If you have joined Hispanic Executive at one of our high-caliber gatherings, you have probably heard me remark, “Something magical happens when you get the right people in the same room.”
I say that to underscore my belief that the most effective catalysts for our community’s advancement are platforms that allow Latinos in positions of influence to come together so they can connect with other like-minded professionals and learn from each other’s experiences.
As the old dicho says: “Dime con quien vas y te dire quien eres.”
Having the right connections engenders a prominent professional reputation, which, in turn, feeds the strength of your network. It’s a symbiosis that takes years to build.
Years that include attending industry, association, and networking events. Years of showing up, becoming known, getting to know others, and building trust. Then, when someone in your network has an opportunity to give a referral, the opportunity arrives.
Building this trust, this network, is a two-way street. In order to gain respect, you must respect others. In order to gain recognition, you must recognize others. And the same is true for referrals. Advancement often comes after—or even because—you have paid it forward.
At an Alumni Society event this past year, Gerry Lopez, former CEO of AMC Entertainment and Extended Stay America and LCDA member, explained that he used to recommend a variety of people to board positions, but he recently shifted this practice. “In all candor, I’m done suggesting people who are not Latino,” he said. “If we don’t do the push, nobody will do it for us.”
I agree with Gerry.
We all convene at events, and that’s important. But then we disperse. We go back to our worlds. It’s in those worlds where we come across opportunities to recommend someone we know. This is the point where our focus must shift, where we have the unique opportunity to scan our networks of successful Latinos and follow Gerry’s lead.