Honda Leaders Speak at Hispanic Scholarship Fund Leadership Conference

Several Honda leaders presented at the annual Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) National Leadership Conference held July 29-31 on the topics of career exploration and development.

With the leadership conference being held virtually this year, Honda leaders attended the event from their home locations. Those leaders who participated were:

  • Jennifer Thomas, business unit lead and vice president of Corporate Affairs at American Honda (AHM), who presented on career exploration on July 29.
  • Jim Oliva, managing counsel, AHM Intellectual Property, who attended a leader panel discussion on July 31.
  • Meliza Humphrey, senior manager, AHM Acura Marketing, who attended a leader panel discussion on July 31.

In addition, several members of the Latino Dreams in Action (LDIA) Business Resource Group attended the summit virtually as well.

Panelists, including Thomas, shared with the group how they chose their career paths, what books they are reading and what advice they would give to their younger selves.

Thomas has always had an interest in politics and government relations, but decided to focus on learning the automotive industry to further her career. She also talked about graduating from college during the Great Recession and how difficult it was to find a job.

“Your first job is not going to be your ideal job,” Thomas told 141 students in the virtual meeting. “I started as a receptionist just to get my foot in the door and immediately started planning what I wanted to do next. I would say don’t get caught up in your ideal image of the perfect job.”

The HSF Leadership Conference provides an inside track to academic and professional excellence for the best and brightest HSF scholars through a combination of mentoring, professional insights and career guidance.

Oliva said he was impressed with the credentials of the HSF scholars and their high level of engagement, as demonstrated by their many, wide-ranging questions. In response to inquiries about mentorship, he told the attendees: “Be proactive. Invite a leader to have a cup of coffee. You will be surprised at how willing people are to talk  The best mentorships are organic, those are the ones that flourish. But, while mentors are great, remember that your greatest advocate will always be you.”  

Honda, the sponsor of this year’s conference, has had a relationship with HSF since 2003 and has attended and sponsored events, as well as provided scholarships to students.

“Honda values its relationship with HSF, and we hope that by engaging with these talented students in this way, we can promote our career opportunities within their networks and share the benefits of considering Honda for their future as they complete their educations,” said Yvette Hunsicker,division lead and vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility, Inclusion and Diversity at AHM.

As one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations supporting higher education, HSF has awarded over $650 million in scholarships and provides a broad range of programs and support services for students, parents, HSF scholars and HSF alumni. For more information visit

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