LATINA Style, Inc. has a long history of supporting Latinas across the country through programs that enhance and develop them professionally. This year, the celebration of the 16th anniversary of the LATINA Style Awards and Diversity Conference on February 6 in Washington D.C. brought together, once again, Latinas and Latinos from across the nation to celebrate Latina success and the top companies for Latinas to work for in the United States.
Since its establishment in 1998, the LATINA Style 50 Report has recognized companies, whose mission of diversity and inclusion is reflected in the way they recruit, promote, and create programs for the betterment of their employees, specifically Latinas. Through the program, LATINA Style brings forward powerful information on the increasing importance of recruiting professional Latinas.
Mistress of ceremonies Silvana Quiroz, producer and anchor for Univision Washington, Buenos Dias D.C. welcomed the audience with enthusiasm. Several companies such as Lexus and Marriott International Inc., have successfully contributed to the development of the program. This year, we are proud to once again thank them for their support. “On behalf of everyone at Lexus, I would like to express how happy we are to once again join LATINA Style as this is our 5th consecutive year being involved with this great organization,” stated Brenda Garduno-Garcia, Hispanic Market Lead, Lexus Advertising. “The passionate pursuit of perfection is undeniably instilled in the DNA of leaders and role models such as yourselves and it drives us at Lexus as we bring innovative high quality vehicles and the highest level of service to our customers. We believe that respect is not only earned by the products we design, but by making a difference in the lives and communities of our customers. I want to congratulate everyone being recognized and applaud all of your individual and collective accomplishments.”
Expressing similar sentiments was Apoorva N. Gandhi, vice president, Multicultural Markets and Alliances, Marriott International, Inc., whom provided the breakfast closing remarks.
“We are so proud to be here,” said Gandhi as he told his personal story as a newcomer to this country. “I understand what is like to have to fight harder to be taken seriously. LATINA Style has done an important job, a job that makes sure that Latinas have the support to professionally develop, connect them with peer groups and have the comfort group. I want to welcome you again.”
Representing the 2013 Latina Executive of the Year, Ana Gabriela Pinczuk, senior vice president, Services Transformation at Cisco Systems, expressed her commitment to the community. “It’s such a privilege to be here,” she said. “We stand upon the shoulders of so many people, our family our coworkers and so many more and I hope to pay it forward and continue to do so.”
Moreover, the 2013 Employee Resource Group of the Year remarks provided by Mariana Fagnilli, Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (HOLA), Johnson & Johnson were that of acknowledgment. “We feel truly honored to be recognized among this select group of organizations. Johnson & Johnson has a long standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and this recognition for HOLA is only possible because of the guidance and support of our senior leaders,” stated Fagnilli. “While these recognitions make us feel accomplished in the work that we do to support the business creating leadership opportunities for our members and impacting Hispanic communities around the world, this also comes with great responsibility and it is one we don’t take lightly. We want to keep leading by example. But we know there is so much work yet to be done. It is our collective efforts that help Hispanic individuals and businesses succeed in America for everyone’s benefit and growth. On behalf of all of us at Johnson & Johnson, thank you LATINA Style for this recognition, thank you for being our voice.”
A celebration of Latina leadership at the highest levels of corporate America, the first session of the day focused on the achievements of top Latina executives. The panel, moderated by Pinczuk, included Carmen Nava, senior vice president-Customer Experience, AT&T Home Solutions; Bilda Acuña, assistant vice president of Hispanic Markets, Unum; Doris B. González, director, IBM Corporate Citizenship of the Americas; and Maria Haynes, director Regional Logistics, Northeast, NEXCOM, Each highlighted ways they have moved up the corporate ladder, the importance of mentorship, and the challenges and failures they have faced in their career.
Establishing meaning relationships was the beginning of the conversation and González, whom has worked at IBM for 18 years, emphasized the importance of having a mentor.
For Acuña, it is important to be purposeful when seeking and having mentors. “You have to think where you want your career to go,” she stated. “Mentors can be anybody, they can be peers, and they can be someone in a senior leadership position or people in the community.”
For those focusing on how to accelerate and develop their career and themselves as a leader, Haynes believes it is important to be a visionary. “A true leader has to have a vision, they have to know where he or she is taking the employees and the company,” she expressed. “A leader has to have the drive, the will, the endurance, and also the patience at times. You have to have integrity as well. It is very important. You have to be trustworthy, honest and be a team builder. Strategic thinking and emotional intelligence is also extremely important to be a leader.”
For those who want to fast track in their career, Acuña reiterates the importance of several responsibilities: Build credibility among your peers, among your leaders; among anyone you are coming in contact with.
The second workshop of the day focused on the importance of ERG’s within the company and how it impacts employees and the company’s bottom line.
Moderated by Robert E. Bard speakers included Mariana Fagnilli of Johnson & Johnson; Delia Hernandez, Human Resources associate director, HACEMOS national president, AT&T; Dija Ziane, Sodexo project director, NORAM Sales, Sodexo Organization of Latinos (SOL), Sodexo; Marcela Aldaz-Matos, director, Diversity & Inclusion, Human Resources, Association of Latinos at MassMutual and Allies (ALMMA), MassMutual Financial Group and Antoinette Fox, president, Hispanic Initiative Team (HIT), General Motors.
“The company benefits from having ERG members attend conferences such as these,” stated Fagnilli. “Being the ambassador for any organization and attending these conferences and building these new relationships are key for their own career and it’s building a corporate reputation as well. On a personal level, expanding the network and creating those relationships outside their comfort level is a great opportunity for anyone.”
The opportunities at ATT’s group HACEMOS are also vast as they also have opportunities for their members to engage with the community and develop themselves professionally and personally.
Guests were energized by the Kaiser Permanente thrive activity hosted by Bianca H. Rey & Marta K. Cookson. Shortly therafter, guests were ready for the third session of the day: Building the Pipeline: A strategic approach to creating a culture of achievement and leadership.
“Our presence on boards, in CEO office and at top jobs is very small,” expressed Grace Lieblein, vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors and moderator of the panel. “We are in a position to change the demographics of the business landscape. Hispanic women can be an integral part of this evolution. At GM we are very proud to be leaders of diversity, 23 percent of executive are women, 29 percent of corporate board seats are held by women and CEO Mary T. Barra has made history.”
Speakers for this panel included Jeanetta Darno, associate vice president, Diversity & Inclusion, Nationwide Insurance; Ileana Musa, head of International Credit & Banking, Bank of America; Yanela C. Frias, vice president, Finance, Individual Annuities, Prudential Financial, Inc.; and Angelina Vilouta, managing director—Talent & Organization, Accenture.
With 16 years of experience, Frias shared her insights on the role of mentorship in her career. “Mentoring has had a large influence in my career but not in the traditional sense, because I haven’t had just one mentor, I’ve had many,” she stated. “The key is to not let go of other mentors. With overtime you’ll build a support of network that you should always be looking back to leveraging, and look into cultivating the relationships.”
Sharing a similar sentiment was Darno as she imparted the important of providing access to others and to peers. “We cannot operate from a place of scarcity,” she stated. “We have to pull back and lean forward. Sponsorship is a beneficial mutual relationship. There are opportunities for each one of us that help us and help each other.”
The fourth panel of the day continued with a second part of the Building the Pipeline workshop.
Focusing on creating a culture of success with a systematic approach to nurturing talent is essential to maintain a steady flow of Latina talent to the top, panelists helped ways to identify, nurture and promote talent.
Moderated by Edie Fraser, CEO, STEMconnector, speakers included: Vera Morales, Divisional Senior Human Resources director, Sam’s Club; Rachel Cheeks Givan, director, Global Diversity & Inclusion, PepsiCo; Lupe Alcala, P&C claims manager, State Farm Insurance; and Maureen Sanchez, AVP, Latin America Operations, Merck.
“As leaders we make sure that we watch those talents through the growth of their careers,” shared Sanchez whom spoke about Merck’s Early Talent Watch – a program that looks at the right talent profile from the background to the leadership perspective.
At State Farm, similar to the rest of the companies, there is an early identification of the talent and nurturing process. “Not only do we identify them but we track them and they are given opportunities internally through formal training as well as some external opportunities,” she stated. “Formal mentorship happens for our talent that has been identified.”
After a full day of workshops and network, attendees proceeded to the LATINA Style 50 Awards Luncheon ceremony. The afternoon was celebrated by companies committed to the advancement of Latinas.
Receiving the 2013 Company of the Year award on behalf of AT&T was Carmen Nava, senior vice president-Customer Experience, AT&T Home Solutions.
“On behalf of our Chairman Randall Stephenson and all 240, 000 AT&T employees, we are delighted and honored to be accepting the award as company of the year. It is no secret that diverse teams filled with talented people can do amazing things and that is true at AT&T,” expressed Nava. “We celebrate today all of the contributions of Latinas and we are inspired to reach our full potential.”
With 13 percent of their employees being Hispanics, AT&T has a long-standing reputation as a company where women can reach their full potential, more than 90,000 of AT&T employees are women, 134 women are senior leaders of the company and more than 4000 patents have been filed by AT&T women. AT&T has helped thousands of Latinas seeking the American dream and a better life and we help them move up through the ranks and I am one example of that,” Nava stated proudly. “I am delighted to work with such an incredible group of Latinas.”
LATINA Style is delighted to recognize AT&T’s commitment to empower Latina professionals. Once again Congratulations to AT&T!
Want to comment or have any questions on this article? Email us at [email protected]