“Yes, someone like me can do this.”

Chris Sheppard | Photo: Sheila Barabad

Earlier this year, I had a chance to attend Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor’s book tour for her new memoir, My Beloved World. During the reading she quoted these seven powerful words from her book: “Yes, someone like me can do this.”

Whether it was the little girl sitting behind an executive’s desk doing homework while her mother cleaned the office (Wendy Vividor, Starwood Hotels), the teenager tasked with keeping her family business afloat (Nina Vaca, Pinnacle Technical Resources) or the recent college graduate doggedly pursuing a temp job at Sony, (Rebeca León, AEG Live/Goldenvoice), at one point or another those seven words must have crossed the minds of the Leading Latinas featured in this issue.

Our 11 Leading Latinas each have a unique story to tell, but a common voice can be heard throughout: we, as Latinas, can do this. Our cover subject, Nina Vaca, has taken those words to heart and turned them into her life’s mission as she mentors others, especially women, and through her work as chairman emeritus of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC).

But it is not just our Latinas who have had that thought. John De León saw the racial and societal injustices around him as a young man, and set out on a path to fight for the rights of others. Raul Russi, as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from being shot in the line of duty, decided to be the change in his community that he always hoped to see.

In that spirit, Hispanic Executive is extremely proud to have been named as an official member magazine and media partner of the USHCC—an honor that coincides with HE’s hometown of Chicago hosting the USHCC’s 34th Annual National Convention in September—and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR).

Also in this issue is arguably the most influential Latina of our time, Cristina Saralegui. She opens up to HE about her career as a media mogul and her evolution from journalist to celebrity, to now, a brand. “Our Oprah” has always been relentless in advocacy for the Hispanic community, embodying the thought that “yes, someone like me can do this.”

And finally, for me, I know those seven words crossed my mind as I drove past the “Welcome to Chicago” sign in January and set up a new life, new home, and new job here in the windiest of cities after a decade spent in Washington, DC.