Headlines detailing the accomplishments of Stan O’Neal, COO of Merrill
Lynch; Carlos M. Gutierrez, CEO of Kellogg Company; Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express; Hector de J. Ruis, CEO of AMD; Richard Parsons, CEO of AOL Time Warner and other powerful minority executives have most of Americans thinking that minorities no longer face discrimination in the workplace. The reality is that these success stories are the exception and not the rule. They are more a result of the perseverance, talent, ambition, and determination of these executives than anything else. Many minorities have been able to gain entrance into the workplace, and often climb into lower and middle-level management positions. However, in many cases, the path to success dead-ends.
Asian Americans make up 60 percent of Silicon Valley's professional and technical workforce and 28 percent of enrollment at the top 20 business schools. Yet eagerness and education do not necessarily pave the way to the top in any industry. Asian Americans account for only 1.5 percent of top executives at Fortune 1000 firms, according to the site. So how can ambitious Asian Americans overcome obstacles to the executive suite?
Hispanic/Latino women have a distinct advantage when it comes to competing for and succeeding in leadership positions: Their culture. That is, provided they recognize and harness the gifts their culture has to offer, according to Marisa Rivera-Albert, president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), an organization dedicated to the education and leadership development of Hispanic/Latino women.Through her instruction, Rivera-Albert helps women realize and use their cultural assets to compete for top-level positions. “Your cultural background shapes you and the way you lead,” she says. "Offer no excuses for your identity."Rivera-Albert urges women to exercise these culturally distinctive leadership assets: