If you are asked to name off successful women in business then you are likely aware of the long list of Latinas who would make the cut. Among these women is Diedra Garcia who took the helm of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver as president and CEO earlier this year. Garcia took the reins from former Denver Mayor Guillermo “Bill” Vidal when he stepped down. (See related story at www.lavozcolorado.com).
Garcia, whose business savvy is recognizable through her former position as president and CEO of DRG Construction Corp. and who has received numerous recognitions such as being named the 2003 Business Woman of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver and the Outstanding Woman of the Year for Business in Construction and Real Estate by the Denver Business Journal, gave La Voz an interview.
La Voz: How did you feel when it was announced that you were selected as the new president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver?
Diedra Garcia: I felt honored. It was a very challenging process. The interview process was very challenging. I worked very hard to get the decision in my favor. I was really honored to be chosen to represent this organization.
LV: What are your ultimate goals in this position?
DG: For us to demonstrate our value to our members and to the Hispanic business community. My goal is for the Chamber to take a leadership role to create jobs for Hispanics and create business opportunities for Hispanics and to create an environment for business vitality for companies that do business with the Hispanic market.
LV: You’ve served on numerous boards. How important is it to maintain a direct connection with the community?
DG: I think it’s very important. It’s important to give back when the opportunity presents itself. But it’s also a really great way to learn about your own leadership skills. When you sit on other boards you get to experience how that organization is run.
The experience that I’ve had on other boards has been instrumental … in working here at the Chamber.
LV: You’ve held leadership positions in the past, but what does it mean to be a woman in a leadership position?
DG: As a female in a very male dominated industry, it feels special. It feels like a special place in leadership. I hope I am able to use it and set an example to other women who are looking to excel in another leadership role.
LV: What advice would you give to other women who would like to seek a top leadership position, in whatever industry, but may doubt their abilities?
DG: I think we all have a tendency to be heavily critical of ourselves. Take an honest, objective look at your skills and experiences in what area you want to succeed.
(Garcia suggested women take advantage of resources out there that may benefit in strengthening their skills in order for them to become successful in their career pursuits.)
LV: You’ve found success as a businesswoman. What would you say have been some of your top achievements?
DG: When we started [DRG Construction Corp.], it was very small and with a really great team of people we were able to grow it exponentially, and I’m proud of the reputation that the company has.
LV: What would you like to say to your friends and family members?
DG: Being family-oriented and setting high standards for you and the people around you is the best way to excel in what you want to do. Finding out what you want to do … is trial and error. Being the best at what you do feels like you are not working. [Be] as prepared as you can for it.