News Column

Corner Office

Oct. 18, 2011

Jesus Chavarria

By now we are getting used to it. One day we slide toward chaos. The sensation lasts for days. Then the sun rises, the crisis resolves.

Back and forth, the economy and the politics of the economy slide like veritable tectonic plates. The movement affects massive markets, national and global. The black days happen either in Europe or the U.S. -- which certainly tells you where the economic and political center of the globe is -- but the black days cast a pall covering the globe.

In recent weeks, the scenarios have morphed from pitched battles brought about by the U.S. reaching its sovereign debt ceiling during the hot days of August, to nail-biting Eurozone drama created by widening fear of the potential for Greece crashing and of the cascading events that would be sure to follow. Recall that these events were preceded by the downgrading of the U.S. sovereign Credit rating by Standard & Poor's during the summer. Since then, the day-to-day situation has been a roller coaster for business and masses of unemployed.

Such is the stage upon which we introduce this year's HispanicBusiness 100 Influentials, which brings to the foreground a 2011 team of professional achievement and leadership. Some of the Influentials have been on the list recently, but rejoin the group due to a recent key achievement in their upward career-ladder climb.

Mind you, this is a diverse group. In terms of national origin or the region of the country where they were born and raised and their socioeconomic backgrounds, these individuals come from different places and took different yet similar paths in achieving their goals. But they also share outstanding commonalities. Frank Jimenez, chief legal officer at ITT Corp., is the son of parents who came to the U.S. "with little English and even less money." One generation later, Mr. Jimenez and his brother are both attorneys. Before joining ITT, Mr. Jimenez was general counsel of the U.S. Navy under presidents Bush and Obama, a position requiring Senate confirmation.

I can tell you it is easier to find people today for the annual 100 Influentials issue than it was when we launched the story some 29 years ago, in l983. Do not take that to mean it's a piece of cake to bring together 100 Influentials with records of persistence and achievement. The difficulty is that there are so many to choose from. That in itself tells a lot about the sociology and economics of this story, and where it comes from and where it's been.

In our second installment of The Diversity Partnership, focus centers on the rollout of the ALPFA Institute, a centralized operation to help advance ALPFA's members and to aid its corporate partners serve the Hispanic community. Adam Arroyos, the institute's president, said the institute puts an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, talent and leadership development, and Hispanic outreach and engagement.

The ALPFA Institute, located in the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business, also showcases the growing spread of the Hispanic population -- 62,000 of Arkansas' 186,000 Hispanics live in northwestern Arkansas.

All this makes for an interesting read.


For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



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