Executive director of the Latino Corporate Directors Association and the Latino Corporate Directors Education Foundation; previously, founder, president and CEO of the Hispanic advertising/marketing company Lapiz, a division of Leo Burnett

Smith major

Career path
For nearly 30 years Kunda moved up the ranks at advertising giant Leo Burnett, with a specialty in the Hispanic market. The services provided by Lapiz were previously not recognized as a profit center, until Kunda—who spent five years making the case—proved the Hispanic market could be profitable. In 2015, she took the helm of the new Latino Corporate Directors Association, whose mission is to increase the number and influence of qualified Latinos on corporate boards of directors.

Obstacles and opportunities facing young, ambitious women of color
“The closer you are to a first-generation immigrant population, the stronger the pressure to be traditional. Latina women are taught to be humble, not to stand out; if they have drive, they have to overcome the traditional idea that women shouldn’t be too ambitious. Half of my family is from Ukraine, half from Puerto Rico. I am two generations removed from poverty. My dad insisted his girls would go to college, but he was not typical. His siblings said girls don’t need education; they should get married and have children. Women have to resist this pressure. To be taken seriously in business, they have to overcome persistent cultural stereotypes. I can imagine a situation where people don’t talk to you because they think you are the housekeeper.… But someone who is Latina can use her knowledge of the Latina population to help a company understand the growing and powerful Hispanic market.”

SAQ, Fall 2015