This is Important.
A 2013 Pew Research study on Latino leaders in the U.S. unveiled that 62% of those surveyed were not able to name an important Hispanic leader. But 75% recognized the importance of the U.S. Hispanic community having a national leader to advance their concerns. In just the last couple of years, the impact of Latinos in leadership roles at a national level has never been more prominent. I'm sure that if we now ask Latinos to name a national leader in our community, a few more would come to mind, especially on the heels of the recent midterm elections. Hispanics (many of them Latinas) were front and center in local and statewide electoral races, some catching national attention.
Culturally, we know that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors as we shape the present landscape and prepare for our futures. However, Prospanica understands how critical it is to establish and nurture meaningful relationships nationwide with seasoned professionals and emerging leaders in order to build our extended familia. That's why we hold a summit early in the year and a then a conference every fall, giving all of us two powerful points of contact to bond with and support each other at a deeper level.
This year, the Prospanica Leadership Summit will be from February 7 - 9 in Hartford, Connecticut, and it will include a regional career fair. This is where we can gather, learn and collaborate in an intimate setting to enhance our leadership capabilities and impact. I urge you to attend the Summit and join this movement of Latinos in leadership. We need to be prepared!
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IN THE NEWS
Prospanica Connecticut President Tatiana Paredes wins the Hartford Business Journal’s inaugural community giving award for Next Generation Leadership.
Paredes reinvents nonprofit promoting more Hispanics in corporate America
By Patricia Daddona, Special to the Hartford Business Journal
Three years ago, Prospanica Connecticut, a professional networking nonprofit, had to rebrand and faced an uphill battle for members and member engagement. Board member Tatiana Paredes, who took over as president in 2017, helped reshape a group dedicated to placing more Hispanics and Latinos in corporate America. Paredes, 35, of East Hartford, and as of May a supplier diversity analyst for New Britain toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker Inc., recalls the nonprofit’s change as fundamental.
Long-known as the Connecticut chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, a huge gap had been developing, not only with Hispanic students acquiring their MBAs, but with them finishing their bachelor’s degrees. Though, historically, the group boasted some 500 members, many were not truly active, said Paredes and Prospanica Executive Vice President Luis Valdez-Jimenez. Today, about 150 active members belong to the group, reflecting a strategy shift to “quality over quantity,” Valdez-Jimenez said. “We had to reach out to our legacy members and notify them of the change,” he said of Paredes’ role. “She has been effective in leading that widespread organizational change.” In her volunteer role at Prospanica, Paredes also has partnered with the St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center food bank to give toys to children, and helped ensure that the board deploys local vendors when hiring for conferences and events.
Professionally, Paredes’ work experience has been used in case studies and articles to share best practices in supplier diversity. She continues to participate in programs to help her develop, is a qualified medical interpreter, and has received the 2018 Buyer of the Year award from the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council.
Paredes was born in El Salvador and came to the United States at age 5. While working for St. Francis Hospital as a supplier diversity health equity and inclusion coordinator, she joined Prospanica in 2011 as a way to give back to the Hispanic community. As compliance officer and secretary from 2013 to 2017, she got involved wherever she could. Inclusion is a key component of her work ethic, said Gaston Persano of West Hartford, a former Prospanica president. “She can be working with a very senior person or a very junior person, but she has that warmth and engagement that allows her to connect with people easily,” Persano said. She also focuses on offering events based on customer demand, such as the annual Employee Resource Group Summit, held this past September, in which she organized panels and speakers. “During the planning, she made sure that every task had an owner,” Valdez-Jimenez said. Valdez-Jimenez is one of Prospanica’s success stories. He came from Madison, Wis., to a Prospanica conference in Connecticut that Paredes helped organize. It had a job fair component, and United Technologies Corp. of Farmington recruited him. Today, he is a supply chain contracts specialist with UTC Aerospace Systems.
Though Prospanica is a support network chiefly for Hispanics and Latinos, diversity and inclusion remain important. One Chinese board member speaks better Spanish than some Hispanic members, Paredes said. Her latest accolade: She is bringing the national Prospanica team to Connecticut in February and hosting one of its first-ever regional summits. There will be a career expo in which local companies can participate, and Stanley Black & Decker has committed to being involved, she said.
At age 29, Paredes was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Following treatment, she is in sustained remission and advises others in similar situations to be their own advocates, since her case was initially misdiagnosed. That setback didn’t hold her back. In fact, while managing a $30,000 budget, Paredes likes to try new things. At the September Employee Resource Group Summit, Paredes offered an orientation to new members and used bingo cards to serve as ice breakers, forcing participants to meet new people. “Events can become routine,” acknowledged Paredes. “People get bored.”
Prospanica’s Board of Directors and national office made effective the promotion of Monica Puente to Vice President, Finance & Operations starting November 1, 2018 after serving as the organization’s Controller since 2014. Among her new responsibilities, Puente will be dedicated to improving business operations and identifying efficiencies to enhance productivity in accordance with Prospanica’s mission and strategic goals.
Monica brings over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Through her various leadership positions, she has gained extensive accounting and management experience, successfully leading many projects and closely working with team leaders to ensure synergies are aligned. Moving forward, Monica will also be responsible for setting parameters to measure how efficiently and effectively the organization is operating to ensure the highest level of productivity, and she will oversee the work of the various departments to ensure that measurable strategic goals are being met in a timely manner and within budgetary requirements.
“Monica’s leadership and knowledge will be a valuable resource as we continue to enhance Prospanica programming, increase our membership and expand existing and new partnerships,” stated Prospanica CEO, Thomas Savino. Puente, who recently earned an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from Duke University, added, “I’m a big proponent for continued professional development and education in support of career advancement, and I’m honored to assume this new role.”
We invite you to read Monica Puente’s participation in the On a Lighter Note Q&A section of this issue of Prospanica News.
Highlights of Prospanica’s Chapters
As Latino leaders, we have an obligation to our ancestors, familia y comunidad to reach our full educational, economic and social potential so that we can be agents of change to nurture a more inclusive United States. Here are some examples of how Prospanica fulfills this obligation across the nation. Thank you for all you do!
Prospanica San Francisco: Tour of Fran
Prospanica San Francisco hosted their inaugural Tour de Fran 2018, visiting Hispanic owned wineries in Sonoma Valley. They will be inviting board members from across the country for the 2nd Tour de Fran in 2019.
Prospanica Indianapolis: La Vista from The Top
Prominent community leaders came together to share their thoughts and compelling experiences regarding diversity and inclusion, opportunity, and personal journeys to the top.
Prospanica Philadelphia: Year End Celebration
Our Philadelphia chapter celebrated this year’s successes and thanked their powerful members and partners for an amazing year. Thomas Savino and Monica Puente from the national office attended the event.
Prospanica Houston: Unlocking the GMAT
The Houston chapter reached out to students with an exclusive invitation to a session on how to prepare for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Prospanica Connecticut: ERG Summit
The ERG summit brings together leaders from a wide array of industries. These individuals look to address current gaps in their organizations and propagate a culture of participation and leadership to advocate for growth.
Prospanica Washington DC: Leadership Development & Hispanic Heritage Celebration
This year's leadership development program was presented through a panel dialogue among senior and executive leaders across industries. Attendees participated by asking individual questions to gain ideas, tips, and best practices to bring back to their own careers. The program concluded with a networking reception and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Prospanica Silicon Valley: Prospanica Wealth Management Workshop
Four Financial professionals were secured for a Personal Financial workshop to discuss some aspects of financial planning that would help attendees discern their priorities and plan of action.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Raised in Dallas, Texas, Monica Puente is Prospanica’s Vice President, Finance & Operations. She is a multi-faceted leader with 15+ years in the nonprofit sector, collaborating with a wide array of corporate partners.
Most people’s careers are basically a series of opportunities or paths you need to choose from. And sometimes, you may be left wondering what if I took the other path. Looking back is there a point in your career you’d like to go back to and see where that path would have taken you just out of curiosity?
I started my career in recruiting and absolutely enjoyed it. It was an amazing feeling to help people find new job opportunities and fill positions for employers. However, I also enjoyed creating processes, reviewing analytics and telling a story through numbers, which resulted in my shift to accounting in 2002. I do have some recruiting sprinkled in over the years, but I do wonder where I would be if I would have remained in the HR field.
Imagine you are going into your most important business meeting ever and you can bring 3 people along as part of your team…who would you bring and why?
- Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor. I love her philosophy of challenging directly and leading with compassion. She would be a firecracker!
- Rosanna Durruthy, past Prospanica National Board of Director and current head of global diversity, inclusion and belonging at LinkedIn. I had the pleasure of working with Rosanna directly and found her extremely inspirational, not to mention brilliant at what she does.
- My mother, Diane Martinez. She is an amazing business leader and knows me better than anyone else.
Tell us what you immediately associate with each one of the following 5 feelings:
- Anger – Closed-minded thinking
- Sadness– Bullying
- Joy– Positive energy and kindness
- Fear – Lack of time
- Satisfaction– Being effective and purposeful
If you had a superpower, what it would be and why?
This one is hard! My first response was healing, but overcoming an obstacle can make you stronger and even those around you. I landed with time manipulation. This would allow me to extend time in those very precious moments and turn back the clock when necessary, like avoiding a really awkward moment.
What’s on top of your bucket list?
I want to become fluent in Spanish. My family did not speak Spanish at home and I picked up very little. My goal is to have a full conversation with my mother in-law one day!