Years ago, Alex LaBrie was summoned to his supervisor’s office at the commercial bank where he worked to discuss a job opportunity that had recently become available. The bank’s local human resources representative was no longer with the company and needed to be temporarily replaced. LaBrie’s boss thought he was the perfect person for the role, given his passion for educating, inspiring, and leading others.
Only one problem: LaBrie had not previously worked in human resources (HR), and so he had limited knowledge of the role’s place within a corporation.
“My view of HR at the time was more from a recruiting than an educational standpoint,” LaBrie recalls.
Despite his trepidation, LaBrie decided to give the gig a shot, and he soon discovered a passion for the role. He began correcting many of the HR deficits the bank was facing, including standardizing employee communications and benefits, implementing performance reviews, establishing a formal recruiting process, and ensuring the proper HR platforms were in place, all while familiarizing himself with conflict resolution tactics. Before too long, LaBrie was spending the majority of his workday focused on HR matters.
Then the bank where LaBrie worked was acquired by a larger financial institution, so the young executive decided it was time to search for a new opportunity. Entravision, a diversified global marketing, technology, and media company that caters to the Hispanic community, was looking for a passionate candidate to lead its newly developed HR function. This role caught his eye.
At the time, LaBrie explains, Entravision was constructing its HR department from the ground up and was seeking someone to oversee this process. LaBrie decided to apply, and within a short time, he was offered the job.
Essentially, Entravision Chairman and CEO Walter F. Ulloa explained to LaBrie, he would be running Entravision’s HR department. “[That’s] why I appreciate Walter so much—the trust factor he has for his employees,” LaBrie says. “Walter said, ‘I’m hiring you. I trust you to go ahead with this role and run with it.’”
Over the past twenty-plus years, LaBrie has embraced that entrepreneurial spirit and transformed Entravision’s HR department into a well-oiled machine. In addition to completing all of the traditional functions of an HR role, LaBrie has condensed Entravision’s payroll accounts into a single global payroll system, created a centralized hiring process for all of the company’s global markets, standardized the insurance plan for employees, and overseen the company’s property and casualty lines of insurance, including Entravision’s Directors and Officers insurance. LaBrie serves as a true partner to the business.
Entravision: By the Numbers
95 percent of US Hispanics reached by the Entravision media arsenal
54 television stations
41 sales offices worldwide
48 radio stations
40 tech and data science teams
Source: Entravision Communications Corporation
Today, as executive vice president of global HR and risk management, LaBrie is focused on integrating Entravision’s new acquisition—digital advertising company Cisneros Interactive—and advancing the Women of Entravision initiative that he has been actively spearheading since February 2020.
“Traditional broadcasting—both television and radio—like many industries, was male-driven, but at Entravision, we believe talent comes from all genders, races, and ethnicities. I am very pleased to report that we have many women in leadership positions,” LaBrie says of the Women of Entravision initiative. “I started thinking, we need to bring awareness within a traditionally male environment.” LaBrie met with department heads from across the company and discussed strategies for supporting women leaders at Entravision and promoting the importance of female leadership beyond the company itself. Thus far, the EVP has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from senior leadership.
LaBrie’s job as EVP is also notable in that it positions him as a business leader within the Latino community—a role he does not take lightly. “It’s fantastic,” he says. “My job has given me the chance to provide an opportunity to Latinos here in the US, as well as globally, who never knew what Entravision was doing for the Latino community worldwide.
“And what’s even better,” the EVP adds, “it’s not that they were able to just go get a job, they were able to find a job within their own culture. I can’t tell you how valuable that really is to one’s career.”
To LaBrie, it is that sense of cultural belonging that makes working in what can at times be a high-pressure, high-stress industry worthwhile. Entravision employs Latinos from all over the world, from Mexico and Spain to the United States. Consequently, LaBrie points out, new employees come to the company and find themselves surrounded by other native Spanish speakers.
“They meet somebody and through that conversation, they realize, ‘My cousin or my grandparents are from the same town you are.’ Outside their daily responsibilities, they’ve made a connection,” he says. “As the head of Entravision’s HR, I try to instill a sense of passion into my job, which I hope transcends to all company employees. People in turn come into the office feeling like they work not just with colleagues, but with family. I’m proud to help lead that cultural direction for our company and hope that others within the Latino community here domestically and abroad pick up on the importance of cultural belonging at their own companies.”