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EllenCastro_color_2509My guest is best-selling author, inspirational speaker, coach and global consultant Ellen Castro. Ellen’s clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to non-profits to schools and individuals. She has touched millions via keynotes and media appearances. She earned her MEd from Harvard and MBA from Southern Methodist University where she served on the faculty of the Edwin L. Cox Business Leadership Center for more than 15 years. Her first corporate experience was leading a $90 million profit center of 500 employees for Exxon in the 1970s, where she was the highest-ranking female in Marketing, with five promotions in just 11 years. Today she’s spreading the word about her latest nonfiction work, Spirited Leadership…52 Ways to Build Trust.

Welcome, Ellen! Tell us what got you into coaching.

Thank you! ! Delighted for the opportunity. I started coaching officially in the 1980s when I worked for this amazing start-up after earning my MEd from Harvard. As director of organizational and management development, I traveled throughout the US coaching the leaders of 30+ HMOs to create cultures of trust, teamwork and excellence in an industry that was facing many challenges.

Unofficially, I’ve been a coach since college. I was a sophomore advisor and resident assistant as well as actively involved in many leadership/mentoring organizations. Then at Exxon, as a leader of a $90 million profit center with 500 employees, I coached my team to greatness and success. In fact, we won several awards!

I love helping and encouraging others and giving feedback in a way that it can be heard – without crushing the human spirit.

What compelled you to write Spirited Leadership… 52 Ways to Build Trust?

I was compelled based on my experience at Exxon. I battered my head on the glass ceiling at Exxon in the mid-1980s while scrambling up the corporate ladder. One fateful, dreary day in Houston, my boss, Ray, called me into his corner office. As Ray doodled, he informed me he was blocking my sixth promotion in 11 years. Stunned and dumbfounded, I asked why. He simply stated he did not like me or my jewelry. The world I knew imploded. I quit during a massive reorganization a few months later. Within a year — call it luck, synchronicity or grace — I was attending Harvard University to earn my second Master’s. The devastating, demoralizing, humiliating experience of losing my spirit and soul at work became my launching pad to living a life of excellence, my rewarding career and enjoying a fulfilling life.

What I considered punishment was simply preparation.

3749999_orig I want others to be equipped to embrace inevitable obstacles and use them as breakthroughs, not breakdowns. The 52 Ways provide a personal power leadership workout and concise resource for success regardless of external forces.

We are our choices. We can live an amazing life of excellence, self-expression and success in all its many forms by harnessing our personal power.

What does it mean to live courageously and fearlessly and how can we achieve it?

Living courageously to me is living our lives, not the lives that others or the life society says we should live. Living our lives from the inside out based on values, respect, trust and love. Each of us was made on purpose for a purpose, of that I am sure. Each of us is given unique talents, skills, attitudes and aptitudes that are meant to change the world for the better.

Unfortunately, most of us are living in a state of fear and stress, I know I was —  I still have my moments. In the past, I was driven by external validation, approval, acceptance and society’s definition of success. Externals can change in a heartbeat.

By grace, faith and better choices, I am now living from the truth within. I am loved, accepted and far more powerful than I imagine. I am made in the image of God. WOW! The 52 Ways provide the blueprint and toolkit to live courageously and fearlessly, to do what is right and fulfill our unique divine purpose.

Trust is the key. Trust for oneself, trust that life is for you and trust that you can be all that you were created to be with better choices. Every choice counts.

The book facilitates the readers’ feeling comfortable in their own skin thus gaining increased confidence to live boldly.

How does your book help people release their energy and creativity?

It is amazing how much energy and creativity I have freed up by living from the inside out. By trusting myself and trusting that life is for me, I can trust others and bring out the best in them.

When you live from your passion and purpose, there is no competition. You liberate your greatness and allow others to live from their potential instead of living from fear, doubt and survival. We all have greatness. We were meant for greatness!

The 52 ways allow the readers to harness their personal power, gain leadership muscle and emotional stamina – they did for me – to live from their greatness, not their self-imposed limitations

My life went from tragic to magic, from surviving to thriving. I learned the hard way and have enough gray hairs for all of us. These are my learnings I am delighted to share to make others’ lives easier, brighter and lighter!

Executives and leaders worldwide have used your book to create cultures of trust, sensational teamwork, innovation and excellence. Can you tell us how your book has helped them achieve this?

This book increases the executives’ and leaders’ awareness and provides them the tools to build and develop their leadership skills, abilities, emotional intelligence and people smarts. Did you know that emotional intelligence is up to 90% of the differential between leaders and managers according to Dr. Daniel Goleman – the leading expert in the field?

Spirited Leadership takes emotional intelligence and makes it practical by providing a concise description of the behavior, characteristic, attitude and/or action followed by insightful questions, practical exercises and success applications.

Many leaders use it as their go-to reference guide to solving immediate problems and challenges. Some managers and leaders have chosen to use it as a weekly team activity to create stronger bonds of trust and collaboration while building the capacity of the team members. Others use it as a coaching and mentoring guide.

Leaders have told me that it has made them very conscious of the impact they have on setting the culture. Culture beats strategy every time. They become conscious that everything communicates. There are no neutral actions. Everything they do either builds trust and increases their credibility or destroys it. Everything they do either unleashes potential and builds healthy self-esteem and confidence in themselves, others and the future or destroys it.

I could go on and on! I’ve seen the success my clients have had – it is inspiring and motivating!

Who is your target audience?

Anyone who wants the competitive edge in today’s stressful, non-traditional and intense times, where competence alone has ceased to be enough to succeed in business or in life.

The initial target audience in 1998 with the first edition was executives, leaders and managers in the workplace. Over the last 15 years the audience has expanded. It now includes people who are aspiring to those levels as well as influencers and professionals wanting better, quicker and enhanced results. Individuals entering the workplace are using it as an invaluable resource for assimilating into the workplace. Students are using it as their leadership primer and self-confidence igniter. Entrepreneurs are using the 52 Ways as a blueprint for building their brand value. Community volunteers and parents give it rave reviews for building better relationships in the community and at home. Associations such as Project Management Institute (PMI) and non-profits such as the Komen Foundation are buying it to uplift and educate their members.

Regardless of position, title, sector or industry, this concise book is relevant.

You remain active in the Hispanic community and co-authored Tortilla Soup for the Spirit. Tell us about this.

You are right, I do remain active in the Hispanic community — it is very important to me.

Tortilla Soup was a delight and honor to co-author. The heart-warming book is a delicious collection of works by Latinas and Latinos from across the country.  The compilation reflects the many aspects of our heritage and culture, including our deep faith and love for life.

What important message you hope readers will get from your book?

We are our choices.

Every choice counts.

You are always on stage.

You are far more powerful than you imagine.

Live greater with trust!

Any last words you’d like to share with my readers?

Redefine failure.

Life is for you — promise.

You are meant for greatness!

Live empowered and energized.

Be a spirited leader!

Blessings and thanks!

Thank you, Ellen!

My interview was originally published in Blogcritics.

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It’s a pleasure to have as my guest Juana Bordas today. Bordas is president of Mestiza Leadership International, a company that focuses on diversity, leadership and organizational change, as well as founding President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute. After being a faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership, she served as vice president of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and as a trustee of the International Leadership Association. Her book Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age was a International Latino Book Award winner in 2008. Bordas is here today to talk about her latest book, The Power of Latino Leadership. Visit her website.

Bordas is currently touring the blogosphere with Condor Book Tours.

JuanaBordas1What is Mestiza Leadership International and how did your work there begin?

I started Mestiza Leadership International in order to integrate leadership, diversity, and positive social change. In the multicultural age, achieving our potential requires tapping into the talents and assets of our rich diversity. Second, in our country today leadership is listed under business. There is no classification of leadership as a field in libraries, universities, or book categories.

This presents a challenge. The purpose of leadership is not just about business or the economy. Leadership is about creating the society we want to live in. It is about ensuring that the values we hold most dear–equality, justice, the common good, pluralism, community, and individual worth–are integrated into our society. Leadership is also a communal responsibility–everyone has something to contribute. Yes, we want to have a strong economy and good jobs, but we can’t let corporations highjack leadership–leadership has a much wider scope and that is to ensure the people’s well-being and to create the good society.

Mestiza Leadership International promotes leadership that empowers people to make a contribution and be more effective in their communities and organizations.

You’re also the president of National Hispana Leadership Institute. How did that come about?

I was the first president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) for the first seven years. NHLI is now 26 years old and I am proud to say has trained hundreds of Latinas from across the country for leadership. The NHLI network of Latinas is an hermanidad or sisterhood who assist and support each other. NHLI is creating a powerful leadership force for Hispanic community advancement and to build a more inclusive America.

Your second book, The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contribution has just come out. What was your inspiration behind this book?

Recently Time, Newsweek, Parade and Rolling Stone all had Latinos on their covers. Salsa is America’s favourite condiment. Latinos were the deciding force in the last presidential election. Hispanics have the highest participation in the workforce and are the fastest growing small business sector. Moreover, the US is the fastest growing Spanish speaking country in the world. Because of their exploding demographics, by the middle of the century Latinos will make up a third of the US.

The Latinization of America is a real phenomenon–right now!

But how did this happen? What are the leadership lessons of those who advanced the Latino community? What are the contributions Latinos will make in the future…in other words what is Latino Destino? And how can leading with a Latino flavor be a valuable asset for everyone?

5140509The Power of Latino Leadership answers these questions. By understanding how Latinos have arrived to where we are today, and by embracing our unique form of leadership, Latinos can continue moving forward and bring their cultural assets into the mainstream.

Who is your target audience?

Latino leadership is a model for the 21st century. It has an inclusive community spirit that fosters contribution and service. It has an international, intergenerational scope and an immigrant spirit. The Power of Latino Leadership is for anyone who wants to embrace diversity and be a more effective leader.

Mainstream leaders will learn about the powerful ways Latinos have led their communities. Companies will better understand how to serve and connect with Latino consumers. Young Latinos can take pride in the accomplishments and integrity of our leaders. Latinos will know their history and see how leading from their cultural core will make them even more successful.

What would you like readers to learn from your book?

I want to change the “conversation” and focus of leadership. Most leadership books have been written from Anglo, male, and Euro-centric perspective. Historically, leadership has been hierarchical, the domain of the influential few, and associated with control and dominance.

This type of leadership is not strategically suited for the global multicultural age where change is constant and our problems are very complex. People are better educated and want to participate.

The Power of Latino Leadership provides a model that embraces diversity and promotes participation, social responsibility, and community. I hope readers will be inspired to join in and help build a world that cares for its people and values differences.

Tell us about your Latino Leadership Program and its benefits. Who would be a good candidate for this program?

The Latino Leadership Development Program (LLDP) was launched ten years ago. The purpose is to assist Latinos actualize their leadership potential and to increase their contributions to their organizations. The program includes individualized assessments and coaching. The LLDP integrates the best of mainstream leadership with the assets and lessons that come from the Latino culture and leadership.

You also have a program specifically aimed at Latinas. Could you give us a brief overview?

Latinos are the youngest population in America. To keep moving forward, leaders must prepare the next generation. This is the purpose of the Circle of Latina Leadership. Emerging leaders (25-40 years old) participate in a nine month community leadership program that builds their skills. Each participant works with a mentor to clarify what their contribution will be.

Latinas have always been the connectors and nurtures of family and community. By coming together, they can support one another’s journeys and build a network that benefits their communities and families.

What do you find the most rewarding about working as a coach?

I don’t do much individual coaching at this time. As a social worker I spent years coaching and assisting individuals and groups. I then moved to helping create organizations such as Mi Casa and NHLI that benefit more people and have continuity. The programs I design include coaching or mentoring as individual reflection and learning are key components of leadership development.

The most challenging?

Finding the right match for people is a challenge. We can learn from everyone, but there is a certain chemistry and connection that happens between folks that can really spark growth and development. Coaching is successful when both parties learn from each other.

What’s on the horizon for Juana Bordas?

Promoting The Power of Latino Leadership is numero uno. And if you are reading this you can help by buying the book. And Gracias!

People who read the book will understand that Latinos are a culture or ethnic group and not a race. Furthermore, Latinos are impeccably inclusive and can be Black, White, Brown, Indigenous, Mocha or Mestizo (mixed).

Because culture is learned, people can choose to “learn” or experience the culture. In my family, for instance, my sister’s husband, Karl has become a “Latino by affinity” or Corazon. He loves the extended familia, the music, food, and values such as celebration and generosity. I say if you are around Latinos long enough the rhythm is going to get you.

The Latino culture also has a bienvenido or welcoming spirit. We embrace people who want to share our values and way of life. My next book will be about becoming a Latino by Corazon. So stay tuned and get ready for the Latinization of America. We are all going to have a very good time!

This interview first appeared on Blogcritics

Follow the author’s virtual book tour!

Monday June 17 Condor Musings

Tuesday June 18 Hispanic New York
Wed June 19 Examiner
Thursday June 20 Latina Lista
Friday June 21 OC Gente

Monday June 24 L2L
Tuesday June 25 Latina Book Club
Wed June 26 Latina Geeks
Thurs June 27 Que Means What & Amigapreneur 
Friday June 28 Pa’lante Latino

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