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Two Young Latino Leaders on Finding Success in Corporate America

Two of GM's young Latino professionals among professionals named by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2016


Two Young Latino Leaders on Finding Success in Corporate America


Latinos comprise 16 percent of the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2020, that number is expected to jump to 19 percent. What's more, from 2003-2012, the number of doctoral degrees earned by Latinos increased 67 percent, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. With a continued increase in these numbers, Latinos are having a noticeable impact as leaders in Corporate America.

We interviewed two outstanding Latino leaders at General Motors recognized earlier this year as Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers (YHCA) by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) for their corporate and community leadership. Here is what they had to say:

Alexandra Figueroa
Senior Software Developer – GM Innovation Center, Chandler, AZ

Leaders develop their skills both within and outside of their day-to-day jobs. In what ways are you working to become a better leader in your company and community?

I founded the Hispanic Initiative Team chapter in Chandler, Arizona, an employee resource group (ERG) at GM, which strives to be the face of GM in the Hispanic community. I also help lead recruiting efforts for GM to identify up-and-coming Latino talent. Because there are such few women, especially Latinas, in computer programming, I have made it my mission to let others know about opportunities in this field and be a role model for the next generation.

What is one challenge in leadership that you've had, and how have you overcome it?

We often want things to be perfect before we try something new. Go for what you want, and don't hold back because of imperfections. Give things a try, even if you don't have everything figured out.

What do you wish someone had told you about leadership in the corporate world?

1. Promote yourself. Women tend to think that they are bragging, but a lot of people who get ahead are really good at promoting themselves and their work.
2. Understand the contributions that you bring to the table. Knowing and believing you add value is a powerful thing.
3. Make sure to network. It's important to make the time to connect with people to not only identify new opportunities but also find new ways to learn and grow.

Tony Argote, Jr. (pictured)
Program Engineer Manager, GM

Leaders develop their skills both within and outside of their day-to-day jobs. In what ways are you working to become a better leader in your company and community?

I have had incredible opportunities in my young career. As co-lead of GM's STEM Council, I work to further GM's efforts with STEM initiatives, including engagement at professional engineering conferences, such as Great Minds in STEM (GMiS). I not only want to help attract the best talent but also expose other Latinos to the great opportunities that I've had in my career.

What is one challenge in leadership that you've had, and how have you overcome it?

As a millennial, I'm frequently the young guy on teams and projects. I approach my work and problems by asking how things can be done better. Part of that means conveying that my approach is about bringing a different perspective to the table.

What do you wish someone had told you about leadership in the corporate world?

1. Build your team, including people with different opinions, and work towards consensus. Diversity and inclusion are valuable qualities in the workplace.
2. Understand that sometimes there's no right answer. Work is not like college. In the real world, there isn't always going to be an answer key, and it's up to you to work through problems.
3. Leadership is often about knowing people and situations, listening to your gut and what it's telling you to do.

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