HFSV Accepting Applications for the Latino Board Leadership Academy

Latino Board Leadership Academy Class of 2014. Photo courtesy of HFSV.

Latino Board Leadership Academy Class of 2014. Photo courtesy of HFSV.

by Linda Castillo

Last spring, I was part of the Hispanic Foundation Silicon Valley’s Latino Board Leadership Acadamy. This 11-week comprehensive program is designed to recruit and train Latinos to serve as potential board members, and match them with boards of non-profit organizations whose missions best match their personal interests. Since its inception the LBLA has graduated nearly 150 Fellows with approximately 75% of those now appointed to boards of directors.*

Despite the facts that I had experience serving on a board before there were several areas that I didn’t feel that I had the adequate training and confidence to perform. Specifically, I did not feel comfortable working with the financials and taking on the fundraising responsibilities. After the sessions on financial and fundraising, I have the tools, knowledge and confidence to take part in those roles as a board member. Now I can tell you all about unrestricted and restricted funds! And I started to see that fundraising is really about telling a story and making that connection with the donors. Thinking about fundraising in that manner really helped me get over my hesitation to actively fundraise. Another helpful part of the program was the non-profit board simulation where the class was broken up into groups to act as a board. Each group was given a scenario that would typically come up in a board meeting to provide their best solution.  There were also opportunities in class where the students were allowed to role-play providing practice for everyone to build their confidence in public speaking, pitching, fundraising, or any other area.

LBLAMEPreggersWe had to really consider what type of board that we wanted to serve on, afterall, when you really think about it serving on a board is a commitment that must be chosen thoughtfully. This process opened up many question for me. Did I want to join an established board or newly developed board? What type of nonprofit was I interested in serving as a board member (the arts, environmental, education, etc.)? All of these questions really helped me determine the type of board that I was interested in serving on. Learning the fundamentals of serving on the board and considering all of the aforementioned questions, everyone in the program was ready to begin the courting process. For many members in my cohort, they found a board to serve on at Match Night. This was an opportunity where several non-profit organizations who were looking for board members had an opportunity meet the LBLA class- speed dating. Through out the program Ron Gonzales referred to this match process as dating.

It was a commitment especially considering that I was 8 months pregnant when I started the program. I am so glad that I was selected and completed the program. And now that my baby is a little older, I am going to start the courting process this year to find a board to serve on. Several members of my cohort are now actively serving on a board.

Here’s what a few of my fellow LBLA class had to say about the LBLA program:

“The LBLA program was a great opportunity to connect with passionate Latinos in the community who want to make a difference. It taught me the essentials about serving as a board member as well as what I want to get out of my commitment to an organization. This program helps passionate individuals identify opportunities to give back and have their voice be heard not only as a volunteer, but as a leader in our community.” -Danielle Wenzel Sandoval who is currently serving on the board of Grail Family Services.

“The LBLA program energized my desire to take a leadership role in the community volunteering. It educated me on the importance of having a Latino represented on a non-profit board in the Silicon Valley. I also appreciated how the program not only focused on non-profit board leadership but the value in our career development tactics. We had two days dedicated to building an outstanding resume and utilizing social media such as LinkedIn. This program was well worth several evenings of my time.” –Teresa Caseras, Assistant Vice President at Comerica Bank.

“Being a part of the Latino Board Leadership Academy confirmed for me how non-profits and for-profits are so similar. I am impressed by all the successful non-profits out there because of the tremendous amount of accountability and transparency they need to keep. I will forever be grateful for being a part of this amazing class and I am excited to implement the best practices. I truly recommend this class to anyone who aspires to be a part of a non-profit in any point in time in their lives.” -Dina Lara, Co-Owner of Battle Control Martial Arts.


Graduation day with Ron Gonzales, CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and Jorge Luis Titinger Chairman of the Board and President and CEO of SGI.

And here are four reasons why I think you should apply for the program:

  1. Give Back to Your Community –Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I think this qoute really captures why we give back to our community. We all have that altruistic need to give back and be a part of something meaningful and bigger. The LBLA program prepares you to be a leader and to do just that.
  2. Unique Training – The LBLA program partners with Center for Excellence in Nonprofits, CompassPoint, Notre Dame of Namur University, 4C Councile of Santa Clara County, Inc. and University of Pheonix to present the most recent models, frameworks and trends related to nonprofit governance. The calibar of speakers provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise that the LBLA candidates have access to. Moreover, the program is set up in a manner where you are able to practice what you are learning.
  3. Professional Development – The program prepares you to be a strong candidate that non-profit organizations are looking for to serve on their boards. The Personal Branding & Career Workshop is an eyeopening session that allows you to really take a good look on how you brand yourself and what your resume is telling people. I was able to update my resume based on some of the tips provided in that session. Moreover, during the class excercises you are able to practice your public speaking skills, networking, and even learn more about fundraising.
  4. Making Connections – My class was comprised of professionals from all areas including education, law, finance, marketing, banking, social work and more. Going through the program you get to learn more about your classmates and develop connections that will last a lifetime. And even though the program has ended many of the graduates continue keep in touch with one another.

Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley is accepting applications for the Latino Board Leadership Academy until 5:00 p.m. (PST) Thursday, February 12, 2015. Learn more about the program. To learn more about the program visit http://www.hfsv.org/programs-leadership.html

*Image and statistic provided by HFSV website.

Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of http://www.modernlatina.com/. She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.