By Gloria Romano-Barrera.
Photos by Juan Carlos Briceño.
Celebrating 20 years of leadership in corporate America, the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Conference commemorated its 20th anniversary by gathering corporate leaders to a unique White House Briefing on Diversity in the Workplace on February 7th in Washington D.C. Speakers included Elaine Chao, the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor; Jovita Carranza, the 44th Treasurer of the United States and Jennifer S. Korn, Deputy Director and Special Assistant to the President at The White House.
With enthusiasm, participants discussed topics on leadership at the workplace, small business, education and diversity. The invited participants were representatives of the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the U.S.
The celebration followed with a VIP leadership reception on the evening of February 7th at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA. The invitation-only reception welcomed award recipients, speakers, sponsors, partners and special guests such as shadow congressman Franklin Garcia. Remarks were provided by Terry Moreno Woodsworth, Assistant Vice President, Chief Technology & Digital Officer at USAA.
Welcoming everyone to the 20th anniversary of the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Leaders Conference on the morning of February 8th, Robert E. Bard, President & CEO, LATINA Style, Inc. welcomed Apoorva N. Gandhi, Vice President, Multicultural Affairs, Marriott International, Inc. to the stage to provide sponsor remarks.
In addition, Catherine Hernandez-Blades, SVP, Chief Brand and Communications Officer, Aflac was also named to the stage to provide sponsor remarks.
Following the remarks by the sponsors and program supporters, the 2017 Top 10 LATINA Style Corporate Executives of the Year Awards Presentation and winner was announced. LATINA Style congratulated Tony Gutierrez, Country Director of Mexico for American Airlines, with the 2017 LATINA Style Corporate Executive of the Year award. Gutierrez oversees operations of more than 600 weekly flights to 21 destinations. With 43 years of experience at American Airlines she is the first Mexican woman to lead an international airline. Gutierrez is recognized for her contribution to the expansion and growth that American Airlines has experienced in Mexico.
The celebration continued with the 2017 Top 15 Employee Resource Groups of the Year Awards Presentation in which Crecer, the Hispanic/Latino BRG at UPS was recognized as the 2017 LATINA Style Employee Resource Group of the Year. Crecer, the Hispanic/Latino BRG was established in 2012 to empower individuals through leadership and professional development, and to accelerate business growth for UPS. Its vision is to make UPS the company of choice for Latinos. Crecer has grown to over 1,500 members across 17 chapters globally with members ranging from entry level to Vice Presidents. In partnership with the UPS Foundation, Crecer has contributed to grants of $2.7 million to Hispanic organizations. Crecer’s biggest accomplishment was to support the launch of the Spanish version of UPS MyChoice and UPS.com. In 2017, CRECER conceived the “The Latino Link” which connects UPS sales and marketing resources to build B2B relationships in the Hispanic community. Members also work closely with UPS Supplier Diversity to increase Hispanic diversity spending.
After hearing the success story of each awardee and a networking break, attendees eagerly welcomed the first panel of the day titled: “Corporate Latina Executives of the Year: Celebrating Achievement.” The panel brought together Latina executives performing at the top of their respective companies. Panelists were selected and recognized based on their excellence in business impact, corporate leadership, mentorship, and remarkable dedication to working with our communities both locally and nationally.
The introduction was presented by Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson. The moderator Melissa Bolden, Assistant Vice President, Program Management, Merger Integration, AT&T welcomed speakers: Maria Eduarda Kertesz, President, U.S. HealthE, Johnson & Johnson; Claudia Marquez, Senior Director, Sales Operations, INFINITI Americas; Tony Gutierrez, Country Director of Mexico, American Airlines; Eliana Murillo, Head of Multicultural Marketing, Google.
The second panel of the day titled “Employee Resource Groups of the Year/Empowering the ERGs” opened a discussion on ways ERGs develop a connection between the company and employees by empowering, nurturing and retaining talent. Tapping into the collective intelligence of the ERG to provide competitive advantages in the marketplace, ERGs have proven to be essential in their business impact by building a relationship with the consumer for businesses throughout the nation. Creating a culture of success with a systematic approach is essential to nurture and maintain a steady flow of diverse talent to the top.
Introduction was presented by Robert Rodriguez, President, Dr. Robert Rodriguez Advisors LLC. The moderator Elba Pareja-Gallagher, Chair of Crecer, the Hispanic/Latino BRG at UPS welcomed the following speakers to the stage: Manny Diaz, Chair of HOLA, Johnson & Johnson; Cinthya Allen, Chair of HACEMOS, AT&T; Hernan Celis, Co-Chair of Adelante, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; and Rosa Bravo, Co-Chair of the Hispanic American ERG, Accenture.
The third panel of the day titled “Chief Diversity Officers Roundtable: Diversity as a Business Imperative” focused on the importance of mentorship and developing in the workplace. Corporations are constantly changing strategies and operational procedures to develop a workplace that fully understands diverse cultures where people can come together and foster a sense of community and corporate culture while appreciating individuality. A positive environment reflects in the higher quality of work and sustained levels of motivation.
Moderator Elliott Segarra, Managing Director, Resources, National Co-Lead, Hispanic Employee Resource Group at Accenture welcomed speakers: Wanda Hope, Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson; Kenneth Barrett, Global Chief Diversity Officer, General Motors Company; Smita Pillai, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, Prudential Financial, Inc.; and Elizabeth Nieto, Senior Vice President, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, MetLife, Inc.
The fourth session titled “Agents of Change” brought together corporate executives to discuss ways they impact the company and community serving as change agents. The corporate leaders discussed ways engaging in mentorships and sponsorships can make careers a great success and have a significant impact on the retention of top talent.
Moderated by Eric Mitchell, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, AT&T, speakers included Jeannette Pina, Vice President & Corporate Secretary, MetLife, Inc.; Jose Estrada, Director, Public Affairs, Walmart, Inc.; and Catherine Hernandez-Blades, SVP, Chief Brand and Communications Officer, Aflac.
Following the morning workshops, the LATINA Style 50 Awards Luncheon Ceremony commenced with welcoming remarks by LATINA Style, Inc. CEO Robert Bard as he recognized and awarded Prudential Financial, Inc. as the company of the year for 2017.
Introduction was presented by Gilbert F. Casellas, Board of Directors, Prudential Financial, Inc. Company of the Year Remarks were presented by Yanela Frias, Senior Vice President & Head of Investment & Pension Solutions, Prudential Financial, Inc. The LATINA Style 50 report is a navigator for Latinas as they seek advancement and career opportunities. Prudential Financial, Inc. has participated in the survey since its launch and has developed a wonderful track record of empowering Latinas by providing them with great career opportunities. Sustaining through the years a top level of excellence is not possible without a full commitment from the very top.
We thank Chairman & CEO John R. Strangfeld and the Prudential Financial, Inc.’s Board of Directors including Gilbert F. Casellas and George Paz for their vision, leadership and continued dedication to empower Latinas in the workplace. With one of the company’s core values being respect for each other, Prudential Financial, Inc. has found a way to empower their associates; women or men, despite diverse backgrounds, countries and nationalities. With 49,000 employees in 47 countries and territories, the company has to perform a delicate balancing act staying on message across the borders. Yanela Frias, Senior Vice President and Head of Investment & Pension Solutions, the highest-ranking Latina in the company and one of the leading Latinas in the financial industry, has spent 20 successful years with Prudential Financial, Inc., a clear example of how a Latina can succeed at the company. Congratulations Prudential Financial, Inc.!
Watch Chairman and CEO Mr. John R. Strangfeld’s acceptance speech by visiting latinastyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/17-407_LatinaStyle_FINAL_LS.mp