Glenn Llopis (right) and his father, Frank Llopis (left) (Photo/Brystan Studios)

6 tips on how to be an effective leader by using your own cultural values

Glenn Llopis, the founder and CEO of the Center for Hispanic Leadership, says it is what his Cuban father taught him as a young boy that made him a successful business leader in the U.S. today.

His father, Frank Llopis, was not only an international salsa music legend, he also received a degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University in the 1930’s and became one of the three chemists responsible for the original formulation of the beer, Miller Lite. His most important legacy however, according to his son, are the wise words he left for the Hispanic community as a whole.

“He told me many years ago that Hispanics were going to change this country, and he taught me how to think like an immigrant,” says Llopis, who spent many years working as an executive in corporate America.

Llopis, who published “Earning Serendipity” in 2009, which introduced the immigrant perspective on business leadership, is now launching the Hispanic Training Center — an interactive, video-based online training center designed to accelerate the advancement of Hispanics in America — starting August 6.

“I see it every single day how many Hispanics want to be their most authentic selves, but find it a lot easier to just assimilate,” says Llopis who admits it was embracing his own cultural identity which made him succeed. “We come from countries that are all about survival and reinvention…We need Hispanics to believe in who we are, and what we stand for as a community…”

He says there’s a certain image in America of who we are, but the only ones who can change that are ourselves. He created the Hispanic Training Center as a platform to help us start to embrace the natural skills that make us most effective, help us motivate one another as a community, and also to help educate non-Hispanics about Hispanics.

“I figured if that worked for me… it can as well for millions of others,” says Llopis. “My brother and I have leadership success, because of grabbing on to our cultural roots.”

These are the six characteristics of an immigrant that Llopis says are the tips of success handed down from his father:

1. See opportunity in everything.
This is important for a leader. Do what others won’t. Keep pushing when prudence says quit. We, as Hispanics, believe anything is possible. It’s that mentality that sometimes is lost in the workplace, but we shouldn’t feel limits in the office.

2. Anticipate the unexpected.
The ability to see beyond what we seek. Have 180 degree vision — see what’s around the corners and what’s coming. We as Hispanics have that ability, because our ancestry has encountered so much crisis and change.

3. Be passionate.
This is very important, because if you’re not passionate about what you stand for, you can’t be an effective leader. When you are passionate about something, not only are people more gravitated towards you, they also want to follow you. Be courageous enough to try new things. We need to be very mindful of our passion.

4. Entrepreneurship as a way of life.
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to have an entrepreneurial attitude. Innovation becomes second-nature. Every leader should have that.

5. Be generous.
We are very giving people — building loyalty, and building powerful relationships. We want to be part of a community that matters. There’s a reason that the Hispanic community is the number one growing center of the internet. We love to engage with things that matter, because we’re people that have a great balance of what matters to the brain and our hearts. It’s not about just what you know, but what you do with what you know. It’s about opening up your heart and leading with kindness.

6. Embrace your culture.
We know how to preserve a culture. We understand the value of family. The strongest bonds in business, across the entire value chain, occur when employees, partners and distributors alike are treated like family. The treatment is reciprocated and opportunities continue to arise. That’s the kind of mentality we need in our leadership. It’s not about greed and selfishness.

“Each of these characteristics interconnect,” says Llopis. “Their impact builds on one another…Just because we have the numbers, doesn’t mean we have the right influence…We have to enable it. We cannot wait for others to enable us.”


  1. Monica says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing this story and his tips for success.

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