From the very beginning, Hispanic Executive has been grounded in a deep respect for creativity and aesthetics. Two of the founders of Guerrero—the publisher of Hispanic Executive—have art degrees, myself included.
When we launched the magazine in 2007, we decided to use those creative sensibilities to showcase Hispanic narratives of success in a “top shelf” way. To us, that mission extended beyond the written word to include the physical and visual—it meant using better paper, hiring outstanding photographers, and collaborating with talented designers to ensure that each story, print and digital, was visually compelling and appealing.
This artistic appreciation was important to the entire team, but particularly to me. I did not begin my career as an entrepreneur but as a painter, and while I no longer make artwork of my own, I have come to understand how my artistic training has informed my work as publisher and CEO.
One example of that can be seen in my efforts to scale our enterprise. Building a business is in many ways similar to creating a sculpture: starting with nothing more than a mere idea, you must build from the ground up, shaping your work to suit your vision and breaking and repairing your own work (sometimes multiple times) so that it becomes more impactful, more inventive, more striking, and closer to the intended goal or idea. Along the way, you face many challenges: often, you want to quit and give up. Breaking through those obstacles is something that most entrepreneurs (and successful business leaders) are intimately familiar with.
Of course, my daily work with media is also profoundly influenced by my background. Each step in the process of publishing a magazine is a creative endeavor. From design ideation to the creative thinking that goes into the articulation of one’s story to the presentation of a story on our platform, the entire effort is both collaborative and artistic.
A little over a year ago, my team and I revisited Hispanic Executive’s brand. The entire purpose of our work here at Hispanic Executive is to showcase the lives and work of the world’s most influential Latinos—Latinos in the C-suite, Latinos in the boardroom, Latinos in the top levels of government. Latinos who operate—and thrive—in some of the most exclusive, rarefied spaces in the business world.
It’s our challenge (and honor) to help create space for those leaders—space that we Latinos can rightfully claim as ours given the impressive pedigrees, decades of hard work, and extraordinary accomplishments that exist within our community.
But in thinking about our brand and its deeply rooted connection to creativity, we realized that we had an opportunity to make space for another related and important category of leaders: Latinos who have made a name for themselves in the world of fine art.
It is a rare thing to make it in the art world—getting your artwork onto the walls of a blue-chip gallery is about as difficult as securing a role in the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company—and it is rarer still for a Latino to dare study, master, and make a living from their art. We may lack representation in the business world, but we are nearly invisible in the arts, as the crucial work of the artist is often deemed too impractical for upwardly mobile immigrants. I myself might not have pursued painting had I not grown up with a photographer grandfather who taught me the power of the arts in changing our collective narrative.
But Latino artists are out there—just as our executives are there in the highest echelons of the business world. Latino artwork has been shown at the Modern Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art. Latino artists have blazed a trail for the community, and shown what is possible, in a way that is no less powerful than any business executive reaching the top of their field.
Just like business leaders, these artists need to be supported. They need to be given a spotlight so that the entire world can see and appreciate the space they have carved out for themselves in this highly competitive industry. And because making space for Latinos operating in the most exclusive of environs is in line with our mission and on par with our brand, we decided to provide that spotlight to Latino artists of note, both in the print magazine and here on the website, as a fitting evolution of the Hispanic Executive brand.
When you see these artists’ work and read their stories, I hope you find inspiration in the impact they have wrought, as well as in the sheer beauty of their creations. I hope you learn from their journeys (as they can and should from yours).
But above all, I hope that our effort in highlighting Latino artists plays a small role in facilitating our community’s success and inclusion in the art world, just as it has in the business world. There are so many worthy artistic leaders and creators are out there, just waiting for someone to come along and champion their work—and our community is full of powerful advocates whose support could make all the difference in the world.