Murguia has developed specific priorities to address the many issues that the Hispanic community faces. Her first is to work on strengthening NCLR’s relationship with its affiliates, which has been made a key institutional priority as well and is reflected in NCLR’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. This will involve building better bridges of communication, a deeper level of commitment from both NCLR and affiliates to one another, and more effective partnerships. With NCLR’s renewed commitment comes an avenue for affiliates to have a larger voice in shaping the direction of the institution, which will ultimately have a more profound and far-reaching impact for the community overall. Murguia emphasizes that, “We are fortunate to have a team of talented professionals working at NCLR and in our affiliate network, and I’m inspired by their commitment to our community.”
Another of her key priorities is to raise the visibility of the organization, which in turn will help bolster NCLR’s policy, programmatic, and fundraising efforts. “I don’t think our story is being told as effectively as it could be,” said Murguia. “We need to make sure that everyone – especially our constituents – has a fundamental understanding of the important work that NCLR does every day to improve the lives of Hispanic families.” In that vein, Murguia is spearheading an initiative to develop an integrated, comprehensive communications and marketing strategy for the organization, a key component of NCLR’s Strategic Plan for the next five years. Murguia has secured the assistance of NCLR’s Corporate Board of Advisors (CBA), which in March formed a task force led by Ford Motor Company President Jim Padilla, to support NCLR in this effort.
The most immediate and outward sign of increased visibility is the organization’s recent purchase of a permanent headquarters planted firmly in the heart of the nation’s capital, which its staff will occupy in early 2005. Yzaguirre, who worked with a select group of key corporations and individuals to turn this dream into a reality, fueled the fundraising campaign that made this possible. Named the Raul Yzaguirre Building, it will serve as a showcase for Hispanic achievement, a gathering place for sister organizations, and headquarters for NCLR operations, while symbolizing NCLR’s intention to stand firm in its commitment to principles.
This transition in leadership is yet another step in NCLR’s reinvention of itself. While the community has made advancements in certain areas, it still needs assistance and leadership to help them succeed, and NCLR is adapting once again to meet that challenge. Murguia declared, “I believe that through a great American institution like NCLR, which has a long history of fighting for our community, we can advance an agenda that will benefit our community and society as a whole.”