AT&T’s Rachel Ybarra on the Company’s Grassroots Approach Toward Advancing Latino Leadership

Originally published at by Rachel Ybarra, AT&T’s Assistant Vice President for State Strategic Planning. AT&T is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.


Leadership.  We’ve all heard the word, but do you know it when you see it? It’s when individuals and strangers come together to achieve a common purpose. At AT&T, this leadership is oftentimes grassroots and magnetic, where friends, colleagues, and strangers within a community come together to be a force for good.

The Hispanic Grassroots Initiative at AT&T began as a group of strong and resourceful strategic advisors coming together to create awareness, advocacy, and advance Hispanic/Latino leadership in our business and communities. Now, three years later and with significant momentum, we’re transforming into the Latinx Leadership Collective, and we’re just getting started.

I’ve had the good fortune of witnessing this Latinx grassroots leadership of mid-level management here at AT&T, with people who are leveraging their positions to make a difference in the business and in their communities.

We are a group of roughly 200 AT&T Latinx leaders with varying degrees of involvement who envision a world with greater Latinx leadership representation. Here are some of the achievements we have accomplished in just three years:

  • Built an internal speaker platform (HOLA Speakers) with over 60 leaders easily accessible for internal and external speaking opportunities.
  • Created a community and distribution mechanism to share job postings and expand our pipeline resource for open positions in our organization.
  • Supported and sourced recommendations of rising frontline Latino talent into internal and external talent development programs and sponsorship events.
  • Acted as a talent agent for podcasts, videos, social media events, national online network events, panel discussions, news stories, and more.
  • Operated as strategic advisors to our HACEMOS Employee Resource Group and associated programmatic talent development efforts.
  • Supported the launch of ATiYATi by one of our own Latinx Leadership Collective members.
  • Created a Financial Flexibility education series with human resources and our third-party 401K administrator to improve Latino financial literacy.
  • Advocated and secured funding for our Latino community amid the pandemic last year. Almost $800,000 was invested into our community for economic empowerment, health, and education matters.

Our recipe for success is replicable for all Latino leaders, whether professional or personal. Here are some simple yet committed efforts to consider:

Step 1.  Shine a light on others continuously and unselfishly.

Step 2. Support bold leaders who are creating and shaping the culture.

Step 3. Intersect people’s interests with their roles in the business. Recognize their existing positional power.

Step 4. Create a talent pool where leaders from around the company can find speakers, advocates, and thought leaders. 

Step 5. Support communities and programs with common interests.

Step 6. Keep reinventing the platform and the objectives of the collective’s work. 

The question I ask myself and others is: How far can we go? For me, I’m committed to serving in our community and to be an example of what is possible.  I hope our journey and experiences encourages you to consider creating a similar collective, at AT&T or beyond. Our work is just getting started.

For more information on other efforts by AT&T to support our Latino workforce, please visit our DE&I Page and our A Ti y A Ti campaign.

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