News Column

Executive Life

July/August 2005, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer


Personal Style: Having a Life...And a Career

Paula Mendoza has these tips for busy executives trying to balance work and play:

•Organize and prioritize
She keeps track of her busy days with a spiral-bound notebook. "Everything for that day goes on one sheet of paper, which I prioritize at home the night before."

•Schedule free time like a business meeting
"I walk 3.2 miles per day, four to six times a week. I have made my exercise a priority in my life and schedule it just like a business meeting, and make it happen."

•Make time for family
"I am extremely fortunate to still have both parents and wonderful siblings. Almost every Sunday I take my mom and sister (and sometimes my father joins us) shopping. The trip is a briefing of my week to my folks and their briefing to me of their life."

•Enjoy the good life close to home
"My favorite place to eat is Spanish Flowers Restaurant on North Main in Houston. It is close to my house, with great food and a nice atmosphere. My favorite place to walk (and one of my favorite places in Houston) is Memorial Park."

Dedication to Diversity

To Paula Mendoza's eyes, Corporate America didn't seem genuinely committed to workplace or supplier diversity. So in 2000, the Houston-based business development expert started her company Possible Missions to focus on two issues she is passionate about: small business development and corporate and community diversity.

"My role at small businesses is developing infrastructure, policy, and procedures. I also continue to work with large corporations as a consultant, helping them reach their minority participation goals," she explains.

Community advocacy is also important to the 40-year-old wife and mother, who serves as chairwoman of the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce and a member of the Texas Association of Hispanic Entrepreneurs. A child of Mexican immigrants, her heritage has drawn her to Hispanic-owned businesses, but she includes all minorities in her outreach efforts.

"At the business level, there are a lot of diversity issues and ethnicities that Possible Missions faces and tries to address," she says. Staying upbeat keeps the busy president energized for her demanding schedule. "I feel that being positive and being a very optimistic person has helped me," says Ms. Mendoza, who tends to wear her enthusiasm on her sleeve. "My friends and colleagues always comment on my bright colors and matching accessories, but that comes along with my positive attitude. Presentation is the key!"

For Ms. Mendoza, supplier diversity is every bit as important as workplace diversity.

"Our corporations and government organizations should work hard towards diversifying their vendor base. Their vendors should reflect their local community and the customer base that they sell to," she says, suggesting that firms work toward contracting with small and minority-owned businesses for their top 10 purchases. She believes that when corporations act on the opportunity to increase diversity, everyone benefits.

Fashion & Accessories
Culture Chic
Mexican design house Pineda Covalin, whose fashions have been worn by such luminaries as Princess Letizia of Asturias and Mexican president Vicente Fox, is known for using motifs inspired by Mexican and Latin American art and culture. The bold colors and patterns on these silk scarves and ties, recently featured during Miami Fashion Week, will spice up both business and after-hours attire.

Art and Culture
Reading List
From lonely American highways to a turbulent 1920s Cuba, recent offerings from notable Hispanic writers will make great companions on your next transcontinental flight:

•Zorro: A Novel
Isabel Allende
Diego de la Vega transforms into the heroic Zorro in this tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance by best-selling author Isabel Allende.

•González & Daugher Trucking Co.
Maria Amparo Escandon
The "road novel with literary license" from the author of Esperanza's Box of Saints follows a Mexican-American trucker and his daughter on their travels through the states – and life.

•The Last Masquerade
Antonio Orlando Rodríguez
Cuba during the Roaring Twenties is the stylish backdrop for a racy story about young aristocrats in search of Italian actress Eleonora Duse.

health & fitness
Easy Rider
Biking is now a whole lot easier, thanks to the Dynamic chainless bicycle. The shaft-drive, enclosed-gear design cuts down on maintenance while improving efficiency in the mountains or on the streets. And for professionals who bike to work, the chainless design means no bike grease or pant tears!

Bike riding is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout and tone lower-body muscles without stressing joints. In fact, the low-impact activity is often recommended for post-operative therapy and rehabilitation.


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