Are leaders born or made? Glenn Llopis believes it is time for Latinos to take responsibility in leadership, grasp the opportunities to unleash the inborn qualities and values that nestle in Latino culture, and become the natural leaders they are meant to be.
A well-known published author, leadership expert and founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership, Llopis is launching the multi-city College Leadership Tour on October 17 at San Jose State University.
“These are exciting times for Latinos,” said Llopis to VOXXI. “We have all these great numbers in purchasing power and political representation, however, those numbers don’t mean anything if our voice can’t be heard.”
Llopis has launched the College Leadership Tour not as a celebration of this great culture but as an attempt to change the Latino narrative by provoking leadership thinking in young Hispanic college students.
“The message ‘Sí se puede’ is not enough,” Llopis said. “The new message needs to be ‘Es nuestra responsabilidad.’ [It is our responsibility].”
Latinos are defined by their culture, and people need to understand who they are as a people and as leaders, the successful businessman explained. “Many courageous Hispanic leaders over the country are not even known, and it is our responsibility to get the word out,” he said.
Glenn Llopis on the battle between assimilation and authenticity
“Hispanics are caught in a battle of becoming what other people wants us to be rather than being ourselves,” Llopis said. “It is a battle of identity, which translates into our people delivering only 40 percent of their full potential at work.”
Most Americans believe Hispanics are a hard-working community but that quality has not translated into great leadership. Moreover, 85 percent of Latinos did not believe hard work equated to being a leader until they were in a position of leadership, he added.
Latinos need to awaken the “Latino factor” in America, discover their conditions of impact and influence by taking advantage of the cultural characteristics that are inherent traits of this community.
“Our immigrant perspective helps us see opportunities where other people don’t see them because we have a wide open vision, the same vision that helps us anticipate unexpected events. Having experienced corruption and uncertainty in our countries of origin, we have developed a sixth sense of what is right and what is wrong,” Llopis said.
Likewise, Latinos are passionate about work and life, which many misconstrue as being emotional. “Our passion allows us to be pioneers. Give us the tools and resources and we will get the job done. We are not looking for a short-term victory but a long-term success,” the expert affirmed.
The entrepreneurial spirit of Latinos
According to Glenn Llopis, in the United States people have a choice to become an entrepreneur but in their countries of origin, Hispanics need to be one in order to survive.
“Entrepreneurship then becomes a way of life to unleash our full potential, searching for and aligning ourselves with the right opportunity,” he said.
As community and family oriented individuals, we also are naturally inclined to work for the common good, a generous sense of purpose in recognizing the needs of others. “Corporate social responsibility is not new to us, we were born with that. Having everyone’s best interest at heart, is part of who we are,” Llopis sustained.
Moreover, as Latinos embrace their cultural promise, they create a sense of collaboration as a family that opens up the door to new possibilities. “When you treat someone as family and you are reciprocated, your behavior increases cultural influence and response,” he affirmed.
In a world where culture is the new currency for growth, Llopis believes Latinos have great advantages in becoming leaders and position themselves as more mainstream than mainstream.
“As Hispanics, we should feel comfortable to teach others who we are. We need to be better self-advocates from a position of strength. We also need to learn to have each others’ back,” he said.
Instead of battling to adapt to a hosting culture that not always receive immigrants with open arms, LLopis promise to unravel cultural traits and take advantage of who Latinos already are seems enticing, especially for young students and professionals who need to find aggressive advantages in a very competitive marketplace.
Glenn Llopis discusses Hispanic identity
Originally published in VOXXI.