By Hilbert Morales
At Stanford University’s Faculty Club last Saturday, May 14, 2011, the second annual “Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit” (SVLLS) was held. It’s hosts were ‘Es Tiempo’ (Frank Carbajal, founder of Estiempo and founder of the SVLLS), Hispanic Net, and Gracefully Global Group. This event was attended by an estimated 245 professionals, mentors, and students not only from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Texas, and New Mexico, also as far away as Utah Valley University, Provo, Utah.
The supporting corporate sponsors included; HP, Kaiser Permanente Viva Bien , Chevron, Abbott Labs; Genentech, Oracle, Intel, Duke Energy, CapitalWirePR, , Korn/Ferry International, National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Agents; (NHORA), AlphaGraphics, EO (El Observador) and National Society of Hispanic MBA’s. This list of sponsors is indicative of the interest of corporate America in ensuring the identification of development of Latino expertise and talent.
The SVLLS agenda began promptly at 8:30 AM with a pre-recorded address by the Honorable Julian Castro, Mayor, San Antonio, Texas, who described the need for trained Hispanic talent in public service, industry, and many fields requiring knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Mayor Castro said, “There is a bright future and a big challenge for those who take time to prepare for their engagement, involvement and commitment.”
The keynote speaker, Dr. Armando Arias, Founding Director, Street Smart Think Tank and partner at Solution Strategies, made an excellent summary of “Street Smart Leadership: Creating Space for Change and Public engagement in Latino Communities.” Several interesting questions were posed during the Q & A period which followed.
This was followed by a panel presentation and discussion regarding “Paving the Scholarship Road for our Future Scholarship Leaders: Lessons from Educators and Scholarship Experts.” The moderator was Margarita Quihuis, Chairman, Hispanic Net; the panelists included Dr. Frances Morales, Associate Dean and Director, El Centro Chicano, Stanford, University; Martin Mares, Founder and CEO, The Ivy League Project; Frank Alvarez, President and CEO, Hispanic Scholarship Fund; Isabel Valdes, President of IVC, author, Speaker & Hispanic Marketing Guru; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez, Senior VP ALPFA Consulting. The discussion which followed revealed a great interest in this challenging topic and issue.
Following a corporate presentation by Kaiser Permanente’s representative, a buffet luncheon followed which was also an effective networking session. Many small groups formed to continue discussion and analysis of program content and its meaning for the near term future.
Immediately following the ‘lunch break’, a Town Hall meeting entitled “Latino Community: Challenges, Opportunities, and Diversity Initiatives’ was conducted. This special presentation was made by Rebecca Cokley, Director, Office of Presidential Priority Appointments, The White House, Washington, D.C. The moderator was Sergio Garcia, Partner, Reed Smith, LLP. Information was presented about best practices in the submittal of resumes for appointed public offices. Of the 6,000 appointed offices, about 1,100 remain vacant due to the need to find the individual who had the expertise required. There is a challenging need for more Hispanics to present their credentials for these vacancies to be filled by ‘the Presidential appointment process.”
Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Founder of Gracefully Global Group, and author of Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them,” who for 10 years saw the world from aboard a tanker-airplane which refueled other military jets. Her book is recommended reading for all Latinos aspiring to learn about entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities.
The second workshop entitled “Latino Entertainers, Who You Need to Know and Why” was presented with much comical contrast by Rick Najera, Actor, Writer, Director and Producer. Najera’s presetation ably demonstrated the use of laughter, humor, and comedy in this world of anxiety and fear of failure. “With laughter, humor, and comedy, you bring out the humanity in all of us.” Said Najera.
El Observador’s Publisher Hilbert Morales commented, “Information technology has changed the way all of us communicate. Having a website is not enough these days. We must all learn to use social networks and the internet. EO is the ‘multimedia information distribution service’ which serves the Latino community. Morales introduced Ms. Monica Amador, EO’s Director of Operations & Marketing, who described the most recent internet service developed by EO to make Hispanic businesses ‘visible’ on the internet. She encouraged the attendees to check it out at www.el-observador.com.
The SVLLS “Visionary Leadership Award” was presented to Victor Arias, Jr., for his outstanding achievements and for also being a co-founding member of the NSHMBA (National Society of Hispanic MBA’s).
The afternoon plenary session was about “Latino Success in Today’s Economy/ Latino Business Standards: Lessons from Top Executives and Entrepreneurs.” It’s facilitator was Michael Lopez, President, Hispanic-Net and President, Solid Ground, US. The panelists included Victor Arias, Jr., Senior Partner, Korn/Ferry International; Kai Huang, Co-Founder & President/CEO of RedOctane (Guitar Hero Franchise); Shuly Galili, Executive Director, California Israel Chamber of Commerce; Frank Ramirez, President & CEO, Ice Energy; and Victor Arias Jr. Senior Partner at Korn Ferry International. Each panelist effectively presented their personal experiences in the development of ideas, the management and acquiring of money and the role of business intelligence and marketing in the achievement of business success flavored with a bit of good fortune and luck. A major message was to learn from ‘your mistakes’ and conduct business with high integrity and honesty.
The final scheduled speaker was The Honorable Sid Espinosa, Mayor, Palo Alto, CA whose professional experience included ‘Government Relations’ at HP and now is the Director of Micro-Soft’s “Global Citizenship” Office. During his wrap-up Mayor Espinoza emphasized the need for education and innovation within the Latino community. He noted that more Latinos are needed in the public service sector as well as in business. One anecdote was about hearing a student say to him, “You are the first official who looks like me.” Latinos need to learn their historical background through inter-generational communications; mobilize and use current technology and emphasize having more of us becoming competent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “We need to define where we want to go rather than have others define who we are and what our social and economic station will be. And I think we are capable of doing just that, but we have a long way to go to get to an equity level. We need to do that for ourselves and our community.”
Many who attended this 2nd SVLLS remained for a while to continue networking and exchange information, names, addresses and ideas.
Frank Carbajal founder of the SVLLS and the SVLLS planning committee need to be thanked and recognized for planning, implementation, and execution of this 2nd Summit session which was professionally managed and presented. Those Latinos who attended experienced the excellence which we, as a community, are capable of doing more often.
Save the date for May 19, 2012