By Matthew Berger, Director of Communications
Rafael Lizardi joined Texas Instruments in 2001 as part of the company’s finance development program after serving five years as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He now serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at the technology giant headquartered in Dallas.
Lizardi, who will be the Board Chair of the DRC in 2023, talks career in the DRC’s on-going Q&A series for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Why is it important to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanics are quickly approaching 20% of the U.S. population, and in Texas, are about 40%. Moreover, these numbers are expected to continue to rise over the coming decades. Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the diversity within the Hispanic population, but funny enough, most Hispanics do not use that word. They refer to themselves as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, Dominican, just to name a few. Each of those cultures enriches American society and contributes to our country.
How can businesses address the challenges within the Hispanic community?
The way businesses can support the Hispanic community is to embrace and promote diversity among its employees and leaders. This objective is a win-win, as it has been proven again and again that diverse organizations just perform better. Something that is sometimes missed is the pernicious impact of unconscious biases in our business processes, particularly in talent development and assessment. Business leaders should take a close look at their people processes and question where they likely have biases and establish counter measures to address those biases.
Please share with us some Hispanic-serving organizations in the Dallas Region you support.
I was on the board of Mi Escuelita, an organization in Dallas that provides pre-K education primarily to children of Spanish-speaking families with low economic resources. I was also on the Dallas Children’s Theater board, which supports the Hispanic community. As part of the DRC, I am a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Lastly, at Texas Instruments, I have been an active member of several Hispanic employee organizations, such as Unidos and Hispanics in Finance. I enjoy giving back to the community and think of it as my responsibility as a senior leader at Texas Instruments. I am grateful for people who helped me throughout my life, and I want to do the same for others.
How do you stay motivated now and in the future?
There have been many experiences and roles, as well as leaders and people, who have shaped who I am today. My experience as an officer in the U.S. Army was foundational, and I cherish what I learned there about duty, commitment, leadership, and teamwork. Early in my career at Texas Instruments, a role I had helping lead a small business was instrumental in shaping my skillset to be the most effective at the company. I truly enjoyed working closely with engineers and others to help grow and optimize that small business and have been able to build on that experience over the years. Working with smart, creative people at Texas Instruments who are at the forefront of solving some of the most challenging and important engineering problems, which in turn help make our world better, is incredibly exciting and motivating.
Other executives in the DRC’s Hispanic Heritage Month Q&A series include Maryanne Pina and Bridget Lopez.