Archive for July, 2008

The benefits of volunteering

Monday, July 28th, 2008

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    I know, volunteering is not part of the Latino DNA.In most of our countries, non-profit organizations have only recently started to make a dent in our consciousness and in our time.

    When I was growing up in Argentina, the most people would do is volunteer in church or sometimes at the school PTA.

    Yet, volunteering is a big part of life in America. People belong to clubs, and professional associations; they are Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts leaders; they head committees at work and at the local hospital. These are all places where they develop strong bonds with others in the community. Just keep in mind that through volunteerism they not only give back to society but they build powerful connections as well.

    If you ask the top ranked people in your organization on how many boards they sit, or in how many organizations they volunteer their time, you’d be surprised to notice a correlation: the higher the position someone holds the larger the number of volunteer jobs he/she holds as well. What does that tell you?

    Look for opportunities to serve your community (the best ones are those that relate to your passions) and you will be rewarded for your dedication with something extremely valuable: trust and connections.

    Send Summer cards

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008
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    I never stopped sending Christmas cards to my contacts, even with the advent of e-cards. But a couple of years ago I started a new tradition: sending summer cards.

      It started because I wanted to share some of the pictures I had taken during my trip to the Greek islands. I had been looking for a different occasion to stay in touch with my network other than the big holidays when people are usually bombarded by mail.

        So, I went to one of the websites where you get to design your own cards and uploaded my pictures, created my text and voila! I had my own customized card. As a matter of fact, I designed more than one so that I could send different cards to contacts who worked at the same company.

        They were an immediate hit! I got lots of e-mails commenting on the cards which I turned into a perfect opportunity to discuss projects with my connections.

          This year I made the cards funny. It’s working out really well; people are loving them not just because of the thought but because I turned them into a reminder to enjoy the summer and take some time off.

            Try something different to stay in touch with your network. Linkedin alone is not going to cut it! 

            Getting inspired

            Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

            ana-escobedo-cabral.jpgYesterday, I met Anna Escobedo Cabral at HPNG’s Latino Leadership Conference www.hpng.net.

              In case you didn’t know, she’s the Treasurer of the United States, meaning, her signature is in every one dollar bill.

                She gave a very inspiring presentation at a fabulous event that brought together around one hundred Latino professionals from all fields and industries to the Yale Club in NYC. Mrs. Escobedo Cabral spoke about her humble beginnings as the daughter of farmworkers and about the mentor who made sure she filled out her college applications when all she wanted was to get a job as soon as she finished high school.

                She spoke of the days in which she would pick up scrap metal on her way back from school so that her father could sell it, and there could be food on the table. She told us about changing elementary schools over twenty times.

                And still, she persevered. Not only did she graduate with a major in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, but she later earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Now don’t think for a moment that grad school was easy for her. She already had four children and, on occasion, she attended classes with the youngest one, who, at three, asked questions of the professors. As Mrs. Escobedo Cabral shared that her son has now graduated from MIT as a Nuclear Engineer, I can’t help thinking that some of that early exposure to education paid off.

              Her presentation was an inspiration to all of us at the conference. A reminder that Latinos can get as high as they want regardless of their beginnings.