Latina leaders converge at NAA’s American Latinas Leadership Caucus

Over 100 influential Latina leaders from across the country have converged to conform the New America Alliance (NAA) American Latina Leadership Caucus, an initiative that advocates for the preparation and placement of Latina leaders in entrepreneurship, corporate, appointed/elected office, and the nonprofit and academia sectors.

NAA Wall Street Summit 2015 American Latina Leadership Caucus panel

NAA Wall Street Summit 2015 American Latina Leadership Caucus panel

Last year, NAA hosted a series of introductory conversations with seasoned as well as rising Latina leaders to introduce them to new resources and connections, and present the initiative to new Caucus members. The meetings were held in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas, Puerto Rico, and Miami.

“Last year was the time to gather all this talent across the country. Now, in 2016, this is the ‘activation’ year, the year when we start identifying the candidates for different offices and industries, supporting and grooming them to achieve the positions they deserve,” said Pilar Avila, NAA’s CEO, to LIBizus. “We are amazed at the quality of our Caucus members, and it is our purpose to bring these Latina leaders to the forefront, become their best promotional partner, and help them move through the pipelines,” Avila said.

Changing Latino participation in the financial sector

Maria del Pilar Avila, CEO, New America Alliance

Maria del Pilar Avila, CEO, New America Alliance

New America Alliance, according to Avila, is the only Hispanic organization focused on changing Latinos participation in the financial sector.

“We are invested in expanding efforts to place Latino and Latina talent in public pension funds, endowments and foundations, corporate pension funds and foreign investment funds, among other financial sectors,” she said.

While Latino businesses continue to grow and expand at a staggering rate, it comes the time when these companies need expansion capital, Avila explains. However, due to the lack of Latino and Latina investors and funding officers, many of these enterprises have difficulties in penetrating or relating to venture capital. Access to capital then becomes a struggle and these businesses lag behind opportunities.

“When we started our push in 2003, there were three Latino firms representing $500M in private equity. Today, there are almost 100 companies representing over $100B in private equity and more than 80 of those companies are NAA’s members,” Avila shared.

So look at this improvement:

  • NAA membership of diverse and emerging asset management firms have over $60 Billion aggregate assets under management.
  • NAA diverse asset managers (with 25+% diverse ownership) represent almost $45 Billion of aggregate assets under management.
  • NAA Latino asset managers in private equity represent over $10 Billion in aggregate assets under management, as compared to under $500 Million reported in the NAA White Paper in 2003.
  • Ten NAA member firms managing over $1 Billion in assets each will be recognized during the Wall Street Summit. Together, these firms manage over $20 Billion in assets and range across asset classes, including private equity, real estate, hedge funds and public markets (as reported on NAA’s website).

“We still believe there is a lot to do, despite the participation of Latino and diverse firms in asset management, if we consider that the US capital pool is well over $40T,” Avila affirmed.

Latino economic impact

NAA Wall Street Summit 2015 Pension Funds Initiative panel

NAA Wall Street Summit 2015 Pension Funds Initiative panel

This year the organization is planning to conduct an Economic Impact Report to reflect how Latino private equity ventures are creating jobs, investing in businesses and offering financial services.

“This study would be instrumental in establishing Latino impact in the economy, and to attract more sources of capital to be integrated into this market. We are also looking at close collaboration with other minority groups such as African Americans and Asians because they face similar obstacles” Avila explained.

So for the NAA’s CEO, this year looks as an exciting and busy one. “This year is ‘activation’ all around!” she said enthusiastically.

“Through the American Latina Leadership Caucus and the Assets and Capital Investment initiatives, we are combining leadership and capital aiming at vacancies of high impact. Especially in an electoral year, we will remain focused on supporting Latinos across the aisle, Democrats and Republicans alike, following our organization’s non-partisan tradition,” Avila concluded.