As a gay man and Latino in corporate America, the best advice I have received in order to realize professional and personal success was to embrace my truth by being courageous, authentic and bringing others along.
Jon is a co-founder of the National Hispanic Corporate Council Corporate Executive Development Program (CEDP), an executive leadership program celebrating its 10th anniversary having graduated 237 corporate leaders. CEDP is offered in partnership with Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business and is dedicated to advancing Hispanic managers to executive positions in global enterprises. Jon also provides leadership support to numerous diverse nonprofit organizations including the Friends of the American Latino Museum as Board Treasurer, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Corporate Advisory Council as Co-Chair and was recently named as Board Chair of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA). Personally, Jon married Peter Sayotovich in 2015. They’ve been together 23 years.
(Editor’s Note: The following narrative is in Jon’s own words.)
My parents, John and Aida Muñoz, were heavily involved in community engagement throughout my formative years and this inspired my work in corporate America. My father led League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council #8 and served on the Board of the American Red Cross in El Paso, Texas, where he was recognized for his exceptional contributions. I also learned leadership through their example as career civil servants. Combined, my parents served meritoriously for 65 years at the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Army in Fort Bliss, Texas.
Upon graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, I sought ways to give back and uplift my intersecting communities throughout my corporate career in the financial services, telecommunications and hospitality industries. I have worked in a number of functional business areas, including multicultural marketing, community relations, human resources, corporate social responsibility and diversity and inclusion. I have been intentional about aligning my personal values with meaningful work experiences that would not only add value for the company I support but to the diverse communities that I represent.
As a gay Latino entering a corporate environment, I didn’t always see myself reflected in the workforce, especially at senior levels. It was difficult to locate and connect with mentors and role models who shared my background and experiences. As a result, I didn’t always feel seen, heard, valued or respected. As I navigated the corporate ladder, I learned how to assert my individuality — and soon realized my unique perspectives were valuable to the company.
Through the guidance of senior-level mentors, sponsors and allies within my organizations and Latino leaders from other companies, I was able to realize my potential in a corporate leadership role. Having been selectively ‘out’ for most of my professional career, after joining Hilton I decided to live openly at work and have been using my position to create positive change and advocate for all communities. It has been not only liberating but also rewarding to live my truth and leverage those points of difference to benefit my employer and my communities.