How to Make Associations a Sector of Choice for Hispanics and Latinos

Arabu_hispanic heritage September 21, 2023 By: Eduardo Arabu, Norma Castrejon, CAE, and Danielle Duran Baron, CAE

Organizations are always looking to stand out from the competition. By recruiting and retaining Latino and Hispanic employees, associations will build a more inclusive workforce that is better equipped to achieve success.

Promoting Hispanic and Latino inclusion can help associations grow their workforce, expand their talent pool, and achieve better outcomes.

Research shows that associations can expect more Hispanics and Latinos as potential members, customers, and staff in the next decades. According to the Latino Donor Collaborative, one-in-four working-age Americans will be Latino by 2030, and one in three will be Latino by 2060. By 2030, Latinos are expected to make up 22.4 percent of the U.S. labor force, and by 2060, one-of-three children and over 30 percent of the U.S. population will be of Hispanic heritage.

Here are key strategies for recruiting, retaining, and developing Hispanic and Latino professionals.

Recruit Intentionally

There are several ways to recruit Hispanic and Latino people into associations. The key is to be intentional, rather than wait for candidates to “come across a career in association.” Here are some ideas:

  • Reach out to Latino associates in your organization who can provide cultural awareness, community connections, and other insights. Consider partnering with Association Latinos, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of Latino association leaders.
  • Identify and build relationships with Hispanic-Serving Institutions in your community (500 colleges and universities with at least 25 percent Latino enrollment). Engage with Latino-serving organizations that offer individual professional development resources, such as Prospanica or Latinas in Tech.
  • Participate in high school, college, young and professional societies’ conferences, professional development programs and job fairs by raising awareness about associations and highlighting the mission-driven nature of our work and opportunities for career growth.
  • Provide paid internships, fellowships, work-study programs, apprenticeships, and other on-the-job training.
  • Offer a transparent, equal and fair pay policy. According to the U.S. Census, Latina women are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men.

Retain With Training

Attracting new hires is one thing but ensuring that they want to stay with your organization is another. To do that, it’s important to not only make your organization inclusive and welcoming for everyone but also to encourage Hispanic and Latino employees to pursue volunteer and training opportunities. Among the ideas:

  • Purchase them a membership to ASAE or their local society of association executives (SAE) organization and support their volunteer involvement.
  • Introduce them to Association Latinos. (ASAE members should also join the Hispanic Association Executives Community on Collaborate.) Through these groups, your new hires will start forming personal and professional connections to advance their careers.
  • Educate them about the association industry, especially if this is their first job in the industry.

Develop Talents

Research shows that employees will stay at organizations where they feel valued and can grow. Consider the following to create an environment where you support professional development and encourage them to grow in their careers.

  • Provide support through mentorship, sponsorship, coaching, and networking—and allow time for volunteer and professional development activities.
  • Encourage staff to sign up for volunteer leadership committees, councils, and taskforces and apply for speaking opportunities to elevate their voice and perspective.
  • Nominate them for special recognitions and programs, such as ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program or NextGen program, Association Forum’s Forty under 40 recognition, and Association Latinos’ Inspira and Estrella Awards.

By prioritizing these insights and recommendations, associations can develop a comprehensive Latino 365 strategy that creates a more inclusive and sustainable future for our industry.

Eduardo Arabu

Eduardo Arabu is CEO of the National Hispanic Corporate Council and The Latino DEI Collective.

Norma Castrejon, CAE

Norma Castrejon, CAE, is a senior technology consultant with DelCor Technology Solutions.

Danielle Duran Baron, CAE

Danielle Duran Baron, FASAE, CAE, is vice president of marketing, communications, and industry relations at the School Nutrition Association.