Session 5: Latinx Rising: Delivering on the Promise
September 23, 2020

The Latinx population is a robust driver of economic, political, and cultural forces in America. As the largest nonwhite ethnic group, it comprises 18 percent of the U.S. population (Pew). Latinx (or Latinos/Latinas) are among the most innovative contributors to the arts, culture, and the economy in the country.


Between 2009 and 2018, the number of Latinx business owners grew 34% compared to 1% for all business owners in the U.S (Stanford Graduate School of Business).  The Pew Research Center projects that the 2020 election will mark the first time that Latinx will be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13% of eligible voters.  Yet, they are rarely positioned positively in the national spotlight, face under-representation in the workforce and in top levels of leadership across all sectors, explaining why the term, “the invisible Latinx, was coined.  


In recent years, Latinx have been catapulted into the public sphere as a result of unprecedented issues such as political turmoil and sluggish hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, a mass shooting in El Paso targeting Mexican-Americans and Mexicans. Contentious immigration issues involve massive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in Latinx communities, family separations at the Southern border, and attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).


In this session we will present the “big tent” model to understand the diversity of the Latinx community and dispel the misconception that it is a monolith population, Latinx, Chicano, Latino/Latina, Hispanic— do these terms resonate with the people being labeled?


Despite these and other persistent challenges, learn about the growth engine Latinx represents in terms of talent, leadership, purchasing power and population Learn why and how to join forward-thinking corporate and Latinx leaders who pledge to support this resilient, hardworking population with a more inclusive work environment.  Also, know how to disarm discomfort or culture clash with trusting, productive relationships at work and in community.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this session, participants will:


  • Understand the historical and richly diverse spectrum of identity(ties) in the Latinx community.

  • Appreciate the Latinx communities’ indispensable role in the U.S. economy and society.

  • Recognize how unconscious bias adversely impacts Latinx communities from a social justice lens (e.g., disparities in health, education, housing, criminal justice, and immigration).

  • Know the importance of building trusting relationships with Latinx, and steps organizations can take to create a more inclusive environment for Latinx and others. 


Cynthia Chavez, President of Chavez & Associates, is a nationally-respected consultant, coach, and author. She delivers customized services to emerging and seasoned leaders of foundations and social change organizations. She is best known for her contributions to institution and program building that is grounded in racial equity, leadership development, and transformative change.  


Her offerings include: strategic planning; diversity, equity and inclusion; and coaching. Current and past clients include: Bay Area Hispano Institute for Advancement; David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Latino Community Foundation, LeaderSpring Center;  Paula Solorio, Managing Partner of Fellom & Solorio; TSNE/MissionWorks; Vesper Society; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 


Career highlights include: 1) as a former member of the professional staff of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Cynthia conceptualized and led the launch of a national initiative to promote philanthropy by and among communities of color, leading to over $20 million in grants over 25 years; and 2) as legislative staff member to several Bay Area state elected officials, she helped shape statewide policies in affordable housing, consumer protection and K-12 education.

Cynthia is founder and former Executive Director of Oakland-based LeaderSpring Center which supports multi-culturally diverse community leaders of social sector organizations.  Under her 17-year tenure, LeaderSpring garnered national recognition for its results.

Cynthia’s current and past board/committee memberships include: Chicano Capitol Staff of the California State Legislature, Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference, The San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Committee, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

She has a B.A. in Government from Pomona College, and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University.  As a second-generation Mexican American, whose first home was public housing in East Los Angeles, Cynthia dedicates her career developing creative, collaborative solutions for a just, equitable society.


Juan T. Lopez is the President and Owner of Amistad Associates. He has been delivering support for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) since 1983 when some of the first corporate diversity programs were offered nationally. His firm offers DEI, organizational development, strategic planning, and career advancement, including leadership training for Latinx youth and adults.  Amistad Associates was an early pioneer and one of the small number of Latinx firms providing DEI in the nation.

In the mid 1980’s, Juan and other Latinx colleagues developed some of the first career development programs for Latinx in the nation, working with Fortune 50 corporations. This evolved when  Juan and Rick Morales, of Morales & Associates, developed the Latino Leadership Education and Development Program, and offered career development strategies to employees from AeroSpace, NASA, Lawrence National Laboratory, and other organizations that desired to invest in the careers of Latinx scientists.

Juan has been active in helping provide Latinx youth leadership training, assisting Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and coaching  leaders of Latinx social justice organizations.  Juan has been active in Chicano initiatives since his early days in college, both in campus governance, and as a community organizer for the United Farmworkers. He works to increase engagement between local government and the Latinx community by increasing communications, building trust, and developing partnerships designed to improve equity and remove institutional barriers.

Juan received his Masters in Social Work from the University of California at Berkeley, School of Social Welfare, with a focus on organizational planning and community health services. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Latin American Studies from Sonoma State University.




NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)


ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success.  


ISDI was founded in 2015 and assumed the management of the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in 2016, formerly managed by Archbright. Barbara Deane, the original NW Series co-founder, and Effenus Henderson, retired Chief Diversity Officer, Weyerhaeuser are the co-founders and directors of the Institute.  This is the 21st year of the NWDLS!


JOIN US for the final session of the 2020 NW Diversity Learning Series:


Session 6:  How Algorithms ARE Affecting You: Decoding the Bias Within, December 2