Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen

Dr. Juana Bordas - The Power of Latino Leadership

October 25, 2023 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 198
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
Dr. Juana Bordas - The Power of Latino Leadership
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dr. Juana Bordas is the author of Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age and The Power of Latino Leadership. Both books received the International Latino Book Award and are break-through works in the multicultural leadership field. Her new edition of The Power of Latino Leadership ¡Ahora! was released in March 2023 and can be ordered on Amazon or your local bookstore.

Juana served as advisor to Harvard’s Hispanic Journal, the Kellogg National Fellows, and as a trustee of Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and International Leadership Association (ILA). She was the first Latino to receive ILA’s life-time achievement award.

As a founder and Executive Director for Mi Casa Resource Center, founding president of The National Hispana Leadership Institute and The Circle of Latina Leadership, she was commended by Latina Style Magazine for creating “a Nation of Latina Leaders.

Juana was the first in her family to graduate from college. She then served the Peace Corps in Chile and worked organizing production cooperatives in the barrios of Santiago. Today this type of microenterprise work is recognized as foundational for assisting people achieve economic security.

A Quote From This Episode

  • "I call it 'Latino Destino.' I'm here to build a humanistic multicultural society."

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals interested in studying, practicing, and teaching leadership. Plan for ILA's 26th Global Conference in Chicago, USA,  November 7-10, 2024.

About The Boler College of Business at John Carroll University

  • Boler offers four MBA programs – 1 Year Flexible, Hybrid, Online, and Professional. Each MBA track offers flexible timelines and various class structure options (online, in-person, hybrid, asynchronous). Boler’s tech core and international study tour opportunities set these MBA programs apart. Rankings highlighted in the intro are taken from CEO Magazine.

About  Scott J. Allen

My Approach to Hosting

  • The views of my guests do not constitute "truth." Nor do they reflect my personal views in some instances. However, they are views to consider, and I hope they help you clarify your perspective. Nothing can replace your reflection, research, and exploration of the topic.

Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate, and conversations-to-text do not always translate perfectly. I include it to provide you with the spirit of the conversation.

Scott Allen  0:00  

Okay, everybody, welcome to the Phronesis podcast. Thank you so much for checking in. Today, we have Dr. Juana Bordas, and she is the author of ‘Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age,’ and 'The Power of Latino Leadership.’ Both books received the International Latino Book Award and breakthrough work in the multicultural leadership field. Her new edition of 'The Power of Latino Leadership Ahora’ was released in March 2023 and can be ordered on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Juana served as an advisor to Harvard's Hispanic Journal, the Kellogg National Fellows, and as a trustee of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and the International Leadership Association. She was the first Latino to receive ILA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is a founder and executive director for Mi Casa Resource Center, founding president of the National Hispanic Leadership Institute, and the circle of Latina leadership. She was commended by Latina Style magazine for creating a nation of Latina leaders. Juana was the first in her family to graduate from college. She then served in the Peace Corps in Chile and worked organizing production cooperatives in the Barrios of Santiago. Today, this type of micro-enterprise work is recognized as foundational for assisting people achieve economic security. There's so much more, Juana. You had done work with the Center for Creative Leadership. I believe that's in the background as well, correct? 


Juana Bordas  1:31



Scott Allen  1:32

And your family immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua? 


Juana Bordas  1:36

Yes, I did. 


Scott Allen  1:37

Seven brothers and sisters.


Juana Bordas  1:38  

Yes, I come from a tribe. 


Scott Allen  1:42  



Juana Bordas  1:42  

People think that's strange, but even in the 1920s, the average woman had six to eight children. And I think many of us don't recognize the fact that women don't have to have as many children, how that has not only empowered women but given them choices. And, of course, today, with our planet, with so many people, we really don't want to have families of eight. But back in the old days, especially before the Industrial Revolution, big families and big tribes is how we got here. So, I love my tribe, and I'm happy to have been raised in a group kind of prepared me for leadership.


Scott Allen  2:16  

Well, I want to go there, I want to talk a little bit. When did you first kind of realize that you had this passion for the topic of leadership? I'd love to hear that story.


Juana Bordas  2:25  

I was thinking about this the other day because one of the things about being older is having retrospection and thinking about things. And so, I was thinking about the fact that I'm kind of a bit of a know-it-all. Professors like you and me, we study, we have knowledge, and so I thought, “Where did that start?” And so, I am the youngest daughter in this family that immigrated, I'm three years old. Nobody that was older than me, all five of my brothers and sisters that are older than me speak with an accent, my parents didn't even know English. So, I became the translator. So, I didn't become the know-it-all, you know what I mean? I was the bridge between my family's immigrant status and us coming to this country. And I'm very proud that my family poured themselves into me so I could become educated, and really participate at the highest level. But I kind of, from a very young age, was kind of a leader in my family, even though I was the youngest daughter, and it was because of that transition when we came here, and I was three years old.


Scott Allen  3:25  

Wow. And then talk a little bit about the path you took.


Juana Bordas  3:29  

I think what's really important for me is that coming from an immigrant family, and I think people need to understand that there's been a Hispanic dysphoria. Even today, 33% of Latinos are immigrants, although we have to remember that over a third of the United States was Mexico, so we have these very old ancestral roots here as well. But when you look at my family's journey, when I came to this country, my parents… Think about this: to give up your homeland, your family, your language, your community, and the respect people had for you back in your home because we know how immigrants are treated here. And my mother had a fifth-grade education, and she washed dishes and scrubbed floors so I could get an education. When you come from that kind of background where your family really has that spirit of determination, which really built our country, this immigrant spirit, you are going to succeed, or I am going to succeed because my parents gave up too much in order for me to become an educated woman. And there are two things where we came here for opportunity and education. And so, my family now is very distinguished. I'm an elder, but I've been able to see, like, I have a niece that's an architect, another niece who has her Ph.D. and teaches at the University of Austin. I have a great-nephew that has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. All three of my daughters have advanced degrees. We can do this. 


Scott Allen  4:50

Oh, I love it. 


Juana Bordas  4:52

Yeah. And I think the transformation, especially for immigrants and young people like me, is to realize that even though we don't have white privilege, and we may not have had the right stuff, we come from greatness, we come from people who have determination, and stamina, and vision, and want to leave a legacy. All the things that we teach in leadership, my parents had, but I didn't know that until I went through introspection, and healing, and really understanding my past because they say, “If it didn't kill you, it's going to make you stronger.”


Scott Allen  5:26  

(Laughs) I just came across a quote the other day, “No pressure, no diamonds.” And it’s kind of interesting, right? 


Juana Bordas  5:33  

Yeah. And I think this is a message because I want to talk a little bit about intergenerational leadership because my new book has a whole chapter on that. And we can talk about that in a minute. But I think for young people, it's important for them to understand that life has its ups and downs, it has its bumps. And a lot has been written about how millennials have been kind of protected from that. I think part of it is people only have one or two children, so they pour a lot into their children. But the fact is the first precept of Buddhism is life is suffering or life is difficult. And that's how we grow. We grow through those. And when they define leaders as lifelong learners, it means that every time we have an experience that isn't maybe going the way we want, we learn from it, we change, we adjust, we adapt, and then we become better leaders. So it's kind of a failsafe attitude. But I think it's a great formula for life and for young people because we're seeing so much anxiety around young people today, to really understand that that's kind of the fun of life too.


Scott Allen  6:37  

What I'm really, really interested in kind of starting because I want to get to intergenerational as well; what do listeners need to know as a baseline, from your perspective, about Latino leadership? Are there differences? Are there nuances? What are some things that listeners should know?


Juana Bordas  6:53  

Yeah, well, I really work with 10 principles of leadership. And it's not like people in communities of color aren't doing what mainstream leaders do. Of course, there's kind of a template for leadership. So, the first part is to prepare yourself. Even Robert Greenleaf in ‘The Servant Leader’ said, “We are called to leadership to heal ourselves.” And Peter Block talks in ‘Stewardship,’ about leadership being a path. And then, of course, James McGregor Burns, it's transformation. You're going to transform yourself if you're really a leader. So, I think the first two principles of leadership it’s not who are you as a person to really do that kind of assessment. And it's even more important in the Latino community because we're a people-centered culture, and who you are is more important than how much money you have or what family you came from. Who are you? And so, this is personally small, but one of the big differences is that for a person of color to become a leader, we have to deal with being marginalized, being minorities. Having gone through me thinking that I wasn't smart, I didn't think I was smart till I got to graduate school. And so, what happens is that we have to go through this process. I can remember being discriminated against as a child, I can remember feeling like I wasn't as good as, and that's why I say this transformation is to really look at yourself. But for people in communities of color, we have to deal with the psychology of oppression, it's called. What happened to us because we were marginalized? White leaders don't need to do that, but they do need to look at white privilege and how that has affected their path so that they can understand some of the obstacles so that we can build a real intergenerational multicultural leadership core that reflects the diversity of our country.


Scott Allen  8:40  

I love that. “So we can build,” I love that.


Juana Bordas  8:43  

Yeah. So, the first three principles are really about preparing yourself for leadership. And, like I say, we all know we have to do that, but there's a little bit of a difference when you come from a collective culture, when you come from a marginalized culture. And really, there's a lot of strength in that, like I said, when you process that. And then, the other thing about Latino leadership is that it comes out of our culture, it comes out of our history, it comes out of our experience. Just like the African American experience has given them kind of a very civil rights activist form of leadership, well, our leadership also comes out of that tradition because we are communities of color, but there's also the culture. And so, Latinos are not a race; we're an ethnic group. And so, what really brings us together is our culture. And let me give you an example of how that affects leadership. So, I say the golden rule of Latinos is “mi casa su casa.” Everybody knows that. And it's not only about generosity, but it really means, “What I have is yours.” Latinos, when they go to somebody's house, the first thing you do is feed them, and if you really know him well, you go to the fridge and find out what's there. This idea that people support and share what they have. Well, if you look at that sense of generosity as opposed to materialism or acquiring things, sharing, and making sure everybody has enough. In the Latino community, you don't take more than your share because then the collective is damaged, and other people don't have enough. So, think about a leader who is generous. Think about a leader who cares about other people, who shares their time, who helps develop people. Think about a leader who really understands that by all of us working together, having that shared reciprocity is how we build powerful organizations. My definition of leadership is that the purpose of leadership is to build a society that cares for its people. And when you look at communities of color, our leadership is what has sustained us. Now, for Latinos, it's 530 years, the same thing with African American communities or our indigenous American Indian communities. We have been sustained for all these years because of our generosity, our ability to work together, our ability to listen to one another, and to include everyone. The second rule of Latinos is Bienvenido. It's an inclusive culture, it welcomes other people to join with us. That's very different than exclusion. So, when you start preparing for leadership, understanding the culture that you come from is so important. I call it the Latino advantage. That's our gifts we're going to give the mainstream,


Scott Allen  11:19  

It resonates with that model of servant leadership. That is a very others-focused model of leadership. Yes.


Juana Bordas  11:23  

Absolutely. So, I'm glad you brought that up because I redefined that for us as community stewardship, which Greenleaf talked about community. But when you look at collective cultures, and that's one of the huge distinctions between the dominant culture and cultures in communities of color, and also women's leadership, it's really about the ‘we’ not the ‘I.’ And so when you look at that as one of the fastening points of leadership, of servant leadership, for Latinos is we have to serve our community, we have to advance our community. Leadership is not about me; it's about the we, so collective. I call it community stewardship, but it's about collective reciprocal leadership. And, for Latinos, I framed it called leadership by the many because our leadership and the leadership in communities of color is critical mass theory leadership. We need to get enough people engaged and involved in sharing our histories, our cultures, and what we have to offer and expanding what leadership is. And that's part of what we do. So, as we do that, we create leadership by the many. That means all of us have to engage in our civic life, all of us have to participate in our organizations, and all of us have to make our university strong. So, it's a different kind of leadership. And it also entails a lot of responsibility, which I'm not sure a lot of times dominant culture leaders think of leadership as their responsibility to uplift their people. It's a great honor to be a leader, and what's our purpose? To uplift people. The purpose of leadership is to create a society that takes care of its people. And I do have to say this, Scott, when my first book came out my publisher told me it was going to be listed under business. Now, I had already said in the book that corporations had hijacked leadership, hijacked it. Leadership isn't… Yes, we have to have good organizations, and yes, we have to have a good economy, but beyond that, as James McGregor Burns, Greenleaf, and the people who laid the foundation for modern leadership said, it's got to encompass a good society. That's what Greenleaf called it; the compassionate good society. And so, we have to have that vision. I know you work a lot with a vision. We have to have that vision of where we're going together. And so, yeah, that whole idea of leadership by the many. And the paradoxical thing is that you build that by another leadership principle that I have called the leader is equal. And so, in many communities of color, again, back to the collective web that keeps us together, I say I want my life to be an example, not an exception. And that whole idea of me treating every single person with respect, understanding that everyone has a contribution to make, whether it's keeping the place clean so we can work, or fixing our IT, or making sure we have a budget and get paid, or making sure we have the right outreach so people know about our services. All of this works together in order to create a leadership feeling that everybody can prosper and grow in. And so, the leader is equal. I have a couple of examples. One of my friends that I interviewed for my book is Mayor Federico Pena from Denver, and he was a great mayor. He built the convention center, the airport, got the Rockies here, expanded the airport, and passed more bond issues under his leadership than any city had previously. And he said that today, even though he was mayor many decades ago if he walks into the city and county building, people will say, “Because you knew my name, because you recognized me because you included all of us, I became a leader,” or, “I knew I could do the best job possible.” So when you do that with people, and that's what leaders do, they recognize your potential, they see something in you, they help you grow and develop. And so, by having the leaders equal, you create leadership by the many. 


Scott Allen  15:15  

And I love that phrasing also in there, that visual of kind of the collective web, right? It's an active web.


Juana Bordas  15:24  

Yeah. Native Americans explained it to me like this; they said if you take one of the beautiful baskets made by Hamatos in Mexico, or the American Indians here, you take that beautiful basket, and each strand has to be strong and held together so that that basket can hold even water. It'll hold things. It's a container; it's the community. It's not that we don't want every single one of you to be as strong and as powerful as you can be. We need that in the tribe. We need that in the community. We need that in our country. But in service to the collective, weaving together what is it we need to do. And how do I put my gifts at service because each one of us is unique. By the way, one of the chapters in the book is about destino, which Latinos believe in; destiny. Like me being the youngest child, me going to Chile at a time when there was no Hispanic identity or community, and then coming back understanding who my culture and my people were in 1966, that was very rare. So, my life has shaped my leadership just like your life has. So, we believe we're on a path and that life is not, “I'm the captain of my own ship.” The ship is on the sea, and life is a dance. It brings me stuff, I accept it. When I was given the opportunity to get a graduate degree, it was really almost given to me because I went to get a job at the Social Services Department at the University of Wisconsin, and they said, “Well, we don't hire people unless they have a master's in social work.” And by the time I got through, they were offering me a stipend to go to the University of Wisconsin get my master's degree and come back and work for them. Your destino will lead you to where you need to be, and I call it a destino backpack. Look and see what your assets are, where you were born, what place in the family, what your skills are, what experiences have you had because you're on a path, you're on a journey. And by retrospecting and looking at your destino, or your destiny, you'll understand your personal purpose, and then you can be even more of a leader.


Scott Allen  17:27  

Wow. Wow. Any other foundational before we move onto some of the multi-generational? 


Juana Bordas  17:33  

Just like African Americans have civil rights, we have a thing called Sí, se puede, and a lot of people have heard that. “Yes, we can.” And what's important there is the ‘we.’ “Yes, we can.” And so, Latino leadership is an activist form of leadership. So, when I interviewed young people for my book, I interviewed young activists, digital activists who are now very involved in the Latino community, doing things like DACA, the deferred students that are now able to stay in the United States, and young people did that. Involved in climate change, involved in… This new generation has a real social agenda, and they should because of all the issues that they're facing, from climate change to debt, to not being able to buy a home. Even longevity, young people will not live as long as our generation today because of health concerns and because of the environment. So, there is a new generation of activists and that's the traditional people of color.


Scott Allen  18:27  

And I think it's so interesting to think about that from a perspective of even just… I'm most familiar with, say, like civil rights. And you have an individual like Martin Luther King, Jr., and then you have an individual like Malcolm X, and two very different styles… Or Fred Shuttlesworth. We could add Fred Shuttlesworth into this, where there's going to be more of an assertive and an aggressive, like, “We're tired, this needs to stop,” and kind of pushing. Or we can say Larry Kramer in the LGBTQ community during the AIDS epidemic with Reagan and Fauci. 


Juana Bordas  19:04  

Or you can step back to the women's movement. It’s really important to understand change as well because women got to vote 100 years ago, and it's taken us 100 years to get where we are today. But you have to remember that women chained themselves to fences in front of the White House, and marched. And they couldn't even vote to get the vote, which is the interesting part because they didn't have the vote. But if you look back at the women's movement, it was a very activist movement. And when I was involved as an early feminist, very activist movements with a woman's agenda of education and health and the well-being of people. And so, I think there is a model there that we need to reignite. I think there are young people that are ready to do that. And, while I'm here, I think it's the role of the elder, and I'm one of the elders now, to really work hand in hand with our young people to give them perspective, and to give them support, and to let them know I entered the University of Florida when it was segregated. I had to march to integrate my university. New blacks came in my senior year, I didn't meet another Hispanic. And yet, about eight years ago, I went and spoke to the incoming freshman Latino class, and it was 1500. And the school has become a Hispanic-serving organization. So, we look at all our universities; they're changing. So, again, I can offer perspective to young people. Yes, it's hard right now. For example, what's happening in Florida, it's very hard right now. But I grew up in Florida, and it was a totally segregated state. We can do this.


Scott Allen  20:35  

Well, okay. So, talk a little bit about the multi-generational component because I think you're kind of going there, at least, in spirit right now of, “Look, we have many, many generations of individuals who can continue to influence change,” right? Influence change.


Juana Bordas  20:55  

Yeah. Well, I think one thing that, as a community organizer and an activist, in about seven years, the majority of the electorate will be millennials or younger. We have an incredible shift going on right now. Well, I went to the Colorado Health Foundation, and there were three people with white hair like me there. (Laughs) And I gave a presentation at Johnson & Johnson, and I was having people stand up based on their generation to talk a little bit because each generation also brings different gifts and perspectives. And there was only one other boomer besides me. So, this is happening fast. 10,000 boomers retire every day, and I'm encouraging them, “All the studies say stay involved if you want to stay healthy, active, and relevant.” Because you don't have to work full-time, millennials and Z’s are redefining how we look at work. They say we lived to work, and they want to… Yeah, we worked to live, and they want to live to work. I don’t know what it is, it's just that they want to work, but they want to enjoy their lives. They saw their parents working too hard, so they don't want that. But, in any case, older people today have to really stay engaged. I don't believe in retirement. In Spanish, the word retirement is jubilar which means to get younger.


Scott Allen  22:15  

Oh, wow, really? 


Juana Bordas  22:19  

Well, (? joven?) is a young person, and (?Huvilar?) is the same root; young and retiring. Well, people call it your second childhood, but I really am encouraging my generation to stay engaged. A lot of this happened on our watch, and we have a responsibility. And, like I say, when you look at American Indian leadership, African American leadership, Latino leadership, and even early women's leadership, it's about responsibility.


Scott Allen  22:44  

Mmm. So well said. Well, then we talked even before we got on the air that maybe next summer, or actually not next summer, but next year at the ILA conference in Chicago where we can honor some of those elders and have an experience where people can interact, and communicate, and learn because I think generational learning, and understanding, and empathizing is critical. It's a part of that web.


Juana Bordas  23:14  

Yes. Well, and it’s not only that. Young people keep us young. In other words, people say to me, “How are you so young?” Well, that's because I really do hang out with, and teach, and work with, and so do you. It's such a great path to be able to have that interchange. And one thing I was going to say was that, when I work with young people, they have such a broad perspective. My millennial daughter has been on a computer since she was three. That didn't happen to me. I tell you guys this, when I was in my late ‘40s or ‘50s, I had a secretary who was doing my… We don't even have that anymore, but she was on the computer. So, what I wanted to say was, not only are they digital activists, let me give you an example. When I interviewed Cristina Jiménez, one of the co-chairs of United We Dream, who is the DACA organization. She said that during their marches and so forth, they had 5 million people online. That's unheard of as a community organizer. Or back in the day, when you talked about Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez trying to organize people, we didn't have access to media like they do. And so, they can organize not only National Days of gun violence prevention, like our young Congressman, Maxwell Frost, did, but they can do it fairly quickly and do it, not only across the country, but also international, some of the climate marches. And so, they have this digital activism. They also have a thing called intersectionality where they really are and also looking at the system as dominance and exclusion as being the problem. Whether you're talking about racism, sexism, LGBTQ issues, or climate change, it has to do with some people being in charge and other people not participating. And so, young people want to see the end of dominance and want to see hierarchy flatten. And so, one of the ways I do that is, you're going to laugh at this, is I have my students call me Tia Juana, which means Aunt Juana. All of our cultures have any aunties and people that we relate to as Aunties or Uncles, but they're not really related to us. And what it does is it lowers; it changes the hierarchy because I'm their Auntie that they can talk to. You always have a favorite aunt that you could hang with who was not as judgmental as your parents who listened to you. And that really you exchanged with so. So, they call me Tia Juana. And I'm on TikTok. And I try to really listen to them about how is it that we can relate together. Because I think older people really need to respect the fact that young people today are, first of all, a lot smarter than we were at their age. They say to me, “I want to be like you when I'm old.” And I go, “Oh, no, you're way ahead of me. I'm talking to you; you're 30, and look where you are.” And it's true. Hopefully, we're evolving, and they are so much smarter. Like I said, my daughter was on a computer at three years old. Their perspective of the world, their ability to connect, their ability to bring disparate things together is so much higher than ours. And they've been global. So they're a global community, and a digital community, they value gender fluidity, but a lot of that, that gender, and you can see it in the tattoos, by the way. My daughters have started a fund so I can get a tattoo. 




Juana Bordas  26:38  

So, I can really be part of the group. So, they really value individuality at the same time that they have such a collective sense. They call each other friends. Yeah, that's interesting, isn't it? Even when you're talking to them, they have this idea of friendship or connection that we didn't have in our generation. So, I learn so much from the young people, and they keep me so vibrant as far as, “Yes, we can do this.” We have to have hope; without hope you cannot… You have to have that vision. Peter Senge said, “Leadership is the reality, the vision, the space in between,” that's what you're doing, bringing the reality today more into the vision that you want to have in the future. And so, really working with young people around their vision for the future is so important for elders to do and to support them as we go through this transition of demographics in our country today.


Scott Allen  27:37  

Well, I think the keyword, and it's kind of been a theme of our conversation so far is that “we”. How do we… Give us your definition of leadership again so listeners are reminded


Juana Bordas  27:47  

The purpose of leadership is to create a society that takes care of its people.


Scott Allen  27:51  

Okay. How do we better take care of our people? How do we elevate all? And how do we create spaces for dialogue to better understand some of those differences and connect as humans, right? 


Juana Bordas  28:09



Scott Allen  28:10

And try to make it better, try to leave it better than we found it. 


Juana Bordas  28:12  

And also, when I say that Latinos have a Bienvenido spirit - inclusiveness, I really mean that. Latinos, because we're an ethnic group, 25% of us are Afro-Latinos, and other 25% are indigenous. Over 30% of us identify as multicultural or as coming from more than one culture. And then, 40% of us agree that we have European backgrounds. So, we're all the cultures, and we welcome people to join with us. So, one of the things I write about is that Latinos are the prototype for the multicultural age that's coming. 1,000% of white people change their identity on the last census to be more than one race. Everyone's looking for their identity. Who are we in this global context, in this global world? And we've had so much migration, and immigration, and immigration, we're pretty mixed. And so, how do we develop that respect for people from different communities and really begin to build this multicultural society? A majority of kids under 18 already identify as multicultural; it's already here. You can see it in your classrooms. And so, how do we build this new society that's both humanistic, in other words, people-centered, and respects people for who they are, that intersectionality, that individuality, and yet at the same time, we want to work together?


Scott Allen  29:30  

We will pause there for this conversation. That's a wonderful, wonderful way to sum up what we've just discussed. And so, as we begin to wind down our time, Juana, I always ask guests what you've been reading, what you've been streaming, listening to, watching. What's caught your attention recently? What's been on your radar that maybe listeners might be interested in? What do you think?


Juana Bordas  29:56  

You mean other than ‘Barbie’?




Scott Allen  30:01  

After all of that, you go to ‘Barbie’. Although, I have not seen them on the daughter's side. 


Juana Bordas  30:09

Well, it did take everybody up, didn’t it?  


Scott Allen  30:11

Yeah, I heard it had a good heart to it, is what I heard. I don't know.


Juana Bordas  30:15  

Yeah. I do think that we're in a new stage of feminism today. And it's okay for women to be beautiful as well as powerful, strategic, and leaders. So, anyway, yeah, I have been reading a lot about this intergenerational change that's coming because I think it's so critical to figure out that…When I was young, John F. Kennedy got up and said, “Let the word go forth from this time and space.” The torch has been passed to a new generation of leaders, and here come the boomers. So, we're at that same juncture today. So, I spend a lot of time really reading about and trying to figure out how you build this intergenerational core of people. Within that, because I am an elder, I've been reading a lot about how do you sustain and what is it that makes people of my age keep on keeping on. I've told people I want to be useful, and working, and helping, and sharing, and learning until I leave the planet, which is, according to statistics, really that long. 




Scott Allen  31:25

Well, you will buck that system. 


Juana Bordas  31:27

So, I'd love to read about that. And then, this might be an interesting read for people. I've been thinking a lot about why Latinos, even though we're going to be 78% of the new entries into the workforce, even though we're the fastest growing group, even though 60% of us are millennials or younger, there's a Latino wave coming. Bad Bunny is the best example of that, by the way. Here's a young singer from Puerto Rico who refuses to sing in Spanish becomes the number one pop star in the world, and gets downloaded on more than any other artists for three years in a row because he stood his ground. Because he said, “Be who you are.” That's what he says. He says, “I'm not going to do anything else for you like me; I'm going to be me.” And so, that sense of self. So, I've been reading a lot about and thinking about this Latino wave and how can we get people to really understand the conflict that Latinos went through. Now, we're very polite people, and we're generous and courteous, and so we don't have that same style where we're in your face. But I don't know if people recognize that, during the US Mexican War, the US marched into Mexico City and put its flag up in Mexico City. We had a real war. And the reason the war started was because Mexico and Spain had outlawed slavery, and the settlers in Texas wanted to bring their slaves in. That was the emphasis of the war. So, we were defending the black people when we had this war. So, I don't think people know enough about the history of Latinos in this country, even though this is our ancestral land. And we're connected to 26 countries, and we're the dominant force in this hemisphere, and we invite everybody to join with us. It's a whole different paradigm of diversity and inclusion, and so… 


Scott Allen  33:08  

I love that last part, “And we invite everyone to join us.” “We.”


Juana Bordas  33:11  

That’s right, let’s get with the program because that's who we are: 26 countries, immigrants, all the different races. Oh, by the way, one of my principles of leadership is "gozar la vida" - enjoy life. The other things that Latinos are bringing is celebration, salsa music. We spend more money going out to eat, and going to movies. We want to enjoy our lives, even though we're the hardest working people in America. So, I've been reading about how I get this message across in a way that people who are non-Latino will really understand that we're here to build. I call it 'Latino Destino.' I'm here to build a humanistic multicultural society. 


Scott Allen  33:52  

Well, okay. For listeners, ‘The Power of Latino Leadership Ahora.’ And it is in your bookstore; it's on Amazon; I'm going to put a link in the show notes so that you can access Juana’s work. Such a fun conversation. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate your perspective. I appreciate just the energy and enthusiasm. Listeners, I wish you could have seen Juana in this conversation because she was moving around and she was using her hands, and it was awesome because, as you can tell, she's incredibly passionate about this topic. That is contagious. That is contagious.


Juana Bordas  34:29  

What a pleasure to see you grow and to know you for decades. That's one of the other advantages of age is to be able to see young people like you, which I've known for so long, become a powerful, and engaging, and actually loving leader.


Scott Allen  34:46  

Well, thank you so much, Juana. We'll have you back. We'll have another conversation. Thank you so very much. We appreciate your work. Bye-bye.


Juana Bordas  34:53



Scott Allen  34:54

Okay. In case you couldn't tell, Juana has incredible passion for her work, just incredible passion for her work, and it's contagious. In the literature, it's called emotional contagion. If you're passionate, if you're excited, if you're enthusiastic about the work that you're doing, it's likely that others will be as well. And so, for me, that's kind of the practical wisdom in this episode. What is that emotional tone that you are setting? Jonathan Reims always says leaders create the weather. So, what weather patterns are you creating in your context? Is it one of curiosity, and passion, and enthusiasm for the work, or is it something else? So to Juana, thank you so much, I learned a great deal in that conversation. I always love spending time with you. I appreciate your work. And, for listeners, as always, thank you so much for checking in.



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Latino Leadership and Intergenerational Perspectives
Leadership and Activism for the Collective
Generational Shifts and Activism
Building a Multicultural and Intergenerational Society