When you think about leaders in our community, who comes to mind? I’m pretty sure we can name those in the White House or our mayors or even governors. The reality is that we are all leaders in our own way. I’m currently taking leadership development courses through the Philadelphia Prevention Partnership/Latino Partnership Initiative (LPI). The LPI was established to develop goals and objectives that would strengthen Philadelphia’s Latino communities which suffer disproportionally from poverty. Sounds like your community right?
Well what can you do about it? How about you begin by going to college and graduating?
Today, Latinos constitute 18.3 percent of the traditional college aged-population, yet make up only 11 percent of total enrollment. I’m sure the numbers will grow higher as our population increases. After college what do you do? Join associations, go to networking events and talk to your mentors. You may not know it but people who helped you through college, get that first job, etc. are your mentors. It’s right here where you start to realize you are becoming a leader by developing your own destiny. You are making contacts, establishing yourself as a professional teaching your younger counterparts.
As leaders of the future, we can’t hold back. There are many times where I go to networking events and people are very hesitant to talk to me. Is it because they see a young leader or are they afraid of me taking over their job? Either way it’s unfortunate at times that we face these challenges in our own community. Thankfully there are professional organizations like the Latino Professional Network (in Philly) and even BeingLatino. These are networks of Latinos (and non-Latinos) that are constantly communicating and looking for ideas. The chances of landing a job are slim but it can happen. So the next time someone says anything its possible, they really mean it. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I will succeed.”
by Eric Cortes