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Latina C-Suite Representation.

By Dr. Robert Rodriguez, President – DRR Advisors LLC.

Recently myself and four Latina leaders were invited to a roundtable discussion on Latinas in corporate America. We agreed that progress was painfully slow with regards to Latina representation in C-suite positions.

Corporations have executives who know how to solve problems. Give them a quality issue, and they fix it. Give them a safety problem, they make it go away. Give them a product issue, and they will resolve it. So why is it that when it comes to having Latinas in their most senior ranks, these smart and competent executives consistently come up short?

Well, we aren’t ready to throw in the towel. While progress has been frustratingly slow, we weren’t ready to give up. So, for those executives who want more Latinas to assume C-suite roles at their organizations, we offer up these three can’t miss suggestions.

Leader Accountability: Your executives seed the next generation of leaders. If you don’t have Latinas in their pipeline, blame them. They aren’t aggressively identifying top Latina talent. But if they aren’t held accountable, you won’t see any change in their actions. If they don’t develop more Latina leaders, hold their feet to the fire, slow their ascent, and hold them accountable. Otherwise nothing will change.

Sponsorship Programs: Executives must use their influence to advocate on behalf of up-and-coming Latina leaders. Ironically, top

executives often say they are uncomfortable with the sponsorship concept. Yet, my colleagues and I have seen these executives routinely sponsor others, but those they sponsor are mostly white males. What they are uncomfortable with is sponsoring women and minorities. It’s time for more public endorsement and sponsorship of Latinas.

Talent Acquisition: There are several reasons why most of the recruiting departments at organizations that lack Latinas at the top are woefully ill equipped to bring in top Latina talent. First, there is often a lack of ethnic/racial diversity within their recruiting department.

Second, they are way too quick to say, “There are not enough Latina candidates that meet our requirements.” They also often don’t know what recruiting messages resonate the most with Latinas nor do they have any relationships with Latina leaders in the community. Those recruiting departments who say, “we’re doing the best we can” often don’t have a clue of what the best Latina recruiting initiatives look like.

I encourage executives to use all their motivation, passion, influence and fortitude to push Latina initiatives forward. I, and other

diversity thought leaders, still feel that not enough corporate executives have fully embraced such efforts. For if they had, corporate America would be much farther on the path to having Latina C-suite representation that mirrors the economic contributions that Latinas make. Some corporate executives have done some great things in

promoting diversity and inclusion. But I would argue that most corporate executives haven’t done enough. We hope the reason is not because Latinas are not wanted in the C-suite, but rather because they simply haven’t figured out how to make it happen.

Dr. Robert Rodriguez is President of DRR Advisors, a consulting firm specializing in ERG leader development, Latino talent initiatives and diversity strategy. He has worked with over 200 corporations since launching DRR Advisors in 2010. He is the creator of the 4C ERG Model and the 4C ERG Assessment. Damian Rivera is the CEO of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Prior to taking on the CEO role of ALPFA, Damian has been a Managing Director in Accenture’s Resources Utilities practice for the past 21 years where he started his career as a coder in their Technology Practice. Most recently, Damian focused on Customer Care Transformation work for utilities including helping clients with strategically pivoting to digital capabilities as they look to improve customer engagement. Damian has performed Digital Transformation Strategy and Implementation, Customer Information System builds, Utility Customer Analytics as well as Customer Care operations work.