Fireside Chat with Cisco CIO Guillermo Diaz Jr.


On February 24th, Silicon Valley Latino through a strategic partnership with San Jose City College, Milpitas Extension was honored to host an intimate and insightful interview with Cisco Chief Information Officer, Guillermo Diaz Jr. This was the second Latino Leaders Fireside Chat in its series.

Guillermo Diaz, Jr., is the Chief Information Officer responsible for Cisco’s global Information Technology organization, along with its strategy and services. His focus is on driving the business outcomes critical to the secure digital transformation of Cisco, and its customers and partners. Together with his team, Guillermo is responsible for strengthening Cisco’s foundational business capabilities, enabling new business models, and building the digital skills and talent that the organization will need in the future IT.

Since joining the company in 2000, Guillermo has been a major driver in the development of Cisco’s world-class IT organization. He has led initiatives that transformed significant business foundations, from the Cisco IT Networked infrastructure to primary business IT application areas. These application areas include Cisco’s $45B+ electronic commerce, technical services, professional services, service sales and marketing, customer service, Cisco Capital, and cloud/SaaS platforms.

Among other endeavors, Diaz is the executive sponsor of Conexión, Cisco’s Hispanic/Latino employee resource network, and a key leader on Cisco’s Diversity Council. His relationship building talent is what led him down the path of success, a path he was thrilled to share with our community.

Attendees were riveted by Guillermo’s story. Raised in the gritty east side of Pueblo Colorado, the Diaz family faced challenges early on with the death of Guillermo’s father at the age of 1 ½.  Diaz sites his mother as his hero in a town known as the “City of Heroes” due to the unusually large rate of Military icons born and raised in Pueblo. The hard work and determination of his mother coupled with the vision and encouragement of his grandmother guided “G” to excel in Martial Arts where he became a national champion in his division at the age of 14.  That same Diaz determination inspired Guillermo to enlist in the Navy with plans to leverage the GI Bill towards a college education. Through his mother’s guidance Diaz signed-up for the the Navy’s telecommunication networking job and just as he excelled with his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he excelled in his new job.

Guillermo Diaz is a focused and determined man who never really sees obstacles, so much as assignments on a checklist of life’s “to do”.  As Diaz discussed his career moves, one thing was clear and not lost on his audience. Guillermo Diaz wakes up every morning determined to do his best, always steadfast in the resolve to make a difference. That is what makes him a great leader of people. At an early age, teachers pointed out how he possessed something clearly exceptional and it was then that he started his path towards being an effective leader.

So how does one go from setting up communication systems on an aircraft carrier of 5000 service men and woman to leading over 10,000 employees worldwide at CISCO?  Through effectively establishing and managing successful relationships.  Diaz possesses that humble confidence that makes each individual feel unique and empowered. He makes his team better. He makes those around him better. He’s making our community better.

Diaz shared a series of quotes and visual messages that spoke volumes about the keys to his success. One that resonated with most was a quote from North Carolina Basketball Coach Roy Williams, “It’s amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who takes the credit”. A stark contrast to the “look at me” climate we seem to be so bombarded with on social media today. It’s so refreshing to hear one of the most powerful individuals in the IT world speak of truly connecting one on one with people and the beauty of each individual relationship. The audience was able to learn firsthand how empowering others empowers all.  And it’s for this reason that at the conclusion of the program, Diaz was presented Silicon Valley Latino’s inaugural “Creo En Ti” Champion Award.

As the audience gathered for Q and A, Diaz eloquently and patiently answered all questions and posed for photographs with attendees, a further testament to the selfless leadership that is Guillermo Diaz. We thank all those who took the time out of there busy lives on a Saturday morning to attend this heartfelt presentation. I know we are better for taking the time, that little extra time to learn from greatness. And as Diaz explained as he did during our inaugural Inspire Higher Tour, he was once in our shoes. He’s faced hardships and rose to prominence by never wavering, never giving up. We could not have said it any better. Creo En Ti!

Personal Branding by Oscar Garcia @ SJCC Milpitas Extension


On January 27th San Jose City College & Silicon Valley Latino hosted a fantastic presentation Personal Branding by Mr. Oscar Garcia. He explained strategies on how to build and maintain your personal brand.

Oscar Garcia has a unique background with over 10 years of technology and nonprofit management experience. Oscar is the Founder & Chief Engagement Officer of Aspira, a community relations, economic development and training firm that empowers, engages and educates its clients. Oscar’s career journey includes business development roles at five startups, co-founding a nonprofit, Chamber President & CEO, TV host of Silicon Valley Business and Community Relations Manager at LinkedIn.

He has received various prestigious awards recognizing his leadership and community work, including the La Familia Award from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, the NFL Hispanic Heritage Award from the San Francisco 49ers, and was nominated for Chamber Executive of the Year for the Western Association of Chamber Executives, recognizing his successful and innovative efforts to strengthen the bonds between businesses, community, nonprofits and education in Silicon Valley. As Chief Engagement Officer, his goal is to empower and engage others so they perform at their peak in order to achieve optimal results.



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.



Luis Noriega Tovar – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Luis G. Noriega Tovar is passionate about giving back to his community and being part of a movement that brings about positive change to the world. Growing up undocumented, Luis felt the pressures of being restrained from unleashing his true potential. However, after achieving a 4.0 GPA in community college, transferring to UCLA and eventually graduating with an Economics, Honors degree, he realized that the true limitations were just in his mind.

He also realized that hard work, confidence, and faith will take you a long way; especially after becoming a leader in his teams at Oracle where he did tech Sales & Marketing.  Now, Luis spends his days helping people make massive changes to improve their quality of life through his Life Coaching and Marketing Consulting business. He finally found his true calling after helping several people make massive breakthroughs in their lives & being told that he had an amazing gift of wisdom and deep understanding.

Along with Silicon Valley Latino, Luis truly believes in inspiring young Latin@s and underrepresented communities because there was always people in his life that helped him get to where he’s at today. Now it’s time to give back, now it’s time for positive and long lasting change.

Rafael Madrigal – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Rafael Madrigal is the International Sales Manager for Network Video Technologies (NVT) located in Menlo Park, CA whose responsibility encompasses directing all the affairs and the company’s efforts into Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Asian Subcontinent and Oceania. Rafael was born and raised on the peninsula of Mexican decent and categorizes himself not only as Latino, but more specifically Chicano (Mexican-American.) “Traveling extensively throughout Latin American and the Caribbean visiting most capitals, secondary and tertiary cities, there are certain aspects that bind everyone together from Tijuana to Tierra Del Fuego, but when you break it down, there are clear distinctions between those individuals bread and raised not only in each country, but regionally as well with in the same country. In my case, born into a Hispanic household with parents originally from Jalisco in the San Francisco Bay Area with all the typical religious, cultural and economic blessings (or condemnations, depending on the perspective and day of the week); and formally educated in English in an Anglo-Saxon culture doesn’t happen anywhere but in the US, hence the term Chicano. ‘Ni de aquí, ni de allá’.”


Rafael Madrigal - SVL Cultura AmbassadorRafael before starting his career with NVT, started officially working part-time at the age of 16 through High School and through college for a couple of auto-shops focusing on installing electrical equipment that converted factory cars into emergency vehicles, namely patrol cars, undercover police cars, ambulances and fire trucks. This helped subsidize his personal expenses while living at home and paying for college. “Despite learning responsibility, discipline, working in a team, managing time effectively, managing full projects at an early age, dealing with school and my social life; I was immersed in the world of electrical equipment which at the time I thought was just really cool. Who doesn’t like loud noises, bright lights and sometimes driving such vehicles to be delivered to their owners as a kid!”


After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from San Jose State in International Business in ’96, Rafael was hired at NVT when it was still a six person enterprise (from a stack of resumes he was later told.) “There where only three of us in the Marketing and Sales team at the time; however being such a small company I confirmed my suspicion that acquiring a job with a small company was a chance to learn many different tasks, see how things worked from a birds’ eye view and grow quickly as a professional. Joining this small team afforded me the opportunity to take part in most daily tasks; everything from operations, finance, marketing and sales.” A year and half later, Rafael was offered the chance to take NVT overseas into Latin America and the Caribbean. “At the time I was the entire marketing and sales department, customer service, tech-support, collections, etc., for the region. I was handed this enormous task with no predecessors that had initially paved the way, I was literally blazing a new path.” Nevertheless, given the success of the endeavor, several years later once again the opportunity for Rafael to develop from scratch the territories of Asia and Oceania presented itself. Again, Rafael stepped up to the challenge. “Having a Bachelor degree from an institution based in the heart of Silicon Valley, with no disrespect to others; I like to say I received my Masters in Business Development, Sales and Fiscal Austerity on the streets and seminar rooms of México City, Bogotá, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Lima, Caracas and Santiago; and my Doctorate Degree in Negotiation, Distance Management, Culture and Relationship Building in the back alleys and C-suites of Seoul, Shanghai, Macão, Bangkok, Delhi, Singapore and Sydney.”


Today NVT is known globally for its world class transmission products in the Electronic Security Industry; and in many regions that Rafael is responsible for, the name NVT is a top recognized brand, well known for creating industry nomenclature and whose company’s products are referred to as an eponym. NVT to this day is a private organization with people located worldwide and completely funded organically. The regions developed and currently managed by Rafael in the early days represented less than 1% of sales, in 2013 sales where 25% of all revenue generated for the company. “Besides the success NVT has had over the years and continues to experience, one of the things I’m most proud of is having met and dealt with such a vast array of individuals who would have never in their lifetimes even seen a Latino, much less interact and deal with a Chicano from humble beginnings ‘con ganas y sin miedo al trabajo’.”


Rafael continues to live in the Bay Area with his wife and three children and is based out of the Global Headquarters for NVT at the Menlo Park office in California. Rafael welcomes the opportunity to connect via his personal email address at or you can find him on LinkedIn.

Manos Accelerator announces 7 new Start-ups



Congratulations to the 7 new startups at Manos Accelerator for the summer! We look forward to learning about your businesses and how they can help us.

Laura Gomez, Latina Entrepreneur, interview on Nueva Latina Pt 2


Edward Avila – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Edward Avila is the CEO of Manos Accelerator, a first-of-its kind accelerator targeting the development of Latino entrepreneurs.  He is a native of San Jose and has worked in Silicon Valley over the last 20 years as a Human Resources Professional, Executive Coach with companies such as Philips Semiconductors and Intersil Corporation and as an Entrepreneur.

Edward Avila - SVL Cultura Ambassador

Edward graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University.

Edward has been recognized by PODER Hispanic Magazine as a Top 20 Latino Entrepreneur and also as a Game Changer by Hispanic Executive Magazine and has also been featured on ForbesTechCrunch, and The Wall Street Journal.

He is also proud to serve as an Advisory Board Member to Silicon Valley Latino.

Armando Castellano – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Armando Castellano is a musician, arts advocate and philanthropist who resides in the Silicon Valley where he wears many hats.

Armando Castellano - SVL Cultura Ambassador


As a French horn player he performs professionally in regional orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the Bay Area.  Much of his time is also spent performing with and managing his chamber ensemble Quinteto Latino, an organization that advocates for classical music by Latin American and Latino composers through performance and education. As a music instructor and teaching artist he has taught in both English and Spanish, including San José City College and at many bilingual schools and institutions. In addition, through his work as a board member with his family’s foundation, the Castellano Family Foundation, he has had the opportunity to work with Latino non-profit  organizations throughout Silicon Valley dealing with issues around education, Latino leadership and the arts.

Raul Peralez – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Our next SVL Cultura Ambassador is Raul Peralez:

Raul Peralez is a lifelong resident of San Jose, California with a multiethnic background of US, Mexican & European roots.  Raul was the first in his family to graduate from college and began his career as a substitute high school teacher at MACSA Charter Schools.  He returned to school to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), but has continued to be a substitute teacher for the past nine years.  In 2006, Raul joined the San Jose Police Department and is currently the only active duty officer in Santa Clara County to also work as a substitute teacher at Juvenile Hall and Community Day Schools.

Raul Peralez - SVL Cultura Ambassador

Outside of work, Raul is involved in numerous political and community ventures. He is the elected Vice President for his neighborhood association, an appointed Commissioner to the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission, and an appointed delegate to the California State Democratic Party.

For over four years Raul has been a big brother with the Big Brothers-Big Sisters of the Bay Area and a mentor for homeless youth as a volunteer with Stand Up For Kids Silicon Valley. In his role as a police officer, Raul has also been a longtime volunteer at Silicon Valley FACES Camp Everytown and he regularly takes time during his days off to speak at local schools and community based organizations.

Raul has a degree in mathematics from San Jose State University and currently lives in the downtown Rosemary Gardens Neighborhood of San José. Raul is currently the youngest candidate in the San Jose City Council District 3 race and he looks forward to continuing his service to the community for many years to come.