The key factors to build a Latino leader

By Mary Aviles

Latinos are getting bigger in numbers and conquering more spaces, but how about owning it? Being leaders wherever they are and whatever they are doing is the ultimate challenge.

Not everybody is born to be a Cesar Chavez, but everybody can learn how to improve their influence ratio and leverage their back-story to shine.

Latino leaders

Frank Carbajal, coauthor of Building the Latino Future: Success Stories for the Next Generation” and Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit (SVLLS) shares some of his insights after talking to the country’s most prominent Latinos, like Edward James Olmos, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former housing secretary Henry Cisneros, NPR correspondent Ray Suarez, and many more.

Carbajal emphasizes the need to create values at home, instilling confidence and support in a future leader as the key factors to create more Latino leaders.

Also, he refers to the power of mentoring the young generation. Latinos need more diversified role models to follow. Mentors at school help to continue the work from home, or to create a path if the family can’t provide the appropriate network.

According to Carbajal, when it comes to leadership, having goals and focusing on them are important topics as well. For coaches and mentors the expert gives a clear message: they need patience and need to work in a holistic way.

Frank Carbajal responded the following questions to VOXXI:

Build a Latino leader

Is anybody called on to be a leader?

I think so. The calling for a leader is, first of all, to have role models at a very young age, role-modeling parents who create a foundation. It means simple tasks at home, whether is to clean your room, whether is to wash dishes or takes out the trash. Those simple roles define a person.

The next step, from childhood, is to take action and those initial steps into action result in a person growing into an adult. There is no time table; what happens is that it becomes instinctive. When a person knows that the calling is there for them, then it becomes natural, they understand that is a natural role for them and they feel comfortable about it.

What are the characteristics of a leader?

The characteristics are having values, integrity, good judgment, clarity and goals, and trying not to do much at once. I think every person has their goals and they should pay attention to their own goals versus working for someone else´s goals.

You mentioned that parents are the first role model, but what about if you don’t have a fresh start?

If you don´t have both parents at home or if you don´t have people at home, the resources have to be from the outside network. I am talking about believing in good friends, good relationships and valuing and building relationships. It´s important to identify someone who is a lot like you and build that relationship into something that create a really strong network.

How do you train a leader?

You have to have patience. That´s what comes first in leadership, patience, because in coaching others or in mentoring others you have to be aware that there´s a holistic approach. There are so many things that make up a person.

You have to look at whether the person is introspective, introvert or extrovert, and if they´re an introvert, then you have to sit back and realize that that person is still as bright as a person who´s an extrovert.

 Originally published in VOXXI.