Miguel Garcia – SVL Jr. Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is excited to introduce our Jr. Cultura Ambassador program, which is focused on featuring stellar high school students. We are delighted to introduce our first Jr. Cultura Ambassador, Miguel Garcia.  Miguel is a junior at Cristo Rey High School in San Jose, California and an intern at Cisco. Through his internship, Miguel works in the IT department for Katty Coulson, IT Director (Regional IT Leader for Americas) where he has been doing an outstanding job on various projects.

Besides being focused on achieving his academic goals by taking AP courses, Miguel enjoys playing on the varsity soccer team and next year he plans to join the volleyball team.  In addition to academics and sport, Miguel has taken a deep interest in photography and video editing and plans to pursue a career in this field in the future. Miguel also enjoys working on bicycles and when he’s not fixing them he enjoys riding throughout San Jose. He also derives much satisfaction from working in landscaping with his father on a weekly basis.

We’ve also received several reports that Miguel is a great networker and enjoys meeting people from various backgrounds and learning about their journeys so don’t be surprised to see him at one of our networking events in the near future. This summer Miguel will be attending the Saints and Scholars program in Indiana at the Holy Cross College.  We will certainly keep an eye on Miguel and his up and coming senior year at Cristo Rey.

Interested in becoming an SVL Cultura Ambassador?  Reach out to us so that we can give you all the details on joining this growing community of professional latin@s.  email us info@svlatino.com

Marcela Denniston – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Marcela Denniston is a Brazilian American living in California. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil Marcela moved to New Jersey, United States with her mother at the age of 4.  Marcela is the first person in her immediate family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems and an MBA: International Business.

At 17, she joined the US Navy where she began her career in Cyber Operations and Intelligence. During her military service, she received several medals, including a Joint Service Commendation Medal and a Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for her work in the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Center and the National Security Agency.  After leaving the Navy, Marcela worked in several consulting roles, nationally and internationally supporting the growth and development of Cyber Security Operations and Products. Today, Marcela works as a cyber security consultant for government organizations, start-ups and venture capital firms.

Outside of work, Marcela is a passionate social activist supporting equality and inclusion for minority groups worldwide. She is an active member of several organizations focused on establishing meaningful connections between LATAM entrepreneurs and US investors including the Latino Start Up Alliance and BayBrazil. Marcela also participates in empowerment and education of STEM careers for young females through Girls Can Hack and IGNITE Worldwide.

Marcela is also a community contributor; she is a volunteer soccer coach for the American Youth Soccer Association as a girls U10 soccer coach. This opportunity allows her to help young girls build confidence and camaraderie with each other. Her team won the 2016 Hirschel Cup for the U10 girls age group.

Marcela currently lives in Foster City, CA with her husband and two daughters and hopes to continue her contributions to the Latino and female community through an initiative to empower, encourage and educate Latinas in technology and engineering fields called Poderosa. Marcela envisions her efforts will create a movement of young girls looking to pursue careers in technology fields and ultimately change the norm for women’s equality in business.

Cultura Ambassador Diana Albarrán featured in Vanity Fair

 

“In Celebration of the Release of the Movie Hidden Figures,Vanity Fair Studios Profiles Notable and Diverse Figures in S.T.E.M.”

And highlighted is, Cultura Ambassador and friend, Diana Albarrán Chicas among these wonderful women!

 

Latinx Leader Laura Gomez lands 2MM for Startup!

Since landing an investment of $2MM in her startup, Cultura Ambassador & Advisory Board member of SVLatino Laura I. Gómez has been interviewed by many but this interview with CNN is her most entertaining in a while.

Share your thoughts on this success story here or via our social media platforms

 

Eva Longoria addresses Pence’s “that Mexican thing”

During the Vice Presidential Debate, Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence addresses a question by referring to Mexican immigrants as the “That Mexican Thing.” Well, actress, model and activist Eva Longoria eloquently educates Pence on what Mexican immigrants truly represent in the United States.  We encourage you to view this video if you haven’t already. Well done Eva!

We also want to encourage all of those following us on our various platforms to get out and vote this November 8th!

Tu Voto es Tu Voz!

 

 

 

 

Announcing The Francisco and Laura Jimenez Breaking Through Scholarship!

francisco-y-laura-jimenezThe Francisco and Laura Jimenez Breaking Through Scholarship at Santa Clara University (SCU)!

It gives us great pleasure in announcing the Francisco and Laura Jimenez Breaking Through Scholarship! We are pleased that this initiative is being co-led by one of our Cultura Ambassador, Josef Castaneda-Liles.

Dr. Francisco Jiménez and his wife Laura Jimenez have dedicated their lives to empowering Latino students and first-generation students from various backgrounds. Coming from humble beginnings as a migrant farm worker, Dr. Jiménez earned his undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University in 1966 and a doctorate from Columbia University. He returned to SCU and led a successful career in teaching, advocacy and writing that spanned more than forty years. He published multiple books that chronicled his experience as an immigrant and first-generation college student that have touched the lives of countless individuals. His wife Laura Jimenez (class of 1967) worked at SCU for 19 years, including her service as the first staff member of SCU’s community-based Eastside Project.

Inspired by the legacy of the Jiménez family, the SCU Chicano/Latino Alumni Chapter is leading the effort to raise $100,000 to endow the Francisco and Laura Jiménez Breaking Through Scholarship, which will support first-generation college students at SCU. Our desire is to honor Francisco Jiménez this year in recognition of his 50th undergraduate reunion. We are pleased to have an initial $25,000 matching gift challenge from an SCU parent inspired by Dr. Jiménez’s story. Please join us in honoring Francisco and Laura’s legacy of service by making a gift to this scholarship. Visit https://mysantaclara.scu.edu/GIVE/Jimenez to learn more and make your gift today.

Cultura Ambassador Tiq Chapa recognized by Voto Latino

We at Silicon Valley Latino are proud and encouraged with the work that Voto Latino leads for our community through its various initiatives  and Mission statement as a pioneering civic media organization that seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership.  They have recognized & awarded, through their “VL Innovators” video, Cultura Ambassador, Eutiquio “Tiq” Chapa for his Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Tiq is the epitome of what it is to be a Cultura Ambassador. He along with the rest of his colleagues Dr. Jerry Porras (SVL Trail Blazer) and Remy Arteaga are doing an outstanding job in leading the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative and we look forward to sharing their success stories in the near future.

Tiq keep up the great work, we are very proud of you and delighted to support your efforts in empowering our entrepreneurship community.

Adelante!

 

About LBAN:

In 2012, Professor Jerry Porras and a group of Stanford Alums came together to form a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), focused on making America stronger through LBAN funded Latino research and education impact programs at Stanford University.

One Step Forward…Two Steps Back by Cultura Ambassador Maria Hernandez, PhD

 

The events of this past week weigh heavily on many of us—particularly the Latin@ professionals who dedicate their lives to advancing diverse and inclusive workplace environments. As if the national headlines are not enough, this month’s Harvard Business Review has published a series of articles with titles that suggest diversity training has not worked during the past 30 years—not quite a true depiction of the article’s content but sensational titles do help sell even in academia!   There is no question that the nation has made much progress in the past 40 years.  But clearly we just experienced the proverbial one step forward, two steps back.

For the better part of the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to be invited into organizations that want to recruit, engage and advance diverse employees or to develop strategies to better compete for diverse consumer markets or serve diverse constituents. There are successes but no quick fixes.   Based on my experience, there are two key factors that I look for as a sign of potential success.   Executives who demonstrate a strong level of self awareness is key.  Since the majority of senior executives are white males, I look for that leader’s ability to be aware of their personal impact on others.  Do they understand that being a white male has an impact on their views, their leadership, and their own cultural reference point as they navigate their work life?  At some point the conversation of unconscious bias and its corollary of privilege lets me know if there is capacity for psychological insight necessary for authentic conversations.  This personal awareness coupled with clear data that points to how the organization is missing opportunities is the first step in moving forward.

One of the tools that many D/I professionals have pointed to is Implicit Association Test, which is useful to outline unconscious bias.   The harder construct to appreciate is privilege.  The Whiteness Project recently emerged as a resource for this discussion.  Take a moment to watch a few of these short statements. I’m sure you will find these remarkable young people describe how they have privilege with painful clarity.  They are not all men and not all white.  Privilege comes in different forms in our society despite our strong belief that we live in a meritocracy.  There is no more cherished value than a belief that each of us gets where we are by our own effort.  The possibility that gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or skin color serves to either help or hinder our advancement in the nation is the hardest conversation.  It’s soothing to see the next generation may be ready to see this in clearer focus.

The next step is to introduce the idea that cultural humility requires that we look for ways to understand and see situations as others see them.  Empathy is the new gold standard for leaders.  The national conversations surrounding affirmative action, equality and equity are much easier to have when leaders can see the situations through diverse perspectives.  And as the global economy continues to dominate the financial success of multinational companies, the ability to be effective in other countries cannot happen if we think of American culture as synonymous with human nature.  There are many ways in which people across the globe see the world and we all need to appreciate those truths determine the context in which companies engage in a region’s market.

Once these conversations about self-awareness and cultural humility take place, the best news I can share with an executive is that the behaviors most associated with inclusive leaders across the globe can be learned.  The ability to navigate multiple cultures is a skill.  The ability to engage in authentic dialogue with a person different from yourself is a skill.   This week’s events call upon all of us to harness these skills and take two steps forward.

 

Cultura Ambassador Lisa Morales-Hellebo tech founder way ahead of all of us!

Cultura Ambassador Lisa Morales-Hellebo is highlighted via Verizon for being a tech finder that is way ahead of all of us!

Learn more about Lisa via this two part series that Verizon has put out.

Maria Pina-Carrasco – SVL Collegiate Cultura Ambassador

 

We take great pride in presenting Silicon Valley Latino Collegiate Cultura Ambassador Maria Pina-Carrasco.  A true example of hard work and determination until reaching her goals and success!

Growing up in an environment where Maria’s father would tell her to speak English outside the home and only Spanish at home, was confusing and it made her feet lost trying to figure out her identity.

 

Maria went to Washington elementary school, where the majority of the population looked like her. Maria can still remember hating ESL classes and thinking how pointless they were. Today she embraces her dual cultures, Mexican and American. Thankfully Maria listened to her father mainly out of respect, and now she can speak, read, and write in Spanish. Although at times she encounters difficulties with accents, she is proud to say that she can help more latin@s. Maria has always been an outgoing and happy child, but growing up she also realized the financial hardships her parents faced, especially her mother. Maria’s mother worked real hard to keep a roof over their head, have food on the table and raise Maria, her two sisters and two brothers on a tight budget. Maria now knows that five kids weren’t easy for her mother, but her mother has always demonstrated strength and perseverance.

 

Teenager/High School:

IMG_5045Although Maria started to embrace her cultures as a child, as a teenager she found herself encountering different challenges. By senior year of high school, Maria was six and a half months pregnant with her son and graduating. Maria was going to CCOC to study to become a medical assistant, and was eager to meet professionals in the medical field and find a job. To her surprise, it will also mark one of the toughest journeys for her. She was not prepared to have her teacher from CCOC tell her privately that she was disappointed in her. That Maria would end up like her parents on welfare and that she could still give her unborn child for adoption. When she told her mother what happened at school, she replied with another surprise comment, “Maybe she saw something in you, and she did not mean any harm.” Maria kept battling internally with the way her teacher treated her and how her mother couldn’t see that her teacher was in the wrong. Maria’s mother has always been strong at so many things, but she was always afraid to advocate for herself, and did little to stand up for her kids. Maria felt alone, knew it was wrong, and recognized that she needed to express to her teacher how she felt. Long story short, Maria found her voice and her passion, to not ever let a teacher or anyone look at her different because she was another “teen mom” statistic. Maria wanted more for her unborn baby and she was not going to be afraid to advocate for herself, for her baby, and for others.

 

Adult/Community College:

Even though Maria’s high school time was a new challenge and the CCOC experience was not a positive one, she realized that it was time to conquer a different fear, to go to college and give teachers a chance. Maria didn’t believe that she was smart enough and she thought it was impossible because a little of that negative experience lingered in her mindset.

 

By her mid twenties, Maria faced more challenges. Maria tried to attend Evergreen Valley College (EVC), but she did not feel the need to get a higher education because her number one priority was to earn a wage to raise her son. Soon after enrolling at EVC, she quit and focused on working full time for the City of San Jose, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services (PRNS). However, it was not until Maria was pregnant with her second son and the City experienced economic downfall. While some employees got their pink slip, others were transitioned to other departments or roles, and Maria’s hours were now strictly to 1,140. Maria gave birth in May of 2005, and that very summer was laid off because she went over 1,140 hours. Maria for the first time experienced unemployment and faced the reality that a high school diploma was not enough education to support her two children and herself. A higher education was beyond needed, and she was determined to accomplish any obstacle in order to succeed and have a brighter future.

 

Maria felt blessed as many people entered her life, at the very right time. They were able to motivate her to return to EVC and helped with the entire community college experience. From the beginning, Maria asked for help, was involved in different organizations and clubs on campus, and eventually stepped out of her comfort zone.

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Some of the clubs/organizations Maria was a member of were: ENLACE Honors Society, ENLACE Student Association, Honors Institute, Phi Theta Kappa, International Honors Society, EOP&S, CalWorks, and many more. Some of her accomplishment at EVC: Maria was the MC for two years for the ENLACE honors society, MC for the ENLACE student association cinco de mayo event, and she helped her student body government with club rush, promoting special events and informing students about their power to vote. Maria experienced many successes, and her last year at EVC was pregnant with her youngest son. Maria’s perseverance and determination to attain a higher degree was still her goal, she walked the stage Spring 2013 and graduated Summer 2013 with a GPA of 3.7 and with honors. However, the GPA didn’t define her, it was her believing in herself, working very hard, and surrounding herself with supportive people. Maria accomplished her A.A. in business administration and transferred to San Jose State University Fall 2013.

 

From Fall 2013 to Spring 2016, Maria still had other challenges but as her past record to overcome them, she did full of optimism and faith. On May 24, 2016 Maria walked the 2016 EOP Spring Graduation Ceremony. Her three sons, Damian who is 14, James who is 11 and Armani who is 3, her mother Maria, and many other friends and family, surrounded her. Maria will officially graduate this summer with a B.S. in business, concentration in marketing. She is extremely eager to see what more challenges await, and what her future will bring.

 

Maria’s achievements at SJSU winning a $2,000 AAUW-San Jose local college scholarship, both in Spring 2014 and Spring 2015. Since then AAUW members sponsored her membership and today she is blessed and honored to pay it forward. Maria has volunteered at the AAUW holiday boutique fundraiser event, where proceeds go towards the local college scholarship. This year she translated an entire PowerPoint presentation from English to Spanish and was a panel speaker for the AAUW-Strong Girls, Strong Women Conference. Maria is passionate in empowering others for them to recognize their potential. Maria wants to be that person that planted a seed in someone’s mind and heart and tapped into their own ability to conquer fears, stereotypes and negative people. She looks forward as a member in helping AAUW with their numerous organizations in ways that she can to make a positive difference.

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Maria is a warrior! She continues to fight for what is fair and right. She is also a very spiritual person, who always prays and believes in something bigger than her. Faith has kept her focus and positive. Maria is a proud first generation Latina, mother of three, oldest sister of five and daughter to a strong and empowering Mexican mother. Maybe it took her a while to learn why her mother viewed things differently, but she has come to realize that no matter what, her mother fought for her and her four siblings in her own way. Her mother and children continue to motivate her.

 

Other things she looks forward to are obtaining a full time marketing position in a tech, corporate, or a growing small business. Maria is looking to expand her professional development skills. Maria wants to grow in a company and find a place that she can call her extended home and family.