Some of you may know that I have been spending most weekends with Sol Trujillo planning and prepping for L’ATTITUDE, a seminal event that will bring together the largest collection of Latino movers and shakers ever assembled. Robert Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Oscar Muñoz, CEO of United Airlines, Governor Bill Richardson, Guillermo Diaz, CIO of Cisco, Secretary Ken Salazar, are committed to attending – just to name a few. The event will also feature writers and thought leaders such as the three-time Pulitzer Prize winning writer/journalist, Thomas Friedman. Friedman has sold millions of books including The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. But, he is probably not as well known among Latino artists and small business professionals who will be attending the event. When I expressed concern to Sol that some of our audience may not know Friedman, he responded by saying, “well, they should”. He went on to tell me a story about his time at AT&T in the ’80’s when he was a rising star in the corporate world. After about a decade at AT&T, at the time the largest company in the world, Sol was one of only a handful of young executives who were selected to participate in a competitive set of interviews and tests to determine who among them had the right stuff to make it all the way to the top. Sol said the process was so intense, two of his colleagues suffered nervous breakdowns. After the testing was complete his superiors told Sol that he scored at the top in every category except for one, a category they called, Awareness. In fact, Sol said he scored near the bottom in Awareness as it relates to art, culture, literature, etiquette, and world affairs. AT&T understood that part of what makes great leaders is the possession of a multi-dimensional understanding of our society and other societies around the world. Sol told me that he didn’t score well because he was never exposed to those things growing up and never realized how important they are to be successful and happy at the highest level. Sol committed to acquiring a better Awareness about the world and eventually became the CEO of one of the largest telecoms in the world, US West. It was a fascinating story that truly inspired me. Sol and I believe that along with providing some of the most compelling dialogue and entertainment in the world, part of our responsibility at L’ATTITUDE is to make sure that the Latinos who participate are exposed to information and perspectives that will dramatically expand their Awareness and prepare them for great things in their lives and careers. L’ATTITUDE will be the catalyst to a new generation of leaders including CEOs, billionaires, superstars, and presidents.
We hear frequently how Latinos are not a monolithic community. In other words, we are not all the same. We come from different countries, have a variety of political views, and even eat different foods. I get all of that, but I also think focusing constantly on our differences versus our similarities undermines our political and economic power as a community...
This might be my most provocative blog in a while. Let me first state that I am happily married to a beautiful gringa. My kids are half- White and some of my best friends throughout my life have been White, so don’t let the title of this blog throw you.
A few weeks ago, Twitter was blowing up when John Leguizamo spoke out against the recent casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent film ‘Alina of Cuba’. Leguizamo took plenty of heat for his stance and was ridiculed by some including Bill Maher.