Laura Bottenfield, LatinoLEAD Board Member and Global Corporate Payment Systems, Product Management & International Consultant - Latin America, Middle East, and Africa (US Bank)
Tell us a little bit about yourself? How do you identify as a Latino/a/x and what does that mean to you?
As a Latina myself, who came to the U.S. with very little knowledge of English (or anything else about U.S. culture and biases), I am vested in assisting others coming up through similar paths and journeys. According to Andres Tapia, Senior Partner at Korn Ferry, Latinos are now the largest ethnic minority group comprising 17% of the U.S. population (21% of the Millennial generation), they are changing popular culture, the marketplace, the political landscape, and their representation in leadership roles are becoming more invisible. Only around 4% of Latinos are in leadership positions in corporate America. Worse statistics for Latinas, where there is currently less than 1% of female leaders holding executive positions. As a part of this community, I believe that these statistics must change.
What inspired you to work in corporate America/banking?
The work that I do inspires me to help companies expand globally, especially in Latin America, which in turn provides employment to many locals. It also gives me the opportunity to be in touch with fellow Latinx professionals and other minorities around the world. I can say that I am proud to work for the U.S. Bank. The company has won many accolades not only as one of the most ethical companies, but also one of the top workplaces for women and minorities.
Why did you want to serve on the board? Why would you encourage others to serve on the board?
I am from Latin America, Brasil, and have lived in the U.S. for many years. My successes are due to my own efforts, perseverance, determination, and relentless pursuit of my goals despite conscious and unconscious biases and challenges I have faced throughout the way. I have reached a point now where I am looking for opportunities to give back to the community and perhaps make the journey a little bit easier for others. Partnering with LatinoLEAD gives me the ability to assist the organization in achieving its goals and be a transformational force in the lives of as many Latinos/as as we can reach. I would encourage others to join us because together, we are stronger!
Why do you think the work of LatinoLEAD is important for our community now?
The work that LatinoLEAD does is very important and it has always been. However, now is an opportunistic time because we are at a pivotal point for our community as well as for the organization. Companies are realizing that without the engagement and support of the Latinx community they will be out of business in a few short years. Although this new interest may have surged for profitability and survival nature, organizations are beginning to see different groups and minorities for who they are. Lastly, minority voices are beginning to be heard and felt. “Bringing yourself” to work is being encouraged. LatinoLEAD is right in the middle of all of this change providing opportunities for the Latinx community to learn, grow, feel more confident and embrace a sense of strength to make a difference for themselves, their families, and the communities where they live.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I love animals! During the quarantine, we rescued two dogs (yes, I blame covid for this!). They are so fun and a great emotional support for the family. I have also picked up golf and I have been trying really hard to make contact with that little ball! I enjoy playing golf early in the morning when all is calm and I am able to soak up nature. I am certified in yoga and Ayurveda, an ancient Indian natural medicine. Recently, I connected with some friends to knit and crochet winter hats for the homeless and for our community. I am proud to be Latina and honored to be part of the wonderful Board at LatinoLEAD.