Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crimson Leadership Group CEO discusses Midwest diversity

Roberto Carmona’s firm handles local level research and has worked on projects for sectors from the corporate world to law enforcement.

By Amber Ellis

Immigrant Allies hosted a lecture by President and CEO of Crimson Leadership Group, Roberto Carmona at Mexico Antiguo in Marshalltown about diversity on April 10.

Carmona moved to the Midwest when he was only a few years old. Growing up in Sterling Ill., his family was made up of farm workers who often went to Michigan to pick strawberries.

“One day we started talking about connections and relationships and my mother had a cousin who worked at Northwester Steel in Sterling and we had an opportunity when I was five years old and we moved to this crazy place in the Midwest,” he said.

Moving to the Midwest, Carmona said, brought a memory that will always be fresh in his mind.

“I will always remember the first time we saw snow,” he said. “My dad bought us ice skates so I was with my sister and we went ice skating and we loved it.”

Although seeing snow for the first time was an exciting experience, according to Carmona, there are bigger reasons why he remains in the Midwest. His firm, Crimson Leadership Group, deals with community-based research, management, human resources and leadership.

Roberto Carmona addresses a crowd at
Mexico Antiguo in Marshalltown.
(Iowa Peace Network/Amber Ellis)
Crimson Leadership Group helps with the challenges of influencing immigration. Carmona explained that his organization is trying to create businesses that create a tax base to provide local funding for functions like schools and parks. However, the transition that immigration can present for communities is not always smooth, he said.

“Jobs are changing, communities are changing, so you see different demographic change and the first reaction everyone had is, ‘this is different and we don't like it.’”

In addition to pushing for societal changes, Carmona said he has worked on projects with law enforcement. When the Chicago Police Department changed leadership in 2007, it asked Carmona to find a replacement.

“They come to me and said, ‘look, we need someone who understands the particular population and knows how to work with them.’”

Carmona also worked on a corporate project for a company called Diversity Focus.

“They had a very interesting project they put together between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and wanted to know how to complete a better community,” he said.

Carmona explained that his journey in life was extremely important to him. In spite of having a 1.4 high school grade point average, he graduated from Harvard 10 years ago and like him, he wants his children to honor their name.

“Being a Carmona, most people would associate with being a negative thing,” he said. People may like you or hate you, but you own your identity.”

No comments:

Post a Comment