20th Annual Latino Leadership Banquet Celebrates GSB Diversity, Influence

Event honored Fran Maier, MBA ’89, and highlighted recent research on Latino entrepreneurship.

March 25, 2016

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The Latino Leadership Banquet at Vidalakis dining hall | Stacy Geiken

The Hispanic Business Student Association celebrated the 20th Annual Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Banquet in early March. Since 1996, the banquet has commemorated the history and presence of the Latino community at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), and honored and encouraged leadership in business. The banquet is named for Jerry I. Porras, the Lane Professor of Organizational Behavior and Change, Emeritus.

“We want to celebrate those individuals who have made an impact, and charted a path that few, at this point, have traveled,” said Daniel Rojas, co-organizer and second-year MBA student, at the event. “They inspire me, and the rest of us, and prove that anything is possible. That is worth celebrating.”

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Matthew Carmona, Jerry Porras, Daniel Rojas | Stacy Geiken

“Today, 20 years later, this banquet is still as relevant as ever,” added Matthew Carmona, co-organizer and second-year MBA student. “Many of the businesses and institutions that shape our lives reflect neither their customers nor their stakeholders. Many still do not look like the audience in this very room.

“That said, this banquet is an important opportunity for us to rethink the face of success, both here in Silicon Valley and in the broader business community. Nights like tonight enable us to both celebrate and associate success with those who do not conform to the Mark Zuckerberg, hoodie­wearing archetype.”

Garth Saloner, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, praised the Hispanic Business Student Association, sponsor of the event, for its impact on the academic experience.

“At Stanford GSB we have built a community where diversity is the norm, not the exception,” Saloner said. “Right in the middle of all of this is a Latino influence that brings a unique set of life experiences that makes Stanford GSB what is it today. As a graduate school of business and as a community, the diversity of experiences and of cultures gives us the ability to share different ideas, perspectives, and approaches in our unique way.”

The night also served to highlight the important work of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, whose groundbreaking research was issued last fall.

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Fran Maier, MBA ‘89 | Stacy Geiken

Fran Maier, MBA ’89, founder and former CEO and chair at TRUSTe, a data privacy management company, was this year’s recipient of the Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Award.

Since 1994, Maier has focused on building online brands and enhancing consumer trust online. She also speaks often on the subject of women in entrepreneurship and technology, as well as on the importance of marketing to the large and influential female market.

In her remarks, Maier talked about her self-identification struggle and eventual acceptance of her Latina identity, and the complicated decision over checking the ethnic/racial identity box on her GSB application.

“After mulling it for a while, I decided to check the box and embrace my Latina identity,” she said. “I also decided to write one of my essays on the decision, and I remember that I wrote that I should check the box because it was important to be counted. And as an incoming member of the Stanford GSB Class of 1989 being counted as a success. I also felt that if I didn’t check the box, I would lose an important part of my identity and in some way deny the culture and the pride that I had grown up with. A by-product of checking the box was that it instilled in me — perhaps more than I knew — a drive to make an impact. To earn the opportunities that Stanford provided me.”

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Right in the middle of​ our diverse​ community is a Latino influence that brings a unique set of life experiences that makes ​Stanford GSB what is it today.
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Garth Saloner

Maier also shared lessons for women based on her successful career, which included being one of the founding members of Match.com, the online dating website.

“Because of my own experience, I started to work with female founders so that they could avoid some of the issues I had to face earlier. My typical advice for women is to think bigger, negotiate harder, be more confident,” she said. “I tell them to embrace the large women’s market, reminding them that women make more of the purchasing decisions, and hold just as much wealth. More than a few times, an advisee will ask me about an issue — should they call the investor or ask for more money? — and I might say to them, ‘What would a man do?’ That simple question often reframes the issue and offers a solution.”

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