Leadership

Hispanic Association Leaders Connect to Empower One Another

By / Oct 1, 2021 (SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Associations are a place for like-minded people to connect. One community within that broader group gives Hispanic professionals a way to informally meet, bond, and cultivate their careers.

Two association professionals on opposite ends of their career spectrum found their way to the Hispanic Association Executives microcommunity on ASAE’s Collaborate network [ASAE member login required]. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for both, giving them a place where they felt immediately included and supported.

Silvia Quevedo, CAE, director of practice guidance and research at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, was already very engaged with ASAE as a former chair of the ASAE Research Foundation Research Committee and a Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) scholar. The microcommunity feels special to her because it’s not as formal, but it’s supportive. “It’s all about lifting each other up and trying to connect,” Quevedo said. “And frankly, for someone at my stage of life and career, I needed that boost.”

As Quevedo prepared to get on her first Zoom call with the group, she was tired at the end of a long workday but joined anyway. “It was like someone had shaken me and woken me up,” she said. “I got off that call and was so excited again about being a part of the association community.” The conversations include serious topics, but there’s also a lot of playfulness. “There are not a lot of wallflowers,” Quevedo said.

As a young professional with five years of association experience, Abigail Bayer, strategic marketing manager at the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, was ready to push forward in her career. She was encouraged by AAVSB’s executive director to get involved with ASAE, so she joined and was determined to be an active member. She heard about the Hispanic microcommunity and recently joined the group. “It’s honestly been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “Everyone’s a cheerleader.”

As a younger member of the group, she appreciates that the members, many of them seasoned association professionals, want to hear her perspective and are not as focused on only giving her advice. “That was incredibly refreshing,” she said. “They asked me to share my story.”

People within the community are from a mix of countries, with different food traditions, inflections, and language dialects, Bayer said. They have grown up under varied circumstances, with diverse customs, and faced many different adversities. “Those things are what unites us,” Bayer said. “You have your blood family, but then you have the family that you build, the family that you create.”

Being a part of the group made Bayer realize she needed to tap into her culture more. “I haven’t been celebrating myself the way I should have,” she said. Getting involved with the community, and the fact that it aligned with National Hispanic Heritage Month, was “a really good coincidence for me,” she said.

The commemorative month has a unique structure and runs from September 15 to October 15. The span across two months is to recognize several significant dates. For example, September 15 marks the independence anniversary for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate independence days on September 16 and September 18. Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, is on October 12.

“The history is really important, and it’s a good opportunity to learn about different cultures,” Bayer said. “This month is a reminder that it’s good to be happy and celebrate where you came from.”

Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. More »

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