Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jerry Willis

Second Supervisor

Hasna Muhammad

Abstract

Latinas face obstacles achieving proportionate representation in significant leadership roles. This research aimed to identify characteristics unique to Latina leaders that represented shared values and beliefs of Latinas, and to understand positive factors and obstacles associated with Latina leadership in the United States. Survey responses from three hundred thirty-five Latinas and four interviewees from across the U.S. suggested that there are forty-three characteristics an effective Latina leader should possess. Four essential characteristics identified were: creative, good listener, optimistic/positive, and passionate. The forty-three characteristics were categorized into five groups of similar characteristics to synthesize what study participants believed were essential characteristics of Latina leaders. The categories were: high integrity, marianismo, new Latina, transformational leader, and visionary. Pursuing the attributes of these five leadership categories will help Latinas who aspire to become leaders understand what it takes to be a successful Latina leader, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and enable them to create a plan of success for themselves. Furthermore, study participants noted factors of positive influence on Latinas. Six crucial positive influencers identified were: successful educational attainment, participating in leadership training, possessing self-confidence, having role models, religious influence, and family influence. Study participants also noted factors which can be obstacles for Latinas. Four critical obstacles identified were: lack of mentors, lack of opportunities, cultural obligations, and family obligations. Literature about Latinas and Latina leadership is limited. There is an urgent need for research about the topic(s). This study was one step towards understanding the dynamics of Latina leadership in the U.S.

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