Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  Youtube 

PRINT E-MAIL Bookmark and Share

Latino Leaders Summit Series - Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 Monday Summit Descriptions 



led by Congressman Joe Baca

"The Lack of Diversity Transparency in American Corporations and Organizations"

Sponsors: JPMorgan Chase and Company

This summits explores how the resistance of industries and organizations to disclose their diversity data can affect Hispanic hiring and promotion by not having a complete picture of the workforce statistics and corporations and diversity information for philanthropic grant making and governance. 

Orson Aguilar, Executive Director, Greenlining Institute
Jorge Corralejo, Chairman & CEO, Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles
James Gutierrez, CEO, Progreso Financiero
Carlos F. Orta, President & CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility
Ana Gloria Rivas-Vásquez, Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, Hispanics in Philanthropy
Patricia Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor

Session Recap

Rep. Joe Baca opened the seminar by stating that within the next generation of leaders in corporate America, there needs to be more Hispanics. There is a need to see more Hispanics as members of Boards of Directors. In this way, Hispanics will be able to set the tone and determine what companies will do for the Latino community.

Rep. Joe Baca also spoke about the need to have transparency in diversity data.  Currently, there is a lack of transparency in how organizations manage their diversity data. Some companies refuse to disclose their diversity data, and this in turn affects everyone’s ability to understand what needs to be done and what the critical issues are for the Latino community.

In support of Rep. Joe Baca’s opinion, Carlos Orta mentioned that transparency is key. The Hispanic community is composed of over 50 million people, with over a trillion dollars of buying power. Yet, Hispanics are underrepresented in Fortune 500 companies. The Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR) works to shine light on this issue and offer solutions. The good news is that numbers are improving. The petroleum industry, however, is the only industry that refuses to participate in transparency surveys.

Jorge Corralejo supported Rep. Joe Baca and Orta’s opinion by stating that diversity numbers are still very low. He believes all of us need to make it a priority to increase diversity numbers if we want to guarantee a better future for our children. What should we make of the fact that from 1999-2005, Silicon Valley companies saw a decrease in the percentage of women in its workforce? According to Corralejo, we cannot be delighted that a few corporations are the exception to this, and instead we need to do more.

James Gutierrez shared his own experience as the only Latino sitting at meetings where he was trying to raise capital in his role as a social entrepreneur. His company, Progreso Financiero, has now grown successfully. It works to provide small and responsible loans to people and in the process, it helps them build up their credit history. As his company grows, James makes sure he is hiring Latinos who speak Spanish, but the office is also composed of a wide variety of ethnicities.

Patricia Shiu from the Department of Labor stated that the Department is investigating federal contractors to make sure they do not use federal money to discriminate against race, color, sexual orientation, or religion. Shiu was sure to state that the Department has made it its responsibility to investigate every discrimination complaint it gets.

Orson Aguilar from the Greenlining Institute spoke about the need to not let companies get away with phony arguments (i.e. it is too difficult to collect data), because otherwise discrimination will not end.

Panelists also discussed the new bill that was recently passed in Florida stating that it is not required for companies to submit diversity data. The fact that there was no opposition to this bill is a setback for anti-discrimination policies.

In conclusion, the overall lack of transparency in American corporations and organizations affects the Latino community (as well as other communities) in many ways. In order to make sure that Latinos are represented, we need to start by holding companies and organizations accountable for improvement in their diversity data.

Click here to check out the event's photo gallery.

led by Congressman Joe Baca and Silvestre Reyes

"Hispanics and the Transformation of Telecommunications, Technology, and the Media"

Sponsors: CTIA-The Wireless Foundation and Telefonica International USA

This summit will discuss Hispanics and the transformation of telecommunications, technology and media.  Discussion will include the need for broadband in the Hispanic community and current initiatives of the Obama Administration.  Panelists will also discuss the role of Hispanics in technology and the media now and in the future. 

Part One
Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (invited)
Anna M. Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

Part Two
Don Browne, CEO, Telemundo
Alina Falcon, President of News, Univision Communications Inc.
Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center
Rawdon Messenger, Executive Vice President of New Media, Azteca America
Kenneth R. Perez, Economist, Communications Workers of America
Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, Chair, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda

Session Recap

Led by Congressmen Joe Baca and Silvestre Reyes, this summit discussed the  transformation of telecommunications, technology, media use and access to broadband within the Hispanic community. The initial discussion was led by Telemundo CEO Don Browne, who touched on how telecommunication companies cannot afford to ignore the Hispanic market. "Technology has given the power to the consumer" Mr. Browne stated as he discussed how our presence and support within these companies can provide fair and balanced views to significant debates such as immigration.

The need for a comprehensive view of the immigration debate was also touched on by Alina Falcon of Univision. The power of the Hispanic viewers could not be denied once Univision reached number one in network primetime one week. The responsibility of fair and balanced coverage is achieved through increased border coverage and educational programming.

After the transformation of television media was discussed, the need and importance of stable broadband access became the focus of the discussion. The conversation began with the highest ranking Latina in the Department of Commerce, Anna Gomez, representative of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The extension of broadband access to rural areas was stressed and efforts were highlighted. BHAP has provided Federal grants that have extended broadband access to Puerto Rico and rural, Hispanic underserved communities.

These efforts are important because only half of Latinos in the United States have access to broadband compared to upwards of 63% for Whites according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center. Hispanics are behind all other groups when it comes to broadband access and most likely living in a household where the only wireless connection is through a phone.

Efforts to increase broadband access not only provide consumers with opportunities, but create job growth as well. Hispanic unemployment is 3% greater than regular unemployment and youth unemployment remains at 25% according to  the Communication Workers for America. Tackling the digital divide will create telecommunication jobs as well as provide the Hispanic community with access to one of the most important informational resources.

Online access has changed everything according to Rawdon Messenger, telecommunications representative of Azteca America, because you can get everything online, it's very easy, and statistics show that once Hispanics engage a technology, they participate to a larger degree. It's necessary to think in creative terms such as the pre-paid model which allowed cell phone use to boom among the Hispanic community. This participation has the power to influence great change among the community. Non-profits have been established to stress the importance of education and outreach such as the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. This coalition of thirty national and regional organizations aim to affect public policy, educate the public about key issues that affect them such as education, health care, civil rights and access to telecommunications. This top down view of telecommunications, media and technology issues within the Hispanic community allowed panelists and guests to exchange challenges, solutions and goals for an emerging generation in the information age.

Click here to check out the event's photo gallery.

led by Congressman Ciro Rodriguez

"Overcoming Barriers to Health Care Access for Latinos"

Sponsored by: Baxter, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer

This session will focus on advancing health care access for Latinos. The discussion will include subtopics addressing health promotion, prevention, and technology to provide services to the Latino community. 

Dr. Luis Benavides, Healthcare Alliance
Dr. Victor Gonzalez, Chair, Latino Diabetes Action Council, American Diabetes Association
Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, HHS
Dr. Norma Martinez Rogers, Chair, National Association of Hispanic Nurses Fund
Gary Pelletier, Director, Pfizer Helpful Answers, Pfizer

led by Congressman Raul Grijalva

"Latinos in Education: At the Forefront or an Afterthought"

Sponsored by: American Federation of Teachers, ExxonMobil, and Time Warner Cable

This summit will explore Latino Education issues from early education through secondary school, including the growing Latino presence in schools and best practices to address concerns over persistent educational attainment gaps between Latinos and their non-Latino peers. The strategies and setbacks in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are central to adequately addressing the educational need of the Latino community and ensuring education outcomes keep pace with the rapid growth in the community.

Moderator: Steve Holmes, Executive Director, Language Acquisition and Development, Sunnyside School District

Antonia Cortese, National Secretary Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers
Alicia Lara, National Middle School Coalition
Tom Luce, CEO, National Math and Science Initiative, Inc.
Delia Pompa, Vice President for Education, NCLR

Session Recap

Led by Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) a panel of stakeholders, experts, and advocates presented an overview of the current state of Latinos in primary and secondary education. Panelist discussed the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as an opportunity to fully integrate both the needs and educational aspirations of the Latino community and all students and not just select schools, certain districts—but the full spectrum of schools and population.

A Growing Population and their Needs

Panelist shared that Pre-k through 12th grade education is essential to  accomplish the President's cradle to career initiatives and spoke to the urgency of the ESEA reauthorization as an opportunity to renew our commitment to educational excellence. This type of dialogue is imperative as Congress is currently in the center of the reauthorization of the ESEA. There are more than 10 million Latino children enrolled in U.S. public schools today. And one in five students in our K-12 educational pipeline are of Latino descent; moreover, one in four children in kindergarten are of Hispanic descent. Such numbers and population projections highlighted the importance to integrate the Latino community—the fastest growing segment of our country's population—and match policies to meet the needs while providing the necessary resources for individual success and prosperity. Ultimately, to focus on improving Pre-K through 12th grade education for Latino students is to improve Pre-K through 12th grade education for the nation as a whole.

English-Language Learners

Panel members shared their perspective on the condition for Latinos in education  and of the largest subgroups, English-Language Learners (ELLs). Out of the total children and youth in our schools, most children are citizens, yet majority live in immigrant families where English is a second language—a challenge to our schools, education leaders, and policy makers. Over half of our students are ELLs and low-income students with unique backgrounds and circumstances. The previous further compounds the student achievement gap where data shows that in 2009, 51% scored "below" basic reading in terms of student achievement; at the same time, only 5% scored "advanced." These figures clearly demonstrate a pressing challenge facing educators that adversely affects basic understanding and the lingering achievement gap.

Teacher Quality, Effectiveness, and Assessment

Another topic discussed was the broad and contentious areas of teacher quality,   effectiveness, and assessment. Whereas there was unanimous consent for a need of necessary resources, panelists also focused on the need to support educators ensuring they receive support, service, and the academic resources to do their job well. Panelist lamented that there is not a single teacher who wakes in the morning not wanting to absolutely ensure the personal and cognitive development of the students they are there to serve. Advocates stressed of the importance for educators to partner with leaders to improve educational learning environments and classrooms that will be conducive to learning and development as well as the possibility of extending learning time.

In terms of assessment, panelist and members of the audience discussed how certain assessment practices are in fact being counterproductive and being used as tools to attack educators rather than to measure learning, progress and development. Many of the current assessment strategies, for example, do not measure language level in a systematic fashion. Additionally, advocates spoke to the need of comprehensive assessment tools, and the importance of transparency and the fact that parents also need data to be fully engaged. The School Report Card Project was mentioned as an example of data that can help serve as a platform for parents and students to be engaged.

Competition and U.S. Prosperity

Addressing the critical challenges facing Latinos in education is both a matter of public will and access. Eighty-five percent of jobs today require 14 years of school and training and students need the skills necessary to fill jobs available now. The U.S. has a lingering national unemployment rate of 9.5% and government reports that this figure would be 6.5% if our students and population had the proper education and training within the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The President has shared his vision to regain our standing as the world leader in college graduates by 2020. But our country is going to need much more than the right policy. It is going to have to muster the public will to train teachers in STEM and raise the standards of students by encouraging them to take on AP courses while in high school. This, the panelists agreed, is the only way we can regain our standing as an educational leader and maintain both our global competitiveness and ensure our future prosperity.

Click here to check out the event's photo gallery.

led by Congressman Albio Sires

"The Continuing Crisis: Current Issues in Latino Homeownership"

Sponsored by: Bank of America and FHL Bank of San Francisco

Homeownership remains an important key to long term financial success and stability for Latino families across America. Yet the housing market remains in crisis. Foreclosure rates are high, housing prices are low, and fewer families can afford to consider homeownership. Please join Representative Sires in hearing from our distinguished panel how the challenges to homeownership are transforming for Latinos as the housing market struggles to recover.

Alejandro Beccerra, Latino Housing advocate
Wilda Diaz, Mayor, City of Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Angie Garcia Lathrop, Community Affairs Executive, Bank of America Corp.
Lawrence H. Parks, Senior Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco  

Click here to check out the event's photo gallery.