Like Ms. Remenesky, Elida Moreno of the Latina Leadership Network feels that organizations for Hispanic women professionals create a kind of snowball effect, helping to develop new leaders by promoting interaction between up-and-comers and established professionals.
"Too often Latinas assume leadership positions at many levels, but they do it quietly. We need to be visible to gain support, to give support, to educate, to learn," Ms. Moreno says.
Ms. Moreno, who became president of LLN in March, sees dissemination of information as a key function of her organization."Too much information is not shared, not because people are not willing to share, but because people live extremely busy lives, and if it weren't for those venues we'd do even less sharing and learning. Networking brings many heads together, and the ideas, which often are different, can lead to more refined ones," says Ms. Moreno.
Ms. Moreno adds that the LLN sponsors functions that facilitate the spread of information, including annual conferences and other events. They give out five scholarships to outstanding Hispanic students every year, and they also hand out awards for professionals who promote the advancement of Hispanic women. Similar to 100 Hispanic Women, LLN is based on a set of goals established to promote and dismantle discriminatory practices.
Although both 100 Hispanic Women and the Latina Leadership Foundation actively seek to offer their members access to opportunities for advancement, they differ from purely professional associations in their emphasis on social progress, political parity and personal development. Profession-specific organizations may be a better fit for those who are primarily interested in career development.
April 2004: National Hispana Leadership Institute Latina Empowerment Conference
New York City, NY
April 14-19: National Hispana Leadership Institute Program JFK School of Government
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
April 20-21: National Latina Business Women Association, Los Angeles Chapter "Business and Legislative Days"
April 21: 100 Hispanic Women, Inc. 8th Anniversary Gala Celebration
New York City, NY
April 23-25: Latin Business Association Women's Small Business Expo
Palm Springs, CA
Dr. Donna Maria Blancero, chairwoman of the board for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), says, "The opportunity to network with other professionals within your own industry is an advantage of membership in a professional organization. In particular, involvement with a strong and nationally recognized professional organization, such as NSHMBA, provides additional opportunities such as exposure to senior executives (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic) who share valuable information on how to be successful in one's career."
"My research shows that those who are mentored by a senior executive manager are more likely to be successful, as measured by salary, promotion, and satisfaction," says Dr. Blanceros.
For those of a more entrepreneurial mindset, The National Latina Business Women Association may be a good networking resource. According to Emily Robinson, president of the Los Angeles chapter, the group offers help with every aspect of starting and running a business, from getting loans to navigating the red tape involved in landing state and federal contracts.
View a list of Hispanic Business Magazine's Career Quarterly Diversity Leaders