>> Download the 2007 Hispanic Business 100 Most Influential Hispanics
The Hispanic Business 100 Most Influential Hispanics� list always presents a stellar assembly, but perhaps in 2007 � with two astronauts, a NASA engineer, the writer behind the newest Star Trek theatrical film, and the NASA Vision Award-winning writer for two Star Trek TV series � it's more star-struck than usual.
But the list is by no means homogeneous, with designers such as Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, who appears on our cover, rubbing shoulders with C-level executives, while neurosurgeons mingle with behind-the-scenes dealmakers and law enforcement leaders.
The only obvious trait shared by all, beyond their determination and success, is their Hispanic heritage. But, even there, variety is the rule. We surveyed the Influentials and found that a bit under one-third of the respondents report Mexican heritage, another third Cuban, and another third Puerto Rican [keep in mind that responses can include more than a single ethnicity].
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Some 34 of our Influentials are female � still not a 50-50 split, but up from the 24 we logged just five years ago. While the visibility and acknowledgment of women's accomplishments have increased, it's tough to say whether our increasing number better reflects a genuine increase in influence or our own enlightenment.
The importance of the Influentials is not just in what they do by themselves, but what their example does for others.
Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, for instance, is the journalist-turned-professor who helped lead the fight to bring a much-needed Hispanic perspective to the documentary on World War II. She recalls the value of role models in helping young people pursue their own ambitions.
"I wanted to be a nurse when I was in high school, and the reason [why] was because the only Hispanic woman that I knew � who I was close to � who had a college degree was one of my cousins, and she had been a nurse," she says. "I think that speaks to how young people think of role models, or at least how I thought of role models: I saw somebody who looked like me and she was a nurse, so I thought, 'OK, I'll be a nurse.'"
And while it was writing, not nursing, that burned in her heart, that initial impetus got her into the University of Texas, where she discovered her true calling.
Our list is drawn from several sources, most notably submissions made by our readers and visitors to HispanicBusiness.com, and from people with whom our editorial and research staff have interacted or observed in the past year. We look for people we think are having a great year now or who can expect a great year in 2008; people who are contributing to their communities or professions; people who are generally raising the bar in whatever they do.
Adding to the mix, we try not to draw too heavily from people who have appeared recently on the Influentials list. Therefore, while Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez's star rises in the waning days of the Bush Administration, or Antonio M. Perez works to improve the picture at a struggling Kodak, their names, and those of some other obvious candidates, don't appear this year.
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