Latina Style Inc

2012 Top 12 Companies

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Gisel Ruiz  EVP & Chief Operations Officer

Gisel Ruiz
EVP & Chief Operations Officer

With humble beginnings as a small rural store in Arkansas, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart) has developed into one of the world’s leading retailers, employing one of the largest and diverse workforces. For Walmart, diversity is represented in their talented associates and the associates’ ideas, perspectives and experiences.

Walmart’s Latina recruitment approaches comprise of attending national conferences, regional summits, and local recruitment activities among others. Walmart maintains relations with a variety of Hispanic organizations including the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the Association of Hispanic Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). Walmart also supports Excelencia in Education, which focuses on first generation Hispanic college students and driving higher education and graduation rates into the workforce. These relationships help the company gain visibility with potential candidates and top talent.

Internally, Walmart has several task force programs that cater to women. These task force programs are: Women Officer Caucus, President’s Global Council of Women Leaders, and Women in Retail Associate Resource Group. Each task force works together to determine appropriate goals and measurements for the year such as women representation in the workforce for non-management and officer-level placements.

Gisel Ruiz is the executive vice president & chief operation officer for Walmart U.S. She is responsible for the company’s U.S. operations, which include more than 3,800 stores. Ruiz began her career at Walmart as a store management trainee in 1992. She has held a variety of leadership positions in store operations, labor relations and human resources. Ruiz has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Santa Clara University, where she also completed the Retail Management Institute program.

Verizon Communications Inc.

Magda N. Yrizarry  Chief Diversity Officer

Magda N. Yrizarry
Chief Diversity Officer

Verizon Communications Inc. (Verizon) is a global broadband and telecommunications company. Verizon attributes its success to the differing perspectives, knowledge, and skills that each member of their workforce possesses. The company recognizes the importance of diversity and makes sure that its differences are a source of strength.

Verizon makes continuous efforts to serve its Latina population. In 2011, the company held its first Global Women’s Summit. This annual event engages Verizon employees, leaders, and external viewpoints to address key issues that are impacting women in the workplace. The company also hosts several employee resource groups that have the combine goal of assisting members to be productive, informed, motivated and also help the members becoming leaders within their communities. The Hispanic Service Organization (HSO) in particular works with Verizon’s Human Resource department to assist in recruiting and retaining the best Latino employee talent.

HSO has raised more than $150,000 and helped some 40 students with their college expenses. The organization also works with the Verizon Foundation to identify the best not-for-profits that positively impact Hispanics. In regards to consumers, HSO provides valuable insight on the best products and services that Verizon can provide to its Latino customers.

Magda Yrizarry is chief diversity officer and vice president of Talent Management for Verizon. She is responsible for the design and execution of Verizon’s Human Capital Strategy and oversees diversity and inclusion objectives. Yrizarry joined Verizon in 1990 as a manager of Educational Relations. Yrizarry holds a Bachelor of Science and master’s degree from Cornell University and has completed an executive training program at Harvard University.


Maritza Montiel  Deputy CEO & Vice Chairman

Maritza Montiel
Deputy CEO & Vice Chairman

Deloitte is one of the largest professional services firms that make up the Big Four. The company focuses on the four key areas of audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting; but its true strength comes from the diverse talents of its employees.

To maintain this strength, Deloitte has several Business Resource Groups (BRG) that reinforce its inclusive environment while building strong networks and enhancing careers. In 2010, Deloitte launched online communities where the BRGs can remain connected despite geographic borders. Besides assisting in the professional development, recruiting and community relations for the company, members of Deloitte’s Hispanic /Latino(a) Network BRG (HNet) are also asked to advise management on issues important to the Hispanic employee population.

Deloitte has taken positive steps to recruit Latinas from a variety of backgrounds and sources. The company conducts such efforts as creating targeted events on campuses nationwide, partnering with key professional associations, and forging relationships with diversity talent suppliers. Deloitte works closely with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and INROADS among others. To help establish a robust pipeline, Deloitte created the Virtual Team Challenge where approximately 6,000 high school students across the U.S. compete in a Deloitte business simulation competition.

Maritza Montiel is deputy CEO and vice chairman at Deloitte. Montiel has spent her entire career at Deloitte in a variety of positions including being the Regional Managing Partner for Deloitte LLP’s Southeast Region. Montiel earned an academic scholarship to the University of Miami and graduated with a bachelor of business administration in accounting.

Marriott International, Inc.

Brenda Durham  Vice President and Assistant General Counsel

Brenda Durham
Vice President and Assistant General Counsel

Over the past 85 years, Marriott International, Inc. (Marriott) has grown to become a leading lodging and hospitality company. Throughout its success, Marriott remains grounded in its core values of putting people first, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and serving the world.

Marriott celebrates the many cultures and backgrounds that make up their workforce. In May of 2012, the company held their second annual Cultural Appreciation Day. This event allowed the company’s associates to have pride in their backgrounds, learn about other cultures, and empower themselves to deliver better customer service to the patrons. In 2010, the company redesigned their careers website to reflect the diversity of its associates and to showcase opportunities available through employment. Latinas are prominently featured in the company’s videos, stories, and photos.

To assist Latina associates achieve their fullest potential, Marriott offers a variety of mentoring programs that are tailored to women. The Women in Leadership and Learning Program helps Marriott women leaders assess and determine leadership and business challenges, develop successful leadership profiles, define the impact of cultural issues, and create measures of success. The Career Acceleration Program specifically focuses on the career advancement of women and minorities.

Brenda Durham is vice president and assistant general counsel for Marriott. She serves as primary legal counsel for Marriott’s hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and also serves as Marriott’s law department group leader for international lodging operations. Durham earned a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from the University of Utah and earned her Juris Doctor from the George Washington Law School.

Prudential Financial, Inc.

Yanela C. Frias  VP of Finance, Individual Life Insurance

Yanela C. Frias
VP of Finance, Individual Life Insurance

Prudential Financial, Inc. (Prudential), a global financial services institution, has helped its customers grow and protect their wealth for more than 135 years. Being a worldwide company, Prudential seeks individuals with a variety of backgrounds, views, and experiences to best fulfill their clients’ needs. It is a priority for the company to have a workplace environment that encourages new ideas and appreciates diverse insights.

Prudential sponsors the Hispanic Heritage Network (HHN) within the company as a platform for Hispanic members to build relationships and develop leadership skills. In May, HHN partnered with Agency Distribution and Corporate Staffing to hold the Identify the Talent in You and the Talent in Others Event. The group also assists in reviewing the Cultural Awareness & Sensitivity Training Program which is held in October. In March, the group participated in the Junior Achievement Latino Professional Day Event. HHN members taught financial literacy to grammar school students.

Prudential’s Policy and Strategy area and the Equal Opportunity/Diversity organization partner to champion leadership related issues in the work environment. The company offers such training programs as From Managing to Leading Others, Excellence in Leadership, and Top of the Rock. The company also supports their women employees to participate in external leadership development programs offer by WOMEN Unlimited Inc.

Yanela Frias is the vice president of Finance for the Individual Life Insurance business. In this capacity, Frias is responsible for Individual Life’s financial reporting, planning and analysis, capital management and corporate finance functions. Frias joined Prudential in March 1997. Frias received a B.S. in Accounting and an MBA in finance from Rutgers University.

Kaiser Permanente

Irene H. Chavez  Senior Vice President and Area Manager Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center

Irene H. Chavez
Senior Vice President and Area Manager Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente is one of America’s largest not-for-profit health care plan serving over 9 million people. The vast scope of the company’s members as well as its changing demographics requires Kaiser Permanente to integrate diversity into every aspect of their daily operations.

Kaiser Permanente makes ongoing efforts to engage the Latino community and improve its overall health and well-being. The company published A Provider’s Handbook for Culturally Competent Care for Latinos and distributed Escoge la Salud – Choose Health, a Latino health DVD and reference guide for its members and the community. Members of Kaiser Permanente’s Staff Associations, also provide additional support and community outreach. The Kaiser Permanente’s Latino Staff Associations (KPLA) in particular participates in volunteerism, health fairs, and provides scholarships to students interested in entering the health care field. KPLA also attracts, supports, and retains Latinos at all levels within Kaiser Permanente.

To increase Latina representation within the company, Kaiser Permanente has designed, developed, and executed a comprehensive national Latino business strategy. The company also partners with the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC) to maximize the company’s Hispanic talent. With the NHCC, Kaiser Permanente is able to enhance diversity and best practices in the areas of executive leadership, human resources, supplier diversity, marketing, and community relations.

Irene H. Chavez is the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. She has dedicated her life to healthcare, previously working at Providence Memorial Hospital, Sierra Medical Hospital and Advantage Care Network. Chavez received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.


Carmen Nava  Senior Vice President - Customer Information Services

Carmen Nava
Senior Vice President – Customer Information Services

For more than a century, AT&T has provided quality products, services and customer care as a multinational telecommunications corporation. It is the company’s business to connect all people from all walks of life and the company’s culture to continue this mission with its employees.

AT&T’s commitment to diversity starts with its recruitment strategy. The company recruits Hispanics by building strong relationships with professional organizations such as the National Association of Multicultural Engineering (NAMEPA). AT&T also partners with universities nationwide. For example, AT&T has an agreement with the Network Operations Development Center (NODC) and the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) to hire qualified students for positions within the company. AT&T supports their workforce’s professional growth through various training programs. AT&T University was created in 2008 to develop leadership skills in every management level. All programs correlate with the company’s business strategy, leadership competency model, and diversity focus. Through the University, employees can access Leading with Distinction (LwD), an award-winning management/executive program; Extraordinary You Program, a curriculum in which classes are mapped to the Extraordinary Leader Model; and the Management Development Core Curriculum, classes that address the key competencies AT&T’s leaders have identified for self-development.

Carmen Nava, senior vice president – Customer Information Services, was appointed to this position in February. Her 27-year career has taken her to assignments in billing operations, marketing, external affairs, human resources, customer service and sales. Nava is a native of Los Angeles, California and a graduate of the University of Southern California where she obtained her degree in Business Administration.

Johnson & Johnson

Denice Torres  President, McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Denice Torres
President, McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Johnson & Johnson cares for the world one person at a time. The company is recognized for delivering innovative products and services across its consumer, pharmaceuticals and medical device and diagnostics businesses to advance the health and well-being of people. Through a strong and enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion, Johnson & Johnson understands that everyone has a unique perspective on the world.

Some of the company’s innovations come from the employee resource group – the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement (HOLA). The group’s mission is to use Johnson & Johnson’s internal and external resources to increase marketing competitiveness in this Hispanic consumer base. HOLA achieves this by assisting in the introducing and the increase consumption of products and services. HOLA also contributes in increasing the talent within the company by developing strategies for company growth.

For Latinas, Johnson & Johnson partners with groups such as the Madrinas organization, which is dedicated to the leadership development and advancement of Latina professionals. The company also offers the Crossing the Finish Line Program to talented men and women of multicultural backgrounds. This program helps accelerate the careers of the participants by giving them the knowledge, skills, and strategies to address their challenges and reach key leadership positions.

Denice Torres assumed the role of president, McNeil Consumer Healthcare in 2011. Previously, Torres served as the president of CNS for Janssen Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for leading the psychiatry, neurology, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD businesses. Torres has a MBA from the University of Michigan; Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Maurer School of Law; and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ball State University.

Kraft Foods

Chris McGrath Montenegro  Vice President, Sustainability & Latina Cohorts

Chris McGrath Montenegro
Vice President, Sustainability & Latina Cohorts

Kraft Foods is the world’s second largest food company with products located in approximately 170 countries. The open and inclusive environment within Kraft Foods not only allows the creation of delicious food, but also fosters a delightful work experience for its employees and business partners.

Maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment requires the company to have comprehensive diversity recruiting strategies. To recruit Latinas, Kraft Foods partners with organizations such as the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) to announce career opportunities and to reach out to the organization’s audience. Other recruitment activities can also be seen through the company’s employee councils. For 15 years, the Kraft Foods Latino Employee Council has continuously supported external Hispanic recruitment efforts. In addition, the Latino Council hosts professional development events to help Kraft Foods’ Latino employees ascend internally.

Kraft Foods’ diversity outreach also extends to the community with its commitment to fight hunger and support healthy lifestyles. Kraft Foods teamed with the National Latino Children’s Institute to develop Salsa, Sabor y Salud, the nation’s first healthy lifestyle program designed specifically for Latino families. The program has reached nearly 32,000 Latinos in the past eight years. In 2011, the Kraft Foods Foundation continued its commitment to this program with a $1.5 million, 3-year grant in hopes of reaching even more families.

Chris McGrath Montenegro is vice president of Global Sustainability and the Latino Center of Excellence in North America for Kraft Foods. She also co-chairs the national Kraft Foods Latino Employee Council. McGrath Montenegro earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Philosophy from Boston College and a master’s degree in Marketing from Northwestern University.

Macy’s, Inc.

Laurene Gandolfo  Executive Vice President, Macy’s, Inc. Home Private Brands

Laurene Gandolfo
Executive Vice President, Macy’s, Inc. Home Private Brands

Macy’s is one of the nation’s premier retailers with about 800 department stores located in 45 states and U.S. territories. With its stores operating in diverse markets within the U.S., it is essential for Macy’s to have a holistic approach to diversity and inclusion for its customers and employees.

Mi Macy’s is the company’s Hispanic employee resource group that helps the corporation better target their Latino audience. Mi Macy’s hosts various focus groups on new products and lines that can potentially be sold at stores or online. The input the focus group participants provided was extremely important and helped the company’s merchant teams understand the needs of the Hispanic customer while improving purchasing decisions to better serve them. Mi Macy’s also launched the “Latinos Destacados” Speaker Series to spotlight Latino executives and inspire employees looking for upward mobility tips.

Macy’s also values the insight of our veterans. Recently, the company began a Military Recruitment Program and has participated in several military career fairs across the U.S. To handle these efforts, Macy’s has also created new job positions within the corporation. In July 2012, Macy’s launched the Military Executive Development Program. Six executives sourced from the military serve one-year rotational development programs with the intent of becoming managers then vice presidents within two years.

Laurene Gandolfo is executive vice president for Macy’s Home Private Brands. Previously, she served as senior vice president and General Merchandising manager for Textiles, for Macy’s Home Stores. A native of Cuba, Gandolfo is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from New York University in 1981.

Aflac Incorporated

Vilma Salaverria  Vice President, Corporate Learning Core Services

Vilma Salaverria
Vice President, Corporate Learning Core Services

Aflac Incorporated (Aflac), a provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, insures more than 50 million people worldwide. The company recognizes that the development of diverse teams help preserving their competitive edge and continue in success. Aflac encourages a corporate culture that values and celebrates the differences among their employees.

Aflac offers several mentoring programs that Latinas actively participate both as mentors and mentees. The TEACH Mentoring Initiative, founded in 2011, allows Aflac employees make connections, learn valuable lessons and instill self-growth. Employees can then become valuable resources to the newer participants. The program also established a successful speed-mentoring program that allowed busy employees get the guidance they need. The Aflac Leadership Academy pairs participants with existing executive leaders to provide structured mentoring opportunities. The goal is to prepare the next generation of Aflac leaders within the company.

In addition to mentoring, Aflac offers their employees additional leadership training opportunities. The Leadership Development Program is a four-tiered program, hosted by the Learning and Development department. The program has both required and recommended courses for supervisors and above. Its purpose is to provide management-level employees the skills necessary to develop their employees and understand a variety of issues that affect managerial decisions.

Vilma Salaverria is vice president, Corporate Learning Core Services for Aflac Incorporated. Salaverria joined Aflac in 1992 and most recently served as vice president of Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Aflac, Salaverria was the comptroller/office manager for a trade association in the automotive aftermarket industry. Salaverria earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a major in accounting and a minor in management, from the University of Puerto Rico.

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