Session 2: Marginalizing Immigrants Is an Old Story: It's Time to Write a New Chapter
May 13, 2020

The United States is a nation of immigrants. The country’s social and economic fabric has prospered due to the contributions of immigrants over centuries and decades. Yet, throughout U.S. history, there have been waves of immigrant bashing and laws to contain their participation.


That’s why we chose the title, “Marginalizing immigrants is an old story” in the United States.


Why do we enter into these anti-immigrant periods when so many of our ancestors were immigrants? What is the real story of immigrant experiences and contributions that we need to know? Why are immigrant populations well represented in STEM occupations and small businesses, yet relatively absent from the C-Suite and other leadership positions? What is the “new chapter” we need to write for ourselves—and why? What are the short- and long-term implications if we don’t?


This session will illuminated several factors of the immigrant experience:


1) Social context with both its harsh and innovative realities for daily existence,

2) Research and data that offer a counter narrative of the contributions of immigrants,

3) Cultural lenses that both challenge and support immigrants’ success,

4) Increasing cultural competence on the part of leaders and organizations ends up benefitting everyone.


The workplace in the next 10 to 20 years will change drastically. The leaders of this era will be younger, more culturally and ethnically diverse, and more globally represented. Welcoming workplaces toward all ethnicities and origins will be imperative for the United States to retain its longstanding role as the leader in attracting and retaining the world’s best talent.


Join us for this timely session on immigrants in our country, in our communities, in our workplaces.


Learning Outcomes: At the end of this session, you will have practiced the following capabilities:

  • Develop an understanding of the social context in which immigrants in the U.S. try to succeed

  • Grasp critical data about immigrants’ experience in U.S. organizations

  • Discover key components of the cultural lenses immigrants bring to the workplace

  • Explore a model to improve utilization and contribution of immigrant employees and leaders



John Lopez, Ph.D., is president of Lopez Research and Consulting, LLC (, and author of the Amazon bestselling book “An Immigrant in the C-Suite: From the Journey, Lessons for the Business Community.”


Dr. Lopez has over two decades of successful thought-leadership, strategic and operational management, and public policy experience as chief administrative officer and multiple vice president positions at higher education institutions, nonprofit, private, international and publicly traded organizations. His roles have included chief administrative officer of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, vice president of government affairs for Apollo Education Group, vice president of planning and research for The Institute for Professional Development, director of the minority student program in the College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and staff for a state senator in the Nebraska Legislature.


In his book, John addresses many topics including immigrants’ lenses of competing cultural characteristics, workplace dynamics on the journey to the C-Suite, and the importance of embracing talent of all ethnicities and origins in an increasingly global, diverse workforce. He develops an approach that consists of 4 levels and 20 activities organizations can implement to increase cultural competence, enhance synergy and productivity between and among teams, and experiences diverse/immigrant leaders can pursue to prepare for or excel in C-Suite positions.


John immigrated to the United States as a young child, served in the U.S. Navy and is a father, golfer and traveler. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in higher education specializing in management and policy and is a contributor to the C-Suite Network. John holds dual U.S. and Belizean citizenship and enjoys philanthropic projects in Belize. 

Carlos B. Gil As immigration becomes more hotly debated in the United States, the arguments have become cartoonish, with one side often painted as naïve, and another as xenophobic. What has become lost is the human story of immigration to America, with all its complexity, heartache, and hope.


Professor Carlos Gil sought to understand immigration by tracing his family’s history from the 1920s to the 1970s. In the process, he discovered the excitement, culture shock, inter-family conflict, and questions of identity that many immigrants face when seeking a better life in another country. The stories are detailed in his book, “We Became Mexican-American: How Our Immigrant Family Survived to Pursue the American Dream” (2012).  A Spanish language edition of "We Became Mexican American" will soon be available.


Carlos B. Gil writes about Mexico and Mexican Americans. He is an emeritus professor of the University of Washington where he taught the history of Latin America for 30+ years. He was born in San Fernando, California, and has lived in Seattle, Washington for 40+ years.

Carlos was commissioned as a Humanities Washington Speaker for 2019-2020 for which he delivered his presentation, "From Mexican to Mexican-American: A Family Immigrant Story," based on his 2012 book. He has delivered his talk to selected libraries, museums and schools throughout Washington State during the last 14 months. Two of his recent presentations took place at the Monroe Correctional Complex, Monroe WA, and at Washington State University.

Carlos presides over The Latino Development Organization of the Monroe Correctional Complex. LDO is a non-profit organization that supports the self-improvement of Latino inmates at the MCC. LDO offers educational courses, supports guest speakers and performers and promotes the rehabilitation of the MCC prisoners who associate with LDO.

Carlos is also the president of The GilDeane Group, a small business that publishes information about diversity, equity and inclusion, and intercultural communication, in companies and organizations (


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 in 2020 for the NW Diversity Learning Series:


(Please note: the order of topics and titles may shift slightly as we work with presenters.)


Session 3:  Moving Beyond the Trauma: Innovative Response to the Differential Impacts of COVID-19, June 24

Session 4:  A World Beyond Now: Eliminating the Impact of White Supremacy in Our Systems, August 12

Session 5:  Latin Rising: Delivering on the Promise, September 23

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