por Raúl Palacios
nota por Denisse Rodríguez Colón
We want to share with you an English version of this opinion piece written by Raúl Palacios, President of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and originally published in El Nuevo Día on Friday, October 24, 2014.
As part of having been born, raised and now actively practiced my profession as a CPA in Puerto Rico, I’ve seen, and on occasion, actively participated in our national sport. No, I’m not talking about our beloved basketball team nor am I describing our rich boxing history. I’m referring to the consistent criticism about the absence of leadership in our country. When we talk about our current problems, we jump at the chance of pointing out the faults in the system; however, rarely do we actively search for or implement solutions to our complex problems. Maybe because of fear of failure, lack of spare time or maybe we lack the desire needed to change the world.
However, the question that we rarely ask ourselves is what about us? Where’s our responsibility? Why aren’t we holding ourselves accountable for our passive attitude? The irony that I find in this is that during my two years serving as a voluntary community leader, I’ve been witness to many initiatives driven by local leaders that are vigorously working towards the betterment of our country. Is it that we aren’t effectively communicating our own initiatives? Initiatives from organizations like the one I lead locally, known as ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America), which is focused on empowering Latino leaders, as well as Foundation for PR, Guayacán and ConPRmetidos should be a main topic of discussion among all of us, in order to contribute to the development of future leaders in Puerto Rico.
How am I so sure? Upon the first two years after graduating from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus in 2010 I realized that I had lost contact with practically my entire network of university colleagues. Also, I did not know any mentors that could help me reach my potential as a professional, until I had the opportunity to attend my very first ALPFA Convention as a PwC Delegate back in August, 2012. It was during this career-altering event where I realized that there was something missing. I knew that there was an overwhelming thirst for leadership development back home that no one was providing, and thus seized the opportunity to lead an initiative that could make a difference in the development of young professionals thereby contributing directly to the advancement of our economic competitiveness in the global economy.
I know what most must be thinking, sounds like a worthy goal, but how do we accomplish it? If we were to give access to everyone that is hungry to better themselves an avenue to exchange contacts, resources, ideas, and mentors, we would be providing an environment that facilitates new opportunities for our talent, companies and our local community. This way, our young professionals would have an equal opportunity to learn from current leaders and thus, provide them the necessary tools to become the present and future of Puerto Rico.
Albert Einstein once said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. We can’t continue to consistently criticize are current circumstances if we aren’t willing to contribute to the change we all want to see take place. We can’t solely rely on others to solve our problems. We have to learn take action! And how exactly do we do that? Leading, promoting and supporting all these positive initiatives that look to create, and not just wait, for the change we all desire to see take place.