Adam Torres and Justin Reyes discuss latino board talent.
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Many boards are looking for latino board talent. In this episode, Adam Torres interviewed Justin Bradley Reyes, Manager, Member Engagement at Latino Corporate Directors Association. Explore latino board talent and how it’s shaping corporate america.
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About Justin Bradley Reyes
Justin is an allocentric association management professional bringing more than seven years of experience within trade associations and over 200 public speaking engagements. He most recently served as the President of The Young Latino Professionals of Kansas City and prior to that, as Director of Business Development for the ABC Heart of America association. He has been a member and volunteer of nonprofits and associations for over 17+ years.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of mission matters. My name is Adam Torres. And if you’d like to be a part of our community, head on over to mission matters. com forward slash community to join. All right. So today’s a great episode. I have Justin Bradley Reyes on the line. He’s a manager, a member of member engagement over at Latino corporate direct.
And let me tell you, I heard Justin on an interview with with Aaron Alejandro, executive director of Texas FFA over at growing our future podcast. And I, I was so, I was so thrilled by his story. I said, man, you know what? I need to get Justin on our show. So I invited him on, Hey, Justin, first off, man, I just want to say welcome to the show.
Hey, thanks, Adam. Really, really excited to have the chance to join you on this podcast and was really thrilled that Aaron Alejandro connected us. Yeah. So so great having you on and I’m excited to get more into, into your background, why you do what you do and really how you’re doing it. And just to get us kicked off, we’ll start this episode the way that we start them all with what we like to call our mission matters minute.
So Justin, we at mission matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. That’s our mission. Justin, what mission matters to you? Oh, thanks, Adam. So I guess my mission, what drives me is to uplift, upskill and prepare communities around topics that impact us, whether that’s my profession or my Latino community.
I believe that by doing for others, we set an example and we set the tone for a pay it forward mentality. And I think that really helps in scaling the impact of what we’re trying to accomplish. And what’s, what’s really interesting is, you know, this, this gives me purpose in my nine to five and my five to nine, but it all really boils down to a motto that I learned 20 years ago that I use as my North star and it’s learning to do.
Doing to learn, earning to live and living and serve. And that’s what I follow. And that’s how we got here today. Awesome. Let’s go. So let’s go a little bit into those early years. Like what, how did you get on this path to your current role? Like, where did it all start for you? Adam, everything that I’ve done has been almost accidental.
So like I mentioned 20 years ago started high school and took a woodshop class, but. had a medical condition that prevented me from really enjoying that class to the point where I was removed from wood shop and placed next door into the FFA agricultural classroom where I met Teddy Bird, my FFA advisor, and and that’s where it started.
It started with an FFA creed. I believe in the future of agriculture. And it, you know, from that point, four years and even into college the FFA organization association you know, develop premier leadership, personal growth and career success for me. And you know, fast forward. Six years after that, I had the opportunity to really start my career in associations with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where I got a chance to go to Asheville, North Carolina at the Biltmore and witnessed, you know the birthplace of American forestry, but more important than that was was being in the room with the senior policy officials on agriculture and, and seeing a different side of agriculture, whereas, growing up, working on the ranch, right?
But really being in in in these board rooms, in these committee meetings and talking about these policies that impact the rest of America. anD now today I get a chance. I every day is like a holiday. I get a chance to work with a premier organization that’s supporting the Latino community in reaching parity where we were not.
really what represented in and having a chance to just listen, be a fly on the wall and hear these conversations. And it’s all inspiring. And again, All of this would have not been possible without the help of all these associations that I’ve been a part of over the years. Now, did you come did you come from an agricultural background when I know you mentioned going from, you know, wood shop to, to going to that FFA classroom or that program?
Like, did you come from an agriculture background? Oh, definitely. It’s it’s I like to believe it’s in my family’s blood. I mean, we are farmers were ranchers. My dad’s a cowboy about ghetto. So, you know, a lot of my upbringing in rural America revolved around the agrarian community and and have the opportunity to be a part of This supply chain where, you know, waking up early whether it’s in summer or in the winter, taking care of livestock and, you know, enjoying the fruits of our labor when we go to the supermarket or when we drive down the road to Whataburger and enjoy a nice juicy burger it, it, it resonates with me because it instills kind of pride in Being a part of, you know, that whole process.
Now, one of the things that I know, and as I’ve gotten to know Texas FFA and and be part of like, I’ve gone, now I went to year, year two this year of convention year one, I think I went to was in Waco this year was in Dallas next year. I’m already looking forward to Houston. I never been to Houston, so I’m already, I’m already getting excited.
I was talking to Aaron about that. I’m like, all right, man, what are we doing for the for the, for the Houston convention I’m in well talk a little bit more about, I, and you have a heavy agriculture background, as you mentioned but the, the, the vantage point of even what it allows to do, whether it’s leadership training, whether it’s, I mean, there’s so many layers to what that organization and kind of what that, I like to say upbringing within the organization of wearing that.
Blue jacket means, maybe talk a little bit about the experience and some of those other things that are involved. Yeah, definitely. I mean, the ecosystem that FFA provides for its members, its students, and really by extent the families of the students is amazing. Yeah. And it all, and I think it all has to do with.
The experiences and how intentional FFA is about providing, you know, leadership development opportunities, career exploration, and at the end of it, giving you a chance to meet other young people who are just as crazy about agriculture and passionate about education and through it all propelling us To become a better person to challenge ourselves and to be stewards in all spaces that we’re a part of, whether it’s in agriculture or elsewhere, you know, taking pride and ultimately being proud of what it is, what we’re doing because we all matter.
And like I said, like I said, above here, all this change starts with you. So as you kind of, you’re, you’re going through your career and at some point you find the LCD a like, like, how did that come about? How did that come on your radar? Yeah, definitely. It was, it was accidental. So 2016 I started.
Working with the national association of home builders was there for about six years and was really phenomenal to be a part of a huge national organization of 140, 000 members and, and, and seeing what they did with advocacy, with education with the components of the different chapters around the country who are just as passionate.
And it, it was a phenomenal experience, but one thing that would bother me was. I was often the only Latino in the room. And so fast forward into 2022 I had reached a point where I believed I had learned enough working at a national organization and a local chapter that I wanted to bring all these experiences to an organization that serves the Latino community.
And there were a few of them. But by chance, I was on LinkedIn and I stumbled across this LCDA, Latino Corporate Directors Association. What is that? So I, you know, I did a little research. I’m like, oh my gosh, this is, this is what I want. This is what I need. It’ll help me fill the gap in terms of like that more corporate feeling that I, I just really didn’t have in my portfolio.
And so Carmen Jorge gave me an opportunity. She are one of our leaders at LCDA. You know, allowed me to join on a call with her just to learn a little bit more. And, and from there, I, you know, I know I needed that job more than they needed me because of what it could provide me. And so I just, you know, I practiced, did my research and.
I gave it my all in my, my interviews and I was very, very happy to then get the call to be invited to join the LCDA team. And, you know, I’ve been here since May of last year and boy, Adam, it’s been an adventure. So I know so you, so you definitely went down the rabbit hole. You’re thinking, all right, I need to go.
I need to upskill. I want maybe corporate feel. I want to make a difference in Latino community. And so now you get the, you get the gig, right? Is there anything that surprised you once you got in the seat? Is there anything about the organization or just what they do that surprised you when you got in the seat?
What surprised me was just how welcoming the members are. I guess coming in, it’s like corporate leader, CEO, C suite. You know, these are very intelligent people, driven, successful. And I was really surprised of just how welcoming the community is. I mean, the stories of each of our members is amazing. I mean…
There’s over 500 L. C. D. A. Members and, and I haven’t met each of them yet, but the ones that I have are always inviting they share. And the biggest part too is. That they support the staff, just like myself, I am, I’ve done a fraction of what many of these, these these members have done, but little do they know that everything that I, that I hear and learn from them inspires me to do more and to be more.
And I think that part was. the most welcome surprise, right? So there’s a lot of individuals that are watching this interview though, you know, watch the social media, they’ll read the post, all the other things, listen to the podcast. So a lot of people are gonna, are gonna take in this content.
Some of them are, are, let’s just say they should be part of, or should be. thinking about about joining the organization or looking further into it. Like what kind of things would you say, or what kind of candidates would you say get the most value out of, out of the organization and working with them?
Yeah, definitely. So, you know, of course you have to do your due diligence and your nine to five, right? You have to. Be the best to attain success attain as much responsibility as possible. I think the term is enterprise wide management, you know, APNLs you know, all of that you take care of, but you also need in to put the work in and you’re five to nine, you know, what are you doing outside of your organization?
I think a big part of. Of the success of our network is that pay it forward mentality. These people are on boards in nonprofit organizations in the community. And oftentimes with the tone of what they’re doing for the Latino community and a combination of those two things, along with. Your your ability, your approachability.
Yeah. Because when you’re in these boardrooms, you’re, you’re all selected for your expertise, for your knowledge, for where you’ve been. But if you can’t get along with other folks, then, you know, how. How constructive will these meetings be? So the other part is being a team player. And I think just in the short time that I’ve been at LCDA, as long as you’re able to, you know, excel as much as possible in each of those and the possibilities of being invited to join LCDA is, is much more attainable.
And, you know, to be quite frank, people want to be around you. And so you’re just able to commodify yourself a lot. So as we, and we think about when I think about the overall just mission of LCDA, so to support, you know, the development of Latino corporate directors. And we think about just the increasing number of Latinos in the country and just representation, purchasing power, it would seem as though.
Over time, you know, representation on boards would be kind of like the, the common sense thing that’s going to happen. So when I see this organization, LCDA, and for those that have those type of aspirations to either, you know, join a board or to, you know, upskill and all these other things, it seems like it’s a great match.
And it’s kind of that great bridge, if you will. Am I off on that or no, I think you’re, you’re on point. I mean. Today, Latinos are almost 20 percent of the U. S. Population. But unfortunately, only 4 percent of fortune 1000 board seats are held by Latinos, and it’s even smaller for Latinas. And so, you know, the, the economy is being driven by many populations, but just according, like, this is really interesting.
So there’s a nonprofit called the Latino donor, donor collaborative. And according to the research, the Latino GDP is about 2. 8 trillion. So that figure would rank us as the fifth largest economy in the country. And so, you know, to your point. Latinos are conscious about their impact, the brands they choose.
They value environments that, that support their employees. So, you know, all of these influences are important and if they’re not being brought to the table in the boardroom, then company us companies are really missing out on catering to this, this. market. How do people get involved? Like, how do they get involved with the LCD?
How do you get involved? Well, just like I mentioned earlier the biggest part is, you know, attaining you know, success in, in the work you do. Either there’s, there’s two different membership categories. There’s director members and executive members. So our director members are members who have already served in a corporate board, or maybe they’ve served in corporate, like a public board, or maybe they’ve served in a really large private board.
And so they have the competencies of what a fortune 1000, a corporate board would seek in board directors. And so those individuals have a. Higher chance of being invited to L. C. D. A. Along with, you know, what are they doing currently for Latino community and what they have done in the past? Now, that’s not a very big bucket.
And so for the much larger part of our community are executive members. These are board aspiring executives that have the competencies that have the skills that have the experiences. They just need to get in a board seat. And so, you know, those members Or either the CEO or within two roles removed from the ceo.
Mm-Hmm. And so they have, you know, a, a higher scope of responsibility, not only in terms of your, the profit and loss sheet, but also the number of employees. And so. A combination of these two different categories, along with what they’re doing outside of work can culminate to the possibility of joining LCDA.
But, you know, a no now may not mean no forever. It’s just, where do you need to work on? And so maybe a few years down the road, you can revisit and re entertain the possibility of joining LCDA. Yeah. Well, Justin I just want to say, first off, it has been great having you on the show today and really just learning more about your background, how you got here, the great work that LCDA is really doing for representation and just for upskilling a population that you know, and providing opportunities, really like acting as a leader.
that bridge. I think it’s amazing. A crazy, amazing mission. That being said, I mean, if somebody is watching this or listening to this and they want to, you know, learn more about L. C. D. A. Or if they wanna, you know, follow up and, you know, follow your journey and connect. I mean, what’s the best way for people to do that?
Oh, there’s so many different ways. So check out our website. Latino corporate directors. bUt also if you have a linkedin and if you don’t have a linkedin, make sure you create one. Yeah. Start following the lcda linkedin page. Our marcom team does an amazing job in. sharing all the amazing things that are happening not only in L.
C. D. A. But in our members careers, I mean, it is a machine. There must be at least four or five posts a day, but it just shows you the immense the immense of possibility and an impact that L. C. D. A. And its members are having currently in corporate boards. And so, you know, those are the The best ways that I would say to, to follow in check out our website.
There is a online member directory that’s public facing. So if you want to check out who are these faces of corporate boards Latino corporate directors that’s a great place to check them out. I mean, there’s so many amazing people. You mean you have. I don’t, I don’t even have time to name them all, but I mean, there’s like inventors of Bluetooth, there’s, you know, former cabinet members for presidential cabinet members and, you know, just really amazing people that you may have never known had you not stumbled upon the directory.
So I think those are the three different places that I would check out to learn more about LCDA and to learn more about community that it serves. Fantastic. And we’ll definitely put all that, all the, the website and all of that good stuff in the show notes so that our audience can, you know, click on the links and head right on over.
And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time connecting with Mission Matters or listening to an episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, and experts and having them share. Their mission, the reason behind their mission, you know why they do what they do and, and how they, why they get up, you know, every day in the morning and and, and go out into the marketplace and make a difference.
If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we welcome you hit that subscribe button. We have many more mission based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. Justin, really, it has been great having you on the show, man. I’m so excited, thrilled for your career, of course, and all the great work.
The L. C. D. A. Is doing to help with with board seats and representation. So thanks so much for coming on and sharing the story. Thank you, Adam. Appreciate being a part of this and looking forward to continuing to follow all the amazing people that you’re interviewing.