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NSHMBA celebrates diversity with painting by Zalesky

By Arooj Ashraf,

Cleveland Correspondent for La Prensa


The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) held its inaugural event to celebrate diversity on Thursday, May 3, 2007, at the Holiday Inn in downtown Cleveland.


Keynote speaker, Alexander Zalesky, President & General Manager of Sherwin-Williams Company International Division, delivered an inspirational speech on the importance of diversity and understanding U.S. business values in a global arena.

Keynote speaker Alexander Zaleskey with Artemio San Martin

Photos by Arooj Ashraf


“You can not exclude diversity from performance, they go hand in hand,” he said. Zalesky said companies seek to hire individuals that bring various skills to the team and present out-of-the-box solutions. He said businesses are seeking specialized skills to meet their needs and hiring international helps them understand and cater to specific needs.


Zalesky said the U.S.-American business model is goal driven and wants to get to the end as fast as possible. He compared it to football. A tailgate party is an opportunity for networking and social bonding. The game itself is intense competition and aggression. The team meets in huddles to strategize, make a decision and execute it on the field for immediate results. “That is the reality of the business world,” he said.


He said five personal values of the U.S. business world are also essential globally: integrity, humility courage, empathy, and respect. “Like most Latin Americans, I was attracted to the U.S. because I understand where the law stands and don’t need to suck up to get what I know I can deliver,” Zalesky said. He said the U.S. is founded by people seeking something greater than what they could find in their homeland.


He commended NSHMBA’s mission and open membership policy saying it plays an important role in building strong communities. “NSHMBA stands for networking and helping someone else,” he said.


“We don’t get to our positions without the help of someone else,” said Zalesky and the praised mentors who nurtured his growth by pointing out his weakness, his mother for instilling strong values, and his wife for helping him overcome the initial prejudices he faced when he arrived in Mississippi.

Artemio San Martin
, President of the Cleveland Chapter of NSHMBA, said Zalesky was the ideal keynote for the event because of his personality, diverse ethnic background, MBA and Chemical Engineering degrees, and his leadership role in a major Cleveland corporation—Sherwin Williams.


NSHMBA has 32 chapters in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with nearly 6,700 active members. It seeks to foster Latino leaders through graduate management education, professional development so they can provide vital cultural awareness and sensitivity in the nation’s diverse workforce.

L-R: Willard Brown, National City Bank; Bob Knopf, National City Bank; Rafael Colmenares, Momentive Performance Materials; Barry Robinson, National City Bank; & Artemio San Martin, President, National Society of Hispanic MBAs Cleveland Chapter-In-Formation.

Currently in Chapter-In-Formation (CIF) status, NSHMBA hopes to attract the regional MBA and business professionals interesting in networking and enhancing the social and business fabric of Latino leaders in Cleveland.


San Martin says NSHMBA aims to integrate all Latino leaders who are making a difference in the major Cleveland corporations. “Our goal is to recruit and retrain Hispanic talent and we hope to build a lasting legacy in Cleveland,” he said.


Jane Murphy said Zalesky’s speech was phenomenal. “He speaks from the heart and life is exactly how he describes it,” she said.


Zalesky was born in Bolivia to a German mother and Ukrainian father; his children were born spread across the globe. “I belong to the world,” he said. He joined Sherwin-Williams from Eastman Chemical Co., where for 20 years he severed in various engineer, sales and management assignments throughout North and South America.


For more information on NSHMBA visit: http://cleveland.nshmba.org







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