How Do You Get Ahead in the Marketplace?

Latinx individuals face an inordinately difficult climb in reaching the highest levels of the corporate ladder. A recent survey by the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility found that among the top companies in the United States, only 4% of the senior executives were Latinx.

At Bradley, Latinx students have opportunities to develop their professional skills and create connections to help students succeed in the marketplace, thanks to the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), established on campus in 2017.

“ALPFA’s main purpose is to cultivate and empower Latinx leaders,” said Jennifer Reyes, president of Bradley’s ALPFA chapter, and a senior majoring in advertising and public relations. “ALPFA is for all majors, not just students majoring in business.

“It’s difficult to gain the professional skills you need to excel in any occupation, and it can be even harder if you are a person of color or a first-generation college student.”

Now one of the most successful and active student groups on campus, the chapter made their presence known in a big way at the ALPFA National Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month.

In Orlando, the Bradley ALPFA contingent won three scholarships: Reyes won a  $10,000 award; junior marketing major Jocelyn Avalos garnered a $5,000, prize; and sophomore Merari Velazquez took home a $2,500 scholarship.

Moreover, at the job fair portion of the convention, two students landed internships with Fortune 100 corporations: sophomore cybersecurity major Christian Garcia with Goldman Sachs, and Velazquez with Boeing. Sophomore management and information systems and world languages and cultures double major Victor Tierrafria-Marte accepted an internship with Big Four accounting firm PwC (also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers).

“ALPFA continuously gives me opportunities to become successful, and further myself as a professional,” said Garcia.

Alicia Martinez, a junior double-majoring in management and leadership and marketing, and the internal vice president of the Bradley ALPFA chapter, explained that a lot of ALPFA’s work involves partnering with companies and advocacy groups.

“We recently did an informational (session) with an alumni at Target, so we will have an ongoing connection with them,” she said. “We also work with the Greenwood Project in Chicago, which works to increase opportunity for students of color.”

Last week ALPFA brought in a photographer to take top-notch headshots at the Business and Engineering Convergence Center — just $3 for three photographs — for any student who needed them. Good headshots are vital for LinkedIn, the top professional networking platform.

“Not everyone has a basic headshot available and they are not easy to take on your own,” said Reyes. “Also, if you write an article or do a presentation, you need a good profile picture.” 

Martinez is now leading the planning for ALPFA’s upcoming regional conference Oct. 15, “Galería de Seuños,” or “Dare to Dream,” which will coincide with the conclusion of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Bradley hosts the conference every year.

“The goal is to empower young minds with information on what’s happening in the world,” said Martinez. “Besides learning about our culture, there will be workshops on generational wealth and how to build your brand. It's a big event.”

- Chris Quirk