Founded on the principles of fostering professional development, social connections, and community service, Wharton Latino is an undergraduate organization with a mission “to promote and unite the Latino community within the University of Pennsylvania.” Because Wharton Latino is open not only to Wharton students, but to the university’s entire undergraduate community, its roster includes more than 150 active members, ten committees, 500+ subscribers to their weekly newsletter, and eleven corporate sponsors.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Wharton Latino President Leah Mizrachi, W’24, and Board Member Ariana Bedoya Mansilla, W’25, share their favorite experiences and opportunities found within the organization.
How club leadership welcomes you home
Leah Mizrachi is a senior from Panama City, Panama, who is majoring in Finance and Business Analytics at Wharton. As the club’s President, Leah’s primary responsibility is to create an inclusive and vibrant home for the Latino community at Penn. Unlike many other Wharton-led student clubs, Wharton Latino does not require an application process, fees, or for its members to consist solely of Wharton students.
“We strive for the complete opposite of exclusivity,” Mizrachi explains.
Mizrachi felt inspired by Wharton Latino’s friendly and welcoming leadership, diving into the club’s community and its offerings right away. Mizrachi joined its Board by the end of her freshman year, when her Wharton Latino leadership tract began as the organization’s Membership Chair.
Ariana Bedoya Mansilla, W’25, also found similar and immediate leadership opportunities with Wharton Latino. A senior from Bolivia and of Brazilian descent, Mansilla joined the club’s traditional Freshmen Dinner and cites that night as where the bonding began.
“As soon as I arrived at Penn, Wharton Latino found me,” Mansilla says. “The upperclassmen and the Board at the time knew who the new Latinos were and immediately opened the doors of their community. Right away, I knew I had a place to call home, full of marvelous people with similar backgrounds and interests. Looking back, my favorite memories at both Wharton and Penn will remain as sharing and participating in this special community.”
Wharton Latino’s celebrated, welcoming community
Gatekeeping is not practiced by anyone in the Wharton Latino community, which is one of the reasons the club won the 2023 Dean’s Awards. When asked about what factors contributed to this celebrated achievement, Mizrachi attributes the purely welcoming nature of Wharton Latino writ large.
From seniors who readily invite freshmen into their homes to build resume-writing skills and practice mock job interviews together, to the club’s annual Valentine’s Day Rose Sale, which donates all proceeds raised to a different charity every year, Mizrachi believes the Dean’s Award recognized Wharton Latino’s unique mission of uniting students from across both Wharton and Penn. “The award goes to whatever club the Dean and the School feels represent Wharton’s values the most,” Mizrachi says. “We do a really good job at making Wharton Latino feel like home; for everyone, Wharton or not, Latino or not. And I know that for many freshmen, it’s really nice coming from a place where you feel alone in a new environment to finding people who are similar to you. It’s a huge advantage, and it’s really special. Sometimes that means hearing Spanish being spoken on Locust Walk, knowing that person is already a part of your built-in community. But for everyone, Wharton Latino is about finding a new home that cares about you and your growth.”
At Wharton Latino, engagement opportunities abound
Each year, over fifty Wharton Latino members travel to New York via bus, visiting over different corporate offices and leadership teams therein. This opportunity grants students the exclusive opportunity to learn, network, and converse about leading successful lives in the corporate world.
Throughout the rest of the year, club members don’t need to travel for similar exposure to big names and high-profile learning opportunities. There is also the Wharton Latino Career Conference, an annual fall event, when the club selects twelve companies who then descend on Penn’s campus every year.
“We host small, roundtable conversations with high-level recruiters, which our members always appreciate,” Mizrachi explains. “To close out the conference, our Board works hard in bringing in a great keynote speaker of Latin American descent to inspire our members.” Last year’s keynote speaker was founder of Eliment & Co., Eliana Murilo, an executive featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, who is also the former head of Alphabet’s Multicultural Marketing Team.
Open to Penn’s entire community, last year’s career conference was Bedoya Mansilla’s favorite event during her time with Wharton Latino. “[The Wharton Latino Career Conference] is one of the most important events for which Wharton Latino is distinguished because it represents one of our most important values: equity,” Bedoya Mansilla explains. “As an affinity club, we believe in granting everyone opportunities to thrive, which is why all members of UPenn are invited to participate in this annual event.”
*As conversations regarding Latinx continue to develop regarding editorial usage, Wharton’s Office of Marketing and Communications will continue to proceed with the current AP recommendation of Latinx for the duration of this Wharton Story, whenever the term is mentioned outside of the context of quotes or the name of the club (Wharton Latino) itself.
– Grace Meredith
Posted: September 15, 2023