Why focus on just Latinas?
According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study, at nearly 23 million, people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity represented 15 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2011. By 2020, Latinos are expected to comprise 19 percent of the U.S. labor force, and a large portion of this surging workforce will be Latinas. While businesses are recognizing the need to be a more inclusive work force, they are not benefiting from the full potential of Latinas as decision makers, consumer advocates, and influencers in a global economy because there has not been an investment in their professional evolution.
Today’s executive level Latinas must be equipped with more than traditional leadership skills; they must be able to interact in complex, multi-party situations where relationships are of the utmost importance and substance cannot be sacrificed.
A 2013 study conducted by the Latina Leadership Academy reported nearly half of Latina professionals surveyed – including mid- and senior managers and executives – are considering leaving their current employers. The study revealed the source of their dissatisfaction and indicated solutions that can prevent the loss of these valuable employees.
Many first- and second-generation Latinas have grown up as bicultural Americanas; as a result, they provide unique resources, talents and perspectives to their employers. But their bicultural mental framework can clash with predominant cultural expectations about advancement and assessing effectiveness. For this reason, effective professional and leadership development is not just important to Latina leaders, it is crucial.