Latina Global Executive Leadership Program

Founder, president, and chief executive officer, Dr. Yasmin Davidds, PsyD, has made it her life purpose to empower women, especially Latinas. After realizing that many Latina business owners, though experts with their products or services, lack the foundational skills needed to start and operate a successful business or climb the corporate ladder, Davidds established the Latina Global Executive Leadership Program in partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business. Hand-selected by Davidds, participants choose one of three tracks: leadership, entrepreneurship, or a protégé program designed for Latinas in their twenties. To prepare even more Latinas for success in business, Davidds is seeking funds to expand all three programs.

Organization History and Purpose

Davidds laid the foundation for Latinas’ self-awareness in 2001 with her first book, Empowering Latinas: Breaking Barriers, Freeing Lives, which taught Latinas how traditional values and practices could dilute their impact in the business world. She followed that book with Take Back Your Power: How to Reclaim It, Keep It, and Use It to Get What You Deserve and Your Own Terms: A Woman’s Guide to Taking Charge of Any Negotiation. In 2011, after earning her PhD in Organizational Psychology, she went on to found the Women’s Institute of Negotiation (WIN) to help women harness the power of skillful negotiation. Although a successful entrepreneur, author, and international leadership coach and the Hispanic spokesperson for companies such as Verizon, Sara Lee, and Microsoft, Davidds still felt unfulfilled, finally realizing she wanted to carry her hard-earned knowledge of how to be successful in business to the Hispanic community. Essentially, she wanted to be the mentor she’d never had in her career journey, coaching Latinas, whether self-employed or in the corporate realm, to effectively meld their culture—which is often counter to business success—with their career aspirations. To promote her vision, Davidds founded the non-profit Latina Executive Global Leadership Institute in 2014, and, partnering with the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, the USC Latino Alumni Association, the U.S. Latina Entrepreneurs Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, created the Latina Executive Global Leadership Program as a division of WIN. The academy offers three different tracks: the Latina Entrepreneur Program and the Latina Global Executive Leadership Program, which are both designed for high-potential mid- to senior-level managers, and the Latina Millennial Leadership and Entrepreneur Protégé Program, which is geared for twenty- to thirty-year-olds. Approximately twenty-five participants are hand-picked for the eight-month program, which runs from January through August of each year and teaches them to have a more significant presence in the business world while holding onto their values, identity and unique perceptions.
Statement of Need
Nearly 788,000 Hispanic women owned businesses in the United States in 2007, a 46% increase since 2002 and a 133% increase since 1997. By 2012, U.S. Latina-owned businesses earned almost $66 billion, an increase of 180% in a fifteen-year period. Despite these impressive growth figures, Latinas continue to experience faster business-closing rates than non-Latinas. Furthermore, Hispanic women remain underpaid, earning 55 cents on every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, compared to earnings of 79 cents for white women, and they are grossly underrepresented as business owners among Fortune 500 companies and in leadership roles within academic, science, technology, and engineering careers. In fact, many Latinas will be pigeonholed in administrative and middle-management jobs instead of reaching their career potential.
Compelling reasons for this career stagnation often point to social factors, such as a lack of Latina mentors in executive roles, cultural conflict, Latina stereotypes, and a shortage of leadership training programs specific for Latina workers. Providing Latina leaders with culturally relevant training in leadership and entrepreneurism is the heart of Latina Global Executive Leadership Institute’s mission.
Program Narrative
The LGELI incorporates Harvard University’s highly acclaimed Authentic Leadership Program into each of its three tracks: leadership, entrepreneurship, and a protégé program. The program descriptions are as follows:
Leadership Program
The Latina Global Executive Leadership Program empowers participants with the latest tools for navigating complex management issues from a global and cultural perspective. The program is intended for high-potential, mid- to senior-level Latina managers. Sessions will cover topics including:
  • Operating with a global perspective
  • Accelerating business decisions
  • Enhancing business results
  • Leading beyond conflict
  • Networking for greater collaboration
  • Reaching consensus
  • Valuing differences
  • Maximizing leadership potential
  • Delivering transformational leadership
  • Coaching difficult people
  • Cultivating a culture of trust
  • Cultivating winning partnerships
  • Communicating for leadership success
  • Delegating with purpose
  • Cultivating an agile team
  • Driving change
  • Being an influential leader
  • Leading high-performance teams
  • Fostering innovation
Entrepreneur Program
The leading entrepreneurial training program in the country for Latinas, the Latina Entrepreneur Program is focused on unlocking the growth and job-creation potential of Latina small businesses in California through greater access to business education, financial capital, and business support services. Applicants should own a business poised for growth, with at least one additional employee. The business should have been in operation for at least two years, with business revenues of $75,000 to $2 million in the most recent fiscal year. The program includes four main components:
  • Development of entrepreneurial leadership skills through the Authentic Leadership curriculum
  • Integrated study of a comprehensive step-by-step systematic business growth model
  • One-on-one business mentorship to help Latina entrepreneurs develop and implement their tailored business growth plan
  • A network of successful Latina entrepreneurs to help business owners focus on their most-critical business issues and increase business capacity
Peer learning is an important element of the program, and participants will benefit from being placed into small “growth groups” to explore and discuss real-world experiences presented by successful, high-caliber business owners. After the initial session, attendees will meet as a group monthly and participate in group calls on a bi-weekly basis. The eight-month program is taught by university entrepreneurial faculty. Morning sessions integrate Authentic Leadership modules and Harvard entrepreneurial case studies. Afternoon sessions include business growth plan topics such as:
  • Aligning business growth with values and purpose
  • Systems for growth
  • Financial foundation
  • Brand commitment
  • Getting the right people on board
  • Marketing channels and sales strategies
  • Operations and processes
  • Access to capital
Protégé Program
The Latina Millennial Leadership and Entrepreneur Protégé Program provides Latina Millennials with the ideas, techniques, tools, and mentors necessary to be strong, cross-cultural leaders in the twenty-first century. The program selects professional Latina leaders between the ages of twenty and thirty years old who are committed to transforming their communities, countries, and career fields. Selection is based on demonstration of leadership as indicated by professional, volunteer, and other activities; strength of character, motivation, and commitment to personal and professional goals; and intention to participate fully in all program activities.

The premise of the protégé program is that leaders who are mentored and consciously develop their self-awareness and leadership abilities will be more effective and successful leaders with more satisfying and fulfilling lives. Each participant will work with and be mentored by thirty highly successful Latinas from corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors by rotating monthly through leadership development teams, each with about five mentors. These small-group meetings allow each Latina to discuss course materials in a more personal setting and encourage a higher level of self-reflection. Learning modules topics include:
  • Discover your authentic leadership
  • Your journey to authentic leadership
  • Why leaders lose their way
  • Crucibles of leadership
  • Discovering your authentic self
  • Values, principles, and ethical boundaries
  • Motivations and motivated capabilities
  • Building your support team
  • The integrated leader
  • Leadership purpose
  • Empowering others to lead
  • Optimizing your leadership effectiveness
  • Your personal leadership development plan
Goals and Objectives
Leadership Program
The leadership program addresses the lack of Latina representation in the upper echelons of corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations. Latinas who attend the leadership program will be better equipped to:
  • Diagnose problems across cultures, make effective decisions, and influence and motivate others
  • Develop and execute business strategies
  • Contribute to the diversity and economic success of their organization
  • Obtain the resources necessary to realize their potential
  • Identify and leverage connections essential to getting the job done
  • Develop versatile negotiation styles that will allow them to nurture business globally
  • Communicate clearly, command attention, and convey authority Entrepreneur Program The Latina Entrepreneur program will teach participants to:
  • Identify and evaluate business opportunities
  • Understand and manage the business environment
  • Analyze financial statements and use them for management decisions
  • Access financial capital
  • Lead and grow a business
  • Hire, develop, and retain a team
  • Build a targeted sales effort
  • Contract with the government
  • Understand international trade opportunities
  • Construct and align operations to promote business growth
Protégé Program
The Latina Millennial Protégé Program will help Latina Millennials to:
  • Understand their leadership journeys through self-reflection and the framing of their life stories and experiences to date
  • Understand why leaders lose their way and how to avoid derailment
  • Discuss self-reflective exercises completed on their own in an open, intimate, small-group environment
  • Gain clarity about leadership principles, values, and ethical boundaries and learn appropriate responses when challenged under pressure
  • Understand their extrinsic and intrinsic motivations and to find leadership paths that will enable them to use their motivated capabilities
  • Explore how to build support teams and lead an integrated life
  • Understand the purpose of their leadership and learn to optimize it to empower others
  • Create personal leadership development plans to guide them throughout their lives