Jorge Escobar recognized at HITEC 100 Awards Ceremony

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to announce, SVL Cultura Ambassador and education champion Jorge Escobar, Vice President for San Jose City College, was recently recognized as one of the HITEC 100 Corporate Award Honorees.

For many years now, Silicon Valley Latino has enjoyed covering this special annual awards presentation where many of our Cultura Ambassadors are regularly recognized. Current and past recipients include Guillermo Diaz Jr. -CIO at Cisco, Jorge Titinger – Founder & CEO of Titinger Consulting, Diana Albarran-Chicas – GEO Product Line Manager at Spac Systems Loral to name a few.

Jorge Escobar currently serves as Vice President of Administrative Services at San Jose City College (SJCC). As a member of the Presidential cabinet, his portfolio includes the following strategic areas: bond program for facilities development and operations; campus buildings and grounds management; financial services; business services; technology; campus police and safety; and operational performance of the 55-acre campus.

Before SJCC, he served as Vice President of Campus Operations and as Executive Director of Operations at Laureate International Universities (LIU), at the National Hispanic University (NHU) in San Jose, CA, and St. Augustine Universities, respectively.   At different times during his trajectory, he was responsible for multiple teams at the campus and functional expert in areas of Bursar, Financial Aid, Operations, AP, Facilities, Real Estate, Risk Management, and Information Technology. As a Sr. Leader in the organization, he supported the attainment of University goals and objectives in accordance with the institutional mission and strategic vision.

Prior to joining LIU, Jorge worked for Princeton University, where he served as senior associate director of planning and operations for the Office of Development creating a resource request to launch the Aspire capital campaign. The $1.75 billion campaign required the development of strategies relating to the allocation of resources in support of strategic plans (short and long-term).

Throughout his career, Escobar, a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, has applied his broad expertise in operations and technology at large institutions worldwide. For almost 10 years at Merrill Lynch, he performed global business reviews in Toronto, Tokyo, and London and became Vice President of Global Business Strategies and Solutions managing initiatives in data strategy, systems integration, performance metrics, and cost savings.

Escobar is an advisor to the International Commission of Science and Technology in the Dominican Republic and works with SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación) evaluating research and development projects funded by the Panama government and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Escobar has led the National Hispanic Employee Network at Merrill Lynch and volunteered for AARP, Habitat for Humanity, and other community-focused organizations. In addition, he is a board member for HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Student’s Performance Achievement) a non-profit organization providing role models to students in middle school. Finally, Jorge spearheaded Latino Princetonians, an employee resource group at Princeton University.

Educationally, Jorge has achieved a Master of Education with a concentration in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University; Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Thomas Edison State College; Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Rider University, New Jersey.

Additionally, Escobar is bilingual in Spanish-English, he is highly trained and proficient in multiple technology applications and has completed relevant professional seminars and conferences including the Looking Glass Experience, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Financial Reporting, Conflict Resolution, Advancement Services, Leadership Through People Skills, Results-Oriented Communication, and Market Data Management.

Jorge has also received numerous awards and commendations including a Special Recognition Award from Princeton University (2011), the Donald Griffin ’23 Management Award, Princeton University (2010), and the Special Achievement Award, Merrill Lynch (1997).

We would like to congratulate Jorge once again for being recognized as one of the HITEC 100.

 

 

College Declaration Day 2017!

 

Once again Silicon Valley Latino is proud to shine the spotlight on stellar Latinos leading the way, this time however, it’s done through a strategic partnership with San Jose City College and the focus is on the next generation of emerging leaders.

On August 23rd, San Jose City College and Silicon Valley Latino collaborated in producing the inaugural “College Declaration Day” where eight honorees were featured and celebrated for their academic achievements. Our community, which included parents, students, family members, educators and Cultura Ambassadors, gathered at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension to pay tribute to eight exceptional high school seniors as they took their first steps into pursuing a college degree.

The festivities commenced with welcome and opening remarks by Alex Ontiveros, founder of Silicon Valley Latino.  He then introduced Jorge Escobar, Vice President of San Jose City College, who delivered passionate and encouraging remarks to our College Declaration Day inaugural cohort.  The enthusiasm continued as Adam Mendoza, Vice President of Marketing for Silicon Valley Latino introduced the evening’s master of ceremonies, Cultura Ambassador and serial entrepreneur, Nancy Rosales. Nancy introduced each honoree by reading their inspiring bios and announcing which school they are attending this fall. After each introduction, each honoree delivered heartwarming remarks of gratitude and appreciation for all who helped along their academic journey. They also declared that they give their best effort as they start the collegiate journeys and that they will find a way to give back to their community upon their graduations. The event was also streamed via Facebook Live in an effort to reach audiences beyond Silicon Valley, in fact, the live-stream reached over 6,300 people and had just under 2,000 views.  The other goal in streaming the event was to share these stories of commitment and perseverance in an effort to inspire others in our communities, especially young girls and boys so they could also see themselves as successful scholars entering the college of their choice. We are also optimistic that this will be the first of many College Declaration Day events and that the number of academic honorees will grow each year.

The inaugural College Declaration Day cohort includes:

  • Krista Arellano – Yale University
  • Daniela Cervantes – University of California at Berkeley
  • Gissel Neri Corcoles – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Apolinar De Jesus – University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Evelyn Lazaro-Ruiz – Vassar College
  • Yulissa Martin-Covarrubias – University of California at Berkeley
  • Anthony Bernard Tapiz – California State University at Monterey Bay
  • Josalyne Torres-Baez – University of California at Davis

We wish them all the best as they enter their freshmen year and look forward to providing our audiences with updates throughout their first year.

Lastly, we would like to give special thanks to Cultura Ambassador and education champion, Jorge Escobar, for seeing the vision of College Declaration Day and partnering with Silicon Valley Latino in producing this special event. We also want to offer a special acknowledgment to, Cultura Ambassador, Ileana Ortega Brunetti of Ceiba Public Schools for her assistance with the nomination process. Additionally, we want to thank San Jose City College and the Milpitas Extension Team including Michael Mooney, Director of the Milpitas Extension along with all our families, educators and Cultura Ambassadors that came out to support this special event.

 

Adelante!

 

#defendDACA video project

 

We are delighted to post our first #defendDACA video featuring Manuel Romero’s “Alza La Mano” song as well as some photos from some of our Cultura Ambassadors, City of San Jose Council Members and community advocates.

We would also ask you to save the date for our “Moving beyond DACA” Fireside Chat. We are producing this special event in partnership with San Jose City College at their new Milpitas Extension the morning of November 4th from 10AM – noon. We look forward to engaging you all in a conversation and identifying actionable steps towards ensuring fair policies for our immigrant communities.

Inspire Higher Panel at SJCC Milpitas Extension

 

On the evening of August 30th, Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College were delighted to present the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation to an open audience. Typically, the Inspire Higher program has been a tour involving select high schools in the South Bay. These schools have included the Luis Valdez Leadership Academy, Latino College Preparatory Academy, Cristo Rey, Milpitas High School and ACE Charter High School as well as ACE Middle School and Sacred Heart Nativity Schools. Through the Inspire Higher Tour, Silicon Valley Latino features four Latinos from the STEAM fields. Although STEAM is typically the acronym that represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, through our definition the “E” also represents Entrepreneurship and Entertainment and the “M” also represents Media, Marketing and Management. We typically feature two Latinas and two Latinos from these fields through a one-hour moderated panel discussion. During this hour the panelists share their journeys in a very open, honest and authentic manner, they share the good, the bad and the ugly.  The panelists share in such an inspiring way that even though the students did not know them prior to the panel presentation they rush at them at the conclusion of the Q & A segment like groupies to rock stars, it’s such a beautiful thing to watch.

One of the challenges that Silicon Valley Latino has faced in the past years while presenting the Inspire Higher Tour is that these presentations have been rather exclusive to students of the select high schools participating. However, now through an established partnership with San Jose City College, these panel presentations will be offered to the general public (students, parents, professionals, etc) on a regular basis at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension. Both Silicon Valley Latino and San Jose City College are excited about this partnership and prospect of offering a variety of similar type activities for our community.

On August 30th, the first Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the San Jose City College Milpitas Extension featured a stellar line-up of Latino Cultura Ambassadors which included Diana Albarrán Chicas (GEO Product Line Manager at SSL and co-founder of Latinas in STEM), Rich Garcia (co-founder of Blyve.com), Nancy Rosales (Serial Entrepreneur and media & business consultant), and Ivan Reyes (Serial Entrepreneur and Executive Director for the Police Activities League in Redwood City).  As usual, these panelists shared their journeys in a truly inspiring manner and passed on lessons learned as well as what inspires them these days. We encourage you to watch our Inspire Higher recap video below.

Also, stay tuned to the next Inspire Higher Panel presentation at the new San Jose City College Milpitas Extension!

 

SJZ Summer Fest 2017

 

 

SJZ Summer Fest Recap Video featuring photos from the festival and song (Somos El Son De La Calle by Braulio Barrera).

The only thing greater than experiencing the joy of a great live performance is doing so amongst an appreciative audience composed of other great music lovers. And it’s in that moment you realize festivals like the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest are really about music fans. Fans treated to so much hidden and diverse talents. Fans who get it.

This year’s Fest featured such an eclectic mix of old school favorites, world music, traditional genres like bebop and salsa, as well as a host of fresh new talent from around the world.
Silicon Valley Latino was thrilled to participate in this musical whirlwind and truly enjoyed seeing so many cultura ambassadors doing the same.

The music was rich, the food was wonderful and the weekend weather was perfect as thousands of attendees strolled the streets of downtown San Jose this past weekend.
SJZ is more than a jazz festival, it’s a cultural experience. Produced by jazz fans, for jazz fans. The love for music was prevalent and palatable on all stages. The experience of not just the music, but the stories behind the music. The rich history behind the artist’s interpretation of what we pool together and call jazz. Most settings had an element of intimacy and allowed the artist to talk and share their tales in such a refreshing format. These are the things that make San Jose Jazz Fest so unique and inviting. The artists were giving of their talents and the audience was receptive.

This widely diverse and engaging mix of musicians and audience couldn’t help but remind us how blessed we are to live in a place that champions the talent without judgments of race or background or political differences. The world could learn great lessons taught in the hearts and minds of these talented musicians. Voices that cut through division and sound the rhythm of unity and passion. Festivals like this cut through the thing that make us different, and celebrates those differences in the most artistic way. The voice and expression of love…for all.

It’s impossible to catch all the acts over the three day event, but SVL was in full force catching the sparks flying off stages all over downtown San Jo. The first Friday Night I was awestruck by the tightest band I think I’ve ever seen in my life. No not George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Although they were a different brand indeed, loose, funky and fun. It gave the audience an opportunity to shake off the sillys and just vibe to that crazy three ring circus they bring to the stage. No, the real magic came from opener Orgóne. A soulful, bad ass group of young LA funksters that brought a joy and energy to opening night that was just right. Cool but accessible. Sexy and inviting and delivered to perfection. Look out for this band. They were absolutely amazing.

Late night Friday we hung out with our favorite crazy soul sister Ginetta Minichielio from New York who had us in stitches at The Jade Leaf. She is a super spirited and talented pocket trumpet player. Just a joy. Imagine Miles Davis meets Amy Winehouse. Beautiful stuff.

The warm Saturday sun saw a massive crowd dancing through the maze of music and energy bouncing from the Salsa stage to cool little jams at the blues/big easy stage and down at Café Stritch. The evening was capped off on the main stage with Chris Botti who brought an entire orchestra and by finale had pared down to a single piano. And at every turn lent his unique voice to each movement. A dazzling and moving production.

Sunday stand outs included Cyrille Aimée and Daymé Arocena. Both bringing unbelievable vocal stylings to the very charming Hammer Theatre.
Overall, the weekend left our souls stirred and our feet on fire. But we are so grateful to have this amazing festival as part of our wonderfully diverse Silicon Valley. It’s truly refreshing to know that we live in a part of the world that enjoys the various flavors and textures of our diversity, it all starts with an inclination towards an inclusive frame of mind. We’re optimistic about seeing this rich tradition continue to thrive and grow in our beautiful and transcending downtown.

Daniela Cervantes: HHF Ignite Program Fellow & SVL Intern

 

 

Daniela Cervantes is a 17-year-old incoming freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. She was born in Salinas, California and grew up in Greenfield, California where she attended Greenfield High School and graduated at the top of her class. Growing up in an underserved, low-income community, Daniela was fueled by her parents’ experiences as blue collar workers and Oaxacan heritage in order to strive for academic success.

Daniela distinguished herself as a leader in her school and agricultural hometown by serving as President of her student body during her 8th grade, freshman, and sophomore years, and then serving as Associated Student Body President as a senior. Through these roles Daniela ensured that organizing, planning, and executing activities such as Homecoming Week, rallies, and Prom met her class and school’s needs. Additionally, she co-founded her school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in a generally intolerant community. Daniela is especially proud to have impacted her community as founder and President of her class’ French Club which fundraised, planned, and executed a trip to France for herself and eight other low-income classmates who had been rigorously studying the language for four years.

Through her extensive leadership positions and dedication to volunteering with her local outreach organizations, Daniela’s senior year of high school was filled with college acceptances to New York University, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and early admission to UC Berkeley, along with Berkeley’s most prestigious merit-based Regents and Chancellor’s scholarship.

Furthermore, Daniela was awarded the Coca Cola Scholarship of $20,000, which went to only 150 students in the United States out of 86,000 applicants, as well as the Youth Award in Community Service from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

Daniela is truly passionate about activism and advocacy for the representation and success of under-served and underrepresented groups such as communities of color, women’s and LGBT rights. She’s currently at a stage in her life where she can see herself as a politician, cinematographer, marketing executive, film producer, or a non-profit CEO. Daniela is looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities at UC Berkeley and beyond to fulfill her goals and create a meaningful impact in the world.

We are delighted that Daniela’s passion, vision and goals align so well with those of Silicon Valley Latino. We also believe her future is full of promise and are optimistic that she will not only accomplish her goals but exceed expectations. Silicon Valley Latino is happy to have her as an intern through the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Ignite Program and we’ll do everything to support her success. Adelante!

 

 

Pioneer Giju John & his Latin-Indian fusion music

 

Fusion music has evolved over the past few decades, bringing the characteristic elements of different regional music styles together in a harmonic way. This has also led to the formation of new music styles all together – Latin-Jazz, Mambo, Cha-cha-cha etc. There are numerous fusion styles in the global music scene now, but you may not have heard much about Latin-Indian fusion. And chances are also less that you are familiar with singer-songwriter named Giju John (unless you were in the competitive Salsa scene in Americas during the late 2000s).

SVL Amigo, Giju John, is one of the pioneers in the Latin-Indian fusion who debuted in the world music stage in 2007 with the first ever Indian-Salsa track. And since then he has continued to push this genre, through his work as an independent artist. There are other musicians who have produced notable music in the Latin-Indian style – primarily focusing on the Spanish guitar and Tabla tones – but what makes Giju’s work different from the rest is that he has taken the popular Latin dance-music genres – Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, Bachata – and created a unique style that blends in specific Indian elements while maintaining the essence of the original.
His debut album, released in 2007, ‘Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya’ (This Vibrant world) featured the first Indian-Salsa track which highlighted this creative balance, along with a music video that showcased an impressive and befitting Salsa choreography. Since then he has produced several tracks in his distinctive take on the Latin-Indian fusion genre and now for his latest work, he has chosen one of the most popular Latin music styles currently out there – Bachata. By bringing in Santur – an Indian string instrument – in place of the traditional lead guitar, along with a singing style influenced by his Indian classical training, Giju is introducing a uniquely soulful style called ‘Bachata Indu’.

For this album, Giju has teamed up with Grammy winning producer and director of the renowned Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Christian Tumalan. Together they have created a beautiful balance that at once brings out the romantic and sensual feel of Bachata while also highlights Santur fitting perfectly into its simple yet wholesome orchestration. Bachata Indu is also Giju’s first all-Spanish work, with plenty of guidance and help from Christian on the lyrics and diction. The album features three original tracks that have a dreamy-romantic and upbeat feel. The listeners would be pleasantly surprised to hear some non-traditional tones layered in the orchestration.

Originally from a small state in India called Kerala and growing up there till he was 23, Giju had gotten training in Indian Classical music and dance at a very young age. He used to perform in music bands during his school-college days, something which he pursued after he migrated to US 19 years ago for Graduate studies. It was in 2000, after he moved to Silicon Valley in California, that he got introduced to Latin music – in the form of Salsa. He happened to walk into local Salsa club randomly on a Friday night and it was pretty much love-at-first-sight for him. He started taking Salsa lessons the very next week and soon enough joined Salsamania Dance company, a newly formed dance company in 2000 which went on to become one of the top-rated Salsa teams in the world. Giju pursued Salsa professionally for over a decade as a dancer, instructor and choreographer with Salsamania and his own company, Beyond Dreamz Entertainment. It was during this time the idea of ‘Latin-Indian’ fusion dawned on him. Based on his exposure and expertise in the Indian and the Latin music/dance styles, he wanted to introduce specific Indian elements into the Latin dance-music styles without diluting its true essence. Purists may have a different opinion on it, but his work has resonated with thousands of music enthusiasts around the world.

About his latest work Bachata Indu, Giju says “As an enthusiast of Indian and Latin music styles, my intention with this fusion genre was to celebrate the differences in these two rich and vibrant cultures and create a sound that’s unique and soulful. I believe, this is the true essence of fusion music that transcends language barriers”. SVL got a pre-release copy of Bachata Indu, and after listening to the tracks, we are absolutely confident that these tracks can definitely bring the Latin-Indian genre, as well this gifted artist, into the mainstream.

 

‘Bachata Indu’ is releasing on June 8th. You can order it HERE.

You can check out some of Giju’s Latin-Indian fusion tracks here:

First Indian Salsa

First Indian Cha-cha-cha

First Indian Bachata

 

Giju’s official website is www.gijujohn.com and his FB music page is https://www.facebook.com/GIJU-133229957073/ .

Some of the artists that Giju is inspired by includes Tito Puente, A R Rahman, Aventura, Alfredo de la Fé and Prince Royce.

 

The Women and Men In The Arena

 

Regrettably for generations the narrative around the Latino community has strategically been a negative one, and most recently it has taken an even darker tone. However, the Internet and the various platforms that have emerged in the last decade have now allowed a more even playing field. We now have the opportunity to be part of the narrative, in fact, we can now write our own narrative.  We now write a narrative that is based on facts, on our own experiences, our very real experience. Furthermore, documenting these experiences allows us to capture the way we contribute and add value to society and in doing so we educate ourselves and the mainstream about who we are, what we do and how we do it.

 

In our latest video project, The Women and Men In The Arena, we’ve taken Roosevelt’s epic passage from his 1910 speech, Citizenship In A Republic, and have remixed it to pay tribute to some of the men and women who have devoted themselves to strive valiantly towards worthy causes. To those women and men in the arena, who despite your early challenges were able to succeed, we applaud you for your perseverance, tenacity, vision, and aspiration to achieve more than was ever expected. We thank you for having the audacity to envision a different reality, a better reality. We applaud you for daring greatly.

Because of the vision, commitment, leadership and faith in our community by these men and women, our society benefits from organizations like the National Council of La Raza, the Latino Community Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy, the Castellano Family Foundation, the Mexican Heritage Corporation, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, the Small Business Administration, the Avalos Foundation, Conexion, Latino Start-up Alliance, Hispanic in IT Executive Council and LISTAS to name a few.

It is with great pleasure that we release this video as we approach May 1st’s “Day Without An Immigrant” and it is our hope that as you choose to participate in these marches that you are fueled with more pride about who you are, what you stand for, and what you represent.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”


We look forward to producing more videos that will feature more of the countless leaders from our community who strive valiantly, stay tuned.

 

 

HITEC Making Great Strides – Pushing Up and Pulling Up

 

HITEC is the Hispanic IT Executive Council and one of the most relevant and impactful organizations in the country as they Push Up and Pull Up their members and the communities they engage in. It was founded to increase Hispanic representation in the diversity-challenged IT industry.  HITEC is also a premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and IT executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology.  Its premiere network spans the Americas and is focused on building stronger technology and executive leaders, leadership teams, corporations, and role models in a rapidly changing, flatter, and information technology centric world. These global leaders include executives leading Global 1000 corporations while others lead some of the largest Hispanic-owned IT firms across the Americas.  HITEC enables business and professional growth for its members and fills the executive pipeline with the next generation of Hispanic IT leaders.

This has all been made primarily possible through the vision and leadership of Andre Arbalaez (President) and Alberto Yepez (Chairman) as well as through the dedication and support from numerous distinguished Board of Directors many of which work for Silicon Valley High Tech companies. In addition to having excellent leadership awards and recognition events in markets like New York, DC, Miami and Silicon Valley (soon also in Dallas and Guadalajara, Mexico) they also offer their members a comprehensive emerging executive program. Most recently they’ve launched the HITEC Foundation that will provide scholarships to Latino students who are interested in pursing a STEM degree.

Silicon Valley Latino salutes the great work this organization has accomplished and continues to lead. We are also proud to note that many of our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors (Guillermo Diaz Jr, Ileana Rivera, Ramon Baez, Juan Carlos Gutierrez) have taken an active part in propelling HITEC to new heights while others (Pepe Gomez, Anne-Marie Olholm-Azzi, Jorge Titinger to name a few)  have been behind the scenes.

Once again, we congratulate and salute HITEC and look forward to collaborating with this great organization again in the future.

Adelante!

In The Making – The Ivan Reyes Story

Every once in a while we are fortunate enough to see an extraordinary talent unfold before our eyes. Well, fortunately for some of us in the Bay Area we have been able to witness the commitment, drive and passion of Ivan Reyes transform into the evolution of a true musician, an inspirational role model, a talented music producer and a visionary entrepreneur. Throughout his journey, Ivan has been committed to helping under-served youth through his work at places like the Boys and Girls Club and the Movimiento De Arte y Cultura Latino Americana MACLA.

Ivan is an accomplished musician and a truly talented music engineer and producer.  In addition, he possesses both solid non-profit experience and that of the commercial recording industry. Through his leadership and passion, many creative arts organization and entertainment companies/artists have benefited.

Ivan’s latest designs are two unique companies known as TempLo and Escena. TempLo is a team composed of talented music producers out of the San Francisco Bay Area innovating music production with their versatile skill sets. Beyond the music, TempLo helps musicians establish a brand within the music industry. Escena encompasses the multi-media and visual arts to deliver premier photography products and video services in the Bay Area.

His latest project, Untamed,  is co-produced with The BeatPushers. The album consists of 8 songs featuring different singers from around the states and sounds like a party!

We invite you to enjoy this short video featuring “In the making – Ivan Reyes”