Editor’s note: In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, PRSA is publishing a series of blog posts from prominent Hispanic public relations and marketing professionals. This is the second post in that series.
During my speaking engagements in support of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I have witnessed a new spirit in the air. Hispanics are growing more confident, self-aware and eager to see what the future holds for our growing community.
However, with our renewed enthusiasm, comes some concerns. As our Hispanic voices get louder, and as our community becomes more influential in America, we must shift our focus and accept greater responsibility.
Here are just a few signs of our increasing power:
- Estimated $1.2 trillion in Hispanic consumer purchasing power by 2012.
- 50.5 million Hispanics in America.
- 1-in-4 American schoolchildren are Hispanic.
- Hispanics will reach 30 percent of the total U.S. population by 2050.
The new Hispanic mainstream story is written each day and we must be reminded that with power there is responsibility; and with responsibility there is accountability. This means we must tone down our entitlement demands and speak more about what our own personal responsibilities are to help advance the impact and influence of Hispanics in America.
Have you ever experienced the difference? Have you ever been amongst a group of Hispanics who believe America owes us something versus a team of Hispanic leaders who want to make a difference to the future of America?
The differences are not subtle, but they are profound.
I recently spoke at the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley (SVC) Latino Chamber of Commerce Gala. This is a new Chamber of Commerce chapter that really makes you feel proud to be Hispanic.
There was so much passion and entrepreneurial spirit in the air that it made you want to start a business whether you already had one or not. The genuine spirit of giving and discussions about leaving a legacy would have inspired the toughest cynics. Leaders spoke openly about the challenges Latino business leaders face and discussed ways to solve those challenges for the betterment of their local community.
The conversations made you think about how contagious the Hispanic community and its enthusiasm can be, but it was frustrating to know that those leaders creating the impact could not be heard in a wider audience. If only the broader business community and its leaders knew about how the impact of our inherent immigrant perspective, circular vision, passion, entrepreneurial spirit, generous purpose and cultural promise could really drive meaningful and purposeful influence to the renewal of America and our economy!
(To learn more about these inherent values and how they can help you grow and prosper in your work, please download the following e-book for free: “The Six Reasons Why Hispanic Leadership Will Save America’s Corporations.”)
Every Hispanic and Hispanic organization must trust themselves enough to put forward the same eagerness, willingness and desire to be as responsible as the leaders of the Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce. If we do so, the often negative perceptions of our community will begin to change. I believe they will change very quickly.
Our Hispanic community must immediately make this responsibility mindset shift as we have only a few years to establish our position in America as real influencers of growth and opportunity. It’s time for Hispanics to start leading relevant and responsible conversations — and stop passively following them. If we are not heard — if we do not speak out — our identity crisis will continue to escalate, while our voices weaken.
It’s time to trust ourselves and to lift the responsibility of our Hispanic leadership brand. We must begin to understand what it real means to exercise our responsibilities as authentic Hispanic leaders and take action.
I welcome you to share stories about those in the Hispanic business community that are accountable with our new mainstream responsibilities.
Glenn Llopis is a prominent Hispanic marketing and business executive. He is the founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership and the Center for Innovation and Humanity and an author of several e-books. He writes about the immigrant perspective to business leadership and workplace innovation at Forbes.com.