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  • Claremont Colleges Scholarship @ Claremont

    CMC Senior Theses CMC Student Scholarship

    2014

    The Making of Latina Leaders: Leadership Styles, Influences, and Challenges Alejandra Rivera Claremont McKenna College

    This Open Access Senior Thesis is brought to you by [email protected] It has been accepted for inclusion in this collection by an authorized administrator. For more information, please contact [email protected]

    Recommended Citation Rivera, Alejandra, "The Making of Latina Leaders: Leadership Styles, Influences, and Challenges" (2014). CMC Senior Theses. Paper 954. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_theses/954

    http://scholarship.claremont.edu http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_theses http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_student mailto:[email protected]

  • CLAREMONT McKENNA COLLEGE

    The Making of Latina Leaders: Leadership Styles, Influences, and Challenges

    SUBMITTED TO

    PROFESSOR SARAH SMITH ORR

    AND

    DEAN NICHOLAS WARNER

    BY

    ALEJANDRA RIVERA

    for

    SENIOR THESIS

    Spring 2014 April 28, 2014

  • Acknowledgements

    First and foremost, I would like to sincerely thank my thesis reader, Professor Sarah Smith Orr, for her guidance and support throughout this entire process. She took the time to understand my interests and passions, helping me create this unique and special project. Many thanks to Joleen Archibald for her help in the data analysis of this project and her patience in helping me understand the process. In addition, I would like to thank the sixteen Latina women leaders that I interviewed and whose participation made this project possible and successful. Thank you to each and every one of these wonderful and successful women for taking the time to share their stories and insights with me. And last, but certainly not least, many thanks to my family and friends who have offered their support and encouragement throughout the completion of this project, and a special thanks to JJ and Stephanie who spent endless hours listening to me rant about thesis. I would especially like to thank my grandma, my aunt, and my mom who have been the main inspirations for this project and who have been the strongest role models in my life, proving to me that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. To my grandma, the ultimate exemplar Latina leader, who built her own professional success, while simultaneously giving back to the Latino community and encouraging other Latinas to follow their passions and make those dreams become realities. To my aunt, who has given me nothing but unconditional love and support and who has taught me the importance of having faith no matter what challenges are thrown at me. And finally, to my mom, who has been my #1 fan in everything I do and who has supported me and motivated me in every possible way through each step of this life journey.

  • Table of Contents

    Abstract ...............................................................................................................................1 Chapter 1: Introduction ....................................................................................................2

    Need for the Study ............................................................................................................3 Purpose of the Study ........................................................................................................4

    Chapter 2: Review of the Literature ................................................................................5 Women and Leadership ....................................................................................................5

    Generation Gap .............................................................................................................5 Gender Differences .......................................................................................................7 The Labyrinth .............................................................................................................11 Strategies for Navigating the Labyrinth .....................................................................16

    Latinas in Leadership .....................................................................................................17 Cultural Implications ..................................................................................................17 Latina Leaders ............................................................................................................19 Latinas’ Leadership Characteristics ...........................................................................21 Positive Influences for Latina Leaders .......................................................................23 Challenges Latina Leaders Overcome ........................................................................24

    Summary ........................................................................................................................29 Chapter 3: Research Methodology .................................................................................31

    Introduction ....................................................................................................................31 Research Questions ........................................................................................................31 Sample ............................................................................................................................32 Procedure ........................................................................................................................33

    Chapter 4: Discussion of Themes ...................................................................................35 Results ............................................................................................................................35

    Research Question 1 ...................................................................................................35 Research Question 2 ...................................................................................................36 Research Question 3 ...................................................................................................37

    Leadership Styles and Leadership Qualities Unique to Latina Women .........................38 Transformational Leadership......................................................................................38 Authentic Leadership..................................................................................................42

  • Leadership Qualities: New Latina, Visionary, and Marianismo ................................45 Factors Contributing to the Advancement of Latina Leaders ........................................50

    Successful Educational Attainment ............................................................................50 Family Influence .........................................................................................................54 Networking .................................................................................................................57

    Challenges Latina Leaders Have Encountered ...............................................................61 Internal Barriers ..........................................................................................................61 Family Obligations .....................................................................................................63

    Summary of Findings .....................................................................................................65 Chapter 5: Advice for Future Latina Leaders ..............................................................67 Chapter 6: Conclusion .....................................................................................................70 References .........................................................................................................................74 Appendices ........................................................................................................................78

  • Running head: THE MAKING OF LATINA LEADERS 1

    Abstract

    The purpose of this qualitative study was to find common themes among Latina leaders.

    This study aimed to identify the leadership styles and leadership qualities unique to

    Latina leaders. It also analyzed the factors that have contributed to or inhibited the

    advancement of Latina leaders, as well as the challenges they have faced during their

    journey to the top. Sixteen Latina leaders, representing a variety of sectors, were

    interviewed by the author asking each one to share her story of what has influenced the

    leader she has ultimately become. Three predetermined general research questions

    served as a basic structure for the interview, but the format of the interview was meant to

    be a conversational style. The themes that recurred throughout the sixteen interviews

    with Latina leaders were grouped under the corresponding research question and were

    analyzed using various quotations from the interviewees themselves. The essential

    themes that emerged included: a) transformational leadership; b) authentic leadership; c)

    leadership qualities—New Latina, visionary, and marianismo; c) successful educational

    attainment; d) family influence; e) networking; f) internal barriers; and g) family