Convening Leaders in Diversity
The NHCC is a collaborative community
By Patricia Guadalupe
Connect. Learn. Share. Network. Those four words are the modus operandi of the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC), which counts itself as “the premier resource for corporate America on maximizing the Hispanic market opportunity.”
Based in Washington, DC, the NHCC was founded in 1985 by executives of twelve Fortune 500 companies who felt there was a need to educate corporate America about the emerging Latino market, recalls Executive Director Eduardo Arabu.
Prior to taking the helm of the NHCC, Arabu worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Altria Client Services, and other organizations such as the Office of Federal and State Elected Officials. He’s a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a Master of Science degree in public policy and management.
“We’re an organization founded by corporate America for corporate America, and we now focus on advancing Hispanic strategy in the areas of talent, customer, supplier, community relations, and employee resource groups (ERGs). We partner with organizations to develop and provide cultural competency and strategies that help elevate their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals,” he tells LATINO Magazine.
"We convene leaders to connect, learn, share, and network around best practices, resources, and strategies that can be implemented at their respective companies. It’s a very collaborative community,” Arabu adds. “We talk about how to recruit, develop, promote talent from entry-level to the C-suite, what are the best practices for working with HSIs, what are the best practices for retaining Latino talent to the company. On the marketing side, we ask what are the best practices for developing a Latino pipeline of customers to purchase these products and services and many other opportunities. On the supplier side, what are the opportunities of companies to investment in small Latino and Latina-owned businesses that can provide products and services to these corporations and their contractors? For instance, with ERGs we support their development and connect them with other companies to enhance their ERG development, operations and programming.”
One of the earliest corporations to partner with NHCC was Boeing. Miguel González is Boeing’s Senior Director for Space and Launch, and has been with the company for 28 years. González joined the board as treasurer several years ago and is currently NHCC’s Board Chair.
“It’s always a place to learn and connect with Latino and Latina colleagues. We have an ability to connect people across industries, across different segments, both product and non-product companies. We do a lot of learning, a lot of sharing of information, and a lot of networking with senior-level professionals. We come with a corporate perspective,” he says, adding that Boeing is “very supportive” of NHCC. “I’m able to bring some thought leadership to the board from my position at Boeing and also be innovative in our ideas on creating programs and pushing the board to the next level. My leadership style is very engaging, and about getting people to rally around a plan.”
NHCC recently launched the Latino DEI Collective to amplify, develop, and elevate Latinos and Latinas in DEI roles within companies and organizations. The initiative helps support those already in those positions and helps develop and mentor emerging leaders.
"With the growing U.S. Latino demographics, there is an opportunity to elevate Latinos in DEI roles along with increasing investments for the development of Latino talent, customers, suppliers, community relations to maximize corporate performance,” said Arabu.
Jon G. Muñoz is the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Booz Allen Hamilton and works closely with the Latino DEI Collective as a member of its advisory board.
“It’s a way to support and amplify the voices of Latinos and Latinas in senior DEI positions and to build a pipeline of emerging DEI leaders to serve as future Chief Diversity Officers. For me, this work is meaningful and serves an opportunity not currently being addressed,” says Muñoz. “With the expansion of DEI roles in recent years, it’s important to build awareness for and promote DEI management opportunities among Latinos this as a career aspiration. NHCC members and current DEI practitioners are excited about the initiative. I’m thrilled that NHCC is taking on this important work with intention to bring this network together and to show collective support for Latinos in DEI-focused roles.”
Another NHCC board member is Fernanda Goncalves, Head of HR and Field Engagement at Red Hat, a technology company headquartered in North Carolina. She wants to ensure that the cutting-edge business of high-tech is also on the cutting edge of diversity.
“I think the diversity and inclusion journey is fairly green but there is also a lot of room to create impact quickly. When I joined Red Hat, I asked how we could tap into the Latino employee network and bring more employee and branding awareness and attract this group to our organization,” she said. “They asked what affiliations I would recommend, and I said I was very familiar with NHCC because I partnered with them with my previous employer. They immediately said, ‘Let’s do it!’
“I’m an immigrant myself – I moved to the states in 2008; my whole family is still based out of Brazil. I want to break barriers,” adds Goncalves, who is Red Hat’s highest-ranking Latina. “But I don’t want to be the only one. I want to be a multiplier.”
According to Arabu, the NHCC is there to help its members: “We are here to be strategic partners, we are an extension of your team. Our success is based on your success.”