The success and sustainability of a corporation comes from a workforce that is motivated, resourceful and proud of its accomplishments, traits that must be nurtured from the first day on the job through the last. The responsibility for such nurturing rests within the corporate offices, where key executives set not only the corporate tone of an organization, but also shape the quality of the workforce. Those executives who do this best are effective because they, too, were motivated, resourceful and proud of their accomplishments -- such as those who are listed on HispanicBusiness magazine's Corporate Elite 25.
Read brief bios of the Corporate Elite 25.
They range in position from director through president and CEO, but more importantly, they extended the reach of Hispanics into the corporate offices of some of this nation's largest companies. In such high-profile positions, they become both role models for younger Hispanics seeking careers in business and examples of the growing importance diversity plays in the marketplace, academia and the community.
Making it into the C-suite is not as an overnight journey. As James H. Gallegos, vice president and general counsel, Alliant Energy, explained in an e-mail interview with HispanicBusiness magazine: "In order for an individual to break into the executive ranks, she/he must be driven and set a high mark for performance."
Consider the career of the CEO of the Florida Power & Light Co. (FLP), Armando J. Olivera, the highest ranking executive on this year's Corporate Elite 25. He joined FLP in 1972 as an engineer trainee. Thirty-one years later, he had worked his way up through the corporate ladder to become the company's top executive, a position that put him in the hot seat when the Great Recession started.
"It wasn't until early summer of 2008 that we saw the downturn," he told Leaders magazine in the October 2011 quarterly issue.
With construction slowing, FPL shut down the side of the company that handled new construction. Workforce reductions took place.
"Going forward," he said in the magazine interview, "we have been careful to manage the business for much lower level growth than we experienced in the past."
Still, FPL is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. It serves 4.5 million customers. According to his biography, under Mr. Olivera's leadership, the utility was able to keep the typical customer bill the lowest out of the state's 55 utilities and 24 percent below the national average.
Another example of the drive it takes to work through the corporate ladder is Grace Lieblein, the president and managing director of GM do Brasil. She started her career as a co-op student at the General Motors Assembly Division in Los Angeles in 1978. She has been an industrial engineer, director of validation and test, manager of vehicle development and technical operations, as well as president and managing director of GM Mexico before her promotion to the Brazil division. You can see for yourself how amazing her career path has been by turning to an in-depth interview with her.
Read the profile of Grace Lieblein.
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