Of the 2004 LATINA Style 50 — an annual survey of the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the United States — several companies stand out for their commitment to employee career development via mentoring programs. This commitment is manifested in several ways — through internal programs, partnerships with national mentoring firms, and executive officials who oversee the programs’ agenda and initiatives.
Of the over 300 women who participate in one of General Mills’ mentoring programs, 10 percent are Hispanic. General Mills encourages all new employees to participate in its Corporate Diversity Mentoring Program, and mid- to upper-level management in its Co-Mentoring Program.
At Federated Department Stores, Inc., a solid 43 percent of minority employees that take advantage of the company’s mentoring programs are Hispanic. The company has established mentoring circles, which consist of three mentors, a Human Resources Facilitator and up to 10 mentees, to guide selected employees through their careers. “This opportunity is very rewarding,” says Marlene Montoya, a regional logistics manager of operations for Macy’s who is a mentor in a FDS mentoring circle, “Watching various mentees go on to succeed gives me more drive to succeed in my own capacity.”
Verizon Communications, Inc. also utilizes mentoring circles in addition to one-on-one mentoring and shadowing, which permits mid-level mentees to observe multiple senior officials. Maria Cruz, an executive director for corporate sourcing at Verizon, is one of 719 mentors that lead 1,845 mentees. She sees Verizon’s dedication to mentoring as “one way of ensuring that employees make the most of their potential and contribute to the success of the company.”
IBM Corporation’s “La Red” is a specially designed mentoring program that caters to the company’s Hispanic women employees. More than 1,000 Latinas at IBM globally are involved with the programs, which is divided into three specialized groups for all career levels. One of IBM’s most influential Latinas, Miriam Briggs, vice president of marketing and strategic growth initiatives, states that the company is “moving beyond traditional mentoring to experiment with alternative approaches.”
Other companies have decided to use a more conventional one-on-one format for mentoring. The Hispanic Associates Network (HAN) mentoring program at Sears, Roebuck & Co., Inc. is a prime example of the company’s efforts to strengthen its Hispanic workforce. Members of the network are paired with senior executive mentors for the purpose of development in a specific area. Since joining the company in 2001, Sandra Diaz has been promoted from manager to director of multicultural marketing. According to Diaz, the one-on-one mentoring networks at Sears “serve as business advisors to the company and provide a great opportunity to build relationships and connect with fellow employees.”