Former EEOC Chair Charges La Sierra
Graduates to Find Motivation
Dominguez, an Adventist, rose from CUC cleaner to U.S. official
BY DARLA MARTIN TUCKER, Public Relations Officer, La Sierra University,
reporting from Riverside, California
Seventh-day Adventist whose first part-time job involved dusting pianos at Columbia Union College, recently told graduates at Adventist-owned La Sierra University they need to find “ganas,” Spanish for acting with motivation, enthusiasm and earnestness, in order to reach maximum achievement in life.
“What compels you to make your voice heard?” Cari M. Dominguez, former chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged the La Sierra University graduating class of 323 students. “Finding your mission is critical to success in life. …Once you find that mission, may you do it with ganas, lots of ganas.”
She spoke to an audience of more than 3,000 family members, friends and graduates who braved the morning heat June 15 to sit under white canopies on La Sierra’s Founders’ Green.
Dominguez, a Seventh-day Adventist, oversaw a $325 million budget and 53 offices throughout the United States as the EEOC’s 12th chair and chief executive officer. She held the post between 2001 and 2006 following a Presidential nomination and unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The commission is the nation’s lead agency on all matters pertaining to the enforcement of civil rights employment laws.
Dominguez is currently a lecturer, consultant and corporate director of international employment services giant Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) in Milwaukee, Wis. The 60-year-old, $21 billion company appointed Dominguez as a board director on May 2, 2007.
During her commencement talk, Dominguez related the story of her childhood immigration from Cuba to the United States with her mother and sisters. She told of acquiring a work permit at age 14 and of getting a job with the housekeeping department at Columbia Union College, also Adventist-owned, in Takoma Park, Maryland. She filled paper towel dispensers “and dusted pianos, lots of pianos,” she said.
She talked about the inequities her father suffered after he and Dominguez’s brother, Francisco Perez, later immigrated to the U.S. She spoke of her parents’ unending gratitude for their newly-found freedoms despite the steep challenges of life in America.
Dominguez advised graduates to maintain the four Cs - competence, character, confidence and most of all, Christ, through Whom the first three are attained.
“God expects us to be high-performing individuals in all we do,” she said. “Ganas …is about one’s inner desire to achieve,” she said. While talent leads to aptitude, ganas, or motivation “determines altitude,” she added.