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The Corporate and Board Edition




CONTENTS SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2016 6 Publisher’s Letter - Jorge Ferraez gives us an introduction of his experience interviewing Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International. 8 Editor’s Letter - Jose Escobedo highlights this edition’s top feature stories.

46 Javier Polit - Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Bottling Investments Group, The Coca-Cola Company, knows all too well that the climb to the top of the corporate ladder starts well before gainful employment.

10 Neli Vazquez Rowland - A Safe Haven Foundation Co-Founder highlights a comprehensive approach to homelessness addresses all contributing factors to help end the cycle.

47 Cisco’s Yvette Kanouff - Sponsoring Minorities and Women - Yvette leads a global team of engineers, architects, product line managers, technical marketing engineers, and business development managers delivering innovation for the service provider customer segment.

12 Special Feature - Cancer Treatment Centers

48 Antonio Guillen - Capitalizing on Opportunities

of America. A comprehensive six story guideline to prevent and treat this disease.

18 Special feature - The Boards Edition - Pablo Schneider introduces Hispanic Corporate Directors: At the Pinnacle of Power. The topic of Hispanics serving on corporate boards is challenging and complex. 34 Exclusive Interview with Ralph de la Vega - In his

current position with AT&T, Ralph has overall responsibility for the company’s integrated Business Solutions group which serves more than 3.5 million business customers in nearly 200 countries and territories, including nearly all of the world’s Fortune 1000 companies. He also has overall responsibility for AT&T’s wireless business operations in Mexico and DIRECTV in Latin America.

40 Arcilia Acosta -

Constructing Character - This is a story of a woman of unique character and determination. Who is not only recognized for her entrepreneurial spirit but for having more than 20 yearsexperience in construction and program management projects.

44 Noni Gonzalez - The Tech of Hospitality - Leading a team at such a large firm as Global Technology Systems requires direction and nuance. It also means looking to emerging trends in a workforce that is increasingly Latino.

2 • September/ October 2016



- Currently is senior vice president at Wintrust Bank in Chicago. This is the story of a man with determination and persistence.


52 50 Judge Debra Mayfield - Latina leader urges

voters to continue voting down the ballot for all candidates in November. In her current position, Mayfield hears all types of civil cases, from personal injury to business disputes to medical or legal malpractice with no monetary jurisdiction cap, and for all of Harris County, the largest district in Texas.


52 Franchising the Future of Latino Business Highlights of the symposium that included 13 CEOs and 25 speakers talking to approximately 235 attendees about current franchising opportunities in the Latino market. 58 Financial Education Symposium - Panels of Hispanic financial experts – some of the heaviest hitters in the business -- hammered home the need for Latinos to pull together, help each other, educate those in need of financial education, and then educate themselves even more. The symposium highlighted business opportunities and talent acquisition. 59 Top Leaders in Finance: An Index - These individuals are leading the charge in an industry being disrupted. The influencers selected are considered thought leaders on critical topics such as capital markets, digital transformation, innovation, payments and customer experience - transforming their fields one idea at a time. 61 David Hufnagel - Insuring Latino Futures - David

Hufnagel, Latino Markets director at Mass Mutual, knows all too well that the journey to financial literacy is not always easy or immediate. Moreover, investing in education has been a pursuit decades in the making.

4 • September/ October 2016

62 Alex Uvidia - FDIC’s Senior Large Financial Institutions Examiner shares with us his background, education and initial career positions, as well as his experience at the FDIC. 64 Cellar - Jorge Ferraez brings us the latest from the wine world, cheers!




One of the best leadership stories out there is that of Ralph de la Vega, a man who has gone where few others have gone before, due to his capacities, charisma and leadership. We came to know Ralph some 12 years ago when he was at Cingular, and we interviewed him at his offices in Atlanta. We remember him talking avidly to us for more than an hour; his story as a refugee child when he was only 12 is really compelling. More than a decade later, Ralph still is making news and I went to see him in Atlanta again, but this time as Vice Chairman of AT&T and CEO of AT&T International. His company has been responsible for the success of gadgets like the iPhone, but also for the recent acquisition of two small players in the wireless communications industry in Mexico to compete against the giant Tel-Cel in an emerging and promising market of more than 120 million people. Again, our hour and a half long conversation was fantastic, full of anecdotes and experiences you can only hear when you are face to face with leaders like him. Probably one of the most enjoyable parts of our conversation was when he explained to me one of his leadership principles: “To succeed in every challenge, you have to have a team that has three main characteristics: the talent to do the task in front of them, a clear vision of the objective and mission, and a willingness to sacrifice and work long enough JORGE FERRAEZ AND to get the goal accomplished.” That was one of RALPH DE LA VEGA the best lessons on leadership I have ever had. Also in this edition we have the great work of a man who is not only an expert in many issues regarding the Hispanic community but is also very well connected: Pablo Schneider, our special guest editor for the Corporate Board Feature 2016, which we are presenting to you. Pablo has done a great job interviewing, researching and collecting information that reflects and shows the state of Latinos and their participation on board and corporate leadership service today. A great collection of names, positions and quotes, for all of us to understand the challenge we Latinos still have to advance in corporate leadership diversity and inclusion. Also, beautiful and inspiring stories of great women like Arcilia Acosta, a leader with an unstoppable drive and passion for her dreams and the first Latina Judge in Texas; Debra Mayfield, whose responsibilities and duties will make history. We’re also presenting the continuation in our health feature we started back in May and we partnered with the expert leader Cancer Treatment Centers of America to produce a fantastic 6-page feature on cancer and Latinos, with important and motivational information on this illness, the center’s approach to the Latino community and a variety of new treatment methods.

Jorge & Raul Ferraez 6 • September / October 2016


President and CEO Raul Ferraez

Director of Journalism Mariana Gutierrez Briones Event and PR Director Mireya Cortez


Administrative Director Lawrence Teodoro

Dear Readers,

This issue is a special one because we underline the top corporate and board Latinos directors. I must thank and recognize our friend Pablo Schneider for producing such relevant and in-depth content. His knowledge about the topic truly stands out in this 9-page piece, and I’m sure most of you will find it highly informative. In this edition we also highlight an exclusive interview with Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International. A very interesting piece, written by Diane Alter, takes the reader on a journey from a Ralph’s rich and experienced past in Cuba to being responsible for the integration of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless, following the largest allcash merger in U.S. history at the time. A must-read story! Don’t miss Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s six-page feature where experienced doctors share their visions and give their recommendations on how to prevent and manage cancer. Make sure you read our coverage of our in-house events like the Franchise Symposium, as well as the Financial Education Symposium; two events which gathered over 300-people in attendance. Get to know top Latinos in finance and don’t miss our interviews with today’s top Chief Information Officers.

Managing Editor José Escobedo Washington, D.C. Sales Associate and Representative Deyanira Ferraez Karla Espinoza Art Director Fernando Izquierdo Editorial Art & Design Rodrigo Valderrama Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Moisés Cervantes West Coast Editor Judi Jordan Human Resources Manager Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers Liliana Morales Social Media Manager and Graphic Designer Kenzie Tysl For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-4966 x 227.

Until next time, Jose Manuel Escobedo Managing Editor

Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 1529-3998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA, September / October 2016. Subscription rates: In U.S. and possessions, one year $15.00. Checks payable to Ferraez Publications of America, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Latino Leaders, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA.© 2001 by Ferraez Publications of America Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without the consent of Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino. The periodical’s name and logo, and the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

Member of The National Association of Hispanic Publications

Audited by Member of Reg. # 283/01


8 • September / October 2016

Latino Leaders The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA Phone: (214) 206-4966 / Fax: (214) 206-4970

A Safe Haven Foundation Co-Founder

A comprehensive approach to homelessness addresses all contributing factors to help end the cycle. STORY BY VALERIE MENARD | PHOTO BY LAURA VERGARA

Neli Vazquez Rowland

Neli Vazquez Rowland

Landing ccording to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the total number of people each year who experience homelessness could be as high as two million. To address the issue, federal, state, county and city governments struggle to find workable solutions. One program in Chicago, A Safe Haven, may have hit upon the answer. Rather than focusing on one aspect of the problem, the non-profit takes a holistic approach that provides housing. But it’s not the typical government housing scenario seen in povertystricken neighborhoods; residents live in a high-rise building in downtown Chicago. Add to that the drug rehabilitation, education, and job placement services and A Safe Haven boasts a tangible return on investment. For example, 70 percent of the program’s clients have remained sober for three years—more than five times the national average—and about 80 percent of those in the job training program secure job placements. “We’ve thrown so much money at this problem, but with very few results,” says Neli Vazquez Rowland, A Safe Haven co-founder. “When my husband and I were looking at what to do, we didn’t just want to take money; we wanted to provide solutions.” The middle child of seven, Rowland grew up in a Chicago barrio that she describes as a “beautiful enclave of Latinos” who looked out for each other. Rowland focused on helping her family financially as soon as she could, handing over a portion of her first paycheck to her mother as she had seen her older brothers and sisters do. “I remember feeling so proud that day because I could finally contribute, but then turning to see my father in tears. I didn’t know if he was crying, out of shame or pride,” she shares. Her father also intervened when Rowland was in high school, transferring her to a trade high school in downtown Chicago, where she learned to type 90 words per minute and take shorthand, skills she still uses to this day. She would have continued to work in administrative jobs to support the family, but when her friend’s mother, Esther Garza, learned that Rowland had no plans to attend college, she stepped in. GET T “She said I was way too smart not to and took it upon herself to help me VAZQUO KNOW NE LI EZ ROW apply for college,” she says. “It was the first time I ever considered it, and I was LAND A first ge the first in my family to go. If folks hadn’t helped me, I would have become n Rowla eration Mexic another statistic.” commu nd grew up in C an American, V azquez nity, a d hicago’s en on the c Rowland attended Loyola University, where she met her husband, Brian ity’s west sely populated Little Village L side noto atino en Rowland. They were both gainfully employed in the financial sector when c violence rious for crime lave and . her husband’s boss suggested that he might have a drinking problem. After The first completing a rehab program for substance abuse, he realized that access she’s a g in her family of se B usiness, raduate of Loyo ven to attend for the poor to this kind of help was lacking. The couple purchased and program and the Minori la University’s S college, ty Execu chool o at Dartm refurbished a downtown property in 1990, converting it into affordable f tive outh’s T uck Sch Management ool of B housing for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. While they u si n ess. She and he intended to sell the property, that never happened. In 1994, A Safe Haven A Safe H r husband, Bria n a ve R o n w Founda land, co Foundation was born. sustaina tion -fou b change le environmen in 1994 to cre nded “We felt that we had been blessed and should be blessing our kids by Recogn in the lives of t that fosters po ate a iz h paying it forward,” she says. “We thought about what would we feel Leaders ing her work as omeless individ sitive uals. magazin a Latino e will lead good about giving to, and we chose to give opportunities for people 2016 M present Rowla er, Latino aestro A ward. nd with a coming out of poverty.” A Safe Haven now has 180 employees, an annual budget of $20 million, and access to a network of over 36 multi-family housing locations. They help oversee 800 apartments for permanent and senior affordable housing, and 1,375 beds for temporary housing. They also established social enterprises to help employ their clients, particularly veterans and those newly released from prison. One of the challenges they still face, however, is the stigma attached to homelessness and the misconception that people choose to live on the street. “The homeless are not a homogenous group of people,” she asserts. “They’re not all lazy, or drug addicts. They’re facing circumstances — e.g., job loss, a criminal record — that prevent them from being employable. We see foster children aging out of the system, youth runaways, LGBT people, business owners who have had to start over. They’re not typical; each has a different story.”






ancer is unforgiving. When neurosurgeons ply their

craft they look for a classic constellation of symptoms – weight loss, fevers, night sweats, unremitting back pain, cough – indicating symptoms relating to spinal cancer. The gears of time begin to grind down. But at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), the neurosurgeons are on full alert when identifying symptoms to reach a diagnosis. Juan Alzate, MD, whose father died of cancer in Colombia, works with patients who have brain or spinal cancer, as well as cancer that has spread to the brain or spine from other areas of the body. “My overall goal for my patients is to deliver excellent care and treatment using advanced and innovative technologies in order to achieve the best possible outcome for patients with brain and spinal tumors,” says Dr. Alzate, a world-renowned neurosurgeon at CTCA®. Dr. Alzate is a proud partner with such a reputable organization that features high-quality, state-of-the-art operating rooms and support staff. He utilizes traditional and minimally invasive surgical procedures including intricate, spinal and endoscopic cranialbased surgeries. “By using minimally invasive surgical technologies, we are able to reduce complications and speed recovery with minimal scarring, where possible,” he says. Dr. Alzate empowers his patients with information and takes time to discuss their concerns and address their questions. He helps them understand their conditions so they can make informed decisions regarding their treatment plan. Dr. Alzate advises that education is very important in the treatment of cancer. He often goes out into the Latino community to help spread the word about early cancer detection. “I like to enlist community members to help magnify the process of cancer detection and to encourage folks into getting screened early,’’ he says. “I look for leg pain or severe back pain. I also ask folks if they have had any severe

12 • September / October 2016


headaches or confusion, as well as if there are any other problems besides the one being consulted for.’’ In addition to traditional cancer fighting methods, many CTCA physicians use sophisticated tools to enhance precision of care and patient safety. These tools allow surgeons to remove tumors that may otherwise have been inoperable, while preserving neurologic function. For example, physicians at CTCA use intraoperative neuronavigation, which is an advanced MRI system to map areas of the brain responsible for important functions. This map allows the physician and operating team to precisely plan surgery to avoid damage to those important areas. Other parts of the elaborate toolkit include motor mapping and language mapping – a GPS for the brain. The surgical team uses small electrodes placed on the outer layer of the brain to stimulate the brain and areas around the tumor. That maneuver helps the team locate regions of the brain to avoid, like those areas responsible for speech and movement. Of course, a patient’s health plays a large role in the treatment of chronic disease. According to the American Academy Neurology, obese people have a greater chance of experiencing brain cancer; furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reports that more than half of all Latino women are overweight or obese. Alzate instructs patients to eat a balanced diet including more fruits, vegetables and lean meats. “We are what we eat,’’ he stresses. “The best way to reduce your risk of cancer is healthy lifestyle changes. And if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, including severe leg or back pain or headaches, it is important to speak with your doctor.”





ating the right kinds of food before, during and after cancer treatment can help a patient feel better and stay stronger. A healthy diet includes eating and drinking the foods and liquids that have important nutrients for the entire body, according to Ricardo H. Alvarez, MD, MSc, Director of Cancer Research and Breast Medical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). But lack of access to affordable healthy food has caused obesity to skyrocket for the Hispanic population, where 42 percent of all Latino adults are obese compared with 32.6 percent of obesity in whites, according to an annual report conducted by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The State of Obesity. Dr. Alvarez points out that obesity is a critical factor in heightened cancer risk. He also is committed to educating Hispanics about cancer and the preventative steps essential to fighting this global epidemic. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 22 percent of deaths in 2012, according to the Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2015-2016 published by the American Cancer Society. “In many cases what is known about cancer prevention is evolving, which occasionally leads to conflicting prevention tips,” explains Alvarez. “However, it is well accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make.’’ Dr. Alvarez also reports that simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference, including avoiding tobacco use, eating a healthy diet filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains; limiting processed meats; and carefully monitoring alcohol consumption. Dr. Alvarez applauds the FDA for the approval of 13 new anticancer therapeutics, 11 new uses for previously approved anticancer therapeutics, one new diagnostic test, one new cancer screening test, and two new diagnostic imaging agents for treating cancer during 2016. An eternal optimist, Dr. Alvarez is bullish on the use of targeted agents to fight cancer. Most standard chemotherapy drugs work by killing cancer cells in the body that grow and divide quickly. Yet, these drugs can also affect other cells in the body that divide quickly and can sometimes lead to serious physical side effects. Targeted cancer therapy drugs do not work like chemotherapy drugs, explains Dr. Alvarez. Targeted cancer drugs prevent the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules. Cancer cells typically have many changes in their genes (DNA) that make them different from normal cells. For instance, these gene changes might allow the cell to stop working the way it should or grow and divide very quickly. These types of changes are what make a cell cancerous. “We screen for all types of cancers, that’s why we do integrated care at CTCA®,’’ according to Dr. Alvarez, a world-renowned oncologist recognized for his contributions to the multidisciplinary management of breast cancer. At CTCA, Dr. Alvarez is part of the Breast Center for Advanced Oncology and is mainly focused on the treatment of advanced breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer. “I work as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists,” he explains. “Together, we outline a clear plan before our patients begin treatment.”

“This is a very advanced group of medical professionals who dedicate the vast majority of their time to treating breast cancer. I think being treated at a cancer center, and seeing a specialist dedicated to treating breast cancer rather than a general medical oncologist, can make a big difference for patients,’’ adds Dr. Alvarez, who spent his childhood in Argentina admiring his father’s medical career. Dr. Alvarez admits that he wanted to be a doctor from an early age after accompanying his father on many patient visits. “I understand the challenges Hispanics face in combating serious illnesses like cancer,’’ he says. According to Cancer Health Disparities published by the National Cancer Institute, individuals from medically underserved populations are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage diseases that might have been treated more effectively or even cured if diagnosed earlier. Financial, physical and cultural beliefs are also barriers that prevent individuals or groups from obtaining effective health services. But Dr. Alvarez says the fight against cancer has improved. After the Cancer Act was passed in 1971, life expectancy for all cancer patients was 49 percent. But now, that same rate has skyrocketed to 70 percent in 2016. “Research is our best defense against cancer. It powers the development of new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat and cure a number of the many diseases we call cancer.” Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S, and with a population of over 55 million, they accounted for 17 percent of the U.S. population in 2014. Despite having higher poverty rates, lower education, and less access to health care than non-Hispanic Whites, Latinos tend to have overall better health indicators than those of other racial/ethnic groups with whom they share socio-economic characteristics. Experts attribute this “Hispanic paradox” to a number of factors including lifestyle practices, reproductive behaviors, extended family support and a different genetic heritage. “We are controlling cancer, but we have a long way to go,’’ says Dr. Alvarez.

For more information visit






vercoming cancer often requires a heroic amount of

physical, emotional and spiritual strength,’’ according to Reverend Percy McCray, Director of Faith-Based Programs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). Rev. McCray works with dedicated pastoral staff at the five regional CTCA® hospitals. Every day, Rev. McCray helps support hospital clergy to build bridges from despair to hope. “The goal of pastoral care at CTCA is to provide an ecumenical umbrella of spiritual support for patients, family members and staff so persons of any faith can be strengthened, motivated and inspired to combat cancer,’’ he says. In creating an environment endemic to healing and recovery, pastoral care providers are a great source of comfort for patients and families. Many patients with cancer rely on spiritual or religious beliefs and practices to help them cope with their disease. Many caregivers also rely on this type of spiritual coping. According to Rev. McCray, each person may have different spiritual needs, depending on cultural and religious traditions. For some seriously ill patients, spiritual well-being may affect how much anxiety they feel about death. For others, it may affect what they decide about end-of-life treatments. Some patients and their family caregivers may want to talk about spiritual concerns, but may feel unsure about how to bring up the subject. “We’ve found that doctors’ support of spiritual well-being in very ill patients helps improve their quality of life,’’ says Rev. McCray. Health care providers who treat patients coping with cancer are looking at new ways to help them with religious and spiritual concerns. At CTCA Rev. McCray initiated development of a broad-based program, Our Journey of Hope® (OJOH), to give spiritual leaders who counsel cancer patients tools to lift their spirits and provide hope. While it involves prayer, counsel, visits and assistance, it is centered on bringing spiritual hope and help to patients and their caregivers, family and friends.

“This requires an understanding of the impact of cancer, how people react to it and how God has called us to respond,’’ he says. This ministry program was created because of the significant need within our communities. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 12 million people in the United States are living with or have been personally diagnosed with cancer. Every year, 1.5 million more people receive a cancer diagnosis. That means that in a church of 200 people, approximately eight people are living with cancer and two more will be diagnosed with it every year, according to OJOH. Rev. McCray explains that the Bible-based ministry training program was developed to equip people with the tools needed to bring hope to the millions who are living with cancer. Some of the practical tools include how cancer patients in general should be treated and approached when they are at a health care facility. Below are a few tips offered by the OJOH training program: • Knock first on a patient’s door to see if they are ready for a visit. Some patients struggle with changing physical appearance like hair loss or weight loss. • Never sit on the side of a patient’s bed. This is their space. • Never pry into a person’s health condition unless you are asked to do so by the patient. Allow the patient to drive the conversation. “We help people believe there is a better day ahead,’’ says Rev. McCray. “We believe spirituality helps patients and families find deeper meaning and experience a sense of personal growth during cancer treatment, while living with cancer and as a cancer survivor.’’ THE CTCA OUR JOURNEY OF HOPE PROGRAM ALSO HELPS:

• Decrease feelings of anger and anxiety • Decrease feelings of loneliness • Increase confidence in supporting cancer patients • Overcome fear For more information on Our Journey of Hope, please visit

14 • September / October 2016




f you’re looking for motivation to be more physically active, you

may find it in a recent study that shows, in addition to its other health benefits, exercise may reduce the risk of 13 types of cancer. In the study, conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society and published in the May 2016 edition of the JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers examined the physical activity levels of 1.4 million people over an 11-year period. The study gathered specific information of how vigorously and how often each participant exercised. Researchers also noted whether and when the participant was diagnosed with cancer. Overall, participants who exercised more saw a 7 percent lower risk of developing any type of cancer than people who exercised less often. Those who were the most active (measuring in the 90th percentile) had a reduced risk of the following 13 cancer types, compared to the least active participants (measuring in the 10th percentile): • Esophageal adenocarcinoma (42 percent lower risk) • Liver (27 percent lower risk) • Lung (26 percent lower risk) • Kidney (23 percent lower risk) • Stomach (22 percent lower risk) • Endometrial (21 percent lower risk) • Myeloid leukemia (20 percent lower risk) • Myeloma (17 percent lower risk) • Colon (16 percent lower risk) • Head and neck (15 percent lower risk) • Rectal (13 percent lower risk) • Bladder (13 percent lower risk) • Breast (10 percent lower risk)

“While we have always known that exercise is good for your health, this study shows a direct association between exercise and reduction in risk for very specific types of cancers, including some of the more aggressive types of cancers,” says Gentry Kozub, Physical Therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). “Moderate physical activity means getting your heart rate elevated to 60 percent of your estimated heart rate maximum. What this really means is increasing your heart rate to work up a sweat.” Kozub suggests calculating your target heart rate for moderate intensity by subtracting your age from 220, then multiplying that number by 60 percent. The study suggested that moderate exercise may help regulate hormone levels associated with an increased cancer risk, while controlling insulin levels linked to cancer growths. “The recommendations for exercise from the study are realistic and achievable,” says Kozub. She recommends spreading exercise out over the week (five days a week for 30 minutes, or six days a week for 25 minutes, etc.). The study also found that while being overweight is a well-known risk factor for cancer, exercise appeared to help obese participants lower their risks for the disease.

For more information visit






he Johnsons are great examples of true grit. In 2007, just before Christmas, Chris Lopez Johnson received a letter stating the radiologist had found something in her recent routine mammogram. After more tests, a biopsy confirmed that she had ductal carcinoma in situ (stage 0 breast cancer). Johnson, who lives in Winthrop Harbor, Ill., with her husband, Rick, didn’t know how to react at first. “You feel like you are floating away and watching the conversation,” she says. With the support of Rick, she underwent a lumpectomy. Afterwards, she sought an opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) to see if any additional treatment would be needed. At CTCA®, Johnson chose to undergo a second lumpectomy, followed by radiation. She was supported by integrative oncology services, such as nutrition and spiritual support, to help her through her battle. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, as reported by the American Cancer Society. When it comes to breast cancer, Hispanics frequently have a more biologically aggressive form of breast cancer, says Dennis Citrin, MD, PhD, Medical Oncologist at CTCA at Midwestern. Because of this, Dr. Citrin explains that oncologists can meet this challenge by better defining the genomic type of breast cancer and tailoring treatment appropriately. When should a woman be concerned she could have breast cancer? According to Dr. Citrin, the first signs of breast cancer may include a lump, skin dimpling in the breast, a bloody nipple discharge, or no symptoms at all, but something found on a


16 • September / October 2016

“AS I AM NEARING THE 10-YEAR MARK OF SURVIVORSHIP, I THINK BACK TO ALL THE THINGS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ENJOY WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND I FEEL VERY BLESSED.” - CHRIS LOPEZ JOHNSON mammogram. If you find you are experiencing any of these, Dr. Citrin encourages you to, “first, don’t delay in getting a diagnosis. Breast cancer can be a highly treatable disease if caught early. Second, follow your treatment plan. And third, seek professional medical advice and opinions from reputable sources.” Today, Johnson and her husband participate in cancer awareness events to get the word out about the importance of early screening. The Johnsons also volunteer at CTCA because they value the care and compassion they received when Chris was experiencing her cancer journey. “As I am nearing the 10-year mark of survivorship, I think back to all the things I have been able to enjoy with my family and friends and I feel very blessed,” she says.






cancer diagnosis is life changing, and making treatment decisions can be overwhelming. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) patients and caregivers connect through a dynamic network dubbed Cancer Fighters®. “We are a community of people fighting cancer by nurturing, engaging and empowering one another. We share our stories, give courage and support, and inspire, help and celebrate life with one another,’’ says Marisa S. Benincasa, MBA, Loyalty Manager, who oversees the Cancer Fighters program at CTCA®. Founded in 1990 by a group of CTCA patients, Cancer Fighters taps into the experience, knowledge and inspiration of cancer patients and caregivers across the country. The program also supports patients, caregivers and their families with resources and opportunities to find peer support. Caregivers are those individuals helping family members or a friend through cancer treatment. “Caregiving may mean helping with daily activities such as going to the doctor or making meals. It could also mean coordinating services and care. Or it may be giving emotional and spiritual support,’’ according to Steve White, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mind-Body Therapist at CTCA. His fluency in Spanish also gives him a special connection to Hispanic cancer patients. “We work with patients to decrease stress, whether it is brought on by the cancer or other events in their lives,’’ he says. “We usually work one-on-one with patients or we work with them alongside a caregiver.’’ In the case of some Hispanic families, White says there is a tendency for families to encourage the cancer patient to stay in bed. “But we try to impress upon families that it is better for cancer patients to get up and walk around,’’ he says. Both White and Benincasa point out that whether you’re younger or older, you may find yourself in a new role as caregiver. You may not have been an active part of someone’s life before, but perhaps now that they are a cancer patient, the way you support them is more active. It may be in a way in which you haven’t had much experience, or in a way that feels more intense than before. Even though caregiving may feel new to you now, White says many caregivers and family members learn more as they go through their loved one’s experience. CTCA therapists report that some of the more common situations facing caregivers may include one or more of the following:

• Patients may only feel comfortable with a spouse or partner taking care of them. • Parents may have a hard time accepting help from their adult children. • Adult children may not want to rely on their parents for care. • Caregivers may have health problems themselves, making it physically and emotionally hard to take care of someone else. Whatever your roles are now, it’s very common to feel confused and stressed at this time. “If you can, try to share your feelings with others going through the same journey you are, like our Cancer Fighters,’’ says White. White cautions that some patients deal with procedures better than others. “Some patients become panic stricken or claustrophobic when placed in a confined space, such as certain radiation equipment. We teach patients relaxation exercises,’’ he adds. Aside from deep breathing training, CTCA cancer patients have access to talking with a counselor, activities, and laughter club. “Laughter is often the best medicine. We use activity groups such as QiGong and Tai Chi, and sprinkle in some humor to make it a fun activity,’’ White says. Many cancer patients say that, looking back, they took too much on themselves. Or they wished they had asked for help from friends and family sooner. ‘‘Many patients, including Hispanic patients, feel that they are a burden to relatives and friends and are hesitant to ask for help for such chores as cooking and cleaning,’’ White says. Medical expertise is a key part of cancer treatment, but it is not enough. You need to build a cancer support team. Here are some Cancer Fighters tips that will help you succeed: Don’t be afraid to ask for help – You may be surprised at how willing people and family are to help in your cancer journey. Build a team – You can’t do it all alone. Bring a partner to appointments – Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to treatment sessions for emotional support. Figure out what you need – People want to help but they need to know what you need. Do you need help with the children? Can you cook your own meals? Make a list of what you need and spread the work load to friends and family. Talk to your children – It’s better for them to find out now about your cancer than learning about it from other sources. Designate a surrogate – Make certain you have someone to handle your legal affairs as you deal with your cancer treatment regimen. For more information on the Cancer Fighters program, please visit

For more information visit


Hispanic Corporate

Directors: At the Pinnacle of Power

Story by: Pablo Schneider and Kristin Schneider Design by: Carlos Cuevas


ispanic corporate directors are at the pinnacle of power in America. The topic of Hispanics serving on corporate boards is challenging and complex. Many questions arise. Why are there so few Hispanics on corporate boards? What can be done to increase the number? What are some examples of how Hispanics got on boards? Who are some of the Hispanics that have recently been appointed? If CEO’s are the most sought after board candidates, how are Hispanic CEO’s doing? Who are some of the top Hispanic corporate directors? What do they think? Why is it important for Hispanics to serve on corporate boards? The boards of the Fortune 500 oversee companies with a combined total of $12 trillion in revenues, $840 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market cap, and 27.9 million employees worldwide. If there is a Hispanic voice on the board, our presence is tangible and we are included in the conversation. With no seat at the table, who will stand up for us? The number of Hispanics on corporate boards is small and the trend is flat. One illustration comes from a report called “Mapping Incoming Boardroom Talent” by Heidrick & Struggles. 18 • September / October 2016



Mas Tec is proud to celebrate and recognize the leadership of Board Members

Javier Palomarez

President and C.E.O. of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

& Jose R. Mas Chief Executive Officer of Mas Tec

Their contribution and service is not only of the highest relevance to our company, but to all of the Latino Business Community across our Country.

BOARDS FEATURE 2016 According to the report, in 2015 there were 399 board seats filled by independent directors out of the 4,698 total seats on Fortune 500 boards. Current and former CEO’s and CFO’s filled 73% of the seats, and 67% of new directors had international experience. The average age of the new independent directors was 58. The number of seats filled by Hispanics has remained flat for the past seven years. In 2015, of 399 seats filled, Hispanics accounted for 4% (16) vs. 4.8% (19) for Asian-Americans, 9.3% (37) for African-Americans, and 29.8% (119) for Females. Consistent with the small numbers in the aforementioned report, the Alliance For Board Diversity found that in 2012, Hispanics held 3.3% (151) of 4,575 Fortune 500 board seats. Recently someone asked me, “What one thing would you do to increase Hispanic participation on corporate boards?” My immediate answer was, “Get more Hispanics into the corporate governance ecosystem.” Getting more Hispanics into the corporate governance ecosystem means having more top Hispanic leaders across sectors, more Hispanics serving on all kinds of boards, more Hispanics with corporate governance and other highly sought-after skill sets, more Hispanics connected to Fortune 1000 board members, and more Hispanics who are Fortune 1000 board-ready candidates. “Getting more Hispanics into the corporate governance ecosystem” is a simple answer, but there is a depth and breadth of complexity behind it. I’ve been engaged in the corporate governance ecosystem since 1994. This includes serving on private, non-profit and governmental boards for over 20 years; being an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors since 1999; speaking extensively and writing dozens of articles on the subject since 2001; Chairing Board Diversity Roundtables since 2007; serving as special editor of the Latino Leaders Board Edition since 2008; and Chairing two dozen Renaissance Dinners since 2012. Some of the lessons I’ve learned about the corporate governance ecosystem include: •The corporate governance ecosystem is complex and in some ways changes very slowly (especially when it comes to board composition). •Serving on corporate boards is a longterm endeavor, like a marathon. •The criteria for recruiting board candidates is generally narrow and the aperture for selecting corporate directors is exceedingly small. •Personal relationships and word of mouth are integral to board candidate recruitment and selection. 20 • September / October 2016

There are three organizations that must be considered when looking at the corporate governance ecosystem and Hispanic board participation: the LCDA, HACR, and the NACD. The Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA) was founded in 2012. The LCDA’s goal is to increase Hispanic representation in the boardroom by developing current and future Latino corporate directors and connecting these candidates to corporations and search firms searching for directors. The LCDA also focuses on supporting its members through education and networking opportunities such as its LCDA Annual Convening. The LCDA currently has 66 members who hold a total of 118 seats on public, private, and non-profit boards of directors. LCDA members hold seats on the boards of notable Fortune 1000 companies such as HP, Ford Motor Company, Prudential Financial, Time Warner Cable, MassMutual, Manpower, CBS, AECOM, Honeywell International, Southwest Airlines, CBRE, Brinker International, Bank of America, Target, Ryder, AutoZone, Northern Trust, Archer Daniels Midland, Texas Instruments, CMS Energy, WPP, Kohl’s Stores, Comerica Bank, and Cinemark. The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) was founded in 1986. HACR is one of the most influential Hispanic organizations engaging with corporate America. HACR’s goal is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America with a focus on employment, procurement, philanthropy, and governance. To achieve this goal, HACR’s programs focus on every part of the talent pipeline, from the HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers program to the HACR Corporate Executives Forum, which provide Hispanic professionals opportunities for discussion, growth, and networking. Other offerings include the Annual HACR Symposium and research on topics relevant to U.S. Hispanics and corporate America published by the HACR Research Institute. The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the leading association for corporate directors in the U.S. The NACD’s main focus is on “advancing exemplary board leaders”. The NACD’s 17,000 members serve on the boards of over 900 of the Fortune 1000 companies in addition to numerous public, private, non-profit and governmental boards. Nationally renowned Hispanic leader Cari Dominguez serves on the board of directors of the NACD. In addition, Dominguez serves on the board of Manpower, which is ranked 144 on the Fortune 500, as well as on the board of the Calvert SAGE Fund.


Getting on a Board

Three Examples of How Hispanic Corporate Directors Got on Boards The following is a common profile of corporate directors

Antonio Carrillo, Jose Luis Prado, and Nina Vaca are three examples of Hispanic corporate directors who fit this profile. In recent interviews, they shared insights on their personal experiences of getting on corporate boards.

Jose Luis Prado is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Evans Foods. Prado has a long history in the consumer goods industry. He previously served in various leadership roles at PepsiCo, Inc. including President of Quaker Foods - North America and President of Quaker Goods & Snacks North America. Prado serves on the board of Northern Trust and on the board of Brinker International, Inc. When asked about how he came to serve on two corporate boards, Prado answers, “When I arrived in Chicago in 2011 to run Quaker Oats, I engaged in a big way with the civil, social and business communities and that raised my profile. Northern Trust’s Chairman noticed and reached out for a meet and greet, and it went on from there.” Prado’s appointment to the board of Brinker International came about as a result of relationships he built with search firms. Prado shares, “When I retired from Quaker I went to meet with the top search firms and expressed my interest in serving on corporate boards. A year later a search firm brought me forward as a candidate for the Brinker International board and I was selected.”

Antonio Carrillo is the Chief Executive Officer of Mexichem. Prior to joining Mexichem, Carrillo was a Group President at Trinity Industries Inc. He brings his extensive experience in international business, energy, transportation, and construction to his board service at Trinity Industries and at the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Carrillo holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Carrillo, when asked how he came to serve on the board of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, credited a professional relationship and word of mouth with his appointment. He told the story of how he joined Trinity Industries Inc. as a board member subsequent to having departed the company after working there for 17 years. During his tenure at Trinity Industries, he came to know board member John Adams, who also served on the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group board. “John Adams was retiring from the Dr. Pepper Board,” Carrillo explains. “John knew me well for many years at Trinity and recommended me to the Chairman.” This recommendation led to Carrillo’s appointment to the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group board.

Nina Vaca is founder, chairman, and CEO of the Pinnacle Group. Vaca heads one of the fastest growing companies of its size in America. Founded in 1996, Pinnacle Group provides a variety of services including vendor management services and IT staffing and consulting. Vaca has a strong track record of leadership as an entrepreneur, business owner, corporate director, and civic leader. She serves on the boards of three Fortune 1000 companies: Kohl’s Stores (Fortune 145), Cinemark (Fortune 762), and Comerica Bank (Fortune 765). Her civic leadership positions include serving as Chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Vaca attributes her appointment to the boards of Kohl’s, Cinemark, and Comerica to long-term professional relationships and recommendations that came about as a result of building the Pinnacle Group over 20 years, of serving as a trustee of a major university, and of being a member of a top leadership network in Texas. Vaca shares, “In addition to relationships that were formed through civic leadership, building the Pinnacle Group and being on the Inc. 500/5000 for 11 consecutive years resulted in credibility and exposure that were integral to being recruited and selected as a corporate director.”

that is based having conducted dozens of interviews with Fortune 1000 corporate directors. •College graduate •High degree of professional success over 20-30 years •Deep industry experience •Long track record of top leadership •Strong professional skills and knowledge (finance, strategy, international, information technology, marketing, government/regulatory, risk assessment, medicine/ science, legal, human resources) •Experience serving on corporate, private, non-profit, and governmental boards •Extensive social capital and professional network along with a great reputation

22 • September / October 2016


The New Players

Notable Hispanic Leaders Recently Elected To Boards Eight Latinas and seven Latinos have been elected to Fortune 1000 boards in the past year. Of these, nine have previous corporate board experience and five are new to corporate boards. The fourteen boards to which these Hispanics were elected oversee companies that have a combined total of over $430 billion in revenues. •Aida Alvarez was appointed to the board of HP in February of 2016. HP is ranked Fortune 20, with $103.3 billion in revenues.

•Ramón Baez, SVP Customer Advocacy of HP Enterprise, was appointed to the board of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in April of 2016. Over $60 billion in revenues – equivalent to Fortune 47 ranking.

•Maria Elena Lagomasino, CEO and Managing Partner WE Family Offices, and Director of The Coca-Cola Company, was appointed to the board of The Walt Disney Company in September of 2015. Disney is ranked Fortune 54 with $52.4 billion in revenues.

•Monica Lozano, Director of Bank Of America, was appointed to the board of Target in March of 2016. Target is ranked Fortune 38 with $73 billion in revenues.

•Cesar Conde, Chairman NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises was appointed to the board of PepsiCo in March of 2016. PepsiCo is ranked Fortune 44 with $63 billion in revenues.

“For those rising through the ranks: stay humble. Early in career, keep in mind that no job is too big or too small. Later in career, remember that no one succeeds alone. We all get help and support along the way.” Cesar Conde 24 • September / October 2016

•Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, CEO of AT&T International, and Director of New York Life Insurance, was appointed to the board of the American Express Company in May of 2016. American Express in ranked Fortune 85 with $34.4 billion in revenues.


•Grace Lieblein, Director of Honeywell International, was appointed to the board of Southwest Airlines in February of 2016. Southwest Airlines is ranked Fortune 142 with $19.8 billion in revenues.

•Paul Raines, President and CEO of GameStop and Director of Advance Auto Parts was elected to the board of JC Penney in February of 2016. JC Penney is ranked 228 on the Fortune 500 with $12.6 billion in revenues.

“I think that sometimes the problem in companies is often there is a lack of empowerment in people to change the rules. Now that doesn’t mean you’re going to do everything against procedures, but it means you’re empowered to do something differently. I’ll try anything. You have to be willing to push the boundaries. As long as I am here, we are going to continue to do that.” Paul Raines •Jose Armario was appointed to the board of directors of Avon Products in September of 2016. Avon Products is ranked 370 of the Fortune 500 with $7.1 billion in revenues.

•Jose Gutierrez, Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Chairman & CEO of AT&T. Gutierrez serves in Denny’s Corporation as a Board member and also was appointed to the Board of Directors of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in September 2016. •Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was appointed to the board of MasTec in December of 2015. MasTec is ranked Fortune 572 with $4.2 billion in revenues.

26 • September / October 2016

•Myrna Soto, Global SVP and CISO of Comcast, and Director of CMS Energy, was elected to the board of Spirit Airlines in March of 2016. Spirit Airlines is ranked Fortune 933 with $2.1 billion in revenues.

•Graciela Monteagudo, SVP Americas Mead Johnson Nutrition, was appointed to the board of ACCO Brands in August of 2016 (NYSE: ACCO).

•Luis Aguilar was appointed to the board of directors of Envestnet in March of 2016 (NYSE: ENV). •Patricia Salas Pineda, Group VP of Hispanic Strategy at Toyota and Director of Levi Strauss, was appointed to the board of Frontier Airlines in June of 2016. •Arcilia Acosta, CEO of CARCON Industries & Construction and STL Engineers, was appointed to the Board of Energy Future Holdings in 2008 and to the Board of Legacy Texas Financial Group in 2013, serving on the Audit and Compensation Committees on both companies.

“My involvement with various boards, both corporate and non-profit, has been hugely impactful in my career in terms of gaining insights into other lines of business, styles of governance and leadership. At the same time, I’ve been able to make a contribution to those organizations given my background and my experiences over many years, working both domestically and internationally. It is a great honor to serve on those boards with an amazing group proven senior executives who have made a significant impact on my own effectiveness as a business leader.” Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International

A Few Good Men

Hispanic CEO’s

CEO’s are among the most highly sought after candidates for corporate boards. We have identified fifteen Hispanic CEO’s of major companies. The CEO’s who aren’t on any boards now, are only on the board of the company they lead, or are only on one outside board, are prime candidates for Fortune 1000 boards.

Gerry Lopez CEO and Director, Extended Stay America (NYSE: STAY – 2015 revenues of $1.28 billion) Director, CBRE Group (Fortune 259) Director, Brinker International (Fortune 731)

Joseph Alvarado Chairman, President and CEO, Commercial Metals (Fortune 417) Director, Spectra Energy (Fortune 493)

Juan Luciano Chairman and CEO, Archer Daniels Midland (Fortune 41) Director, Eli Lilly (Fortune 141)

Thaddeus Arroyo CEO, AT&T Mexico

Jose Mas CEO and Director, MasTec (Fortune 572)

Marcelo Claure CEO and Director, Sprint $32.2 billion in revenues (equivalent to the rank of Fortune 88)

J. Mario Molina Chairman, CEO and President, Molina Healthcare (Fortune 201)

Paul Diaz CEO and Director, Kindred Healthcare (Fortune 372) Director, DaVita (Fortune 200)

Oscar Muñoz President and CEO, Director, United Continental Holdings (Fortune 80)

Ralph de la Vega Vice Chairman, AT&T, Inc. CEO, AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International Director, New York Life Insurance (Fortune 61) Director, American Express (Fortune 85)

Paul Raines CEO and Director, GameStop (Fortune 302) Director, JC Penney (Fortune 228) Director, Advance Auto Parts (Fortune 350)

Richard Gonzalez CEO, AbbVie (Fortune 123)

Carlos Rodriguez President, CEO and Director, ADP (Fortune 248) Director, Hubbell (Fortune 666)

Mauricio Gutierrez CEO, NRG Energy (Fortune 193)

Robert Sanchez Chairman, CEO and Director, Ryder System (Fortune 395) Director, Texas Instruments (Fortune 219)


“La Crème de la Crème”

Hispanic Corporate Directors of Fortune 100 Companies Among the Fortune

100 companies, 38 companies have one or more Hispanic corporate directors, and 62 have zero Hispanic corporate directors. There are 36 Hispanic directors serving on the boards of these 38 companies, and they hold a total of 43 board seats. The 38 Fortune 100 companies that have one or more Hispanics on their boards have $2.5 trillion in revenues, $221.9 billion in profits, $2.9 trillion in market cap, and 4.7 million employees worldwide. In addition, nine of the 36 Hispanic Fortune 100 corporate directors hold an additional 12 seats on Fortune 101-1000 boards. In total, the 36 Hispanic corporate directors hold 55 Fortune 1000 board seats of companies with a combined total of $2.7 trillion in revenues, $225.4 billion in profits, $3.3 trillion in market cap and 5.6 million employees worldwide. It should be noted that the 36 Hispanic corporate directors who serve on Fortune 100 boards also serve on a number of public, private, and non-profit boards. Below are seven of the top Hispanic corporate directors who serve public company boards. Rick Hernandez serves on the boards of Chevron, Wells Fargo, McDonalds (Chairman), and Nordstrom. These companies have a combined total of $260 billion in revenues, $32.6 billion in profits, $547.4 billion in market cap, and over 818,000 employees. George Paz serves on the boards of Express Scripts Holdings, Prudential Financial, and Honeywell International. These companies have a combined total of $197.5 billion in revenues, $12.9 billion in profits, $124.9 billion in market cap, and over 204,000 employees. Monica Lozano serves on the boards of Bank Of America and of Target. These companies have a combined total of $166.8 billion in revenues, $19.3 billion in profits, $188.7 billion in market cap and over 554,000 employees. 28 • September / October 2016

Kim Casiano serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Mutual of America. These three companies have a combined total of $156.1 billion in revenues, $8.1 billion in profits, $69.6 billion in market cap and over 207,000 employees. Carlos Gutierrez serves on the boards of MetLife, Time Warner, and Occidental Petroleum. These companies have combined revenues of $110.8 billion in revenues, $9.1 billion in profits (and $7.8 billion in losses), $157.8 billion in market cap and over 104,000 employees. Maria Elena Lagomasino serves on the boards of Disney and of Coca-Cola. These companies have a combined total of $96.8 billion in revenues, $15.7 billion in profits, $362.9 billion in market cap and over 308,000 employees.

Jose Octavio Reyes Lagunes serves on the boards of MasterCard International, Coca-Cola HBG AG, and Keurig Green Mountain. These companies have a combined total of $21.3 billion in revenues, $4.6 billion in profits, $112 billion in market cap and over 50,000 employees.

“I’ve seen children that are leaders and 90 year-olds that are leaders. Being a leader is about being attentive, true to yourself, and having the courage of your convictions.” Maria Elena Lagomasino



Top Hispanic Corporate Directors

Below is a listing of 36 Hispanic corporate directors that hold a combined total of 55 Fortune 1000 board seats including 43 Fortune 100 board seats and 12 Fortune 1011000 board seats. Joseph Jimenez Director, GM (Fortune 8) Kim Casiano Director, Ford (Fortune 9) Director, Mead Johnson Nutrition (Fortune 587) Director, Mutual of America (Fortune 844) Richard Carrion Director, Verizon (Fortune 13) Rick Hernandez Director, Chevron (Fortune 14) Director, Wells Fargo (Fortune 27 Chairman, McDonalds (Fortune 109) Director, Nordstrom (Fortune 197)

Dan Arvizu Director, State Farm Insurance Cos. (Fortune 35) Eduardo Mestre Director, Comcast (Fortune 37) Director, Avis Budget Group (Fortune 330) Ken Salazar Director, Target (Fortune 38) William Perez Director, Johnson & Johnson (Fortune 39) Carlos Gutierrez Director, MetLife (Fortune 40) Director, Time Warner (Fortune 99) Director, Occidental Petroleum (Fortune 225) Juan Luciano Chairman and CEO, Archer Daniels Midland (Fortune 41) Director, Eli Lilly (Fortune 141)

Ralph de la Vega Director, New York Life Insurance (Fortune 61) Director, American Express (Fortune 85) Alberto Ibargüen Director, American Airlines Group (Fortune 67) Angel Ruiz Director, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group (Fortune 73) Grace Lieblein Director, Honeywell International (Fortune 75) Director, Southwest Airlines (Fortune 142) Patricia Diaz Dennis Director, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance (Fortune 76) Director, United States Steel (Fortune 244)

Jorge Montoya Director, Kroger (Fortune 17) Director, The Gap (Fortune 177)

Francisco Sanchez Director, Archer Daniels Midland (Fortune 41)

Aida Alvarez Director, HP (Fortune 20)

Cesar Conde Director, PepsiCo (Fortune 44)

Oscar Muñoz President, CEO and Director, United Continental Holdings (Fortune 80)

George Paz Chairman, Express Scripts (Fortune 22) Director, Prudential Financial (Fortune 50) Director, Honeywell International (Fortune 75)

Fernando Aguirre Director, Aetna (Fortune 46)

Marta Tienda Trustee, TIAA (Fortune 82)

Ralph Alvarez Director, Lowe’s (Fortune 47)

Maria Sastre Director, Publix Super Markets (Fortune 87)

Monica Lozano Director, Bank of America (Fortune 26) Director, Target (Fortune 38)

Gil Casellas Director, Prudential Financial (Fortune 50)

Jose Alvarez Director, TJX (Fortune 89) Director, United Rentals (Fortune 440)

Federico Peña Director, Wells Fargo (Fortune 27)

Maria Elena Lagomasino Director, Disney (Fortune 53) Director, Coca-Cola (Fortune 62)

Armando Codina Director, Home Depot (Fortune 28)

Joseph Echevarria Director, Pfizer (Fortune 55)

Ramiro Peru Director, Anthem (Fortune 33)

Roman Martinez IV Director, GIGNA (Fortune 79)

Jorge Benitez Director, World Fuel Services (Fortune 92) Director, Fifth Third Bancorp (Fortune 376) Jorge Mesquita Director, Mondelez International (Fortune 94)


An Insider’s View

A Conversation on Corporate Governance with Rick Hernandez Story by: Pablo Schneider

Enrique “Rick” Hernandez, Jr. is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc., which has over 25,000 employees in the Americas, Africa and Europe. Hernandez serves as a Director of Chevron Corporation, Chairman of McDonald’s Corporation, a Director of Nordstrom, Inc., and a Director of Wells Fargo & Company. In addition, he is on the board of trustees of the University of Notre Dame and serves as a board member of The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, the Harvard College Visiting Committee, and the Harvard University Resources Committee. Hernandez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Harvard University and graduated with a law degree from The Harvard Law School. Pablo Schneider: The corporate governance ecosystem is challenging in its lack of diversity and slow pace of change although women are making some gains. What are your thoughts about women on corporate boards? Hernandez: I can respond with a perspective on Nordstrom. The way we looked at it at Nordstrom is that we wanted our board to reflect our customers and our company. As a retailer, the majority of the people who shop at our stores or online are women, and so we thought as a strategic matter but also from the equity standpoint, that the board needed to have a good number of women on it. You can layer that on top. We were thinking like that 15 years ago, and if you look at the Nordstrom board continuously over time, 30% or more of the board members have been women. Schneider: What are your thoughts on the Hispanic market as it relates to board conversations and board composition? Hernandez: It’s a complicated issue. In many cases what boards do is challenge management to set higher goals, to change in different ways, and to respond to the market. Clearly one of the opportunities is seizing upon all of the potential of the Hispanic market, and I think board members bring their personal experience to the boardroom. Having diversity within the board allows those challenges to be made in a more authentic, thoughtful, and data-filled way than if somebody just theoretically asks, “Do we want to serve the Hispanic market?” as opposed to intimately understanding the Hispanic market and how companies should be addressing it. I think it’s necessary for corporate boards to have the diversity of experiences that allow man32 • September / October 2016

agement to be challenged in a positive and constructive way to better serve these growing markets. Whether on this subject or on other subjects, I believe that when somebody is speaking from experience and with authenticity, people in the room listen very carefully to them, as opposed to somebody just providing an opinion about how things might be. Whether it’s on technology or security or consumers, when somebody has something RICK HERNANDEZ JR. - CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, AND CEO OF INTER-CON SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., important to say and they are speaking from their own experience and deep knowledge, it just has a much louder voice and a much bigger impact in the boardroom. That speaks to needing diversity. Schneider: What advice do you have for Hispanic professionals who are interested in pursuing board service? Hernandez: In order to be considered for a board, you have to be very good at what it is that you do every day. Whatever it is, you need to have a level of accomplishment and demonstrated excellence. Secondly, I would say to get really involved with your community. I wasn’t planning to be involved with a corporate board but, because of my service on the board of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, somebody who was the CEO of a bank was on that board took note of me and asked me onto that bank’s board. Once you get on a board, I would advise that you really need to do your work. Do the reading and do the extra things so you can make a contribution. Lastly it’s what not to do, which is don’t ever go on an organization’s board that you don’t really believe in what it’s doing and that you can’t be really excited and passionate about their business.


34 • September / October 2016

RALPH DE LA VEGA Finding Opportunity in Every Adversity Story by: Diane Alter Photos by: Jonah Gilmore Design by: F.Izquierdo

Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International, has a rich and storied past, an unparalleled business presence, and a future that promises to be included in world history books. That makes knowing where to start when telling his truly amazing story difficult at best. Yet, as is often the case, the best place to start is usually the beginning. And so we begin.




orn in Cuba, Mr. de la Vega immigrated to the United States in 1962 at the age of 10. His parents decided to leave Cuba after the revolution of 1953-1959 and flee the Fidel Castro dictatorship. But as his family attempted to board a plane to Miami, border officials maintained that only Ralph’s papers were in order. “The militiamen said five words to me that would change my life forever,” Mr. de la Vega told Latino Leaders magazine. “’Only the boy can go.’ My father frantically started making phone calls and found a family in Miami that would take me in until my family could get to the U.S. He told me they would be there in a few days. It was four years until I saw my family again.” Young Ralph found himself in a new country with a new language, not a penny in his pocket, and living with an unfamiliar family. His first thoughts of America were ones of curiosity and skepticism. “I was given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, along with a cold glass of milk. In Cuba, we drink warm milk often mixed with chocolate. Our traditional Cuban sandwiches are piled high with fillings and fixings. I thought, wow, I am in the greatest country in the world and they don’t even put meat in their sandwiches,” Mr. de la Vega shared with a reflective chuckle. To be sure, those early years were piled high with difficulties. They also marked a pivotal point in Mr. de la Vega’s life. Ever since then, he has looked at things differently. Overcoming myriad obstacles, he knew that whatever else came his way would never be as trying. Mr. de la Vega also knew from then on that he would try to do his best at everything. “As I left Cuba alone, my mother said, ‘make me proud.’ I was determined to make sure that when my 36 • September / October 2016

family finally arrived, they would be proud of me. From that moment, I have always set my bar high. What served me well then, and continues to serve me well today, is to always do things the right way. When you do things with integrity and credibility, you get great results.” Mr. de la Vega saw great results from and was inspired by the family who received him. He watched as the accomplished entrepreneurs built their own businesses and thrived. They were living the “American Dream.” Despite early struggles, they were proof that the U.S. truly is the greatest country in the world. That gave Mr. de la Vega the motivation he needed to get through his early school years, which were a great struggle. Knowing little to no English, he had to rely on rudimentary translation from classmates. But he quickly found his forte in math, where there is no language barrier. “I excelled in math,” Mr. de la Vega said. “Math gave me the background I needed to know that I could be as good as anyone. That is what led me to want to become an engineer. But my grades and lack of finances prompted my guidance counselor to suggest I instead pursue a career as a mechanic, which I did until my spirited grandmother, a school teacher, stepped in. She told me to not let anyone put limitations on what I could achieve. After that conversation, I went to college.” Actually, Mr. de la Vega went to several colleges, including Miami Dade College and Florida Atlantic University. He went on to receive an MBA from Northern Illinois University and then completed the Executive Program at the University of Virginia. He also received an honorary doctorate from Florida Atlantic. Mr. de la Vega’s business resume is no less impressive. He has held numerous executive positions, including COO of Cingular Wireless and president of BellSouth Latin America. As the COO of Cingular, Mr. de la Vega was responsible for the integration of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless, following the largest all-cash merger in U.S. history at the time. As president of BellSouth Latin America, he was responsible for wireless operations in 11 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Uruguay. He also held the position of President and CEO of AT&T Mobility. Under his leadership, AT&T Mobility became one of the world’s leading smartphone and mobile Internet providers and expanded into new growth areas, such as connected cars, home security and automation. Mr. de la Vega serves on the boards of American Express Company, New York Life Insurance Company, and Morehouse College. He also serves as Chairman of All-Markets Initiatives for the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the board of Junior Achievement Worldwide. He has received numerous awards recognizing his leadership, including induction into the Atlanta Business Hall of Fame and the prestigious Global Innovation Award from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

“THE PHILOSOPHY I FOLLOW IN LEADING PEOPLE IS THAT BUSINESS IS A TEAM SPORT.” He is also the author of the best-selling book Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life. And, he had the honor of carrying the Olympic torch for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In his current position with AT&T, he is responsible for the company’s integrated Business Solutions group, which serves more than 3.5 million customers in nearly 200 countries and territories, including nearly all of the world’s Fortune 1000 companies. He also oversees AT&T’s wireless business operations in Mexico and DIRECTV in Latin America. When he had the opportunity to work with Apple Inc. founder and visionary Steve Jobs, Mr. de la Vega got one of the first looks at the iPhone. He knew right away he was privy to something innovative that had the potential to change the world. That was when Mr. de la Vega realized that in order to stay relevant, businesses must always adjust and adapt. You must become a disrupter or risk being disrupted. He sees disruption occurring at a quick clip in the communications space right now as the industry makes a hard shift from hardware to software. “This industry continues to change how we work, communicate, interact, receive news, view movies and programming, and play,” he adds. “Applications on smartphones and mobile devices have eliminated the need for things like calculators, flashlights, alarm clocks, and maps. Software is changing everything. I am so optimistic and excited about our future as a company and what it means for the world. I think these could be the best of times.” “Telecommunications is leading to game-changing advances in health care. It also means some six billion-plus people have access to the world. It is giving people who have never had a voice, a voice. Their input is now being heard, and it matters. We are entering an age where the data we have is changing everything.” 37 • September / October 2016

AT&T AT&T Inc. is one of the world’s largest and historically significant telecommunications companies, with its origins dating back to the invention of the telephone. Founded by Alexander Graham Bell in 1879, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company maintained a monopoly over telephone service in the United States until 1982, when a federal anti-trust ruling forced AT&T to sell off its local exchange service companies. The federal court ruling ultimately reduced the company’s value by about 70 percent, but AT&T continued to be a major long distance service provider. Over the next decade, it steadily expanded into the cellular phone and cable television industries. In the mid-1990s, the company shifted its focus to emerging technologies, investing heavily in cable TV, broadband and voice-over services. Then, in 2001, AT&T became a major player in the cellular phone industry, creating AT&T Wireless. A 2004 merger with Cingular and the 2006 acquisition of BellSouth led to the creation of AT&T Mobility, which has become one of the corporation’s most successful ventures. With wireless services at the core of “The New AT&T,” the company restructured again so it could meet the future needs of American consumers and businesses. AT&T continues to be aggressive in the growing world of wireless, acquiring Leap Wireless (Cricket) in 2014 and attempting to purchase T-Mobile in 2011, a deal that failed to materialize. As of last year, AT&T’s total value was estimated at $401.8 billion. Dave Leder


Obstacles Welcome Ralph de la Vega has endured his share of challenges in life. But through perseverance and a belief in himself, the Cuban immigrant has overcome all of the obstacles in his way to become the president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. His 2009 book, “Obstacles Welcome,” provides a first-person look at de la Vega’s life and the path he took toward becoming a successful executive. The book chronicles de la Vega’s life journey, from the time he was a 10-year-old sent to live in the United States with a surrogate family, to his present-day success with AT&T. At the same time, the book provides a unique look at the role new technologies have played in our culture. The author’s perspective is complemented by insights from other leading technology executives, providing a well-rounded view of what can lead to success in the business world. De la Vega shares many of the secrets to his success, but what stands out is his willingness to accept whatever challenges he encounters and meet them head on. Dave Leder

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What is not changing for Mr. de la Vega is how he presents himself as a leader “The philosophy I follow in leading people is that business is a team sport,” Mr. de la Vega said. “You only get so far as an individual. But when you get a group of people to do something, you have really succeeded at becoming a leader. I also believe that the way to bring about change and to reach a higher goal is through sacrifice. When you have a talented team that is inspired and willing to sacrifice for the greater good, I believe that is when you have succeeded as a leader.” Mr. de la Vega also is a big believer in workforce diversity. He knows it must start at the top, and it must be part of a company’s foundation. “At AT&T, we embrace diversity, whether it is in age, gender, or thinking. Diversity must be an important part of any business. How can you serve a diverse market with a non-diverse workforce? It’s about making every head count, speaking to people in a voice they recognize, and offering products they understand,” Mr. de la Vega stressed. We have come a long way when it comes to diversity in the workforce and we continue to make progress, Mr. de la Vega said. But we need to do more. It’s a journey still in its early stages. Speaking of journeys, Mr. de la Vega knows it doesn’t matter where your journey begins, but where it ends – and all the steps you take along the way. “I am a living example that the journey to achieving the American Dream is still alive and well,” he said. Alive and well, indeed.




Story by: Kristian Jaime

ARCILIA ACOSTA President and CEO of CARCON Industries and STL Engineers.


he arid and gritty scenery of small-town Texas is not usually where you spot a future construction mogul. Yet, it could be where you find the fundamental values that shape one. Arcilia Acosta, President and CEO of CARCON Industries and STL Engineers, could speak to us about a world far removed from office parks and boardrooms. She could also tell you how one arguably begot the other. “The biggest thing about our family I remember was that we were very close. I spent a lot of time growing up around a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins. We were always celebrating something as a family,” said Acosta. Acosta, who is child number five of 10, learned early that few things were not a team effort. Lessons learned helping her mother, a catechism director in her local church for over 20 years, meant altruism early. That zeal was so pervasive that it became a family calling of sorts. Years later, the Texas Tech Alumna recalls that, as her first taste of effective management. “My parents were big community volunteers and that’s really where I learned leadership skills just watching them,” continued Acosta. 40 • September / October 2016

THIS IS THE STORY OF A WOMAN OF UNIQUE CHARACTER AND DETERMINATION. A WOMAN WHO IS RECOGNIZED NOT ONLY FOR HER ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT, BUT ALSO FOR HAVING MORE THAN 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE SPECIALIZING IN CONSTRUCTION AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION, TRANSIT, INDUSTRIAL, CIVIL, EDUCATION AND HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS. BUT FOREMOST, SHE IS RECOGNIZED FOR BEING A REAL LADY! Her introduction to the world of construction was even closer to home with her father making that his career all his life. Much of the infrastructure in the border region of her upbringing is/was rooted in the emerging industrial plants across West Texas. Despite the blue-collar nature of her father’s profession, the lynchpin of the family was rooted in the simple notion that achievement meant hard work and active participation. “We were all part of student government in high school,” Acosta explained. “We all got scholarships for the first two years of college. I was always happy and always helping. I grew up in a very traditional Hispanic family and I grew up with those values.” As with many other successful individuals in business, mentoring started almost immediately with Acosta and her sister soon making the local clergy their role models. Weekends counting the Sunday monetary donations to the church made the sisters de facto bankers in training. Yet that experience was vital to not only being precise, but also organized. Acosta credits this early financial education to having a realistic approach to planning her future as well. The strong paean that Acosta and her siblings enjoyed when pursuing a new undertaking only reaffirmed there was no resting on laurels. “My mother always challenged us to do our best. She expressed the importance of remaining bilingual and to never lose sight of your dreams. She always said we could be anything that put our mind to,” Acosta said.


Decades later, Acosta is at the helm of CARCON Industries and STL Engineers. As a full services construction firm based in Dallas, Texas, offices have expanded to Midland, Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Acosta soon founded Southwestern Testing Laboratories (STL Engineers), a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm, also based in Dallas. Literally building the roads and freeways of Texas is no small feat. That is where Acosta’s 20 years of experience in providing construction and program management for industrial, transportation, transit, civil, educational and highway construction projects comes in handy. Ironically, thoughts of entrepreneurship were not Acosta’s focus. Initial dreams of becoming a lawyer seemed the right path up until a year before college graduation. That is when the world of finance and construction once again beckoned. What started with a job with land developer Rick Strauss unfolded into a career and company that now spans The Lone Star State. “Not knowing he was so politically connected, he was very forward thinking and one of my responsibilities was to fly to Austin to meet with legislators for his initiatives. Within that first six months, I was immersed in a local and state political scene that I did not know existed,” Acosta said. She did not know it at the time, but Acosta had a front row seat to a turning point in Texas politics when Latino legislators were quickly becoming the majority in the House of Representatives. Communication, perseverance and the values from growing up in a great family were her ticket to bigger and better things. A fateful call from a former colleague soon led to an opportunity in banking where one of her areas of focus was low income housing tax credit deals in real estate where the whole state was up for grabs. Before long, Acosta would return to her roots once again. Seven and half years later with Bank One Texas, the art of the deal was still alive and well. It was not long before Acosta knew that her future was to resurrect her Father’s small construction company, and build it here in Dallas. She wanted to build on his dream and create a business for her and her family. What happened next is the start of every entrepreneurial success story. Two years of perfecting her business plan and preparing to ask for a bank loan, all while raising a family, led to the birth of CARCON Industries and three years later STL Engineers. “This calculated risk was almost certain as I had met and had been working with companies like CARCON Industries for a few years,” Acosta explained. “Our area was paired with real estate lenders at the bank

who worked with developers that would receive tax credits and then sell them on the syndicated market. The projects varied from renovation of buildings converted into retail on the first floor and adding senior housing for the rest of the project. I knew then that I wanted to start my own construction company and get involved in these types of projects.” She has grown her holding company over the years with several subsidiaries with the latest providing services to the oil, gas and energy sectors. Acosta’s companies have grown over time, even she admits there is no substitute for being involved in the entire process. For that reason, she advises younger employees to learn about every aspect of their respective jobs. January 2000 marked the official launch of CARCON, a name derived from her father’s previous construction company and an acronym for Carrasco Construction. It has come a long way from the company’s first job of painting the bathrooms at the famed Cotton Bowl. But the philosophy is still the same. “I have built many relationships in the construction and engineering arena because of my work over the years and through my leadership and civic involvement. My goal was always to diversify my income by starting and building different subsidiaries,” explained Acosta. Among the most ubiquitous words in the business is “vision.” In the case of Arcilia Acosta it is only half the story. In a career defined by relationship building and sustaining a professional reputation, her trajectory from lobbyist to banker to construction has not necessarily been a straight line. With a keen eye and a knack for finding new market niches, Acosta has defined herself as a trailblazer in a market nearly devoid of Hispanic women. Leading such a company requires a philosophy rooted in trust. According to Acosta, it acts as the cornerstone of any business deal or personal pursuit. With a company that has a growing number of subsidiaries, half the battle is finding the right person for the job. Consider that Acosta’s business Mantra.


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Ms. Acosta is an entrepreneur, nationally recognized speaker, philanthropist and mother of two sons, Carlos and Marcos. Ms. Acosta and her companies have won more than 45 national, regional and local awards. Company Awards for CARCON Industries (most current): • 2016 ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Projects (Engineering News Record) – TCCC Technology Center - Regional Award • 2016 Alliant Build Award - (Assoc. of General Contractors) - National Award • 2015 ENR’s Best of the Best - National Award • 2015 ENR’s Texas & Louisiana Best Projects – Regional Award • 2015 Construction Management Project Achievement Award - CMAA (Construction Management Assoc. of America) - Infrastructure Project Less that $150 Million • 2015 TEXO 2015 Distinguished Building Award - Texas Region CEO Individual Awards and Recognitions (most current): • 2016 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board - Appointed by Governor Abbott • 2016 Featured on “CEO” - Public Television’s national acclaimed television show • 2015 Texas Tech University Spring Commencement Speaker • 2015 Ford Mujeres Legendarias • 2013 WBE Women’s Hall of Fame - Women’s Business Enterprise • 2012 Maestro Award for Leadership – Latino Leaders • 2012 RHCA Pillar Award - Regional Hispanic Contractor’s Association • 2011 “Most Powerful and Influential Women of Texas” – National Diversity Council Current Corporate Director: • Energy Future Holdings Corporation (parent company of TXU Energy, ONCOR Services, and Luminant Power) - 2008 to present • Legacy Texas Financial Holding Group, Inc - 2013 to present

Noni Gonzalez The tech of hospitality

Story by: Kristian Jaime


eing vice president of Global Technology Systems is never a one-dimensional job. Noni Gonzalez, the woman currently at that post, is more than a veteran of the information technology industry. She has become one of the most influential Hispanics in business – period. “I didn’t start off in technology initially, but I realized in hindsight that my first job with Automatic Data Processing (ADP) was technology at the time,” said Gonzalez. “I learned immediately that pulling and standardizing data was extremely important. At that time, I didn’t even have a desktop; I had a phone and a terminal.” Starting at the infancy of the tech field has had many benefits. Gonzalez has seen the evolution of everything from integral systems with companies like Oracle and AT&T. Now with the integration of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), her career includes extensive experience in data management of the hospitality market. The learning curve for an ever-changing landscape like information technology is no place for the lackadaisical. With properties across the country and the world, managing that much data and providing the technical infrastructure for such an operation means being involved in even the most rudimentary aspects of the job. “That started me down the path of programming, and I learned how important technology was to driving success for the business. The next thing I knew, I had a PC on my desk. Then I went through the client server revolution,” said Gonzalez. The advent of the Global Technology Systems and IHG alliance meant creating and sustaining a sea change that was long overdue. Even the scope of the project was formidable. Yet leave it to the Georgia State alumna to tackle the problem with the same zeal that had characterized her journey to the summit of Global Technology Systems. After all, problem solving is admittedly one of her favorite parts of the job. “I started at IHG at the end of November 2015. I have been fortunate enough to be part of the largest technology transformation at IHG in taking a reservation system over 50 years old and 44 • September / October 2016

Design by: Carlos Cuevas

transforming it into the technology of the future,” Gonzalez explained. For Gonzalez, becoming a business magnate is far from a solitary endeavor. Among the wisdom that has shaped her journey are two simple, but profound words: “Be yourself.” If success is equal parts education and initiative, then leveraging your strengths is surely in that equation. Yet that is all part of simply getting the gig. Excelling once you’re there is a new battle all together. She credits her core ethics for getting the best out of a collaborative effort. “My most important professional values are transparency, truth and collaboration. You need all of these elements to be successful,” Gonzalez said. “You have to find a way to collaborate through truth. This creates a trusting partnership, which enables you to move forward.” One would not usually assign passion as a determining factor for embarking on a data management career, but Gonzalez is far from your usual template. Leading a team at such a large firm as Global Technology Systems requires direction and nuance. It also means looking to emerging trends in a workforce that is increasingly Latino. By unifying employees in a single vision, it makes getting stronger together that much easier. It also facilitates an environment where lessons rooted in commitment and resilience can lead to landmark results. In many cases, that means redefining the success people see for themselves at information technology companies. “When you change things for people who have traditionally come to work and done things the same way for years, it is very eye-opening,” said Gonzalez. “As a leader, I want my team to have a sense of freedom to make their experience better. It becomes more than a job; now they want to be a part of a shared experience.” For many minorities, especially Hispanics, the concept of a career in corporate America is still very foreign. But changing the status quo is not something with a single solution. The obstacles include improving education across the country, mentorship opportunities for young professionals and thinking outside the cultural box. “The lack of educational opportunities is an issue, and technology learning starts really young,” Gonzalez concluded. “People sometimes feel stuck in the schools where they live and they feel like they don’t have choices. If we can find a way to give them educational opportunities beyond their geographical constraints, they set new goals.”

“My most important professional values are transparency, truth and collaboration. You need all of these elements to be successful.”

Javier Polit

Unclogging the technology pipeline Story by: Kristian Jaime Design by: Carlos Cuevas


hen it comes to seeing more diversity in the technology sector, the remedy starts with education. Javier Polit, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Bottling Investments Group, The Coca-Cola Company, knows all too well that the climb to the top of the corporate ladder starts well before gainful employment. “After a year of taking requirements when I was in college, I was an architecture major,” said Polit. “But then I took a few classes in technology and business systems and I really enjoyed them. Javier reached out to his father who supported his change of degree because he knew that would make him happy every time he went to work. For a man used to racking up frequent flyer miles for business engagements, joining such a respected organization seemed like a natural fit. “I started working for the Coca-Cola Company more than 13 years ago and it’s been a phenomenal experience,” continued Polit. “Early on, Polit was very attracted to the company because of his international experience, having lived and worked abroad. Coca-Cola being a truly global company and being ranked as one of the top companies in executive development was very attractive to Javier. Success as a CIO is more than just digital and technological expertise; it is about understanding the business, finance, supply chain and many other key levers that drive revenue, operational efficiencies and effectiveness. Hiring the right person for the post is as much about vision as it is adaptability. Working in a modern market is very different than working in an emerging market. “I’ve had the opportunity to do business in over 40 countries and it is rewarding to have the ability to understand, respect and work with various leaders. Different parts of the world have their own approaches and work ethics and a global leader needs to be equipped to work and lead with agility to share success. But at the end of the day, technology solutions need to support each country’s profit & loss statements,” said Polit. With such varying conditions in each market, the best solutions to maximizing sustained profitability are the ones most sensitive to each economic circumstance. Companies with a global profile like Coca-Cola have been more than trendsetters in the field of integrating technology. They have been at the forefront of branding and assembling a diverse workforce into a business model that is constantly evolving and innovating. The process of staying ahead 46 • September / October 2016

“I’ve been very fortunate to have four or five real mentors throughout my career that have helped shape who I am today. By the age of 27, I told one of my technology partners that I wanted to be a Chief Information Officer one day.”

of the technology curve is far from easy. That is why creativity plays as much of a role in international commerce as technical prowess. “I’ve been very fortunate to have four or five real mentors throughout my career that have helped shape who I am today. By the age of 27, I told one of my technology partners that I wanted to be a Chief Information Officer one day,” Polit said. Ever since Javier learned the value of hard work – doing math homework with his mother or being instilled with the importance of academia by his father – integrity was a central theme in any undertaking. That is as much the case now with his role at The Coca-Cola Company. “You always want to lead from the front and have transparent discussions with business leaders and stakeholders. Stepping up to the line is now easy but yields authenticity and transparency. Hard work is something that pays off over time so I tell my team members to stay focused and stay in line with our values,” said Javier. Polit’s career may have started in his family home with a strong set of values, but it quickly moved into the classroom. Originally born in Ecuador, Polit earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Purdue University, Master’s of International Management from Budapest University of Economics and Science, Master’s of International Business Administration from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, Master’s of Science from Barry University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Miami, with Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude recognitions and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advance Management Program. “Leading is a privilege. Today, as leaders, we must recognize that someone believed in us and gave us that opportunity to have controlled failures so we could continue to grow,” Javier said. “It’s our responsibility to give back in that same manner. We also need to level the playing field, in breaking down the digital divide, providing global access to the Internet and technology and especially leveling women’s compensation, since they control over $1 trillion in purchasing power. You want them to have a seat at the table.” Polit cites the large segment of the projected Hispanic population by 2050 as an obligation to be present in schools to create those vital early mentorships. Addressing the technology pipeline shortage means finding early opportunities to interact with technology and the individuals at its helm like Javier. The early stages of climbing the corporate ladder are never easy and it requires hard choices. But they get easier knowing that success like that achieved by Polit is real and extraordinary.


Yvette Kanouff

Sponsoring minorities and women


Story by: Latino Leaders Staff Writers

“It has not been easy being the only female in a man’s world throughout my career. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle, I embraced it and made it a differentiator.”

n March 2016, Yvette Kanouff was named the Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Service Provider Business. Kanouff leads the development strategy for Cisco’s Systems, Inc. Service Provider segment, including core routing, switching and optical networking, network and service virtualization, service provider access networks for mobility, cable, wireless, cloud, and video software and solutions. She leads a global team of engineers, architects, product line managers, technical marketing engineers, and business development managers delivering innovation for the service provider customer segment. Previously, Kanouff was the Senior Vice President/General Manager of Cloud Solutions, where she led teams focused on cloud virtualization, cloud infrastructure services, and service provider video. She joined Cisco in 2014 as the Senior Vice President/General Manager of Cisco’s Service Provider Video Software and Solutions Group.

Which philosophy do you use to lead your teams?

When and why did you start collaborating with Cisco? What has the experience been like? I was a Cisco customer when I was at Time Warner and at Cablevision.

much as results. Getting results – it’s not just about keeping your job. Getting results is about pride, reputation, trust. Results can also mean failing fast, which ends up getting a person to the end results faster, even if it’s through a different path. I have built my career based on ‘getting results.’ Sometimes it can be just that simple – there is a date and we must meet it. Sometimes it’s about helping define the direction of the company. Understanding the goal of a task, not just the task itself, really helps in driving toward results. I would highly recommend we all understand the WHY, which really helps create drive.

Cisco has always been a technology partner, involved in many innovation projects and technology shifts.

What was given to you in terms of advice or mentorship that pushed you to where you are today? I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors and champions. It is something I am very grateful for. I remember my first mentor – he introduced me to his entire network within our industry. He gave me that open door and it was my responsibility to walk through it. It was very special for him to take the time to give me that level of exposure. This is the type of help we need to give to people we mentor and champion. There are many lessons I have learned from people I admire – too many to mention. But the key to mentorship is sponsorship – not just giving advice, but helping someone along their career journey. I strongly recommend we all help sponsor more minorities and women instead of just mentoring or speaking at events – it will change the numbers and make an impact so quickly. More on Mentoring: In the past, we have all been focused on being a mentor. –meaning, we touch base and provide advice to one or more individuals. We need to change to becoming champions. This is a very different level of interaction. Imagine the person you are championing as being your daughter, your sister, your close friend – it’s a different engagement level in that you really help their career and help them succeed. You watch, teach, help, reach out, and ensure they have a real career path. This is what we need to focus on. We need to become champions. Can you imagine how quickly we could change the numbers if everyone championed a minority? It would be amazing and make a difference in a few short years. We are kicking off such a project, together with the Office of Inclusion & Collaboration at Cisco, for the Hispanic community through Cisco’s Conexion Employee Resource Organization (ERO). I am an executive sponsor for this ERO. We are very excited about it.

What are your most important work and professional values? Honesty, transparency, and having fun. After all, results are all about the people that make them happen . What is it like being a woman in the tech field? Technology has been a great career path for me, and I can’t imagine having chosen anything else. We still have much to do to make the field more welcoming to women, one of which is the sponsorship that I mentioned, and creating female-friendly work environments. At Cisco, it is a very important topic for us, that we are very focused on, for both Cisco and the entire technology industry.

Work hard, get results, be transparent, have fun.

Now that you have achieved much success, what advice can you give to the upcoming generation? It’s all about you! I look forward to seeing what you can do with the foundation previous generations have built. We have complete faith in you and all of the great things you’ll create. You can do it. Don’t be limited by what we created – make your own mark and your own culture.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your current position? Nothing matters as

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face, and did you tackle it? It has not been easy being the only female in a man’s world throughout my career. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle, I embraced it and made it a differentiator. We can all learn to accept and embrace our situations, even if they are discouraging.

What steps would you suggest to address the Hispanic Technology pipeline shortage? Sponsorship. If everyone could sponsor (not just mentor, but sponsor) a minority, and help their career path, help them get promoted, help them address the hurdles in the way of that next step, we would make a difference very quickly. This can help existing employees as well as the pipeline shortage, as people may choose to help someone in college or high school and help sponsor their job and career path. I think the many education programs are good, but slow. If we could all step up and take action, we would make a big difference quickly.

What aspects of your profession do you enjoy most? Unquestionably, the people. I love working on new technology projects with our customers. I enjoy working with the Cisco team – it’s people that make working and solving tough problems fun.

Story by: Steve Penhollow

Photo: Bill Whitmire

Design by: Carlos Cuevas

Antonio Guillen Capitalizing on Opportunities


hen Antonio Guillen, currently a senior vice president at Wintrust Bank in Chicago, was in his late teens, he was awarded a “full ride” to cover the cost of attending the University of Illinois. He intended to spend the summer before his freshman year relaxing, but Guillen’s mother had other ideas. Guillen said his Mexican-born parents believed in the value of hard work and they tried to push him. “Typical of immigrant families, my parents did not have a lot of education,” he said. “In fact, my mother went to school one or two years and my father, three or four. They grew up on a ranch. So it was always about work. That was the hard work ethic that they instilled in us.”

48 • September / October 2016

Guillen’s mother told her mathematically inclined son to go to the bank where his sister was employed and see if there was any work for him. A hiring manager at the Chicago financial institution, Cosmopolitan National Bank, told him that they did indeed have the makings of a summer job. “She said, ‘We’ll give you some summer work,’” he recalled. “Bookkeeping department; all kind of simple, customer service things. I said, ‘OK, sure.’” Within a few weeks of working there, Guillen was asked to fill in for a longtime employee who had departed. “They showed me, trained me,” he said. “And in no time, I was finished. Done. And she’s like, ‘You’re finished?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And she said, ‘It took what’s-hername forever to do this.’”

Guillen mastered successive responsibilities and he quickly went from “go-fer” to must-have. Guillen said he appreciated the increasingly complex work because he likes challenges. “You can find mistakes and dig out what happened and ‘Why is this not balancing?’” he said. “I said, ‘I like this!’ and she said, ‘You like this?’” When it came time for him to start school, his employers convinced him to delay his start date until January. “That was a turning point,” he said, “because I didn’t go back to school.’” The bank managers moved Guillen into the loan department because they believed his sunny disposition was ideally suited to working more directly with customers. He started taking night classes, working toward a certificate in lending and administration. Guillen did not want his classwork to interfere with his job because he was getting as much education working the latter as he was doing the former. “I was going to school at night and I was going to school at work,” he said. “Because everybody else was mentoring me.” Guillen said he was taught every aspect of the bank’s business. “I started to become this well-rounded person,” he said, “with experience in operational bookkeeping and trust, (as well as) the real estate side and the loan side.” He was eventually named vice president in 1985. “I think I was the youngest person who had ever been promoted to vice president,” Guillen said. “My wife has always told me, ‘You were born to do what you’re doing.’ But I didn’t plan this. It just kind of evolved with me. I say it over and over: ‘The blessings of having those opportunities …’ “Like I tell my kids and I tell a lot of people, ‘Those opportunities come and you need to capitalize on them,’” he said. Ownership of the bank changed, Guillen said, and some sketchy practices came in with the new administration. As a result, Cosmopolitan National Bank ultimately failed in 1991. First Bank of Oak Park took over and Guillen said he was the only lender from the bank’s former incarnations who was kept on by the new owner, Mike Kelly. “My name was on a lot of files,” he said. “But they kind of figured, ‘I don’t think this guy is the problem.’” After Kelly had cleaned up the messes he’d inherited, he went to Guillen and said, “Can you help me? Can you help us gain some market share and do some deals with the Latino community?” “I was like, ‘Whoa!’” Guillen recalled. “‘Absolutely!’” From Kelly, Guillen learned an appreciation for community banking and nurturing a relationshipbased banking experience. “That was the beginning of something that had continued now through my days at Wintrust is grass roots – first connecting with your community,” he said. “Good things come from doing the right thing.” The Great Recession claimed

First Bank of Oak Park as one of its victims, but Mike Kelly was not seen as one of the financial sector’s mustache-twirling villains. Far from it. He was described as a “hero” in a Chicago Tribune story published in 2010. “(He was) the rare financier who funded new schools, lowincome housing and countless small businesses in downtrodden places such as Austin and West Garfield through his Park National Bank,” Tribune reporter Michael Oneal wrote at the time. “It was a very strong, good organization that got caught up in a lot of things that shouldn’t have happened, could have been avoided,” Guillen said. U.S. Bank became Guillen’s third employer, despite him never having left his original digs. But U.S. Bank did not share Guillen’s community values and he decided to leave, even though the job prospects for an unemployed banker, post-recession, were not promising. Guillen eventually had offers on the table from Wintrust Bank and Northern Trust, a financial services company. Wintrust won out, for reasons that had more to do with idealism than compensation. “Wintrust definitely showed the interest and desire in backing up what we say and that was, you know, be community oriented; that we were going to grow in Chicago,” he said. “Commitment to diverse markets, which is something that Wintrust has demonstrated for five years that I’ve been here. It was a great choice for me to end up with Wintrust. Another blessing!” By far, Wintrust’s biggest accomplishment in the years since Guillen came on board has been “living up to what we say are,” he said. “We are definitely community oriented,” he said. “I don’t think anybody out there can knock us and say, ‘Oh no, they’re not. They say they are, but they’re not.’ We definitely are. We’re relationship driven, without a doubt. I think the clients that we have see Wintrust as that institution.” As important as community-oriented banking is to him, Guillen said his family (a wife and five kids) has always come first. “I work hard and put in a lot of hours,” he said. “But I always try to balance out the time I give them. I made a point not to miss anything. I would put the things they were involved in as appointments in my calendar and tell my colleagues, ‘Hey, I’ve got to be there.’”

“Good things come from doing the right thing.”

Story by: Valerie Menard Design by: Carlos Cuevas

Judge Debra

Latina Leader Urges Voters to Continue Voting Down the Ballot for All Candidates in November 50 • September / October 2016


t’s no surprise that Debra Ibarra Mayfield chose the legal profession as a career. Her father, Amado Ibarra Jr., a sheet metal fabricator who led the team that manufactured the metal star that hangs outside the Harris County Civil Courthouse in Houston, literally marked the spot where he hoped his daughter would work. “He didn’t live long enough to see me appointed as a judge, but the star was my inspiration and a reminder that I am here in the courthouse to serve the public through the administration of justice,” she says. Appointed by Governor Greg Abbott as judge of the 165th Civil District Court in 2015, Mayfield will be on the ballot this November to be elected to the position. But it’s not her first judgeship or campaign. She’s the former judge for the Harris County Civil Court at Law Number One, to which she was reelected twice after being appointed to the bench. She also set a benchmark with that appointment, becoming the first Latina county court judge. The Houston native is the youngest of three children. She and her older brothers were also the first generation in the family to attend college. Her father encouraged his children to pursue their dreams, including college and public service. Her mother, Herlinda, also set an example for her daughter. “My mom reminds me that the most important role I play is that of wife and mother,” shares Mayfield. “She’s also a strong example of how to keep it all together, through leadership and encouragement.” Perhaps her father’s focus on public service inspired her, but Mayfield says she knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in public service, particularly as a lawyer. After graduating from South Texas College of Law, she worked for an appellate justice at the Court of Appeals. While writing legal opinions, she says she became even more passionate about the rule of law and became more committed to serving the public through the institutions of justice and fairness. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina has seen Mayfield’s career progress since she was a law student. He’s been impressed by her preparedness and work ethic. “She was a very good trial and appellate attorney,” he says. “I’ve also had the honor of appearing before her in court. She’s always very prepared and mindful of the parties before her. She has an excellent knowledge of the law and how to apply it.” In her current position, Mayfield hears all types of civil cases, from personal injury to business disputes to medical or legal malpractice with no monetary jurisdiction cap, and for all of Harris County, the largest district in Texas. Land use and mineral rights cases, which she finds fascinating, have also increased with the boom in fracking and natural gas production in the state. “One type of law that I enjoy and that I teach as adjunct law professor is condemnation and imminent domain,” she says. “A clause in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gives the government the right to take private land for just and fair compensation. It bridges the notion of protecting private property rights and remaining true to the taking clause and limitations of government. I find that area of law fascinating.” Her victory in November will depend, in part, on support from Latinos, who make up 42 percent of the population in the county. She admits that judicial elections can be tricky since most voters aren’t familiar with judicial candidates. Plus, Harris County has one of the largest ballots in the state. Voters may



also have misperceptions about what judges do, which may make the electorate less enthusiastic. “The biggest misperception about the legal system I’ve encountered is that judges deal with complex or esoteric legal issues that have no direct impact on everyday people,” Mayfield asserts. “To the contrary, judges make decisions daily that can affect everyday lives, such as decisions concerning your homestead, your family, your small business or, in some cases, your financial matters.” Still, Mayfield, a Republican, isn’t concerned. She’s built a loyal following in the Latino community through her work, embracing the job as a role model, speaking regularly to students at area schools. She serves as a mentor in an ad-hoc Latina lawyer’s group and works with other groups that mentor and fund scholarships for young Latinas to go to college. “My grandfather, Amado Sr., only had a seventh-grade education,” she says. “He worked for Union Pacific Railroad and later in the cafeteria at Texas A&M University. His whole life, he made sure I wouldn’t forget where I grew up and my beginnings, and it’s a promise I look to keep every day I serve the public as a judge.” In her grandfather’s honor, Mayfield, who received a business degree from Texas A&M, kept a photo of him taken when he worked at the university in her dorm room. For Latinos who might consider a career in the legal profession, Mayfield has very specific advice. For starters, plan your career path in five-year increments, starting with college and then law school. Get into college advocacy and become active in a political party of your choice. Next, find mentors who can help you along the way. And finally, always rely on God to guide you every step of the way. “She’s been a tremendous role model, not just for Latinos, but for all women,” adds Medina. It’s been a controversial election year, but Mayfield hopes voters will take the time to consider down ballot candidates and not just vote for president. “I think that every vote is going to matter,” she says. “I think it’s very important not just to vote for president, but all the way down the ballot, especially judicial candidates that affect everyday life. Every vote can, and will, make a difference.”

Franchising the Future of Latino Business Story by: Kristian Jaime

52 • September / October 2016


Photo: Jason Gilmore

Design by: Carlos Cuevas


What started with a simple idea between Jorge Ferraez, publisher of Latino Leaders magazine and Enrique Ramirez, chief financial and strategy officer for Pizza Hut, soon became dynamic.




t quickly developed into the Latino Franchise Symposium, and it entered its second year in August at the Pizza Hut Corporate Headquarters in Plano, Texas. “A couple of years ago, we started thinking about just getting everyone together at a larger event to [teach] some of the experiences and lessons from franchisees and drive interest to those business opportunities,” explained Ferraez. With other members of Yum Brands on hand to discuss the development of a franchise conference, a new business opportunity was born for one of the fastest growing markets in the United States. Partnerships with influential organizations like the International Franchise Association (IFA) solidified it as the only business symposium of its kind and made it possible for domestic brands to establish an international presence. “I’m very happy to say that we have participants from all over the country,” Ferraez continued. “This event includes 13 CEOs and 25 speakers talking to about 235 attendees about [franchising opportunities in the Latino market]. We started creating business relationships with business franchises seven years ago to tap into the Latino markets.”


Location, Location, Location Governing principles behind a franchise run the gamut from market position to financing to perhaps the most rudimentary, real estate. The opening panel, entitled “The Real Estate Factor,” placed that issue front and center. Among the panelists was Jose Legaspi, founder and CEO of the Legaspi Company; Fernando de Leon, founder and CEO of De Leon Capital; Gerardo Flores, vice president of real estate for Jersey Mike’s Subs; and Jake Pavelka, a real estate expert. “Hispanic entrepreneurship is on the rise, and I think that’s because we are becoming more knowledgeable about access to capital and real estate partnerships. This symposium provides an awareness of the fundamentals needed to grow your business,” said De Leon. Creating a storefront is as precise a task as any other tenet of business. Factors such as entry and exit points, traffic patterns and visibility all determine success. For De Leon, that means being able to pay for the best location, and access to start-up capital is fundamental to that task. “Picking a franchise is going to entail an understanding of demographics, location and finance,” De Leon said. “That

54 • September / October 2016


includes the competitive framework and how they position themselves in relation to their competition. The stronger a franchisee can understand those variables, the stronger they will be in the marketplace.”

Funding the Dream If location dictates exposure, then funding determines everything else. During the panel “Access to Capital,” participants heard from experts in establishing good financial health. Everything from start-up capital to revolving lines of credit typically involves equal parts education and experience. For Rosaline Aguirre-Fletcher, senior vice president and sales manager of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Lending Department for BBVA Compass Bank, the journey to establishing the next generation of Latino entrepreneurs is in the details.

“In the Latino community, we see a lack of knowledge in organizing their business and properly establishing it with the state and federal government and paying taxes. When we talk about good financial health, we talk about building up to get a loan,” Aguirre-Fletcher said. With the average start-up amount between $20,000 and $45,000, demystifying the loan process is vital to first-time franchisees. Aguirre-Fletcher takes a comprehensive approach, often going as far as examining the business plan. As she advises, a good idea without the planning is a recipe for a shortfall. “What we like to do is sit with clients and see if they are financially healthy and work with them on the business plan, regardless if they are part of a franchise or not. We look at their market and their demographic to establish that plan,” said Aguirre-Fletcher.

Diversity in the Market The reality is that Hispanics are still underrepresented in business in relation to the size of their demographic. Changing that requires a hard look at the new face of franchisees.


According to David Gibbs, president and CEO of Yum Brands, business savvy is just the beginning. International companies like his have already started transitioning to becoming one of the largest franchise firms in the world. For Gibbs, that is just the latest evolution in the market. “If you don’t have good franchisees, the brand suffers and the business model will not come to life. For us, Yum Brands has 43,000 restaurants around the world, and 10,000 of them we own,” said Gibbs. With the majority of their locations a franchise, a growing number of minorities are finding themselves at the helm of a Taco Bell, Pizza Hut or KFC site. “We are going to be a massive franchise company, and that is going to be our vision for the next phase of growth. Everything we do has to be focused on growing our business through franchisees,” Gibbs explained.

Through events like the Latino Franchise Symposium, the exposure for franchise opportunities is rooted in information and training. The process to become a franchisee for Yum Brands means learning the business first.

Global Ties The increasingly interconnected nature of commerce has implications as profound in Latin America and Canada as they are domestically. Creating strong business ties to countries like Mexico demands partnerships. Francisco De La Torre Galindo, Consul General of Mexico, knows all too well that franchises based in the United States have international potential. The same goes for a business started south of the border that wants to expand to the U.S. “Symposiums like this are a good opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of North America as a region,” said Galindo. “We have some of the closest cooperation between the United States and Mexico in a long time. We have been able to create and foster economic mechanisms that help communities in Mexico, the U.S. and even in Canada.” Recent statistics seem to corroborate the entrepreneurial spirit in the Latino community. While many start with an idea that becomes financially viable, many opt for a business framework already with a proven record. For that reason, establishing a location for a well-known brand is all the more attractive. The benefit of having clear revenue streams and name recognition is often half the battle for a new business. “This is a very important window for Mexican companies to be franchised in the United States,” Galindo continued. “While there is a disproportionate number of Hispanics as business owners [in relation to their overall population size], one in four small businesses in Texas are Hispanic entrepreneurs.”

Within the franchise business model discussed at Latino Franchise Symposium, first-time business owners made the connections necessary to start the process or improve on best business practices. “We are one of the youngest ethnic groups in the United States, so our strategic partnerships with those like Junior Achievement allow us to start working with students from elementary school on to professional success,” concluded Gonzalez.


Human Capital As of July 2014, Hispanics comprised 17 percent of the total population in the United States. That equals 55 million people already working in various market sectors. Moreover, that represents an ethnic segment ripe for franchise business opportunities. Not only is that the largest minority block in the country, but it is also the youngest. Lee Gonzalez, president of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter, is one of those stemming the tide of an under-educated population. “We all do our part at the local level by empowering students and mentoring them from the middle school level to their [first job],” said Gonzalez. “So professionals to mid managers, all the way to the executive suite, all have mentors. Our broader mission is to be represented at the highest levels like advisory and executive boards.” With long-term goals to provide a ready workforce for the business jobs of the tomorrow, ALPFA believes the key is mentoring. At every level, the organization stands behind efforts to get Latinos into management-level positions. 56 • September / October 2016



Story by: Robert Sullivan

Photo: Adrian Manzano

Design by: Carlos Cuevas

Financial Education Symposium


anels of Hispanic financial experts – some of the heaviest hitters in the business -- hammered home the need for Latinos to pull together, help each other, educate those in need of financial education, and then educate themselves even more. The symposium highlighted business opportunities and talent acquisition. Latino Leaders magazine publisher Jorge Ferraez, who organized the event, said it was designed as an exchange of visions among people with good ideas. In a panel on Latino Financial Experience, Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia, Vice President of Global Community Relations at MasterCard, said 28 per cent of Americans don’t have access to banking, credit cards or other financial services, and of that figure, about half are Latinos. “The underserved wind up paying stiff rates for check cashing services – and are constantly threatened with robbery because everyone knows they carry cash”. MasterCard, one of the sponsors of the event, works with Latino community organizations throughout the country to send the message: “the world is going cashless …you need to learn how this works.” Other sponsors included Bank of America, New York Life, Paychex and TIAA. Jerry Arzu, Managing Director of Telsey Advisory Group advocated financial literacy training among Latinos to start early as possible. A group he supports, supplies computers to youngsters who can’t afford them and each one is pre-installed with Mint money managing software. In the The Hispanic Market Potential panel Jose Mireles, Team Manager, Hispanic Market field at TIAA, said only 30 per cent of working Hispanics have access to retirement accounts -- many because they didn’t participate in retirement plans. “It is not for lack of interest that they don’t participate,” he said. “It’s for lack of information and education.” Orlando Camargo, President of the New York chapter of ALPFA, and principal of the Dilenschneider Group, drilled down on community self- help. “The Poles, the Jewish, Irish went before us,” he said. “It’s now our turn.” Asked about Latinos on corporate boards, Camargo said, “We have to get out there, we need to be outside of our comfort zone.” Camargo said ALPFA is identifying and assisting Latinos at all levels, not just at the introductory level to develop a new vision of stewardship.

Monika Mantilla, President and CEO of Altura Capital, had specific advice for Hispanic entrepreneurs: Identify supply and demand opportunities; train the Hispanic business owners to be more skillful in financial matters. Mantilla said there is a lack of federal research on the Spanish speaking community as entrepreneurs and as a market. Warren Peña, a financial advisor said his company, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management, discovered that it is essential for the company to have Spanish speaking representatives. “There’s a wide demographic out there, much more comfortable speaking Spanish. It generates almost an immediate trust.” James Cotto, a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said there are not enough young people to support the ageing population, and that Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. “We’re the hottest commodity.” Carlos Pelayo, Managing DiTHE LATINO FINANCIAL EXPERIENCE PANEL -DR. MARIA LUISA PINEDA, CEO & rector, Legal at Merrill Lynch had CO-FOUNDER, ENVISAGENICS INC., MERCEDES EGGLETON-GARCIA, VP GLOBAL COMMUNITY RELATIONS, MASTERCARD, JERRY S. ARZU, MANAGING DIRECTOR, positive words to say. “This sympoTELSEY ADVISORY GROUP, BIANCA CABAN, MANAGING PARTNER, TAINO CAPITAL, CARLOS M. PELAYO, MANAGING DIRECTOR & ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL, BANK sium provided a wonderful forum OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH. to have a candid dialogue on a topic that is so critical: the need for increased financial literacy within the Hispanic/Latino community. The panel discussions were filled with productive and enlightening commentary, and all participants took away concrete examples of ways in which Hispanic/Latinos can better unleash our power both as employees within the financial THE HISPANIC MARKET POTENTIAL PANEL - WARREN PENA – FINANCIAL ADVISOR, industry and as consumers of fiNORTHWESTERN MUTUAL, ORLANDO CAMARGO, PRESIDENT ALPFA NEW YORK CHAPTER & PRINCIPAL AT THE DILENSCHNEIDER GROUP, JOSE J. MIRELES, TEAM MANAGER nancial services.” HISPANIC MARKET FIELD, TIAA, JORGE FERRAEZ. To conclude, Pelayo said there needs to be more events like these to continue to expand awareness of the vast opportunities that are available to the Hispanic/Latino community in financial services.


Story by: Steve Penhollow and Mariana Briones

Design by: Carlos Cuevas




ournalists like Erika L. Sánchez of NBC News have stated that the financial sector “sees Latinos as a key growth area and is seeking to boost the number of Hispanics working in the financial industry to help draw more Latino families into the savings and investments world.” Many of the most prominent Latinos in the financial services industry pursue the mission of encouraging other Latinos to enter this field – and they are leading by example Our top finance leaders are all stand outs in an industry being disrupted. The influencers selected are considered thought leaders on critical topics such as capital markets, digital transformation, innovation, payments and customer experience transforming their fields one idea at a time. All of these leaders are making a significant impact in the finance industry through the sharing of ideas and visionary perspectives. They are all worth following as they set the bar for next year’s top 12 – and a new wave of Latino industry leaders.

Juan Rajlin is Corporate Treasurer at Mas-

terCard. Embracing change and uncertainty has been a constant theme in Juan Rajlin’s career: Over the last two decades, he has worked in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, taking on increasingly challenging positions under one guiding principle: to stretch beyond his comfort zone. For the past three and a half years, he has served as Corporate Treasurer at MasterCard, overseeing the company’s corporate finance strategy and overall risk management activities. Before joining MasterCard he gained a broad set of experiences through an executive development program at General Motors, serving in eight different and increasingly senior roles over a decade with the company. During that historic period for the auto industry, Rajlin actively sought opportunities to contribute to solve the critical issues facing the business, becoming heavily involved in the planning and execution of both the largest bankruptcy filing and the largest initial public offering in history at the time. The MBA program at General Motors provided Rajlin with continuous stretch opportunities and the flexibility to explore different roles and functions, an experience that Rajlin credits with providing him the diverse perspectives that are required for a senior finance executive of a large cap, global company. When the opportunity to take on a broader role at MasterCard presented itself, it was a challenge he couldn’t turn down. Today, he plays a leading role in helping to drive a hungry organization, focused on creativity, innovation and differentiation.

Fernando Iraola

is the Managing Director and Head of Latin America Corporate Banking (CBK) and Global Transaction Services (GTS) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Born in Argentina and now Based in New York Mr. Iraiola is responsible for taking the Latin America CBK franchise to a new level of growth with a focus on multi-product client relationships at both the parent and subsidiary level. He is also accountable for the global coordination of client coverage for Latin America based clients and multinationals, and the execution of global growth strategy in the region. Mr. Iraola assumed responsibility for GTS in Latin America in December 2015. In this role he is responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategy for the full end-to-end regional transaction services business, including: treasury and trade sales; treasury product solutions; trade and supply chain finance; service and fulfillment; technology and operations; and product innovation, development and management. He is a member of the Global Corporate Banking Executive Committee, the Latin America Executive Committee, and the Global Transaction Services Executive Committee.

Yvonne Garcia

serves in Investment Manager Services as senior vice president and global head of client solutions at State Street Corporation, a worldwide financial services holding company located in Boston. In that capacity, she nurtures new client relationships and curates existing ones. She was selected as one of the Top 5 Latina Executives in the Country by Latina Style Magazine. She was included in a Top 100 Executives Under 50 list by Diversity MBA magazine. Garcia is chairwoman of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), the largest Latino business organization in the country. She is a co-founder of Milagros para Niños, dedicated to raising funds for Hispanic children who can’t afford medical care.

Genaro Perez Jr.

is managing director of strategic accounts for Resources Global Professionals (RGP), which provides consulting services in finance and accounting, among other areas. He has also worked at Deloitte, which offers tax and audit consultSeptember / October 2016 • 59

ing services, and at Goldman Sachs. At Goldman, Genaro led the Controller’s Hispanic Professionals Network. He is one of the founders of ALPFA’s New York Chapter. He currently serves on ALPFA’s New York and national boards and is an ALPFA liaison to several colleges in the New York City area. He told Hispanic Executive magazine that he is happy to introduce Latinos to the world of accounting and finance. “I had good fortune to have opportunities with top firms that supported my development, so I took on the responsibility to reach out to communities with few role models to expose them to the career of finance and accounting,” he said. “Finance and accounting is a great field and should be open and accessible to all. Just because you’re Latino doesn’t mean you can’t be part of it. It’s a great career path and I wanted to introduce it to our communities.”

Sean and Kenny Salas

are the chief executive officer and VP of operations and finance, respectively, of Glendale, California’s Camino Financial. Camino Financial, an online lending website that caters to underserved Latino business owners and prospective business owners. “Traditional banks ... aren’t incentivized to lend to Hispanic business owners,” Sean Salas told CNN. Camino Financial doesn’t just help clients find money; it provides advice. “We fundamentally believe that capital in isolation is not the solution,” Kenny Salas told the Latin Post. “Especially working with a first-time borrower. They need more than just capital. They need guidance.” Kenny Salas said Camino Financial helps clients build their credit, improve their financial reporting and identify potential vulnerabilities in their business plan.

Toni Cornelius

is the chief inclusion and human resources officer at Mesirow Financial, a financial services firm in Chicago. Not only has Cornelius developed and implemented strategies that increase diversity at Mesirow, she has worked to bring more blacks and Latinos into the financial services industry citywide and even nationwide. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Mesirow has partnered with organizations like the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to host in-house recruitment events. Cornelius told Elejalde-Ruiz that financial firms can’t afford not to try to reverse trends that show the percentage of blacks and Latinos in senior management positions at such firms is slipping. “The people who hold the money that we want to be a part of investing are asking these questions (about diversity), and it’s making a difference in how far you get in the process,” she said. Cornelius serves on the Steering Committee of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, which was created by 16 financial institutions for the express purpose of addressing diversity. She was the recipient of the Chicago Defender 2016 Women of Excellence Award. 60 • September / October 2016

Emilia Lopez

is Managing Vice President, U.S. Card division at Capital One. In this role Emilia leads their strategy for the Venture and Quicksilver credit card portfolios. Prior to taking this role, Emilia led the U.S. Card Hispanic and Underserved segments. Emilia also led Capital One’s agenda “to help people use credit wisely”, including CreditWise, a financial wellness digital tool that is now available to all consumers to help them understand and monitor their credit score. Her accomplishments include making CreditWise available in Spanish and bringing Capital One’s Single Sign-On technology to life for customers with multiple products. Prior to joining Capital One, Emilia was a Principal with The Boston Consulting Group working with clients in the banking and payments sectors and also held several positions related to corporate credit and risk management at Citibank. She was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth and a Bachelor’s Degree in business from C.E.S.A, Colombia.

Fabian Gonzalez is VP, Multicultural Sales,

Insurance Solutions at Voya Financial. He leads multicultural sales opportunities for Voya Financial’s Insurance Solutions business, which includes individual life insurance, annuities and employee benefits. In addition, he provides leadership and support for the company’s overall Asian and Hispanic marketing efforts in the U.S., including the High Net Worth Foreign National program. Gonzalez has been instrumental in the launch of multicultural research examining the attitudes, behaviors and preparedness of different ethnic groups regarding retirement. He has more than two decades of insurance experience in the U.S. and South America. Gonzalez has been named one of Latino Leaders’ “101 Most Influential Latinos” and is regularly interviewed by media outlets regarding financial habits of multicultural consumers and the importance of life insurance as a part of every American’s holistic retirement strategy.

Garson Guzman is a managing director at Corinthian Capital, a private equity firm in New York City. He has also worked at Clearview Capital, Mercer Management Consulting and SBC Communications in California. A native of Guatemala, Guzman is actively involved improving occupational and educational opportunities for Latinos in this country. He was the first graduate of the UC-Berkeley Latino Business Student Association and led the formation of the organization’s Alumni Network and annual scholarship program. He is a member of the New American Alliance, an organization devoted to advancing Latino economic development, and he serves on the Northeast Advisory Board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

“When I started seeing what Mass Mutual was doing in giving back to the community, that was very important to showing they were [dedicated] to expansion and educating the Latino [population].”

David Hufnagel Insuring Latino Futures Story by: Kristian Jaime


s a generation of Latino professionals enters the workforce, the need for sound financial advice is at a premium. Thanks to Mass Mutual, that responsibility is being met. David Hufnagel, Latino Markets director at Mass Mutual, knows all too well that the journey to financial literacy is not always easy or immediate. Moreover, investing in education has been a pursuit decades in the making. “I’m third generation from Argentina and like many Hispanics, I came here to further my education. Like many of us, I worked full time to get an undergraduate degree and I was the first in my family to do so. I wanted to grow, so I moved on to my master’s degree,” said Hufnagel. Planning for the future was far more than a business venture for the newest addition to the Mass Mutual team. It was personal when he became cognizant of the lack of financial foresight common among a large section of Latinos. In many ways, that was the impetus to embark on an educational and diversifying journey. “For the past 12 years, I worked in the financial industry. I’ve seen it with my own eyes that my family has not had the financial education to make the right decisions and protect themselves and their loved ones for their [investment] future,” Hufnagel continued. Among the challenges Hufnagel and many other Latinos in the business world faced was to adapt to a very different corporate culture rooted in individual achievement. So much of what characterizes the Hispanic tradition is a strong sense of communal gain. Yet it was the efforts of the financial giant that swayed the native Argentine to take a closer look at a new opportunity. “When I started seeing what Mass Mutual was doing in giving back to the community, that was very important to showing they were [dedicated] to expansion and educating the Latino [population],” Hufnagel said. “What really sold me was a program they have called ‘Life Bridge,’ which offers free life insurance to certain individuals.” The initiative provides a life insurance policy for parents in a certain segment of the population, and in the event that policy must pay out, the children receive $50,000 to be earmarked for education. Although he’s only been in his post for a year, the decade of experience that preceded his move to Mass Mutual was the perfect primer for Hufnagel to reach out to an underserved public in the investment market. Mass Mutual’s full slate of products was more than a selling point for Hufnagel; it became the cornerstone of financial literacy for him and the prosperity that often follows.

“The key factor in the Latino market is that they are largely at the age where they are making huge decisions like buying their first home or having their first child, Hufnagel said. “So I think there’s an opportunity to educate them on steps to protect their future.” . For many, that journey begins with the first job in their desired career and financing a future that may be over 30 years away. As the fastest growing segments of the populace, the 55 million-plus individuals already in the United States are poised for exponential growth in the next half century. Yet they represent one of the youngest census blocks as well. Many see the American education system as their ticket to lucrative jobs at firms not traditionally known for hiring Hispanic talent. Therein lies the importance of outreach efforts by Mass Mutual. “Roughly 40 percent of Latinos do not have enough insurance to protect themselves or their loved ones and that is the challenge for Mass Mutual. We need to know how to educate the consumer,” Hufnagel said. Statistics bear out that Latinos are on the right track in corporate America, with a 20 percent rise in the number of professionals in the last five years. Thus, firms like Mass Mutual are tapping into a market sector on the verge of unprecedented financial growth. Reaching emerging Latino professionals is no easy task with as many players in the fiscal arena. “We’ve been working extremely close with the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) and we’ve developed a fully bilingual website that is tailored for the Hispanic market,” concluded Hufnagel. Since the start of Mass Mutual’s Hispanic outreach effort, market research directly contributed to the creation of more offices across the country and search tools to find the nearest financial professional to start planning. Sowing the seeds of prosperity, it appears, starts one family at a time.

September / October 2016 • 61

Alex Uvidia


FDIC’s Senior Large Financial Institutions Examiner

lex Uvidia has over nine years of bank examination and policy oversight experience with various regulatory agencies. Currently, Alex serves as a senior examiner for large banks, with a focus on capital markets for the FDIC. Alex oversees capital stress-testing practices at large financial institutions, and leads examination teams in the assessment of risk management practices over complex loan and investment portfolios. Previously, Alex conducted the safety and soundness examinations of a wide array of commercial banks with elevated regulatory scrutiny due to their troubled condition, M&A strategies, and risky loan concentrations. Alex also has served as a subject matter expert on bank regulatory reform at the U.S. Treasury’s Office of International Banking and Securities Markets. Alex began his career at the Office of Thrift Supervision, where he led safety and soundness examination of savings and loan associations. He holds a master’s in Business Administration from University California, Los Angeles, and graduated from the California State University, Long Beach, with a B.S. in Business Administration-Finance (Magna Cum Laude).

Share with us your background, education and initial career positions. I am originally from Quito, Ecuador. I moved to Orange County, California, when I was 16. From early on, I knew I wanted a career in finance, and I pursued a B.S. in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance, at California State University, Long Beach. Shortly after graduating in 2007, I worked as a bank examiner for the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). The examiner role accelerated my professional growth as I was consistently exposed to complex banking issues and routinely interacted with senior bank executives. After working at the OTS for a few years, I opted to go back to school and earned an MBA from UCLA in 2013.

When and why did you join the FDIC? What has the experience been like? My transition into the FDIC was a bit unusual. After I had worked at the OTS for four years, regulatory reform forced OTS to consolidate with another regulatory agency in the summer of 2011. The consolidation caused me to consider my career opportunities, including a bank examiner role at the FDIC’s Orange County Field Office. The decision was fairly easy. I had worked with FDIC examiners in interagency bank exams a number of times, and had come away quite impressed with the FDIC team’s camaraderie and the examiners’ expertise. I was also attracted to the agency’s commitment to advanced training for its employees and emphasis on life/work balance. My experience at the FDIC has been incredibly rewarding. As an examiner for large banks, I am consistently challenged. As a numbers person, I enjoy reviewing and assessing complex investment and lending activities. As a team leader, I take pride in developing plans for the supervision of banks and organizing teams in a way that leverages on the specialized skills of our diverse workforce. I have also grown professionally by taking advantage of the FDIC’s rotational programs. Through these assignments, I have been able to expand my knowledge of areas of interest such as foreign affairs and policy advisory.

What is the philosophy you follow when leading your teams? My approach to team leadership is simple: build trust-based relationships and lead by example. In my role at FDIC, I often assess a wide array of banking operations. To meet our supervisory objectives, I have to rely on my team members’ skill sets, which range from econometric modeling to information technology/cybersecurity expertise. To facilitate more efficient and wellrounded examinations, I work alongside my colleagues to ascertain their overall assessments, as well as any recommendations for enhancements to risk management practices that we may consider. At the same time, I focus on providing these individuals with the support they need to successfully complete their assignments. 62 • September/ October 2016

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your current position? The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be a lifelong learner. I am consistently assessing the pros and cons of new banking activities. At times, these activities arise from client demand, while other times they stem from bank regulatory reform. For example, many banks have begun to form partnerships with financial technology companies. This has required me to learn more about these businesses’ operating strategies and to understand the risks faced by the partner financial institutions. As a result of bank regulatory reform, large financial institutions periodically need to estimate potential losses that may be incurred under economic downturns. Inasmuch, I have had to expand my knowledge base of econometric modeling practices and how senior banking executives can use this type of forecasting as a risk management tool.

What is a typical day at the FDIC like, and what aspects of your profession do you enjoy the most? One of the aspects I enjoy most about my job is the variety and flexibility of my workdays. On any day, I may be meeting with the chief executive officer or chief financial officer of a regional bank to discuss strategic initiatives to attain sustained profitability and growth. Later the same day, I could be meeting with my team to discuss the impact of new regulation on the banking industry. Aside from my day-to-day responsibilities, I truly enjoy engaging in the FDIC’s diversity committee initiatives, catching up with my mentor, and contributing to the agency’s recruiting initiatives. Through the FDIC’s Corporate Mentoring Program, I work with a senior manager to enhance my resume, build my network, and establish a career growth path. As a recruiter over the past few months, I have had the privilege to participate in our agency’s efforts to establish our digital footprint on various social media recruiting platforms. It’s been equally rewarding to conduct on-site campus recruitment activities to engage the future workforce generation.

What is the most important piece of advice that was passed on to you? And what is your advice to a future FDIC? My advice for future FDIC employees would be to take risks and not be afraid of stepping out of the comfort zone. The agency devotes a tremendous amount of time and resources to develop well-rounded employees that are able to effectively navigate through a variety of situations. In my case, this meant stepping out of my role to give presentations in banker conferences, train fellow examiners on complex technical processes, and serve as policy advisor to senior officials at the Treasury Department.




AMON GUERRERO is one of my favorite heroes because he was able to make his dream come true. As a physician with an anesthesiology specialty, he originally came to Texas from California for job and educational opportunities. But his children were eager to go back to California, so he and his wife started to look at buying a second home in the Bay Area to be close to them. “The prices for the properties were outrageous,” so they started looking inland, away from the coast and found a large ranch property called “Meadowlark Ranches” in Santa Barbara. With more land than what they needed to build a house, he asked around and decided to plant vineyards. His passion for wine led the couple to start a wine-producing ranch that became “Meadowlark Vineyards” just a few years ago and is producing approximately 500 cases of wine, enough to give him the satisfaction and happiness of pursuing one of his passions: making wine. Now, between surgeries and medical practice, he often finds himself on the road promoting his wine to restaurants and small shops. I have tried several of his wines and they all are fantastic: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

64 • September/ October 2016


Meadowlark Vineyards Syrah Reserve 2007 Region: Santa Barbara County Varietal: Syrah Price: $ 35 Aromas: Cherry, chocolate and plum Flavors: Earthy, dark fruit Impression: Sweet tannins, succulent Structure: Balanced, concentrated Drink with: Beef shortribs, Stew, BBQ ribs Why I loved this wine? A long finish with elegant graphite, earthy hints My Rating: 93 pts.

Muga “Prado Enea” Gran Reserva 2004 Region: Rioja, Spain Varietal: Tempranillo Price: $ 65 Aromas: Licorice, plum Flavors: Red currant, guava Impression: Just at its right moment to be drank Structure: Round and beautiful Drink with: Paella, Mediterranean dishes, Carne Asada Why I loved this wine? A wine that is near perfection My Rating: 97 pts.

Allegrini “La Grola” Veronese, Anniversary Blend 2010 Region: Veneto, Italy Varietal: Corvina blend Price: $ 48 Aromas: Black fruit, spice, plum Flavors: Cherry, earthy, currant Impression: Nice concentration Structure: Medium to full body Drink with: Pasta with rich sauces Why I loved this wine? Elegant, perfumed My Rating: 92 pts.


Our Corporate & Board edition of the National Magazine for Latinos in Business.

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