VIDEO | Blanca Campos Reflects on Hispanic Heritage Month

Follow this video series on Hispanic Heritage Month to learn about the experiences and insights offered by Latinx professionals in the association industry.

By Association Forum

Copy Of Violet Colourful Hispanic Heritage Month Instagram Post (6)

We are wrapping up Hispanic Heritage Month. If you’ve missed any of the posts dedicated to this month, please find links below. Association Forum has celebrating the month by speaking with Latinx association professionals on their unique journeys to the industry. Blanca Campos, MPA, CAE, is the CEO at Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois (CBHA). She speaks with Association Forum CEO Artesha Moore about her journey to the association industry, how organizations can be more inclusive of Latinx professionals, and how her members inspire her on a daily basis.

Watch the video below to find out more.

Read the Transcript

Artesha Moore: Hello, I’m Artesha Moore, President and CEO of Association Forum, and today I have with me Blanca Campos and I want Blanca to introduce herself and then we’ll get into some questions for her about what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her. But first Blanca, introduce yourself.

Blanca Campos: Thank you so much for having me. My name is Blanca Campos. I am the CEO at the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association or CBHA for short. We are the largest tree association for safety net mental health and substance use providers in Illinois. Our members offer full continuums of behavioral health services to children, youth, adults, and families in communities across our state.

Artesha Moore: Blanca, thank you for that introduction. One of the questions that I always ask, kind of starting in and I’m interested about really is how did you get into association management?

Blanca Campos: It’s a very interesting story. I actually fell into it and I’m actually, I’m very happy it happened. I was working for a political campaign. The person who I was working for did not win, but was a small business owner and I come from a small business background. So he decided to start at that time a association for small business owners where we would advocate for the needs of this community, of this group. So that’s how it started. That was my introduction. I loved it. I have a passion for advocacy. So for the past six years I’ve been working for my current association, which I absolutely love as well. I think is very important to highlight into, as we’ve been discussing normalized issues of behavioral health within all communities, but especially communities of color who sometimes still face stigma around this topic. And normalizing and ensuring that people know that there are resources out there. And us advocating for increasing access to those very essential services is part of what I do and what I absolutely love to do.

Artesha Moore: And I can see the glow that comes from you when you talk about it and it’s important. So today, and you really touched on in your industry how representation matters and so I have a question for you and when I think about what this month is, what does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Blanca Campos: Well, Hispanic Heritage Month means a lot of things. Right. I think it’s very important to celebrate and to share with others our rich culture and reflect on the many ways our community has shaped and strengthened the fabric of our country. But also on a personal level, right, I come from immigrant parents, so this is also a reminder of the sacrifices my parents have made to give me access to better opportunities. So this really is a time of celebration, reflection and a whole lot of gratitude.

Artesha Moore: Thank you for that. And I love how you ended with the piece around gratitude and really also the celebration piece. As we look at the history and the importance, it’s also to celebrate and amplify where we are and where we’re going. Right. And so your story about stumbling into association management, many of us did, but as I think about as a woman of color and as a leader, how can the association industry become more inclusive to the Latinx community, to its leaders?

Blanca Campos: I think we have to be intentional about being inclusive, and that means creating environments where people feel genuinely heard and valued. And I think also very importantly, creating opportunities for mentorship and growth as professionals and people. I know that has been critical for my career. So as new CEO, I think it is my responsibility as a Latinx professional to create those environments for others, for underrepresented communities. I also think it’s very important to create awareness about the different career paths that association offer. So if you have an interest in IT, government affairs, which is my realm, HR, marketing, there are career paths within the association industry that allow you to pursue your passions. So I think as a Latinx professional in the association industry, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for folks like me to spread that message. And I know we do it through working with Association Forum and other platforms to ensure that, hey, this is an opportunity.

You can work in association industry and do whatever it is that you want to do within your career, but also have this broader impact, right? Because our associations are very mission focused. We do so much, so much to help people across our state, across our country, but there is opportunity there. And again, sort of seeing like, hey, we have Latinos working at Association forum. We have Latinos working in my association, right, Community Behavior Healthcare Association. I think that’s very important.

Growing up, I think I wanted to be a teacher because the only professionals I met were teachers. Right. So I think it’s so important. Probably if I would’ve met an attorney, if I would’ve met someone within the association industry, that would’ve been something that I would’ve aspired to as a child. But I didn’t see that. Social workers, I worked with a lot of social workers, a lot of clinical professional counselors, and I think their work is so fascinating and really they save lives. But I wasn’t exposed to that. So my trajectory was different, and I’m actually very happy where I landed, and there’s a purpose for where I’m at. But I think that that exposure and creating that awareness is very key for communities of color, for Latinx young people.

Artesha Moore: And I really like what you said because when others watch this video, the part about functional career paths within association, I love how you said that because I think that there’s some of us that drink the potion and said, Okay, the magic of this Delve scholars. And we went on to get CAEs and certifications in those things. But then there’s others that just want to do good work and make good money and take care of their family and you know what, our industry does that.

Blanca Campos: Exactly. Exactly.

Artesha Moore: Right. As well as align it for the greater good.

Blanca Campos: Right.

Artesha Moore: So Blanca, thank you for saying that because I want to continue, that’s my grand purpose for me, is to bring the masses to our industry and unleash their unique talents, right, for that. And so my last question for you, I’m always interested in this. I’m a fan of superheroes, I’m an Avengers kind of girl. And so I always like to understand from your perspective, who do you look up to? Who do you admire? Who are your heroes?

Blanca Campos: So I’m so lucky and blessed that I come from a family of very strong women, very caring women. So my mom, my sister, my aunties. I really on a personal level and professional level, look up to them. And I think of all, I’m very blessed to be where I’m at right now. I think I work with professionals that I admire, that I look up to, not just because of the work that they do on a daily basis, but just how they do the work. They do it with so much heart, they do it with kindness. So I’m extremely lucky to and blessed and humble to be able to work with the folks that I work with. So I get to work with people who are mission driven, who have devoted their professional careers to providing care to the most vulnerable among us. So I look up to them and what they do inspires me every single day. And I feel so lucky and so blessed to be able to do this work.

Artesha Moore: If someone were to ask me the same question, you just gave my answer for what I do every day by working with people like you.

Blanca Campos: Yes.

Artesha Moore: I’m inspired by the comments and things that you said, and as I’ve come to Association Forum this community every day, it’s like a blessing. I do get paid, but it’s like a payment just to be with the people. So thank you for spending this time with us today, and thank you for sharing this. I hope it inspires someone, because it inspired me. Thank you.

Blanca Campos: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

Association Forum

The mission of Association Forum is to advance the professional practice of association management. Founded in 1916, Association Forum serves 4,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 27 million members and generate $10 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit www.associationforum.org for more information.

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