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We identified 9 powerful Latino leaders to consider for corporate board seats

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2 days ago insider@insider.com (Lisa Rabasca Roepe)
TheBoardlist has seen about a 230% increase in interest from boards seeking Latino talent in the past six months. Getty Images © Provided by Business Insider TheBoardlist has seen about a 230% increase in interest from boards seeking Latino talent in the past six months. Getty Images
  • Nearly one in five US residents are Latino, but less than 3% of board directors in the US are Latino.
  • The Nasdaq and states like Illinois and Colorado are working toward mandating diverse board members.
  • Here's a list of nine Latino candidates to watch, created with TheBoardlist and The Alumni Society.

Nearly one in five US residents is Hispanic or Latino, according to the Census Bureau. But less than 3% of board directors are Latino, a 2019 report by KPMG and the Latino Corporate Directors Association found.

"The gap between workforce and leadership is widest amongst the Hispanic population - even more so than the Black or Asian population," Vianni Lubus, the vice president of The Alumni Society, a network of mid-level to senior Latino leaders who graduated from top US universities, told Insider. In California, Latino people make up 40% of the population but hold only 2% of the state's board seats, Lubus said.

The Alumni Society is partnering with the online talent marketplace TheBoardlist to help corporations find talented Latino leaders and increase the number of Latino board members.

Nicole Kyner. Nicole Kyner © Provided by Business Insider Nicole Kyner. Nicole Kyner "We are all proactively working to introduce new faces and talent," Nicole Kyner, the head of search at TheBoardlist, told Insider.

Lubus said 70% of Alumni Society members hold director-level titles, and 37% are at the vice-president or chief level. "One of our biggest beliefs is corporations just need to find the right channels to access this talent," Lubus said.

In the past six months, TheBoardlist has seen about a 230% increase in interest from boards seeking Latino talent. "It has a lot to do with state legislation and Nasdaq's board-diversity rule," Kyner said.

Nasdaq has said that in 2022, all companies listed on its US exchange will be required to disclose their directors' self-identified gender, race and ethnicity, and LGBTQ+ status. And states including Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington are seeking to require public companies to disclose minority board membership.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Insider invited TheBoardlist and The Alumni Society to create a list of nine Latino rising stars to keep an eye on. These leaders have previous experience serving on a board or are ready and willing to serve on boards, Kyner said. The following are listed in no particular order.

Elena Gomez, chief financial officer at Toast Elena Gomez. Courtesy of Elena Gomez © Provided by Business Insider Elena Gomez. Courtesy of Elena Gomez

Elena Gomez has more than 25 years of experience managing global growth and scaling finance operations for multibillion-dollar companies as they broaden their enterprise reach and expand their product portfolio. As the CFO at Zendesk from 2016 to 2021, Gomez helped the company grow to more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Before Zendesk, Gomez held senior finance roles at Salesforce, Visa, and Charles Schwab. She joined Toast in June and serves on the boards of PagerDuty and Smartsheet.

Manny Cofresi, executive vice president and global head of mergers and acquisitions and corporate development at Elavon Manny Cofresi. Courtesy of Manny Cofresi © Provided by Business Insider Manny Cofresi. Courtesy of Manny Cofresi

Manny Cofresi has experience working in fintech and global payments. He has a track record of advising businesses, executives, and boards of directors on how to successfully source, negotiate, structure, complete, and integrate complex mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, investments, joint ventures, and partnerships. He also serves as a member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association and the US Bank Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.

Chris Perez, managing director at Goldman Sachs Chris Perez. Courtesy of Chris Perez © Provided by Business Insider Chris Perez. Courtesy of Chris Perez

Chris Perez has been a managing director at Goldman Sachs for more than 10 years, running a team that quantitatively assesses risks presented to the firm by hedge funds. Before that, he was the chief risk officer at several hedge funds, including QVT Financial and Eton Park, and an executive director at Morgan Stanley.

He has spent more than 20 years in finance. His first job on Wall Street was with Morgan Stanley, where he built a firmwide value-at-risk model that was the first to use an equity factor model and later created automated equity trading systems.

Isaura S. Gaeta, vice president of security research, product assurance, and security engineering at Intel Isaura S. Gaeta. Courtesy of Isaura S. Gaeta © Provided by Business Insider Isaura S. Gaeta. Courtesy of Isaura S. Gaeta

Isaura S. Gaeta is a 30-year veteran of Intel. She spent the first two decades of her Intel career managing the development of various semiconductor processing technologies, and her work during that period led to two patents and five Intel Achievement Awards, the company's highest recognition.

Gaeta leads an engineering team focused on all product hardware security work, including penetration testing, physical attack mechanisms, and academic funding as part of the newly formed Intel Product Assurance & Security Group. She's an executive member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association and the chair of the nominating and governance committee of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

Jorge Casimiro, chief social and community impact officer and president of the Nike Foundation Jorge Casimiro. Courtesy of Jorge Casimiro © Provided by Business Insider Jorge Casimiro. Courtesy of Jorge Casimiro

Jorge Casimiro leads and directs Nike's community-impact strategy, focusing on Made to Play, Nike's initiative for keeping kids active. Casimiro also serves as the executive sponsor of Nike's Latino & Friends employee network. 

Before joining Nike, Casimiro worked for the Coca-Cola Company as a group director of international government relations and public affairs and the chief of staff to the chairman and the president of the company's largest operating unit.

Ann Rodriguez, chief strategy officer at LA28 Ann Rodriguez. Courtesy of Ann Rodriguez © Provided by Business Insider Ann Rodriguez. Courtesy of Ann Rodriguez

Ann Rodriguez is a 20-year veteran of the sports industry. She's the chief strategy officer for LA28, the Los Angeles organizing committee for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her focus has been on early-stage ventures and business-transformation projects with professional sports teams and in athletic retail.

Rodriguez helped launch three startup professional soccer teams, most recently leading the creation of the brand and business of Atlanta United FC. She's also served as the chief operating officer of the WNBA, where she oversaw league business and basketball operations.

Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri, partner and chief human resources officer at TPG Global Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri. Courtesy of Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri © Provided by Business Insider Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri. Courtesy of Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri

Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri oversees TPG Global's human-resources function and provides support and counsel to executives across TPG's portfolio of more than 250 companies. She's an expert on human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. She's a member of TPG's executive committee and co-chairs the firm's diversity, equity, and inclusion committee with CEO Jon Winkelried.

Before joining TPG, Vazquez-Ubarri spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs serving in a variety of roles, most recently as chief diversity officer and global head of talent. She's a board director at Upwork. Latino Leaders listed Vazquez-Ubarri as one of the 100 Most Influential Latinas in 2020, and the Association of Latino Professionals for America recognized her as one of the best corporate-culture developers in its 2019 list of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas.

Gerry Lopez, head of the operating group at SoftBank Gerry Lopez. Courtesy of Gerry Lopez © Provided by Business Insider Gerry Lopez. Courtesy of Gerry Lopez

Before joining SoftBank, Gerry Lopez was the CEO of Extended Stay America and AMC Theatres. He also served as the president of global consumer products at Seattle's Best Coffee, and worked in food service at Starbucks, where he handled the company's product distribution at restaurants, airlines, and event venues.

He has held a variety of executive management positions with International Home Foods, Frito-Lay, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble. He's a board director at CBRE, Realty Income, and Newell Brands.

Bernadette Aulestia, cofounder of New American Table Bernadette Aulestia. Courtesy of Bernadette Aulestia © Provided by Business Insider Bernadette Aulestia. Courtesy of Bernadette Aulestia

Bernadette Aulestia is a global operating executive, investor, and advisor to public and private companies specializing in scaled commercialization, international business development, and cultural transformation. She's a cofounder of New American Table, a coalition of investors and entrepreneurs of color making the case for a more inclusive grocery business.

Aulestia is a board director at Denny's and Nexstar Media Group. She also serves on the boards of Angeles Investors and Brown University.

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