…Hispanic Business Research

I am returning from the 2010 Conference and Career Expo in Chicago as I write this note.  What an incredible event this has been, changing the lives of hundreds of individuals who find jobs, schools, talent, and like-minded individuals who are willing to spend their time, their money and many other resources to improve society through education for and about Hispanics!  What a long sentence too, but my batteries get so recharged every time I attend a NSHMBA event like this!!

A particularly exciting development (especially at the personal level) is that, starting October 2010, I have assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief for the Business Journal of Hispanic Research, NSHMBA’s most noticeable and recent effort to educate not only ourselves, Hispanics, but all of society! By systematically and scientifically documenting the situations, problems and solutions that Hispanics and non-Hispanics businesspersons encounter, the BJHR bridges research and practice, to serve students, mid-level managers and executives that are interested in going beyond what “common sense” (often the least common of the senses!) and mainstream media tell.

I am excited about this opportunity for several reasons. I have found my professional calling in research because the scientific method has transformed the way we live, work, and study; progress in all areas of life has accelerated since our society has been documenting its problems and solutions in a systematic manner. I also believe that keeping records of a subject of study by means of academic journals helps it transcend beyond time! Let me explain: I have often wondered, “shouldn’t we know more about the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs or other Native Americans than about the Jewish people, who lived in a more remote place and time?” Besides the obvious answer that religions have played a large role in preserving the knowledge our society currently has about the Abrahamic legacy, I believe that a key factor is that they wrote things down in a way that has been transmitted by generations!!!

To the extent that we are serious about keeping our Hispanic heritage alive and passing it to future generations, I believe we need to read, write, publish and promote outlets that specifically focus on Hispanics. Thousands of books are published every year, but very few of them are written by, for or about Latinos. In Business, there are also hundreds of journals dealing with every business function from the mainstream perspective, but only one is currently publishing content that is targeted explicitly to and about Hispanics in the business world, and that is the BJHR.

No other Society or Association of MBAs has assembled a group of qualified and diverse executives and academics to call for, double-blind review and publish content that specifically focuses on its Mission, and I believe that this is one of the more tangible ways in which NSHMBA enacts its vision to become the “premier organization for Hispanic business professionals”! The BJHR distinguishes us as a group that cares about ongoing professional development, and it can be used as a recruitment, retention, and fundraising tool –it simply makes me incredibly proud to be a NSHMBA Lifetime member!

Regarding fundraising, I also was impressed when Andrés Velásquez, from the Cleveland Chapter of NSHMBA, shared with me and Manny Gonzalez –our new CEO—that a most effective approach to sell sponsorships for the upcoming Hispanic Summit (May 19-20, 2011; mark your calendar!) has included sharing an issue of the BJHR with potential sponsors. Diversity and Inclusion executives seem to appreciate the contribution that NSHMBA gives to society through this publication, enough to share some of their scarce resources to support other activities that also carry the NSHMBA brand, again, the only Society of MBAs that has been willing to improve society through educating not only Hispanics but anyone else willing to take the time and effort to read the BJHR.

I can also see many challenges in this road I’m starting. You might be aware that, recently, the BJHR has been published online only, as the printing, shipping and handling expenses have been too high for NSHMBA to bear. Of course, publishing it online only is better than not doing it at all, but, as the anecdote above suggests, fundraising without a printed copy might be less effective. Also importantly, the number of business researchers who include Hispanics in their professional interests is quite low, and peer reviewed research reports take months, when not years, to be completed. Strengthening the pipeline of articles to keep the BJHR fresh and useful for its readers might need special promotion in the form of research grants and other initiatives. I hope that we –all of NSHMBA’s stakeholders, internal and external—will be able to create and support these initiatives so that we can continue to improve society through education.

I feel both privileged and humbled to get the baton from Dr. Donna Maria Blancero, who had the vision to found the journal and is now part of the Faculty at Bentley College, in Boston. I am also grateful to NSHMBA’s Board of Directors and to its Interim CEO, Steven Ramos, who ensured that the BJHR survived through some of the worst economic times that NSHMBA has undergone, and initiated the process that Manny finalized to bring me to this position.  I also have to thank the BJHR Editorial Board which has continued to support the journal through its economic difficulties, particularly Henry Hernandez, Jr., and Drs. Dianna Stone-Romero and Mickey Quinones. The journal also has a debt of gratitude to Drs. C. Douglas Johnson and Rob DelCampo, who worked very hard as Associate Editors but are now moving to other responsibilities.

Ms. Maru Tapia has been working beyond her contractual obligations as the Managing Editor who has “kept the doors open” even before Clarion, my home university and NSHMBA started to explore the agreement that will enable me to serve in this capacity. Jim Huerta has been serving as a Development Executive, finding ways to expand the BJHR influence and sustainability. And, last, but never least, every reader of the BJHR who applies its lessons in their professional life, benefitting not just his or her career, but also their companies and society at large!

What about you? If you haven't read the BJHR recently, please use this link. I'd like to know your thoughts about it; your suggestions or comments are very much needed to make this publication a stronger asset for you, your chapter and your organizations!

¡Hasta la próxima!