Claudia Romo Edelman on the Power of a United Community to Forge a Hispanic Recovery Plan

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

On a very unusual Friday afternoon, Claudia and I sat face to face, Claudia from her office in her apartment building in NYC, and me from my home office in Miami. Coronavirus had just become a concern for the US, and the CDC was to recommending organizers to cancel or postpone events with 50 people or more for 8 weeks. Only a week away, on March 26th, Claudia was scheduled to launch “Hispanic Star”, a mega campaign aimed to change the perception of Hispanics by shining a light and showcasing the incredible contributions of Hispanics to the country. The kickoff event was supposed to take place at the MLB’s opening game at the White Sox Stadium in Chicago. Once she heard that it was canceled, her team shifted gears in order to introduce a Hispanic Recovery Plan that can help Hispanics get back on their feet as soon as possible.

Claudia is no stranger to adapting. She is a social entrepreneur, an advocate and a catalyst for change. A captivating public speaker and media contributor, Claudia is a leader of inclusion, focused on unifying the U.S. Hispanic community and promoting sustainability and purpose-driven activities. She was born in Mexico and raised a marketer. She studied communications, had a passion for film and storytelling that quickly gave her experience as a journalist. She moved to Europe literally the night of her prom, so she never worked in Mexico. From the very beginning, she has worked as a diplomat and press correspondent for global organizations, so she is always trying to raise awareness; to mobilize the hearts and minds of people. “I’ve been part of different organizations, and had different titles, but my goal has always been pretty much the same: how do we communicate, organize and mobilize people to do things that are important for the planet.”

We Are All Human

After spending 25 years in Europe witnessing different environments and communities get together and thrive, Claudia was inspired to create “We are all Human”, an organization that looks to unify the Hispanic community, by making sure they are all seen, heard and valued. “I moved to America five years ago and I was suddenly a Hispanic. It was the first time hearing that term. That's when I started getting interested in understanding how powerful Hispanics are, but how weak we feel we are. How big our numbers are and how small people see us.” As a marketer, Claudia knows that numbers speak for themselves. “Hispanics are powerful, but we don't know about it because we have to shift the general perception. We don't have a problem, we are great. We are finishing school, getting educated, we are hard-working, we care about our family. We just don't have good marketing behind us.”

Claudia has had the incredible luxury to work in organizations that care about refugees, migration, public health, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She’s spent more than nine years working for the World Economic Forum, where she had first-hand experience on how important it is to have a joint plan and an ongoing dialogue to execute that plan. It is also crucial to have a multi-stakeholder approach, because when in the event of a crisis or big ambitions there is no way that one single sector can do it alone. “You need a variety of people, I had a nine-year school on how to unify people, how to bring them together to the same table.”

This experience has given Claudia a good understanding of how pandemics work. They hit hard and there are ways in which you can recover. You have either a “V” recovery, which goes sharply down and sharply back up, you can also have a “U” when it's a long way down, with a long u-turn and then you come back up, or an “L”, where you go down and you stay flat. “What I'm trying to do for the Hispanic community is to unify all of our forces so that we can get our recovery in a “V” shape. Not only at the health level but also psychologically, and most importantly economically. We know we are going to go down, we aren't even halfway down, so we are going to hit ground and at that moment we should be ready with an action plan so that we can recover fast.”

Claudia is concerned that Hispanics are going to be hit the hardest by the pandemic. Especially small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, and subcontractors, that work in the gig economy, sharing economy and service industry. Her Hispanic recovery action plan ideally will unify leaders in sharing the same information by communicating, organizing and mobilizing. This way, people know what are the key actions they can take and where to find trustworthy resources. One example is giving small businesses and entrepreneurs visibility so that corporations can diversify their supply chain and hire Hispanics in the time when they need it most. “It is easier by far to have a framework of action and then follow a lead so that we can get back in a “V” shape and not in an “L” form. People care about doing something once you have a plan.”

Possibilism: when change is possible