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