By Dr. Robert Rodriguez and Andrés T. Tapia.

We have been friends for over 10 years. During that time, we’ve partnered on consulting engagements, joint presentations, white papers, video and photo shoots, and have always been there for each other whenever we needed advice. There also has not been a shortage of music, film, in short, we are close.

A couple of years ago while meeting for lunch we lamented the dearth of books on leadership targeting Latinos. We both had consulted with numerous corporations looking to groom more Hispanic leaders given how few there were so we knew there was an urgent need to address this gap. We looked at each other and knew that it was up to us to not lament but actually contribute to growing the small literature collection a few others before us had generated. We toasted and decided to co-author a book on Latino leadership.

But like any new book idea, it needed to be a unique contribution to what had already been said about Latino leadership. We decided to focus on doing in-depth interviews with what ended up being 20 Latino and Latina executives to discover their secrets to success and to compare and contrast those experiences with those of Gen X and Millennial Latinx professionals. We mapped out our outline and we got to work on inviting executives to participate on the one-on-one interviews and in setting up five focus groups in four different cities with young upwardly mobile Latinos and Latinas. We also analyzed existing Latino leadership programs and conducted some online surveys to collect additional data on Latino leadership needs.

Because we had partnered on so many projects previously, we quickly got into a comfortable operating rhythm in writing the book. First, we would simply discuss key themes and riff back and forth until we came up with our main point of view. Next, one of us would write the first draft of a chapter and then toss it to the other to work with it. We’d go back and forth through several drafts before working with an editor to ensure our thoughts were clear, concise, and aligned.

The end result is our book, “Auténtico: The Definitive Guide to Latino Career Success” which we framed as a Latino Executive Manifesto. In Auténtico, readers will find a comprehensive examination of the factors that drive career advancement for Latino professionals in the workplace. Readers will also learn key attributes and competencies gleaned from Latino Boomer executives including CEOs, vice presidents and directors on corporate boards and how, in contrast, Latinx professionals view things differently.

What differentiates Auténtico from other Latino leadership books is the analysis of one key factor that impacts Latino career success – a self-aware Latino sense of identity in the workplace. The leaders we profiled each wrestled with this in their own unique ways, always working at finding an authentic path between corporate America’s pressures to assimilate on the one hand and a desire to stay true to one’s Latinicity on the other. We also analyzed the complicated relationship that Latinos have with ambition and power, deconstruct how Latino values might clash with corporate cultures, and we even tackle the debilitating intra-Latino divides that sub-optimize the full impact we could have in corporations and American society.

The end result is a book that clearly signals to Latinos that their Hispanic heritage can be a source of strength and an asset in the workplace. We are proud that our latest collaboration can contribute to the accelerated advancement of Latinos into leadership.

Co-authors of Auténtico:

Dr. Robert Rodriguez is president of DRR Advisors, a diversity consulting firm that specializes in Latino talent initiatives.  He also wrote “Latino Talent: Effective Strategies to Recruit, Retain and Develop Hispanic Professionals” and has facilitated numerous academic, non-profit and corporate Latino leadership programs. 

Andrés T. Tapia is a Senior Partner at Korn Ferry and provides leadership to the firm’s global diversity and inclusion consulting growth strategies. He has over 25 years of experience as an organizational D&I strategist, C-suite coach, diversity executive, and journalist. He is also the author of “The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity.”


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