Hispanic Leadership in the Next Decade: We Must Unite to Have Sustainable Influence

12/11/2011 11:26 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2012

The successful recall of Russell Pearce in Arizona shows what a powerful political voice Hispanics can have when we work together. It is critical that in the next decade our community unites to exercise similar influence in the corporate world.

When I founded the Center for Hispanic Leadership (CHL), one of the first things we did was to carefully listen, observe, and learn from other Hispanic professional organizations and their leaders. Our findings were disturbing: our community is overly protective, we don't trust one another, and we don't often collaborate with one another.

There is no central agenda that each organization can act on to support the advancement of its Hispanic professional members. Hispanic professional organizations operate in silos, they are territorial, and they don't do a very good job of finding ways to unite to accelerate the advancement of the Hispanic professional community. At the current rate of development, the Hispanic identity crisis will last for generations.

We Hispanics continue to create barriers to our own advancement. In the next decade, we must unite to empower ourselves as Hispanic professionals. This begins by being transparent with one another and sharing our intentions, challenges, goals and objectives - openly. We must activate our generous purpose within our own community.

It's time to learn from the lessons of other cultural groups that have been faced with similar challenges in the workplace. Let's employ our circular vision. If we don't manage our Hispanic brand, the marketplace will do it for us.

The challenges for Hispanic professionals could overwhelm the resources available to all Hispanic professional organizations - combined. We must not view one another as competitors, but as strategic allies. At CHL, we want to unite, empower and expand the leadership of our community, so that those from the outside can begin to experience the cultural promise that is inherit in the ways we think, act and innovate as managers and leaders.

It's time to unleash our Latin Passion - with proper focus - to engage those around us in ways that can create opportunities and innovations to create and benefit our whole society.

The next ten years will define our Hispanic leadership legacy. Instead of thinking why we shouldn't unite, let's think about our entrepreneurial spirit and how we have limited our potential for advancement because we continue to find reasons to disconnect.

Let's connect our immigrant perspective and our powerful voices to work as one. I have been told by many corporate diversity and talent management executives that we are unlikely to unite. Collective leadership is the only solution to our problems, and it must be developed within our community. We must embrace the unique cultural difference and the deep-rooted diversity that exists with our community. We must educate the doubters by being more accountable than ever.

Hispanic professionals have been forced to assimilate to seek equal opportunity in the workplace. In the next decade, we must teach others the value of assimilating to some of our ideas, by focusing on being our whole selves in everything we do.

Hispanic professionals are in a unique position to take advantage of the many untapped opportunities that the post-2008 economy has created. But that will only happen if we can unite as Hispanic leaders, and create a platform for sustainable impact and influence.

Your voice matters and on January 11, 2012 we will launch the Hispanic Voice Town Hall Tour initiative to help educate all Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike about our powerful immigrant perspective and what this means to the future of America. I look forward to your participation. You can learn more at Let's define the decade for Hispanics in America together.