Vladimir Quito
General Business

LatinxCEO Seeks to Shatter Glass Ceiling

According to a recent analysis by USA TODAY, Hispanic men and women account for less than 4% of executives at S&P 100 companies – with women facing especially disproportionate odds. Only two executives among the 533 publicly listed corporate leaders identify as a Hispanic female.

LatinxCEO, a new Bergen Community College workforce development initiative, seeks to provide students with the resources, skills and experience they need to challenge this kind of underrepresentation in the workplace.

“We will have the opportunity to model community members who look like us and may have had similar life experiences,” student Josefhina Navarro said at the program’s launch event yesterday at the college’s main campus. “Learning from those who have already achieved success will help us as students understand what it takes to become successful.”

LatinxCEO will empower aspiring Hispanic business professionals by providing students with skills, real-world connections and career exploration opportunities. Among the activities, students will network with regional executives, meet entrepreneurs and participate in career shadowing, worksite visits and mock interviews.

The program effectively combines two priorities outlined in the college’s strategic goals: creating new workforce development initiatives and enhancing its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion according to Bergen President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D.

“This must begin to change,” he said at the launch event, commenting on the underrepresentation of Hispanics in leadership roles. “We have the opportunity to help move the needle. Today, as we introduce the LatinxCEO program, we’re making further progress in supporting our diverse community and developing a next generation workforce.”

The official launch event also featured speakers such as Bergen County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Germaine Ortiz, New Jersey Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair Luis De La Hoz and the stories of a dozen Hispanic entrepreneurs who will serve as mentors for students taking advantage of the initiative. The entrepreneurs work with the College’s business accelerator at Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst, which provides them with affordable office space, access to memberships and business coaching at the facility. The Hispanic-business-focused incubator specifically targets assisting early-stage entrepreneurs in the region. The New Jersey Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce maintains its headquarters at the Meadowlands site as well.

The college’s Linda Caruso worked with Executive Director of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Cinzia D’Iorio to create the partnerships that provided the basis for LatinxCEO. Previous projects emerging from the division include the “small business support specialist” initiative that has seen Bergen students provide accounting, marketing and operations assistance for more than 600 entrepreneurs. That effort remains a joint partnership of the Bergen County Business Resource Network launched by government leaders.

The college’s involvement with the Bergen Resource Network represented one of the first major initiatives emerging from President Friedman’s economic recovery committee taskforce. The group, which began meeting shortly after he took office in 2021, serves in an advisory capacity to the president, creating and implementing strategies that position the institution as a catalyst for recovery from the pandemic.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: