Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Latin-American from September 15th to October 15th. The celebration started as just a week in 1968 by President Johnson and was later expanded into a month by President Reagan in 1988. During this time of celebration, we, Junior Achievement, want to take a moment to recognize some of the most influential (and successful) Hispanic business leaders in America today.
Geisha Williams – President & CEO of PG&E
In 1967 Geisha Williams and her parents came to the United States from Cuba. While she didn’t speak English, Williams was establishing her work ethic to achieve her present-day success. She watched as her father saved enough money to purchase a grocery store in New Jersey, which later expanded into Florida. Williams graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Miami and became the first in her family to receive a college education. She fell in love with the energy industry after she held a summer job at a local power company. Through the “power of mentorship”, Williams joined PG&E in 2007. A decade later, she was named the President and CEO.
“A mentor gives you the straight scoop and they look you in the eye and if you have a great mentor and — I’ve had the privilege of having great mentors in my life — they will tell you how it is.” – Geisha Williams
Pedro J. Pizarro – President & CEO of Edison International
How does one become the president of one of the country’s largest electric utility companies? Hard work and moving up the ladder. Before Pedro Pizarro was the President & CEO of Edison International, he was the Director of Strategic Planning in 1999. He was then elected as Vice President of Technology Business Development the following year. In 2001, he became the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and General Manager of Edison Carrier Solutions. From October 2014 to May 2016, Pizarro served as President of Edison International and then in October of 2016, he became Chief Executive Officer.
“My philosophy for building an exceptional business is simple: Hire, retain and promote exceptional people, and create an environment where every team member feels like an owner.” - Pedro J. Pizarro
Michele Docharty – Co-Head of Global Synthetics Products Distribution / Global Head of Corporate Access, Securities Division, Goldman Sachs
After graduating from Georgetown University with a BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) in 1989, Docharty became a Financial Analyst before holding sales positions within the US and Latin America. In 1999, she was made Managing Director and then in 2010 she was made partner. Her ambition within the workplace is as impressive as her passions outside, where she is a member of the Diversity Committee of the Americas and has actively engaged in diversity initiatives at Goldman Sachs, as well as participated within the Alliance of Multicultural women.
“I strongly believe, without question, that diversity is very good for business. We need different perspectives and skills to really maximize revenue for the firm and to keep our culture best in class.” – Michele Docharty
While these are just a few business leaders who are changing the world, there are far more. To discover them, click here.