News Column

USHLI and GM Team To Raise Funds for Hispanic Students

Feb. 17, 2012

Rebecca Villaneda

USHLI President Juan Andrade, center, is flanked by GM executives Marc Hernandez and Alma Guajardo Crossley.
USHLI President Juan Andrade, center, is flanked by GM executives Marc Hernandez and Alma Guajardo Crossley.

GM Director of Diversity Initiatives Alma Guajardo Crossley and Buick and GMC Regional Director Marc Hernandez announced today that the auto giant will donate a Buick Verano to the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.

Proceeds from raffle tickets to win the Buick Verano will go toward raising scholarship funds for USHLI recipients. The Buick Verano will be raffled off to a lucky winner after August.

GM is a sponsor of USHLI's Student Leadership Series, which will tour the country and visit 30 states -- more than 40,000 students will be reached. The Chicago conference, currently under way, is the year's first of about 40, according to USHLI President Juan Andrade.

Related Story: "USHLI Kicks off its National Conference in Chicago"

"The nation's success is going to depend on how the Hispanic population does and General Motors understands the importance of education and understands the impact of the Hispanic community and that's why we're here," Crossley said. "Hopefully, (the car is) going to help Juan and his organization receive money to support the youth and the scholarships that you see today."

Hernandez represents the North Central Region, which makes up 10 to 12 states that makes up the mid-U.S. for Buick and GM.

"If we were a stand-alone company, the team that I work with, would be a Fortune 500 company," he said. "They are responsible for generating $4 billion to $4.5 billion worth of revenue for the company. Within that territory, GM has about 650 dealers.

Hernandez expressed that he was present at the USHLI conference to gain a better perspective of the Hispanic community.

"As much progress as we've made with GM, we have a lot more to make with our dealer body," he said. "The number of dealers we have nationally is still not reflective of where we need to be as a company in terms of what the general population reflects."

Crossley reminded that GM was at the forefront of diversity initiatives, specifically supplier diversity.

"We were the first manufacturer to start the minority supplier diversity program. Last year, we spent more than $198 million with Hispanic suppliers," she said. "Hispanics make up 22 percent of GM's supplier diversity program."

GM also was the first manufacturer in 1972 to develop the minority dealer development program, Crossley added.

"We have over 200 minority dealers, 50 percent are Latinos -- very successful entrepreneurs," she said. Crossley herself has benefited from diversity recruitment at GM, she shared.

"GM gave me the opportunity to be where I am at today," she said. "I tell students to be aware of the opportunities that are out there. There are so many companies offering scholarship ... they need to be aware of it."

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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