The list: 101 top influential leaders in the U.S.

Position:Part 1
 
FREE EXCERPT

For five consecutive years, we have been delivering to you the list of top influential leaders of the Hispanic community. It is a list that has become more powerful, but also harder to narrow down, and one that is marked by the sheer amount of emerging talent and leadership that s out there.

For the first time, this year the list is comprised by almost all Latinos, which is an interesting fact because it means that more and more, Latinos are taking a strong step forward towards leadership: and in the process they are successfully filling shoes that have traditionally Been filled by non-Latinos. This is a good thing. In fact, it is a mighty, powerful thing. It is a trend that we must not only celebrate, but we must also support.

Congratulations to all of these extraordinary men and women, for their achievements are helping make this great nation a better place to live in everyday.

001 MEXICO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGE: 83

DAVID V. AGUILAR

National Border Patrol Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Education: Graduate, John E Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Senior Executive Fellows

Residence: Washington, D.C

CHANCES OF MAKING THE LIST NEXT YEAR: Low

Who he is:

Born in the Rio Grande valley, Aguilar started his duty with the U.S. Border Patrol in June 1978, serving as Patrol Agent in charge of three diverse Border Patrol Stations in Texas from 1988 to August 1996. Promoted to Patrol Agent in Charge of the Dallas Border Patrol Station in January 1988, he was again promoted to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station in 1992; a hotbed of activity for narcotics interdiction along the

Texas-Mexico border. In 1995, Aguilar moved to the Brownsville Station, one of the largest Border Patrol Stations in the Central Region.

* Why he made the list:

Aguilar, Chief of the Border Patrol since July 1, 2004, weathered the 2007 storm of a no-confidence vote by his staff, claiming that his approach was too lenient. Aguilar admits "This line of defense does come with a price." As the nation's highest ranking Border Patrol officer, Chief Aguilar directs the enforcement efforts of more than 12,000 Border Patrol Agents nationwide. Chief Aguilar brings to the job the knowledge and expertise gained from 30 years of service with the Border Patrol, along with a clear understanding of the demands of the force he is in charge of.

Our Prediction:

Aguilar will find the balance and regain the confidence of his team. The next Commander-in Chief's approach to Border Patrol will likely bring fresh opportunities for Aguilar's expertise in conjunction with the "Secure Fence Act."

Contact: U.S. Border Patrol (202) 344-1780

002 MEXICO HEALTH & SCIENCE AGE: 54

SERGIO AGUILAR-GAXIOLA

Chairman of the Board, National Mental Health Association.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Education: M.D., Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico; Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Residence: Sacramento, California

CHANCES OF MAKING THE LIST NEXT YEAR: High

Who he is:

Originally from Mexico, Aguilar-Gaxiola is the founding director of UC Davis' Center for Reducing Health Disparities, where he guides a multidisciplinary, community-focused, collaborative approach to studying and solving inequities in health access and quality of care.

Why he made the list:

In June of 2006, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola was named Chair of the board of Mental Health America, where he is expected to provide direction and leadership to the national organization and its over 320 Affiliates nationwide. Since 1993, he has been the Director of the Mexican-American Prevalence and Services Survey (MAPSS) Project. Since 1999, the Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Consortium. In early 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office honored Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola with a Minority Health's National Minority Health Hispanic Community Leader Award. In 2007, he received the Excellence in Hispanic Mental Health Advocacy, Leadership, and Research Award from the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health.

Our Prediction:

As the head of the nation's oddest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola will devote his best effort to increase the understanding

Contact: UC Davis (916) 703-9211

003 CHILE ARTS & FASHION AGE: 85

ISABEL ALLENDE

Author

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Education: Doctor of Letters, Bates College, Dominican College and Columbia College; Various honorary degrees.

Residence: San Rafael, California

CHANCES OF MAKING THE LIST NEXT YEAR: Medium

Who she is:

Allende was born in Lima, Peru to diplomat Tomas Allende, the Chilean ambassador to Peru and Francisca Llona Barros, and first cousin, (once removed) of Salvador Allende, the President of Chile from 1970 to 1973. In 1973, after a coup where the president was assasinated, Isabel was forced to leave Chile due to her family ties with him. Allende, a writer in the "magic realism" tradition, is one of Latin America's most successful women novelists. Her novels weave myth and realism. She lectured and taught literature at several US colleges. In 2003, Allende obtained U.S. citizenship.

Why she made the list:

Allende's novels have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 51 million copies. The Los Angeles Times has called Isabel Allende "a genius." Recipient of many international awards, including the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, granted to writers "who have contributed to the beauty of the world," she is founder of the Isabel Allende Foundation, dedicated to supporting programs that promote and preserve the fundamental rights of women and children to be empowered and protected. Her memoir, The Sum of Our Days describes a family that endures drug addiction, death, betrayal and divorce. Allende's courage is again on display. The book describes life [and death] with her family, which includes her son, Nicolas, husband, William Gordon; grandchildren and her departed daughter, Paula.

Our Prediction:

With the continued devotion of her legion of fans and three movies of her books currently in production--Aphrodite Eva Luna and Gift for a Sweetheart-- Allende's continued success and popularity are certain.

Contact: Isabel Allende Foundation (415) 289-0992

004 CUBA STATE/LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGE: 55

CARLOS ALVAREZ

Mayor, Miami-Dade County

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Education: B.B.A. from Florida International University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Residence: Miami, Florida

CHANCES OF MAKING THE LIST NEXT YEAR: High

Who he is:

Carlos Alvarez became Mayor of Miami-Dade County on November 16, 2004, after a distinguished 28-year public service career that began in 1976, when he joined the Miami-Dade Police Department. He was promoted through all the civil service ranks and on March 31, 1997, he was appointed Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. For seven years, he managed a department of more than 5,000 employees and a budget of close to half a billion dollars. The father of two sons and one daughter, he arrived in the United States from Cuba with his family at the age of eight.

Why ha made the list:

Alvarez now oversees the day-to-day operations of Miami-Dade County government, which employs more than 30,000 employees and operates with a budget of close to $7 billion dollars. His focus includes Miami-Bade County's two largest economic engines, Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, which combined generate more than $365 billion dollars and 352,000 jobs for our local economy; and improving transportation. Highlights of his administration include the launch of Miami-Bade County 3-1-1 Answer Center, the Mayor's Initiative on Aging, and The Mayor's Mental Health Task Force. He has been a strong supporter of planned growth, and fought hard to protect the Urban Development Boundary to ensure future generations will have sufficient clean water, a healthy economy and social well-being.

Our Prediction:

His career in public service will continue, perhaps advancing to the state level or even a run for Congress.

Contact: Miami Dade County Office (305) 375-5071

005 CUBA CORPORATE LEADERS AGE: 58

RALPH ALVAREZ

President, COO, McDonald's North America

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Education: B.B.A., University of Miami

Residence: Oak Brook, Illinois

CHANCES OF MAKING THE LIST NEXT YEAR: High

Who he is:

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Alvarez first incursion in the world of fast-food happened in 1977 when he was hired by Burger King. Alvarez joined McDonald's in 1994 after a lengthy career at Burger King Corporation and later with Wendy's International, Inc. In 2004, he was promoted to president of McDonalds' USA division, and shortly thereafter to President of McDonald's North America. In this role, Alvarez is responsible for the complete operations of McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

Why he made the list:

Elected to the Board of Directors effective Jan, 2008, President and COO of McDonald's North America, Alvarez oversees the operations of more than 15,000 restaurants in total--as well as the finance and strategic planning functions of the company. Thanks to Alvarez's savvy vision, McDonalds now includes coffee drinks--in response to Starbucks strategy- and several healthier choices in its menu. In addition, recognizing the increasing buying power of the Latino market, Alvarez and his staff have pioneered a unique ad campaign that blends mainstream and Hispanic diversity in a series of bilingual ads.

Our Prediction:

The fast food industry took a licking from the health conscious sector. McDonalds was forced to assess their role in the wave of obesity. Alvarez responded by revamping the menu with salads and lighter choices. Watch him continue to reinvent the brand.

Contact: McDonald's (800) 244-6227

006 COLUMBIA CORPORATE LEADERS AGE: 43

ORLANDO AYALA

Senior Vice President, Unlimited Potential Group, Microsoft

...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP