opportunities to Hispanics and other minority
groups. Why? Because they know that the
kind of core values we were raised with will
be present throughout our professional
paths and will translate into the ability to
command and give respect, show empathy,
provide guidance and build teams that
work together, cohesively.
Truly, as Latinos, we are raised to be
attentive, joyful, respectful, polite, kind,
inclusive and responsive.
We are hospitable.
Every time we provide an experience
for another that serves them up joy, we
are doing what we learned and what we
love. Every time we make a memory for
someone, we are opening our hearts to
them. Every time we shake a hand, offer
food, say welcome, give advice, solve a
problem, deliver a service or simply tender a
smile, we are sharing a piece of our culture.
We are making others’ lives a little better
– those of our children, our family, our
friends and our community. And in some
small way, we are always saying,
Welcome, Mi casa es su casa…”
Nicole Quiroga, a native of Washington
DC, is the CEO of the Greater Washington
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Previously
she held the position of General Manager
of Telemundo WZDC-25 in Washington D.C.
and Telemundo WZTD-45 in Richmond, VA.
Quiroga is a television broadcaster with
expertise in media sales, journalism, multicultural
marketing, and strategic planning.
Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Why Hispanics Excel in Hospitality
By Nicole Quiroga
President & CEO
Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
On occasion, when I was a little girl, I would sit my parents down
at the dinner table and proceed to take their orders for the
evening meal. Pencil and notepad in hand I began with my mother:
“Señora, que desea cenar? And when she selected from my
homemade menu of ham or cheese sandwiches I had already
prepared, I would say, “A sus ordenes.”
At family parties, I was exhilarated to
pass out punch, offer hors d’oeuvres and
hand out handkerchiefs before we began
our traditional dances. My family would
thank me and I would respectfully and
enthusiastically reply “Mi casa es su casa!”
Like a majority of Latinos, I was raised
with, and exposed to, the cultural values
that influence our beliefs and define our
behaviors for a lifetime. These most
salient and important values are centered
on family, respect, caring and kindness
and form our personal habits that manifest
in our social and professional environments
every day. It is no wonder why we are able
to take our deepest life lessons and use
them to excel in an industry that is founded
on those same concepts…Hospitality.
Hospitality is loosely defined as the
friendly and generous reception and
entertainment of guests and strangers. And
here is why we as Latinos are excelling in
this industry hand over fist.
To begin with, we put Familia above
all else. We develop an unwavering bond
to our nuclear and extended family that
elicits strong feelings of loyalty, pride,
reciprocity and solidarity. We are raised
with a sense of responsibility to help the
family whenever possible. Even our family
fiestas put us all to work, prepping, cooking,
cleaning and even singing and dancing for
the entertainment portion of the day.
From young, we are immersed in a culture
that celebrates family, consistently surrounded
by warm and welcoming hugs and kisses.
As a result, we put less emphasis on material
things and instead, learn to put our family’s
happiness first because we treasure our
cohesiveness. The harmony of the group
is critical and we are uneasy with discord.
We fervidly respect one another and pay
special attention to our great grandparents,
grandparents, parents and other family elders.
We relish the opportunity to be of service
to those we love and value. We open doors,
walk arm in arm, carry heavy items and
give up our seats for one another. We
nurture, coddle, spoil and protect each
other. We fuss, we pamper and we treat
each other with utmost care.
As the President and CEO of the Greater
Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,
I live in a city that is now considered one
of the top vacation destinations in the
country, one of the best places to live and
a favorite city to be a foodie. Hospitality
is one of Washington D.C.’s strongest
sectors supporting 80,000 jobs in over 130
hotels with over 31,000 rooms, more than
2,000 restaurants and 45 performing arts
venues with more than 27,000 seats.
With the ever-growing Hispanic
population in the U.S. and the fact that today,
Hospitality is one of the world’s fastestgrowing
industries, it is no surprise that
Hispanics are a definite part of the successes
of the hotels, restaurants, entertainment
venues, airports, amusement parks and movie
theaters in our nation. The correlation
between the success of the Hospitality
industry and the fact that, according to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanic
workers represent 25% of the workers in
Hospitality is certainly not lost on me.
Let me also add that because Hispanics
are now more acculturated, educated and
experienced in our professional fields than
ever before, industry leaders are increasing
efforts to deliver executive-level employment
48 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 3, 2018