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Hispanic Alliance Leadership Development Initiatives launches first group

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

Hispanic Alliance launched Hispanic Alliance Leadership Development Initiative (HALDI) on Nov. 5, 2010 bringing together 17 promising participants from its partnering agencies.

Carlos Chinchilla

This is not just another leadership program, said Executive Director Carlos Chinchilla, This is a better program. He explained the purpose of the initiative is to provide a comprehensive program that addresses the needs of the Latino community, bridges generation gap between existing leaders, and increases visibility and connectivity.

HALDI goes a step further and requires participants to be available for the Hispanic Talent Bank, a resource of leaders prepared to work on boards, commissions and take on civic leadership roles. The eight month series will have participants meet once a month to discuss components of leadership and life based issues within their organizations.

Chinchilla said with HALDI leaders will be better positioned to overcome existing gaps and become strong stake holders in the citys leadership. He said the vision is to reverse the exodus of young leaders from the city by opening and giving visibility to opportunities.

You are valuable to us, we look forward to you becoming ambassadors of tomorrow, he said told the participants who were selected based on nominations and personal essays they submitted.

Edwin Samuel Nieves said he is excited to be participating in HALDIs first group and hopes to refine his leadership skills and connect with Latino leaders.  Nieves said he is passionate about this community and he will be a part of it regardless of where he goes and lives. I believe in this community, and I believe in doing things together, he added his vision for the community is to have more cohesion and hopes HALDI will be a first step to accomplishing that.

The leadership workshops will be facilitated by Lisa P. Gaynier, founder of Creative Change.biz who said HALDI is unique because material will evolve with the participants and be customized to the specific needs of the Latino community and address the cultural sensitivities that other programs do not.

Dr. Mara Pujana applauded the Hispanic Alliance in creation of this initiative and shared the history of the people and groups who brought passion and vision to the community and paved ways for such programs to be created in Cleveland.

Luis Gomez

She said passion and commitment are crucial to accomplishing anything and encouraged participants to set aside ego and work hard to better not just themselves, each other but also the entire community. It is very difficult for human being to change the status quo, you have to have guts, she said.

Luis Gmez agreed; We have to embrace each other, he said.  Gmez said twenty years ago the first Convencin took place in Cleveland and laid foundation for many organizations who are now nominating leaders for HALDI.

Participant Lucy Guilfu said she hopes HALDI will increase the visibility of leaders among corporate and nonprofit organizations so emerging leaders can find mentors. I am looking forward to growing, learning and as I do giving back to the community, she said.

Lourdes Negrn-McDaniel, President of the Board of Trustees at Hispanic Alliance, told the participants they are the original cohorts who will shape the program to match their and the communities needs. You are our most important group, she said.  Negrn-McDaniel stressed the importance of working within the greater community to benefit both simultaneously. She said the diversity of age, experiences and perceptions among the group was equally important and she was struck by how each identified themselves through culture, language, heritage or country of origin.

Chinchilla stressed the imitative is not just a Hispanic Alliance effort but relies on the collaboration and unity of all agencies involved, the sponsors and funders alike.  

To read the report for HALDI visit: http://www.hispanicallianceinc.org/resources.html


Lourdes Negrn-McDaniel, President of the Board of Trustees

Lisa P. Gaynier, Founder of

Edwin Samuel Nieves and Jaci Torres

Carlos Chinchilla, and Dr. Maria Pujana of the Cleveland Foundation






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