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2014 LS50 Conference
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LATINA Executive 2014
- Corporate Executive of the Year
- Employee Resource Group of the Year
LS50 Past Companies of the Year
2013 Company of the year
Comcast Corporation:
2012 Company of the year
2011 Company of the year
Marriott International Inc:
2010 Company of the year
Kaiser Permanente:
2009 Company of the year
AT&T Inc:
2008 Company of the year
PepsiCo Inc.:
2007 Company of the year
McDonald´s Corporation:
2006 Company of the year
Bank of America:
2005 Company of the year
General Mills:
2004 Company of the year
2003 Company of the year
Fannie Mae:
2002 Company of the year

The LATINA Style 50 Awards Ceremony and Diversity Leaders Conference

Cristina Alfaro, Meredith Moore, McDonalds USA.
On Thursday, February 4th, LATINA Style celebrated the 12th year anniversary of the LATINA Style 50 Awards ceremony and seventh annual Diversity Leaders Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in the nation’s Capital. Since it’s inception in 1998, the LATINA Style 50 Report sets the standards by fulfilling the goal of its founder, Anna Maria Arias, by providing Latinas an extensive research tool that would address their needs and concerns as professional Hispanic women in the workplace. The report identifies the companies that provide the best career opportunities for Latinas in the United States. Corporations represented at this one-day event have demonstrated their commitment to diversity in the company and continue to create a progressive work environment where Latinas can achieve their true potential. Highlighted are the top 50 companies selected for Latinas to work for in 2009, the honorable mentions and the 2009 LATINA Executives of the year.
Cristina Alfaro, Meredith Moore, McDonalds USA.
Ana Martinez, IBM.

LATINA Style kicked-off with an exceptional Latina Leadership dinner at one of D.C.’s favorite restaurants, Rosa Mexicano the night prior to the eventful day. Among attendees were White House executives, members of Congress, CEO’s and executives of the top selected companies for Latinas to work for.

The following day initiated with breakfast and attendees were greeted by president & CEO of LATINA Style Inc., Robert Bard. With great applaud attendees welcomed Latina pioneer Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, who serves New York’s 12th District and Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to the podium. “We welcome the 50 best companies we are celebrating today,” Congresswoman Velázquez stated. “We all know that the phase of America is changing, more Latinos, especially Latinas, and these companies understand the value of diversity. Congratulations. We are all grateful for the commitment to train Latinas in business.”

To embrace and promote diversity in the workplace and entrepreneurship among Latinas, Congresswoman Velázquez works with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Small Business Committee, as she stated “entrepreneurship is the shortest path to economic independence, for Latina business owners, a percent of financial opportunity,” and as a community she believes “we must make sure the American dream is enriched for each and everyone of us.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.
Pat Harris, McDonalds USA; Arisa Batista Cunningham, Johnson & Johnson; Eddie Fraser, Diversified Search-Odgers, Berndtson.

According to Congresswoman Velázquez, the economy runs on diversity and worldwide women control $20 trillion in consumer spending which by 2014 the number could reach $28 trillion. “By 2013 our buying power will be in the trillions,” she stated. “Today’s business world is transforming but no transformation happens overnight. Together we can pioneer a brighter future for Latina businesses.”

Congressman Joe Baca, CA 43rd District, and former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute also provided exceptional remarks during the breakfast. As a strong supporter for women and Hispanics he addressed the importance of carrying the message of opportunities for Latinas in terms of the future. “Every step that you take in every position means that a door opens for someone else because you are demonstrating your skills, knowledge, expertise, your ability to function and that becomes important,” he said. “I commend each and every one of you in what you’ve done but we need to make sure we look at corporate responsibility, we need to make sure that Latinos and Latinas have the opportunity to serve on the boards. If they don’t’ serve on the boards it becomes difficult to get a mindset of some of the people who work in those companies to begin to market and do outreach. I encourage you to continue to be involved.”

Arisa Batista Cunningham, Johnson & Johnson.
Congressman Joe Baca.

Joining the conference with welcoming remarks was Arisa Batista Cunningham, vice president, Global Diversity at Johnson & Johnson. Whether it’s in corporate America or at a non-profit organization the doors are open for women to succeed and Batista Cunningham sets an example of a Latina who has climbed the corporate ladder. “We are delighted to be part of the LATINA Style 50 and I speak for the thousands of Latinos and Latinas at Johnson & Johnson,” she stated as she spoke about the responsibilities the company embraces. The first responsibility being with the patients, who are the customers, the second – to serve the consumer needs (employees). Third, a global responsibility - to the environment and the fourth is to the shareholders (stockholders). “These four responsibilities stand for the vision that unites and inspires all of us at Johnson & Johnson, Latinos and non-Latinos alike.”

Annette Martinez, State Farm Insurance Co.; Marie Quintana, PepsiCo.
Audience enjoying the workshop.

The last motivational speaker during the breakfast was Naomi K. Rodriguez, senior manager, Public Relations and Marketing for DIRECTV Más. “We celebrate Latinas, we celebrate the accomplishments of Latinas through our program and for all women and companies here today,” she said as she introduced a “Soy Mujer” video to the audience. With laughter and surprise attendees participated to win a year-free of DIRECTV Más programming.
Moving forward, the first session of the day “LATINA Executives of the Year: Nurturing, Developing and Leading,” was moderated by the 2009 Executive of the Year, Patt Cronin, general manager of Global Technology Delivery and Delivery Excellence at IBM. Panelists included: Annette Martinez, vice president, Operations-Human Resources at State Farm Insurance Companies, Marie Quintana, vice president of Multi-cultural sales at PepsiCo, Vilma Salaverria, vice president of Corporate Learning at Aflac Incorporated and Virginia Lazala, vice president and legal head, Oncology US/LatAm and Pharma LatAm Region at Novartis. During this session, panelists provided insights on best practices and why mentoring relationships is one of the key components of an employees’ successful development in the workplace.

“One of the most important things that any employee should do, especially women, is focus on their job,” advised Salaverria. “A lot of the time performance and work ethics speak for you. We are looking to see who is going to perform well at their job, who is going to do the right thing. Sometimes we are so busy worrying about advancing opportunities but that comes with time.”

The second advice she provided to the audience is to be humble. “It’s ok to be proud at your job but being humble is one of the best attributes a person can have. You will meet people and people would want to build a relationship with you.”

Mentoring relationships have a profound effect on anyone’s personal growth and Quintana believes a mentoring relationship is a critical part of an individual’s road. “Look for those mentoring relationships to challenge you,” she stated. “We want to learn to validate ourselves. It’s that challenge to grow to the next level what you should be looking for.”

Magda Yrizarry, Verizon.
Dr. Diana M. Bontá, Kaiser Permanente; Yasmine Winkler, UnitedHealthcare; Marie-Claude Lavoie, Pan American Health Organization.

A third critical advice provided by Martinez was the importance of understanding your objectives at work. With over 22 years of experience at State Farm, she states that relationships are very important, especially when starting at a company or organization. “Mentoring relationships and strategic networking are key and should be built with time. Our responsibility is to make sure that this continues to flourish.”

The four speakers provided the following suggestions for anyone starting a career or have moved on to a new job. “Ask questions, find out what is going to help you in the organizations, it’s not just about doing your job and doing it well, it’s also about taking risks, learning versatility—change is good, remember your goals and be flexible, it’s ok to ask for help.”

The second session “Health & Wellness: a Commitment for a Healthy Workforce,” was moderated by Diana M. Bontá, RN, Dr. PH VP, Public Affairs at Kaiser Permanente. Panelists included Yasmine Winkler, senior vice president, Product and Innovation at UnitedHealthcare and Marie-Claude Lavoie, Advisor, Workers & Consumer Health, Pan American Health Organization.

Panelists focused on what corporate America is doing to ensure the health and wellness of their workforce. According to Winkler it is important to empower people in the workforce to be a part of seeking wellness and UnitedHealthcare seeks ways to innovate engagement with employees for a safer workplace as well.

Anthony Carter, Johnson & Johnson and Jerome Miller, Lexus.
Magda Yrizarry, Verizon; Pat Harris, McDonalds; Evelin Potts, Wyndham Worldwide; Anthony Carter, Johnson & Johnson; Jerome Miller, Lexus.

At Kaiser Permanente, Bontá believes its more than just a safe workplace, it’s the need to have a workforce that represents the populations. “We need to improve assets by partnering with local health partners, it’s not just the insurance companies, and it’s got to be the safety net providers and community agencies, clinics, hospitals.”

The third and final session of the day presented “Executive Round Table: Diversity as a Business Imperative” was moderated by Magda Yrizarry, vice president, Workplace Culture, Diversity & Compliance at Verizon. Panelist such as Pat Harris, chief diversity officer at McDonalds; Evelin Potts, vice president, Diversity & Inclusion, Wyndham Worldwide; Anthony Carter, chief diversity officer at Johnson & Johnson and Jerome Miller, vice president, Diversity and Social Responsibility at Lexus spoke about how diversity impacts the company they work for and how companies experience a distinctive competitive advantage.

“Each company has been on a journey and it’s also about the next level. It’s about workforce representation, the culture, environment, and about the organization,” said Yrizzary. “It’s about how you reflect your business to your consumers and how your consumers are reflected back. If you are real about it you set goals around it, you set the right process, put the right people and then you put the right measures, and you continue to improvement.”
Attendees learned that decisions made every single day by every single employee is going to help that company grow, and why diversity should be embedded on every business.

Audience during the workshops.
Perfecto Perales, Chris Montenegro McGrath, Anne Alonzo, Ximena Acosta Molina, Vicky Stencel, Marlene Quijano, Kraft Foods, Inc.

According to Carter, diversity fuels innovation within Johnson & Johnson, “We stay true to our vision, innovation drives growth and growth is what really creates the competitive advantage in respective businesses,” he stated.

Similarly, Potts stated the importance of having a business case around diversity. “At our company we get direction from our CEO who says that “diversity is part of our DNA, and it shows in everything that we do,” she says. “We try to blend diversity in every aspect of our business. We have diversity goals for our business developers, for our suppliers, vendors, stakeholders and community. There’s a diversity component to every decision that we make and my job as chair is to help them understand where that fits in, so that’s how we built in the business case on diversity.”

Jeanne Stitt, Yasmine Winkler, Lissette Freire, UnitedHealthcare.
Anthony Carter, Johnson & Johnson; Evelin Potts, Wyndham Worldwide; Pat Harris, McDonalds; Magda Yrizarry, Verizon; Jerome Miller, Lexus.

Within McDonalds, management commitment starts on the top. “Our journey continues everyday,” states Harris. “Everyday we want to do better than we did yesterday.” Education and business is one of the principle components within the company, “we are educators, leaders, managers and employees, the educational piece is critical as well as the business networks and that’s what makes us successful and the journey continues.”

To culminate the event attendees made their way to the Grand Ballroom for the Awards Ceremony Luncheon. Guests welcomed the 2009 Latina Executives of the Year, Patt Cronin, general manager of Global Technology Delivery and Delivery Excellence at IBM. “I’m truly humbled and honored in receiving this award. I am humble because I realized I have so much more to accomplish and so much to create opportunities for others,” she states. “We all have so much more to accomplish, to make sure that our future leaders are in these positions. We know that true progress is being made by looking at the rooms.We need much more focus in mentoring the future leaders, not only in the corporate world but in the community, the elementary and at the higher level learning.

Naomi Rodriguez, DIRECTV Más.
Evelin Potts, Wyndham Worldwide.
Virginia Lazala, Marilyn Priestley, Novartis.
Marie Quintana, PepsiCo.
Marina Hernandez, Cristina Alfaro, McDonalds.
Tammy Tucker, WellPoint
Yanela Frias, Prudential Financial
Clara Laya, Colgate-Pamolive

As we recover this recession there will be new opportunities to garner, new leaders will emerge. I look forward to work each and every one of you to help the next generation of leaders.”

LATINA Style congratulated the 2009 Company of the Year, Kaiser Permanente. One of the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit health maintenance organizations with approximately 13 percent of the workforce being Latina and 74 percent employed being women. “Our research shows that more than 1/3 of all Latino family in the U.S lack insurance and with diseases like diabetes, heart diseases are far more prevalent in the Latino community and there are opportunities to make a difference. Cultural responsive care is part of how we function and we keep that at Kaiser and our members,” stated Diana M. Bontá, RN, Dr. PH VP, Public Affairs at Kaiser Permanente. “I am just one example of the wonderful employees that we have at Kaiser Permanente, we can do it better because our workforce is made up of people that understand the culture, the language and the struggle, people who have been inspired and who now inspire others to thrive and to live long and healthy lives. On behalf of all our talented Latinos, our staff, our members, our families, our coalition at Kaiser Permanente unions, thank you for this honor and recognition. We continue to work very hard and Viva Bien.”

Attendees also applauded Cynthia A. Telles, who serves as board member at Kaiser Permanente. “I am so excited to be here with all the Latinas who are very committed to the mission of ensuring that we represent all of us in the government and corporate world,” she stated. “On behalf of Kaiser Permanente and the Chair and CEO Hoverson, I would like to thank LATINA Style for this wonderful honor. To ensure that Kaiser Permanente really embodies, diversity and inclusiveness, I am very proud. Our key to success is our workforce, the people at Kaiser Permanente.”

By Gloria Romano
[This article has been edited for For the full version, check out the March/April issue of LATINA Style.]
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