Mentoring New Leaders from Immigrant Communities

mentoring immigrant leadership

Five initiatives to create an environment where leadership will flourish among of Latino immigrants 

 

Congratulations on owning your own business. It’s quite a feat to have the drive, resolve, talent and energy to start and sustain.

It can also provide a measure of stability in your life. Now is the time to consider how you can help cultivate leadership among newer waves of Latino immigrants and make it part of your business plan.

Five ways in which to cultivate leadersship:

Open doors.

Think back to your start in the business world. Most of us had mentors, teachers, someone to help us learn. Can you be that person for a newly emerging leader? Someone who may not have a strong network in the community yet?

Expand your circle.

Our centers utilize hundreds of volunteers at Neighbors Link, not only because they bring valuable skills and expertise, but also because it is our mission to integrate the community. Bringing our volunteers and clients together is a step toward integration.  About half our volunteers are youth in the community.  Our volunteers come from all walks of life.

Through their work with us they learn about immigration, why immigrants come to this country, and the immense contributions immigrants make to our culture and our economy

When our volunteers go into the workforce, they have a clear understanding of the importance of integration. Helping develop younger or new employees as they step up in the world expands your network and improves your reputation.  

Create a new talent/customer pipeline.

Use your own immigrant experience (whether personal or from your extended family) to help expand the workforce for new immigrants in our community.

Consider offering an internship or summer job to a young student who may be the first in her family to attend college. These young people are the leadership of tomorrow. You’ll benefit from a pipeline of new talent and larger client base while they benefit from your story and experiences.

Bilingual/bicultural benefits everyone. 

Encourage new immigrants you mentor to hold on to their own culture as they integrate into the U.S. Encourage them to be understanding of those that come this country with less preparation or skills.  Y

our own experiences can help guide but, ultimately, they will create their own paths.

Thrive on the differences.

Bringing new immigrants from different cultures into your business helps your current employees (and you!) understand how destructive stereotypes can be and how much diversity of backgrounds and ideas can bring creativity and new ideas to your business. 

These five initiatives will create an environment where leadership will flourish.

Related articles:

Does Immigration Benefit Business?

The Latino Immigrant Advantage

The Immigrant Investor Meets Realities, Part I

About the author

Carola Bracco

Carola Otero Bracco is the Executive Director of Neighbors Link Northern Westchester and CEO of Neighbors Link Network.  A first generation American born of immigrant parents from Bolivia, Carola earned a Masters in Business Administration from Duke University.  Before assuming her post with Neighbors Link in April of 2004, she had 12 years experience in financial management with General Electric Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Time Warner, Inc.  Carola has a passion for motivating constituent families and advocating for personal growth through education and economic development.

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