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Across the United States, Latinos continue to play a bigger and bigger part workforce and economy. And that’s no differet here in Madison.

“If you really look at the Latino population, we are the largest and fastest-growing minority population and that’s both locally and nationally,” Latino Professionals Association President Nicole Sandoval tells Madison365. “We are not only becoming greater in the workforce but also in our politics and in shaping our music industry and the film industry and other aspects of American life. We’re taking over little by little.”

Likewise, the Latino Professionals Association (LPA) of Greater Madison continues to grow and to make big strides in the five years of its very young existence. On Friday, Nov. 9, they will host their inaugural one-day talent development conference titled “Building Our Legacy Professional Development Conference” at Madison College Truax Campus. The conference will give Latinx professionals the tools to build a professional development plan while giving Madison-area employers an opportunity to discover diverse, skilled talent.

“LPA is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year and we’re excited about that. And we recently become an independent organization. We used to be under the umbrella of the Latino Chamber [of Commerce of Dane County] but now we’re our own independent organization and it’s always been a dream since the LPA has been created to have some type of professional development conference,” LPA President Nicole Sandoval tells Madison365.

The mission of LPA is to recognize and enhance the lives of Latino professionals through leadership development, professional growth, civic and public engagement and personal enrichment. The Building Our Legacy will be a chance to highlight those four important pillars.

Latino Professionals Association President Nicole Sandoval

“Our goal was to bring in all of these pillars for a full day of development,” Sandoval says. “So you will be hearing from someone but you will be developing your skills. Every participant is going to walk away with a customized development plan based on their workshops. We have one session dedicated to everyone so they [can] really hone down a development plan.”

LPA will work with attendees to identify professional skills that need further development to help them reach their career goals. Together, they will develop a custom 90- and 180-day development plan to guide them on their individualized journey. They will identify the different skill sets needed for each stage in a professional career – from individual contributor to team leader – and teach ways to develop leadership capabilities so they can grow and adapt to new opportunities in their career.

Sandoval is excited about the young people who will be at the event and the prospect of developing youth leaders.

“We have some college students coming and we also have some high school students who will be there. It’s great that they are already thinking about their future,” she says. “We are excited about the youth who will be coming to this event.

“This is the first time we’re having an even open even for high school students and college students,” Sandoval adds. “As president, that’s my biggest goal … to involve more of our youth because there are so many potential leaders we have in our community and we really need to start tapping into that because by 2025, 75 percent of our workforce is going to be millennial.”

We have entry level professionals to seasoned professionals coming so will have a wide range of attendees.”

The “Building Our Legacy Professional Development Conference” will kick off with a welcome reception at the Madison Club on Thursday, Nov. 8.

“Alex Miranda Cruz, who is an award-winning filmmaker, has produced a video for us on a Madison College faculty member. Her name is Amparo Moreno and her story is so interesting and so powerful,” says Sandoval.

From his humble beginnings in the impoverished streets of the San Fernando Valley in California to writing and directing national ads, Cruz will share his journey to building a legacy by reconnecting with a past long suppressed by centuries of colonization.

“Alex will be speaking on building our legacy and how he got into his career and how he’s building his legacy through filmmaking and telling the story of several individuals,” Sandoval says. “We’re really, really excited about this.”

On the next day at the conference, LPA will work to convey the importance and the value of being active civically, to truly impact and help civically and improve the greater community. For Sandoval, it’s important for LPA to not only have professional development but have the cultural aspect. “That’s something we’re really big into. We want our events and workshops, of anything that we do for that matter, to be very focused on our culture as well because our identity is important and it comes into play, especially in the corporate world,” she says.

That will be the topic of one of the sessions at the event titled “Culture Class” that will talk about how culture and identity clash with corporate America. “And how corporate America is failing us which in turn directly and indirectly impacting how many people are in board positions and how many people are in executive positions and even who is representing us in our government,” Sandoval says.

The keynote presentation will be “Investing to Build Capacity.” The event will touch on a bit of everything. The conference will provide guidance and know-how on how to get involved, get their voice heard, and make a positive difference.

“I’m really excited just to see participants walk away with something tangible. So everyone is going to walk away having developed further a skill that they have or discovering a new skill,” Sandoval says. “Of course, it’s always icing on the cake meeting someone that can help them advance in their career or with their skill or even helping them to get their foot in the door somewhere.

“It will be a great event. It will be very, very engaging,” Sandoval adds. “We are planning on doing this every year.”

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.

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