The weeklong 83rd annual League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) conference has come to an end, but not without leaving thousands of Hispanics energized.
This year's LULAC conference, themed "America's Latino Community -- Center Stage," included job opportunities, advice on college applications and financial aid, free health screenings and medical advice, a concert, and the chance to meet Latino celebrities.
Lupe De La Cruz, PepsiCo senior director of government affairs, spoke on Friday during the LULAC women's luncheon, which celebrated Latinas' role in business and society.
"It was such an honor to be a partner of LULAC as it celebrates its 83rd year," de la Cruz told HispanicBusiness. "It's such a significant organization to our community, and PepsiCo was there to support and share with the community La Promesa de PepsiCo."
La Promesa de PepsiCo is an extension of PepsiCo's Performance with Purpose, and represents the company's commitment to the Hispanic community. It's a way to help Latinos and their families achieve the American dream by supporting education, developing healthier products, promoting active lifestyles and caring for the environment, said de la Cruz.
"It's about supporting education and employment opportunities in the Latino community so that talent within the company and also seeking out and supporting those opportunities to bring in new talent," de la Cruz continued. "It's about environmental sustainability, which is about having a positive impact where we work and live."
La Promesa started in 2011 with a big kick-off of a $50,000 scholarship for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
De la Cruz spoke after one of his longtime mentors, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, which he said was a career highlight.
De la Cruz sits on the advisory boards of the California Latino Caucus Institute and the National Council of La Raza. He also served six years on the board of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Conference.
"I'm very fortunate that PepsiCo (has) supported my career in growing and developing what is of interest to me and supporting the community," he said. "For seven years I have been in this role in government affairs, and my principal day-to-day operation is working with elected officials and administrative officials, like Sec. Hilda Solis, but over the years I have had the opportunity to engage in PepsiCo's initiative and outreach to the Latino community."
This is de la Cruz's 12th LULAC conference, and he said each year he is more impressed by the energy.
"I see the Latino community is energized and engaged and ready to communicate a strong voice," he said. "Having been at the LULAC conference and at NALEO (conference) last week, where Gov. (Mitt) Romney and President Obama spoke, you can see the energy and the enthusiasm of the Latino community. They are engaged because the candidate, the president—they are talking to us about our issues, family, jobs, education for our young people—and that's going to drive us to vote."
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