PHILADELPHIA, PA— Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has named Hector Cortez Chief Diversity Officer. In his expanded role, Cortez, who also serves as National Director of Hispanic Mentoring, will be an important strategic resource for the 385-agency network in its ongoing efforts to enhance institutional excellence to help vulnerable children beat the odds.

“As Chief Diversity Officer, Hector will collaborate up, down and across Big Brothers Big Sisters to gain perspective and knowledge as he leads efforts to seed, plan and implement initiatives that advance diversity throughout our network,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and Chief Executive Officer Karen J. Mathis. “He will provide integrated expertise, guiding our efforts to bring more diverse voices to our deliberations and decisions. Among our goals are gaining a deeper institutional understanding of diversity; enhancing the compositional diversity profile of board members and staff; and infusing intentional change that impacts our systems, structure and overall culture,” Mathis added.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor-supported network of volunteer mentors for youth, provides careful mentor matching and ongoing support for 255,000 children, who are primarily those of single, low-income and incarcerated parents. Disproportionately, “Littles” and those waiting to be matched with “Bigs” are African American and Latino boys. Studies find children in the program are more likely than their peers to perform better in school, avoid violent, unhealthy and illegal behaviors, and have strong relationships with their parents and others.

  As Chief Diversity Officer, Cortez will:
  --  Report to the national organization's president and provide advice and
      counsel to leadership on diversity-related issues, especially as they
      pertain to policy and organizational strategic direction.
  --  Work closely with human resources and the executive team, and consult
      with vice presidents to encourage behavior that advances diversity
      goals.
  --  Serve as a change leader, leading efforts to integrate diversity
      strategies into all business and planning processes and practices,
      strengthening the network's ability to serve the nation's vulnerable
      children.

Prior to joining Big Brothers Big Sisters in August 2009, Cortez served as Vice President of National Programs for Esperanza USA, leading national programs working with adjudicated and at- risk youth, gang prevention, and Latino non-profit organizational capacity building training. He has also served as executive director for the multicultural International Ministries, where he developed a multifaceted strategic direction to make the organization more competitive by bringing its mission in alignment with global realities and trends. In addition, as Associate Executive Director for Community Transformation and Advocacy for National Ministries, ABCUSA, Cortez provided leadership to multiple national community development programs for 6,500 multicultural member organizations. He has also held leadership positions for Hispanic, Portuguese and Haitian leadership development and organizational transformation initiatives.