“Latinos… We’re not in the room. We’re not even in the darn elevator,” LCDA CEO Esther Aguilera insists on more Latino representation on corporate boards
Latinos are the least represented ethnic group in corporate boards across Corporate America. With Aguilera at the helm, LCDA is committed to closing the gap.
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Some of the most prominent companies in the United States have exactly zero Latinos on its board of directors.
This applies to Cisco Systems, Intel, Tesla, Amazon, FedEx, Kroger, JPMorgan Chase, Berkshire Hathaway, and countless others.
Latinos as an ethnic group account for nearly 19% of the U.S. population, yet are heavily underrepresented on corporate boards.
“We remain a blind spot for corporate America,” Esther Aguilera, CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association, said to the Los Angeles Times. “The narrative has been, ‘We can’t find qualified Latinos.’ But there’s ample talent.”
The LCDA’s mission is to advocate and serve as a resource to corporate boards, search firms, private equity, and institutional investors interested in gaining access to exceptional Latino board talent.
Its focus is on three strategic areas:
- Grow the Supply, by providing programs designed to identify, prepare and grow the pool of Latino board-qualified candidates.
- Grow the Demand, by working with strategic partners and influencers to increase opportunities for a greater number of talented Latinos to serve on corporate boards.
- Raise Awareness, by convening directors and leading authorities to promote excellence in corporate governance and promote thought leadership on board diversity.
“The saying is, if you’re not in the boardroom, you’re on the menu, right,” said Aguilera. “Well, Latinos, we’re not even on the menu. We’re not in the room. We’re not even in the darn elevator.”
In 2021, the organization appointed more than 350 Latinos onto public company boards nationwide. Including a four-fold increase in public board appointments in the first six months of the year, compared to the same period in 2020.
That marked the biggest needle-moving year for the organization.
However, what followed in 2022 was an increase to 4.4% Latino board representation at Fortune 500 companies and a 4.1% increase in Fortune 1000 companies.
There is much work left to be done.
LCDA has a program, called the LCDEF BoardReady Institute, which trains Latino executives, national leaders and aspiring directors for success in the corporate boardroom.
Aided by that program, about 40% of the new board appointments over the past couple of years are Latina, and 47% are first-time directors.
The LCDA is planning to ramp up public pressure, launch media campaigns, and compare companies — large and small — by industry.
“There’s a lot of competition between companies,” said Aguilera.
“When you put their names out there, they’ll listen,” she added.
The goal is to continue closing the gap, of which Latinos have the largest one to close.