Profiles of Impact: Training Latino Advocates on the Power of Storytelling

30 Years, in 12 Months: Our Profiles of Impact series showcases just 12 moments out of many that have made our work both meaningful and impactful. But how did we get there? Each month in 2017, we go behind the scenes to interview the people who were “there”, and illustrate how progress through communications is possible every day.

In 1978, a group of visionary members of Congress founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in recognition of a need to develop the next generation of Latino leaders. CHCI continues to carry out this mission by educating young Latino advocates about the legislative process, empowering them to serve, and connecting them with local and national influencers and leadership opportunities.

In recent years, CHCI recognized that many of its young advocates had not discovered the persuasive power of their own stories to advance change. In 2015, CHCI launched its Virtual Leadership Institute, sponsored by Hyundai, to give program participants and community leaders a platform to share their personal stories, as well as their experiences with CHCI.

To support the new program, Vanguard developed a strategic storytelling training pilot curriculum and tested it with CHCI’s interns, public policy and graduate fellows, alumni and senior staff. Afterward, participants remarked that the trainings offered them a safe space for them to grow in their storytelling and public speaking abilities.

Vanguard’s former Assistant Account Executive, Elizabeth Diaz-Escobar, caught up with CHCI alumnus Sasha Moreno to discuss the importance of strategic storytelling, the role of Latino advocates and how these trainings have been used in her life.

  1. What is the most rewarding change you’ve seen for young Latino advocates since you were an intern at CHCI? I was a CHCI intern in 2007. Over the past 10 years, I am happy to see there are additional organizations, programs and resources to develop the next generation of leaders. I believe there is a great need in our community to work with these young, aspiring leaders to help them fulfill their potential and I am excited to see more efforts to do so. It’s also been amazing to see how much these opportunities have affected individual lives. For me personally, CHCI changed my career trajectory from journalism into law and public policy. I am forever indebted to CHCI for a life-changing experience.
  2. What prompted you to take the storytelling training? Was there any one event or moment that made you realize this was an opportunity not to miss? As a leader of the local CHCI Dallas Alumni chapter, I thought this training would be a great way to learn about crafting my personal narrative, since I was contemplating running for office. I also thought that I could share what I learned with other CHCI alumni so they could benefit as well.
  3. What are you excited about when you look to the next 5 years of developing Latino leaders? I recently announced that I am running for local office as Dallas County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Place 2. I realized it was integral to serve and give back to my community through public service and elected office. I am excited to see many other Latino leaders stepping up to run for office or taking on other leadership roles in the community. While Latinos have made great strides in many career sectors, we are still underrepresented in elected office and other leadership capacities. I am hopeful that in the next 5 years, we will see more Latinos in positions of power and influence.
  4. How have you used the storytelling training skills since you participated? Since announcing my candidacy for Justice of the Peace, I’ve attended numerous meetings and events as part of my campaign efforts. I’ve incorporated my personal narrative in speeches and conversations with members of the community. The storytelling training was extremely helpful in developing my narrative and refining my public speaking skills.

The CHCI-Hyundai Virtual Leadership Institute continues to thrive, and Vanguard continues to train young Latino leaders through the Comunicadores for the Future internship program, a partnership between Vanguard and the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute.