LA RED TIG Week: Latina/o Evaluation – Mentoring by Art Hernandez

My name is Art Hernandez, Visiting Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

I was an AEA MSI Fellow early on and have served as the Director for several cohorts – most recently this past year. I serve and have served as evaluator and teacher of evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural responsiveness in practice especially in regard to measurement and assessment. As one of the early AEA members from a Latino background, I have been positioned to offer my perspective to others on all aspects of Evaluation and professional practice.

Lesson Learned:

In my case, the relationships I have established and from which I have derived or offered insight, etc., resulted from “natural relationships” formed by my association with those Latinas/os who originally sought me out.  It is also clear to me that whatever benefit may have resulted to others, I certainly benefited.

It was these naturally occurring relationships which provided the means to advance the cause of representation and leadership for Latinas/os.  Clearly, because these relationships were organic, there was time to develop a foundation of trust- that any implied commitment of support could be trusted, that the motivation to be of support, to advance and advocate was genuine and time to develop a means of communication which reflected shared values predicated on a mutual desire to continue the relationship (friendship) for the long term.

Hot Tips: 

  • Interested and invested individuals and groups can make a difference in defining and shaping the “success” of our peers.
  • For underrepresented individuals, it is important to seek out interested, invested others even if they provide no more than social support and evidence that full participation is possible.
  • For those already within the “system” it is important to remember that even if you take no deliberate action, your presence and attitude toward newcomers conveys a great deal about the nature of the organization and the likelihood of success.
  • Numbers matter. Increasing the representativeness of constituent groups so that their “voice” can exercise influence should be a priority.
  • Diversity is of value to organizations which can benefit from a greater reach, improved retention and performance, increased innovation, social relevance and improved morale and sense of safety for those from underrepresented groups.
  • Informal mentoring is as valuable as formal mentoring.
  • Social and professional networks are important contributors to individual and organizational success.
  • Mentors, especially those from the majority who serve protégés from minority cultural backgrounds, should be sensitive to comments and attitudes of others and seek to advocate and advantage their protégés in the face of suspected prejudice or bias.
  • Mentors should be prepared to learn as well as to teach.
  • Mentors should expect, encourage and support protégés to achieve success – even that surpassing their own.
  • Finally, every field of endeavor benefits from efforts to embrace and exercise cultural responsive practice. The success of these efforts will be determined in no small way by the inclusion of experts who have firsthand, natural experience and knowledge of other cultural identities.

Rad Resource:

Norman, R.L. (2011). Five Best Practices for Cross-Cultural Mentoring in Organizations

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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