Identity Knows No Bounds

With each issue, Hispanic Executive aims to recognize the countless ways in which its featured executives choose to identify themselves. So often the magazine accomplishes that goal by recounting both the personal and professional journeys of those executives, as well as their deep commitments to diversity. This Identidad issue is a means of celebrating those rich identities even further.

Identidad graphic
Look for this marker in the print version of our Identidad Issue to read more about featured executives’ thoughts on identity.

In Hispanic Executive‘s efforts to further the identity discussion outside of these printed pages, it recently collaborated with AT&T’s Yovany Jerez, national president of AT&T’s Latino ERG HACEMOS. Jerez led an effort to create and conduct a survey of the ten thousand-plus members of HACEMOS, as well as nearly two thousand members of the Hispanic Corporate Council of Atlanta (HCAA), a group of forty-three ERG groups in greater Atlanta. In the survey, he learned, “Regardless of gender, age, education, Spanish or English proficiency, Hispanic and Latino/a are unequivocally still the preferred terms.” Ultimately, 61 percent of respondents prefer to identify by those terms.

While you’ll certainly find those identifiers scattered throughout this print issue, you’ll also find Tejano, Cuban American, Ibero-Latino, Nuyorican, Multicultural American, and Human, among several others. So many of the identities mentioned by the executives have their own stories, their own histories—and Hispanic Executive is honored to share a sampling of them here with you.

Dr. Albert Reyes, President and CEO, Buckner International 

“I tend to lean toward Hispanic; however, I identify myself more specifically as a Tejano (third-generation native Texan of Mexican descent). We are proud to be Tejanos and citizens of the United States of America, and, as such, we value our deep roots in Mexico, our five-hundred year history, and the family we continue to interact with across the border. We have a liminal identity, bilingual and bicultural.”

Antonio Argibay, Founder and Managing Principal, Meridian Design Associates, Architects

“I describe myself, perhaps this is old school, as Cuban American. Why? Because it acknowledges an ethnicity beyond Latino, and thus underlines the diversity that is at the core of being Latino, a diversity we should take pride in and savor. We are a glorious mosaic—multiracial, multicultural, and with a wide range of religious beliefs.”

Giamara Rosado, SVP and Executive Deputy Counsel, Acacia Network

“Identifying as Puertoriqueña and Boricua has always made me proud. I am a Nuyorican, and I’m proud of that as well. My roots run deep from New York and Puerto Rico. My identity comes from both places.”

Janeth Medina Larios, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Bank of the West

“I identify as Mexican. I was born in Mexico, and I have always been very proud of my heritage. I am really thankful to my parents for that, because I understand many people lost that appreciation and knowledge about their culture to assimilate in the US. I am also a Dreamer. I came to the US with my family to pursue a better future, but I have always held on to the values and traditions from my motherland.”

Pete Delgado, President and CEO, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System

“I’m a Tejano. My ancestors came from the Canary Islands in the early 1700s and settled in what today we call San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio, as you know, was under the French rule, then Spanish, then part of Mexico. Ultimately, Mexico sold all the land north of the Rio Grande to the US. Of course, I have a strong Mexico influence. I embrace the Mexican culture as well as our American culture—but at the end of the day, I’m a Tejano.”

Ruth Giansante, SVP of Finance Services, World Fuel Services

“Being half Puerto Rican and half Italian, I’ve always believed the term Latin is more appropriate to identify myself since it represents not only people from Spanish-speaking countries but also from countries speaking other romance languages such as Italian, Portuguese, and French. After all, Italy was the birthplace of Latin culture. My youngest brother coined the term Boricualianos to refer to us, which I think is brilliant as well!”

Jose Medina, President, RT ProExec

“I am certainly proud of my heritage, but as far as I see it, I am an American—and very grateful for that. Many are born in America, and hence consider themselves American. I value the fact that I was not born here but chose and was accepted to be an American.”

Margarita Pineda-Ucero, Corporate Board Director, Advisor in Business Transformation, and Founder, Women Dignity Alliance

“I use Hispanic as a generic description, Latina when being more specific, Mexican when being explicit about my ethnic background, and Mexican American when describing my mixed cultural identity:

Hispanic, because Spanish was my first language and I connect deeply with the beauty that the Spanish culture brought to Latin America.

Latina, because I am a woman with deep roots and traditions that are characteristic of individuals across Latin American countries.

Mexican, because it is the country where I was born, grew up, have family, and have cultural heritage from.

“I am also an American. I became a US citizen when I knew in my heart that I would be willing to die defending what the USA stands for . . . So, I also define myself as Mexican American.”

Ignacio Martinez, VP of Security, Risk & Compliance, Smartsheet

“My world changed about six months ago when one of my boys urged us to do genetic [ancestry] testing. I thought it would confirm what I had figured out about my heritage. Boy, was I wrong. The results came back showing I was nearly all Spanish—a majority from south-central Spain and second from the Basque region of northern Spain/southern France. I scratched my head and realized I had to do some digging.”

Read Martinez’s Full Response

Related Links

Yovany Jerez Shines a Light on Latino Identity