CLEVELAND (WJW) – After obtaining her Master’s degree from Cleveland State University in 2007, Marcia Moreno kept having the same conversation.
“So many people, companies, everybody, ‘Well, we really want to hire more Latinos, but we can’t find… there is no Latinos with X-expertise or background,'” said Moreno. “I looked around my network, and all I knew were, you know, highly educated Latinos, right?”
In 2020, during a global pandemic, Moreno, a Chilean immigrant, decided it was time to change that narrative. Through her company, AmMore Consulting, she created “100+ Latinos Cleveland Must Know.”
“Highlight other talent in the city and give organizations, remove that excuse, right, that challenge,” said Moreno. “And every time somebody would say, ‘Well, we can’t find them,’ aha, wait a minute. There’s a list, free, on my website.”
Moreno announced the 2023 cohort on Sept. 18, a list of Latino professionals in the corporate and public sectors, non-profits and even small business owners.
“And almost 80%, which is traditionally every year, is bilingual, which is also super cool,” said Moreno. “And usually between 80 and 85% have an undergraduate degree, and about 50% have a graduate degree.”
Sergio Robles, assistant professor of marketing at Baldwin Wallace University, told FOX 8 News that making the 2021 100+ Latinos cohort helped him get the job at Baldwin Wallace and much more.
“It just kind of exploded on social media in a way that other organizations, because Marcia Moreno who runs the 100 Latinos, was able to get a seat for me at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress,” said Robles. “It just kind of evolved for other organizations wanting me to be on their boards.”
Being part of the 100+ Latinos list is not just about professional connections. Cohort members say that list helped them reconnect to parts of themselves.
“I had not fully been Mexican, honestly, since I had stepped foot in the U.S.,” said Cristina Gonzáles Alcalá. “I stepped foot in that place, and it was loud, it was vibrant.”
Gonzáles Alcalá says attending the 2021 cohort meetup with fellow members empowered her to bring more authenticity to her role at Akron Community Foundation, where she is director of community investments.
“I needed life breathed into me, and that’s what being with my people gave me, right? I have not been with my people in that capacity,” said Gonzáles Alcalá.
You see, Moreno doesn’t just put out the list.
Her firm offers Latino professionals monthly development opportunities while helping companies get what she calls “Latino Ready.”
Moreno consults with her clients to assist them in becoming more inclusive, equitable and prepared to attract and retain talent from the fastest-growing population in the United States.
“There’s a lot of issues, systemic issues, historic issues. But there’s a lot of us that are making a positive impact, that are creating businesses, that are highly educated,” said Moreno. “There are doctors, engineers, and astronauts, you know, science. We are in every single aspect and field of this country. We are contributors. We’re not only taking, we’re giving.”
If you would like to view the 100+ Latinos cohort profiles, click here.