CHLI Regional Future Leaders Conference at Florida International University Inspired our Nation's Future Global Leaders
Washington D.C. - The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) welcomed over 150 high school, college students, and young professionals to the CHLI Regional Future Leaders Conference on the campus of Florida International University on February 20.
"The Future Leaders Conference is one of CHLI's linchpin programs to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs and public servants. By introducing these young minds to the opportunities available to them should they work hard and reach for them, this program succeeds in inspiring students to realize their full potential. I would personally like to thank the Ford Motor Company for helping make this event possible," commented CHLI Chairman and formerCongressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
This year's theme, "Explore the World. Discover your Future!", included speakers with diverse backgrounds and expertise who shared their stories, challenged students to reach their highest potential and encouraged them to make a difference in their community and in the world.
CHLI's Vice Chairman, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and CHLI Founding Board Member, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, co-chaired the event. CHLI Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart; Florida International University (FIU) President, Dr. Mark Rosenberg; FIU's College of Business Dean, Dr. David Klock, and Ford Motor Company's Manager of Community Outreach, Joedis Avila, also shared their inspiring stories, provided students with tips on how to plan their careers and gave life-long lessons on leadership, character building and personal responsibility.
The first of three panels titled, "Opportunities and Career Choice Advice" kicked off with career tips by Yisel Cabrera, Alumni Director at St. Thomas University. She encouraged participants to follow their own path. Liane Sippin, Student Government Association President at FIU, emphasized the importance of developing one's work ethic. She advised the audience to learn what they enjoy doing and look for jobs that match that purpose. She learned that she enjoyed helping people, which drove her to serve in student government.Brian Fonseca, Manager of Operations for the Applied Research Center at FIU shared the importance of traveling, learning about different cultures and learning new languages.
The second panel, titled "How to Use Your Current Skills in Today's Tough Job Market" included Joedis Avila, Manager Community Outreach, Ford Motor Company; Jose Mallea, National Strategic Director, The LIBRE Initiative; and Idalberto de Armas, Senior Vice President, Sabadell United Bank. Mr. Avila shared how he started his career in his homeland of Venezuela and how he planned his career to the United States. Mr. Malleashared how he started in public service and reinforced the importance of integrity and establishing positive long term relationships. Mr. de Armas referenced the importance of understanding how other cultures work and think. He also stressed communications skills as a key asset in the business world.
The third panel focused on a Leadership Discussion and consisted of: Omar Franco, Managing Director DC Office, Becker & Poliakoff; Michael Mena, Partner, Akerman; and Reny Diaz, Director of Research, FUSION and Univision Noticias. Mr. Franco shared his experience and advice to students on working in Washington D.C. He stressed being genuine and to be of service to others. Mr. Mena challenged the students to become involved in their communities and network. Mr. Diaz offered recommendations on how to combine academic talents, skills and hobbies to find the right job opportunities.
Keynote speaker, Melissa Medina, Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Technology Foundation of The Americasshared her leadership experience with eMerge Americas and the Technology Foundation of the Americas. She emphasized that technology is changing very rapidly and with that comes new opportunities including jobs that will be created by today's students.
CHLI concluded the conference with a networking luncheon. The luncheon provided a platform for participants to have more face-time with corporate leaders, conference speakers, sponsors and non-profit organizations. Conference participants explored internship and entry-level jobresources offered by the FIU's College of Law; College of Business; Office of Engagement; Hospitality Services; and College of Engineering.
Miami area high schools in attendance included: Miami Northwestern Senior High School; Medical Academy for Science and Technology at Homestead; Medical Academy for Science and Technology at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus; Miami Beach Senior High School; and Booker T. Washington Senior High School.
For additional photos of the Regional Future Leaders Conference, please visit CHLI's Facebook Page - click here to see photos.
The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and non-partisan organization. CHLI's vision is Advancing the Hispanic Community's Diversity of Thought. CHLI is the premier organization founded by Members of Congress and Hispanic corporate executive leaders to advance the Hispanic community's economic progress with a focus on social responsibility and global competitiveness. The organization's leadership, domestic and international partners and staff prepare and promote Hispanic college students and professionals to be global leaders. Programs incorporate the intersections of academic excellence, public policy and global perspectives.