FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122
BERKELEY COLLEGE JOINS HISPANIC LEADERS
(See photo caption below)
Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Berkeley College Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances, joined Hispanic-American leaders in business, education, media and politics for an evening of dialogue at the Impacto Symposium 2016: The State of Latinos in the U.S., held on September 19, 2016, at The Union League Club in New York, NY.
Hosted by Spanish language publication Impacto Latino, the symposium addressed the challenges facing Latinos, including the significant gaps in leadership roles in education, the private and public sectors, and the economy.
Following the introduction from Master of Ceremonies, Lili Gil Valletta, President/CEO, XL Alliance, opening remarks from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer emphasized that investing in diversity is a strong investment.
“The way you grow a community is by investing in it,” Mr. Stringer said. “That’s why we have to invest in our women and minority-owned businesses.”
“If you are serious about your company’s economic viability, you are not doing your business justice by ignoring Hispanic-serving institutions.”
Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Hispanic Research, Pew Research Center, provided key insights into the Hispanic community before participating in a panel discussion moderated by Gail M. Smith, Managing Director, Impacto Latino.
One of the Pew Research Center’s discoveries was that despite an increase in personal financial confidence in recent years, the Hispanic community still lags behind the U.S. public on average household income and wealth. Their research also found that while the U.S. Latino unemployment rate declined to 6.4 in 2015, it remains above its 2006 low, with the Hispanic community continuing to recover from the recession.
“I’ve found from my experience with Hispanic students that many Hispanic youths do not know how to speak up, whether it be for a promotion or simply for help,” Mr. Lopez said. “This lack of awareness about how to advocate for themselves is an issue we need to teach our youth.”
Cid Wilson, President/CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, pointed to the lack of Latino philanthropists helping to invest back into its communities and inspire others to take similar action, asking, “What can we do to develop economic empowerment and entrepreneurship?”
“Hispanic youth need encouragement throughout college to graduate, not just to apply.”
One of the biggest trends the Pew Research Center identified that is shaping the United States Hispanic community is the near-record number of Latinos attending college, proving Latinos are more prepared for college than ever.
In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 35 percent of Hispanic between the ages of 18 and 24 were in a two- or four-year college, up from 22 percent in 1993. However, that same research found that only 15 percent of Hispanics between the ages of 25 and 29 completed college with a bachelor’s or graduate degree in 2014. In comparison, about 41 percent of whites in the same age group have a bachelor’s or graduate degree, as do 22 percent of blacks and 63 percent of Asians.
“We lack the ability to keep the student, kindergarten through 12th grade, engaged, and to continue on to college,” Dr. Cortez said during the evening’s panel discussion. “What colleges, as well as the public and private sectors are lacking, is mentorship. We need to dedicate more time to mentor our youth.”
Matias Perel, Founder/CEO, Latin3, agreed with Dr. Cortez’s emphasis on mentoring, adding that guidance cannot simply end after the application process. “Hispanic youth need encouragement throughout college to graduate, not just to apply,” Mr. Perel said.
“Part of the challenge is a lack of encouragement and inspiration,” Mr. Wilson said. “Students have no heroes to look up to … rarely taught in school. We need educational inspiration.”
“We make the mistake in thinking corporations make the decision. People make the decisions.”
Panelists also cited corporation’s recruiting procedures, which often overlook Hispanic students who did not attend Ivy League or similarly prestigious colleges, as a reason for the lack of Latino growth in corporate careers.
“When you look at higher education and corporate committee boards, the members look very similar,” said Dr. Cortez, who added that during his time as President of Berkeley College from 2008 to 2015, he was the only Latino president at a higher education institution in New Jersey.
“If you are serious about your company’s economic viability, you are not doing your business justice by ignoring Hispanic-serving institutions, such as community colleges and technical schools,” said Mr. Wilson. “If you go to the right schools, then you will find the right candidates.”
“We make the mistake in thinking corporations make the decision. People make the decisions,” said Humberto Garcia-Sjogrim, Vice President, Latin Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company. “It is important that we start engaging with everyone, including those in the middle and not just the CEO.”
“What colleges, as well as the public and private sectors are lacking, is mentorship. We need to dedicate more time to mentor our youth.”
In a 2013 poll conducted by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Latinos said they could not name an individual they considered to be an important Hispanic leader. Yet 45 percent agreed it was “very” important to have one, while another 29 percent said it was “extremely” important.
“We are not monolithic by any means,” said Grace Flores-Hughes, Vice Chair, F&H 2, in regards to the diversity within the Hispanic community. “We do not have a lot of commonalities, hence why it is difficult to find one leader.”
“For so long, we have been looking for our leaders, but we have to realize we are all leaders and need to start leading,” Mr. Garcia-Sjogrim said.
As the evening concluded, Ms. Valletta further emphasized the need for the Latino community to stop looking elsewhere for guidance, and ask themselves what they can do. “We need to stop waiting for someone else to invest,” Ms. Valletta said. “Let us become the angels of our own community.”
Photo Captions: Pictured at the top (L to R), Humberto Garcia-Sjogrim, Vice President, Latin Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company; Lili Gil Valletta, President/CEO, XL Alliance; Matias Perel, Founder/CEO, Latin3; Gail M. Smith, Managing Director, Impacto Latino; Grace Flores-Hughes, Vice Chair, F&H 2; Dario A. Cortes, PhD, Berkeley College Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances; and Cid Wilson, President/CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, participate in the Impacto Symposium 2016: The State of Latinos in the U.S., held on September 19, 2016, at The Union League Club in New York, NY.
Pictured above, Hispanic-American leaders in business, education, media and politics address the challenges facing Latinos, including the significant gaps in leadership roles in education, the private and public sectors, and the economy.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, both for the third consecutive year. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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To view high resolution versions of the above photos, go to:
To read the Pew Research Center’s reports as follows:
“Latinos Increasingly Confident in Personal Finances, See Better Economic Times Ahead”
“5 facts about Latinos and education”