basis: two iPhones and a BlackBerry Curve. He uses the BlackBerry for its reliability, no matter his location in Latin America. He believes it has the most extensive number of frequencies in the region.

Twenty years ago, I was one of the first users of cell phones. At that time, we used cell phones to make voice calls and were happy when we could understand the person on the other end. Now, making a voice call is the fifth reason that people buy a cell phone. Just a couple of years ago, the global average time for a voice call on a mobile phone was just over an hour. In the first quarter of this year, it was 12.5 minutes. Mobile phones have merged two of the greatest technologies: wireless telecomunication and Internet. For Latin America, in particular, it’s very important we stay on the latest network and hitched to the latest technology to be competitive. It’s not like 30-40 years ago when things that didn’t work were sent to the developing world.

If landlines weren’t successful in Brazil, why are mobile phones?


How does the adoption of landlines throughout Latin America compare to the adoption of mobile phones?

Specifically, where is the growth in Latin America booming? Brazil makes up 40-50 percent of the Latin American market in every sector, and that definitely holds true in mobility. The population in Brazil is so widespread that you can be in one place in São Paolo that’s three hours from another place in the same city. Landlines never really got off the ground outside of São Paolo, so in Brazil the mobile telephone is as important to connecting cities as it is to connecting countries.

CELISTICS Headquartered: Madrid, Spain Global Reach: Operates in 16 countries About: Celistics is a $2 billion company that innovates intelligent supply chain and technology solutions for clients. The explosive adoption of smartphones in Latin America is of particular interest to the company, which drives the mobile ecosystem there.





Because they allow people to communicate from anywhere, even sparsely populated areas. Fixed-line technology is over. No one is developing it any more. In the United States, in fact, both Verizon and AT&T asked the Federal Communications Commission permission to replace landline networks they had embedded in US soil.

What does that mean for consumers? If you ask for a fixed line in your home, they’ll give it to you, but it won’t have a fixed cable coming to it. It will be a wireless number. That’s really the magic of the technology. Without wires, you can reach everyone, and everyone can reach you.

The fixed-line penetration in Brazil is 21 percent; in Latin America overall it’s 18 percent. Mobile penetration is 111 percent because people have more than one phone. I would dare to say 111 is moving toward 200 in the next 5-10 years because people tend to use one phone for business and one for personal.

FIXED LINE PENETRATION IN LATIN AMERICA IS 18%. MOBILE PENETRATION IS 111%, MOVING TOWARD 200% IN THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS. How has mobile pervasiveness impacted Latin American business? Today, 31.9 percent of the Latin American population goes online via mobile phone at least once a month. Out of those, more than 50 percent do so for business. For a business, this is an incredible tool. Our average

Leader in content for television, broadband and mobile Highest quality content from the best Hollywood and independent studios Processing and delivery of the best content available in the region

info@dlatv.net • www.dlatv.com hispanicexecutive.com


cell phone has more computing power than the computer NASA had when man landed on the moon. For a company, that means employees don’t need to be tied to their desks. There isn’t a business that doesn’t benefit.

LATIN AMERICAN SMARTPHONE USE GREW BY 45.3% IN 2013. How will this make Latin America more competitive internationally? Take a country like Chile or Argentina. They used to consider themselves very far away from the industrialized world. I was in Chile last week. People in Chile are operating exactly the same as they would in Dallas, Paris, or anywhere. There’s no time difference, no lag. Communication has reduced the distance.

How are the makers of cell phones and service providers responding to the increase in demand? Manufacturers are constantly improving on their own, in part because of the gigantic competition among themselves (in Latin America Celistics deals in 20-30 brands and nearly 100 times more models of mobile phones). Carriers have the challenge of migrating old networks to the next generation. They’re talking about flexible 5G in Europe, and I was in a conversation the other day where people were talking about 6G.

What does that mean for a mobile carrier? They can no longer operate multiple networks in parallel. It’s way too expensive. 4G has substantial potential for the consumer because it can transfer twice the data about 100 times faster than 2G, but it also benefits operators because the cost of operating a 4G network is less than half of operating a 2G network. Many people don’t realize that.


Hispanic Executive

The pending spectrum auction in Brazil, which would open up the 700MHz frequency, seems to indicate migration is a task that will require more than just the private sector to progress. Do you see this continuing in Latin America? These auctions will continue to happen. Countries constantly need to free their airwaves, so there is more infrastructure for mobile phone and wireless device traffic. The amount of data being transmitted through airwaves has multiplied exponentially in the last 10 years. That puts pressure on the frequencies. The airways get filled like highways. It’s like multiplying the number of cars by two without increasing the size or number of roads.

Is it the growing number of subscribers that’s driving the growth in traffic, or are there other factors? I don’t see the increase of traffic plateauing soon, but it is not proportional to the number of subscribers. If I’m a single subscriber, two years ago I got my news by text message. Now I want to see the same piece of news with a video clip, so I consume 100 times more data than I did a year ago, but I’m still just one subscriber. The relevant numbers today are not subscribers but how many smartphones are in use. That’s the border between huge data and little data.

What are your predictions about the continued adoption of smartphones in Latin America? We believe in the next three to four years, more than 50 percent of subscribers in Latin America will have smartphones. The data consumed per phone has multiplied by 10. What you want to do as an operator is eliminate the small and very expensive network that can only handle text and voice. You want to implement and evolve the network that can handle it all for the consumer.


Gerardo Cerdas (left) and Miriam Cerdas-Salazar (right), the founders of Irazú, brought Costa Rican cuisine to Chicago 24 years ago. Their son Henry (middle) is carrying on the Tica tradition.



A LA TICA After years in corporate America, Henry Cerdas returned to his hometown to make his parents’ American Dream his own. BY MICHELLE MARKELZ, PHOTOS BY SHEILA BARABAD





Top Henry makes a stop at the take-out register between seating guests. No matter how busy the restaurant gets, he wears a smile. Bottom Left: Chifrijo is an authentic appetizer composed of layers of fried pork, beans, rice, salsa, and avocado drizzled with Lizano sauce. Middle: Kitchen captains ensure the integrity of Miriam’s recipes. Right: The restaurant’s dishes have been featured on Check, Please, Hungry Hound, and twice on the Food Network.


Hispanic Executive



t’s nearing 7 p.m. on a Friday, and a line is forming outside of Irazú, Chicago’s only Costa Rican restaurant. Underneath the green awning, beyond the glowing blue OPEN sign, every detail invites guests to allow themselves to be transported to some place akin to paradise, south of Nicaragua and north of Panama. Salsa music plays under the conversations of couples and lively parties of 10. The smell of caramelized sweet plantains hangs in the air. Textured walls tinted with tangerine, cerulean, and lime green hues reflect the country’s vibrant palette and are adorned with multicolored lizards and smiling sunbursts. Globe lights strung across the ceiling give the patio a backyard barbecue feel. And waiting to greet you at the front door is a smiling face, the proud owner with your passport for the evening. Henry Cerdas likes to run his restaurant from the host stand. There’s a charm about dining at Irazú, and it starts with him. Some regulars remember when he was a dishwasher more than 20 years ago. These days, they might hear him shouting, “Atrás!” from the kitchen as he maneuvers his way through cooks, balancing plates of steaming casados (dishes piled with any combination of rice, beans, meat, and fried plantains). When his hands aren’t full, you can pick him out of the bustle by the unhurried yet commanding purpose with which he leads guests to their tables. It only takes a smile, one arm around your shoulder, and the other extended in welcome to see that Henry was cut out for this business. He wasn’t bred for it, though. The memory of the first time he tried to convince his father to let him take over the family business still brings a little lump to his throat. “Henry, I don’t want this lifestyle for you,” he recalls his father, Gerardo Cerdas, saying. “This is not what I came to the United States for. This is the work of an immigrant, not a professional who wears a tie. Not the dream I had for you.” Henry did go on to get that tie-wearing job. He spent 10 years climbing the corporate ladder. But in 2007, he left his position at Prudential to keep alive the business his parents had nurtured for 17 years.

stop across the intersection, she decided she was tired of working for someone else. When she returned home, she explained to Gerardo her vision of Irazú. “My father, not being a risk-taker, said, ‘No way,’ but my mother is very persistent,” says Henry. “She ultimately convinced him to take his savings and knock on the realtor’s door.” Gerardo had good reason to be wary; the future location of Irazú held many sunken dreams of entrepreneurs past. He thought it was a cursed location. Opening day began at six on a morning in August, 1990 and ended at midnight. One or two curious customers would stop in per hour (it would be three more years before Irazú had a sign reading “Irazú Restaurant, Cuisine from Costa Rica, Latin American food”). Few Americans at the time had an understanding of Costa Rican culinary staples. Miriam had to do as much educating of her Midwestern clientele as she did feeding them. The first night, she and Gerardo came home and counted out their $200 of earnings. The next day it was $88. “And that’s the way it was for at least three years,” says Henry. The restaurant was a true family business with all hands on deck. Like most 17-year-olds, Henry was embarrassed to have his friends see him washing dishes, but if he wanted to eat Mom’s cooking, he had to earn it. Miriam served “simple, flavorful, authentic peasant food that you’d

An American Dream Come True Miriam Cerdas-Salazar caught the bus at the corner of Milwaukee and Oakley Streets every day she went to her low-wage job as a cafeteria manager. The day she saw a FOR SALE sign go up in the window of the pit


Gerardo used to go market to market each morning to stock Irazú’s kitchen. Now he reviews the morning shipment from the restaurant’s corporate supplier.




find on the countryside in Costa Rica,” says Henry. The family dynamic also meant that courtesy sometimes took a backseat. “Being Latino means being very vocal,” says Henry. “Everyone wants to make the decision.” On the occasions he and his mother would disagree, Henry would stay away for three days, but “by the third day, I’d really miss her cooking and go back to make peace.” Over the next 17 years, the clientele grew slowly but surely, and the restaurant expanded to accommodate its popularity, but the intensity of the operation never waned. “Irazú was their fourth child,” says Henry. His parents’ exhaustion was apparent when they considered putting the business up for sale. But with his business background and acumen and passion for his family’s heritage, Henry was confident he could tame the restaurant’s “teenage rebellion” and see it to maturity.

Irazú fills up fast on a Friday night. In warmer weather, the patio’s windows are removed for an open-air atmosphere.

Henry’s Irazú Henry may have held the key to the restaurant when he assumed ownership in 2007, but he still had a reputation to earn in the eyes of his customers and his parents. Regulars recognized Henry but knew Irazú as Miriam’s restaurant. He had to make sure

Irazú is not about high-end chefs, says Henry. It’s about simple, flavorful, authentic, peasant cuisine.


Hispanic Executive

everything was the same or better. Although he strove to meet their quality, Henry did not hope to match his parents’ leadership style. Taking home and laundering the linens every night, prepping food in the mornings, answering the phone, and bussing the tables were all tasks he could delegate. “I’m not a cook,” he admits. “I’m a leader. If I have to cook, I will, but that’s not my role.” He wanted to run Irazú with an eye for the big picture, which, at first, was a challenge. “The first few years were never very diplomatic,” Henry recalls of the power struggles with his parents that flared up in the transition. While he advocated new techniques and contracted food suppliers, his parents worried the quality would decline. “It was small-scale versus large-scale. Something was always imperfect, and I heard about it.” Henry’s quality control comes not from micromanaging, but empowering his staff. They know that the customer’s experience is paramount at Irazú. He sent his general manager on a trip to Costa Rica for cultural immersion. His kitchen captains know how Miriam’s food should taste, and if it’s not perfect, they correct it or throw it out. Each member of the Cerdas family plays his or her respective roles: Henry’s brother, who lives in the neighborhood, is his official taste tester, his sister contributes new ideas from Ohio, and his parents are

consultants. It took years to convince Miriam and Gerardo to entrust him completely with the restaurant, but it was an effort that allows them, as Henry says, to “enjoy each other’s company and respect the serenity of [Miriam’s] home cooking.”

Pura Vida For all the profitability that a bustling, bursting business proves, the quiet moments the Cerdas family can spend together now are just as indicative of their restaurant’s success. Gerardo and Miriam spend several months each year in Costa Rica, but when they return to their home just a couple blocks from the restaurant, Henry isn’t shy to ask his mom to make him some arroz con leche. These days, though, Miriam cooks at her own stove or for private parties at Irazú. “All children are proud of the way their mothers cook,” says Henry. “Though I love to share her gift, I prefer to enjoy my Mom’s incredible cooking at home, without interruptions. I don’t want to lose that.” On every black tee shirt worn by the wait staff at Irazú, the phrase “pura vida” is printed in a rugged, white font. It’s both a greeting and a parting note in Costa Rica. At Irazú it is a mantra: Live. Enjoy. Relax. “It’s a state of being,” says Henry, one that describes the balance Irazú’s past and present owners have found as the restaurant has come into its own.


IT’S IN THE EYES Owners of Perez Eye Care and twin sisters Patricia Perez Vorona and Angelica Perez, attribute their career path to their older sister and partner, Sandra Gonzalez, making business a truly family affair BY KAT SILVERSTEIN, PHOTO BY SHEILA BARABAD


e’ve been a team since before we were born,” Patricia Perez Vorona says of her twin sister, Angelica Perez. “Working together is natural for us.” Their lifelong partnership has manifested into a thriving optometry business, Perez Eye Care. Just one year out of college, their older sister, Sandra, encouraged them to pursue a career in optometry and presented the idea of owning their SANDRA own business. GONZALEZ, “ S a n d y PATRICIA PEREZ started working VORONA, AND ANGELICA PEREZ in this practice as an optician,” owners Patricia says of Perez Eye Care the downtown Chicago location that is now one of two Perez Eye Care offices in the city. The doctor for whom Sandra was working, chose to sell her portion of the practice. At their older sister’s suggestion, Patricia and Angelica bought out the other doctor. At the same time, they had their eye on an additional practice that served a largely Spanish-speaking clientele and whose owner was ready to retire. The


Dr. Angelica Perez (left), Dr. Patricia Perez Vorona (center), and Sandra Gonzalez (right) are sisters and business associates.




“There’s a lot of loyalty [in the Latino community]. Hispanic patients are proud of us and recommend us to family and friends.” PATRICIA PEREZ VORONA

sisters acquired that practice as well and started operating the second location in short order. Consulting services for business advice after graduating from optometry school can cost up to $30,000, and other doctors are notoriously close-lipped with business tips, so the Perez sisters enrolled in business classes. Patricia also drew from her yearlong stint at LensCrafters to understand the basics of the optical practice as a business. “I didn’t realize coming out of optometry school how much it all costs,” she admits. “That was an eye-opener, no pun intended,” she laughs. It doesn’t hurt business that the sisters are part of the growing Hispanic community in Chicago, which makes up 28.9 percent of the city (as of the 2010 census). Despite that statistic, there are very few Hispanic optometrists. “Even before I graduated, I was getting phone calls,” says Patricia. “There’s a lot of loyalty [in the Latino community],” she says. “Hispanic patients are proud of us and recommend us to family and friends.” Another boost to the sisters’ bottom line came through social media. Positive reviews on Yelp from customers who appreciated the thorough, 45-minute eye exams at Perez created new customers from the existing client base. The sisters also use Facebook to advertise new frames or services that generate interest. “We promoted the Google glasses,” Patricia says. “People come to see and to buy them. It’s important to keep adding new technology.”


Hispanic Executive

CONSEJOS DE UNA HERMANA MAYOR “My older sister, Sandy, really pushed optometry as a career choice for me,” says Patricia Perez Vorona. There were no Hispanic optometrists that the sisters knew of, and very few women, but Sandra (Sandy) didn’t see that as an obstacle. She saw it as an opportunity to fill a niche within the growing Latino population in Chicago.

With two offices, the sisters have developed a business plan that caters to the patients in each office’s service area while remaining attractive to walk-in clients. “The downtown location is more disease-oriented,” says Patricia, referring to the office’s frequent treatment of glaucoma among other optical diseases. Angelica specializes in pediatrics and keratoconus (protrusion of the cornea) treatment, which is in high demand among the Latino population that surrounds the second location. Both sites offer comprehensive vision exams, a wide range of eyewear, and a focus on customer service. The Perezes are always working on their relationship as sisters and professionals.

After some trial and error, they have found a happy balance. Angelica functions as the business mind, trying new ideas and overseeing services and staff. She pushed for more doctors to handle the increasing client base, expanded the downtown location, and feels confident in recommending new ideas and making quick decisions. Sandra handles the customer service and continues to be a source of inspiration to the Perez Eye Care staff. “The sensitive patients tend to come back,” says Patricia. “That’s Sandy’s doing. If she could hold everybody’s hand, she would. The employees see that and try to model it.” After trying on the administrative hat, Patricia realized it wasn’t her strong suit. Now, her focus is more medical. She also manages the new-employee training and the eyewear inventory to keep a hand in the business aspect of the practice. “I will ask the patients what they’re looking for in glasses,” she says. “They’ll tell me, and I‘ll know right away, so when they come out of the exam room, there are frames waiting for them.” “At this stage, we’d like to grow a little more, maybe add a third location,” Patricia says. But she is also happy with how far the business has come and even more satisfied with how she has been able to balance the roles of family and work with her sisters. “It’s a great partnership. I’m able to go to classes and be with my sisters. You have to a have a strong relationship to work well with each other as both a family and a business.”


VANESSA ROBLEDO Owner and CEO Black Coyote Wines



Vanessa Robledo left traditional Mexican values and her family’s business to pursue her own winery


tepping onto the Black Coyote Winery in Napa Valley two days before a large event exclusively for club members, you will find Vanessa Robledo tying up loose ends, taking inventory on the reserve cabernet sauvignon, and helping her brother unload dry goods. Robledo is the owner and CEO of Black Coyote Wines, and it is a title she has been working toward since she was eight years old. In 1972, Robledo’s parents left Mexico in hopes of creating a better life for their family. Despite having neither high school educations or speaking English, they took



a leap of faith and moved from the small town of Michoacán to Sonoma, CA. Four years later, in 1980, they moved to Napa, CA and purchased their first 13-acre property. When Robledo wasn’t at school, she could be found in the fields. It was her grandfather who taught her not only the grape growing process but also an appreciation for the land. “He always said if you take care of the land, it will take care of you,” she recalls. By listening to Robledo describe each grape by the shape of its leaf, one can plainly see that she isn’t reciting facts off a sheet but rather has 30 years of experience working hands-on with the fruit. Growing up, Robledo would translate

for both of her parents. Her father brought her to business meetings and realized that his daughter had a knack for interacting with other vineyard owners. However, traditional family values meant Robledo would remain in the kitchen and become a stay-athome mother. “I did want to have a family and a career, too. I believe that as women we can have it all,” says Robledo. It wasn’t an easy task, but Robledo convinced her father to let her continue her education alongside her older brother at Napa Valley College. She married at the age of 19 and had her only daughter, Jocelyn. Robledo left Napa Valley College to continue her studies at the University of California,





Davis. She wanted to fully immerse herself in learning the ins and outs of the wine industry. “Anything I felt that was a weakness of mine I would take a class on and turn it into a strength,” says Robledo. After honing her winemaking skills, she wanted to master the business. In 2008, she received a scholarship to attend an entrepreneurial MBA program for two weeks at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Although the Robledo family owned two wine-related businesses (Robledo Ranches and Robledo Vineyard Management, LLC), it was Robledo’s sister Lorena’s marriage to a vintner that led Robledo’s father to start a winery of their own, and he wanted Vanessa at his side. “He viewed his family of nine children as a part of his business,” says Robledo. In 2002, Robledo Family Winery officially opened its doors and became the first Mexican-American established winery in the country. Within the first few years, the family winery acquired 14 vineyards. A

large part of the company’s success was due to Vanessa’s marketing campaigns and savvy networking ability. “I knew how hard my parents were working, and I felt obligated to work as hard as I could to help them,” says Robledo. With her help, her family grew its winery from 100 cases of wine to 20,000. Although she was a major asset to the company, her father would hand the family business to her brothers. It was then Robledo knew she would have to break the status quo once again and venture out on her own. In 2007, Robledo walked away from the family business and used her industry experience at food and wine festivals. Robledo met her future business partner Dr. Ernest Bates, the founder of Black Coyote Winery. Robledo admits the transition wasn’t an easy one for her family or her new business venture. The recession hit the high-quality wine industry hard, not excluding Black Coyote. The average price for the company’s reserve cabernet sauvignon is $106.

MARIDAJE DE VINO Y COCINA MEXICANA Wine pairings with authentic Mexican dishes suggested by Vanessa Robledo

Carne asada tacos paired with

reserve cabernet sauvignon


Hispanic Executive

Ceviche with tilapia paired with sauvignon blanc

Steak chile rellenos paired with syrah

Despite Black Coyote hitting a rough patch during the financial crisis, it is now selling more than 600 cases of wine per year. Black Coyote specializes in making two cabernet sauvignons (one reserve and one nonreserve) and a sauvignon blanc. She has three other business partners but Robledo is responsible for the farming, winemaking and administrative work. Despite her tightly packed schedule, Robledo still finds time to help her mother run the family vineyards and give back to the community. Robledo was the former president of the Ernest Bates Foundation, which supports children who live below the poverty level and teaches English as a second language before kindergarten. Drawing upon her own background has given Robledo a passion for supporting youth and encouraging higher education. After six years of working with Black Coyote Wines, Robledo is looking forward to this upcoming year to slow down a little and spend more time with her family, most likely with a glass of wine beside her. “People take drinking wine too seriously,” says Robledo. “It’s about family, celebration, eating, and having a good time.”


Robledo’s grandfather Everardo Robledo “Papa Lalo” (kneeling front, left) is pictured here in the only photo she has of him. By the time the photo was taken (the 1960s), the Robledo’s were known as master grafters in the wine industry and were sought-after in the new development of vineyards.

As fourth-generation grapegrowers, Robledo’s family members taught her countless lessons about the wine industry. Although difficult to decide who made the most impact on her career, Robledo says it had to be her grandfather. Every summer that he stayed in Napa with the family, Robledo learned something new. As a girl she recalls him telling her stories to explain how the grapes grew. “He said the vines were like a woman who was expecting a baby. The weight of the grapes is carried in the middle of the vine, and the branches wrap around the wire to hold on for strength.” It was her grandfather who taught Robledo the importance of knowing the land and being able to read the condition of each vineyard.


Conversations with movers & shakers




Chevron commits to exploration that taps a diverse well of talent.



Jacqueline L. Rosa knows that supplier diversity is just the first step in changing corporate culture—but an important one.






Women, Hispanics, and technology come full-circle at Cisco.


INDUSTRY PULSE Insight on health care coverage after the Affordable Care Act from Kaiser Permanente’s CCO.


DEVELOPMENT Rolando Portocarrero on his road to the executive level.


CAREER SERVANT Gaddi Vasquez has brought a commitment to others to each new endeavor.

EDUCATION Anna Solley is devoted to equipping Hispanics with the most powerful tool.



A roundup of the sound bites from this issue’s can’t-miss features.

CONSUMER INSIGHT Mariana Quiroga analyzes the way we clean our homes to improve 3M’s home care division.

LEADERSHIP Carlos Cata prioritizes placing qualified Latinos in high-ranking positions.


Michael Dominguez is rebuilding the Las Vegas convention industry with a personal touch.


Mauricio Pincheira shares his experience with HACR and illustrates how the organization is helping leaders discover their potential.




“I tell everyone I interview or meet the same thing: I have no idea what they’ll be doing in a year, but I know it won’t be boring.” DANIEL GARCIA

Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer Kaiser Permanente

LIFE LESSONS Leo Alaniz shares valuable lessons acquired along his career path thus far.




DRILLING for TALENT Carlos Aguilera knows genius can be found in unlikely places and is helping energy giant Chevron maintain and improve its deep commitment to diversity by Tina Vasquez

Located 50 miles off the coast of Angola, Chevron’s Tombua-Landana project comprises 46 wells. Its drilling and production platform (seen here) is one of the tallest man-made structures in the world.


Hispanic Executive




ssimilation can sometimes be a loaded term in Latino communities. But for Carlos Aguilera, assimilation does not mean deletion. The Latino experience in the United States is complicated and varied—a fact Aguilera knows better than most. He is Chevron’s vice president and general manager of business development for Africa and Latin America, a role he utilizes to champion the value of diversity. Upon leaving Cuba when he was four years old—just before the Bay of Pigs Invasion—Aguilera’s family settled in Milwaukee. In 17 years his father went from an entry-level engineer to president of one of the largest companies in Wisconsin. Watching his father obtain the often-elusive American Dream shaped Aguilera’s work ethic, although his path would take a few unexpected turns. For example, he had a unique opportunity to play high school basketball in Brazil, which eventually led to a spot on the Louisiana State University team. A sports injury took him off the court for good, but set his life on an entirely different trajectory. After college, he was hired by Chevron, one of America’s most iconic and successful companies, recently ranking third on the Fortune 500 list. The energy company is active in more than 180 countries and engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries. Much like his father, Aguilera worked his way up the ranks while earning a master’s degree in business administration from MIT with a focus on energy economics and advanced negotiations. During his almost 35 years with Chevron, Aguilera has lived or spent a substantial amount of time in 11 different countries, and no matter how unfamiliar another culture may be, he has the ability to adapt, a skill he attributes in part to his Latino background. “Nothing teaches you tolerance like living with 17 people in a small, three-bedroom house,” Aguilera laughs,



Experience gives us strength. Our people make us successful.

Our people are the foundation of our business. For over 100 years, Fluor has achieved excellence in execution on global capital projects by challenging outstanding professionals from diverse backgrounds to generate innovative solutions and solve complex problems. As a proud part of our history, Fluor’s diverse global workforce continues to be an integral part of our success.

Resolvemos problemas complejos con soluciones innovadoras. www.fluor.com Fluor is an equal opportunity employer that recognizes the value of a diverse workforce. All qualified individuals will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, and/or protected veteran status.

Š 2014 Fluor Corporation. ADAV106514


Hispanic Executive

Learn more about our careers at: http://jobs.halliburton.com/diversity



FACTS & FIGURES remembering one Christmas family gathering. “Being Latino and coming from a large family means being adaptable, and that’s something Chevron understands and values.” Having been to Angola, China, Russia, and Venezuela during times of crisis, Aguilera is once again able to attribute his adaptability and resilience to his Latino background. Aguilera consistently draws upon his Latin culture when traveling abroad. Not speaking the native language and being unfamiliar with a new culture might sound like major roadblocks, but coming from a large immigrant family has taught him how to assimilate from both personal and business perspectives. “As a former outsider myself, I know how to navigate, and I enjoy the challenge,” he says. The elements that bring people together (food, music, community, culture, beliefs) are all innately interesting to Aguilera, and he applies them when working abroad. “I think that’s what Latinos bring to the table,” Aguilera says. “Assimilating does not mean letting go of your language or your culture,” he says, noting a common misconception among young Latinos. Aguilera’s culture has been a tool that has helped him throughout his career. “It’s a pet peeve of mine when talking to young Latinos who don’t speak Spanish. Language and culture are your gifts, your strengths. It’s important not to lose touch with those attributes.” Perhaps words like “diversity” and “multiculturalism” weren’t being thrown


CARLOS AGUILERA VP & GM of Business Development

In 2012, more than



employees were members of Chevron’s employee networks and affinity groups.

Since 2005, Chevron has received a

perfect score

on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index.

In an effort to expand opportunities for minorities by upping its recruitment efforts at historically black colleges and universities, Chevron has made

$3 million

in donations to schools to support engineering and computer science programs.

Women and minorities accounted for nearly


of Chevron’s new employees in 2013.

around in his childhood home in Milwaukee, but they were ideas Aguilera absorbed at a very young age. “I remember my father always used to say, ‘Genius has no color, no religion, no gender,’” recalls Aguilera. Prev iously, Chev ron was only recruiting at top technical college campuses, such as Stanford, Penn State, and Texas A&M. Aguilera, however, knowing that genius has no limits, began reshaping that approach. It was important to him that the company begin

seeking those students attending local, state colleges like University of Texas-Pan American and University of Puerto Rico while also working to help support their families. “These kids are true gems,” Aguilera says. “They know what it’s like to work hard. They are dependable. They’re maintaining 3.5 GPAs and taking care of their families at the same time. Why wouldn’t you want these kids working for your organization?” Chevron seeks diversity within every level of the organization—and it’s not just paying lip service to diversity, either. As a global company, Chevron aims to have its workforce reflect the diverse communities it serves. “The Chevron way,” which is essentially the company’s mission statement, explicitly outlines its commitment to diversity,



DISCOVER CAMERON Aguilera recently led business development for new country entry efforts in Liberia, Suriname, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Argentina.

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Hispanic Executive


saying, in part, “We learn from and respect the cultures in which we work. We value and demonstrate respect for the uniqueness of individuals and the varied perspectives and talents they provide. We have an inclusive work environment and actively embrace a diversity of people, ideas, talents, and experiences.” The business case for diversity is also something Chevron understands. The company does everything in its power to help its employees feel supported, offering a dozen employee affinity groups, each with chapters around the globe. In 2012 alone, more than 25,000 of its employees participated in such programs that provided access to mentoring, employee development, recruitment, community outreach, and cultural awareness. Somos, the Latin American and Hispanic employee network, is particularly popular at Chevron. The affinity group does amazing work in local communities, with a special emphasis on Latino students. Each year, the network provides $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate scholastic achievement, community involvement, and leadership skills. “We need to keep pushing in terms of education,” he says. “Instead of encouraging Latinas to be nurses, let’s tell them to be doctors. If a young man wants to be a mechanic, let’s encourage him to be an engineer. Chevron is a home for Latinos and we provide great educational opportunities to employees.”

Aguilera hopes more young Latinos choose to enter science, technology, engineering, and math fields and eventually make their way to Chevron. As the country’s demographics continue to shift, he believes they will find a home and an abundance of opportunities at the company. “We operate in so many different countries, and we’re from California, so there is a certain level of natural openness and multiculturalism in our roots,” Aguilera says. “We have almost 300 national Latinos working outside their home countries in Latin America. We have national employees from Venezuela working in Angola and Kazakhstan. These are great opportunities for our employees, but they also make our business strong. We’re mixing the pot and it makes Chevron a beautiful place to work. There is no downside to approaching business in this way.”

As a recognized leader in engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, fabrication, and project management, Fluor serves clients in 79 countries around the world with global offices on six continents. The technical expertise and diverse experience of our multi-cultural teams results in the successful execution of many of the world’s most complex and challenging capital projects. As a public company with more than 80,000 employees, representing 140 nationalities in approximately 80 countries, Halliburton realizes the importance of diversity. We strive to ensure career opportunity and growth for all employees while offering safe and superior quality products and services to our clients.



“We operate in so many different countries [...] so there is a certain level of natural openness and multiculturalism in our roots.”


Desde la Perspectiva …

Jacqueline L. Rosa One of America’s biggest banks makes a business case for diversity The mission of JPMorgan Chase’s supplier diversity prog ram ha s evolved from the “right” thing to do into the “smart” thing to do for both our communities and the firm. Historically, many corporate supplier diversity programs were founded on moral principles, not a business case. However, utilizing and developing certified diverse businesses has allowed us to maintain a competitive edge and deliver cost-reduction benefits, which ultimately adds value to communities and generates value for our shareholders. One of my top priorities when I joined JPMorgan Chase three years ago was to take our successful supplier diversity program to an even higher level. JPMorgan Chase’s supplier diversity program dates back to 1994 when one of our predecessor organizations, Chemical Bank, established a program for minority- and women-owned businesses. Twenty years later, our program continues to connect qualified diverse businesses with opportunities to provide products and services to JPMorgan Chase worldwide. Our program has expanded over the years to include military veterans and service-disabled veterans, LGBT individuals, and disabled individuals. Each year from 2008 through 2012, JPMorgan Chase has spent more than $1 billion with diverse suppliers, and in 2013, our total spend with diverse suppliers grew to $1.5 billion. We have made a concerted effort to strengthen the firm’s diversity mission with collaborative partnerships across JPMorgan Chase. My team and I are actively engaged


Hispanic Executive

in initiatives with business banking, Small Business Administration lending, and targeted corporate groups tackling corporate responsibility, global philanthropy and military and veteran affairs. Our program drives firm-wide supplier diversity strategy, policies, and practices. Minority populations have been increasing in number year after year, including their purchasing power and business activity. The minority business community has evolved along with our supplier diversity program. With these changing demographics our customer base continues to change, and we need to ensure that we stay competitive by addressing the needs of our customers. Supplier diversity can have a real impact on the bottom line. Under my guidance we mirror the metrics used in all of global strategic sourcing. We supply monthly, quarterly, and annual metrics to the chief procurement officer. Clearly we are not a revenue-producing area, but we do make a difference by reducing costs. A vital component of JPMorgan Chase’s long-standing commitment to “impacting the communities where we live and work” is leveraging diversity in all aspects of our business—not just in strategic sourcing. As a firm, we demonstrate our commitment in many ways: in the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, the multicultural marketing of our products and services, and by supporting the communities where we do business with donations, grants, and contributions. My team and I spend a great deal of time and effort expanding our partnerships and community outreach programs. We collaborate with national advocacy organizations such as the US Hispanic Chamber of

Commerce and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, as well as with community leaders and lines of businesses across JPMorgan Chase, to create opportunities for diverse suppliers to compete for business. Education and development for diverse businesses is another priority goal for us. We assist them in becoming top performers in their industries by mentoring, leveraging our internal and external networks, and participating in program initiatives that support the development of entrepreneurs. As a result of the feedback from the women I’ve mentored, I recently launched the first women’s leadership networking group in sourcing called WISE, which stands for women in sourcing empowerment. In the male-dominated industry of sourcing and procurement, I saw a need for a networking group for women in sourcing at JPMorgan Chase. My goal is to create access to mentors, key contacts, partners in the firm, and ultimately access within the sourcing community. I envision the group tackling topics from the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards to the difficulties of balancing business ownership and parenthood and offering meaningful connections, events, and takeaways that enrich the lives of these time-challenged women looking for a community of like-minded professionals to help build their careers. As I enter my third year with JPMorgan Chase, I’ve realized that supplier diversity transcends my personal and professional life. My ultimate goal is to weave supplier diversity into the entire fabric of our corporate culture. Already an example to our industry and the corporate world, JPMorgan Chase is well on its way to achieving it.


as told to Michelle Markelz


JACQUELINE L. ROSA Managing Director Global Head of Supplier Diversity JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. Headquartered: New York, NY Fortune 100 Rank: 18 About: A multinational banking and financial services holding company, JPMorgan is one of the largest banks in the United States.





Seeking Next-Level Role Models How corporate executive Mauricio Pincheira found a network to unlock his potential and developed a passion to do the same for others by Maureen Wilkey

Mauricio Pincheira was nominated for HACR’s 2012 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers award.


Hispanic Executive

n its 2013 corporate incluI was inspired by the possibility to move to the next level.” sion index, the Hispanic Association for Corporate Since that seminar two years ago, Responsibility (HACR) rePincheira took his own small step towards ported that Hispanics only changing the numbers for Hispanics in held about four percent corporate America. Consumers Energy, a of the C-suite positions Fortune 500 electric and gas utility proat surveyed Fortune 100 companies. The vider, recruited him as executive director pace of Hispanics reaching executive ranks of quality. He took the opportunity and in is not keeping up with the demographic’s his role develops a customer-centric quality growth. Rather than let generations of program for the utility. talent go untapped, HACR is Pincheira was recognized training young executives to this year as a 2014 HACR CorMAURICIO improve that index and change porate Achiever. He’s mainPINCHEIRA lives. Mauricio Pincheira is a tained a close relationship Executive with HACR as he believes in product of just that. Director the mission of the organizaPincheira was the first Consumers in his family to graduate tion: to open up possibility Energy from college, earning an enand opportunity for Hispangineering degree from Puric professionals and support due University. But he didn’t realize his programs to shape the future of tomorrow. full potential until he was recognized by The Young Hispanic Achievers program, HACR. Pincheira was nominated for the which recognized Pincheira in 2012, de2012 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievvelops young Hispanics each year through ers award, which afforded him the oppora nomination program. “We do not have a tunity to attend a leadership conference in lot of role models for Hispanics in business, Chicago that changed his life. community, or government,” he says. “We “It opened my eyes to all the organizahave our George Lopezes, but where are the tions that are out there that are supporting educators? Where are the CEOs? Where are Hispanics and Latinos in community outthe government leaders that represent us? reach, leadership development, and scholHACR is changing that.” arship,” Pincheira says. “Since then, I have In addition to his involvement with been committed to HACR.” HACR, Pincheira also works with the SoPrior to joining HACR, Pincheira enciety of Hispanic Professional Engineers joyed a successful career as an engineer(SHPE), which encourages young Hispaning and manufacturing executive in the ics to get degrees in science, technology, enauto industry. Then the HACR conference gineering, and math. Founded in the 1970s, developed his experience and honed his SHPE has a national reach, helping young leadership skills. He remembers a session people succeed professionally. in which Ryder CEO Robert Sanchez, who Pincheira attributes his success in the was not much older than Pincheira, gave an auto industry to the leadership training he especially motivating speech. received at SHPE and HACR. His leader“I realized that I had not set my goals to ship led the way to bring the SHPE 2014 national conference to Detroit. “HACR my fullest potential,” Pincheira says. “The and SHPE,” says Pincheira, “have given Hispanic culture tends to be humble. We are often satisfied with certain levels of me the tools, the exposure, and the trainprofessional success while balancing faming.” He insists that without the support of ily values. Most Latinos are taught to be organizations such as these, he would not hard-working, but not overly aspirational. have achieved the success he enjoys at the After seeing what Robert had done, though, next level.


CARING FOR THE MICHIGAN COMMUNITIES WE SERVE. THAT’S OUR PROMISE. We salute Mauricio Pincheira who models the way with his commitment to customer, community and culture. ConsumersEnergy.com


5441-C 159


Hiring Hispanic Higher-Ups Cuban-born Carlos Cata leads by example. After getting his MBA from Duke University and working as a brand manager for Kraft, he was a founding partner of Frontera Foods. Today he is a managing partner in the Chicago office for global executive search firm CTPartners. He talks to HE about broadening the leadership pool in corporate America by increasing numbers of Latinos in leadership positions.

CARLOS CATA Managing Partner

by Julie Edwards


I began in consumer-packaged goods for Proctor & Gamble and Kraft. Then I became a consultant and entrepreneur. I saw a convergence between my passion points (marketing, consulting, and finding talent) that led to an executive search career.

Talk about CTPartners’ unique vision. Our goal is to identify, cultivate, and place leaders in the top echelons of companies. All major corporations are seeking a broader leadership pool. We saw a unique opportunity within Latino leadership. No one was focusing on connecting Latino leaders with companies, but everyone on the supply-and-demand side wanted this connection. We develop deep relationships with Latino leaders and with companies that would suit them well.

How does CTPartners accomplish that? We’re trying to encourage current Latino leaders to give a hand up to future leaders through mentoring and coaching. One example is a dinner we’re sponsoring on October 15 in New York City. We handpicked about a dozen Latino leaders to attend. We want to turn these 10 or so leaders today into 100 leaders tomorrow. We have to figure out how to take the spark and make it a fire.

What was the impetus behind this? As an executive leadership group, Hispanics in general haven’t been great at self-promotion or networking; we have historically preferred assimilating. CTParners wants to present those who are leaders in the community with unique opportunities to mentor future leaders. There is a need for Latino leaders who can understand the changing


Hispanic Executive

marketplace. Over the course of my career in recruiting, 50 percent of my placements have been diverse, with 20 percent specifically Latino.

market from both the consumer and the employment perspective.

Can you outline the current state of Hispanics in leadership roles in corporate America?

I would focus on two aspects: performance and leadership. Deliver on your role, and be a top talent for your position. Also, define yourself as a leader both in your organization and to others. Identify ways to develop, coach, and mentor future Latino leaders. In that way, you will distinguish yourself as a leader and as one who fosters opportunities for others.

Historically, there weren’t enough qualified Hispanics for senior management roles. But now Latino talent is rising in the ranks. There is a host of Latino leaders who are market-ready for senior and executive vice president roles. Today there are more Latinos in senior level positions in corporate America than ever before, but relative to Caucasian males, their numbers are still low. And there’s not enough representation of Hispanics in senior management commensurate with the number of Hispanics in the general population. In 2013 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies did not have a Hispanic on their board, there were only 10 Hispanic CEOs, and only four percent of companies had multiple Hispanics on their board.

Are there certain industries seeking Hispanics for leadership positions more than others? Ten years ago, consumer products companies like Procter & Gamble and Colgate were at the forefront of bringing more diversity to management. Today, almost every company is looking for Latino leadership because they all want to represent the fabric of the United States. There is more density of Latino leadership in consumer-focused industries such as retail and entertainment. As Hispanics become the majority population in the country, companies need to understand the Latino

What advice do you have for aspiring Latino leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve ever received, and how have you applied it to your work? God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason: you have to listen first and talk later. As a recruiter I listen carefully to what is being said and also consider what is not being said.

What is the most challenging part of your job and what is the most rewarding? The most challenging is this: When you’re dealing with people and not widgets, you have to plan for all the contingencies and emotional elements that come into play when people are making significant life changes (like moving their whole family for a new job). The best recruiters retain their sense of empathy. The most rewarding aspect of the job is being part of transforming people’s lives through the betterment of their career. When you get a thank-you call a year later and hear how happy the person is and how happy their spouse is, you know you’ve done more than a just a job placement.


How did you get into executive recruiting?


Desde la Perspectiva …

Anna Solley The president of Phoenix College is equipping Hispanics with the most powerful and indestructible tool to reach their goals: an education


as told to Julie Edwards

Dr. Anna Solley (front, center) with other Phoenix College administrators, faculty, staff, and keynote speaker Dr. Simon Myint (far right), prepare to celebrate the annual commencement ceremony.


duc a t ion i s in my bloodstream. I made a commitment to a life in education because of a desire to make a difference in people’s lives. Education is power— no one can take it away from you. With an education, you can improve your circumstances, contribute to your family, give back to the community, and serve as a role model and leader. I started my career as an elemenANNA tary school special SOLLEY education teacher. President Over the course of Phoenix College my nearly four-decade career, I have been a teacher, a college professor, a college administrator, and an executive. I know that in the next five years, 60 percent of jobs will require education beyond high school. There is a demand for an educated workforce, and Phoenix College is responding. Forty percent of our student body is Hispanic. As a community, Hispanics face some major obstacles to higher education.




� � �� � � ��� � � � � �� � �� � � � �

ANNA’S BOOK SHELF Solley shares the books, articles, and films essential for joining the dialogue on education and achievement gaps in America. The Leadership Challenge

by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner This resource outlines the five core practices that exemplary leaders rely on to perform their personal best.

Clayton Christensen’s writings on disruptive innovation “Disruptive innovations” are solutions that democratize formerly widely unattainable products or services and expand the market for them.

Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services

Connected to Tradition. Pioneering the Future. For over 93 years, generations of students have come to Phoenix College to prepare for a bright future through nationallyrecognized programs for university transfer, career training and personal development. Under the leadership of college president Dr. Anna Solley, Phoenix College is a Hispanic Serving Institution and home to the Raul H. Castro Institute, a “do tank” focusing on issues that impact the Latino community.

w w w.phoeni xc o l l ege.edu 162

Hispanic Executive

by Robert Dickeson This book explains how to allocate resources to achieve optimal academic returns.

Empowering Community Colleges to Build the Nation’s Future: An Implementation Guide Companion to the Report of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges: Reclaiming the American Dream – Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future by American Association of Community Colleges The report was produced in response to President Obama’s education agenda and challenge for community colleges to educate an additional 5 million students by 2020.

FILMS Salt of the Earth (1954) Based on a mining strike in New Mexico, the film portrays the wage and civil rights struggles of Mexican-American laborers.

Cesar Chavez (History Is Made One Step at a Time) (2014) The biographical film tells the story of activist Cesar Chavez.

Family commitments often interfere, and finding the time or funding for education goes by the wayside. We offer a number of support services for students. Families may not have a “college-bound” philosophy, and in some cases limited English skills hinder them; we can help with course selection, career planning, and financial aid and provide mentoring and tutoring. Many of our students are first-generation college students like I was. My mother graduated from high school, but my dad dropped out in ninth grade to work. Both of my parents stressed upon me the importance of obtaining an education. I earned three degrees from Arizona State University (a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate). A significant number of our faculty are Hispanic, many of whom are first-generation graduates who can relate to the students. When hiring, we try to mirror the demographics of the community. It’s important to have Latinos working with Latino students to serve as role models and relatable advisors who share their culture and values. My top piece of advice for students at all levels is stay in school. Take advantage of the valuable opportunities available to you. Ask questions so you can make better decisions. Find a mentor in someone you respect. Apply for financial aid and scholarships to further your education. Take advantage of the support systems available to you. Meet with faculty and ask questions. And be technologically savvy. We’re in partnership with the Lumina Foundation on Degree Phoenix. Our goal is to increase the access to education and the success of young Latinos. Another program held on our campus for Hispanic students is the annual Dare 2 Dream Conference sponsored by the Raul H. Castro Institute and local school districts. Hundreds of middle school students and their parents attend and participate in activities that encourage the pursuit of higher education. We all take great pride in our students’ success. The work that we do is guided by the Phoenix College values: excellence, engagement, innovation, integrity, respect, and stewardship. I’m proud that we keep up with the needs of our community and that we have hired the best faculty to serve our Latino students.


Desde la Perspectiva …

Ileana Rivera Connecting people is Cisco’s business. Rivera connects her passions as Cisco’s director of IT for Latin America as told to Rachael Hudak

have three major passions in life: technology, mentoring Hispanics, and supporting women. As the director of IT for Latin America at Cisco, I get to combine my passions every day. Technology has the ability to impact communities around the world. My team and I manage all IT-related client interactions and support the entire user community in Latin America, a region that brings Cisco $2 billion in revenue. I explain how we use and implement technology, make sure our network and applications are working properly, and offer support. I usually travel once a month and talk to clients around the world through the use of Cisco’s collaboration technologies. I recently presented to nearly 2,000 customers and partners during the Cisco Connect Madrid event and went to Argentina and Chile for Cisco’s CIO Summits to talk about recent technology transitions. I’m also supporting the launch of our Mexico support center and preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, where Cisco will be a sponsor. Through Cisco’s Program Escuela, we work with kids around the world. The program connects groups of students via Cisco Telepresence video conferencing to share their experiences designing the “city of the future.” This amazing program has been one of my most fulfilling experiences at Cisco. Collaborating with people all over the world and cultivating relationships make my job so interesting and fun. As Hispanics, I believe we can do so much to help each other grow and become better leaders. When I first came to the United States in 1997, my biggest challenge was learning English as a second language. When people couldn’t understand me, they often assumed I wasn’t intelligent. So, I went back to school and studied English as a second language for two years and read as many books as I could get my hands on. I see every challenge as a math problem;


ILEANA RIVERA Senior Director of IT for Latin America

Ileana Rivera during her keynote speech “the Internet of Everything” at the Cisco Connect Madrid event in May 2014.

Cisco Systems, Inc.

there’s always a solution, even if it takes time to figure it out. I serve on the board for Conexion, Cisco’s Latino employee resource group (ERG), which provides opportunities to mentor, coach, and advise other Latinos. I also serve on the board of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC). I’m involved in HITEC’s Emerging Executive Program, which helps IT leaders become the next generation of business executives. It’s an honor to work side-by-side with global IT executives representing the biggest technology firms in the world and to share my knowledge with emerging executives. Professional development helps all of us be better at our jobs. In Latin America, though, change moves at a different pace. Women still don’t have as many opportunities as men. I have a responsibility to talk to women and share my story. I want young girls to know that they can wear high heels and love fashion like I do and still have a career in business,

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. Headquartered: San Jose, CA About: Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells networking products and services.

engineering, or technology. They can be themselves without giving anything up. I coach and mentor 17 women who are in turn helping me to stay grounded. The more I talk to my mentees, the better a leader I become. I’m also an active member of Connected Women, Cisco’s ERG dedicated to the advancement, mentoring, and promotion of women. We provide opportunities for networking and development, and we have a program for young professionals to shadow a female executive for a day. Looking back at my humble beginnings in Puerto Rico, I’m amazed by where I am now. I lived a simple life and was the youngest of seven daughters. When I went to the University of Puerto Rico, I had one professor who didn’t support my aspirations to be an engineer because I’m a woman. That pushed me to try even harder to succeed and graduate as an engineer. Now I feel like I’ve achieved my version of the American Dream. I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. At Cisco, I feel free to be myself. I always tell other Latinas and Latinos that if a company doesn’t embrace diversity, that’s the company’s problem. I would never change my name or hide who I am in order to fit in. Authenticity is the most important quality in a leader. Don’t ever change who you are to be successful.




Doubling Down As the tourism industry recovers in Las Vegas, Michael Dominguez helps MGM Resorts triumph by expanding internationally and capturing corporate clients by Zach Baliva

he key to winning in Vegas isn’t all about luck. Michael Dominguez has found that relationships often unlock the door to success. As MGM’s senior vice president of sales, Dominguez is at the helm during a critical period. The convention and meetings industry is steadily improving, and he’s seeing levels of demand on par with prerecession numbers. MGM Resorts has 10,000 rooms in its inventory that it didn’t have prior to 2007, and room demand is up across Las Vegas. The true indicator of ecoMICHAEL DOMINGUEZ nomic health, however, is the group and convention business—and corSenior Vice President of Sales porate business is decidedly back. In April 2014, MGM announced a sigMGM Resorts International nificant expansion of Mandalay Bay Expo Center. The $66 million addition of 350,000 square feet will take the convention space, which is currently the seventh-largest in the country, to fifth-largest. Although MGM Resorts is the world’s second-largest gaming company, it’s a relatively young brand. The company was formed in 2005 when Mandalay Resort Group and MGM-Mirage merged. Part of Dominguez’s job is to ensure that MGM Resorts’ strengths are understood in meetings and general markets. “We have to do that the right way, with one culture, and

Michael Dominguez presented the Past President’s Award for the Meeting Professionals International Southern California chapter in April 2014.


Hispanic Executive



consistent quality. If we can do that, we’ll harness a lot of potential,” he says. The industry lost the middle tier of management and meeting planners during the recession, and MGM Resorts is ramping up training and education for its sales team as it develops the young talent and leadership that will push sales forward. In the era of technology, many competitors are turning away from face-to-face interactions, but MGM Resorts is pushing for human interaction. In fact, Dominguez has grown his global sales team to have a much bigger footprint, driven by his belief that relationships matter. He’s investing time, money, and other resources to get his reps in front of clients more often. Additionally, his entire staff is participating in a mandatory etiquette course. Dominguez preaches the importance of handwritten notes. “If you actually get a real note in the mail, it’s the first thing you open because nobody sends them anymore,” he says. “I’m a big believer in the personal touch.” Dominguez doesn’t talk about luck at all—he believes instead in relationships and reputation. You would never guess that Dominguez started his career bussing tables for Hyatt Hotels 28 years ago. Having mentors in the industry helped Dominquez get to where he is today. “You are going to cross paths with people who will take an interest in you if you let your guard down enough to let them help you,” he says. As the industry continues to rebound, Dominguez says his number one job is to support his sales people. “My team has to articulate and educate meeting professionals on how quickly our world is changing,” he says. If tourism is back to 2007 occupancy levels, then corporate clients shouldn’t balk at 2007 prices. “It’s not cheap to fly, and we’re asking for a bigger spend. There is enough competition for space that I can be specific and choosy,” says Dominguez. As the company moves forward, he’s making sure MGM Resorts takes the right business

MGM Grand in Las Vegas completed the $160 million room and suite aspect of its “Grand Renovation” in 2012. The multifaceted makeover campaign also includes Hakkasan restaurant and five-story nightclub (opened in 2013), casino upgrades, and Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club.

in peak seasons to ensure the company is as profitable as possible. Overall, the hospitality industry is recovering from more than just the recession. Dominguez calls 2000-2010 the “lost decade.” He serves on several industry boards and task forces through which he advocates for the industry. “We are the only country in the world that had a decline in foreign tourism during the lost decade,” he explains, adding that the foreign tourist stays longer and spends more. His groups are working to promote the United States as a tourism destination and are lobbying Washington to extend the life of a recent marketing campaign known as BrandUSA. In the larger picture, though, MGM Resorts is developing properties around the world, and Dominguez expects to be very busy for the foreseeable future. He’s trying to help MGM become the very best, not just in the gaming industry or in Vegas, but

MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL Headquartered: Las Vegas, NV Number of Employees: 62,000 Founded: May 2000 MGM Resorts International’s 2013 Global Revenue: $9.8 billion

in the country and the world. He’s come a long way from clearing tables and serving drinks, but those days continue to inform his approach. “I take routes through each hotel that allow me to interact with the dishwashers and front desk clerks. These people are critical,” he says. “Their interactions will dictate if I have to work hard to get a customer back, or if they will be begging to come back.” Dominguez remembers his early days in the industry and knows just how important each person in MGM Resorts is. To those key players, he has one message: “thank you.”

The true indicator of economic health [in Las Vegas] is the group and convention business—and corporate business is decidedly back. OCT/NOV/DEC 2014




Cleanliness is Next to Godliness You can tell a lot about people from the way they clean their homes. Having insight into the way Latinas clean theirs has helped Mariana Quiroga carve out the market for 3M by Maureen Wilkey

n Hispanic households, a clean house is seen first and foremost as a source of pride, not just hours of daunting chores. But not every marketing strategist in America understands that. Mariana Quiroga grew up with a grandmother who greatly appreciated a clean house. “Because cleaning is such a private activity, you often don’t see how someone else cleans,” Quiroga explains. “You just assume the way your family does it is the way that every family does it.” All the women in Quiroga’s family felt that cleaning their homes showed care for their loved ones. “Many Latina women take so much pride in being able to clean things by hand that they rarely use the dishwasher even if they have one,” she notes. As a Latina, Quiroga understands how other Latinas see elbow grease as the way to get everything clean. She also knows that with the MARIANA right marketing, every Latina will QUIROGA recognize Scotch-Brite sponges Global Business as “the ones with a soft side and Director for the a scrubbing side.” Home Care Division It was valuable for a compa3M ny that operates in more than 70 countries around the world to have a Latina at the helm of its home care division. 3M’s home care division is one of its top-selling consumer groups globally. Aside


Hispanic Executive

3M Headquartered: St. Paul, MN Global Reach: Offices in 70 countries. Products sold in more than 200 countries. 89,000 employees worldwide. About: 3M is a multinational conglomerate corporation producing more than 55,000 market-leading products.

from the typical 3M products you think of, such as Post-It Notes and Scotch Tape, the home care products, such as ScotchBrite sponges, are some of 3M’s most recognizable consumer products. 3M has been historically more focused on developing great products than marketing them. Quiroga’s team was tasked with improving this critical function in all foreign subsidiaries and American businesses. She felt the role was a great fit for her when the opportunity arose to step in as global business director for the home care division. She and her team have done extensive research on the ways in which advertising can attract the Latina consumer, especially between the ages of 25 and 50. Although TV advertising is still popular with Hispanics, Latinas are increasingly influenced by social media. Making up a large portion of social media users, Latinas share comments on the products they trust with their social networks. 3M is different from other companies in that it is not as globally centralized; there are offices developing new products in countries all over the world. The global headquarters in Minnesota

effectively uses ideas from other countries and finds ways to market them here in the United States. This works extraordinarily well when a Latin American countryC develops a product that can be an instantM hit with US-based Hispanics, especially in Y Texas and Southern California. CM The company has also been effective at recruiting employees with a variety of skill MY sets. 3M has been involved with the proCY motion of science, technology, engineerCMY ing, and math efforts for minorities from an early stage in the game. Students fromK a range of universities are recruited to help the company stay relevant within all of its markets. Quiroga’s goal in her current role is for every household to have a Scotch-Brite product to help brighten their homes. Beyond sponges, the home care division also encompasses lint rollers, brooms, mops, bathroom cleaning supplies, grill cleaning products, and Scotchgard for protecting upholstery and other types of surfaces. The division additionally produces a number of country-specific products (such as O-Cel-O sponges in the United States and Fiorentina floor care product in Argentina). When Quiroga began working for 3M, she wasn’t working for a specific business line, she was part of a larger effort by the company to improve marketing practices across business and all international subsidiaries. “I’ve been proud to be a part of the growth of 3M and the home care division,” Quiroga says. “We’re selling millions of products by paying attention to our consumers and ensuring that their needs and wishes are heard.”


Mariana Quiroga goeastdesign.com





After the Act

What are you most excited about in the health care industry right now? The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is extending the availability of health care to millions of Americans who don’t have it. We’ve signed up thousands of new members as a result. No law is perfect, but we’re committed to it, and it’s clearly making a difference. Under the ACA, there are lots of regulations, rules, laws, and other issues. The primary function of my job is to make sure we comply at all levels.

Daniel Garcia wanted to play college football, but the course of his life shifted when the United States Army came calling. Garcia found himself 8,000 miles from home serving as a platoon sergeant in Vietnam. After being wounded in combat, he left the military to get his master’s degree at the University of Southern California and attend law school. After making partner at Munger, Tolles and Olson, he started a career in public service, spending 20 years as a member and president of various municipal commissions. In 2002 he joined Kaiser Permanente’s board of directors, later becoming the nonprofit’s senior vice president and chief compliance and privacy officer. He walks us through the post-Affordable Care Act world from the perspective of one of the largest health care systems in the country.

How dramatically has the ACA changed the industry? It’s the most dramatic change to the US health care system in nearly 50 years, and that manifests itself in many ways. Relationships are changing, but of course, we still don’t know how the whole thing will play out.

Does it change the way you provide services? It has to. The ACA encourages better care delivery. In the old days, you went to the doctor and he/she referred you to someone you’d never met before and would refer you to a random hospital. At each step, you would have to explain your whole history to a new person. The ACA incentivizes health care professionals to be more efficient and care for patients as part of a team.

by Zach Baliva

How has that been implemented at Kaiser?

DANIEL GARCIA SVP and Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer Kaiser Permanente


Hispanic Executive

Kaiser was the first to establish a comprehensive, electronic medical record system. It covers 9.2 million patients. If you’re on vacation and get hurt, for example, your records can be accessed electronically and instantly. Medical professionals anywhere will have all the data they need to treat you. It is so important that access to your medical records doesn’t rely on your memory or another person’s knowledge of you. That is just not sustainable. Here at Kaiser, we can also engage the data—following the appropriate protocols—to, for instance, pull out data on every Hispanic male over age 65 and see what percentage of that group lives with diabetes. This helps with prevention.


KAISER PERMANENTE Headquartered: Oakland, CA Founded: 1945 Reach: 16,000 physicians, 37 Hospitals, and 9 million patients. About: One of the largest health care systems in the world, Kaiser Permanente is an integrated managed-care consortium that has been offering comprehensive, affordable health coverage plans for more than six decades.

Are there privacy concerns? Of course. And I am responsible for ensuring that we address those concerns. We’re spending a lot of time and money to make sure the right people, and only those people, have access to records at the right time.

Are there other key ways you’ve increased efficiencies? Health care costs continue to rise and all health plans are under pressure to make coverage more affordable. Our physicians are partners here, so we can match our resources and facilities with skills and capitalize on our highly organized group of doctors.

How is the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA impacting Kaiser? There’s a wide variance in how states deal with Medicaid, especially in reimbursement. We’re about to see a significant increase in Medicaid across the eight states in which we operate. We’re getting hundreds of thousands of enrollees. This influx is unprecedented. We’re working aggressively to make it work.

How will you do it? We have an excellent interface with members and good interaction with providers. We’re improving response time and lowering costs. We’re also harnessing technology in other ways. Patients can Skype doctors or send photos to get faster diagnoses without even coming into a facility.

It sounds like you’ve adapted your business model quite a bit. We’re not just managing treatments, we’re managing patients. We have our own facilities, so we’re now integrating treatment to be more self-sufficient. This way we can control costs. We’re also changing care models and building more ambulatory care centers so patients can come and go without a hospital stay, when medically appropriate.



Are these new regulations and the increased access to insurance good or bad for the company? Greater access to health care is always a good thing. The regulations are generally neutral. We’re doing the best we can to adopt these changes that involve thousands of employees and rules that continue to evolve. The trick is to carefully and accurately track everything, which is something we do well.

Do you see any problems on the horizon? One of the big threats in the industry is that lots of big employers want to get out of providing insurance in the group model. They’d rather give a fixed sum of money or a voucher. But changing from a group to a retail model where individuals choose their own carrier creates a whole new world of challenges. It conjures up the need for better information about providers and more competitive pricing. This is information the public has never really had access to. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it’s different. If it happens, it will change the industry even more.

What has the implementation of health care exchanges done for Kaiser’s bottom line? Membership is obviously up. We have competitive products, and we are competitively priced on the exchanges. We’ve invested in upgrades to our facilities, so we’ve been very prepared for this. We’re a nonprofit, so we don’t have shareholders. Any money that comes in as a result goes right back into better care facilities and better technology.

How do you expect the industry to change in the next few years? You can only survive this by investing in technology and facilities. That means we’ll see a lot of mergers and acquisitions because the little guys just can’t make it. I think we’ll also see price competition grow even more ferocious. I oversee 500 people, and I tell everyone I interview or meet the same thing: I have no idea what they’ll be doing in a year, but I know it won’t be boring.




Marching Orders Rolando J. Portocarrero had to set his own rules and navigate unfamiliar territory on his path to becoming a senior executive in the health insurance field by Mary Kenney

ROLANDO J. PORTOCARRERO SVP of FInance & Chief Financial Officer Health Partners Plans


Hispanic Executive


he f irst thing the young Peruvian immigrant had to acclimate to in Annapolis, MD, was the heat and thick, choking humidity. In his native Peru, the climate was milder. While the weather was relatively easy to get used to, other adjustments were more challenging. Rolando J. Portocarrero came to the United States to attend the Naval Academy after one year in Peru’s counterpart. There were various hurtles his previous military schooling could not have prepared him for. For example, how to make pop culture references to movies and baseball and how to properly use American slang. At first he found it unusual how gung-ho American naval students are about their military training and how that tilts the way they view leisure time. “It was much more competitive than anything I’d ever experienced,” Portocarrero explains. “Military life is about teamwork, so my classmates and I were teammates. But there’s a big difference between being on a team and being friends.” Gradually, Portocarrero adjusted to the culture with the same resilience and flexibility that would someday help him found his own company, lead a team, and establish his reputation as a financial expert. As a sophomore in the academy, he worked to immerse himself in American popular culture, and gained a tight-knit group of friends. Eventually, Portocarrero realized he wanted more control over his destiny than he was afforded in the Navy. He decided the best way to reenter civilian life was by

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INDUSTRY PULSE Q&A with Rolando J. Portocarrero With an extensive career in health insurance, Portocarrero shares his insight on the impact of the Affordable Care Act. How has the Affordable Care Act changed the business model for the insurance industry? It has allowed insurance companies to cover more territory, and, perhaps, better territory, than they were able to in the past. Having said that, it has produced significant commotion.

What kind of demands does the legislation place on providers? It has required a significant amount of financial forecasting in situations where that information is not readily available, compounded by financial demands in the form of reserves set aside for insurance


RGA is proud to have worked with Rolando Portocarrero, and we wish him all the best in the future.


Hispanic Executive

attending graduate school, so he chose to do an MBA in finance at Rutgers. Portocarrero had assimilated once before, but this time, he had to do it independently. “It was like night and day,” Portocarrero admits. “Although you have to become resourceful and strong-minded in the military, many things are set up already. In civilian life, there is no such thing. It’s a free-for-all. The level of organization in the military actually makes things much simpler.” Portocarrero worked for several companies after completing his master’s degree in finance. He founded his own consulting firm and has filled finance and strategy roles at Health Partners Plans, Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Health Plus, and Health Net. Today he serves as a “turnaround expert,” using his experience to build techniques that will help the company overcome strategic and operational challenges.

purposes. Also, compliance is a bit of a headache and a necessary evil.

How has it particularly changed businesses serving low-income and elderly clients? Low-income individuals had two avenues: Medicaid or going uninsured. Previously, if your income was above the Medicaid cutoff, you were stuck. Now, you can buy in, especially with the subsidy program.

What is the biggest misconception about the Affordable Care Act that you’ve heard or noticed in your work? I think the word “affordable.” There will be subsidies that will make things affordable for the customer, but the level of subsidies has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the general public, including you and I.

Consulting is a good role for Portocarrero, who prefers to plot strategies for struggling companies rather than performing maintenance work for one company on a dayto-day basis. “I am too inquisitive and dynamic to sit back and say, ‘Numbers are the same. Times are good.’ I like to work with the development side and find innovative ways to get new products out or find better, more cost-effective ways to produce them,” Portocarrero explains. In addition to his role advising companies, Portocarrero enjoys mentoring Latino youth. Many immigrants and their children, he asserts, focus solely on education, but there is far more to achieving success than just attending school. “You can eventually acquire an education, but if you don’t have respect for your elders, for yourself, for your company, and for where you come from, you’ll be taking a much, much longer route to get anywhere,” he advises. “Just about anything starts with respect.”


Heart of a Servant


it ting in Ga dd i H. Vasquez’s office at Southern California Edison (SCE) is a photograph of him and his father standing outside the one-room trailer in Watsonville, CA where he lived as Having served as director of the Peace Corps and a child. Vasquez describes their economAmbassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and ic situation, based on his parents’ migrant farm worker wages, as having been “dirt Agriculture, Gaddi Vasquez defined his career by putting poor.” Despite his family’s living conditions, the needs of others first though, his father instilled in him the belief that giving is better than receiving. His by Olivia N. Castañeda mother often provided food to the homeless. “I was taught to serve others,” says Vasquez, which led to his becoming a public servant. Vasquez’s career in public service began in the police force of Orange, CA. He says working in law enforcement provides the most direct contact with the community—allowing one to witness the good, the bad, and the ugly. Vasquez moved on to numerous roles within the public and private sector before taking his post at SCE. His most recent tenure has lasted just longer than four years, but cumulatively he has been with the enerGADDI VASQUEZ gy company for 12 years. He left in 2002 when former president SVP Government Affairs George W. Bush nominated him Edison as director of the United States International Peace Corps. Vasquez became the first person of Hispanic ancestry to lead the international volunteer service organization. With volunteers and staff serving in 78 countries, it was “the most gratifying position I have ever held,” Vasquez says. He admires the strong sense of purpose and commitment that Peace Corps volunteers have. Vasquez,

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON (SCE) Headquartered: Rosemead, CA About: Southern California Edison, the largest subsidiary of Edison International, is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California, USA. Edison International is one of the largest electric utility companies in the United States.





Vasquez visits an orphanage in South Africa while traveling as director of the Peace Corps.

who led the organization in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, was even more inspired when the corps saw an increase in the number of Americans applying to serve. Rather than withdrawing in fear, many of those Americans interested in serving expressed a belief that the post-attack period was a crucial time to reach out to people in other countries. “I witnessed the recruitment and acceptance of young, middle-aged and

As ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Vasquez assists with a feeding program at a distribution center in Guajira, Colombia.


Hispanic Executive

older Americans,” says Vasquez. “I had volunteers who were in their 60s and 70s going overseas to serve in countries they had never been to.” In 2006, Vasquez was again nominated by Gerorge W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, this time to be the eighth United States ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. His leadership primarily focused on the mission of eradicating world hunger and chronic malnutrition. Setting out to assist people with the greatest needs, Vasquez promoted transparency and accountability of food and agriculture policy agencies. “Many humanitarian workers deal with some very challenging situations in unstable areas around the world,” says Vasquez. “At times, they are subjected to very dangerous conditions to accomplish their mission. They can face hijackings, attacks, and sometimes lose their lives, all to help feed those most in need.” With the creation of an annual report, Vasquez documented the heroic efforts of humanitarian workers and helped improve safety and conditions. In 2009, Vasquez returned from Italy and served as director of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, working to further public policy development and other efforts in the public interest. SCE recruited him in July of 2010 to return to government affairs.

Today Vasquez is still serving the public’s essential needs, now in a 50,000-squaremile area of Southern California. This flourishing community and its commerce rely on dependable energy and responsible collaboration between industry and government. At SCE, Vasquez is responsible for government relations activities at the federal and state levels, including local public affairs. “My work allows for an exchange of ideas across both the public and private sectors,” he says. One of the major challenges that Vasquez’s team faces is operating in a rapidly changing electric utility industry. Technological changes affect planning, design, construction, and maintenance of systems that will continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy to all of SCE’s customers. Another major task is providing vital information and insights to California’s policy makers and community leaders so they can evaluate, assess, and make informed policy decisions. Vasquez’s team is in regular contact with local and state elected officials, the governor, members of Congress, regulators, business leaders, and other community stakeholders in SCE’s service territory. Those relationships are crucial because, he says, everyone has to work together to create an environment where policy and decision making meet the challenges facing the state. “Energy is a key driver to a robust economy and job creation. We believe that through our efforts, we can lend our expertise to help California face our changing energy needs and power the future.”

BUENAS PRÁCTICAS “To be a great leader, focus on understanding the trends that are changing the world around you, seek the counsel of great mentors, and have the heart of a servant.” -GADDI VASQUEZ


Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained Leo Alaniz recalls his motivational speaking days to mentor up-and-comers with his keys to a successful and satisfying career as told to Kat Silverstein, photo by Sheila Barabad

ome opportunities only come around once in life. I wanted to avoid getting too far into my career and wondering, ‘What if I had taken that chance?’ That’s what led me to apply to Ivy League schools even though my parents never went to college, reconsider medical school midway through college, attend Cambridge University for LEO ALANIZ a graduate degree in EuroSVP, Head of Strategy and pean studies, Global Marketing, and join an Corporate & Institutional Services Internet startNorthern Trust up in California as the fifth employee. My career is still evolving, but I have picked up some important lessons along the way that I hope will be helpful to professionals defining their career paths.

Alaniz has been a motivational speaker for UNO Charter Schools in Chicago.


Hispanic Executive

Top performers. Enormous accolades. If you do find someone whom you admire and whose ethics align with your own, cultivate that relationship, and that individual will be invaluable to you throughout your life. After graduating from Yale and Cambridge, I moved to San Francisco with just a few bags. That’s where my career took off. A major factor in my success was that I found a strong mentor: my first CEO, Richard Sommer, who encouraged me to apply to business school. He allowed me to learn from his successes as well as his mistakes. He helped me formulate ideas and encouraged me to give back to the community

Never be complacent, aspire to new possibilities. I have been at Northern Trust as a senior vice president and head of strategy and global marketing for the asset servicing business for about three years now. We serve large corporate clients, public pensions, insurance companies, and other institutional clients around the world. My focus has been on executing my role successfully and developing a strong team. By establishing myself as an asset to Northern Trust, I can translate my skills to other opportunities that will further allow me to lead the organization and strongly position me for an executive role in the future.

Earn the trust and respect of your colleagues. Do this by doing your job well and being accommodating. My father gave me an important piece of advice when I was very young: “Never think anything is below you.” Work hard, do your work well, and make sure that you don’t neglect tasks because you think they’re boring or administrative. Attention to detail is important, even if it’s tedious at times.

Avoid the trap of work-life imbalance. I follow the advice a college professor shared with me to never let the inner student die, both in and out of the office. Ongoing learning is essential to maintaining your sanity, especially as you become more senior in



EY is pleased to support Northern Trust and recognize Leo Alaniz. There’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we strive to build a better world together.

Headquartered: Chicago, IL Founded: 1889 About: Northern Trust is a leading provider of asset management, fiduciary, banking, asset servicing, and fund administration solutions for individuals, families, corporations, and institutions worldwide.

Visit ey.com. your career. In the last few years, I’ve taken photography classes, worked to improve my tennis game, and set aside time to give back to the community, which I find immensely fulfilling. All of this creates a sense of balance in my life. Some of the activities you engage in for fun might even translate into new career insights.

Find ways to give back. I am lucky to be part of an organization that values community involvement. Northern Trust found an opportunity for me to join the board of La Casa Norte, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood dedicated to helping youth and families confront homelessness in the city. I’m taking a significant role on their planning committee, helping to develop a solid, sustainable, three-year strategy to drive growth for the organization. It is fulfilling to leverage my corporate sector skills for a nonprofit organization. I was helped and encouraged from the start of my career. It would be unfortunate if someone in my position didn’t feel the need to help others.

Make your own opportunities. In the end, your career is what you make of it. It is up to you to look for opportunities that will enhance your skills, to take measured risks that will bring you new experiences, and to find those key people who will help you progress professionally. Before locking yourself into a position, you should explore what other possibilities might exist. I have found that if you go with your gut, you usually end up in a place that is pretty interesting.

© 2014 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. ED None.

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“As Latinos, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are providing opportunities for those who come after us. We must help others along the way and contribute to the workforce of the next decade.” RAQUEL EGUSQUIZA P. 101

“People take wine too seriously. It’s about family, celebration, eating, and having a good time.” VANESSA ROBLEDO P. 147


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“What I am doing is what I call ‘news with a point of view.’ For that I have no apologies. I think the most important role I have as a journalist is to confront those who are in power and prevent their abuse of it.” JORGE RAMOS P. 62

“We will have more than 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day for the next 18 years. Our country depends on this vibrant [Latino] workforce for its future.” CHARLES GARCIA P. 14

“If the people in [an] acquired company have been successful, then everyone will benefit from letting those people teach the parent company what they already know.” JUAN CENTO P. 129


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