2012 Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation

Success, creativity, authority, fame, relevance, POWER.

By David Quiñones
Noma Bar


The election season is over, but one thing changed forever.  The nation learned what we at PODER have known for years: the sphere of influence and demographic importance of Latinos is growing, and will only continue to do so. With that in mind, this year’s list of the most influential Hispanics has grown in size and diversity.

Who could have predicted a few years ago that we would be able to field a list like this, with 16 nationally prominent elected officials, several owners of major sports franchises and a United States Supreme Court Justice, to name just a few? Those following these pages since our first list was published in 2006 could have. The Latin influence in the United States may seem like a sudden boom, but in reality it has been a gradual growth. Today, as most PODER readers know, the members of this list represent the country’s largest and fastest growing minority group.

For this reason we have discarded our “100 Most Influential” format, as seen in previous editions, in favor of a different style. We have identified a group of key professional areas and drilled down to those who wield the most influence within them. The result: 13 categories with a robust and unprecedented number of “influentials.” (see the “Image Gallery”). A compelling case for the pervading influence of Hispanics is made by the fact that, relative to previous editions, we have not lowered our standards for inclusion. Indeed, there are simply more influentials. We’ve compiled our numbers from public documents and other sources that include non-profits, universities, federal, state and local governments and respected private organizations.

The influence of Hispanic power-players occupying top positions in their fields has grown almost commensurate with the Hispanic population itself, a fact that offers concern and hope: Concern because there are fields, including finance, health care and science and technology, where Hispanics continue to be drastically underrepresented—though within those fields there are Latino standouts and more doors opening every year.  But we choose to focus on the hope. For each law student aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor and each kid taking cuts at the batting cage trying to become the next Miguel Cabrera—for them, and millions of others, this list represents hope in what is, and will be, possible in this changing nation.



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