Jorge Baldor immigrated to the United States from Cuba with his family at the age of six.
An energetic entrepreneur, Baldor has founded or helped support several organizations aimed at empowering others and developing future leaders, particularly within the local and international Latin American community.
In 2015, Baldor founded the Latino Center for Leadership Development with Miguel Solis and Rebecca Acuna. The successful entrepreneur also founded Mercado369, a community art center and café that reflects Latin American culture and history, and works with programs such as After8toEducate, a program that supports unprotected young high school students in Dallas.
A member of the Dallas Regional Chamber Board of Trustees, Baldor was also named a finalist for the Dallas Morning News’ Texan of the Year in 2018.
Describe your career path so far. Was he very blunt, or more devious?
My path has been anything but direct. My entrepreneurial spirit started out quite young and led me to explore life as it has come. I have often seen life as what happens between shots.
Unforeseen or unpredictable challenges, like the COVID experience that started last year, mean creativity and flexibility are even more important to adapt and move forward. For me, this has always been my role model, so the changes that happened were a bit smoother.
How did you connect to the path you are currently following?
I consider that my current journey consists in understanding the need to find common ground within our different communities in order to then face more difficult problems, in particular thanks to my experiences of helping artistic and cultural programming – especially Latin American art and culture – in venues across the city.
I have worked with the Dallas Museum of Art, the Latino Arts Project, Mercado369, and the Meyerson Symphony Center (on an Afro-Mexican presentation), and have helped sponsor many arts organizations, such as Cara Mía Theater, Teatro Dallas, LaRondalla Music Academy, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum and the Crow Museum of Asian Art, among others. My work has become a passion to bring all cultures together to enjoy and learn from each other.
Education can have a big influence on our trajectories and career choices, and Hispanic college enrollment rates continue to rise every year. What was your educational experience and do you think this had any effect on your current situation?
After high school, I was not prepared for the college experience. Already a small business owner a few years after high school, I didn’t graduate from college until about seven years later. When i attended [SMU], it wasn’t looking for a career – it was looking for an education for myself that continued well beyond my degree and still motivates me today.
As an entrepreneur, I focus more on the end product and the results, not on the start of the process. I see this especially in the statistics on the increase in enrollment in Latino colleges. What we don’t hear enough about is why college graduation rates don’t continue to increase either.
The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that Hispanic workers will represent one in two new workers entering the workforce by 2025. What future challenges do you see for Hispanics in the workforce, and what do you hope for? you ?
The challenge both now and in the future for Latinos in the workplace is to stay on the workplace scale and not be seen as indifferent to the company because of the absence. evening events or networking opportunities. The fact remains that for the Latin culture, it is the life / work balance, and not the work / life balance, which brings real pleasure and personal satisfaction.
Current diversity, equity and inclusion efforts often miss the heart of the pervasive disconnect problem among Latino workers. Latino workers often face mental health issues associated with abandonment – feelings resulting from loved ones being left behind in other countries without the opportunity to come together even on special days or for a mourning.
Latino workers also have to face questions about identity in a bicultural and bilingual world, or deal with real and imagined comments and dark stares from family members, relatives, friends and neighbors who see the fact of becoming a “company” and receiving promotions as a abandonment of oneself. respect, and not necessarily a trait to admire.
These factors and many more play an important role in the daily lives of many young and seasoned business leaders, but they are not often discussed or addressed. I hope that mental health will become a core value for employers and that workers facing these challenges can find supportive and welcoming workplaces.
Who do you admire in the Hispanic community?
I have always admired people with conviction and eager to make a difference, whatever the personal cost to them.
For me, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is an example of one of those individuals who didn’t let the odds get in his way as he forged his unique path.
What would you want future generations of Hispanics to know, especially when it comes to building successful careers?
I would like every young Latino to learn to look at himself in the mirror every morning and recite the phrase “Why not me?” until it becomes their own mantra and belief system. Once that happens, no one will be able to hold them back.
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
This question-and-answer session is part of the DRC Hispanic Heritage Series which includes interviews with representatives of organizations and partners who are members of the Dallas Regional Chamber. A version of this story first appeared on the Dallas Regional Chamber Site.
Dallas Innovates is a collaboration of Dallas Next and the Dallas Regional Chamber.
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