I joined the organization because of its mission and group camaraderie. Having left Cuba alone at the age of 13, education has been my ticket to early success in life; I felt HACE's mission of promoting Hispanic professionals in the corporate and government sector, while remodeling the benefits of a degree to a younger generation, was something I wanted very much to be a part of.
I was initially elected to the board of directors in 1984 and became president of HACE in 1987. At the time, it was in the throes of a major financial and institutional crisis. This led to my having to completely restructure the organization and dismiss all the staff. HACE at that point became an organization led and staffed by its volunteer members of the Board. While this crisis tested our ability to survive, it also had the beneficial effect of bringing the Board together in our efforts to save an organization we had all come to believe in and love.
The experience I gained from the opportunity and honor of being able to lead the organization provided me with leadership and management skills I have used throughout my career.