As a result of the formation of the Glass Ceiling Commission in 1991 (a U.S. Dept. of Labor initiative that studied artificial “glass ceiling” barriers that prevented qualified women and minorities from advancing into management-level positions), women were given an opportunity to advance in corporate America. At the time, Hispanic women had been searching for their place as key influencers in the business world.
Delia Reyes, Patricia V. Asip and Bertha Outler realized there was a need for a group in the D/FW area that supported Hispanic women, so they joined forces while attending the George W. Bush Jr. gubernatorial inauguration ball in January of 1995. And, the idea for the Hispanic 50 was born. The brain child of these three respected Latina community leaders strived to unite Hispanic women leaders as catalysts for increased participation in private and public sectors.
Delia Reyes, a Dallas business woman, has been fighting for the halt of discrimination for years. Through her Dallas-based business, Mrs. Reyes became an advocate for Hispanic rights. Her extensive involvement in the Hispanic community merited her an appointment to the Glass Ceiling Commission. And her voice has been heard nationally, as well as locally, through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she attained the highest position as the first female Chair. Her belief that Hispanic women were not part of the corporate mainstream strengthened her resolve to form the Hispanic 50.
Bertha Outler, Director of Community Relations for the Lone Star Gas Co. at the time, was also an active community leader. She served on the Board of Directors for several professional and civic organizations in Dallas, including the Dallas Concilio, Headstart of Greater Dallas, Dallas Sesquicentennial Committee, Dallas Commissioners Court, YWCA and the Dallas Historical Society. Ms. Outler believed that a group like the Hispanic 50 could pave the road for Latina leaders.
Patricia V. Asip, Manager of Multicultural Affairs for J.C. Penney Co., Inc. at the time, was a big catalyst in the growth of Hispanic marketing at the Dallas-based retailer. Her experience serving on various boards across the country, including the National Council of La Raza, also merited an appointment by President George W. Bush to the Glass Ceiling Commission. Mrs. Asip’s commitment to the Hispanic community nationally led her to also form the Hispanic 50 in an effort to strengthen the local impact of the Hispanic women.
Delia Reyes, Bertha Outler and Patricia V. Asip created the foundation today’s Hispanic 100 has been built on. Today, the women that comprise the Hispanic 100 represent various professional fields such as banking, communications, entrepreneurship, education, retail, marketing and advertising, public service, medicine, law, corporate and government.
The Hispanic 100 continues to be a resource for other organizations and corporations in search for Hispanic women leaders to serve on boards and commissions.