FUERTE Is Molding A New Generation of Professional Latinas

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Some things just aren’t taught in the classroom. Young professionals, brimmed with enthusiasm and ambition, quickly learn that college didn’t prepare them for political maneuvering or cut-throat gamesmanship as they try to move up the corporate ladder.

For professional Latinas, this challenge is especially daunting. The 2015 Corporate Inclusion Report from the Washington-based Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) finds that just over 7 percent of Latinos held board seats – higher than average in Fortune 500 companies but still considered low, and of those, about two percent were held by Latinas. Overall, four percent of all executive positions were held by Hispanics with Latina executives comprising one percent, which HACR calls a “worrisome” lack of movement in the executive ranks.

For Latinas, finding mentors in the corporate world can be difficult. Often coming from families where the immigrant experience is a key influence, getting perspective into the white, male dominated corporate world can be problematic. This is where FUERTE, the newly established program founded by Luz Canino-Baker, proves invaluable to young Latinas.

Luz Canino-Baker is a two-time author and President of LNC Coaching and Latinas on the Plaza. She designed the FUERTE program for young Latinas in the corporate world as a means to push and challenge them to achieve their best. The FUERTE program (the Spanish word for 'strong') mirrors boot camp training, which is ten weeks long. The program uses creative ways to teach tough subjects, such as impulse control, grit, taking directions, integrity, communication and confidence. Each woman is assigned a mentor whom they meet on a weekly basis and the mentors hold each woman accountable for what she has learned in the program. FUERTE's mission is to give young Latinas the guidance to be successful at work, home and in their community. As Canino-Baker points out, "The program highlights the importance of women helping other women, and a camaraderie is formed. This lasts well beyond the completion of the program."

The FUERTE graduating class of 2016

The FUERTE graduating class of 2016

The women who graduate from the program learn how to successfully navigate the workforce, are poised to thrive and become beneficial assets within an organization. FUERTE graduated its first class of ten women on June 11th and the program is now accepting applications for 2017

Canino-Baker is passionate about strengthening young Latinas to be the best versions of themselves, thus benefitting the workforce and the community as a whole. If you or someone you know is a good fit for the program, click here for more info.

copy by: gabriela garcia

featured image courtesy of: brissa hanzel, breeze art creatives