August 23, 2010
By Mercedes Olivera
Our country is becoming more diverse.
The leadership at U.S. corporations is not.
At least not as quickly as the demographic change that is occurring. Hispanics, now the largest ethnic group in the country, are projected to number more than 60 million when the 2010 census is tallied. That's more than 18 percent of the U.S. population.
But Hispanics represent a paltry 5 percent or less of managers and executives in Fortune 1000 companies, and only about 1 percent hold seats in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 firms, according to industry studies released in the last four years.
Their progress to top leadership jobs has been glacial. At this rate, by one study's estimate, it will be 100 years before they reach parity.
The stark numbers have led the National Hispanic Corporate Council to take a first step toward a solution by partnering with Southern Methodist University in creating a corporate executive development program. The semester-long program launches Sept. 15 in SMU's Cox School of Business.
"We're looking to move the needle and make an impact," said Pat Martínez, president of NHCC, a clearinghouse of Hispanic information on human resources, diversity, marketing and procurement. "With this initial control group, we'll be able to see if we're going to make a difference."
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