Monique Navarro, and her mission to change the perception of Latinos as executive talent
With her recent promotion with LCDA, Navarro is set on magnifying the importance and value Latinos have in corporate America, and beyond.
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With each passing year, the U.S. population grows more and more diverse. However, in corporate America, the nation’s diverse communities remain severely underrepresented — Latinos included.
One organization looking to reshape that reality is the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), a group of dedicated Latino executives working to advocate for the increase of U.S. Latinos on corporate boards.
Monique Navarro is one of those helping to bring more visibility toward that effort.
Growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border in a predominantly Hispanic community in El Paso had a profound impact on Navarro and the career path she wanted to take.
“Opportunities for professional trajectory are not readily available, as they may be someone who grew up in a bigger city,” said Navarro during an interview with AL DÍA.
Her background is in political communication, sparked by an early fascination with factors that affect entire communities.
“To me, politics is interwoven throughout everything, from grassroots-level local politics to national and even international politics, we can see the effect of all that movement and conversations in our everyday lives,” said Navarro. “So I always knew that I wanted to be a part of that and be sort of a reflection of positive change.”
As she navigated through her studies and the earlier portion of her post-graduate career with a focus on gender equity and political engagement, something remained quite glaring.
“It’s very apparent to me, it has always been, that outside of the conversation around immigration, Latinos are sort of brushed to the wayside,” she said. “It’s a remarkable thing to me.”
“I often reflect,” Navarro added, “How can we be so prominent — we have such an incredible power behind our community in terms of influence and achievement, and population size — our demographic is just thriving, but people don’t hear those stories?”
With such a glaring underrepresentation and lack of reporting on Latinos in Hollywood, in politics, and especially in the boardroom, Navarro wanted to use her skill and background in communication to make that representation more visible.
“For me, it was very much a mandate to open that conversation,” she said.
In 2019, Navarro was introduced to an opportunity with LCDA as director of marketing and communications. In the role, Navarro has been tasked with bringing awareness to LCDA’s mission to have these conversations around boardroom and c-suite diversity.
“We're breaking down doors of communication to shine a light on the fact that diversity must include Latinos,” Navarro said.
While Latinos make up over 18% of the U.S. population, less than 3% of Latinos hold director roles in Fortune 1000 companies.
“We belong in the room, we belong in these seats, we belong in any place, especially leadership roles that affect us and impact our community,” added Navarro.
Corporate America wasn’t somewhere Navarro thought she’d wind up; however, since she has been with the organization, she has been committed to that mission of bringing more awareness to this important undertaking.
In February 2022, she was promoted to associate vice president of marketing and communications for LCDA.
“In this role, I am very much part of the solution and my work to inform, educate, and engage the public regarding the representation of Latinos in boardrooms across the U.S. is incredibly valuable,” said Navarro.
“LCDA is helping drive an upward progress to change the boardroom landscape and C-suite landscape, and further pave paths of opportunities for our community,” she added.
As a mother of two — ages 13 and 11 — this work is especially meaningful to Navarro, as she aims to create that path for her children, their generation and future generations.
“I really want to make sure that when they exit their university, that they have this opportunity, that these doors are open that weren't open before, and it's very much a result of the work and the groundwork that I've laid now in 2022,” she said.
Through raising awareness, educating the public, and building campaigns, LCDA is a big part of the solution toward changing the narrative of Latinos as executive talent, and Navarro is a major catalyst for this effort.