PODER25 is the Hispanic National Bar Association’s initiative to increase the number of Hispanic General Counsels in Fortune 500 companies to 20 by the year 2025.
Hispanics account for 18% of the U.S. population, yet, according to MCCA’s 2017 General Counsel Diversity survey, only 1.8% of Fortune 500 General Counsel are Hispanic; 9 total: 4 women, 5 men. Aside from Native American representation amongst Fortune 500 General Counsel, Hispanics are the most demographically underrepresented in gross numbers, and we are the most demographically underrepresented as compared to U.S. population size.
PODER25 is the first GC pipeline initiative that specifically targets Hispanic attorneys and tackles the unique challenges that research informs us that we face including, but not limited to: anti-Hispanic implicit bias, lack of mentorship/sponsorship, and lack of exposure to the networks required to gain entrance into the highest strata of the legal profession.
Simply put, the goal of PODER25 is to increase the number of Hispanic General Counsel in the Fortune 500 to 20 by 2025. Why? Because we want our Fortune 500 GCs to better reflect society at large, and because this diversification will serve corporate America well: organizations with higher percentages of minorities in executive leadership are more profitable, more innovative, have higher morale and can better problem-solve to address the needs of all of their employees/clients/members than organizations lacking such diversity. Additionally, unlike most of their majority counterparts, Hispanic attorneys offer cultural competencies, bi-lingual language skills, and in many cases, have lived or studied in Latin American or European countries, or have significant experience working or interacting with foreign nationals.
Becoming General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company requires specific experience, skillsets, access, and exposure. PODER25 aims to address each of these issues through programming, leadership training, coaching, networking events, and mentoring. The HNBA has partnered with top GC executive recruiting firms and current/retired Hispanic and ally Fortune 500 General Counsel who will serve as PODER25 program faculty and mentors throughout the year.
Identify the Pipeline
In-House Counsel who wish to participate in PODER25 must apply to the program. Based on a number of objective criteria including seniority, experience and level of readiness for a GC position, selected participants will be placed into either the GC Ready Track or GC Next Track. In order to create an intimate environment where members can meaningfully learn and network, our inaugural PODER25 Tracks will be limited to 15 individuals in the GC Ready Track and 25 individuals in the GC Next Track. The GC Ready group must also commit to serving as faculty and mentors to GC Next Class members in order to maintain a healthy PODER25 pipeline.
o “GC Ready” Track: Individuals who are currently qualified for placement in Fortune 500 General Counsel position. While our definition is not absolute, generally speaking, a “GC Ready” candidate is a Deputy General Counsel (or similar rank) of a Fortune 500 Company; Deputy General Counsel of a publicly-held corporation of a Fortune 500 Business Unit with $3B-$5B in annual revenue; OR Deputy or Assistant General Counsel of a privately-held corporation with a large law department and $3B-$5B in annual revenue.
o “GC Next” Track: Individuals whose goal is to be placed in a Fortune 500 General Counsel role in the next 5 to 10 years and who, by participating in this program, can ready themselves for such positions within this timeframe. Again, while our definition is not absolute, generally speaking, a “GC Next” participant is an Assistant or Senior Associate or Director-level General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company (or large business unit thereof) with at least 5 full-time attorney direct reports, OR General Counsel at a smaller public, or privately-held company.
HNBA Corporate Counsel Conference, March 15, 2018 (San Francisco, CA)
Thursday, March 15, 2018
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Our initial program launch occurred during the 2018 HNBA Corporate Counsel Conference on March 15, 2018. The 4-hour kick-off event included programming for both the GC Ready and GC Next Track. Our kick-off program was designed to provide participants with a behind-the-curtains look at what it takes to get to the next level in their careers, network with other program participants, and meet and interact with Hispanic Fortune 500 General Counsel and top Executive Placement Professionals who specialize in, and are responsible for the majority of, domestic Fortune 500 GC placement searches.
- Hour 1: GC Ready Forum: This panel of GC Faculty discussed their paths to success followed by a “no holds barred” Q&A session regarding the challenges and rewards of making it to the top. [Open to participants in both PODER25 Tracks]
- Hour 2: GC Recruiter Forum: This panel comprised of placement professionals from the Nation’s top Executive Placement Firms provided detailed guidance on what it takes to get on their radar and be considered for Fortune 500 GC placement opportunities, as well as the skills, experience, and intangibles that corporations ask them to look for when conducting GC searches. [Open to participants in both PODER25 Tracks]
- Hour 3: GC Nexter Forum: This panel of participants in the GC Ready track discussed their paths to success and tips for moving up the in-house ranks. [Open to participants in both PODER25 Tracks]
- Hour 4: GC Speed Mentoring Reception: GC Ready Class Members each received 4, 10-minute one-on-one Speed Mentoring Sessions, 2 with Executive Placement Faculty Members and 2 with GC Faculty Members. In addition, after the program, GC Ready participants will receive Faculty feedback regarding individually-tailored resources that will help them achieve their goals. [PODER25 GC Ready Track only]
Following PODER25’s kick-off program at the HNBA’s Corporate Counsel Conference, PODER25 participants will receive invitations to regional events that will be held across the country over the following 12 months. These meetings will provide additional networking and mentoring opportunities, as well as leadership development. PODER25 participants are encouraged, but not required, to attend each of these meetings, in person. When the programming format allows, telephonic or webinar access to regional meetings will be available. Events will be held approximately once a quarter, and this year’s regional events will be held in: metro NYC; Dallas, TX; Chicago/Milwaukee; and Boston, MA.
 Native Americans represent approximately .09% of the total U.S. population and .02% of Fortune 500 General Counsel.
 The Annual Revenue of the 500th largest company on the Fortune 500 is $5.1B.
Additional PODER25 Benefits:
- Partnerships with Non-HNBA GC Bootcamp Programs:
The HNBA has partnered with a number of outside organizations who are seeking Hispanic attorneys to participate in their existing GC Bootcamp or Executive Leadership Programs including, ACC, MCCA, NAWL, and HACR. The HNBA will notify PODER25 participants of upcoming events and will provide registration links. Your status as a PODER25 participant does not guarantee acceptance into these programs, but does afford your application preferred status into these programs. PODER25 participants are responsible for the costs of participating in partner programs.
- Development Resources:
The HNBA will vet and provide program participants with recommended reading, supplemental programming (including, but not limited to partner programs outlined above), and access to Executive Coaching and other services that will help you reach your career goals faster. PODER25 participants are responsible for the costs of participating in such programs, or utilizing such services.
PODER25’s goal is to help place a minimum of 20 Hispanic attorneys in Fortune 500 GC positions by 2025. Thus, this is, by design, a multi-year program. Those selected for the initial PODER25 Class must commit to attend the launch program March 15, 2018, and will be invited to attend regional events throughout the year until the following year’s Corporate Counsel Conference and a half-day program at the HNBA Annual Convention (tentatively: September 4, 2018). At the end of the one-year period, members who have meaningfully participated in PODER25 programming will have the option of renewing their membership in the program the following year.
- Ask of Executive Placement Firms
The role of the Poder25 EP Faculty is to (a) serve as strategic advisors and faculty to the HNBA and the Poder25 Committee; (b) commit to meet and mentor at least 1 candidate each year of the Program; (d) lead at least 1 regional event; and (e) provide candidate-specific and overall program feedback throughout the year.
- Ask of Hispanic GC Faculty
The role of the Poder25 GC Faculty is to (a) serve as strategic advisors and faculty to the HNBA and the Poder25 Committee; (b) identify and recommend at least 2 candidates for the program; (c) commit to meet and mentor at least 1 candidate each year of the Program; (d) participate in at least 1 regional event; and (e) provide candidate-specific and overall program feedback throughout the year.
The 2019 HNBA Corporate Counsel Conference is a joint enterprise
with the HNBA VIA Fund.