When we started to discuss the Hispanic Executive issue about Latinos in the boardroom, we decided to focus on three areas: the facts, the learnings and, most importantly, the real stories. The facts can be summarized in a couple of sentences: there are still too few of us in the boardroom despite the dramatic growth and power of Latinos as consumers, decision makers, and investors in the country. In fact, the problem starts with the percentage of Latinos in senior executive positions, which is still disproportionally low and growing slowly.
The learnings are dramatic in a number of areas, whether it is around the impact of education and preparation for a board role, the value of networking, or the need to manage board directorship as a career like any other. Having said that, Latinos are more strategic, determined and deliberate than ever about leveraging their background and market knowledge to make their way into the boardroom.
The real-life stories are all amazing and different. Each director interviewed experienced different career paths and trajectories full of twists and turns. However, there were two elements in common to all of them: passion and grit. The best of the boardroom all have a passion for giving back and adding value to businesses leveraging their own experiences, and the grit to break into new territories as pioneers and trailblazers. Our interviewees sit on nonprofit boards, private and public company boards, small and large, global and domestic company boards. They lead subcommittees, represent the Latino market segment, and, most importantly, make us proud.
Each and every story featured here highlights valuable insights and, at times, surface issues that could trigger long debates. For example, what creates more impact in the boardroom: being the only female or being the only Latino? Should Latino directors focus on representing their market segment or primarily focus on being an effective director? To what extent should Latinos leverage their heritage when interviewing for a board director role in addition to underscoring their industry and functional experience and expertise? The issues were so interesting and compelling that, after each interview and testimonial, you will find a summary of insights, highlights of provocative and controversial issues, or, simply, some food for thought.
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed being its guest editor. Working with our featured directors and the magazine team has been a blast. I would love to receive your comments and continue the conversation. Happy readings!