Perhaps you received this email from Fedex, too, celebrating National Hispanice Heritage Month. The article is below, and there are many other helpgul Small Business articles on their site. So if time permits, and you have not already done so, you may wish to read the ideas and suggestions.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15. In recognition of this cultural event — and the more than 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. — we interviewed FedEx team member Anylda Morales about her commitment to helping Latin American businesswomen access American markets.
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Designated in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson to recognize the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries from Spain, these four weeks are a time to celebrate the Hispanic people, their culture and contributions to the U.S. and the world.
One such contribution is the large number of Hispanic businesses both within the U.S. and in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. In the U.S. alone, more than 3.16 million Hispanic-owned businesses exist, from small family-owned ones to large corporations. That’s a growth of nearly 40 percent since 2007.1
There’s little doubt that people in LAC countries are entrepreneurial, too. Nearly one in three workers in the region is self-employed or a small employer.2 And while men traditionally own more businesses than women, that gap is gradually decreasing. One reason is women in LAC are becoming more business-educated and are learning the skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs.
To contribute to this change, the FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Thought Leadership program seeks to provide businesswomen in LAC with the education, skills and tools to help them grow their business and raise their success rates.
Learning more than a language
For the past three years, Anylda Morales, Corporate Communications Advisor for FedEx Express LAC Division in Miami, Fla., has worked alongside nonprofit organizations such asWeConnect and Vital Voices Global Partnership to develop this exciting initiative.
FedEx Updates spoke with Morales about the program and how it relates to National Hispanic Heritage Month.
What is the purpose of the FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Thought Leadership program?
We’re working to facilitate access for Hispanic women to do business in the U.S. Although these women aren’t based here in the U.S. — they’re in different countries in Latin America — we’re providing this resource to help give them greater access to customers and, in some cases, to capital and investors and other entities that can help them grow their business.
What is FedEx focusing on with this program?
We did research three years ago and, as a result, produced a white paper that demonstrated some key findings about what [Latin American] women feel is important for their success. In many cases they’re lacking access to the education and tools [for a successful business].
Based on what we learned, we crafted a program under that umbrella with different tactics. Basically the idea was to provide different means of improving access to education for women. The “Mastering the Language of Business” workshop is one of them.
The class taught the women how to do business with the U.S. culture and how to be sensitive about culture-related factors when negotiating with a customer or supplier. It was specifically designed to address English business-language concerns, such as how to communicate, how to be aware of body language and expression, how to best present your company, and how to understand what’s politically correct from the communications and language standpoint.
We’ve offered other initiatives, too, such as providing leadership training and mentoring through our female executives, and training specific to exporting and importing.
What are some specific tips on how to conduct business with another culture?
Here are some tips we share on how to communicate effectively:
Be mindful of people’s time.
Don’t skirt the issue.
Say what you mean — be blunt.
These tips relate to task management:
The tasks and their successful completion are seen as most important.
Go over goals with your colleagues and clearly state the tasks.
Keep the conversation focused on the tasks at hand.
Why is a program like this important to women in Latin America?
In many cases, women in Latin America start their business because they need to generate income for their family. They often don’t have any business skills.
The program is not about learning English as a second language. We require that the participants have a basic to intermediate level of English. Rather, the program teaches the women business language, the language they’ll need when they want to, for example, build a business case or put together a pitch for investors outside the country.
Have participants found it useful?
We conduct a survey at the end of each class, and have found the women liked that they could apply the information and resources right away in their businesses. They said they appreciated learning about cultural differences and how to better negotiate with U.S. clients and suppliers. They also felt the role playing was helpful and it gave them a chance to practice their English vocabulary in a business context.
We’ll soon be celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. As a Latino woman living in the U.S., what do these four weeks mean to you, personally and professionally?
I think it’s important because it’s an opportunity to highlight the contributions that the Hispanic community and Hispanic women bring to the U.S. and to society at large.
National Hispanic Heritage Month can be a channel to create awareness in the sense that we all play a role, and diversity is what makes us stronger.
How does the FedEx business language program tie in with National Hispanic Heritage Month?
On the one hand, it’s a key component to one of our reputation driver programs for FedEx in LAC. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure we created an opportunity to reach business owners who had an interest in accessing viable markets, especially in the U.S.
On a personal level, it’s very dear to me and I want to keep growing it because I can see how valuable it is to the women. It’s not that big when you think about it. It’s not a scholarship, it’s not a major or anything. It’s just knowledge. But the women get educated and have the means to be more successful.
Likewise, I also see what is known as the “multiplier effect” come out of it. Immediately after being in the program, the women want to help other women. Helping each other is an important part of our culture. It’s very present in the Hispanic community.
What are your favorite readings on women in business?
My favorite white papers are both from McKinsey & Company: “Women Matter: A Latin America Perspective,” and “Unlocking the full potential of women at work.”
In addition, I’m reading a book in Spanish by Mariela Dabbah called Poder de Mujer(“Woman Power”).
For more information about the FedEx Express Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Thought Leadership program, go to the Spring 2013 issue of FedEx DiverseAppeal. You can also read more about the Business English Workshops in the LAC news site on About FedEx.
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