It’s a pleasure to have as my guest Juana Bordas today. Bordas is president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company that focuses on diversity, leadership and organizational change, as well as founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. After being a faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership, she served as vice president of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and as a trustee of the International Leadership Association. Her book Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age was a International Latino Book Award winner in 2008. Bordas is here today to talk about her latest book, The Power of Latino Leadership. Visit her website.
I started Mestiza Leadership International in order to integrate leadership, diversity, and positive social change. In the multicultural age, achieving our potential requires tapping into the talents and assets of our rich diversity. Second, in our country today leadership is listed under business. There is no classification of leadership as a field in libraries, universities, or book categories.
This presents a challenge. The purpose of leadership is not just about business or the economy. Leadership is about creating the society we want to live in. It is about ensuring that the values we hold most dear–equality, justice, the common good, pluralism, community, and individual worth–are integrated into our society. Leadership is also a communal responsibility–everyone has something to contribute. Yes, we want to have a strong economy and good jobs, but we can’t let corporations highjack leadership–leadership has a much wider scope and that is to ensure the people’s well-being and to create the good society.
Mestiza Leadership International promotes leadership that empowers people to make a contribution and be more effective in their communities and organizations.
You’re also the president of National Hispana Leadership Institute. How did that come about?
I was the first president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) for the first seven years. NHLI is now 26 years old and I am proud to say has trained hundreds of Latinas from across the country for leadership. The NHLI network of Latinas is an hermanidad or sisterhood who assist and support each other. NHLI is creating a powerful leadership force for Hispanic community advancement and to build a more inclusive America.
Your second book, The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contribution has just come out. What was your inspiration behind this book?
Recently Time, Newsweek, Parade and Rolling Stone all had Latinos on their covers. Salsa is America’s favourite condiment. Latinos were the deciding force in the last presidential election. Hispanics have the highest participation in the workforce and are the fastest growing small business sector. Moreover, the US is the fastest growing Spanish speaking country in the world. Because of their exploding demographics, by the middle of the century Latinos will make up a third of the US.
The Latinization of America is a real phenomenon–right now!
But how did this happen? What are the leadership lessons of those who advanced the Latino community? What are the contributions Latinos will make in the future…in other words what is Latino Destino? And how can leading with a Latino flavor be a valuable asset for everyone?
The Power of Latino Leadership answers these questions. By understanding how Latinos have arrived to where we are today, and by embracing our unique form of leadership, Latinos can continue moving forward and bring their cultural assets into the mainstream.
Who is your target audience?
Latino leadership is a model for the 21st century. It has an inclusive community spirit that fosters contribution and service. It has an international, intergenerational scope and an immigrant spirit. The Power of Latino Leadership is for anyone who wants to embrace diversity and be a more effective leader.
Mainstream leaders will learn about the powerful ways Latinos have led their communities. Companies will better understand how to serve and connect with Latino consumers. Young Latinos can take pride in the accomplishments and integrity of our leaders. Latinos will know their history and see how leading from their cultural core will make them even more successful.
What would you like readers to learn from your book?
I want to change the “conversation” and focus of leadership. Most leadership books have been written from Anglo, male, and Euro-centric perspective. Historically, leadership has been hierarchical, the domain of the influential few, and associated with control and dominance.
This type of leadership is not strategically suited for the global multicultural age where change is constant and our problems are very complex. People are better educated and want to participate.
The Power of Latino Leadership provides a model that embraces diversity and promotes participation, social responsibility, and community. I hope readers will be inspired to join in and help build a world that cares for its people and values differences.
Tell us about your Latino Leadership Program and its benefits. Who would be a good candidate for this program?
The Latino Leadership Development Program (LLDP) was launched ten years ago. The purpose is to assist Latinos actualize their leadership potential and to increase their contributions to their organizations. The program includes individualized assessments and coaching. The LLDP integrates the best of mainstream leadership with the assets and lessons that come from the Latino culture and leadership.
You also have a program specifically aimed at Latinas. Could you give us a brief overview?
Latinos are the youngest population in America. To keep moving forward, leaders must prepare the next generation. This is the purpose of the Circle of Latina Leadership. Emerging leaders (25-40 years old) participate in a nine month community leadership program that builds their skills. Each participant works with a mentor to clarify what their contribution will be.
Latinas have always been the connectors and nurtures of family and community. By coming together, they can support one another’s journeys and build a network that benefits their communities and families.
What do you find the most rewarding about working as a coach?
I don’t do much individual coaching at this time. As a social worker I spent years coaching and assisting individuals and groups. I then moved to helping create organizations such as Mi Casa and NHLI that benefit more people and have continuity. The programs I design include coaching or mentoring as individual reflection and learning are key components of leadership development.
The most challenging?
Finding the right match for people is a challenge. We can learn from everyone, but there is a certain chemistry and connection that happens between folks that can really spark growth and development. Coaching is successful when both parties learn from each other.
What’s on the horizon for Juana Bordas?
Promoting The Power of Latino Leadership is numero uno. And if you are reading this you can help by buying the book. And Gracias!
People who read the book will understand that Latinos are a culture or ethnic group and not a race. Furthermore, Latinos are impeccably inclusive and can be Black, White, Brown, Indigenous, Mocha or Mestizo (mixed).
Because culture is learned, people can choose to “learn” or experience the culture. In my family, for instance, my sister’s husband, Karl has become a “Latino by affinity” or Corazon. He loves the extended familia, the music, food, and values such as celebration and generosity. I say if you are around Latinos long enough the rhythm is going to get you.
The Latino culture also has a bienvenido or welcoming spirit. We embrace people who want to share our values and way of life. My next book will be about becoming a Latino by Corazon. So stay tuned and get ready for the Latinization of America. We are all going to have a very good time!