AL DIA's 40 Under 40: Celebrating Philadelphia's New Professional Workforce
Forty women and men bound to change the face of leadership in Philadelphia.
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The mission at AL DÍA has always been to change the narrative others have created for Hispanic Americans.
We do that by documenting the best of the Latino American Experience.
Today’s climate, full of apprehension and racial division, proves more than ever how necessary it is to continue creating an accurate portrayal of who Latinos really are, giving a face and voice to our community often absent from public view.
A few months ago, we started a project to search and find diverse young professionals across the Philadelphia region with an aim to use our platform to highlight their accomplishments.
Such professionals make up the majority of this city’s demographic and yet are too often underrepresented in mainstream media.
With hesitation, we embarked on this search, wondering if we would have enough nominees even to fill the first cohort.
Still, as the nominations started to pour in, we quickly realized that although diversity isn't reflected at the C-Suite or board-level yet, the workforce is already largely diverse.
These young professionals are here and they are when given the opportunity, bound to be the new leaders of this city.
We received over 160 nominees, which represent not only various industries, but also different backgrounds.
Our nominees identified themselves largely as Hispanic/Latino with 77%, 10% African American, 9% Caucasian, 2% Asian, 2% answered other.
Having collected the nominees, it was then time to form the judging committee that would have the critical role of selecting the forty most exceptional candidates that would represent the inaugural AL DÍA 40 Under 40 class.
We intentionally invited four diverse judges who we thought would feel connected to the event and see themselves reflected in the pool of nominees.
We wanted a judge committee that was involved in community service, civic engagement, and corporate citizenship. But most importantly, we wanted these individuals to feel and understand the mission of this event.
We invited Juan Lopez, Senior Vice President of Finance Shared Services at Independence Blue Cross, Tiffany Newmuis, Senior Manager of Campus Experience at Comcast, Sheila Hess, City Representative at the City of Philadelphia, and Raul De La Rosa, Vice President of Sales at NBC 10/Telemundo 62.
They accepted our invitation without hesitation and expressed instant enthusiasm for this project. They saw this as an opportunity to give back and inspire the new generation of leaders in this city.
We were thrilled to see the judge’s selection and could not have picked a more deserving and diverse group of professionals who also represent the array of industries that drive our regional economy.
With the two main components of this initial idea completed, we sought to approach corporations who we thought would be interested in supporting an event that for once would recognize the other 40 — those who are only celebrated for diversity and inclusion purposes.
Unfortunately, our ask was too early in the year.
Corporations were not yet interested in supporting initiatives that would highlight young professionals from communities of color.
Ironically, life as we know it has completely changed in just a few months.
We are fighting two public health crises.
One which we all recently learned about, COVID-19, and the other which has remained the ugly elephant in the room for far too long: systemic racism.
Marginalized black and brown communities have been fighting racism for centuries, but the recent viral injustices against African Americans have mobilized the nation into saying — enough, Black Lives Matter.
Not only do we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, but we also want to go beyond this by using our platform to shine a unique light on the role, and the responsibility Latinos have in this fight for justice and to continue documenting the best of the Latino American experience, which includes the strong bond that exists between communities of color.
The importance of this event was clear to us from the beginning, but it was challenging to see past the barriers that came our way.
Our team prevailed and we are beyond proud of the work we have accomplished.
Of course, our final stretch will be showcased on August 20th, as we wrap up this now-virtual event in the hands of the award-winning Director of News and Community Affairs for iHeartMedia Philadelphia, Loraine Ballard Morrill, who has been an incredible supporter of the effort.
Finally, we are honored to have one of the nation’s top leaders who advocates increasing Hispanic representation in STEM as the keynote speaker for this event, Raquel Tamez, President and CEO of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
We are proud and honored to introduce our inaugural AL DÍA 40 Under 40 class.