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Some of the most respected leaders in the U.S. joined the discussion. Graphic: @Nasdaq.

Nasdaq introduced panel to expand Latino participation on the board

The gathering of Latino leaders was held to honor Hispanic Heritage Month.

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Through a talk hosted by Nasdaq's employee resource group (ERG), Adelante Nasdaq, which featured a renowned group of key Latino leaders who serve on corporate boards and help board-ready candidates find suitable positions, their respective career paths were discussed and advice was provided for the future generation of Latino leaders.

Increase in diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)

Noting how in the last 10 years there has been an increase in women on boards, with approximately 45% of new members joining the boards of companies within the Russell 3000 index, a 12% growth since 2008, Nasdaq also highlights that other minority board members are not increasing at the same rate.

While highlighting a recent study by the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), which found that 65% of Fortune 1000 companies do not have Latinos on their boards, and that Latinas represent only 1% of board members of Fortune 500, Adelante Nasdaq brought together two Latinas who currently serve on various leadership roles to discuss how to improve access to boards for Latino professionals: Sonya Medina Williams, a member of the Boards of Directors of Papa John's International (PZZA), and Delta Apparel; and Lisa Bacus, Director of the Board of Selective Insurance Group (SIGI), Teradata, Douglas Dynamics, and Culver's.

Also joining the conversation was Ozzie Gromada Meza, Vice President of LCDA, which specializes in bringing Latino talent to the boardroom.

LCDA Support

Meza highlighted the Association's effort to increase the number of Latinos in corporate leadership positions, especially highlighting these three pillars:

  1. Identify supply: Identify board ready Latinx candidates and invite them to join the LCDA network.
  2. Grow demand: Work with Nasdaq-listed companies and others to emphasize the importance of Latinx representation on boards.
  3. Raise awareness: Internally connect board ready Latinx candidates with mentors within LCDA.

For their part, Bacus and Williams, who are also members of LCDA, highlighted their personal experiences and offered advice for Hispanic leaders looking to "go to the next level.”

“Whether it's in the corporate world or in the private world or the nonprofit world, it's about having ambition. But it's also about being willing to do the work, to take the tough jobs, to take the ugly assignments that others may not want to learn and grow and to differentiate yourself,” said Bacus.

In turn, pointing out the importance of creating a personal brand, Williams said:

You are your brand, and you have to continue crafting that brand to ensure that you are not only taking care of it, [but that] you're differentiating it as far as skillsets are concerned.

Diversification

The two corporate leaders emphasized the importance of having a solid and diverse experience, as well as a set of skills and work history that allows them to access different levels of candidacy.

Highlighting their experiences in the public sector and in academic or nonprofit organizations, Williams and Bacus call on candidates to represent themselves when seeking boards to join, which for leaders would mean greater success and better opportunities.

“You don't have to hide anything about who you are or what or want, what you're made of or what your life is made up of. The more you can bring into the boardroom, the more you bring into your work every day, the better leader you're going to be,” concluded Williams.

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