The article in BusinessWeek about Latino Leaders highlights some important aspects of what it means to be Latino or Latina in corporate America. I respect and admire the work that Bernardo Ferdman and Placida Gallegos have done in their study about Identity Orientations of Latinos in the United States.
The differences between the cultural clusters within the Latino community are just as much about cultural background as they are about educational levels and language.
Educational differences are the new “generational gap” for Latinos that live in the United States. A good education will put you in track to success in corporate America regardless of race, however for a Latina or Latino with incomplete education the impact is much greater.
At the highest levels of corporate America, you can find examples of very successful Latinos and Latinas that have gotten there by breaking glass ceilings and walls. The global war for talent has gone beyond race and nationality thus creating a more leveled playing field for Latinos and Latinas.
Furthermore, companies that fail to harness an individual’s potential will not be able to succeed at a global level and might be considered a secondary choice for employment by the top Latino talent available worldwide.
The challenge from my point of view is not how to bring our background into the higher ranks of corporate America but how do we create a more balanced, accepting and educated workforce where the strengths of your cultural background can be fully utilized.