In 1972, a Latino college student might have felt lonely on campus.  Not only was Latino college enrollment abysmal, but few campus organizations existed to help develop and connect them to professional opportunities. The same could be said for young Latino business professionals; many were dismayed by a lack of community of Latino colleagues and mentors to learn from, network with — and who could, together — work to open the doors to corporate America if not the global market.

The founders of ALPFA understood the need to build a Latino professional workforce that would contribute and compete in the region’s burgeoning economy. Today, as ALPFA celebrates its 40th anniversary with more than 18,000 members across 39 professional and 90 student chapters, ALPFA is the pre-eminent resource and authority of building Latino business leaders through its innovative programs and bold changes over the course of its existence.

“In our 40 year history, there has never been a greater economic or business need than now to build future Latino business leaders,” said ALPFA CEO Manny Espinoza.

“The dramatic population findings from the 2010 Census clearly indicate that the future workforce of the next two decades is being developed today.  Hispanic youth will make up the largest talent pool available to Corporate America as there are 17.1 million U.S. Latinos ages 17 and under.”

Another milestone in 2012 will be the 10th year for the Women of ALPFA; a program founded by visionaries with a purpose of generating opportunities for career-minded Latinas through leadership skills, training, mentoring and career advancement.  Women of ALPFA continues to inspire and develop Latina business leaders to break barriers, achieve life and career aspirations and celebrate their unique Latin culture. This year will feature a national tour with targeted programs to inspire women at different career levels.

ALPFA looks forward to the next 40 years by leading the charge to address the needs of this new generation through professional development, networking opportunities and innovative initiatives such as the ALPFA Institute at the Sam M. Walton School of Business, University of Arkansas.  Launched on the heels of ALPFA’s 40th anniversary, the ALPFA Institute is the premier source of thought leadership on global leadership, Latina leadership and diversity inclusion. The ALPFA Institute will develop Latino leaders and work with corporations to cultivate diversity and inclusion through advisory services, programming, and research and insights.

“The fact that ALPFA has been thriving for 40 years is remarkable and demonstrates its superb ability to change and grow with the times,” said Rep. Loretta Sanchez. “It is a testament to ALPFA’s continued leadership and relevance which is more important today more than ever.”

Gilbert R. Vasquez, founder of ALPFA and owner of Vasquez & Co., the largest Hispanic-owned accounting firm in California, recalled, “I knew the key to our success as professionals lay in uniting these individuals and having a presence. I am proud to see the growth and impact ALPFA has had over the years.”

“ALPFA has been successful because we are an innovative organization with great leadership that is willing to challenge ourselves, and make bold decisions,” Espinoza said. “ Our goal of building Latino business leaders can be traced back to the organization’s earliest years and we will continue our commitment to ensuring access to resources and support that foster leadership among Latinos from college and graduate students, to professionals to executives.”

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