From her position as communications manager for Hispanic Markets at General Motors, Gloria Tostado is in charge of bringing one of the world's largest auto companies closer to the Latino community, a job that unites her experience and the culture of her Mexican parents.

Born in Houston of parents who came to the United States with one child and had six more in Texas, Tostado joined GM eight years ago because she was what they were looking for.

"They wanted a communications manager to handle the Hispanic market," Tostado told Efe in an interview, adding that this position has been a "magnificent opportunity."

As part of its belief in the value of diversity, GM has communications managers who handle the Hispanic, Asian, African-American and women's markets.

But when Tostado started at GM, its public relations effort targeting minorities was just getting off the ground.

"I love creating something that doesn't yet exist, to watch it grow and see the community notice the difference. It takes a lot of time, but that's the way this market is. If you as a representative of the corporation want to be accepted by the community, you have to be dedicated to the community," the executive said.

"Our goal is not only getting the community to know the company but also to see the efforts it is making to cooperate with them. They must get to know the people at GM so there's a direct relationship," she said.

Tostado acknowledges that the Latino community has made great strides over the past few decades, though she's sorry it's still talking today about things that were being discussed when she was a child.

Tostado is convinced that her parents understood when they brought up their kids in the United States that to be successful, Latinos have to adapt, beginning with learning the language.

"I never forgot my mother tongue, but my parents understood very early on the importance of adapting to the country that welcomes you, but that doesn't mean losing your culture," she said.

"You can have the best of both worlds. Having an accent doesn't matter, but being able to speak the language and express yourself with confidence and know what you're talking about, that's when people respect you and pay attention to what you're saying," she said. EFE