Advancing the Latino community in the U. S. is a work in progress. It’s been that way for at least three or four generations. And it’s just recently gained some traction, enough of it so that non-Latinos are paying attention. They call it the “awakening of the ‘sleeping giant,'” when in fact it’s the awakening of their attention to a growing population. But that idea doesn’t apply across the board – there are places in our society, economy and culture where Latinos have yet to be noticed.
One such place is in the hallowed halls of corporate America, in the highest echelons of the Fortune 100 and 500 corporations where women and persons of color, let alone Latinos specifically, are woefully underrepresented. The percentages are staggering. Latinos comprise only 3 percent of the members of Fortune 500 corporate boards and are just as dismally represented in positions in those companies’ C suites.
It matters, for many reasons. But to get to the kernel of the situation we spoke to Carlos Orta, President and CEO of HACR (Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility). We asked him about the lack of Latinos in corporate boards, the consequences of the gap, the possible ways to bridge the gap and the influence of politics in the matter. We spoke to him from his office, via Skype.
Why does the gap in corporate boards exist?
Why haven’t Latinos been able to break into those board rooms and C suites?
What are the implications of the lack of Latinos on those boards? How does it affect the Latino community?
What can be done to increase the number of Latinos in corporate boards?
Given the surging trend of Latino political power, will business and industry follow this trend?
How does the immigration debate fit into this discussion, specifically the topic of H1B and E5 visas?
Tell us about the HACR conference scheduled for this April in Houston, TX.
Carlos Orta was named the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s (HACR) President and Chief Executive Officer in April 2006, bringing more than fifteen years of political and corporate experience and a reputation as an influential leader and advocate for Hispanic inclusion.[Photo by nickobec]