Pedro DeJesús Jr. isn’t afraid to knock on doors—or to get knocked down. In his early years, he would cold-call executives for everything from jobs to advice. His intrepidness has led him to the top of one of the world’s leading juice companies, Tampico Beverages, Inc. As senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, DeJesús Jr. brings order to Tampico’s global brand and pushes it into new territories.

The son of Dominican immigrants, DeJesús Jr. graduated from high school in his hometown of Chicago at 16. He got an associate degree in radiologic technology, working to help his mother with bills after his father’s passing. He quickly realized that life as an X-ray tech wouldn’t get him far financially. So he looked to where the money flowed: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

“I walked into the Merc’s administrative office and said, ‘Give me a list of every company in this building,’” DeJesús Jr. recalls. “Then I walked over to a telephone booth, and went down the list, starting with A.” By “G,” he had landed a job as a runner.

For two years, DeJesús Jr. worked days at the “Merc” and nights at the hospital, until he landed a strong opportunity that warranted hanging up his lab coat. But four years later, with little long-term job security, he decided to become an attorney. By 29, he had earned a political science degree from Roosevelt University and entered Northwestern University School of Law. During his first summer, he heard that a Northwestern alum, Ruben Castillo, had just been appointed the first Latino federal judge in Illinois. Though the two had never met, DeJesús Jr. rang his chambers, and within a few weeks, Castillo granted him a meeting. When DeJesús Jr. told Castillo he hoped to work in public-interest law, Castillo advised him to consider joining a big firm first.

“If you don’t do it,” DeJesús Jr. recalls Castillo saying, “people assume that it’s because you couldn’t do it. If you still want to work in public interest, a firm can help subsidize those interests for you.”

The Big Law Firm Track

Although DeJesús Jr. took the big-law-firm track, the pecking order frustrated him. Big decisions, and often the big picture, weren’t privy to him as a junior associate. In 2000, he made a risky leap to a tech firm. Soon after, the dot-com bubble burst, sending DeJesús Jr. back to law-firm life, but with a clear advantage.

“Just to see how business operates, it was a world of learning compressed in a very short time period,” he says. “It’s very difficult at a big law firm to learn that.” In 2010, De Jesus was appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Consumer Goods, whose members advise the US Commerce Department on trade agreements impacting the consumer-goods industry.

In 2004, DeJesús Jr. became vice president and corporate counsel for Information Resources, Inc., a consumer data company. DeJesús Jr.’s experience at IRI prepped him for his current post with Tampico Beverages, which sells its brand in more than 50 world markets.

Since 2007, DeJesús Jr. has helped CEO Scott Miller steer Tampico’s culture away from complacency. “When the senior management team came into this business, there was a lack of discipline in legal and business matters,” he says. “Instilling that level of discipline in the organization was one of our big challenges.” Over time, DeJesús Jr. has revamped the legal department, building a new team with “a stronger sense of accountability.” He issued a new employee handbook, business ethics and conduct policy, crisis-management plan, and a first-ever contract-approval procedure. He also redrafted Tampico’s bottling-and-licensing agreement and centralized the company’s trademark database, enabling him to manage the trademark portfolio globally.

(In 2008, Tampico was acquired by Houchens Industries, Inc., the largest employee-owned company in the United States and, according to Forbes, among the largest privately held companies in North America.)

Next up for Tampico is expansion into other Latino food-and-beverage categories. DeJesús Jr. and Miller spent much of 2011 mapping out a growth strategy and evaluating potential acquisitions in “synergistic” industries. As usual, DeJesús Jr. is ready to pounce on a winning opportunity. “More often than not, in both business and life, those who take advantage of change and embrace it—rather than run from it or ignore it—almost always beat out those who do not,” he says.

What’s more, DeJesús Jr. believes it’s his duty to create positive change. He serves as a trustee of Roosevelt University, works for government transparency and accountability with the Better Government Association, and serves on the board of Chicago-based Mujeres Latinas en Acción, which offers culturally sensitive services to Hispanic women.

DeJesús Jr. hopes more Latinos follow the path of doing good—and doing well. “We tell people to go to school and get an education, but we also have to instill the importance of being strong corporate leaders and building wealth,” he says, matter-of-factly. “Because it puts you in the room with people that are making decisions affecting positions of power.”


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Two years ago, on March 30th we lost a pioneering teacher who changed people’s ideas of what children are capable of learning. Many people know about Escalante’s work from the popular movie “Stand and Deliver,” which depicted his success teaching Advanced Placement (AP) calculus classes to students at East Los Angeles‘s Garfield High School.

A CLIP FROM MOVIE “STAND AND DELIVER” THAT DEPICTS A FEW OF JAIME ESCALANTE’S TEACHING METHODS – (Watch how even when students gave him the middle finger he still managed to use it to teach them Math)

Today, the beliefs that all children can learn and every child deserves a quality education have become familiar language in goals set by the Department of Education and school boards across the country. But when Escalante genuinely believed this about the children he was teaching in the late 1970s and early 1980s, people thought he was naïve and crazy. The students at Garfield High were exactly the kind of children other education and policy experts predicted would be left behind. They were largely from poor Mexican American families, and the majority of their parents had not finished grade school. (Sadly, this poor education method of the “Left Behind” system is still being used on a lot of our children.)

When Escalante arrived at Garfield, the school was known for low test scores and a high dropout rate. Most people looked at the students’ backgrounds, their school, and their environment and simply didn’t have high expectations for them. But Jaime Escalante always did. As a result, he was able to teach children who had nothing and who had been “taught” they could do nothing that they were capable of great things. He showed the world that with a good teacher poor and minority children can accomplish wonders. After all, children live up or don’t to expectations of important adults in their lives.

Distributed byMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services click on the LA Times

Escalante’s expectations seemed especially farfetched at first because he wasn’t simply saying he wanted his students to be able to take standard high school math classes and get good grades. His goal, AP calculus, was an elite college preparatory course considered by many to be the most difficult class a student could take in high school. Many affluent public schools still didn’t offer it, and the public and private schools that did often required students to take entrance exams or satisfy other prerequisites to prove they could handle it.
Escalante’s idea that he could offer it at Garfield and make it available to any students willing to do the work flew in the face of most conventional wisdom about testing, tracking, and predicting student success in a challenging course. But his students’ stellar performance on the national standardized AP tests proved his own judgment correct. His simple formula for student success was a good teacher committed to working hard to teach and students committed to working hard to learn–and he demonstrated that student commitment and ability could be developed through the encouragement and reinforcement students received from the hardworking and committed teacher.

photo source tuboston.com

Escalante’s demonstration of the power a single teacher can have to motivate and push students to extraordinary success changed the way many educators viewed student ability and learning. The fact that great teachers like Escalante can teach poor and minority students to soar academically has recently been confirmed in a groundbreaking longitudinal study by Tennessee scholars June Rivers and William Sanders which found the effectiveness of the teacher is the single most important factor in student learning–far overshadowing all other classroom variables, including the ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of the students.

Jaime Escalante teaching. Photo courtesy of Anthony Friedkin from Yahoo Community Immigrant Group


Many of Escalante’s classroom techniques became models too, like encouraging the class to tackle the material together like a team taking on an opponent (the AP test), and putting in extra time so students could keep working after school and on weekends when necessary. Today, many of the most successful charter schools and other urban classrooms across the country follow in Escalante’s footprints. His commitment to opening up the most challenging classes to more children also revolutionized placement policies in many schools. Escalante understood that success in AP calculus was not an end in and of itself. It gave students the right preparation to take similarly challenging courses in other subjects and was a gateway to college admissions and other future aspirations that didn’t need to be limited to children from “elite” backgrounds. **If he could do it in the 70’s/80’s and his methods were proven successful, then why isn’t every public school following his lead? Why must it be limited it charter schools?***

Teacher Jaime Escalante on K-ABC TV Los Angeles News

There’s still so much work to be done to lift the ceiling so many insecure adults place on children’s aspirations. The most recent data show White students are more than twice as likely as Hispanic students to be enrolled in AP science or AP math, and about three times as likely as Black or American Indian students to be enrolled in AP science or AP math.

The Obama Administration is making the goal of continuing to open up these classes a priority, and its Blueprint for Reform in education specifically supports states’ efforts to improve access to AP tests for low-income students. This is a key part of Jaime Escalante’s legacy. But his most enduring lesson is that all children can learn and excel–as long as they have the right teacher. And we must all stand up and speak up to get the right teachers in the classroom for all our children.



Members of Garfield's junior varsity football team touch Escalante's shiny black casket. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Jaime Escalante Jr. with his son Jaime, 9, lower left, enter the classroom of his father, Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian-born American educator, during a memorial service at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles on Friday, Apr. 16, 2010. Escalante, 79, was born Dec. 31,1930, in LaPaz, Boliva and passed away at his home in Roseville, Calif. on March 30. Escalante was the subject of the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," in which he is portrayed by actor Edward James Olmos.


On the same day President Barack Obama (surrounded by the family of Cesar Chavez and leaders of the United Farm Workers that Chavez co-founded) signed a proclamation in the Oval Office designating March 31, 2010, which would have been his 83rd birthday, as Cesar Chavez Day; he also made a statement recognizing Jaime Escalante and his impact in the Latino community. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Jaime Escalante today. While most of us got to know him through the movie that depicted his work teaching inner-city students calculus, the students whose lives he changed remain the true testament to his life’s work. Throughout his career Jaime opened the doors of success and higher education for his students one by one, and proved that where a person came from did not have to determine how far they could go. He instilled knowledge in his students, but more importantly he helped them find the passion and the will to fulfill their potential. Jaime’s story became famous.  But he represented countless, valiant teachers throughout our country whose great works are known only to the young people whose lives they change. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Jaime’s family, and to all those who knew him and whose lives he touched.

Read More: Huffington Post

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Arizona Ethnic-Studies Ban’s Unintended Result: Underground Libraries

Meet the Librotraficantes—the “book smugglers” protesting the state’s controversial ban on ethnic-studies classes—and putting Mexican-American works in students’ hands.

Some 30 students, teachers, and activists emerged from the bus carrying boxes of books. As they stepped onto the pavement Saturday and into the bright Tucson sun, they chanted in unison, “What do we want? Books! When do we want them? Now! Who are we? Librostraficantes!”

The Spanish term, which means “book smugglers,” is the brainchild of Houston Community College professor and author Tony Diaz, who with a few dozen supporters set out March 12 for Arizona to protest a 2010 state law that prohibits certain types of ethnic studies in public schools. In January officials shut down the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American-studies curriculum. The Librotraficante Caravan traveled through Texas and New Mexico, stopping in cities along the way to hold literary readings, collect donated books, and establish “underground libraries” filled with titles from Tucson’s banned courses. Several authors whose works were discontinued participated—Rudolfo Anaya, widely considered the godfather of Latino literature in the Southwest, even invited the caravan into his Albuquerque home for posole, traditional pork stew.
“I’m much obliged to the Tucson Unified School District for creating this little book club,” Diaz said after arriving at a youth center that will be the site of Tucson’s “underground library,” home to copies of some 80 books taught in the now-defunct program, including The House on Mango Street by bestselling author Sandra Cisneros, Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, and The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea. “When Arizona legislators decided to erase our history, we decided to make more!” The law originated amid Arizona’s heated debates over the immigration crackdown spearheaded by Republican legislators, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Gov. Jan Brewer. The governor signed the ethnic-studies measure in May 2010, just weeks after signing into law the country’s toughest immigration bill in generations. (That measure, S.B. 1070, is heading to the Supreme Court in April.) Soon after, officials declared the Tucson program illegal, and a group of teachers sued the state in federal court. In January an administrative judge approved the courses’ elimination, and the classes’ books were boxed up and taken to storage facilities and school libraries. A district-court judge is scheduled to hear motions in the case today.
                                                                                                                                                                       Megan Feldman
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote the ethnic-studies law while he was the state’s superintendent of public instruction. Banning courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, encourage resentment against a group of people, or are created specifically for one group, the law was aimed squarely at the Tucson Mexican-American-studies program. Its teachers, Horne claims, taught Chicano history and literature through a racist and politicized filter that wrongly informed students that they’re oppressed by white people. (He says he began looking into the program in 2007 after labor leader Dolores Huerta told Tucson students that Republicans hated Latinos, and when he sent a Latina Republican aide to the school to counter that view, some students turned their backs and raised their fists in the air.)

“It’s a fundamental American value that what matters about us is what we know, what we can do, and what is our character—and that what race we were born into is irrelevant,” Horne says. “This program is teaching students the opposite—that what matters about people is their race.” In a recent court brief, he cites former district teachers who claim students became resentful and mistrustful of authorities after taking the classes, as well as a white student who said Hispanic students ceased speaking to her because of her race. The program’s teachers and many of its students dismiss such accusations. Alfonso Chavez, 20, says the classes helped him understand his culture and history while getting an education that included the state-mandated core curriculum. “These classes are very relevant, especially here in the Southwest,” he said at a Librotraficante breakfast hosted by a Tucson gallery. “It helped me grow as a person, and my grades started improving.”


Erin Cain-Hodge, a 19-year-old University of Arizona student, says being one of three white pupils in one of the now prohibited courses was valuable. “I took the classes because I was constantly hearing from the same white male authors,” she says. “I thought, ‘There has to be more.’” Horne says the state’s standard courses include Chicano authors and even instances of historical oppression, but Mexican-American-studies supporters say Latino history and literature are underrepresented.
“Many of my students would come in and say they’d never read any Chicano literature before,” said Curtis Acosta, a plaintiff in the case who has taught in the Tucson schools since 2003. In a district that’s more than 60 percent Latino, teaching Chicano history and literature is crucial for students’ sense of belonging and academic development, he said. As for claims that he taught students to resent white people? “I think Horne needs to take credit for his own work,” Acosta said. “If he feels that anger, we definitely didn’t have to teach it, because he’s teaching it to them.”

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The richest man in the world is Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim at the equivalent of $69 billion U.S. dollars.  In second place is Bill Gates with $61 billion, followed by Warren Buffet at $44 billion.  Europe’s richest man, Frenchman Bernard Arnault is #4 with $41 billion, while Amancio Ortega of Spain has $37.5 billion.  Larry Ellison has $36 billion, while Brazil’s Eike Batista has $30 billion.  In the #8 position is Sweden’s Stefan Persson with $26 billion.  Li Ka-Shing of Hong Kong has $25.5 billion, and #10 is Karl Albrecht of Germany with $25.4 billion. Carlos Slim and family are worth $69 billion. The man, known as “King Midas” or “The Engineer,” really made it into the big leagues back in 1990 when he bought Telmex, which now controls about 80% of Mexico’s landlines. Slim also has Telcel which controls about 70% of the Mexican cellular phone market and América Móvil, Latin America’s biggest wireless provider, with over 200 million customers. Last year he started Minera Frisco, a mining company. Slim has a bank, an airline, department stores, restaurants and music outlets. Slim sells insurance, auto parts, and ceramic tile. The Mexican government pays Slim to construct roads, water treatment plants, petroleum platforms, etc. Slim also owns part of the New York Times. And, his latest high-profile venture is the launching of an Internet TV network featuring his friend Larry King, known as Ora.tv.

Henry Romero / Reuters

  • Ricardo Salinas Pliego and family are worth $17.4 billion. Salinas Pliego runs the Grupo Elektra retailer (which he inherited) and TV Azteca network (which he started). Banco Azteca, part of the Elektra chain, serves mostly low-income clients. Ricardo Salinas Pliego controls Mexico’s second largest broadcaster, TV Azteca. But by far the largest chunk of his fortune–$15.3 billion worth– lies with home electronics retailer Grupo Elektra, which has a finance arm that makes loans to customers, including very low-income ones. Elektra’s stock has more than doubled in the past year, pushing Salinas’ fortune up by $9.2 billion; Elektra revenue grew 19% in peso terms in 2011 to $4.1 billion. Analysts point to a very small float as one reason for the large increase in value of Elektra’s share price; an equity swap with UBS and a new place on the benchmark IPC Mexican stock index further reduced supply and drove share prices higher. In mid 2010, Salinas took his financially troubled Mexican wireless carrier Iusacell private; he owned 75%. He struck a deal in 2011 to sell a 50% stake of Iusacell to competing Mexican TV broadcaster Televisa for $1.6 billion, but in February 2012 the Mexican national competition commission vetoed the plan. Televisa and Iusacell are appealing. It’s all part of the ongoing telecom battle with Carlos Slim, whose company Telcel controls 70% of the Mexican mobile market; Iusacell has a mere 4% market share. Salinas’ Azteca Foundation is active in promoting youth orchestras across Mexico.

  • Alberto Bailleres and family are worth $16.5 billion. Bailleres is chairman of metallurgical giant Industrias Peñoles, Bailleres has stock in the luxury department store El Palacio de Hierro, Grupo Nacional Provincial insurance company, investment firm Grupo Profuturo, and serves on the board of bottling company Femsa. Bailleres also has a 100-yard long yacht called The Mayan Queen IV. Alberto Bailleres chairs Mexico’s second largest mining company, Industrias Penoles, one of the world’s largest silver miners. Thanks in part to higher prices for precious metals, as well as to the opening of his El Saucito silver and gold mine in Zacatecas, Bailleres’s fortune is up $4.6 billion since last year on a steep rise in the share price of Industrias Penoles; his 69% stake in the company accounts for $13.4 billion of his fortune. He also chairs department store chain Grupo Palacio de Hierro, insurance company Grupo Nacional Provincial, and pension fund manager Grupo Profuturo. Plus Bailleres owns a stake in Coke bottler Femsa. He is reportedly a patron of bullfighting.

    Alberto Bailleres presidente grupo BAL, durante la inaguraci n de la mina Saucito, en Fresnillo, Zacatecas. (NOTIMEX/FOTO/JOS LUIS SALMER N/JLS/POL/Newscom)

  •  Mining and lumber magnate German Larea Motta Velasco  is CEO of mining company Grupo México. Larea and family have a net worth of $14.2 billion dollars. Grupo Mexico also includes Mexico’s biggest railroad company Ferromex. Larea is also owner of the Cinemex movie chain. German Larrea still reigns as Mexico’s media-shy copper king. Mexico’s largest copper producer, Grupo Mexico, had another stellar year, revenue-wise. But with stock prices slightly down, Larrea and his family, who control 51% of the mining conglomerate–saw their fortune drop by $1.8 billion. Grupo Mexico is currently fighting a Delaware court decision that it overvalued shares of its copper subsidiary in a 2005 merger deal. The conglomerate has had trouble with labor at its Mexican mines; the former Cananea mine, now called Buenavista, near the U.S. border was shut for nearly four years by a strike. Meanwhile, President and Chairman of the Board German Larrea remains elusive, avoiding journalists and photographers.
  • Jeronimo Arango and family  are worth $4 billion. Arango’s family business was the Bodega Aurrera supermarket chain, part of Grupo Cifra, which sold out to Wal-Mart and became Wal-Mart de México (Walmex), netting the family a couple of billion. The Arangos also own real estate. Jeronimo Arango’s art collection includes pieces by El Greco and Goya, some of which he has donated to the Prado Museum in Madrid. Arango also serves on the Prado board of trustees. Jeronimo Arango, with brothers Manuel and Placido, shares a fortune gained from selling their stake in retailer Cifra to Wal-Mart’s Mexican arm in 1997. Jeronimo is said to live a quiet life in Los Angeles. Manuel, a real estate developer, also founded the Mexican Center for Philanthropy and, in 2011, called on businesses to donate at least one percent of their profits to charity. Placido collects art and has owned a chain of restaurants
  • Emilio Azcarraga Jean is worth $2 billion. Azcarraga runs Grupo Televisa, with its TV channel, telenovela production, radio, satellite, Internet, publishing, gambling and discount airline. Emilio Azcarraga is the chief executive of powerhouse Mexican TV broadcaster Televisa, which has recently begun producing English-language programming. Azcarraga and his would-be business partner Ricardo Salinas Pliego, of TV Azteca, continue an ongoing Mexican media battle with Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest man. Last year Azcarraga’s Televisa struck a deal to buy a 50% stake in Salinas’ mobile phone company, Iusacell, for $1.6 billion. In early February Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission vetoed the deal, a move widely viewed as stinking of politics; Televisa and Iusacell are appealing. Slim’s phone companies Telmex and Telcel as well as retailers belonging to Grupo Carso pulled their advertising from Televisa in 2011 after Televisa increased ad rates by 20%. Televisa said the increase came because the Slim companies did not participate in “upfront” ad buying for the year. Meanwhile, Azcarraga is nudging into Slim’s hold on telephony in Mexico by offering bundled Internet, phone and cable TV through Televisa’s cable TV unit.
  • Roberto Gonzalez Barrera is founder and executive of Gruma, which is the world’s biggest maker of tortillas. (Gruma brands include Mission and Maseca.) Most of his money, though, is from his part of the Banorte. The bank’s stock went up in 2011, putting Gonzalez Barrera back on the billionaires’ list after being off it for more than a decade. This magnate is worth $1.9 billion, and that is from his stock alone, not that of his family as are many of these valuations. Roberto Gonzalez Barrera founded and runs Gruma, the world’s largest tortilla maker; brand names include Mission, Guerrero and Maseca. U.S. agricultural commodities powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland is a 23% shareholder. The majority of Gonzalez Barrera’s wealth, however, comes from his stake in Banorte, a successful Mexican bank that earlier in its history was owned by the Mexican government. In 2011, he returned to the billionaires list after a hiatus of more than a decade, based on the strength of Banorte’s stock. This valuation includes his shares alone, and not those of his children.

    Roberto González Barrera, presidente de GRUMA.

  • Carlos Hank Rhon and family  in the world and are worth $1.4 billion and on the Forbes billionaires list for the first time. His family owns over 90% of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, which in turn controls Banco Interacciones. The Hank family also has Grupo Hermes (which includes Hermes Infraestructura) and a transportation company. Carlos Hank Rhon makes the billionaires list for the first time, thanks in large part to his family’s 93.4% holding of Grupo Financiero Interacciones, currently worth close to $800 million. The group controls Banco Interacciones, an integrated financial services firm and investment bank in Mexico. The Hank family also fully controls Grupo Hermes; its Hermes Infraestructura arm builds just about every type of major infrastructure: bridges, roads, hydroelectric plants. In the past several years, the Hank family has been developing Playa Mujeres, a new luxury tourist destination in Cancun. The family also has a transportation business.
  • Roberto Hernandez Ramirez is worth $1.3 billion. Hernandez was CEO of Banamex when that bank sold out to Citigroup, and he remained on Citigroup’s board until 2009. Now he’s on the board of Televisa and owns part of a Brazilian company. Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, the former chief executive of Banamex, reaped an estimated $2 billion windfall when Citigroup bought the Mexican bank in 2001. Hernandez remained on the Citigroup board until 2009; he is currently a board member of Mexican broadcaster Televisa. He has a small investment in Brazilian consumer goods company Hypermarcas (run by billionaire Joao Alves de Queiroz Filho). Hernandez has created two foundations intended to preserve the environment and Mayan cultural heritage and is on the board of the Nature Conservancy.

    (Foto: Gilberto Contreras)

  • Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “el Chapo” (Shorty), is the chief of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The estimated net worth of this narco baron is $1 billion. The inclusion of Guzman on the list has been criticized, but he is a billionaire. Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo,” is a criminal and the leader of the illegal drug smuggling Sinaloa cartel, responsible for an estimated 25% of the illegal drugs trafficked from Mexico into the U.S. Guzman is believed by drug experts to be spending more money to defend the cartel than in previous years due to stepped up enforcement efforts by the Mexican government, and has expanded cartel operations to Central America, particularly Guatemala. But authorities are closing in: December 2011 brought the arrest of a top Sinaloa lieutenant, quickly followed in February by the capture of the leader of the cartel’s armed wing. Circumstances must be less than cozy in the mountains where El Chapo hides out; in August, the drug lord reportedly sent his 22-year-old wife to Los Angeles County to give birth to the couple’s twin daughters. 

    STR/AFP/Getty Images

  • Alfredo Harp Helu is Carlos Slim’s first cousin. Harp and family are worth $1 billion. Harp was running Banamex when the company cashed in by selling out to Citigroup in 2001, and now owns the Diablos Rojos baseball team in Mexico City, and he is the principal shareholder of the Grupo Marti gym and sporting goods store. The bulk of Alfredo Harp Helu’s fortune comes from the 2001 sale of Mexican bank Banamex to Citigroup. Harp was the bank’s former head and a significant shareholder. He currently chairs publicly traded Grupo Marti, which owns a chain of sporting goods retailers. Harp is the principal shareholder. He is also a cousin of Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest man. A baseball fan, he owns the Diablos Rojos (Red Devils) Mexican team. In 1994, Harp Helu was kidnapped and held for several months.

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Latina leader to her Girl Scouts: Prepare to lead

When 10-year-old Anna Maria Chavez joined Girl Scout Troop 304 in the small town of Eloy, Arizona, she never thought the experience would eventually lead her to occupy a colorful office just off Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan.

While about half of all women in the United States were Girl Scouts at some point in their lives,  today, one in 10 of those girls are Latina. One of them is Chavez, who last year became the first Hispanic CEO of the organization.

At the headquarters of Girls Scouts Inc., Chavez is celebrating the organization’s 100th anniversary surrounded by apple-green walls and shelves of memorabilia. Instead of magazines in the small waiting area, there are cookie jars.

“I never ever imagined that I would become the national CEO of Girl Scouts,” she said. “You need to understand where I came from.”

In This Photo: Anna Maria Chavez Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images North America)

Chavez was the only daughter in a Mexican immigrant family that came to the U.S. to work on farms. Hers was the first generation in the family to attend college.

Chavez said when she was a girl her own family had no knowledge about Girl Scouts and what they do. “I went home to my abuelita, my nana, and I said, ‘Nana I’m gonna be a Girl Scout,’ and she said ‘Y eso? Que hacen?’ you know, ‘What do they do?’” Chavez recalled.

For a young Chavez, camping and meeting girls from different backgrounds helped her to become more confident and independent. That helped in her teen years, when she moved from Eloy to Phoenix, and entered a large school where she was one of about a dozen Mexican students.

Her undergraduate education was at Yale, where a high SAT score helped her get accepted and earn a scholarship.

“When I got in, people were shocked and dismayed because nobody in our high school had gotten into this school. ‘You’re Latina, don’t you think you should stay in state?’” she said. “And I was like ‘Wait a minute, I have no boundaries!’”  She credits her Girl Scouts experience with helping her to make that decision.

Gallery: The first Girl Scout: Daisy Gordon Lawrence

Her tenure in the Girl Scouts also helped her make her career choice. Chavez remembered a family picnic during childhood, when she discovered a cave with Native American drawings that had been scribbled over with graffiti. Her outrage, she recalled, turned into a desire to become an attorney and “make laws” to stop things like this from happening.

“Only the Girl Scouts could charge me in a way to understand that even as a small girl, I could make a difference…” she said.

So after Yale, she returned to Phoenix to get a law degree and went on to become a successful attorney, eventually working for former Arizona Governor – and Girl Scouts alumna – Janet Napolitano. Later, she took up regional direction of Girl Scouts in San Antonio, Texas.

The position paved the way for her current job at the helm of the organization in New York.  “Girl Scouts and my family taught me to dream big,” she said. “Nothing was impossible.”

Now, she’s on a mission: To help the Girl Scouts of today become the leaders of tomorrow, like she did.

“If you look across the country, the top 10 job sectors, only 18 percent of leadership positions in those sectors are held by women,” she said, citing a survey conducted by Girl Scouts. “What were saying is, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could increase women in these leadership roles?’”

That message of leadership especially resonates with Latina mothers, who “want their daughters to succeed; they want their daughters to explore other options in their lives,” Chavez said.

According to the Girl Scouts, there are three million girls and women volunteers in the United States alone. The organization is present in 90 countries and claims to have made an impact in the lives of more than 59 million members in the course of its history.

As the scouts turn a century old, Chavez is intent on revamping the organization’s image. “People love Girl Scouts… they see our brand and they smile and think cookies, camp and crafts, but we want them to see premier leadership organization for girls in this country, if not this world,” she said.

Her vision for the future was already working in Queens Village, New York, where several troops met to commemorate World Thinking Day, a celebration of Girl Scouts around the world and a chance for scouts to pin new badges to their vests.


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