Empowering Latin@ leadership: Two must-read books for Latin@s

Esperanza United is honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Hispanic Heritage Month by remembering the contributions of Latin@ leaders who have worked to foster healthy communities free from gender-based violence.

Through the “Empowering Latin@ Leadership” blog series, we’ve been focusing on various aspects of Latin@ leadership. Now, the question arises: How can you strengthen your connection to your Latin@ culture while simultaneously enhancing your leadership abilities? In this blog, we will explore two books that can help you elevate your leadership as a Latin@.

The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contribution by Juana Bordas

Juana Bordas offers her perspective on leadership by sharing ten principles that underscore how Latin@s have guided their communities by drawing on cultural elements deeply embedded in our heritage. These principles shine a spotlight on the unique assets of Latin@ culture and how they shape our leadership approach. They range from the importance of harnessing the inherent strengths of one’s ancestry, to nurturing a global and immigrant mindset to leveraging positivity, faith, and hope while leading. These principles collectively demonstrate Bordas’ remarkable ability to show the strength of Latin@ leadership. 

The Power of Latino Leadership goes beyond typical leadership advice by highlighting the unique strength of being Latin@. And yet, Bordas’ perspective isn’t limited to leading within the Latin@ community; it relates to all communities. The book also acknowledges the historical, systemic, and structural barriers to our service, emphasizing the importance of understanding the challenges and traumas faced by our ancestors and relatives who paved the way for us. By making choices and taking actions aligned with one’s values and vision, Latin@s can break these cycles, challenge existing systems, and drive social change.

During their fellowship, our 2023 Latin@ Leadership Fellows engaged in reading and reflecting on the book. As the fellows learned how to support Latin@ survivors of gender-based violence in the fields of policy and research, the value of Latin@ leadership became even more important. It serves as a crucial element in ensuring that underrepresented communities have representation, a voice, and receive the support they need.

Latina Leadership Lessons: Fifty Latinas Speak by Delia Garcia

Latina Leadership Lessons showcases 50 personal narratives, lessons, and insights from Latin@s across various fields who have not only overcome significant obstacles but also achieved great success. Through these stories, author Delia Garcia highlights the influence of Latin@ leadership and underscores the strength of embracing our identities and leveraging our voices to make an impact.

The stories in Latina Leadership Lessons encompass themes of fear, courage, family, and triumph. While each Latin@’s experience and values are different, there are several shared elements that unite them, including believing in yourself, mentoring others, embracing change, prioritizing mental health, and more.

The 2023 Latin@ Leadership Fellows also read this book and discovered many similarities between the stories in it and their own personal journeys. These narratives of inspiration, resilience, ambition, and determination resonated deeply with their shared commitment to community and effecting positive change. In recognizing these commonalities, they came to realize that, much like the leaders featured in the book, they too are trailblazers in their own unique ways, fully equipped to drive meaningful and impactful change in the world.

Call to action: Read these books and be a Latin@ leader!

In conclusion, both books inspired the 2023 Latin@ Leadership Fellows, and they have the potential to do the same for you. As we continue to learn, grow, and empower each other, we should remember to embrace our culture when leading others, as emphasized by Juana Bordas, and acknowledge the power of our lived experiences, both the nurturing and the challenging. In doing so, we are better equipped to positively serve and impact more communities, echoing the sentiments shared by the Latin@s in Delia Garcia’s book. We must all continue amplifying Latin@ voices, advocating for our communities, driving change, and serving as sources of inspiration for the future generations.