Last month I had the honor to co-host the Dallas Hispanic Leadership Summit, organized by We Are All Human, a nonprofit foundation that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion through research and advocacy. Hundreds of business and civic leaders from the Dallas-Fort Worth area gathered at the event to discuss the pressing issues and opportunities that Hispanics face in communities across America.
The summit was much more than talk. To back our words with meaningful action, dozens of participating companies, including PepsiCo, Yum! Brands, AT&T, and of course, Pinnacle Group, signed a first-of-its-kind national pledge called The Hispanic Promise. This is a symbolic call to action to create a more inclusive work environment for Hispanics. Launched at the World Economic Forum in 2019, the Hispanic Promise has now been signed by nearly 100 companies, including Microsoft, Aflac, Siemens, and IKEA.
As a fully minority- and woman-owned company, Pinnacle Group has been on the forefront of diversity and inclusion in employment for over 23 years. In fact, our corporate staff is comprised of over 60% women and over 40% minority employees. I hope that The Hispanic Promise initiative will encourage other companies to not only diversify their employee base, but to also do more business with diverse-owned companies.
Marking the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, the summit also offered a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the Hispanic community’s increasingly prominent role in American society while discussing how we can strengthen that legacy in the next generation of Latinx leaders.
As recently reported by Forbes, Hispanics currently have $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, and that number is still growing. We also make up around 18 percent of the U.S. population, and are the second-fastest growing demographic group, accounting for almost half of the country’s population growth.
According to the We Are All Human Foundation, over the past decade, the majority of all new businesses launched in the United States were launched by U.S. Latinos. However, in most other areas, Hispanics are still extremely underrepresented. In addition, barriers to attaining education and poverty still exist for Latinos in Dallas and beyond. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 26 percent of those living in poverty in Dallas are Hispanic.
In other words, our share of the population and the economic impact we create do not equal our share of voice and representation. Changing the status quo will take two key elements – leadership and perspective.
Perspective is important because you can’t be what you can’t see. How you view yourself is directly related to who you can become. Leadership is important because no progress has ever occurred without it.
But leadership doesn’t just happen by itself – it has to be intentional. We must actively seek out leadership opportunities in all areas of our lives because it’s up to all of us, working in every single sector, every single industry, every single state, and every single city in our country to propel the Hispanic community forward.
And if you think that you don’t have the self-confidence to be a leader, you should think again because leadership is not about self-confidence – it’s about courage.
It takes courage to stand up and raise your hand when a leadership opportunity presents itself. It takes courage to leave your comfort zone. And it takes courage to become the change you want to see in your community.
And while you might not have the self-confidence to be a leader, you should definitely have the courage.
So, to all of the Latinas and Latinos in America, I say, ask yourself. Ask yourself what you can do for your community, how you can lead, and how you can bring people together. Remember – you don’t have to change the world all by yourself – all you need to make a difference is to do your part.
About the author
Nina Vaca is Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group, a leading global workforce solutions provider. In addition to her business leadership, Vaca is also a civic leader and philanthropist, working relentlessly to expand opportunities for minorities and women in business and for women and girls in STEM fields.
Pinnacle Group: https://www.pinnacle1.com/
Nina Vaca homepage: https://www.ninavaca.com/