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NOV/ DEC 2016






















Our fifth annual list recognizing exemplary leadership and innovation in the business area



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NOV/ DEC 2016

ON THE PULSE 10 Arlene Quiñones Perez is stepping up and speaking out as the president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey 16 UTA University Crossroads and Michele Bobadilla set first- and second-generation students up for collegiate success 20 With simple technology and new locations, Alejandro Badia’s OrthoNOW is on its way to make orthopedic care available anytime, anywhere


Joe Morales and his lean supply chain team help the rapidly-growing Valeant Pharmaceuticals stand apart from its peers



Hugo Guerrero didn’t let falling energy prices keep Crestwood Midstream from growing 32 The legendary Lenox Corporation gets a digital upgrade as Mario Castano continues to bring the brand to the screen generation


35 After nearly thirty years, Jim Hernandez is proud to carry out Hallmark’s mission to make a genuine difference in every life

38 Following in his family’s footsteps, Domingo Cruz blazes a legal path with Northwestern Mutual and turns around to help future generations get a leg up


In an ever-changing industry, Jesús Román helps Verizon stay one step ahead to ensure the company’s success



Having been a New York City cop, a lawyer, and an investor, Jorge Pedreira has a well-rounded skill set to take on the role of chief operating officer to help Nomura boost its global identity 57 For Carlos Victoria and Oracle, success lies in its relationships with customers and not just in its software products


Globalization changed expectations, and Eduardo Uribe Mesta draws on his global experiences to ensure success at Areas Latin America 64 Marco Espinoza, general counsel at Greenheck Fan, discusses the company’s exciting initiatives poised to disrupt an industry


Work is all play for Roy Contreras, who provides insight into what it’s like being senior director of games production at Nickelodeon

financial corner 68 FROM OUR PARTNERS With the support of her Northwestern Mutual financial advisor, Cristina Romero empowers students to dream big as executive director of the Santa Ana College Foundation

Developing young professionals and women is at the top of Yvonne Lopez-Diaz’s priorities list 88 Michael Douroux embraces his background professionally, providing Anaplan with valuable insight to its newest region



Ulterra taps into its CFO Maria Mejia’s international expertise in a time of global growth




Kroger’s Marcio DaCosta believes relationships and strategy are the most crucial components of an effective global supply 82 How we research is evolving, and it is Julie Presas’s job to ensure the OCLC continues providing vital resource access to the world

122 Juan Valdes found a home at Delicato Family Vineyards, a wine producer with a set of values that matches his own


Hispanic Executive catches up with two of the Bay Area’s NextGen Líderes, who share their insights on emerging leadership and working in Silicon Valley



letter from the editor “Diversity” and “inclusion” show up a lot in the pages of Hispanic Executive. Together, they are a concept we passionately encourage and applaud in corporate America. When they become a focus of corporate structure, they prove that including team members of diverse backgrounds results in improvement. By diversity, we mean of gender, ethnicity, experience, country of origin, political views, sexual orientation, religion, abilities and disabilities, skill sets, and even thought processes, just to name a few. Inclusion, simply put, means drawing upon the backgrounds of diverse people to broaden our perspective and improve our outcomes. As Forbes reports, studies show improvements in growth, production, and efficiency when there are efforts to include persons from different backgrounds. The best business environment is a diverse one. Beyond studies, real-world proof that inclusion works is all around us. Diversity of skill on any team—sports, trivia, project development—is a major factor for success. Our 2016 Top 10 Líderes are icons of the concept. We spend a good part of our year considering people for this carefully crafted list. It’s not as simple as choosing those who got the biggest promotions or the most awards in the past year. Considerations also include individuals who have taken business risks, have tried something new, have gone above and beyond to give back, are causing shifts in their respective industries, and, of course, exemplify diversity of thought. The uniting fact is that they are all Latino—from my perspective, “Latino” is as diverse as “American.” Our Top 10 exemplify diversity of age, gender, industry, background, skill set, and approach to leadership that, when put together, make an impressive impact on the global marketplace. Diversity and inclusion, the concepts and the words themselves, will continue to be protagonists in the HE narrative. I encourage us all to employ both in how we define our personal and professional passions.



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on the pulse Tackling today’s issues facing the Hispanic community



on the pulse


Politically Inclined As president of the Hispanic Bar Association–New Jersey, Arlene Quiñones Perez is helping ensure Hispanic voices are heard at the government level


by Becky May




ince she can remember, Arlene Quiñones Perez has been curious about politics. What began as an interest turned into a large focus of Perez’s career today. In addition to being a partner at law firm Decotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, the New Jersey native stepped in as president of the Hispanic Bar Association–New Jersey (HBA–NJ) in November 2015. In late summer this year, she sat down with Hispanic Executive before catching up on work after attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She discusses her passion for politics and how the HBA plays a vital role in empowering the Latino legal community.

Hispanic Executive: How did you get your start in the political arena? Arlene Quiñones Perez: I started working on Jim McGreevey’s campaign for governor when I was twenty-one years old. I was the assistant to the director of the campaign. I learned a lot about work ethic because the hours were long, but we became a little family. After the campaign, I worked in McGreevey’s transition team. It was a fascinating experience. You see how the departments restructure as the new administration comes in. I worked in the governor’s office for a number of years as the executive assistant to the deputy chief of staff. We were the legislators’ main contact to the governor’s office, so we worked a lot with them on bills. HE: What did you enjoy most about being involved in those political discussions? AQP: Making change. For example, when I talk about

budgets that are affecting the Latino community, you can be the voice at the table that can say, ‘Hey, there’s a reason that wouldn’t be a good idea.’ HE: How is HBA–NJ helping make change? AQP: The HBA–NJ plays a unique role. The HBA–NJ was founded in 1980 and represents the interests of attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students who share a common interest in resolving the issues affecting Latinos within the legal community. As attorneys, we know

HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION–NEW JERSEY HEADQUARTERED: Newark, NJ FOUNDED: 1980 ABOUT: The Hispanic Bar Association–New Jersey represents attorneys, judges, professors, and students who share an interest in resolving issues affecting Hispanics in the legal community.

how to interpret bills as they come through the legislature and can provide those legal insights that might not be brought to the table.

The Hispanic Population in New Jersey

HE: What are some of the other initiatives you want to focus on during your time as president? AQP: One thing I want to see happen this year is a gubernatorial debate in New Jersey led and held by the Latino community. We’re coming up on a big gubernatorial election. It hasn’t happened before in the Latino community, but it would be great because it’s about education and making sure the community is aware of the issues.

As the Hispanic population grows, Arlene Quiñones Perez believes that representation in the government is more vital than ever

HE: Why do you think there hasn’t been a gubernatorial debate in the Latino community? AQP: Sometimes it can be difficult to organize the community as a whole. We’re one entire community, but there are so many different layers. Puerto Ricans have different concerns from Dominicans or Salvadorians, so that can create an issue, but when we are united with the numbers we have, it’s a significant voting bloc. HE: Any other initiatives you want to push forward? AQP: I want to see HBA–NJ strengthen its connections with elected officials in New Jersey. I think this year is

19% of the population in New Jersey is Hispanic

24% of students enrolled in K–12 in New Jersey are Hispanic

59% of eligible Latino voters in New Jersey will be registered for the 2016 presidential election, in line with the national average

Sources: www.pewhispanic. org/states/state/nj/ politics/new-jersey-latinovoters/



on the pulse

on the pulse

McCarter & English is proud to support the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and congratulates New President Arlene Quiñones Perez

Four Gateway Center 100 Mulberry Street Newark, NJ 07102 973.622.4444




HE: How do you feel about stepping into Carlos Bollar’s shoes? AQP: Carlos is an amazing attorney and has been an excellent president. I will be the 37th president. We have presidents who are currently county prosecutors and federal judges, so I think it’s a big role to go into, and the organization has such a history. I just want to make sure we continue with the legacy that has been left to us.

HE: Can you tell me about what made you want to get involved with HBA– NJ? AQP: I joined as a law student. My sisters and I were the first to graduate high school and college and go on to graduate school. For me, it was nice to have an organization where they were willing to mentor and connect me with other individuals, whether it was learning how to interview or dress for an interview. Like most first-generation families, my parents were not able to provide that support, so it was nice to have an organization to provide that guidance. HE: Where did you learn your work ethic? AQP: My parents. My dad worked very hard. He would work all day long and then come home and work on


an important year, with the presidential election and next year with the gubernatorial election. We are nonpartisan, but we want to make sure we are a part of the process and can be a resource to the individual who takes office, whether it’s drafting legislation or helping look for qualified candidates to serve on the bench.



President Hispanic Bar Association– New Jersey

“When you’re dealing with issues, especially in a state like New Jersey, which is 19 percent Latino, it’s important to have some sort of voice for that community in government. I don’t have a problem being that voice.” Arlene Quiñones Perez



on the pulse

HE: Why do you think it’s important to help out the youth? AQP: It’s a responsibility that all of us who have become successful have to pass along. That is what the HBA– NJ is all about. It’s making sure the next generation has whatever they need in terms of connections or resources in order to be successful. Our job is to open the door and make sure someone is there for them. HE: What would you say are the biggest challenges in your career? AQP: Working in a predominantly white, male



“This year, my role was to review the résumés from the mentors and mentees and match them based on similarities. . . . As mentors, we can open doors for mentees. It’s what we all should be doing for each other.” Arlene Quiñones Perez

community. I practice a lot of labor law and most of the rooms I’ve ever been in, from the time I was twenty-one until now, have been white males. It certainly makes you aware of who you are and where you come from. HE: Did you ever feel intimidated?

AQP: I used it as an asset because I had a voice that no one else knew. When you’re dealing with issues, especially in a state like New Jersey, which is 19 percent Latino, it’s important to have some sort of voice for that community in government. I don’t have a problem being that voice.

HE: Can you tell me about HBA–NJ’s mentorship program? AQP: Over the last few years, we have started two chapters in high school. This year, my role was to review the résumés from the mentors and mentees and match them based on similarities. We set up workshops so the


something around the house. My mom was the same way. I think they instilled the importance of working hard because that shows who you really are.

DETERMINED. DIVERSE. COMMITTED. Lowenstein Sandler is a proud sponsor of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and supporter of its mission. mentors and mentees can meet each other. From there, we monitor the relationships. It’s nice to talk to these kids, see them grow, apply to college, and even work at firms. Some of these students are so receptive and really want to do well. Personally, I love mentoring young women. In my firm, I have a mentee who is now working as an associate, and we have another who interns for a judge I used to clerk for. As mentors, we can open doors for mentees. It’s what we all should be doing for each other.

We would like to congratulate Arlene Quinones Perez, Esq. on her installation as President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey. Our commitment and service to the HBA-NJ reflects the core values that guide our firm each day. At Lowenstein Sandler—We’re all about you.®

Lowenstein Sandler is an AmLaw200 national law firm. We have built a reputation for pursuing every matter with creativity and passion. We focus on building relationships and anticipating client needs. We serve not only as attorneys, but as trusted advisors. Our award-winning pro bono work enables us to connect individuals and communities with unimaginable success. Lowenstein Sandler salutes President-Elect Arlene Quiñones Perez, Esq. and is a proud supporter of HBA–NJ.

McCarter & English is proud to support and work with the HBA–NJ to help foster a more diverse legal landscape and address issues affecting the Hispanic community. Partnering with the HBA–NJ, our Amigo sponsorship helps fund scholarships, conferences, educational and networking events.  McCarter attorneys serve as members of the board of trustees, and on committees. New York

Palo Alto


Washington, DC




on the pulse


The Crossroads Is Only the Beginning With a background in education, Michele Bobadilla helps first- and second-generation students navigate the path to college through UTA University Crossroads


by Olivia N. Castañeda




hen Michele B obad i l la was thirteen years old, she accompanied her recently widowed grandmother to their local bank to deposit her late grandfather’s Social Security check. She witnessed her grandmother sign a legal document with an “X” instead of her signature, and realized that her grandmother, who was a migrant farm worker from Mexico with limited English, was functionally illiterate in both English and Spanish. “I remember the clerk didn’t know how to respond or acknowledge my grandmother . . . it left an indelible impression with me that my grandmother was seen as a symbol,” Bobadilla says. “She was seen as someone of no real value because she had no name associated with her.” With her grandmother’s willingness—because the pupil must possess the desire to learn and achieve— Bobadilla spent the entire summer of 1968 teaching her grandmother how to spell her name: Jesusa Rodriguez. Returning to the bank after Bobadilla’s guidance, her grandmother successfully

signed her name for the first time in her life, and the bank teller responded, “Thank you Mrs. Rodriguez. We appreciate your business.” For Bobadilla, this was a tremendously impactful moment in her life. “I could see the transformative power that education has to change your being, your self-esteem, and everything about you,” Bobadilla says. From that moment, she knew that she wanted to provide value to the world through education. Today, Bobadilla wears many hats. She is the assistant provost for Hispanic student success as well as senior associate vice president for outreach services and community engagement at the University of Texas–Arlington (UTA), a Research 1 institution that is the largest Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) in North Texas. The University of Texas–Austin (UT-Austin) came calling in the late 1980s with a job in their Dallas office. Bobadilla caught the university’s interest with her work as an English-as-a-second-language teacher at Dallas ISD’s Skyline High School. Her successes with a very diverse group of immigrant students

and their college attainment had become legendary. “I had kids from thirty-eight different countries, from all over Central [and] South America, Mexico, Ethiopia—you name it,” she says. Bobadilla describes having also received refugee youth from Vietnam and Cambodia who had been airlifted from the killing fields and flown away to a new country without their families. The refugees did not have any knowledge about the education system, and they had four years to navigate the US high school system while learning English and actively pursuing their dreams of a college education. She recounts learning about life, resiliency, determination, and drive from them. In 1988, shortly after Bobadilla was hired, UT– Austin established the UTA University Crossroads program, which is geared toward first- and second-gene r a t i on s t u d e nt s a n d focuses heavily on sixththrough twelfth-graders who come from low- to moderate-income households. These students are given the guidance they need to learn about the opportunities a college degree can provide them and

MICHELE BOBADILLA Assistant Provost for Hispanic Student Success & Senior Associate VP for Outreach Services and Community Engagement University of Texas–Arlington



on the pulse

on the pulse

UTA University Crossroads Fact Box Student population by gender In 2015, 1,299 students attended SAT Math Prep classes, and those who took three or more saw their scores increase by an average of sixtytwo points

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44% Male 56% Female

Student population by age In 2015, more than 20,000 students from sixth to twelfth grades attended University Crossroads awareness programs

Of the Crossroads students who took part in financial literacy programs, 172 received scholarships

10% 18-24

90% 17 or younger

Student population by ethnicity 2% White 2% American Indian/ Alaskan Native 51% Hispanic

5% Asian 40% AfricanAmerican

“This is so important because, in order to meet the demands of the global marketplace and the resulting economic impact on our state, we need to have a very educated workforce.” Michele Bobadilla

how to navigate their way to the college of their choice. University Crossroads began with thirteen partners, sharing the vision of opening the doors of higher education to those who felt it was out of reach. Today, the program— and Bobadilla’s legacy—is an

award-winning partnership of more than ninety colleges and universities, chambers of commerce, community-based organizations, faithbased groups, scholarship programs, professional associations, businesses and corporations, charter schools,

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS–ARLINGTON HEADQUARTERED: Arlington, TX FOUNDED: 1967 ABOUT: The University of Texas–Arlington (UTA) is a growing research university committed to life-enhancing discovery, innovative instruction, and caring community engagement. UTA’s environment values excellence, ingenuity, and diversity for its more than 51,000 students.

and school districts. Together, these partners work hand in hand to build the college-going pipeline needed to ensure that students are prepared for the demands of the global marketplace. This goal is in line with the state’s new higher education strategic plan called 60x30TX, which aims to have 60 percent of adults, from twenty-five to thirty-four years old, hold a postsecondary degree by the year 2030. “SAT is one of those gate keepers to higher education,” Bobadilla says, pointing out a “pinnacle program.” Over

1,000 students participate annually in the three-hour SAT math preparation classes on Saturdays. A few of the services offered are financial literacy, college workshops, scholarship assistance, skills and leadership programs, and summer camps to avoid that “summer melt” kids may experience from a lack of academic engagement. Bobadilla conducted thorough research on colleges and college acceptance processes for them and with them. Together, they worked to make their dreams a reality. While pursuing funding sources available to college-bound programs, applying for grants, American Airlines awarded Bobadilla a mini-grant of $1,000. With this grant, she took her students on an eye-opening bus trip to UT–Austin and Texas A&M University—the state’s two flagship institutions. A lot of success resulted from the students’ acceptance into college with high grade point averages and scholarship awards. Bobadilla received media coverage and caught the attention of the US Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition. “This is so important because, in order to meet the demands of the global marketplace and the resulting economic impact on our state, we need to have a very educated workforce,” she says.



on the pulse


How to Eliminate the ER Middleman OrthoNOW CEO Alejandro Badia is more driven than ever on his mission to make orthopedic urgent care readily accessible for patients all across the United States By Joe Dyton


r. Alejandro Badia’s big, hairy, audacious goal is for his company OrthoNOW to be as synonymous with orthopedic urgent care as Starbucks is with coffee. But Badia knows that there is much more to achieving goals than just identifying them. His priority has always been giving access to great medical services that saved patients time and money. Now he is going further. “People should get excited about the fact that through simple technology, like an app on a smartphone, they can have access to faster and better medical outcomes with less cost and decreases in wait and recovery time,” says Badia, OrthoNOW’s cofounder and CEO. “That, to me, is groundbreaking.” OrthoNOW, the nation’s only franchised orthopedic urgent care center, evolved out of Badia’s frustration with the traditional healthcare delivery method of




going to an emergency room, receiving an initial consult and often unnecessary and costly test, and being referred to a specialist. OrthoNOW cuts out the emergency room middleman, providing specialist services to patients right away. When Hispanic Executive first spoke with Badia in 2014, the organization was in the early stages of

franchising, with a flagship location in Doral, Florida, and plans to expand in the state’s Broward County. In 2016, OrthoNOW has seven locations with plans to expand in Orlando. Badia, an internationally respected hand and upper extremity orthopedic surgeon, leads this initiative with his cofounder Justin Irizarry, a leading financial industry figure and

Wharton alumnus, as well as with select members of their executive team. While a majority of the centers are located in Florida and Georgia, “our goal is to be a national presence,” Badia says. “But we realize that large-scale expansion of urgent orthopedic care will take some time and unique marketing campaigns to achieve.”

OrthoNOW has also developed its own app that will let patients give the company a heads up that they are on their way. Users can open the app, which will help them find the nearest OrthoNOW and register with their name, ailment, and when they plan to arrive. The patient is in the system and by the time they get to the nearest OrthoNOW, an x-ray technician is ready to see them right away. “We’re well ahead of the curve now in terms of not [making patients] sit around the waiting room,” Badia says. The next round of updates to the app will include a more attractive interface, using Google Maps to find the nearest OrthoNOW, and the ability to contact Uber through the app if you need a ride to the center. Badia and his team are working hard to find potential franchisees to help them continue their quest for a national presence. Currently, there are six franchises located in Florida and Georgia. “Our initial thinking was that independent physicians would buy a franchise and be armed with OrthoNOW marketing materials that they could tweak for their purposes,” he says. While interest in the franchise model is high, the executive team has found that potential franchisees want to see OrthoNOW put up more money to get the location up and running. “We understand their perspective,” Badia says, “but we also know that to run a franchise that way would not lead to stable, long-term growth.” OrthoNOW continues to

ORTHONOW HEADQUARTERED: Doral, FL FOUNDED: 2010 ABOUT: OrthoNOW is a network of urgent care centers focused on treating orthopedic and sports medicine injuries. It is the first and only orthopedic franchise in the United States.

work toward expanding its brand nationally through franchise sales. The effort begins by carefully selecting those the company feels will be an ideal franchisee and someone who is serious about opening up a location. To help identify potential owners who would be a good fit, Badia and his team are putting more focus on increasing their candidate search pool. The group will do this by increasing marketing aimed at the franchise buyer public. One avenue for connection includes hosting regular “Franchise Discovery Days,” which are events put together by the company’s chief development officer. Badia, the chief financial officer, and the marketing team band together to show interested franchisee candidates what OrthoNOW is all about. The day includes “transport by minibus to two to three locations so they can see the centers in action,” Badia says. “Our model is designed to spark the interest of people who realize that healthcare is a safe business,” Badia says, “one that is here to stay, or a conglomerate that has knowledge and a presence in the healthcare industry who would partner with us

or acquire us, which would hyper accelerate national expansion.” Another proactive step to bring in more patients and activate more centers is to find people with healthcare experience and integrate them into upper management. Included in this push for talent is a chief development officer to oversee franchise sales and a director of clinical operations to help set up protocols from a clinical end. The biggest change on the executive level Badia would like to see, however, is at the top—he wants to replace himself as CEO. “Honestly, [performing surgery] is what I love to do,” Badia says. “I think I’m a very good hand surgeon. I enjoy that. I did not begin this corporation thinking of transitioning into healthcare administration but rather creating a vehicle that would disrupt traditional healthcare and produce better outcomes for patients. Now that we have traction, I would welcome the onboarding of a top-notch healthcare administrator as CEO to lead us to our goals.” Go Cloud Inc., a strategic partner of OrthoNOW franchises, provides IT infrastructure and end-to-end solutions—both on premise and in the cloud. IT is mission-critical for healthcare providers, allowing the primary focus to be “your patients.” Our healthcare IT services help: • Stabilize IT infrastructure • Decrease exposure to HIPAA violation penalties • Keep mission-critical applications running reliably and smoothly (EMR HER)

OrthoNOW Centers


DORAL (FLAGSHIP) Doral, FL AVENTURA Aventura, FL CORAL WAY Miami, FL BISCAYNE Miami, FL PINECREST Pinecrest, FL COMING SOON: Broward County, FL, and Orlando, FL

With Go Cloud Inc. managing your IT, you’ll be able to focus on your patients and manage your practice.



on the pulse


How to Grow While Staying Lean With a small team, Joe Morales helps the quickly growing Valeant Pharmaceuticals stand apart from its peers


by David Baez




harmaceutical company Valeant, based in Canada, is valued at more than $10 billion and has seen an enormous amount of growth in the past seven years. Its strategic markets span the world: the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa. Joe Morales came to Valeant through an acquisition and found himself climbing the ladder to his current position as executive director of supply chain. Hispanic Executive sat down with Morales to catch up on the state of the industry, what makes Valeant stand apart from its peers, and what waits on the horizon for the rapidly growing pharmaceutical company.

Hispanic Executive: What steps led you to the pharmaceutical industry? Joe Morales: I worked as a pharma tech during my college days. That work networked me into the industry and led to an open position at Bristol-Myers when I was graduating. I joined them as an entry-level process engineer.

own projects. Since supply chain touches every project, I quickly became knowledgeable and effective in that area. During some turmoil, an opportunity presented itself to manage a department including direct management of engineers, supply chain professionals, and indirect management of QA. There is where my supply chain career started.

HE: How did you get from engineering to the supply chain position you have with Valeant now? JM: Well, I progressed through the engineering ranks, and I became a manager of engineering. Eventually, management picked up on how I learned and applied information from other disciplines. That interest helped to make me more successful within teams and in my

HE: Tell me about your current responsibilities. JM: Since joining the company about seven years ago, there’s been tremendous growth, and I’ve been very involved with many acquisitions. I have had the opportunity to perform due diligence and participate in the integration. I am responsible for assessing the supply chain and assuring it can support the business; continuity of

JOE MORALES Executive Director of Supply Chain Valeant Pharmaceuticals



on the pulse

VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS HEADQUARTERED: Laval, Canada FOUNDED: 1960 EMPLOYEES: 22,000 ABOUT: Valeant Pharmaceuticals is a multinational company that manufactures mostly generic pharmaceuticals and over-thecounter products. Its primary focus areas are dermatology and eye health.

“Many companies talk about how important people are; here we show it every day through execution by a talented group of people.” Joe Morales

supply is paramount. My duties also include managing certain business segments from end to end, sourcing, contracting, cost management/cost savings, and management and development of people. HE: How many direct reports do you have? JM: We’re a small, lean group. I have two direct reports, and I have part of a head count from one of my colleagues. We stay lean by working well together and sharing resources when there is not enough work to justify an additional person. We don’t hire people if we don’t have a full allocation of work for them. HE: What’s a project you’re excited about working on these days? JM: I’m work ing on a drug called Brodalumab, a



biological product, that will come in a prefilled syringe injection. It’s for moderate to severe psoriasis. It is a cold chain product; this means it has to be maintained in 2–8 degrees Celsius. This makes the supply chain a little more challenging. FDA approval for the drug is scheduled for November [2016]. I feel passionate about this product because it will truly impact and improve the lives of many people. HE: In this election year, how is the industry overall faring? JM: It’s a political season right now, and every election cycle they get into the politics of healthcare. Like any other industry, there’s always room for improvement, but I think it’s a healthy and growing industry. I’ve always found it satisfying to deliver products that help

people. For example, Brodalumab. You might think psoriasis is not a big deal, but the people who will use this have it over a large percentage of their body. It’s painful and it’s visible, so the disease has an impact on their life. The drug has the potential to change people’s lives. It’s awesome. I think sometimes the industry isn’t well-understood, but we actually do a lot of good. HE: How has your team responded to such rapid growth? JM: We’ve grown so much through acquisitions and there’s been tremendous synergies, which means we’re doing a lot more with less. We are doing the work of the company we acquired, plus our regular work. What I see here is that if you don’t know your business, if you aren’t a subject-matter

ded·i·cat·ed ‘dedəkādəd/

ex per t, a nd don’t have enough bandwidth to understand what others do, you’re not going to do well. It has been and continues to be a dynamic and exciting place to work. HE: What’s unique about Valeant? JM: I’ve seen the entire spectrum of this industry from start-up pharma to big pharma, and I can tell you that Valeant is unique in what it takes to be able to thrive here. The amount of change and growth accomplished is well above the norm. Then the proper execution of lean operations to incorporate the growth is something the company does better than any other I have seen. Many companies talk about how important people are; here we show it every day through execution by a talented group of people. HE: Can you tell me about some of your goals for the near future with the company? JM: This company has been really good to me. I came here through an acquisition, and I was really happy to remain. I hope to continue growing with the company. My goal is to provide as much value as I can for the company. This has been my strategy for many years. I find that if you do show value, your career will continue to grow and reflect that value. HE: What advice might you give somebody in the early stages of a career path similar to yours?

adjective 1. (of a person) devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity. "Dedicated Supply Chain and Sourcing Professional"

synonym: committed, devoted, firm, steadfast, resolute, unwavering, loyal, faithful, true, wholehearted, enthusiastic, single-minded, earnest, zealous, passionate

Felicitaciones, Joe Morales

for being recognized by Hispanic Executive for all that you do for Valeant Pharmaceuticals and your supply partners. Your team at Accupac appreciates your continued support of our services and constant drive for excellence. exce

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on the pulse

on the pulse

JM: Coming out of college, most people don’t know what the real work world is like, so be prepared. I learned early on that everybody likes the young workers who come in, because they look at them and think of themselves; perhaps it is a bit of nostalgia, or perhaps you remind them of their son or daughter. They’re very willing to help, so use that gift. Then, work really hard. Show people you’re willing to go the extra mile, no matter what it is. Do more than what is expected, and you will make friends in all places. Finally, I recommend that you learn about other disciplines. This will help you with your work and will make you a more rounded and valuable employee.

Accupac is the leader in OTC and pharmaceutical contract manufacturing for liquids, creams, lotions, ointments, and gels. We are small enough to be a responsive and dedicated partner, but large enough to support the needs of Fortune 500 companies in the global marketplace. Our clients rely on us to be an extension of their own facilities and have made Accupac an outstanding partner of choice for companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.

Pharma Packaging Solutions (PPS) is a turnkey contract packager offering bottling, blister packaging, folding carton production, kitting, as well as vial/ampule and parenteral labeling. Serving Rx, OTC, generic and private label pharmaceutical companies, PPS can meet special requirements like Rest-of-World (RoW) packaging and Brite Stock labeling, serialization/ aggregation, and more. PPS is located very near major 3PLs and distributors. Compliant with the FDA, DEA, and MHRA, PPS employs rigorous QA processes and cGMP quality systems and is GDUFA compliant. We are proud to support Joe Morales and Valeant Pharmaceuticals as one of our many global customers.



industry Top-level insight and updates on business in America





Barrels of Opportunity Even when energy prices were falling, Hugo Guerrero kept Crestwood Midstream growing by streamlining operations and capitalizing on new opportunities


by Jeff Silver




Crestwood Midstream Partners is an astoundingly different company today than it was when Hugo Guerrero joined in 2013. Formed in 2010 with the acquisition of Quicksilver Gas Services, the company provides integrated services such as transportation and storage of natural gas, oil, and other derivative products among energy producers, transportation networks, and end users. Crestwood then grew exponentially after merging with Inergy LP, another midstream operator, in 2013. That’s when Guerrero joined the company. The vice president of technical services was presented with a company uniquely primed for growth, but still in need of structure and process-driven workflows, especially around project execution. Guerrero’s first step was to centralize the project management function that had been at the operating asset level and was unaligned with the rest of the organization. Because there were no formal policies or guidelines for engineering and design, contracts and procurement, or controls, a large percentage of projects were going over budget. “We needed a standardized approach to monitor spend, authorize expenditures, delegate authority, and give cost center owners actual control over each of their areas of responsibility,” he says. The newly created project management system unified Crestwood and Inergy’s formerly disparate systems and provides transparency into procurement,

accounting, and cost center approvals. It has also created a centralized portal for managing project life cycle information that is used for detailed forecasting and reporting status. These improvements have made it possible to monitor ongoing progress through reporting at the portfolio level. “Simply being able to track when orders are placed and having visibility into who is placing them has enabled us to address at least half of our original project expenditure issues,” Guerrero points out. He also discovered that daily volumes reporting, a critical key performance indicator for tracking productivity, was being compiled manually by several different staff members—the equivalent of 1.5 full-time employees aggregating the required data every day. The new system has automated that process, enabling those employees to focus on more key responsibilities. Although he was originally charged with creating and leading the company’s project management function, Guerrero’s responsibilities have since expanded to include all aspects of system planning, project execution, project controls, engineering, construction, and other operational technical support services. The result of having all of these service components under a single umbrella is that Guerrero and his team are able to improve the overall level of service, eliminate waste, and ultimately increase value to the entire organization.

HUGO GUERRERO VP of Engineering, Construction, and Project Management Crestwood Midstream Partners






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Leveraging Market Conditions Guerrero began implementing these improvements at Crestwood, just as falling oil and gas prices were causing difficulties throughout the energy industry. However, because midstream operators do not own the oil or gas flowing through their networks, they are financially insulated to a degree by relying on firm commitments from producers and/or transporters to reserve space on their assets. Although overall portfolio volumes declined, Crestwood was able to optimize operations, cut costs, and, in some cases, provide economic incentives for customers to reactivate wells and increase production. These factors were successful in partially offsetting declines in other areas of the company’s portfolio. “By optimizing our own operations, we’ve been able to bring some customers back online and simultaneously take advantage of new opportunities to grow,” Guerrero says. “My team is continuing to work with their commercial counterparts to identify ongoing optimization opportunities that require minimal capital investments to unlock the full potential of our assets.” Making the transition from what Guerrero characterizes as “a relatively small and unknown operator” to an organization with a sophisticated, scalable platform has not gone unnoticed by major industry players. Crestwood has entered into agreements with partners for two large, multiyear projects in the Permian Basin that are unusual for a company of its



Houston, TX



Crestwood Midstream Partners is an oil and energy company that owns and operates midstream assets reaching across the energy value chain.

size. One calls for a large scale three-stream gathering system that spans more than 400,000 acres and will aggregate crude and condensate volumes to Crestwood’s Orla Terminal. As currently designed, the system will consist of approximately 600 miles of pipelines and will be capable of handling 200,000 barrels per day. Guerrero attributes those kinds of opportunities to the company’s safety record, internal leadership, and unique operational experience with similar assets. But he points out that the contributions of its system planning team have been just as important. The speed with which they are able to include extensive and comprehensive technical detail into company proposals far exceeds that of most competitors. While many of them take months to conduct research and due diligence, they are still unable to provide the level of detail and planning that the Crestwood team is able to produce in a matter of a few weeks. “We’ve combined multiple technologies to develop a process that enables us to size a system and produce a quality CAPEX [capital expenditure] estimate parametrically in a relatively short amount of time,” Guerrero

says. “This gives our commercial team more time to find the best option for Crestwood along with a competitive fee, all of which adds tremendous credibility to our proposals.” Continued Improvement for a Competitive Edge In addition to improved operations, Crestwood has taken other significant steps to improve its competitive position in the industry. In 2015, it simplified its corporate structure, which was followed by a new distribution policy. Most recently, the company undertook a joint venture transaction aimed at significantly reducing its debt. All of these strategies have resulted in an overall improvement in company financial metrics and the cost of capital as it continues growing. “A strong technology infrastructure and optimized business structure is enabling us to wisely select and evaluate new opportunities at a time when other companies are in distress,” Guerrero explains. “And that puts us in a highly competitive position to win even more deals as commodity prices continue to improve.”

Strike is a leading single-source energy services provider, known for its high safety and quality standards. The company’s integrated network of energy services range from pipeline and facilities construction; maintenance and integrity; instrumentation and electrical; site development; and measurement. These services are provided from Strike’s nineteen strategic locations across the United States. (See

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Setting the Table for the 21st Century Lenox Corporation’s Mario Castano leverages digital consumer trends to bring the legendary brand to a new generation by Kelli Lawrence

There was a time when the mention of American manufacturer Lenox elicited nostalgia above all else: “My grandmother collected Lenox figurines.” Or, “I remember my mother setting the table with Lenox china on every holiday.” Such is bound to happen with a company that’s been a part of the landscape for 128 years. But Mario Castano, the company’s vice president of e-commerce implementation, sees the customer base that stems from generations past—the mail-order catalog generations—and raises it to modern times. “Those are our traditional customer channels,” he says of the product catalogs, which were first published in 1891 (two years after Walter Scott Lenox founded the ceramic art company that launched the brand). “Now, from an e-commerce perspective, we want to grow the same practices that these consumers could benefit from . . . interacting in a digital age.” All the products Lenox is known for—dinnerware, flatware, glassware, ornaments, and figurines, to name a few—are now available for purchase online via the Lenox website and other digital channels. Of course, the same can be



said of Lenox’s competitors. “My job is to elevate the brand while differentiating ourselves in ways that still keep our products relevant,” Castano says. “And, perhaps more importantly, how do we get the brand into a younger generation’s mind-set, while preserving the brand’s elegance?” Having a great partner on the technological end is key; to build the kind of e-commerce solutions sought by Lenox, the company needed a business that “fit us culturally, and understood our needs as a brand,” Castano says. In 2016, Oracle Commerce Cloud (an e-commerce cloud service offering of the Oracle Corporation), Jagged Peak (OMS), and Sage were determined to be the companies that best fit the bill. Lenox was already an Oracle ATG and Endeca client working with Oracle, but that was far from the only selling point. “There was something else that led the charge for us,” Castano explains. “We would be an early adapter to Oracle’s cloud solution, and as such, we would be able to influence some of the road map aspects of the features they were including with their releases— some of which were specific to Lenox.”

MARIO CASTANO VP of E-commerce Implementation Lenox Corporation


Bristol, PA



Lenox Corporation is America’s market leader in quality tabletop, giftware and collectibles. The company markets its products under the Lenox, Dansk, and Gorham brands.


The Lenox Legacy: 10 Fun Facts Lenox is the only major manufacturer of bone china in the United States. The company was founded in 1889 as Lenox’s Ceramic Art Company, conceptualized from the start as an art studio, not a factory. Lenox was the first American company to design official china for the White House starting in 1918 after being chosen by First Lady Edith Wilson. Lenox tableware can be found in more than 300 US embassies worldwide. Lenox pottery can be found on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian Institution as American decorative art. About half of all fine porcelain dinnerware purchased in America since the 1950s is Lenox. Lenox was the first company to develop a bridal registry in the 1950s. Other than flatware, Lenox is well known for making figurines, ornaments, vases, and jewelry. Butterfly Meadow is Lenox Corporation’s most popular casual dinnerware pattern. The pattern—based on the artistry of Lenox designer Louise Le Luyer—features a garden motif of butterflies, bumblebees, dragonflies, and flowers to evoke the beauty of springtime all year round.

But the undeniable partner of the times is what Castano calls “the cornerstone of millennial existence”: social media. For a company like Lenox, which benefits both from visuals and written content, its most effective social media presence is on Facebook. From how a customer sets the table and prepares for an entertaining evening to accounts

of how the evening unfolded, consumer stories have taken up residence on the Lenox Facebook pages, according to Castano. “It goes beyond a particular product—it’s about the entire experience,” he says. From a product perspective, the “entire experience” is something that has essentially kept Lenox recession-proof,

Lenox partners with Disney, Kate Spade, and Marchesa for special designer collections. The most popular casual dinnerware pattern in America is Lenox’s Butterfly Meadow.





“It’s about understanding the sentiment of the consumer, who at this point you’re not seeing face-to-face or having a traditional conversation with, through various data points and analytics.” Mario Castano

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even during the most recent economic free falls. “People still entertain during troubled times,” Castano points out. “They want to be able to gather a group of people and show them an affluent lifestyle in a very troubled economy . . . it never really gets interrupted.” Likewise, gifts keep being given—of the birthday, holiday, and especially the wedding variety—so ornaments and figurines continue to be successful for Lenox alongside its extensive tableware options. The company has diversified in recent years to include photo frames, bar/kitchen accessories, candle holders, and even jewelry as gift-giving options. “It’s about making memories,” Castano says. “We’re part of those memories that people are making through generations.” As much as he enjoys the customer service/satisfaction component of his work, he finds himself intrigued by modern society’s lack of personal interaction. With so many conversations beginning nowadays in the stratosphere, Castano says the challenge comes in learning to piece together an understanding of the e-commerce consumer. “For me it’s about trying to understand how you tap into that,” he says. “It’s about understanding the sentiment of the consumer, who at this point you’re not seeing face-to-face or having


Hispanic_Ad-1A-Final.indd 1

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a traditional conversation with, through various data points and analytics. “Instead, it’s all about the ones and zeros,” he adds. “They click on an item, they click to add it to their ‘cart,’ then perhaps all that is abandoned because they find the item somewhere else. So how do we take all that information and make heads or tails of it? That’s what drives me.” Whether it’s a possible future involvement with the Internet of Things— involving everyday objects and network connectivity—or a present-day analysis of product/brand preservation versus channel preservation, Castano sees opportunities for Lenox to stay in the mix. “The Lenox point of view is that the rising tide helps to float all the boats,” he says. “If customers end up buying Lenox [products] at Macy’s, the Lenox in me says ‘I’m okay with that.’ Because in the end, they bought our brand.” Jagged Peak Inc. is a leading software company providing SaaS solutions and e-commerce services. EDGE®, our omnichannel commerce platform includes a full-featured content management system, robust order management capabilities, and built-in integration tools to seamlessly connect into client systems. TotalCommerce™ combines our technology and global distribution network to form a one-stop endto-end offering.


A Sentimental Journey Building a thoughtful career at Hallmark by David Baez

At the start of his career, Jim Hernandez was cold-calling businesses to sell printers. Now, he is a top-level executive for Hallmark, having been with the company for twenty-seven years. Being at the leadership level is certainly a source of pride for Hernandez, but at the same time humility is infused in everything he does—a value he says is characteristic of his Mexican heritage. Hispanic Executive recently spoke with Hernandez to find out why he has never wanted to leave Hallmark. He speaks about how his personal values align with the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the country. Can you start by giving us an overview of your role as VP of retail marketing? My team develops strategy for new independent specialty stores in North America. We determine where the consumer is located and place product in places where we can meet her needs. We are charged with finding opportunities that allow Hallmark Gold Crown independent retailers to grow by partnering with current independent retail businesses. How would you sum up your key objective? My objective is to work with leaders and teams throughout Hallmark to develop the distribution strategy we need to increase Hallmark distribution by finding new spaces and places to offer our products to the consumer. It is critical that I ensure the market

development vision is understood by my team and that we leverage every available resource to succeed. My role is to drive results by leading my team and keeping our partners engaged in our goals and vision. Who’s on your team? The team consists of several different areas of expertise; real estate, distribution planning, market development, and new business acquisitions. I am lucky to work with such a talented group of people who are constantly adapting to change and learning new ways to succeed in an evolving entrepreneurial atmosphere.

JIM HERNANDEZ VP of Retail Marketing Hallmark Cards

Speaking of the individual retailers, is Hallmark a franchise business? Hallmark stores are licensees. The retailers are licensed to use our name, and we expect the stores to deliver a






Kansas City, MO




$3.7 billion (2015)

Hallmark Cards is a privately held greeting card company with more than 40,000 retail outlets across the United States, including 2,000 Hallmark Gold Crown stores. About 10,000 new and redesigned greeting cards are produced annually, and its products are distributed in 100 countries and in 30 languages.

consistent brand experience to our consumer. Are all the products you’d find in a Hallmark store Hallmark products? Hallmark stores carry a large percentage of Hallmark products—nearly 65 percent in most stores. The balance of product is typically sourced locally and purchased from other top notch gift suppliers. As you know, we also have a large keepsake ornament business. Our gift collections include lines for every holiday as well as a wide variety of everyday gifts. Tell me a little bit about what you did before coming to Hallmark in 1989. I started in retail with Montgomery Ward in El Paso, Texas. After that, I joined the sales team at Ricoh and sold copy machines. Cold-calling is a tough job. I learned a lot about building relationships and the value of perseverance. Can you give me an idea of how your career has evolved within Hallmark? The company wanted me to learn the business from the ground up and Hallmark invested in my development. I understood early on that if there were opportunities, you had to earn them. I started off in sales based out of Salt Lake City, where my territory was part of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. After about two years, I moved to Southern California, where I became a sales executive. After my time in California, I made the move to Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. I temporarily left my selling bag behind and learned another side of the business: product development and category management. Eventually, I found myself back in sales in multiple levels of leadership. How do you see that early experience as important in getting



you where you are with the company today? It was critical—they gave me opportunity to basically be a mini-CEO. I started off with my first territory and Hallmark empowered me to make decisions at a local level. I also had a lot of support, a lot of mentors. At each level, I found the same thing: the leadership was clear on expectations, clear on the results they wanted. They gave the information and training needed to meet the objectives. What is your impression of the business climate in retail today? Retail is a tough environment—it’s become a 24-7 business. A lot of companies are looking at closing stores and downsizing to keep financials in line. But we are aggressively looking for business owners and local entrepreneurs to help bring Hallmark to their local communities. So you’ve opened new stores recently? Absolutely! One of our strategic priorities is to grow the business and add new places in new spaces. Over the last fourteen months, we’ve opened ninety—and counting. We’re really excited about that. One thing you’ve been doing is focusing on the Hispanic market to drive growth. Can you tell me about that? Yes, just this morning we had a meeting about a lab we’ve developed to test and create offerings for Hispanics, and also African Americans. When you look at Hallmark’s goal of helping people connect with each other, we should be the destination for people of all backgrounds. People trust our brand to help them celebrate life’s milestones. Our job is to place the brand, fulfill the consumers’ need, and create an appropriate style design for the market. As the demographic shift continues, Hallmark will


continue working hard to meet the needs of consumers from every background. Can you give me an example? We are currently working with store owners in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. The store focuses on party supplies and the youth soccer market. The business owner has done a great job shifting as the local demographics have evolved. We believe this is an extraordinary opportunity for Hallmark to partner with this local business owner to fill his consumers’ need. The business sees opportunity with the Hallmark brand and values the authentic connection our product creates. This Hallmark store-in-a store will be the first in their community. You’ve been with Hallmark for almost thirty years. Why have you stuck around? It’s a great company—it’s a company that’s invested in me and challenged me to learn and grow. As a result, I’ve been given opportunities to do something new and think outside the box. Every single day is different than the day before. It is also a company whose mission is to make a genuine difference in every life, every day. I feel great about that mission.

R. B. White, Inc. Congratulates

JIM HERNANDEZ Vice President Retail Development, Hallmark

for his many achievements and leadership.

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A Milwaukee Legacy Domingo Cruz blazes a legal path with Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual for himself and for generations to come by Bridgett Novak


omingo Cruz’s grandparents were Midwest trailblazers. Though born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and the Rio Grande and Nueces River valleys of southwest Texas, they heard there were good industrial jobs up north. So, during the WWII era they traveled 1,500 miles to Wisconsin and landed jobs in the automotive industry. It was perfect timing: the founding of the United Auto Workers in 1935 improved pay and working conditions in plants throughout Wisconsin and Michigan. They settled in Milwaukee, which soon had a thriving Mexican-American population. Many of their family members still live in the Milwaukee/Racine area along the coast of Lake Michigan. Cruz’s father, one of nine children and the first in his family to go to college, practices criminal and family law in Racine. “I always wanted to follow in my



father’s footsteps,” Cruz says. “Maybe it’s partly because I was the first-born, a boy, and had a strong work ethic instilled in me, but I always felt that law was my path.” After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Cruz joined Godfrey & Kahn corporate law firm in Milwaukee, where he quickly developed an affinity for real estate transactions. “I think your ability to progress in an area of law is tied to your natural capabilities and competencies and the relationships you develop with certain senior attorneys and practice leaders.” After two years at Godfrey & Kahn, Cruz joined Northwestern Mutual’s real

DOMINGO CRUZ Assistant General Counsel Northwestern Mutual



Milwaukee, WI






Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, which offer comprehensive financial security solutions including life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory services.

estate group. He was excited by the opportunity because several Godfrey attorneys had preceded him—including Ray Manista, who led Godfrey & Kahn’s summer clerkship program when Cruz went through it and is now general counsel at Northwestern Mutual. “This is the premier in-house company for lawyers in Milwaukee, particularly in this practice area, and openings don’t come along very often,” Cruz says. Another important mentor for Cruz at Northwestern Mutual has been Fred Bessette, vice president and real estate counsel until his recent retirement. “I have always appreciated my mentors at every step in my education and career.” Cruz also values the level of engagement employed at Northwestern Mutual. “In some in-house departments, the attorneys are just advisors. Here, we actually do the hands-on work. I enjoy interacting with my colleagues and rolling up my sleeves. We have a $44 billion real estate portfolio. I like knowing I’m playing a part in keeping it strong—for the company, the community, and our policyholders.” And Cruz doesn’t find working on real estate transactions at all boring. “The real estate group is tasked with

seeking out the best investment opportunities possible. So we’re dealing with high-stakes projects. And they run the gamut—multifamily, office, retail, industrial—with lots of different legal issues. It’s a constant learning experience with new challenges all the time,” he says. Northwestern’s real estate group is divided into eight field offices, each overseen by an attorney, all of whom are based in the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee. Cruz is the lead attorney for the San Francisco office. In 2012, he left Northwestern Mutual to be a staff attorney at Simon Property Group in Indiana, where he learned even more about the development side of the business, but he returned to Northwestern Mutual two years later. “They called, and my wife and I missed Milwaukee, and all the family and friends we have here.” He also missed being part of one of the city’s great legacy corporations. “Northwestern Mutual is over 150 years old. It is one of the pillars of this community. You walk into the building and you can’t help but feel the importance of what we do. And that affects how I approach my work.” Beyond the nine-to-five, Cruz is dedicated to improving opportunities for other Hispanics in the community via his service as former board president and now treasurer of Centro Legal, which provides affordable legal assistance to low-income residents of Milwaukee County. “I’m proud to know I’m helping some people improve their lives, just like my grandparents did when they first moved here. They set the stage for my family and me to thrive here. Now I want to do the same for others.”





The Adapt




able Giant Staying one step ahead, even at the top of the telecommunications industry, is Verizon’s key to continued success by Becky May


t what point do you realize you’ve found your niche? For Jesús Román, that point was upon returning to Puerto Rico, where he was born and raised, to work for telecommunications giant Verizon. His niche? Telecommunications law. Román is the assistant general counsel for Verizon, the company he has been with for nearly fifteen years. His role with the company has changed significantly during the course of his tenure, thanks in large part to the seismic shift going on in the industry. He has witnessed the company expand from a communications company to a broadband company, to an entertainment company. He is well aware that adaptability is the only way to remain competitive, and Verizon has demonstrated its ability to adapt in spades. “Technology moves fast, and so do we,” he says.

Seeking Telecom From a young age, Román knew he would pursue a career in law. His plan was to get an education stateside and return to Puerto Rico to practice. After receiving his bachelor’s at UCLA, a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton, and law degree at

the University of California–Berkley, Román spent five years with Pillsbury Madison & Sutro before obtaining his license in Puerto Rico. He moved home to work at Adsuar Muñiz Goyco y Besosa for Francisco Besosa, who is now a US Federal District Court Judge for the District of Puerto Rico. It was there that Román developed an acute interest in telecommunications law. He represented subsidiaries of Enron, educating the state’s Utilities Commission about the safety of installing state-of-the-art fiber optic wiring into decommissioned propane gas lines, and represented payphone operators and a wireless company before the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board. Román became the proclaimed “telecom guy,” and, more importantly, he became managing partner for the firm’s telecom practice. In 2001, he moved to California, lured by Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, a firm with a specialization in telecom law. Román admits he didn’t get to spend as much time working with telecom issues as he had originally anticipated. But fortuitously, it would be a phone call during his time at the San Francisco firm that would give him the opportunity to handle telecom regulations at the next level.






Basking Ridge, NJ





Verizon is one of the largest communication techonology companies in the world. It has offices located in 150 countries and 2,700 cities. Verizon operates America’s largest 4G LTE wireless network.

Becoming Verizon When Román received the call from Verizon, he knew that accepting the position would mean a complete shift in his line of work. He would not only be transitioning from a law firm to inhouse but also changing from commercial litigation to full-time regulatory law. Although Román’s experience was in litigation, he was excited about the prospect of his work having a bigger influence on the industry. “What I envisioned as I was making this change was having a bigger impact on society,” he says. “In telecommunications law, you’re able to influence policy that impacts society at a much greater level than litigation.” When he started at Verizon, the majority of his time was dedicated to wireline issues for the California legal entity, but soon after, he started working on exciting cutting-edge wireless policy issues. Gone were the days of the Gordon Gekko brick phone. Mobile phones were becoming smarter and more accessible to people at all socioeconomic levels, not just the one percent. Currently, Román assists in dealing with the legislatures and public utilities commissions in the eighteen states that make up the Pacific and North Central markets (from Hawaii and Alaska to Minnesota). His workload also varies depending on the time of year. From

State of the Market: Internet of Things (IoT)

• According to Verizon, 2015 was the year the IoT gained legitimacy. Companies across all industries now have IoT squarely on their radar.

Here’s what you need to know about the IoT in 2016

• IoT platforms are making the development of IoT applications easier, faster, and cheaper for everyone.

JESÚS ROMÁN Assistant General Counsel Verizon

January to May—during most of his region’s legislative sessions—his energy is focused on reviewing active and pending legislation that include issues pertaining to broadband, Internet protocol, wireless siting, cybersecurity, telematics, public safety, privacy, and consumer protection rules, among many others. “Our job is to rationalize legislation to business realities and remove unreasonable regulatory obstacles to the efficient delivery of our services and meeting the consumer’s needs,” he says.

• A growing IoT market is enabling organizations from every industry to comply with regulations, increase process efficiency, gain better customer insight, and build completely new business models. • The next step for IoT is predictive and prescriptive analytics.

• Convergence between different IoT solutions is addressing real-world problems and helping consumers in their day-to-day lives. • 5G will provide the ecosystem to enable a fully mobile and connected world.




We join Hispanic Executive in recognizing Jesus Roman for his successful career and look forward to our continued partnership. Sherman & Howard is privileged to have represented Verizon Wireless and many other successful companies for decades.

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A Través de los Años Jesús Román on Verizon’s milestones of the century so far

2004 Verizon Launches FiOS Fiber-Optic Network “Bringing fiber to the premises was a significant departure from what any other company was doing and Verizon was leading the way.”

2010 4G LTE Deploys “Verizon launching 4G LTE was another example of the company leading the way. It was the nation’s first wide-area 4G LTE network.”

2015 Verizon Acquires AOL “We are very much tied into the Internet of Things. And we have been expanding our portfolio and entering digital media space.”

2017 Projected 5G Deployment “We led the 4G LTE revolution, and now we are leading the revolution toward 5G. Our competitors discussed a 2020 deployment, but Verizon will have some level of commercial deployment next year. Companies that were skeptical are now doing their own trials.”



This means working with state legislators and utilities commissions to avoid the imposition of wireline monopoly-era regulations on the hypercompetitive wireless market. “My goal is to create the path to quickly deploying the latest technology to make seamless connectivity possible, so that the services that ride that technology are available for every aspect of people’s lives.” Verizon’s Digitization Strategy When it comes to the telecom industry, Verizon is and has always been a dominant player. With offices located in 150 countries, it’s the largest mobile carrier with an estimated 108.6 million mobile connections. However, the company knew it couldn’t continue growing solely on its existing products and services, and decided to look into other ways to monetize its infrastructure. Verizon didn’t hesitate to hop on the lucrative digital content bandwagon. “What I see in society right now is this shift to getting video anytime, anywhere as seamlessly as possible. Verizon wants to meet that consumer demand and a lot is going on to make that happen,” Román says. In 2015, Verizon acquired AOL for $4.4 billion. With the mass media company in its control, Verizon could continue to clear a path for its LTE wireless video and streaming video strategy. Another effort to get its foot in the door in the media business was through the purchase of DreamWorks’s AwesomenessTV to supplement content for its OTT (over-the-top) video platform Go90. The popular app gives users access to live sports, TV clips, and other short-form content that meld the worlds of Netflix and YouTube together. The Runner, Relationship Status, Coach Snoop, and Street Fighter: Resurrection and Guidance are just a few of the popular series featured on the free app. “We live in an app economy,” Román says. “A lot of people have powerful smartphones, and the point of owning

one is largely to access these apps. We want to create the space for entrepreneurs to develop apps that people can use to make their lives better; better matters.” Go90 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Verizon’s digitization strategy. “Everything you see with [the Internet of Things], we [Verizon] are significantly tied to,” Román notes, and he’s correct. Verizon has entered into the realm of connected car technology and fleet telematics, offering businesses its Verizon Networkfleet Solutions, that includes asset tracking. Even in scrolling through Verizon’s website, one can see how the brand is positioning itself as a thought leader in connectivity, with reports and white papers on the state of the industry and even Facebook pages promoting tangential content. Román has witnessed the vast expansion of Verizon, and many of the company’s milestones have also been personal wins for himself. “I’ve been so satisfied with working with so many of the smartest attorneys. I’ve learned a lot at Verizon,” he says. He attributes his personal success to his many mentors, not just at Verizon but throughout his career. “I come from a low-income background and to be where I am right now is not just through personal effort, but because I’ve had a lot of people who have believed in me,” Román says.

Sherman & Howard is a full service law firm representing clients in most aspects of law affecting businesses and public institutions. Founded in 1892, we proudly describe ourselves as a firm of “Established Excellence.”  We work hard to exceed our clients’ expectations, and pride ourselves on our dedication to the precepts of professional responsibility and ethics.  Our approximately 175 attorneys practice law from 11 offices located in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Georgia, and Missouri.  Our services include commercial litigation, mergers and acquisitions, management side labor and employment, employee benefits, regulatory, environmental, real estate, and tax, among others. 

worldview Cruzando fronteras: a look at the strategies driving business across borders




TO SERVE, PROTECT, AND GROW With an international upbringing and a background in the NYPD, the chief operating officer for Nomura has never done what’s expected—making him the perfect fit to boost the investment bank’s global position by Urmila Ramakrishnan 46



orge Pedreira doesn’t have a poetic answer for why he went from being a cop to a lawyer and then to a banker. It wasn’t part of some grand scheme or that he woke up one day deciding to go in another direction. Instead, Pedreira’s path was determined by opportunities that presented themselves, and his passion and drive to take on new challenges. Today, Pedreira is the chief operating officer of investment banking for the Americas at Nomura. “I’m not afraid of changing courses,” he says. “No matter the challenge, I can get things done. As a former attorney, I’m able to analyze transactions. As a former cop, I’m not afraid of taking risks.”

Breaking the Mold Pedreira was born in New York City. His mother, who was born in Spain, and his father, who grew up in Cuba, decided to settle in the United States for better life and work opportunities. When Pedreira was seven years old, his father lost his eyesight and the family decided to move back to Spain. Pedreira came of age in Spain, finished high school at age sixteen, and decided to attend engineering school. But he hated it. After going to civil engineering school in Madrid, Pedreira decided to return to the New York. “I was at an age

to decide where I was going to be a resident and where I was going to be a citizen,” Pedreira says. All he knew was that he didn’t want to be an engineer. After spending a couple years working odd jobs, he decided to take the police test. He thought being an officer would be exciting and rewarding—and it was. Pedreira moved up the ranks in the New York City Police Department quickly. He was a uniformed officer at the NYPD 75th precinct, an undercover officer in the narcotics division, and a detective in the vice squad. Eventually, Pedreira entertained the idea of law school. The police department at the time issued two scholarships—one for New York Law School and one for St. John’s University School of Law—and Pedreira was vying for one of them. One day he got a call from the police commissioner’s office congratulating him on a full scholarship to St. John’s. Pedreira thought it was a joke and hung up. The commissioner called him back saying it wasn’t a joke and that the dean of St. John’s would call. “Please don’t hang up on him, too. This is a real scholarship.” Pedreira didn’t go to law school so that he could leave the police department; he simply wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to move up the ranks and have a backup plan if he ever retired from the department. He graduated at the top of his class and was the

JORGE PEDREIRA COO of Investment Banking, Americas Nomura

first evening student with a full-time job to become the managing editor of the law review at St. John’s. While in law school, Pedreira worked at the NYPD’s legal bureau. However, he became most interested in the business side of the law. He took a leave of absence from the NYPD to do an internship at Wall Street corporate securities firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Pedreira eventually left the NYPD to work fulltime at the firm.




NOMURA HEADQUARTERED Tokyo, Japan FOUNDED 1925 EMPLOYEES 28,865 worldwide ABOUT Nomura is a financial services group that was founded in Japan. The organization aids retail investors, corporate executives, institutions, governments, and global institutional investors in retail, asset management, and wholesale.

Jorge Pedreira began his career as a cop in the New York Police Department. He says he is very proud of his time at the NYPD. “The police department was an exciting time of my life,” Pedreira says. “I made very good friends that I still keep in touch with today. I had very exciting times, but I am very happy with the great job and great responsibility I have now. I do it every day with a smile on my face.”

“I was the best cop I could be. I was best lawyer I could be, and now I’m the best COO banker that I can be. It’s always about proving myself, and sometimes the road isn’t easy.” JORGE PEDREIRA

“Leaving the NYPD was a tough decision,” Pedreira says. “I loved being a cop—I have a lot of good memories, had a lot of laughs, and spent time with great people. I left the NYPD for an opportunity to work at one of the top law firms in the country. If I had waited, it may not have been there.” For Pedreira, opportunities only continued to roll in. He left Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 1997 to work for a boutique investment bank, Cowen and Company, which was eventually purchased by the French bank Societe Generale. “There I was—suddenly the head of legal for an investment bank,” Pedreira says.



As a single father raising a daughter, responsibilities at Societe Generale Cowen were too demanding, so he transferred to UBS Investment Bank, where he became special counsel for Latin America. Then, the financial crisis hit in 2008 and 2009. That’s when someone who worked with Pedreira at Cowen gave him a call. He remembers the former coworker telling him that Nomura was going to expand in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, and they needed a person who had investment banking experience. After a long lunch with the then general counsel, Pedreira was hired

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3 8


W O R L D W I D E˚

Greenberg Traurig is proud to congratulate our friend and client, Jorge Pedreira, Chief Operating Officer at Nomura, for his well-deserved success, leadership and vision. We salute your commitment to your clients, determination to grow, and desire to take on new challenges.

METLIFE BUILDING | 200 PARK AVENUE | NEW YORK, NY 10166 | 212.801.9200 ALBANY | AMSTERDAM | ATLANTA | AUSTIN | BERLIN¬ | BOCA RATON | BOSTON | CHICAGO | DALLAS | DELAWARE | DENVER | FORT LAUDERDALE + HOUSTON | LAS VEGAS | LONDON* | LOS ANGELES | MEXICO CITY | MIAMI | NEW JERSEY | NEW YORK | NORTHERN VIRGINIA | ORANGE COUNTY ORLANDO | PHILADELPHIA | PHOENIX | SACRAMENTO | SAN FRANCISCO | SEOUL∞ | SHANGHAI | SILICON VALLEY | TALLAHASSEE | TAMPA ~ TEL AVIV^ | TOKYO¤ | WARSAW | WASHINGTON, D.C. | WESTCHESTER COUNTY | WEST PALM BEACH G R E E N B E R G T R A U R I G , L L P | AT T O R N E Y S AT L A W | W W W . G T L A W . C O M The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and our experience. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2016 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Contact: Kenneth Zuckerbrot in New York at 212.801.9200. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. ¬Greenberg Traurig’s Berlin office is operated by Greenberg Traurig Germany, an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP. *Operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. +Operates as Greenberg Traurig, S.C. ∞Operates as Greenberg Traurig LLP Foreign Legal Consultant Office. ^Operates as a branch of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Florida, USA. ¤Greenberg Traurig Tokyo Law Offices are operated by GT Tokyo Horitsu Jimusho, an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP. ~Greenberg Traurig’s Warsaw office is operated by Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak sp.k., an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Images in this advertisement do not depict Greenberg Traurig attorneys, clients, staff or facilities. 27734



28K+ employees in over 30 countries


different nationalities represented in workforce


of global economic and financial indicators are covered by Nomura’s global research teams


elementary school, high school, and college students have attended Nomura lectures on finance and economic development Source:

on the spot. He ended up becoming the be the head of legal for the investment bank, and eventually the chief operating officer. His current strategies for the investment bank have the end of sustaining profitability and revenue in tough working conditions. “You can’t have just one plan,” Pedreira says. “You have to have many plans. You have to be able to adapt as conditions change.” He is also focused on creating an attractive work environment and strong company culture. It’s an exciting time for the financial services group in the Americas, Pedreira says. The company has been at the forefront of several cross-border transactions, and Pedreira sees Nomura expanding in both the United States and Latin America. He hopes brand recognition continues to rise for the Japanese company, which opened its first US office in 1927. Proving It to Himself Pedreira’s success didn’t come without its fair share of challenges. He has always had a thick accent, and he remembers one interview at an international law firm with one of its partners. She looked at his résumé and wasn’t very impressed with Pedreira’s detective work. Then she saw that he was top of his law school class and managing editor of the law review, and she asked him whether he got to be managing editor because of his minority status. Understandably offended, he ended the interview early and walked out. “I was raised in a different country,” Pedreira says. “I struggled with a language barrier when I came back to the US at the age of twenty-two. My parents

couldn’t pay for my school. Therefore, I constantly had to prove myself, and I did. I was the best cop I could be. I was the best lawyer I could be, and now I’m the best COO banker that I can be. It’s always about proving myself, and sometimes the road isn’t easy.” Pedreira says none of his achievements would have been possible if he went the traditional route. From all his experiences, he urges others not to shy away from challenges. “Keep moving ahead,” he says. “I don’t know that I would do anything differently. My path may sound odd, but it’s been very rewarding, and I’m happy with the way my life has been.”

Greenberg Traurig is an international, multi-practice law firm with approximately 1900 attorneys serving clients from 38 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The firm’s attorneys help clients bridge diverse legal systems and cultures, with a focus on efficient, effective strategic advice and legal services. GT encourages attorneys to organize the cross-practice teams required to meet the needs of our clients. We provide our services with the dedication and responsiveness of a boutique firm and the breadth, depth, resources, and operating efficiencies of one of the largest law firms in the United States. For additional information, please visit

Through numerous innovative M&A transactions, Paul, Weiss has had the pleasure to develop a very meaningful relationship with Jorge Pedreira and Nomura Holdings, Inc. Jorge is a senior executive with remarkable talent, extensive experience, and impeccable judgment and professionalism, and he regularly provides pragmatic and elegant solutions to the most intricate legal challenges. His business and legal acumen is also matched by his cultural sensitivity, which exemplifies Nomura’s own values of inclusiveness and diversity. We look forward to many more years of our rewarding partnership with Jorge.

Editor’s Note: Read more about Jorge Pedreira’s journey and his time in the NYPD in a Hispanic Executive web exclusive at



We salute

Jorge Pedreira a highly talented and accomplished business leader and a valued friend. We are proud of our longstanding relationship with Jorge and Nomura Holdings, Inc.

Paul, Weiss is a firm of more than 900 lawyers with diverse backgrounds, personalities, ideas and interests who collaboratively provide innovative solutions to our clients’ most critical and complex legal and business challenges. We represent the largest publicly and privately held corporations and investors in the world as well as clients in need of pro bono assistance.

















BIT BY DRILL BIT CFO Maria Mejia sees Ulterra’s lively pace and culture as key to continued growth and expansion by Kelli Lawrence, photos by Caleb Fox



Though she started her studies in her hometown of Medellin, Colombia, Maria Mejia had a fascination with international trade that took her to Dallas in 1999 for a six-month internship and then on to University of Texas–Arlington in 2000. Her education, as well as her career, has kept her in the United States ever since. But as CFO for drill bit manufacturer Ulterra, she finds herself at a company that’s ever more eager to tap the international side of her expertise. Founded in 2005, sales were already at $110 million when Mejia came on board as corporate controller in 2010; four years later, those numbers topped $300 million. And the 120 or so employees that made up Ulterra back then? That number increased to 600. “We’ve had to learn to act quickly; to change and react faster than all our competitors,” Mejia says of her team. “We’re comprised of people—especially in the operations and engineering side—that came from those big competitors that thought there was a better way of doing things. Our way is much less bureaucratic and much more fast-paced . . . we’re a group of people that care for each other, and are accountable to each other.”





That mind-set is easily reflected in Mejia’s management style, which encourages autonomy from her team of twenty-nine. As long as they keep her in the communication loop, all is well. “I’m a financial advisor, not a scorekeeper,” Mejia says. “I just don’t want to be studying a report three months down the road and have to say [to my team], ‘Okay, what did you guys do?’ Before you pull a plug somewhere, just let me know in case I need to tell you you’re going to disconnect everybody. We have ‘operationalized’ accounting, pushing the true



fiscal responsibility to operations by working as a team, not by keeping score at the end of the month.” Mejia is quick to mention the culture of communication and collaboration at Ulterra, pointing to departmental successes such as the anti-vibration tool known as Counterforce. This 2013 invention for the drill-bit industry, which helps preserve other equipment by reducing vibrations, was designed by a small team of Ulterra engineers as the solution to a long-standing customer issue.

GLOBAL REACH Ulterra runs operations in every major oil- and gas-producing region throughout the world. The company assigns engineers close to its customers to ensure customer requirements are fully understood and solutions can be implemented immediately. Source:

It’s not just technical issues at Ulterra that are customer focused. The development of a centralized inventory system that allows a customer’s specific drill bit needs to be met quickly fits the same model. The process has boosted inventory utilization to record levels, Mejia says. “It’s about determining what a customer needs quickly, and coming up with the perfect product for the perfect application every time.” Ulterra’s efficiency and precision was initially very concentrated on operations in the United States and Canada. During Mejia’s tenure, the company has made considerable headway in international locales such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Colombia. Such rapid expansion has kept Mejia on her toes setting up legal entities, checking infrastructures, and balancing FPA concerns by ensuring they operate within a legal and ethical framework wherever they’re at. Her international experience— which includes, especially in the case of her homeland, a deep familiarity with the language and currency—definitely gives Ulterra’s accounting side the upper hand. “My being from Colombia, and having the experience with its workforce framework . . . it certainly has helped us do it correctly and properly from the getgo,” Mejia says. Market shares tell the story of Ulterra’s success in terms of global representation, with highlights including its standing as the number-one drill bit supplier for both Colombia’s Ecopetrol and Thailand’s PPT. “Saudi Arabia is our biggest international customer, though,” Mejia reports. “There’s still a lot of drilling activity there, even during a downturn.”

ULTERRA HEADQUARTERED Fort Worth, TX FOUNDED 2005 ABOUT Ulterra is widely recognized as the fastest growing drill bit company in the world, matching the right bit with the right application to lower drilling costs, reduce nonproductive time, and mitigate risk.

When Every Person Run Counts

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“I’m a financial advisor, not a scorekeeper. Before you pull a plug somewhere, just let me know in case I need to tell you you’re going to disconnect everybody.” MARIA MEJIA



That downturn, which sent still-recovering gas prices plummeting in the last quarter of 2014, left Ulterra with the same difficult downsizing decisions as the rest of the oil industry’s top businesses. But unlike their competitors, Mejia says they made all their cuts quickly—eliminating the worry of “will I have a job tomorrow” for remaining employees, and leading consequentially to higher morale and higher market share. “Those that stayed were very conscious they’d been selected to take the company back to full growth mode,” she notes. “They’re really excited to be here. I don’t think they’re excited about the cuts, but we reacted quickly to the situation, made the cuts, and just moved on from there.” A more ongoing challenge can be found in Ulterra’s ownership history: a merger in 2008, three years after its founding, a sale to ESCO Corporation in 2012, and another sale to private equity firm American Securities in 2016. Each shift is felt profoundly by the financial teams in place at any given time, but Mejia speaks of her staff’s adaptability from a place of pride. “That change in ownership . . . I think it shows how resilient our culture is, and how tight this company is,” Mejia says. “It’s definitely been challenging from the outside looking in, but then again, people here just thrive on change.” With international expansion becoming even bigger for Ulterra in the next five years—particularly in Asia— an ability to embrace change is more imperative than ever. As might be guessed for Mejia, that ability is one of her most valuable strengths. “It will be a challenge learning new territories, culture, and so on,” she admits. “But it’s definitely a challenge I’m excited to face.” At this point, she has her own history with Ulterra as proof of what she’ll be able to do in the future. “I guess expertise is more than actually saying that I can build infrastructure on my own,” Mejia says. “I can assemble a team to get us through a process. That’s why I’m here.”

Oracle Speaks Its Customers’ Language Oracle’s leading software products aren’t enough to ensure success in Latin America—customer satisfaction is vital by Julie Edwards


ather than worrying about the challenges associated with working with so many different cultures and lifestyles across Latin America, Oracle’s Carlos Victoria emphasizes the positives. “There is a general attitude toward business relations that is common with Latinos—a particularly friendly environment,” says the vice president of the retail global business unit in Latin America. “Another positive aspect is that doing business with multiple countries, economies, and political systems helps diversify the risk. This comes at the cost of fragmentation and country-specific requirements that impact how our software needs to be adapted to satisfy the business needs of our retailers. But I try to convert these issues into opportunities for differentiating ourselves in the marketplace.” As a young man in Colombia, Victoria studied industrial engineering and finance. After a short marketing stint at Unilever, he switched to finance and

joined Bavaria Brewery (now a subsidiary of SABMiller), and then worked in business consulting at KPMG. Victoria says that every day working at KPMG was challenging, exciting, and instrumental to his professional growth. “That job gave me the opportunity to interact with many companies, CEOs, and board members,” he says. “It also prepared me mentally to work for extended periods of time under stress, time pressure, and uncertainty— and to assume risks and challenges with not fear but the excitement of seeing the possible upsides.” When his KPMG boss and mentor, Eric Brenner, moved to Oracle USA, he asked Victoria to join his team to help the company—at the time known mostly for its database business—move into selling high-value-added services and products in the software applications space. “It was a big move for me as I would go from a role within Colombia and the Andean region to a Latin American region-wide role in the largest enterprise software company in the world,” he says.

CARLOS VICTORIA VP of Retail Global Business, Latin America Oracle




ORACLE CORPORATION HEADQUARTERED Redwood Shores, CA FOUNDED 1977 GLOBAL REACH 145+ countries ANNUAL REVENUE $37 billion (FY16) EMPLOYEES 130,000+ ABOUT Oracle Corporation is a software company that offers comprehensive and fully integrated cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems.



Victoria’s group helped Oracle break into a space where it didn’t have any recognition or market share, and essentially established the building blocks of what Oracle has today in terms of enterprise applications software and industry-specific solutions. Victoria then moved to Miami and joined Oracle as a business development manager. After taking on several additional responsibilities, he became Oracle’s first director of the solution consulting team in the retail global business unit for Latin America, eventually becoming the vice president of the unit. He now oversees all business in Latin America, and works with a team of more than sixty professionals with retail-specific and IT experience, organized into sales consulting, solution consulting, marketing, channels, and R&D. “Since this is a very experienced team, my role is now mostly that of a coach, providing strategy and guidance, and empowering the team to perform at its peak,” he says. Victoria notes that although Oracle’s software set is the most complete—in terms of breadth and depth—for the retail industry, that is still not enough to ensure success. “We need to be as close as possible to our customers, speak their language, breathe and live their culture—understanding all the nuances of doing business with them and how we can contribute to their success.” He explains that Oracle’s widespread presence worldwide allows him to deploy a team that is local and close to the customer base. “We leverage the best practices from the best retailers around the world and quickly share them with local retailers around the corner. This has allowed us to grow exponentially and offer our customers the best solutions in the marketplace with a local touch and support.” Oracle’s new software generation is cloud-based and readily available via subscription models. “This allows us to offer solutions with a quicker ROI and make our solutions available to

AMONG ORACLE’S 420,000 CUSTOMERS ARE: Aerospace and defense companies Airlines Automotive companies Banks Consumer goods companies

segments in the market where it was cost-prohibitive for some in the past,” Victoria says. “We now have a growing number of solution enablers who are partnering with Oracle Retail to deploy our solutions at better-than-ever price points. Our business is growing significantly. Everyone is happy.” Victoria says that maintaining a good work/life balance is essential for both himself and his team. “My priorities in life are my own health, my family, and my work—then everything else. If you stay in good shape—mentally, spiritually and physically—you will be available longer to your family. And I make sure that work complements my life. Balance is essential for life fulfillment.”

Engineering and construction companies Governments High-tech companies Insurers Manufacturers Oil and gas companies Pharmaceutical companies Retailers SaaS providers Supply chains Telecommunications companies High-ranked universities Utilities . . . Worldwide.


“We need to be as close as possible to our customers, speak their language, breathe and live their culture— understanding all the nuances of doing business with them and how we can contribute to their success.” CARLOS VICTORIA

Victoria’s parents were the models for his philosophy. “My hardworking dad wanted only the best for us and offered me every opportunity to succeed. My mother inspired me to dream big, aim high, and to be tenacious.” He imparts those lessons and inspirations to young professionals hoping to follow in his footsteps. “Dream big. Exceed expectations. Never stop learning,” Victoria says. “Be humble but ambitious. Plan, set goals, and be disciplined in executing them. Master at least two or three languages. And it’s okay to fall or quit as long as you can manage the downside, stand up, and continue on your way to success.”




Globalization Raises the Bar, Areas Latin America Delivers by Alison Ver Halen


lobalization is both benefiting the global population and making our world smaller, says Eduardo Uribe Mesta, CEO of Areas Latin America. While technology is constantly evolving and more people have opportunities to travel, the oceans and mountains continue to hold less and less significance as dividers. Uribe Mesta says that because of globalization, a higher level of products and services are demanded worldwide. That’s why he makes sure Areas Latin America—an international hospitality company that provides restaurants and retail shops in airports, highways, and train stations—delivers on a global scale. “Twenty years ago in Mexico, we were talking about all the great things that the US and Western Europe had to offer,” Uribe Mesta says. Back then, it was considered a given that the same level of service wouldn’t be able to exist in Mexico, but globalization has since



changed expectations. “Now people demand to receive the same quality of services and experiences they get in other countries, especially young people,” Uribe Mesta says. This change in attitudes has forced businesses all over the world, including Areas Latin America, to invest in the services and experiences they’re providing to their worldly customers. As a result, providing great service has become a primary focus for Areas Latin America’s development. “People react well when you invest in delivering the services and experiences they expect,” Uribe Mesta says. “When you invest in the capital and the people, you see the results.” Delivering those experiences by modernizing the company is at the core of Uribe Mesta’s approach to revitalizing Areas Latin America’s presence in Mexico and other countries in Latin America. “My goal is to modernize the company. I want to be the reference in my

industry and I want to grow,” Uribe Mesta says. Uribe Mesta pointed out that the potential of the markets is huge, a fact which has already been proven by the company’s 15 percent increase in sales compared with last year and an 80 percent increase in net profit in the same time frame as a direct result of focusing on those markets—all of which took place in Uribe Mesta’s first year as CEO of Areas Latin America. “I think we can do the same in the next couple of years and become a very important division of the company,” Uribe Mesta says. “Until now, Areas Latin America hasn’t really been showing the potential that it has, and my goal is to develop it to the point where it becomes a powerhouse.” The biggest part of Uribe Mesta’s plan to achieve these goals is by investing in the company’s image. “Every time we modernize the company and the locations, the customers





A COLOSSAL THANK YOU Thank you for your exceptional dedication and leadership.



“Every region is different and you have to adapt. If you’re new in the region, you have to listen first and learn.” EDUARDO URIBE MESTA

have reacted very well,” Uribe Mesta says. “So next year, we have a very aggressive plan for modernizing the company.” Areas Latin America has invested in the locations, brands, new concepts, and new products for their approximately 200 restaurants and shops in Mexican airports, but Uribe Mesta says their most important investment will be in their people. “We want to have the right team,” Uribe Mesta says. “When I got there, the company had been through a very tough time and were managing costs by firing people, so nobody was really proud of the company they were working for.” Now the Mexican economy has turned around, and Areas Latin America has been able to reap the benefits of the change, both for the company and for its workers. “We’re changing the culture of the company drastically to a point where people are becoming proud to work for us,” Uribe Mesta says. 62


The biggest problem with modernizing an entire company is that it requires a lot of manpower, and that’s Uribe Mesta’s number one challenge in implementing his goals for the company. “Our competition is growing and it’s very aggressive,” Uribe Mesta says. “We have to be able to execute all the different opportunities that we have, and my biggest challenge is to have human resources to be able to implement everything and do it well.” Much of Uribe Mesta’s success at Areas has come from his diverse experiences. Born and raised in Mexico City, Uribe Mesta studied in Barcelona, Spain, before Areas hired him. He worked in Barcelona for several years before Areas put him in charge of business development in the United States, based in Miami, Florida, where he brought the company’s presence from nonexistent to $250 million in annual sales in the span of eight years. Uribe Mesta credits his success with his recognition of the differences between regions and his ability to keep an open mind. “Every region is different and you have to adapt,” Uribe Mesta says. “If you’re new in the region, you have to listen first and learn.” Areas has sometimes had to learn that lesson the hard way by making mistakes that cost the company a lot of time and money. As with every failure, Uribe Mesta said the key is to learn from those mistakes. “We learned how to do things according to the market, but then I see people coming here and making the same mistake over and over again,” Uribe Mesta says. “They don’t learn or they take too much time to learn.” Uribe Mesta says his experience in different regions was a plus when he started working at Areas Latin America, but it’s quickly becoming a necessity. “Nowadays it’s extremely important to be able to work in different cultures and companies have come to expect that,” Uribe Mesta says. “Before, it was a luxury to have that, but if you really want to be successful in this world right now, you have to have that ability.”

AREAS HEADQUARTERED Barcelona, Spain FOUNDED 1968 GLOBAL REACH 12 countries throughout Europe, the US, Mexico, and Chile ANNUAL REVENUE $1.9 billion ABOUT One of the global leaders in the travel catering and retail industry. As a global brand of Elior Group, Areas serves about 300 million customers in 2,200 locations every year.




Something in the Air Greenheck Fan is poised to disrupt its industry with innovative concepts geared toward the next generation of products and consumers in the HVAC industry, and general counsel Marco Espinoza is front and center as told to Elle Sinclair

MARCO ESPINOZA General Counsel Greenheck Fan Corporation




hen I think of my biggest influences, I think of my parents. They moved from Bolivia to the United States in the 1960s with some medical training and not much else. They didn’t have any family to lean on, so the move was a real leap of faith and act of courage driven by the ambition to give their children a better life. My mother was a child/adolescent psychiatrist, and my father was medical director of a shipyard and an ER doctor. They both set the bar high for me in terms of work ethic and taking pride in your efforts. Getting an education was a non-negotiable in our family. Looking back, I can’t remember being motivated by anything stronger than the desire to excel at school. I was naturally curious about the world, and I wanted to learn everything I could about it. I studied at Oberlin College for my bachelor’s and at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for my master’s, intending to work at an NGO and do development work in Latin America. A class on documentary storytelling sent me on a different path, leading to a nearly three-year stint as a TV photojournalist. It was an exciting job, never knowing what would be the focus of your work on any given day, but photojournalism as a long-term career was not for me. So I decided to go to the University of Wisconsin Law School to figure out what that would be. After graduating, I became a tribal prosecutor for the Menominee Indian Reservation, a position funded by the Violence Against Women Act. One whole county in Wisconsin is the

reservation—and in that county, tribal law, not state law, applies for crimes below the felony level. The job was rewarding but dependent on grant funding. I wanted a position I could build into a career. So I joined Greenheck Fan, a leading manufacturer of commercial air movement and control equipment. The company, started in 1947 by the Greenheck brothers, Bob and Bernie, in a garage in Central Wisconsin remains headquartered in the heart of Wisconsin with facilities and offices in Minnesota, Tennessee, California, Kentucky, North Carolina, China, Mexico, and Delhi, India. I remember asking my mentor in law school what the secret was to being both a successful lawyer and happy. He said the factor that influenced this the most was who your clients are. I picked Greenheck as my client, and it has been a great fit. Greenheck has strong core values and makes a fantastic product— there is a winning spirit here, born of a culture that values entrepreneurial thinking, teamwork, and continuous improvement. I know how fortunate I am to work here. Before I got hired, I did research on Greenheck and realized they didn’t have a true in-house legal department managing the day-to-day operations of a growing domestic and international business. I started out as the international credit manager, which involved contracts, letters of credit, and managing the global accounts receivable portfolio. A few years in, I took over the credit manager position, assuming responsibility for both domestic and international A/R, allowing me to work with every business unit, and I interacted with all of our manufacturer’s representatives.

GREENHECK FAN CORPORATION HEADQUARTERED Schofield, WI FOUNDED 1947 ABOUT Greenheck Fan Corporation is known as the leading manufacturer of air movement and control equipment, and it offers the most comprehensive line of ventilation products in the industry. Most of the manufacturing still takes place in Schofield, WI, with additional facilities in California, Kentucky, North Carolina, China, Mexico, and Delhi, India.




Merchant & Gould is a national intellectual property law firm with more than 100 attorneys in offices in Atlanta, Denver, Knoxville, TN, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Washington. Founded in Minneapolis in 1900, the firm has grown to become one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, representing the worldwide intellectual property interests of clients in diverse industries and technologies.




“Greenheck has strong core values and makes a fantastic product—there is a winning spirit here, born of a culture that values entrepreneurial thinking, teamwork, and continuous improvement. I know how fortunate I am to work here.” MARCO ESPINOZA

It was a great foundation for my current position as general counsel, balancing acceptable levels of risk and terms of sale with the need to be flexible and “The Easiest Company to Do Business With.” One of the things I’m most proud of during my time at Greenheck is the way we came out of the Great Recession a much stronger company by rallying around each other and sticking to our core values. I’m also proud of bringing Foreign Corrupt Practice Act compliance into the company, personally conducting training in China, Dubai, and India. Most recently, I was a part of the team that negotiated a first-time union contract for one of our facilities. An exciting development underway is our first joint venture [working] with a company in Mexico. This will be a new distribution model, with customers going to a storefront rather than working with manufacturer’s representatives. I’ve met with our partner several times. They like that we can communicate in Spanish. When doing business in Latin America, relationships matter. I think that our joint venture partner trusts that I understand what’s important to them in this partnership—and it’s not just about the financial aspects. Latin

America has been a great market for us because of our approach to forming mutually beneficial partnerships. We just had our visitors from Mexico come to see our new Education and Innovation Centers in Wisconsin. To see their reaction to the investments we are making was eye-opening. We’re clearly doing something no one else is doing. Our Innovation Center offers state-ofthe-art testing for all kinds of metrics, such as sound and moving air efficiently. We are able to design, manufacture, test, redesign, and value engineer our products to the highest standards. At Greenheck, we’re always trying to be proactive and anticipate where the market will be. We don’t want to be the Blockbuster; we want to be the Netflix. Greenheck is going to disrupt this industry, take our products to the next level of efficiency, and deliver advancements in air movement. With that level of disruption, we’ll take on our competitors and then the world.” “We congratulate General Counsel Marco Espinoza and the entire team at Greenheck Fan Corporation on their achievements and wish them success on current and future endeavors. Kudos!” Your friends at Merchant & Gould


Northwestern Mutual realizes that money matters, but what matters more is you and your family. Your goals. Your interests. And the things you’re passionate about most in life. So we’ll be right there with you every step of the way, helping you discover what’s possible and guiding you with a long-term financial plan that turns your biggest goals into your biggest achievements.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries.

from our partners


The American Dream: Making a College Education Possible for Everyone by Northwestern Mutual


hen Christina Romero first stepped onto Santa Ana College’s campus as a student in 1996, she didn’t plan on becoming a fundraiser. Having struggled in high school academically, she wasn’t certain what she wanted to do. But she fell in love with the tight-knit college and was struck by how much the teachers actually cared about their students. “Everybody needs individuals to care about them,” Romero said, “and Santa Ana College is a place where people really care.” That caring helped her flourish and stuck with Romero. When she later got an opportunity to work at the school, Romero, whose mother immigrated to the U.S. from Egypt and whose father immigrated from Colombia, jumped at the chance. She began by doing economic development and small business training in the predominantly Latino community before taking on the role of executive director of the college’s foundation, where she focuses on raising money to help empower the school’s students through scholarships and educational programming. “My work with the Santa Ana College Foundation has been a gift,” she said.




Located in a city where more than 78 percent of the residents are Hispanic, Santa Ana College serves a mostly immigrant population. The majority of the students who attend the school are first-generation Americans. As the child of immigrants herself, Romero’s work has been incredibly meaningful to her. “Growing up as the daughter of immigrant parents who came to this country because they wanted a better life for their family, I feel I have a personal bond with these students,” she said. Romero’s work raising money for things like scholarships helps students at the school tremendously, but the Santa Ana College Foundation goes further than just providing scholarships to students. They also reach out to the local community through a signature college program, Padres Promotores de la Educación, that the foundation helps fund. “Padres Promotores,” Romero said, “is a parent-led educational program that teaches parents about the importance of college and empowers them to help their children prepare early. A core aspect of that program is providing financial education around going to college.” Since some local students choose to start working after high school because their families don’t know how they would pay for post-secondary education, the outreach program is meant to help immigrant families understand that college is an achievable option. “When we tell them about the financial aid that is available to them through the state, the federal government and private scholarships, we see the walls begin to come down,” Romero explained. “They start to believe that college is accessible to their families.” In Romero’s experience, that knowledge doesn’t benefit just the students. “I have often seen parents become students at Santa Ana College, as well,” she said. The financial education that Padres Promotores provides doesn’t just empower families to consider college, but

it functions as a gateway. “While there is still a lot of education needed in these communities, the right partnerships can be the beginning of lifelong financial planning and empowerment,” she said. This empowerment helps families shift from focusing just on making ends meet to making more long-term financial plans. Romero is so motivated to help the students in her community because the young people who benefit from the Padres Promotores program and the scholarships that the Foundation gives out are so remarkable. “They represent the dynamic promise of our country,” Romero explained. “When I hear stories from students and they tell me about the things they had to struggle against, I’m constantly humbled by their lives and by their ambition.” Many of the students that the foundation has helped have gone on to great things. One in particular is headed this fall to Harvard Medical School after studying nursing at Santa Ana College. Others have ended up at Berkeley and UCLA or have graduated from Santa Ana College and become successful professionals. It’s these students who work so hard to get an education that make Romero glad that she’s able to devote her professional life to helping the Santa Ana community. What touches Romero most about her work is that she gets to see how the success of the students transforms their lives and the lives of their families. “I want more for our students. I believe that these families and these students should be given the same chances as anyone else. They are so bright,” she said. “They’re the future. They’re exactly what makes America so great.”

ERIK GOMEZ Christina knows the value of financial planning in her own life. Christina works with Northwestern Mutual financial advisor Erik Gomez to plan for her own family. It was a wakeup call when her mother died suddenly six years ago, not long after Christina gave birth to her two boys, Gavin and Emmet. Christina and her spouse originally approached Erik to take out life insurance policies. Now they work with Erik on a financial plan that’s designed to protect what they’re earning today and grow their wealth for the future. Romero said, “I decided that I didn’t want anything less than full financial security.”

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Erik Ross Gomez is an Insurance Agent of NM. CA License: #0E88578




Northwestern Mutual knows what it takes to succeed both on your balance sheet and in your life. It takes the right financial partner who understands how much you care about your future and your family, encouraging you to do the little things that add up over time, protect what you’ve earned and truly achieve long-term financial security.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries.

talent Plotting the path to Hispanic leadership




Kroger’s Marcio DaCosta on why building strong relationships is the most crucial component of an effective global supply chain by Amanda Garcia






“Let me stop you right there,” said the recruiter. “Did you know that The Kroger Co. is not only the fourth largest retailer in the world, but also has over thirty manufacturing plants in the US?” Marcio DaCosta was in his office at Firmenich, a flavor and fragrance house, and had just told the recruiter thanks, but he wasn’t interested in the retail industry. “Not only that, we have twenty-two banner stores, eighteen corporate brands, and we’re in the process of expanding our global sourcing,” the recruiter continued. “In other words, Kroger is much more than grocery, and we need a supply chain expert.” DaCosta had always been drawn to the supply chain process and spent the first twenty years of his career leading manufacturing and operations. He was good at making quick decisions and solving problems on the fly. In the late ’90s, he led the outsourcing transition of one company’s manufacturing plant from West Virginia to Asia. There he was

MARCIO DACOSTA VP of Global Sourcing and Planning The Kroger Co.



introduced to external markets and global sourcing, he learned the importance of respecting other cultures, and he used the opportunity to build an impressive network. Not much later, he put this experience to use by making an internal move to sourcing. For the next sixteen years, DaCosta expanded his skills and expertise in sourcing and quickly rose through the ranks at various companies. Through extensive international travel, DaCosta became more familiar with business cultures in Indonesia, China, and Vietnam. He also began to notice more subtle differences in company culture based on size and location. All these experiences informed his well-rounded, adaptable, relationship-based style of leadership—which he had been applying as global purchasing director at Firmenich for over two years before Kroger called. “With your background in operations and manufacturing,” the Kroger recruiter told him, “and your experience in supply chain management and global sourcing, we think you’d be a perfect fit.” He finally had DaCosta’s attention.


Kroger’s Simple Truth brand reached a milestone of $1.5 billion in sales in 2015.

There are more than 2,000 Simple Truth or Simple Truth Organic items.

Dairy Farmers of America is proud to partner with innovative leaders and companies, like Marcio DaCosta at Kroger, to help us deliver value to our nearly 14,000 farm-owners.

Kroger offers 20,000 natural products nationwide, with 4,000-9,000 curated items in each store.

Kroger’s Louisville Division will sell 125 products from 34 Kentucky Proud producers in 88 stores.

Kroger’s 18 dairies processed more than 476 million gallons of milk in 2015.

By 2025, Kroger’s goal is to transition to a 100% cage-free egg supply chain.




Marcio and his team have been instrumental in helping grow and strengthen our companies’ relationship of more than 40 years. We congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition and wish him continued success. Charles Mace, VP Sales Zumbiel Packaging Company 76





Stores in 34 US states serve 8.5 million customers every day

2015 SALES

$109.8 billion


The Kroger Co. is an American company that operates only in US markets. Store formats include grocery, multidepartment, convenience, and jewelry under nearly twenty-four banner names and eighteen different corporate brands.

Kroger’s total footprint was domestic, but they sourced a significant amount of products from overseas, so DaCosta knew his global experience would be put to good use. The fact that manufacturing plants were domestic meant a much more attractive and less demanding travel schedule. Most enticing of all was that Kroger had not yet implemented a world-class approach to sourcing, which was an irresistibly blank canvas for DaCosta. “I felt I could bring a process that could take the company to a different level,” he says. “And the ability to strategically develop longterm growth opportunities was intriguing.” Much to the recruiter’s delight, DaCosta joined Kroger in 2012. “When sourcing in supply chain, it is most important to establish a process that allows you to know as much or more than the individual sitting across the negotiating table,” says DaCosta, who is now vice president of global sourcing and planning at Kroger. For example, if a business partner generically asks for ten pens and DaCosta’s team delivers ten blue pens with caps, the partner could easily respond that they wanted three red pens, two black, and five green—and the green ones should actually be highlighters. This ambiguity is incredibly inefficient, so DaCosta’s goal is to “turn ambiguity into ingenuity” through collaboration. Collaboration invites innovation, and provides the opportunity to work together to discover the partner’s ultimate need without first supplying a partial solution. “It also requires us to be transparent as we figure

out how to be more successful,” DaCosta says. But he also says that “the foundation of collaboration is a sound strategy.” So, to further preempt the struggle through an ambiguous conversation, he developed the Kroger Six Step Strategic Sourcing Process:

Category analysis

Business needs analysis


Industry and supplier analysis

Sourcing strategy development

Strategy execution

Monitor and manage

Traditionally, sourcing is driven by reverse options—a response to a situation rather than the cause of it. But Kroger’s sourcing process is driven by a proactive strategy that guides action instead of reaction. “It allows us to leave the ambiguous, tactical, transactional environment behind and develop concrete strategy that secures our supply for the next three to five years,” DaCosta says. “It requires a lot of discipline, but we know that as we grow globally and bring in new materials with new regulations, our strategy ensures top quality for our customers.”






“Being a good leader means building trust in your team. It also means having passion for the work, and surrounding yourself with talented people who want to grow.” Marcio DaCosta

Along the entire supply chain, Ecolab is your food safety expert. When you partner with Ecolab, we work with you onsite to create a food safety program that protects your customers and your business. 1.800.392.3392


©2016 Ecolab USA Inc. All rights reserved.



A team of seventy associates sourcing $7.5 billion in finished products and raw materials for the over thirty plants is required to serve the 8.5 million customers who walk through Kroger’s doors every day, and the sourcing process has improved the logistics for everyone along the way. It has also delivered significant savings in the past three years alone to Kroger’s customers, thanks especially to market analysis, outsourcing, and streamlining processes. “It’s about understanding international opportunities and the market,” DaCosta says. “You have to manage the total supply chain— logistics, forecasting, and the many other pieces in between.” Kroger is the only top ten retailer that maintains 100 percent of its sales in the United States, and is confident that the market is significant enough to provide continued sales growth. “At the same time, we recognize that our supply chain must be global,” says DaCosta, so he and his team are always on the lookout for outstanding global partners. Kroger is the largest florist in the country, and a significant percentage of floral needs come Kroger was ranked tenth in the from Columbia, for exam2016 list of America’s Top 50 ple. Kroger also boasts a Organizations for Multicultural large seafood department that brings in salmon, tuna, Business Opportunities by and other seafood from Japan, Thailand, and Chile.

Setting a Higher Standard. It is who we are.




That said, Kroger is also deeply committed to sustainability, social accountability, and working with international partners who maintain the same standards. “For example, we won’t tolerate deforestation or child labor.” DaCosta says. “We believe we can bring enough influence to enough business partners outside the US to make a difference.” Expectations are made clear to partners, regular audits are performed, and if there is suspicion of unacceptable practices, relationships are discontinued. The effectiveness of Kroger’s globally sourced supply chain has become dependent on the strength of their strategy and health of their relationships. A strong compliance policy has become as paramount as delivering friendly customer service and fresh products to customers, and sustainability and transparency remain essential. But for DaCosta, none of this is complete without good leadership, which he strives to provide in his capacity every day. “Being a good leader means building trust in your team,” he says, adding that reliability, credibility, and intimacy are the essential components of trust. “It also means having passion for the work, and surrounding yourself with talented people who want to grow.” From Asia to South America, manufacturing to sourcing, and at every link in the supply chain, DaCosta attributes Kroger’s success to its 435,000 associates, and his own success to the seventy members of his team. Relationships are the most essential component of successful endeavors anywhere in the world, and as DaCosta knows, sometimes the best ones start by simply answering the phone and saying, “yes.”

New and Recycled Fibers are Required

MARCIO DACOSTA TO FUTURE LATINO LEADERS: Be proud of your Latino heritage. Culture gives strength to everything we do each day, so use it to your advantage. Millennial Latinos, unite. There’s more power in uniting and supporting each other, so don’t be too centrally focused. Bring the passion. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than seeing that Latino passion in a business environment.

Food & beverage processors and retailers face growing challenges from increasing regulatory requirements, increasing raw materials, and reduced supporting resources. Ecolab is proud to partner with Kroger to help produce safe, quality food across their supply chain; from the farm, to production, to the retailer and finally to the consumer. Congratulations Marcio, for your strategic leadership in the food industry.

“Pratt Display and Kroger’s relationship over the last four years has been mutually beneficial and led to synergies in both supply chains, and Marcio DaCosta has been a champion from the beginning. Marcio is a staunch visionary dedicated to leading the sourcing and planning team at Kroger with distinction. His commitment to developing a true partnership has resulted in joint business growth, supply chain simplification for Kroger and its corporate brands, and amplified the grocer’s environmental stewardship efforts. I have enjoyed the relationship we’ve cultivated over the years and look forward to what comes next.” —Dave Connors President, Pratt Display

Today, 93 percent of corrugated is recovered for recycling

Congratulations to Marcio DaCosta on being

There are 750 million acres of forestland in the United States

recognized for your exceptional carrer! We wish you continued success!

Forest acreage is consistent despite increases in population

U.S. forests are a renewable, sustainably managed raw material

Success You See! Polytainers is a leading supplier of plastic cups and lids to the food and dairy industry. ©2016 International Paper Company. All rights reserved. “Brown box, green globe.” is a registered trademark of International Paper Company.




ACCESS IS POWER As the way we research evolves, Julie Presas ensures that the OCLC is front and center, providing the world with vital access to information by Jeff Silver

Julie Presas believes having access to information is a basic human need. And though technology has dramatically changed the way we find answers to the world’s questions, one element that has remained constant: the Online Computer Library Center Inc. (OCLC). For nearly fifty years, OCLC has opened portals of access to information for members around the world, ranging from academic institutions to governmental bodies. Its efforts include various advocacy programs to support library operations, libraries’ roles in education and community development, as well as resources like WorldCat, the world’s largest online catalog of records from public and academic libraries. Helping support these efforts is Presas, the OCLC’s general counsel and vice president of legal services. She is quick



to point out that, while libraries maintain their traditional roles as community resources for activities like career networking, they have also evolved along with new digital tools. “Libraries provide some populations with their only access to technology. And in addition to reference services that teachers and researchers can access from anywhere in the world, books still get checked out, although often in electronic or audio formats on mobile devices,” she says. Presas, who assumed the GC role in 2014, helps OCLC business teams support organization members facing shrinking funding and other diminishing resources. To help them address those challenges, Presas and her team strive to put sound agreements in place that help reduce the cost of library services and increase access to vital resources. For example, through an

“We’re trained to be thorough, so getting a bunch of attorneys to embrace speed and efficiency was tough. But our initiative, which successfully introduced both elements, improved responsiveness and strengthened our relationships with business colleagues.” Julie Presas

JULIE PRESAS VP of Legal Services and General Counsel OCLC

agreement with Univision Communications, OCLC is able to provide a direct link to WorldCat. “With access to WorldCat, Univision is able to offer parents a digital platform to find resources that help with school success, like Reading Log, and direct them to the library locations that offer them,” Presas says. With OCLC members located around the globe, the legal department must also manage a broad variety of matters, including compliance with privacy and intellectual property regulations. As part of her responsibilities overseeing OCLC’s privacy compliance program, Presas directs data privacy initiatives for the organization. She also helps the legal department work closely with internal partners to update them on its compliance efforts related to existing and emerging regulatory requirements. “We have legal staff in the US and Europe with extensive expertise in privacy matters who also understand how to align OCLC’s strategic direction with the business impact of such regulatory requirements,” Presas says. To address evolving challenges and demands, Presas helped guide changes within the legal department itself. One of the driving factors was a focus on improving speed, accountability and execution that was championed by Skip Prichard, OCLC’s president and CEO. A number of foundational issues were addressed to achieve those goals. A contract management system and service level agreements were implemented to monitor and motivate accountability. Seventeen different contracts totaling more than 100 pages were transformed into a five-page customer agreement with attached schedules and user-friendly language. Individual department staff members also learned








Serves more than 16,000 institutions in 100+ countries through 26 offices around the world.


Congratulations We congratulate Julie Presas on her countless accomplishments. Julie’s leadership at OCLC and commitment to our Central Ohio Community is unmatched. We are fortunate and proud to have her as a client and friend.

Local Connections. Global Influence.

45 Offices in 21 Countries



OCLC is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, like the WorldCat database, original research, and community programs for its membership and the library community at large.

from one another through cross-training so the attorneys are positioned to handle matters for each other at any given time. In addition, the legal team created a playbook for negotiating agreements with standard terms and uniform language. An initiative was also launched to change how attorneys approach their work. Instead of attempting to eliminate all legal risk, new emphasis has been placed on balancing good risk management. This initiative has resulted in faster turnaround times and more effective outcomes. “We’re trained to be thorough, so getting a bunch of attorneys to embrace speed and efficiency was tough,” Presas admits. “But our initiative, which successfully introduced both elements, improved responsiveness and strengthened our relationships with business colleagues.” She indicates that all of these changes have enabled the legal department to be more proactive and involved with conversations around various issues at their inception instead of being brought in after the fact. To help maintain her personal and professional perspective, Presas is involved in numerous extracurricular activities in and out of the office. She oversees an intern partnership with Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and is exposed to new tools and resources through students’ participation. Among other activities, she is also executive sponsor of OCLC’s Women’s Network, and volunteers with the Columbus Legal Aid Society to provide legal counsel at local area homeless shelters. “Volunteering and engaging in other areas of the law helps reinvigorate my daily practice,” she says. “Contributing to the community also fits nicely with my commitment to OCLC’s mission to support libraries around the world.”

Taking Human Resources Personally As the head of HR for HNTB, Yvonne Lopez-Diaz prioritizes providing an empowering environment by Melissa Silverberg


YVONNE LOPEZ-DIAZ HR Director and New York Growth Champion HNTB Corporation

Yvonne Lopez-Diaz knows that effective human resources is about much more than hiring and firing. It’s about aligning your business and people plan to support your company’s growth goals. It’s about inspiring employees of diverse backgrounds to reach their dreams and potential. And it’s about empowering, training, and encouraging the next generation of leaders in the workforce. As HR director and New York Growth Champion at HNTB Corporation, Lopez-Diaz takes her role at the employee-owned architecture, civil engineering consulting, and construction management company very seriously. “As an HR leader at HNTB, every day I take personal responsibility for making success happen for my company,” she says. “Ensuring that we have the right team to win is just as important as having the right strategy to win.”





Kansas City, MO


SUMMARY HNTB Corporation is an employeeowned infrastructure firm serving public and private owners and contractors. With more than a century of service in the United States, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructurerelated services, including awardwinning planning, design, program management and construction management.



During her sixteen years with the company, Lopez-Diaz has held multiple leadership roles in human resources throughout the country, including serving as the HR leader for the Design Build, West, Northeast, and Southeast divisions for more than a decade. Lopez-Diaz has made it one of her priorities to encourage young professionals and women in the organization to take on assignments that will showcase their skills and talents. “We need to do everything we can to prepare our next generation of leaders so that we leave our company and our society in the hands of capable professionals,” she says. “If we are not aggressively working on developing our future leaders now, we are doing ourselves and our society a disservice.” That is especially true because more than 40 percent of HNTB’s New York office is millennials—a much higher percentage than when she started with the company. Attracting, developing, engaging, and retaining this generation requires a different skill set, she says. “You have to provide them an environment where they feel engaged and empowered to make a difference,” Lopez-Diaz says. “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work with this generation. If you’re thinking that this generation can be treated the same as any other, you must rethink that.” The younger generation thrives on constant and instant feedback, both positive and constructive, she says. They also like to feel like they have a say in decisions affecting the company and can make a difference in the workplace. That’s why she has encouraged the company’s young professionals to take on projects like leading brown bag

technical sessions, community involvement, and the development and management of the company’s internship program. She also draws on her own upbringing to relate to younger workers of today. Lopez-Diaz grew up the youngest of six children raised by a single mother who worked at a toy factory in the evenings. She learned English from her older siblings, but learned important life lessons from her mother. “She taught us the value of hard work, dedication to your field, loyalty, and to appreciate every opportunity to learn,” Lopez-Diaz says. “My mom did not speak English when I was young, but that did not deter her from encouraging us all to excel in school and in life. Her expectations were pretty high, but I always worked hard to over-achieve them. I owe the person I am today to her and the values she taught us all.” Those values inspired her passion for bringing diversity into the workforce. “It is important for our business to align with how our industry is represented. Whether it’s gender, race, ethnicity, religious or political beliefs, or differing points of view, they all matter in the overall scheme of things. We need all perspectives represented and included to make the best decisions for our business and for our clients.” As a Hispanic woman of Puerto Rican descent, Lopez-Diaz says she has always felt respected for the contributions she makes and has had the support of HNTB’s leadership. She wants to make sure others have those opportunities as well. Those opportunities are not a free ride, though. “If you have a seat at the table, you have to make sure you’re earning it

every day,” Lopez- Diaz says. “Find your voice and make sure it is worth hearing. Work hard to make a difference and make it impactful to the business.” Lopez-Diaz dedicates her time to helping other women in her industry make sure their voices are heard. She is currently mentoring four women at HNTB who she sees have a similar passion for excellence and a desire to learn and win as she had early in her career. “Mentoring has been a rewarding experience for me. I’ve had an opportunity to watch each grow personally and professionally as HNTB leaders.” She also dedicates her time to supporting the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), and serves on its Central Florida chapter board and its Greater New York chapter, where she leads a committee called the Glass Ceiling Initiative. This committee is working to identify issues that could be impeding the growth of women in transportation, and will make recommendations on programs and policies that can be advocated by WTS to eliminate the barriers to growth and advancement. Overall, one of the best parts about being successful in human resources is seeing all the pieces come together to support the growth of the company. “I love seeing the young professionals and women in our organization take on assignments that allow them to showcase their skills and talents,” she says. “It is inspiring to see their passion for wanting to own a part of our company’s success. If I can inspire them to be at their very best, live the HNTB Vision, and be the ‘spark’ every day, then I am doing my part in growing the future of our company. It’s not just something that’s important to me . . . it’s personal.”

“We need to do everything we can to prepare our next generation of leaders so that we leave our company and our society in the hands of capable professionals.” Yvonne Lopez-Diaz

At HNTB our culture is defined by our commitment to diversity and inclusion in everything we do for our people and clients. We congratulate Yvonne Lopez-Diaz for her commitment to our people and exemplary professionalism in growing HNTB’s business. To apply for jobs or learn more , visit us at Equal Opportunity Employer: Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran

The HNTB Companies Infrastructure Solutions




Cultural Chameleon Embracing and leveraging all aspects of his multicultural heritage, Michael Douroux has become Anaplan’s “secret weapon” for global expansion by Jeff Silver

Michael Douroux embodies the concept of the United States as a melting pot. His mother emigrated from Brazil to Los Angeles as a student when she was nineteen years old. His father is first-generation US-born with family from Mexico and France. What sets Douroux apart from many other Americans, however—besides having dual US/Brazilian citizenship and being fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese—is that he has worked hard to embrace and preserve all aspects of his Latin heritage in his personal and professional life. Although his family moved from the distinctly Latin and African-American community of Inglewood in West Los Angeles to a more suburban beach community when he was eight years old, Douroux continued to revel in Latin culture and frequent extended trips to visit family in both Brazil and Mexico. It was during one of these trips that an uncle suggested that someone with Douroux’s language skills and diverse cultural knowledge could take advantage of tremendous opportunities to bridge




the gap between the United States and Latin American business communities. Douroux never forgot that advice and stayed focused on Latin culture, language and history throughout college and business school at University of California–Berkeley. Now, as regional vice

president at Anaplan, he brings a wealth of expertise and insight as the company prepares to further expand in Latin America. A self-described “cultural chameleon,” Douroux’s knowledge and fluency frequently surprises colleagues. “There are dozens of Spanish dialects, and a diversity of styles of Portuguese within Brazil, each with different slang and intonation. Being able to authentically navigate them makes a tremendous difference in being able to build relationships and connect with business counterparts within their own culture,” he says. This means he knows the regional foods, the most popular musicians, the local history, and the community customs and traditions. For example, US corporate culture typically takes a “time is money” perspective, which leads to a very direct approach. Latin culture, however, prioritizes developing a personal rapport, sharing family details, often over a meal, before ever addressing business concerns. Understanding these customs has had significant impact on numerous business initiatives when potential partners have heard Douroux’s fluency during in-person meetings or on a conference call. “In several instances, we had invested extensive time and effort in potential customers without being able to make much progress. But as soon as we were able to interact with them directly in their own language and customs, we gained tremendous credibility and the walls came down,” he remembers.

Plan hard or plan smart? You choose. Many of these lessons were learned when Douroux was launching a division of Business Objects (now part of SAP) in Latin America. At age twenty-seven, after developing the business strategies around the launch while based in Miami, he spent up to three weeks each month in countries throughout the region. “You can’t view all Latin countries as being the same and assume that the approach that worked in Chile is appropriate for Mexico,” Douroux explains. “A couple of WebEx demos and sending a quote isn’t enough. You have to invest in long-term relationships face-to-face to succeed.” The success of his own team at Anaplan can also be traced back to his understanding of the Latin focus on family and the collective culture (versus the individualistic American point of view). One of the results is that Douroux puts a great deal of emphasis on creating a truly united and cooperative team. As Anaplan works toward the objective of 100 percent of its teams reaching 100 percent of their goals, Douroux points out that “we have a legitimate shot at achieving full participation and attainment from everyone in our group. We’re really depending on and supporting each other, not just relying on a few team members to be successful.” Going beyond his own personal family background, he says he shares the Brazilian trait of “cultural cannibalism”— a great pride in devouring unique cultural customs from around the world and then internalizing them and making them your own. That’s what drives him to learn more to be even more effective at bridging cultural gaps and developing relationships that are beneficial for both Anaplan and its future growth in Latin America. “My uncle was right when he recognized the opportunities that are out there,” he says. “For me, it’s been about finding the intersection of a culture that I love with my career trajectory. But I still feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the possibilities yet.”


San Francisco, CA



GLOBAL REACH 100,000+ users worldwide COMPANY SUMMARY

Anaplan is a planning and performance management platform for sales, operations, finance, supply chain, HR, marketing, and IT that delivers a planning and modeling engine, predictive analytics, collaboration in the cloud, and a simple interface for business users.

Smart businesses are choosing a new way to plan and drive performance throughout their entire company. It’s an easier and more collaborative way to plan and make decisions with incredible precision, at unprecedented speed. Learn why over 600 smart businesses in 20 countries have chosen Anaplan as their planning and performance management platform. Go to



Top 10 Líderes



José Luis Prado 92 Natalie Morales 94 Yasmine Winkler 96 Guillermo Diaz Jr. 97 J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez 100

Julio Portalatin 104 Adolfo Perez 105 David Rodriguez 108 Monica Caldas 109 Virginia Lazala 112


Hispanic Executive brings you the fifth annual Top 10 Líderes, a list recognizing Latino leaders who have shown exemplary leadership and innovation in corporate America this year. We look for trailblazers who made an impact on the business landscape, raised the bar, and served as role models. We’re proud to present 2016’s elite group of ten, representing the best and brightest in our community.



Top 10 Líderes


JOSÉ LUIS PRADO osé Luis Prado has shifted from running a major food conglomerate to leading a smaller enterprise—and he’s enjoying every step of the way. The food industry veteran took the reins in April 2016 as the CEO of Evans Food Group, a company known for its pork rind snack products. In fact, Evans is the world’s leader in pork rinds. Previously, Prado had been with PepsiCo for thirty years, leaving as president and CEO of Quaker Foods North America in 2014. He began working as a consultant, having realized that he could contribute his vast array of experiences to smaller companies, especially in his hometown of Chicago.



Prado started with Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. He really liked what he saw—the people, the company’s values, and the success of their business model. He saw a great opportunity to connect Wind Point Partners with another Chicago-based enterprise and jumped on it. Prado knew the owner of Evans Food Group, Alejandro Silva. He approached Silva, who had interest in exploring the sale of his company, and acted as a matchmaker between Silva and Wind Point Partners. Prado was brought on board as CEO of Evans Food Group soon after. One of the main things that excites Prado about Evans Food Group is the company’s products. Prado sees pork rinds, also known as chicharrónes, as a bit of an underdog in the snack world, one that is often relegated to a humble position on lower shelves at supermarkets. But that won’t be for much longer if Prado can help it. He notes a trend of high-end restaurants incorporating pork rinds into their dishes. Prado thinks the potential is huge for Evans and his goal is to expand the company’s presence, especially in the

EVANS FOOD GROUP HQ: Chicago, IL FOUNDED: 1947 ABOUT: Evans Food Group is a global producer of pork pellets and branded, privatelabel packaged pork rinds. The company has grown into one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the country.

Hispanic food territory. “We want to invest in every key area of the business to drive growth,” he says. “We want to focus first on the core of the business by improving distribution, improving our understanding of consumer insights, and by developing innovation.” Transitioning from PepsiCo to Evans Food Group has been a delightful change for the seasoned food industry CEO. “I marvel at how much you can do with a small company, how quickly you can create new products, and how making decisions is a much more nimble process,” he says. When it comes to Prado’s leadership style, he sees himself as both a coach and a part of the team. To Prado, celebrating team accomplishments is a crucial element to achieving success. His focus on celebration goes back to Prado’s childhood, where he said his every achievement was celebrated as if he’d won an Olympic medal. “Emphasizing the enjoyment of achieving something I think is a very neglected piece of leadership for many executives. Finding ways to combine corporate goals with what each member of

JOSÉ LUIS PRADO’S HABITS FOR SUCCESS MAKE A CHECKLIST To find a balance between living in the moment and focusing on his goals: “I always prepare and structure a checklist of what I need to work on in the next three to six months.” REFLECT ON THE WINS Prado takes time to look back every year and reflect on his achievements. He finds that reflection helps remind him of where he wants to go: “That’s very important.”


PLAY HARD, TOO “I try to work hard from Monday to Friday, and I try to play hard from Saturday to Sunday. Taking the time for a fun set of interests gives me the mental space to unwind.”


CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COMMUNITY Prado finds happiness by helping others succeed: “Contribution is key.”





Natalie Morales is settling into a new role in Los Angeles after moving from New York, where she had served as a TODAY reporter since 2006. From the epicenter of the entertainment industry, Morales hosts NBCU’s “Access Hollywood” and cohosts “Access Hollywood Live,” while remaining TODAY’s West Coast anchor. The awardwinning journalist—whose pieces have hit airwaves from “NBC Nightly News” to “Dateline NBC”—shares her approach to anchoring on the national stage and catches us up on her past few months as a bicoastal broadcaster.


ACCESS HOLLYOOD HQ: Universal City, CA FOUNDED: 1996 ABOUT: Access Hollywood is a nationally syndicated entertainment news show, now in its twentieth season.


the team is contributing, can be a very powerful combination,” he says. Prado’s engineering degree and training have played a large part in helping him develop into the leader he is today. “I like taking action toward solutions as quickly as possible. To me, it’s a waste of time to just talk about problems without acting on solutions,” he says. Prado has a vast wealth of professional and personal experiences that he can leverage to benefit others, and he plans to keep adding to them. One of his main focuses in this new phase of his career, in addition to helping Evans Food Group grow, is to contribute as much as possible as a board director. Among other nonprofit organizations, Prado serves on the boards of the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Latino Corporate Directors Association, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. On the corporate side, Prado sits on the boards of Northern Trust and Brinker International. As someone who has worked around the globe, including his native Mexico, he is excited about being part of the “Hispanic transformation” in this country and wants to build bridges in every direction. “I think there is a huge agenda ahead for all of us in this country that has to do with learning to make diversity a competitive advantage. We all know that Hispanics will play a major role in that mosaic,” he says. “Leveraging the talents of our community is going to be very fundamental for the future of America.” —Cristina Merrill


Top 10 Líderes

Does your Puerto Rican and Brazilian heritage play into your work? NM: I’m as Latina as they come, but I try not to wear my identity on my sleeve. Most important, it’s about the integrity I carry in the job. I never wanted to be typecast. Early on, the idea was that if you were diverse, you had an edge in the media. I don’t think that necessarily is the case anymore. What has helped me is my language abilities; I speak both Spanish and Portuguese. I’ve been able to use that skill set to talk to people, to break barriers, to connect with people that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. What attracted you to broadcast journalism? NM: I love the creativity with the visual side of TV. When I worked at News 12 in the Bronx, I used to shoot and edit my own pieces. I love sitting in the edit room and being out in the field when you can figure out all the elements that go into a story. We write a lot of our own pieces [on NBC]. At the Olympics in Rio, I helped to produce the stories as well. You’ve got to be able to just go. You have to

be a good talker, smart, think fast on your feet, and be naturally curious, and have good work ethic. If you have those skills, you’ll do well in any job, really. Of all the stories you’ve covered, which stand out the most?


NM: The Chilean miner story. I was there for twenty days during the rescue. That defined for me what it means to be a reporter. Working the field, connecting to the families, and telling the story from a point of view that the American audience didn’t always get to see. Or when I went to Honduras for a story about the lobster diving industry. There were poor Mosquito Coast indigenous people who were diving to great depths without proper gear equipment to prevent injury. Then they would come back with severe bends that often led to paralysis. A lot of people may not realize that when you’re buying spiny-tail lobster from the Caribbean, many Honduran people are risking their lives to get it.

STRIKE A POWER POSE “I stand for two minutes every day with my arms stretched out as far as they’ll go. I learned about this power pose from Harvard professor Amy Cuddy. It helps stretch out the back, and your confidence shoots up. It’s also a little meditation prayer—my way of thanking God for all that I have in life.” RISE AND SHINE “I always eat a good breakfast. I’m a big believer in powering up to start my day. And I admittedly drink lots of coffee to keep me going.”


How is your West Coast life treating you?

mountains, the beaches. Now I can give my kids the chance to enjoy the outdoors year-round.

NM: I’m still learning. Tomorrow I’m doing both shows, so I have to be in at 3:30 in the morning. But I’m having so much fun and working with incredible teams. Living on the West Coast is something I’ve always wanted. Growing up as an Air Force brat, I lived all over the world. But never here. I had this glamorous image of LA—the weather, laidback-ness of people, the

Are your media habits evolving with your new role at “Access”? NM: I have to drive into work now [as opposed to NYC], so on the car ride in, I listen to TODAY on XM 108. I still read voraciously—the New York Times, New York Post, and Daily News. But now, because I’m in the entertainment industry, I have to be caught up on E!, TMZ, and Huffington Post. There was always sort of a guilty pleasure in “The Bachelor,” but now I watch those shows as part of my job. I’m still not on Snapchat; I’ve downloaded it, but I’m not really sure how to use it yet. —Ruth E. Dávila

FIND ZEN MOMENTS “When I start getting stressed, I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and count to ten.” HIT THE PAVEMENT “Running is my therapy. Anytime I have a problem or burden, if I go for a long run, I figure it out, or at least appease my mind.” WIND DOWN “When I get home, I look for a chance to do something for me— anything fulfilling that can take me out of work mode.”



Top 10 Líderes




UNITED HEALTHCARE HQ: Hopkins, MN FOUNDED: 1977 ABOUT: UnitedHealthcare is a diversified healthcare company and a leader worldwide in helping people live healthier lives.

Then there is the fact that Winkler simply likes being busy. She has been juggling a dual role that has her working on two levels, but she says one feeds into the other. “In my role as CEO for the central region, focusing on the consumer is part of what I do every day,” Winkler says. “That gives me more credibility as CCO because I’m so close to the consumer in my other role. The two jobs are not mutually exclusive in any way.” In her CEO role, she has immersed herself in the overall tectonic shift in healthcare to be more consumer-driven. “I make sure I’m thinking about how the consumer can take charge of their own healthcare and what that means through

“I’m motivated to conquer new ideas that I think have the potential to help the organization—and ultimately lead the industry.”

their lens, not ours,” she says. Her efforts to formalize the consumer-centric approach are helping the business run more smoothly. Case-in-point is a new health plan launched in Iowa in April 2016. She described the process as “noiseless.” “It was a huge deal with about 190,000 or so members all coming online on April 1,” she said. “We were able to make sure that we were ready, willing and able to serve these new members.” Winkler said she is also proud of the February 2016 launch of the myCommunity Connect Center in Maryvale, AZ, the first of its kind for the UnitedHealthcare myConnections business. The Center is a partnership with Chicanos Por La Causa, a not-forprofit that provides assistance to disadvantaged individuals regardless of ethnic origin. “If you can bring together the social health approach with clinical health for those at higher risk, you have the ability to lower medical costs and improve health outcomes,” she says. That’s just the kind of change that keeps Winkler’s mind focused on ways she can help America’s healthcare system improve. Good thing she likes keeping busy. —Chris Gigley


Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s the very trait that has given Yasmine Winkler her drive. The UnitedHealthcare executive says she has not stopped learning since the day she started and finds inspiration all around her. A nd Un it e d He a lt hc a r e (UHC) has put her in a position to do just that—giving her a dual role and a job title that needs more than one line. She is the CEO for the central region and the chief consumer officer (CCO), for UHC Community & State. As CEO, she focuses on UHC’s Medicaid business on a regional basis. As CCO, she steers and maintains the company’s customer centricity nationwide. “It’s not about titles, though,” she says. “I’m motivated to conquer new ideas that I think have the potential to help the organization—and ultimately lead the industry. I raise my hand a lot, because I relish the opportunity to contribute the knowledge I’ve gained on my journey and I feel energized by learning new things that could change or expand my point of view.” She credits people she worked for early on, people she says were entrepreneurial by nature and willing to experiment.



YASMINE WINKLER’S HABITS FOR SUCCESS NEVER STOP QUESTIONING “I am an insatiably curious person. I try to maintain curiosity even when my instinct says something may be a bad idea.” STAY IN COMMUNICATION “I’m really specific in making sure I’m touching base with my team members. Not all day every day, but I have one-on-ones with them. It’s really important to make sure your people know they have a place to go if they need a different perspective to solve a problem.” MAKE ROOM FOR FUN “Having fun is important and injecting that into the tenor of our meetings helps everyone relax and feel they can have the conversation they need to have.”

Guillermo Diaz Jr. Guillermo Diaz Jr.—known to his friends and colleagues

What skills have best served you as you’ve grown into a prominent tech leader?

simply as “G”—leads tech giant Cisco Systems’ global IT organization, strategy, and services. His focus is on driving the business outcomes that are critical to the digital transformation of Cisco, its customers, and its partners. Diaz started a career in telecommunications while in the US Navy, worked his way up in leading hightech companies, and joined Cisco in 2000. The influential CIO is passionate about technology, developing his team, and empowering the next generation, especially Latinos, to pursue opportunities in STEM fields. Diaz met with Hispanic Executive to talk about leading Cisco’s tech transformation.

Have you always had a passion for technology? GD: I’ve always been interested in pushing the limits of everything I tried. As a kid, I wanted adventure. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, so I figured I would start out as a jet engine mechanic. My mother had other plans, though, as she saw something that I didn’t quite see—a world of technology. I didn’t have the opportunity to go through a traditional route to

college, but there were telecommunications jobs available in the Navy. And joining the US Navy set you on the path? GD: It set the path for my entire career. I learned about how net work s worked and how ships communicated, used satellites, and needed security encryption. I encountered the foundational principles of wireless networks and security in the Navy.

GD: My passion for building relationships has served me well. My days in the Navy were the first in which I was around people who weren’t all Hispanic. And even the Hispanics originated from different countries and were from different parts of the country. Diversity became a key learning for me. Why is that important at Cisco? GD: It is critical to our business to have diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We are building a diverse leadership team under our new CEO, Chuck Robbins, and in our hiring pipeline. Because the world is rapidly becoming digital, we need diverse thinking and skills so that we can disrupt; not



Top 10 Líderes

CISCO SYSTEMS HQ: San Jose, CA FOUNDED: 1984 ABOUT: Cisco Systems Inc. is a multinational corporation technology company


get disrupted. I am the executive sponsor of our Latino employee resource organization, Conexión, which focuses on professional development for our members, building a diverse talent pipeline for Cisco, and growing young talent through our community engagement activities. You’ve been at Cisco for seventeen years. What triumphs stick out? GD: I came here to transform the web network infrastructure, but I stayed because of the opportunities to grow, and evolve. Rebecca Jacoby, our SVP of operations, has been my boss for quite a while. She has pushed me to get new perspectives and move to new roles. One role was to develop Cisco’s service architecture. She felt it would take me where I wanted to go . . . and she was right. What were the most important lessons you took from Rebecca Jacoby? GD: I had to discover more about different processes and workflows so I could become a better and broader leader in IT and at Cisco. In 2009,



that designs, manufactures, and sells networking equipment.

Rebecca asked me what I wanted to be, and my answer was simple. I said, ‘You.’

things differently. I have to inspire reinvention for myself and my team.

What did you mean by that?

How do you respond to inspiring reinvention?

GD: I wanted to become a top business leader in the organization. I think it’s important to make those aspirations known and take the steps to make it happen. When I have an aspiration, I ask myself every day if I am doing what is needed to inspire myself and others on the journey. In 2015, you became the company’s CIO. GD: Correct. It was a big moment to get that call. Rebecca, Chuck, and John asking me if I was ready to be the CIO of Cisco. As a kid of Mexican heritage from the east side of Pueblo, Colorado, every emotion went through me, and I felt honored and proud to lead IT for what I think is the best company in the world. What has the new role been like? GD: It’s been awesome and challenging. I’ve been here almost seventeen years, and I have built great relationships, but expectations are high to build on Cisco IT by doing

“When I have an aspiration, I ask myself everyday if I am doing what is needed to inspire myself and others on the journey.”

GD: You have to remember where you came from to know where you’re going. I had to remember the building blocks that got me here. One of the building blocks is what I call ROI—relationships over issues. I continue to invest in relationships and focus on building those at the executive leadership level. Then I leverage and gain the dividends of taking risks and making bold decisions at a whole different level. ROI is the foundation but I have to keep pushing the limits for myself and the team to keep reinventing. What has this latest chapter taught you? GD: That answer is simple; be comfortable being uncomfortable. It is about pushing the limits of people, process and technology or we could get disrupted. What’s next? GD: There’s so much opportunity out there. I’m excited. We have to think differently. People are now thinking digital and the notion of continuous innovation, and we have to keep driving it home. Once you set and move on an aspiration, people will rally and bring their ideas into the effort, and that will move it forward. Then, as a leader, you show examples of success and reward great work. If you do that, you will inspire reinvention. —Zach Baliva

Recognizing Innovation and Leadership Congratulations Guillermo Diaz, Jr., and those recognized as the 2016 Top 10 Líderes in Hispanic Executive. At Cisco, we empower people to make a difference. How? Through diversity, inclusion and collaboration. We live and work by these principles every day, and that’s how we are making the unimaginable a reality.

©2016 Cisco Systems. Inc. All rights reserved.

Top 10 Líderes


GonzalezMendez year after McDonald’s Corporation hired J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, an earthquake hit. He was hired in 1984 as the hamburger company’s first employee in Mexico to set up the supply chain for the first restaurants under the Golden Arches south of the border. But when a 7.2 magnitude quake struck in September 1985—killing thousands of people and causing irreparable damage—it appeared that those plans would be derailed. The company then flew down a contingent of people to boil water, make soup, and give out supplies to people in need. “It seemed like the business loss was secondary,” Gonzalez-Mendez says. “It became clear to me that McDonald’s



was not a company selling hamburgers to people, but rather a people company selling hamburgers. People came first.” So he stayed with the company through the recovery. The first restaurant in Mexico City opened about a month after the quake, and hundreds more followed. Gonzalez-Mendez himself grew professionally as the burger chain established its Latin America footprint. He became president of McDonald’s Mexico, and subsequently was appointed senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for North America, a position that involved the purchasing, logistics, and distribution of $15 billion worth of goods annually to 15,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States and Canada. From that meteoric rise, he humbly states that McDonald’s provided him with all the opportunities he could possibly

GM Integritas HQ: St. Charles, IL FOUNDED: 2016 ABOUT: GM Integritas Consulting works with start-ups and existing businesses in the food sector to help expand their reach in the supply chain industry.





Top 10 Líderes

We are an innovator and manufacturer of bakery products. We cater to the needs of the largest and most well-known restaurant chains on the planet. The Bama Companies

Paula Marshall CEO, The Bama Companies, Inc. 102


ask for—including the MBA he earned at the University of Southern California. But since retiring in 2015, he hasn’t really left the industry. He formed GM Integritas Consulting, which works with both start-ups and established food businesses. The firm is based not far from McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, near Chicago. That change in career course involves significantly different volumes of merchandise being bought and shipped. But Gonzalez-Mendez stresses that successful ventures of all sizes maintain consistent standards. “My daughter helped me come up with the name, Integritas,” he says. “She asked what is most important to me in business and I said, ‘integrity.’ Integritas is the Latin word for that.” How he carries that idea over from three decades with McDonald’s to his new work is perhaps best seen in the nature of building and maintaining relationships. The burger chain famously works very closely with the vendors that supply everything from coffee creamers to soft drinks. Those relationships involve a lot of learning and sharing back and forth between McDonald’s and vendors. The operational needs, marketing programs, and costs of goods may be the business of the restaurant, but suppliers

have to be in sync with each of these things. Gonzalez-Mendez relates how McDonald’s underwent significant changes to its menu in recent years to satisfy consumers’ better-foryou nutrition demands. “The amount of vegetables served at McDonald’s is mind blowing,” he notes, mentioning several statistics on consumption in US restaurants alone during his tenure overseeing that geographical region (2002-2006): 52 million pounds of apples, between 3 and 4 percent of the US potato crop, and 15 to 17 percent of American leaf lettuce. That customer relationship was improved also as the restaurants managed to reduce by 17 percent the caloric content of Happy Meals, which are primarily marketed to children. The chain ceased advertising soft drinks with the meals, which resulted in an uptick in protein consumption by young customers who now drink milk instead. Some of those changes came with suppliers adjusting their product lines and in some cases entirely new suppliers were found. Part of Gonzalez-Mendez’s work today is consulting with food companies who want to get into the McDonald’s supply chain or expand their global reach within it. “I help them navigate the system,” he says, adding that many are minority-owned companies. One firm is already a supplier of several products to US and many international McDonald’s restaurants, but they

“My daughter helped me come up with the name, Integritas. She asked what is most important to me in business and I said, ‘integrity.’ Integritas is the Latin word for that.”

are working to also become a supplier to the firm’s Latin American outlets. On a different scale, and in a different segment of the restaurant industry, he has joined Bien Trucha Group, a Mexican-themed, three-unit restaurant chain in the Chicago suburbs. “It’s authentic food, with an educated approach to the culinary traditions,” he says. The brand’s restaurant names are derived from popular Mexican slang—Bien Trucha, which can be translated to “on top of your game,” A Toda Madre (so good), and Quiubo (what’s

where it is evolving, probably because his current work is on a parallel track, keeping pace with changing consumer dining tastes. For anyone looking for a career in global supply chain management, Gonzalez-Mendez offers this advice: “Supply chain is a strategic weapon,” he says. “International experience is key, so look for a six- to twelvemonth stint abroad. Learn a second or even more languages. And take risks.” While those risks don’t have to involve earthquakes, seeing a company doing the right thing in any circumstance is a good sign. —Russ Klettke

up), soon to open in Naperville, Illinois. These tout modern-rustic décor, and market-fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Gonzalez-Mendez says that local sourcing is not antithetical to someone who’s worked in supply-chain management for the global burger company. “Ray Kroc [McDonald’s founder] was always about finding local suppliers where possible,” he says. “He knew it was a smart business practice.” While no longer with the global chain, Gonzalez-Mendez remains keenly aware of



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“I never set out to be a CEO,” Julio Portalatin says after over thirty years in the insurance industry. The CEO of Mercer insists that his path was not predetermined. “I simply set out to be the best at what I did.” Portalatin’s penchant for achievement can be seen in the company’s reputation. From being voted the best consultancy group by for over ten years to being named one of the best American employers by Forbes, Mercer is at the top of its game. The company is also dedicated to being at the cutting edge of its industry, recently launching a product using software that gamifies the job search process. The technology, called Mercer Match, was very well-received at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt event in New York. Recalling that achievement, Portalatin says with a laugh, “It’s not often we’ve been called cool before!” The global consulting firm’s focus on innovation is also evident in its recent successes. Over the past few years, Mercer has achieved an elusive business trifecta: increased revenue, increased profitability, and increased employee engagement. Portalatin believes this success is, in part, due to Mercer’s approach. The firm is dedicated to using data to drive insights, offering top-notch analytical advice for clients. He notes that Mercer employees are always asking, “How does that information inform us about the future?” This data-first approach is one reason Mercer has been able to achieve success with its gender equality initiative and study, “When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive.” Through this research, Mercer found that diversity schemes offer a “substantial economic advantage” to companies and countries that work towards inclusivity. Additionally, the study offered real, actionable insights into the issues of inequality




in the workplace, finding that diversity initiatives need to go beyond hiring. To create an inclusive workplace, companies must take a holistic approach, examining their healthcare policies and retirement plans as they pertain to specific gender and other differences. At the World Economic Forum this past year, gender equity was the topic of the event, in part thanks to Mercer’s successful campaign. “Mercer is an organization that is very purposeful,” says Portalatin, explaining what sets it apart from other consulting companies. “We make a difference in people’s lives.” In addition to offering advice to others, Portalatin is proud to say that Mercer’s executive

JULIO PORTALATIN’S HABITS FOR SUCCESS DO INSTEAD OF SAY Portalatin believes it’s important to try to achieve something meaningful that makes a difference every day. He says that “takes more than just saying it, it requires doing it.” He is a big advocate for charity work. In addition to serving on the Hofstra Board of Trustees, he is also a very active program participant throughout the year with Covenant House, an organization that helps impoverished and at-risk youth in cities across the Americas. PUT YOURSELF IN THE GAME A longtime basketball player, Portalatin believes that in order to excel, you have to seize the opportunity to, as he describes it, “put yourself in the game.” No one will do that for you. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU Portalatin strongly believes you need to surround yourself with people who make you better personally and professionally by challenging your thinking. NEVER STOP READING For Portalatin, books help with both everyday and workplace issues. A personal favorite of his is In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.

MERCER HQ: New York, NY FOUNDED: 1945 ABOUT: Mercer is the world’s largest human resources consulting firm.

leadership team is nearly 50 percent female. Not one to rest on his laurels, Portalatin has targeted a new sphere in need of a shake-up: the world of pensions. After nearly thirty years at both AIG and Allstate Insurance, he is motivated both by his expertise and passion for the topic. “The issue of having adequate retirement savings is of great interest to us,” says Portalatin, who is a proponent of the Pension and Budget Integrity Act. “The act would improve retirement plans for the country.” The act—which works to disallow double counting of premium payments to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. to offset general federal spending—would work to make plans more affordable again for the private sector. Portalatin enjoys consulting because it is an intersection of his varied interests. “Consulting is not telling a client what you think they want to hear,” Portalatin explains. “It is about listening and learning and delivering a point of view.” —Alexandra Talty

Adolfo Perez


o sum up his childhood, Adolfo Perez says he had a “typical Latino upbringing, if that even exists.” His parents moved to the United States from Cuba in 1962 and settled in South Florida. The vice president of sales and trade marketing for Carnival Cruise Line remembers what it was like for his Cuban parents to merge two cultures for their family. “For Thanksgiving we would have American food—turkey with all the trimmings,” he says. “But for Nochebuena, we had pork, black beans and yucca—a very Cuban feast.” Though he is Hispanic, and very much Cubano-American, Perez is quick to remark that he has never let labels of race and ethnicity define him.“I’ve always seen myself just as another person in the workforce, doing the best I could.” RISING TO THE TOP Perez first got involved with Carnival Cruise Line when he was sixteen years old, still a junior in high school. “I worked at the port as a

check-in agent, and that was the launch pad for my career,” says Perez, who holds an MBA from Florida International University in Miami. “Thirty-four years later, I am still here.” He became the reservation manager in 1991. At that time, the reservation department had eighty people. By the time Perez moved to another position in 2011, it had grown to over 1,500 employees across three call centers. “Then I went to London in order to set up the Carnival sales and marketing office for the UK,” Perez says. “This move and job was totally out of my comfort zone, but I decided to push myself to grow, and it turned out to be a very gratifying personal and business endeavor.” As the managing director of the company’s UK office, Perez established Carnival’s travel agent sales network there and launched its first-ever consumer marketing campaign and programs. “I remember shooting TV commercials and developing the UK website,” he says. “I was given a lot of responsibilities and allowed to take chances—it was like



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“Their success is due to the fact that they have always been very inclusive and caring,” Perez says. “Being allowed to learn new skills and make mistakes, combined with great benefits and competitive salaries, makes Carnival a great place to work.”


having my own business! That was a great boost from the professional and personal standpoints.” After coming back in 2013, he served as vice president of new market and new product marketing. He launched the Carnival Vista sales and marketing plan and started programs like their first US Hispanic advertising campaign on the West Coast. Today, as the VP of sales and trade marketing, a very important part of his job is focused on nurturing and growing relationships with over 30,000 travel agents domestically as well as managing the relationships with the company’s international sales agents. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the tremendous support we have had from our wonderful travel agent partners,” he says. “It was because of their hard work and their belief in the cruise industry early on that we were able to grow and succeed. I feel responsible to support the people who support us.” THE CARNIVAL FAMILY Carnival Cruise Line started as a family-owned company founded by Ted Arison in 1972 and has grown to become the world’s largest cruise ship operator.



CRUISING BACK IN TIME Perez ’s parents always said that they would never go back to Cuba, “no matter what.” “I can imagine how hard it must have been coming to a new country, with a one-yearold child (my sister), my maternal grandparents, and without speaking the language,” Perez says. “But they never forgot Cuba. They talked about it all the time—the beaches, the shows, and even the little ferryboat that crossed Havana Bay, La Lanchita de Regla.” Those conversations made him curious about the island, but he never made plans to go until Carnival launched the Fathom brand. Fathom is the first and still the only American cruise line with permission to sail to Cuba from a US port—Miami. “I thought, ‘Now I don’t have an excuse not to go,’” Perez says. “My parents had passed away, but I went with my family. It was an emotional, eye-opening trip. Havana is so big and it feels as if time has stopped there. It is so beautiful and the people are amazing. It was easy to see the way my parents described Cuba to me as it once must have looked.” Fathom cruises offers guests people-to-people planned activities, and guests are also allowed to go around on their own and sightsee without any restrictions. That was precisely what Perez and his family did during the two days they spent in Havana this year. “We visited relatives and saw

“It was an emotional, eye-opening trip. Havana is so big and it feels as if time has stopped there.”

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE HQ: Miami, FL FOUNDED: 1972 ABOUT: Carnival Cruise Line is a global cruise company and one of the world’s largest vacation companies, attracting ten million guests annually.

the entire city,” he says. “Even La Lanchita de Regla! We had the world famous mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio and enjoyed a live band. It’s a must-see place in Havana.” They also visited Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, which are included in the cruise. Besides the Cuban cruise, Fathom offers impact tourism cruises to the Dominican Republic. GIVING BACK Philanthropy as important to Carnival as it is to Perez , which is another key reason he has been with the company for over three decades. Carnival Cruise Line just donated $10 million to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and has announced an additional $10 million goal by 2020. “We give back to the community in big ways, like large donations, and in small ways, like organizing beach cleanups,” Perez says. “We have an in-the-workplace mentoring program for high school students who can even get full scholarships to college. And the Carnival Center for Excellence helps Miami organizations have positive impacts on the lives of young people in South Florida,” an initiative close to Perez ’s heart. —Teresa Dovalpage

LEADING FORWARD, MOVING AHEAD. We travel in many styles, across ten incredible brands. We call hundreds of extraordinary destinations home. Delivering memorable moments and exceeding our guests’ expectations around the world is our common objective. With more than 120,000 employees from 60 countries, diversity is part of our DNA.


Mayda Gonzalez, Sr. Director, Identity and Access Management On board since 2015

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HQ: Bethesda, MD FOUNDED: 1927 ABOUT: Marriott International is a global hotel chain with almost 4,500 properties in 87 countries and territories.


maximized the outcome for both.” The past year has been busy for Rodriguez and Marriott. For starters, the hotel chain is in the process of acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Rodriguez has been tasked with making sure Marriott’s people-centric company culture is kept vibrant and relevant for current and future generations as well as to make incoming Starwood employees feel welcome after the merger is complete. “The word that comes to mind is exhilarating,” Rodriguez says. “There’s never been a transaction of this size to my knowledge in the hotel industry and it’s been exciting. Every day brings something perhaps you haven’t quite ever seen before. So, you know you have to figure that out. That’s been great.” It’s hard to match Marriott’s efforts when it comes to keeping its employees happy. The company’s “TakeCare” movement puts an emphasis on three key components to help its staff members flourish. First, it promotes good health and good careers so employees feel positive about themselves. Resources and training on financial wellbeing are made available to employees to help them manage their finances and secure a sound retirement. Second, in an effort to help employees feel good about their relationships in the workplace, a large focus is put on making sure that each associate feels valued and included, like part of a family. The company wants everyone to feel accepted for who you are at work. The third leg of the “TakeCare” movement falls under social responsibility and employees feeling good about Marriott and its role in society. For example, a group of employees recently helped raise money to pay for motorcycle helmets for women and young children in Bangkok—a luxury normally

David Rodriguez 108



only afforded to men over twenty-five years old. “What we have found is when all three of those elements are in place, people start to see something magical happen,” Rodriguez says. “When you walk into a Marriott hotel, you are going to find a smile on the face of our associates that greet you because they think of that hotel as their home and they’re welcoming you into their home. That makes a big difference in terms of the experience our customers have.” It’s also not enough for Marriott just to see its employees excel in their current roles; Rodriguez and his fellow executives want them to have the chance to join the leadership ranks if they desire. To do that, the company has programs to build its talent pipeline and enable employees to develop and grow. Leadership opportunities are there for those who want to advance their careers. This includes a variety of development programs, an online mentoring program, and Talent Network Teams at Marriott Headquarters where employees across different disciplines can work



arriott International is known for attracting guests to its many hotel locations, but what might not be as well known is the effort the company puts into attracting employees and helping them excel. David Rodriguez, Marriott’s executive vice president and global chief human resources officer, knows about the company’s recruitment efforts all too well. After all, it’s up to him to ensure the company is run in a way that is attractive to talent and the marketplace. A job in human resources was a natural fit for Rodriguez, who is a trained psychologist. He received a doctorate degree in industrial and organizational psychology because it fed his interest in the inner workings of how people spent a big part of their life—at work. “I was intrigued by that,” he says. “We all know that people have an impact on an organization, but just as important is recognizing that the organization has a big impact on people’s lives. I was very much interested in how you run a company that

collaboratively to solve a business challenge. “Everyone has to be accountable for their future and we think one of the most important steps is to have people understand how to build their careers,” Rodriguez says. “We are getting phenomenal results, particularly with women and minorities, with this kind of guidance and support.” Rodriguez has not only been at the forefront of leading these people-centric programs and initiatives, but also he’s been the beneficiary of them. He recently fought a life-threatening battle with leukemia and gave Marriott a lot of credit for his survival thanks to its TakeCare well-being movement. Before getting sick, he had been relatively healthy and was taking better care of himself through exercise and wellness programs offered at work. “Having gone through that experience, I would say it’s impressed upon me the duality of we’re all very fragile, but resilient at the same time,” Rodriguez says. “For us at Marriott in the way we run our company, it’s always knowing that everyone’s trying to do their best, trying to get through life. Every now and then they’re going to have a fall and those are the times we most need to be present for our employees.” —Joe Dyton

“We all know that people have an impact on an organization but just as important is recognizing that the organization has a big impact on people’s lives.”


MONICA CALDAS Monica Caldas doesn’t have time or patience for complaints: only for action. After immigrating to the United States at eight years old, Caldas decided the only way to turn her interest in technology into a full-blown career was to harness the immigrant mind-set— work hard and pull herself up through the ranks. Today, Caldas is the chief information officer for global services and solutions at GE Transportation. Hispanic Executive caught up with Caldas to reflect on her year, her journey, her approach to leadership, and some of the projects she’s most excited about.

Can we start by you giving me an over view of your background and telling me how you got into tech? MC: I was born in Portugal, and my parents immigrated to the US when I was eight. My parents didn’t have college educations—they mostly kept housekeeper and gardener-type jobs—so I wasn’t around a lot of technology growing up; I found it fascinating all on my own. I just thought, ‘Wow this is so cool, how does this work?’ I went to college to study business, but selected the information systems track. That’s where I got exposed to coding and software development. I couldn’t believe that

you could essentially make anything come to life with software. So getting into technology was really through my own exploration and being excited by what I saw. My parents had no idea what I was doing really. They were just happy knowing I was in college and I was going to go get a job. What influences leadership style?


MC: Being an immigrant, one lesson I learned early was to be in charge of my own destiny and not to depend on others to forge a path for me. I learned that from my dad. There is also a saying I read once that really made an impact on me. It was



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GE TRANSPORTATION HQ: Chicago, IL FOUNDED: 1907 ABOUT: A division of General Electric Company, GE Transportation is a global digital industrial leader, supplying the rail, mining, marine, stationary power, and drilling industries.





something to the effect of: ‘You may be on the right track, but you’ll get run over sitting down.’ My interpretation of that would be, if you want to see change, you have to be making the change. I was looking for a company that had that type of philosophy and encouraged people to have a voice and go make change—that’s when I landed at GE. I came here first as an intern in college and haven’t stopped making change since. As I grew with the company, I became a product of all their leadership programs—all of which I’ve benefited from. So when you combine growing up with an immigrant mentality, and being in an organization that empowers, it feels natural to step into a leadership position, while growing and grooming other people in my organization. Would you say this ‘take action’ mentality describes your leadership style today? MC: Yes. I’m a coach. I look to help grow my team, that’s one of my top priorities. In addition, I motivate my team to focus on outcomes and not be discouraged by obstacles. Noting is impossible to solve and we have creative problem solvers. How I measure success is: did I enable the promotion and the growth of my people? I love when my people get promoted. That’s when I know I’ve been successful. I’ve enabled them to grow. What are some projects you’re excited about at GE? MC: The first—which is business oriented—is the journey that GE is on transforming into a digital industrial. The journey that we’re on presents huge opportunities to deliver greater value to our customers. When I spoke earlier about how I got into IT,

“Being an immigrant, one lesson I learned early was to be in charge of my own destiny and not to depend on others to forge a path for me. ”

I mentioned how I love the power of what technology can do. It can transform your idea, scale it, and change how you operate. Everything we’re doing with transportation specifically—adding more sensors and enabling more onboard instructions and then utilizing those capabilities to analyze real time locomotive and train conditions, environment factors, and then in real time, optimize the operation of that train. That generates a different value for our customers that can help them run their operation faster and more efficiently. As an IT leader, I wear many hats and it’s very exciting to be a partner in developing these commercial opportunities and driving new solutions for our customers. The second piece is around what we’re doing with the GE Girls program. Our mission is to excite and retain interest of middle school girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Share GE’s technology brand, and facilitate interactions between career role models and students. I’m one of the senior executive sponsors of that program. We have over 200 GE full-time employees that are volunteers to drive that mission. We run camps every summer across the country and in partnership with local community schools, GE business and universities, we have reached over 600 girls. Especially for someone like me, who did not grow up with a technical mentor, I love that GE is putting time, effort, and money into helping girls learn and be inspired. I’m excited about our mission to reach more and more girls every year. —Sarah Kollmorgen



SET GOALS WITH A “WHY” Whenever she sets a goal—personal or professional—Caldas makes sure she can articulate exactly why she’s setting that goal. She says creating a crisp and clear “why” gives a clarity to work, helps drive toward the outcome, and ensures coworkers are on the same page. GO ON “SEAT RIDES” If faced with a problem or obstacle, Caldas says she tries to first fully understand the situation before taking action. She goes on what she terms “seat rides”—akin to putting yourself in someone else’s role. “I’m looking to understand the situation, so I can solve it and not just complain about it,” she says.



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NOVARTIS HQ: Basel, Switzerland FOUNDED: 1996 ABOUT: Novartis is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company that employs about 120,000 associates and its products are available in more than 180 countries around the world.


pend some time with Virginia Lazala, and you’ll come to the realization that you actually can have it all. Lazala holds two prestigious positions: vice president and legal head of the Latin America and Canada (LACan) region for Novartis Oncology, an independent business unit within Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She is also head of legal for Novartis Oncology Global Human Resources. She was a hands-on mom and raised two now-grown children that she’s incredibly proud of. High school students, up-and-coming attorneys, and Novartis employees alike seek her professional advice, which she loves sharing through numerous mentoring programs. Her network is stronger than titanium, and she loves sharing it. Accolades, too, honor


her accomplishments, including being named one of Hispanic Business’s 15 Elite Women to Watch. One more thing—the woman can pedal circles around anyone in her daily 5:45 a.m. spin class. “Yes, you can have it all—just not all at the same time,” Lazala counsels those seeking her guidance. “As a working woman and mother, I’ve had struggles and made choices—sometimes very difficult choices.” To jump these hurdles without regret, Lazala focused on the big picture—rather than expecting to “have it all” on a daily basis. Embracing this philosophy has helped her skillfully and triumphantly navigate the life she dreamed about from an early age.

A DREAM COME TRUE “My mother and I left the Dominican Republic and moved to the South Bronx when I was five. So, I have that immigrant work ethic. My mother taught me that you go to school, work hard, and that’s how you fulfill the American dream—which is why we came here in the first place,” Lazala recalls. With education as step one toward her dreams, a young Lazala began her academic career in a New York City public school’s gifted program. A Better Chance, dedicated to giving talented young, underprivileged people, and people of color increased access to academically advanced independent and public schools, awarded Lazala a scholarship to attend high school at the prestigious Friends Seminary in Manhattan. Next, it was on to Wellesley College for undergrad and then Georgetown University Law Center for her JD degree. It was official: Lazala was the first in her family to complete high school, earn a college degree, and, to date, graduate from law school. Immediately after passing the bar, Lazala joined the Office of the Bronx District Attorney as an assistant DA, where she stayed from 1986 to 1989. Then, for eleven years, she honed her litigation skills with several

“I am a connector by nature and I know a lot of people in the organization, so I almost always can point my mentees to the right person to help resolve an issue or answer a question.” different private law firms. In 1998, Lazala faced one of those “very difficult choices.” Should she press her career forward or briefly step off the fast track to be a hands-on mom? “It wasn’t an easy decision—my career has always been important to me. But my family has always been most important,” Lazala stresses. So she took a position that would allow her more control of her time as in-house senior vice president and bank counsel with Hudson United Bank (now TD Bank). By 2000, Lazala followed a lead into Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, located in East Hanover, New Jersey, and an affiliate of Novartis AG, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. As her children grew, Lazala gradually expanded her role within Novartis and eventually settled into her current position with Novartis Oncology. When Lazala lays out her academic and professional

timeline, she’s quick to punctuate milestones with people and programs that helped her step ever closer to fulfilling the American dream. To honor her benefactors, Lazala is dedicated to giving back, whether on a global level through her position with Novartis Oncology or through mentoring programs. IN GOOD COMPANY Giving back is a big reason why Lazala remains with Novartis Oncology. “I work beside brilliant people who are hell-bent on finding cures for different oncology diseases,” she stresses. “It’s wonderful to say I work for a company that helps save lives.” As head of legal for the LACan Region, she supports medical, marketing, and sales efforts so Novartis Oncology can maximize every opportunity to safely and legally bring cancer drugs as quickly as possible to the

Litigation Defense Employment Practices Training Business & Legal Counseling Audits Policy & Document Preparation Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Workplace Investigations

We join Hispanic Executive in recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of Virginia Lazala. We are proud to work with Virginia and the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Team.



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Kaye Scholer joins Hispanic Executive in recognizing

Virginia Lazala Vice President & Legal Head, Oncology Global Development, LatAm Region and HR, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation For her legal leadership at Novartis and her service to the profession

Combining the continuity and business acumen of a century-old law firm with a practical forward-looking, results-driven approach. 114


“As I was coming up, I benefited a lot from others helping me. So now, if I can help clear a path for others, I’m happy to do it.” eleven countries and sub-regions under her watch. Lazala proudly plays her role in helping Novartis Oncology meet its goal to improve the lives of cancer patients around the world. At the same time, it’s a responsibility fraught with challenges. “From a legal perspective, getting our oncology products on formulary and bringing them to Latin American countries and Canada can be difficult,” Lazala says. “Many of the countries I deal with are politically unstable, which explains why a lot of pharmaceutical companies have left these regions. We have not. We put patients first; we’re not going to abandon them.” In her role in Novartis Oncology, Lazala helps oversee the Novartis Oncology legal

team, located in the company’s East Hanover site. Taking a page out of her human resources clients’ playbook, in 2015, Lazala took the lead in doubling her team’s size—a move necessitated by Novartis Oncology’s acquisition of the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) oncology drug portfolio. Laza la is admittedly proud of building out the new legal team, since the additional staff helped Novartis Oncology bring the newly acquired GSK oncology drugs to more patients and societies. Although, Lazala adds, it was an arduous task. “We were a small, cohesive, and very collaborative legal team. It was important to bring the right people on board so we could protect that dynamic. And the way Novartis Legal works, every day is different. We needed lawyers who can switch their focus on a dime. We did it and we’re a phenomenal team,” she says with pride. PAYING IT FORWARD Moving from the global stage to a one-on-one scenario, Lazala also gives back through mentoring programs—some official, some on the fly. “As I was coming up, I benefited a lot from others helping me. So now, if I can help clear a path for others, I’m happy to do it.” One mentoring avenue is the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Program (NJ LEEP), which provides inner city high school students with mentorships and internships. Lazala has been involved with NJ LEEP

Hollingsworth LLP celebrates Virginia Lazala’s passion to address the unmet needs of patients and congratulates her for outstanding leadership with Novartis in the Latin America Region and at home.



for four years, serving on its board, working with students, and, along the way, earning the program’s Diversity in the Legal Profession award. “This is an amazing program,” Lazala says. “It’s based on a law curriculum. That means our students are debating complex legal issues, which helps them learn to think on their feet and articulate their position clearly and concisely. They’re often doing this in front of New Jersey Supreme Court justices. In this way, we help our students improve their academic skills, interpersonal skills, and ultimately gain entry into college—and to date, 100 percent of our students have gone on to college.” Lazala also devotes considerable time to mentoring attorneys and others within the Novartis company. “One of the things I enjoy most is helping newer employees learn to navigate our matrix. I’m a connector by nature,

It has been Hollingsworth LLP’s great privilege to work with Virginia on matters related to some of Novartis’s most innovative and extraordinary advances in oncology, and we look forward to many future successes together.

Together with Ms. Lazala and Novartis (since 1996) in matters including In re Aredia and Zometa Products Liability MDL and In re Pamidronate Products Liability MDL NOV | DEC 2016 HISPANICEXECUTIVE.COM


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Morrison & Foerster congratulates Virginia Lazala, Vice President and Legal Head, on her accomplishments and recognition by Hispanic Executive.

At Morrison & Foerster, our commitment to excellence begins with the understanding that our clients’ needs are unique. That’s why we are dedicated to finding creative solutions that ensure our clients achieve their business goals. ©2016 Morrison & Foerster LLP



We proudly support and congratulate honoree Virginia A Lazala

and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Overcoming Obstacles

Achieving Results Florham Park 973-635-6300 New York, NY 212-308-0070 Toms River, NJ 732-914-9114

and I know a lot of people in the organization, so I almost always can point my mentees to the right person to help resolve an issue or answer a question,” she says. Some of this mentoring is official, through Novartis programs that match employees with mentors. However, Lazala adds, “a lot of what I do is not official. I’ve been known to take young employees under my wing.” And as Lazala watches each mentee take flight, she assures them that they can have it all—just not all at the same time. But eventually, if they work hard and keep dreaming, they’ll have a life that embraces those they love as much as the professional success they seek. —Donna Shryer Hollingsworth LLP is among the nation’s leading complex litigation firms. The majority of our work is for corporate clients in the areas of pharmaceutical products and medical devices, toxic torts, products liability, environmental, insurance coverage, federal claims, financial institutions, and government contracts litigations, along with parallel investigations and regulatory proceedings. We are proud of our partnerships with our outstanding clients, many of whom we have represented since the firm’s founding thirty-four years ago.

Kaye Scholer Focusing on two key sectors, life sciences and financial services, Kaye Scholer draws on its leading national practices to offer strategic guidance and sophisticated legal counsel to public and private entities in litigation, transactional, or governance matters. From nine offices on three continents, Kaye Scholer’s lawyers regularly advise clients across multiple legal jurisdictions, including the US, Canada, UK, EU, and China.

life+style A cultural resource for the contemporary Hispanic executive








ALL WORK AND ALL PLAY Roy Contreras leads the small but mighty team behind Nickelodeon’s Game of the Week to create today’s hits by Zach Baliva, photos by Lisa Weatherbee

t only took a few minutes when Roy Contreras started his entry-level position at Nickelodeon to realize that he had landed his dream job. He worked on games like The X’s: Virtual Insanity, and Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 2: Retroville Rescue. He was getting paid to play video games all day, testing games as a production assistant and loving it. He was also learning how to lead a team. Today, more than ten years later, Contreras oversees delivery of online games across multiple platforms for Nickelodeon. In his time at the Viacom-owned media company, Contreras has produced or directed more than 800 games. This year, his team will release or update at least seventy titles online. Nickelodeon is the first and only employer Contreras has had since graduating in 2005 from Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Contreras, who was raised on video games, says he’s enjoyed every position from day one as a production assistant to his current role as senior

director of games production. Actually, saying “raised on video games” may be an understatement—his video game habit would be better described as a rampant obsession. In 2005, when Contreras was a college intern at Madison Square Garden, he was leading one of the world’s top World of Warcraft guilds. Because many of his online guild members lived in Australia, Contreras would set his alarm to wake up at 3:00 a.m. so he could start raids and battle evil bosses. Contreras then landed an internship with MTV, but his gaming habit was causing severe neck pain. When he delayed his start date to see a doctor, MTV—another Viacom company—rescinded their offer. Ever persistent, Contreras pursued employment with Nickelodeon instead.





He was on the subway, on his way home from the interview when Sean McEvoy— who is still his boss today—called to offer him the job. In his early days with Nickelodeon, Contreras worked with McEvoy to create the successful “Game of the Week” franchise. Now, as senior games director, he manages content production for games that work in the Nickelodeon app and the games that work on tablets and mobile. The team releases a new title every Monday, making Contreras’s current team responsible for at least fifty-two games a year—although their annual grand total is actually closer to seventy. Contreras says his department is both casual and collaborative. “We’re laid back, but we’re busy and we work very hard together to deliver great content. We want everyone to contribute ideas, whether you’re a temp employee or the head person,” he says. That philosophy helps motivate a small team in a high-volume environment. Games, promoting new and current Nickelodeon shows, are both localized and launched worldwide. Each one takes between three and twelve months to produce. Here’s how it works: Contreras and his boss receive a directive from programming. For example, they want to promote the season premiere of The Loud House. Contreras and other executives will decide what format (runner, side-scrolling, puzzle) the game will take before assigning the project to a producer who formulates a more specific idea. It’s during that process that Contreras takes a step back and gives his teammates the necessary room to work. “Those who micromanage miss out on good ideas. I’ll always encourage people here to take a fresh look or pursue a new idea,” he says. Contreras—who knows what it’s like to hold lower positions—simply provides guidance and input when needed. While smash hits are hard to predict, Contreras and his colleagues have discovered a few key ingredients. First, they target boys and girls equally. Because their research shows that kids



Roy Contreras, who has been with Nickelodeon for more than ten years, can’t imagine a day when he’s not playing and creating video games, virtual reality or otherwise.

“We’re laid back, but we’re busy and we work very hard together to deliver great content. We want everyone to contribute ideas, whether you’re the temp employee or the head person.” Roy Contreras

HOW A GAME GOES FROM IDEA TO PRODUCT A THIRTEEN-STEP PROCESS 1. Department heads receive strategic direction from upper management and deliver guidelines to producers

8. The developer builds a prototype of the game’s mechanics and controls 9. With the prototype approved, the developer moves to a first “rough build,” which has a few bugs but helps the in-house team visualize the game and provide feedback

2. Producers develop concepts and report back to pitch game proposal 3. With input from their leaders, producers make suggested changes and return with an updated proposal 4. Once a concept receives the “green light,” it goes to an outside vendor who generates a price quote 5. After negotiations, both parties agree on a price and finalize the contract used to guide the game’s creation 6. The vendor (also known as the game developer) produces a game design document that outlines every detail and feature of the game including levels, characters, backgrounds, and power-ups

Proudly salutes

10. The next step is a beta build—a more sophisticated version with better features and minimal bugs 11. Finally, the developer produces a version known as a “release candidate”—a nearly final version ready for approval 12. Nickelodeon’s internal department approves the release candidate 13. Vendors finalize the release candidate, upgrading it to “gold master” status, and sending it to programming for implementation

7. Producers and designers tweak and alter the design document

for his

DEDICATION to making


GAMES for KIDS around the world!

love choice, they weave in many options and avoid traditional A to B style games with only one route or answer. After discovering that kids tire of complex combo moves, they started making controls more simplistic. Lastly, games aimed at six- to nine-year-olds must limit onscreen text when possible. It has been more than ten years since he started at the company, and Contreras is still passionate about his work at Nickelodeon. The ever-changing field keeps holding his interest. “We have a very talented team here, and it’s exciting to think about what’s next,” he says, adding that the department has good relationships with major

software companies and may add in virtual reality features and other tech advancements in the coming years. Contreras plans to work in the field until it’s no longer fun— but he can’t imagine a day when he’s not playing and creating video games for a living. The best part about working with Roy and his production team is that they never shy away from doing something new and different—however crazy the game concept may be. They’re always open to ideas and will push for it internally if they like it. That to me is awesome. -James Lo, President, Indigo Entertainment WE MAKE GAMES FROM START TO GAME OVER





THE FAMILY VINE For Juan Valdes, Delicato Family Vineyards is more than just a winery— it’s a company that values family as much as he does by Urmila Ramakrishnan

Delicato Family Vineyards’s San Bernabe Vineyard sits on what is known as “the sweet spot” for grapes of Monterey County, California.



uan Valdes is a first-generation American. Like many others, his parents fled Cuba after the Castro administration gained power in the 1960s. His mother’s parents saved and sold whatever they could to get out of the country. The family relocated to Miami and started from scratch. His parents worked whatever job they could get, despite being highly educated, in order to make enough money to keep the household running. He remembers his family’s horrific stories about what happened to friends and family back in Cuba. They all struggled to make a better life in a new country, and JUAN VALDES it really stuck with him. “You have to have the ability to adapt and succeed CONTROLLER AND VICE PRESIDENT to grow,” Valdes says. “We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we had the enDELICATO FAMILY VINEYARDS ergy and the bond to say it’s going to work out. We’re going to figure it out.” And it’s that same triumph over struggle Today, Delicato Family Vineyards is the that attracted Valdes to Delicato Family sixth largest producer of wine in the United Vineyards in 2015. States, with vineyards in various regions of The Indelicato family, with roots in SicCalifornia, including Napa, Monterey, and ily, has been growing grapes in California Lodi, offering a complete range of nationally since 1924, during the Prohibition Era. The recognized brands. family adapted to the environment, which Through all of this, family values still allowed for the production of grapes for dominate the core culture of the company. home winemaking; they took full advanThe company is being run by its third-genertage of this. They found a way to adapt and ation owners, with active participation from succeed, Valdes says. They were constantly many family members. As the controller and asking what could be done to keep moving vice president for Delicato, Valdes looks to forward. When prohibition ended in the earhis own family for clues on how to manage ly 1930s, the Indelicato family, who were exthe finances at Delicato. perts in growing high-quality grapes, start“The values that guide me at home are ed making wine. Over the course of the next the same things that guide me in the office,” eighty years, the family has continually he says. “There’s a commitment to help each moved forward with and adapted to changother here. It’s not about trying to compete ing market conditions. with each other or break each other down.





Strategic solutions to fit your business insurance needs 16 brands in the Delicato Family Vineyards portfolio

Napa, Lodi, and Monterey are locations where the winery harvests its grapes

At Wells Fargo Insurance, we can help you understand your insurance needs. We offer access to a broad range of insurance products, including: • Property • Casualty • Benefits • Executive management liability • Product recall • Cyber liability • Captive solutions • Life products Contact us to learn more about how we can help protect your organization. Wells Fargo Insurance Tom Higgins 916-589-8023

Products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc., a non-bank insurance agency affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company, and are underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies. Some services require additional fees and may be offered directly through third-party providers. Banking and insurance decisions are made independently and do not influence each other. © 2016 Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. All rights reserved. WCS-2950097



Three generations of the Indelicato family carry on the legacy of Delicato Vineyards

90+ years of Delicato winemaking and grape growing heritage in California

Since 1924 Delicato Vineyards has been farming grapes in California

Since 1935 Delicato Vineyards has been crafting superior quality wines

It’s about how you hold each other up and make the most of the situation at hand.” Before joining Delicato Family Vineyards, Valdes worked in various finance roles at global spirits company Bacardi. He joined the company in 2000 because he identified with its brands, heritage, and family values. Valdes has fond memories of seeing the iconic Bacardi bottle, originally a Cuban brand, in his house growing up—it was a connection to the country his family fled years before. Despite being one of the world’s largest privately owned spirits company, Bacardi held true to its family values. That dedication is what he brought to and brought him to Delicato. He learned how to treat employees like family, and not just a number or an asset. “People aren’t assets, things to be used and exploited,” Valdes says. “People are people. You have to treat people with respect and dignity to help them succeed. Find ways to lift them and rally around the goals they are trying to achieve.” He says this is one of the biggest challenges in any company: finding the right environment to motivate people to work together toward a common goal. The owners of Delicato believe it is important to maintain a family-style work environment, especially as the organization expands. The family philosophy includes trust, honesty, approachability, and open-mindedness, all of which make for a great place to work. CEO Chris Indelicato is always looking ahead and thinking of ways to keep Delicato moving forward, Valdes says, which parallels to what Valdes’s family did when they moved to the United States. Education has been the number one driver in Valdes’s success. His parents and grandparents instilled in him the importance of education from a young age. His grandfather was a mathematics professor; he was a person that Valdes

“You have to have the ability to adapt and succeed to grow. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we had the energy and the bond to say it’s going to work out. We’re going to figure it out.”

U.S. Bank is inspired by the talent and commitment that enriches our communities.

Juan Valdes

proud to recognize

respected, loved, and looked up to. Fondly enough, math plays into Valdes’s current accounting and finance background. He loved math from a young age, and he always aspired to be more, to do more. “I wasn’t sure where math would lead me, but I knew I loved it and it would take me down the right path,” Valdes says. “There were times early on in my college career when I was tired and thought of giving up; my grandmother told me I had to stick it out— that I committed to it and I had to do it. It was that wake-up call that caused me to dig deep down and say I can do it. To this day, being able to work hard, make it through college, and complete a master’s degree paved the road for me—and it’s something I can pass on to my team at Delicato and to my kids.” Valdes hopes his son and daughter learn to never give up. He has a saying he’s adapted from sports that many people will recognize: “Don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t steal.” He believes these values are a key in how he operates with his team at Delicato. These values, along with an open mind, allow the team to focus on doing their best in an open, constructive environment. If something goes wrong, identify the problem, and then everyone works together to figure out a solution. He tells the younger first-generation Latin Americans to be proud of where they come from and always prize education. He tells them not to run from their heritage or hide it. Though this has been a challenge for him, Valdes says he never forgets his background and his family. “Don’t judge me because of where I come from or what I look like; judge me for what I am and what I do,” Valdes says.


Juan Valdes Delicato Family Vineyards

Headquartered: Napa, CA Founded: 1924 About: Delicato Family Vineyard is the fastestgrowing top 10 winery in the United States. The family-owned company started with small beginnings and gradually grew into the vineyard and winery it is today. It aims to be a leader in the industry by delivering great quality.

At U.S. Bank, we believe your company can reach its goals, no matter how ambitious, and we have the products and services to help you reach them. Start making your possible happen today. Proud to recognize Juan Valdes – Delicato Family Vineyards - for his professional and community work. Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC. 8307 ©2016 U.S. Bank “World’s Most Ethical Companies” and “Ethisphere” names and marks are registered trademarks of Ethisphere LLC.





NEXTGEN SPOTLIGHT In June 2016, Hispanic Executive hosted a NextGen Líderes dinner, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual. Attendees were millennial Hispanic professionals living and working in the Bay Area. Hispanic Executive took the opportunity to catch up with two stand-out young líderes we met to get to know them better and get their fresh insights and perspectives on topics surrounding emerging leadership and what it’s really like to work and live in Silicon Valley.




Where are you from? I was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Salinas [located in the Central Coast], California. Salinas is considered the “Salad Bowl of the World” and home to John Steinbeck, author of East of Eden and Of Mice and Men. What do you consider your hometown? I consider Salinas my hometown, because it’s where I lived through those formative experiences that shaped who I am as a man. Where did you go to college? What did you study? I started at community college in Salinas, but eventually transferred to UC–Berkeley, where I majored in political science and minored in public policy. What do you do? I work as a legal investigation specialist for a legal operations team at Google, where I handle an array of legal requests, manage internal tools, and work on hiring initiatives.

values privacy, user trust, and is building amazing services and products.

At one of the most iconic tech companies in the world, has your interest in technology grown? Working at Google has definitely made me more interested in technology and how it can help people to get around their city, learn a new skill, collaborate, and/ or share information. My manager, Julianne, recently introduced me to a new app called Flipboard, which keeps me up to date on new tech products and services.

What is your favorite thing about working and living in the Bay Area? My favorite thing about living in San Francisco is that you can go to different neighborhoods and be immersed with the different food, art, and people in each neighborhood that you visit. And as an avid coffee drinker, I enjoy visiting different coffee shops. I mainly work in Google’s Sunnyvale campus but when I get a chance to work from the San Francisco office, I enjoy drinking coffee or tea outside on a patio where I can get a great view of the Bay Bridge.

What factors led to your decision to join Google? I decided to join Google because I was excited by the opportunity to work for a company who

What would you say to the generation behind you about working at Google? I would say that if you enjoy technology and want to have an

impact while working with amazing people, then start looking for roles at Google. If possible, try to connect with people who are working at Google to have a better understanding of the team structure. The next step is to ensure that you have the relevant work, volunteer, or internship experience that will make you stand out from the crowd, as well as having a solid academic record. Name a career or life goal in the next three to five years. I’m planning on obtaining an MBA. What is a Bay Area gem that you think is underrated? Going for a run around Lake Merced, which is located on the southwest side of San Francisco, is underrated. Right after you finish your run, there’s a slew of surrounding restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops you can visit.






Where are you from? I was born in Chile but immigrated with my mom to Norway at the age of six. All-in-all, I have lived in Chile, Norway, Spain, Hawaii, and now, San Francisco. I have learned that adaptability and flexibility are key elements to thrive in any environment. What do you do? I’m a marketing professional with over ten years of experience. I’ve worked in technology and financial services sectors most of my career, from start-ups to enterprise-level companies. I am in the process of pursuing my next challenge and my current aspiration is to work within the emerging diversity and inclusion field. Driving program development initiatives that increase brand presence is something that I’m very passionate about in my involvement with the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). What led you to become a part of ALPFA? I became part of ALPFA because I wanted to connect with other professional Latinos in the community. At the same time, I was looking for a group of people that served with purpose and were passionate about transforming the lives of others. While other organizations may have a similar mission, the sense of community—and family—is what really drew me into ALPFA. It does not matter if you are an ALPFA member, student, corporate partner, or board member—we are all family. It’s truly powerful to have a diverse group of people from all over the nation that you can call family. How has the organization shaped your own career?



Being involved with ALPFA has given me opportunities to develop my leadership skills that transcend both at the board level and in my professional life. I started as director of marketing on the San Francisco board of directors three years ago, and quickly moved my way up to vice president of external affairs, and now to president of the chapter. I have had the opportunity to manage both small and large teams during my time on the board and that has increased my self-awareness, leadership competencies and vocation. What are your career or even just life goals for the next three to five years? My life goals consist of constantly learning and paying it forward by creating opportunities for myself and others. I want to keep achieving success in my career; however, I want to get better at living life how I want and deserve, and not just the life I settle

for. In Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive, she speaks about the third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power. The four pillars of the third metric—well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving—really resonate with me as this is the type of success that I believe will add true meaning to my career and life. What is a San Francisco gem you think is underrated? Many people don’t know this, but San Francisco is the home of three breathtaking Diego Rivera murals. One of them, my favorite, Pan American Unity, is his first mural and the largest significant piece of work he did in the United States. This piece can be found in the Diego Rivera Theater on the campus of the City College of San Francisco. It’s such a hidden gem that most students that go to school there don’t even know it’s there.



Access Hollywood ALPFA



94 126

Lazala, Virginia


Lenox Corporation


The Kroger Co

72 16



Lopez-Diaz, Yvonne


The University of Texas–Arlington

Areas Latin America


Luis Prado, José




Badia, Alejandro




Bobadilla, Michele


Uribe Mesta, Eduardo


Caldas, Monica


Carnival Cruise Line


Castano, Mario


Marriott International


Mejia, Maria

Cisco Systems



Contreras, Roy


108 52 104


Valdes, Juan


Morales, Joe


Valeant Pharmaceuticals


Crestwood Midstream Partners 28

Morales, Natalie




Cruz, Domingo


Victoria, Carlos


Winkler, Yasmine



Nomura Northwestern Mutual D E F

DaCosta, Marcio


Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

118 46 38, 68 112







Douroux, Michael




Espinoza, Marco


Evans Food Group


Delicato Family Vineyards Diaz, Guillermo Jr.


Pedreira, Jorge G H I

105 104

GE Transportation


Portalatin, Julio

Gianotti, Maria


Presas, Julie


Quiñones Perez, Arlene

GM Integritas


Perez, Adolfo

82 10


Rodriguez, David


Gonzalez-Mendez, J.C.


Rodriguez, Walter




Román, Jesús


Romero, Christina


Gomez, Erik

Greenheck Fan Corporation


Guerrero, Hugo




Hernandez, Jim


Hispanic Bar Association–New Jersey


HNTB Corporation




no lo sabíamos

[We didn’t know until this issue . . . ] During World War II, Lenox's master craftsman developed Lenoxite, a ceramic resilient enough to be cast into insultators, resistors, and other forms for radar and electronics use.


There are a few different recipes for the famous green slime on Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television, and here are a few key ingredients: • Cream of Wheat • green food coloring • Johnson's baby shampoo


• vegetable oil • cottage cheese (occasionally) p.120

Marriott began as a nine-seat stand selling A&W root beer in 1927, opening the first franchise in Washington, DC. It wasn’t until 1957 that Marriott shifted into the hotel business.

In 1972, Kroger became the first grocery retailer in America to test an electronic scanner.


An average of

6 million people in the United States will break a bone each year. p.20

Sources: (A&W), American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (broken bones), Slimed! by Matthew Klickstein (slime)





Pork rinds have half the fat and calories of potato chips, four times the protein, and zero carbohydrates.


With progam topics that range from innovation to global business, there are programs for all types of executives. Attend a program today. (312) 263-3500


For editorial consideration, contact

“First Republic sees the potential in the communities that need it most.” HÉCTOR M. PÉREZ

Principal, De-Arc; Graduate Programs Coordinator, Woodbury School of Architecture

(855) 886-4824 or visit New York Stock Exchange Symbol: FRC Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

Hispanic Executive #42  
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