SMU institute to groom 20 Hispanic managers for executive ranks

The National Hispanic Corporate Council and SMU are developing a leadership training program for mid-level Hispanic managers.

Dallas Hall at Southern Methodist University
By Cherly Hall

The statistics are pretty stark.

When it comes to making it into the top echelon of corporate America, Hispanics aren't.

This demographic, which represents 14 percent of the U.S. population, holds just 1 percent of the top officer spots at Fortune 500 companies. Hispanics rise relatively quickly into midmanagement jobs but then seem to hit a wall – often because they lack the leadership skills needed to move up to the next post.

Corporate America wants to do something about that.

This fall, 20 midlevel Hispanic managers from some of the nation's largest corporations will come to Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business to be groomed into senior executive material.

The National Hispanic Corporate Council has tapped SMU to host a leadership institute aimed at catapulting graduates into strategic positions within their corporations. . .

Mickey Quiñones, the institute's academic director, says SMU's expertise marries well with the core competencies that National Hispanic Corporate Council members want for their up-and-comers.

"This is not a program for people who are derailing," says the professor of organizational behavior in the Cox school. "This is a program for Hispanics with high potential already on track. They just need mentoring, coaching, skill development and self-awareness that this program can provide.

"It starts with leading yourself, then leading your team and finally leading your organization."

The curriculum will broach universal issues of moving up the corporate ladder – such as how personal behavior can be misinterpreted.

"Cultural norms among Hispanics – such as deference to authority and family orientation – might be misperceived as a lack of initiative or commitment to the organization," Quiñones says. "Having awareness of how your behavior is being perceived by others – given the lens that you're being judged by as a potential Hispanic executive – is critical." 

Read the complete column.

More about the program.

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