Las Jefas!

What is YOUR Super Power?
By Marisa Rivera

I always remind women that they don’t need to apologize for being strong, smart, direct, beautiful, and Latina. All the qualities that make us unique, marketable, innovative and cutting edge. Our gender, race, culture, language and ethnicity intersect with our acquired knowledge to shape the opportunities and challenges we face at work. Acknowledging and addressing this reality is key to creating inclusive workplaces for Latinas. For me, being Latina, multi-lingual, smart, strong, bold, courageous and having learned how to be resilient and have good work ethics are all skills passed on by my ancestors and are all part of my superpowers.

In order to be successful, in today’s global market, it is critical to set yourself apart from others, establishing yourself as an expert on a field, demonstrating your talents and establishing yourself as the best candidate for any job or challenge at work is imperative.

The innate talents that as Latinas we bring to the table make us excellent executives, administrators, leaders and superb entrepreneurs. Many of us went to school to learn academic, technical and business skills, but compounded with our cultural heritage that has taught us to be resilient, team players, creative, multi-lingual, empathetic, loyal and able to think outside of the box, valuing diversity, family, traditions and strong work ethics provide us with what I like to call our built-in “Super Powers”.

I am not surprised by knowing that Latinas are the fastest-growing segment in entrepreneurship in this country. According to research by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), “Latinas represent less than 1 percent of executives in the United States, yet these women control 86 percent of the decision-making in Latinx households, make up the fastest-growing segment of the entrepreneurial sector, and are leading the ambicultural movement.”

But a study done by CTI – Latinos at Work: Unleashing the Power of Culture, found that Latino professionals are checking their heritage at the door. According to the study, the vast majority of Latinos repress certain aspects of their personas in the workplace and those who expend a great deal of energy doing so are also more likely to feel they are being promoted quicker. To me, checking out their “Super Powers” at the door is a dis-service to themselves and to the companies they work for. When Latinos repress who they are, companies lose out on their unique insights and, as a result, may fail to tap into the fastest-growing market.

Corporate America and the business sector are missing out if they are not focusing on one of the strongest assets they’ve got – Latinas/os. As consumers and as employees, Latinas are the missing link, they are a rare and untapped market that should not be ignored. They should maximize by utilizing the innate powers Latinas have. Latinas in the U.S. come with some natural built-in abilities that translate into important business skills in today’s global economy.

One of the biggest challenges that Latinas/os have, is ensuring that their voices and ideas are being heard and represented. Our voices will only be heard when we have an adequate representation of Latinx in senior-level positions. For us Latinas, we must demand our place in Corporate America as we become an instrument of economic growth, using our Super Powers. We must never forget that our culture, language and diversity are a major source of strength, pride, courage and business advantage – Let’s maximize our Super Powers!

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. [email protected].