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.

Cultura Ambassador Laura Gomez takes aim at Diversity Issue

 

Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassador and Advisory Board Member Laura I. Gómez is part of an amazing team of women who are tackling the Diversity Issue in Tech. Here is yet another article highlighting who they are and what they are shooting for.

How are you taking part in battling this issue?  Share your actions and thoughts here.

Congrats Laura and keep up the great work!
‪#‎Latina‬ ‪#‎LatinaMentor‬ ‪#‎LatinaLeader‬

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.

Jose Armando Perez Vega – SVL Collegiate Cultura Ambassador

 

Jose grew up in Northern California in a small town called Windsor where he along with his parents and two older brothers emigrated from Mexico in 1994. He is a first generation college student and thanks his parents and both brothers for his success; if it weren’t for them he wouldn’t be where he is today. He strives to one day repay them for all of the sacrifice they have done for him.

Jose Armando Perez Vega - SVL Cultura AmbassadorHe enjoys playing soccer on his down time, as he used to play competitively before college, also a four-year varsity soccer player in high school. He enjoys running and staying in shape and enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports like soccer and basketball, and exploring San Francisco and the cities surrounding it.

He is an active member of two organizations Hermanos Unidos de SFSU and ALPFA at SF State. However, he is currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain taking Business Administration classes.

Hermanos Unidos – a non-profit organization that engages in events like community service, academic, and social networking with the intention to break social Latino stereotypes. He took the leadership role of Community Service Chair during the academic year 2014-2015 where he planned community service events benefitting the Latino community in San Francisco.

ALPFA – a non-profit organization where he participates in workshops that improve skills in public speaking, networking, resume building and professionalism. He has taken various leadership roles, Director of Social Affairs Fall 2015, and currently the Director of Corporate Partnership.

action 1With the help of ALPFA he interviewed and was offered an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for summer 2015 to join their Start Internship program. After completion he was offered and accepted an extension for this upcoming summer of 2016 where he will join the Start Master Internship. He also served as an informal liaison to PwC in bringing new talent from San Francisco State to join the firm. Two of his ALPFA referrals who are now members will be joining him at PwC in the summer.

He aspires to become a CPA (Certified Public Accounting) after graduation and towards the end of his career payback by first obtaining a master or PhD in education and teach High Schools students in his hometown of Windsor, CA.

 

Do you know how to Rock Your LinkedIn Profile?

 

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With over 400 million members and 2 new members joining every second, LinkedIn is the largest professional network and has become one of the top recruiting sources for employers. At the recent sold out San Jose State University Latino Alumni Network (SJSU LAN) LinkedIn Networking Event – “Rock Your Profile” attendees were able to learn how to make their profile stand out from other candidates straight from the source.

Teresa Leija, Associate Program Manager, presented a step-by-step approach to build and expand your networks with your LinkedIn profile. During the presentation, she stressed the importance of how using every feature will increase the views to your profile.

  • Adding a professional photo increases profile views by 14x
  • Including a summary increases profile views by 10x
  • Including work experience increases profile views by 12x
  • Adding volunteer experience and causes increases profile views by 6x

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You get the picture- the more you use LinkedIn’s profile features the more views to your profile. It is so important that you don’t leave anything blank or empty.

Here are a few more ways to really ROCK your profile:

  • Spend some time really crafting your headline. It should explain what you do, show your passion and value. Spend just as much time, if not more, creating a compelling summary that focuses on your career accomplishments and aspirations. The summary should be less than 740 words and include keywords not buzzwords!
  • Make your profile dynamic and visually appealing with presentations, photos and videos that tell your professional story. If you don’t have any media to share, Teresa suggested adding a general presentation about your company and utilizing SlideShare to get ideas for presentation decks and infographics.
  • Add skills that are a mix of high-level and niche skills and try obtaining endorsements for those skills.
  • Complete the volunteer experience section of your profile. Teresa stated that 41% of hiring managers see volunteer work just as valuable as professional experience.
  • Be active and engaged on LinkedIn
    • Join at least 5 groups in your industry
    • Read Pulse to build your knowledge
    • Follow LinkedIn influencers that resonate with you such as Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, and Gwen Stefani to name a few
    • Share links, articles and quotes at least twice a week. Try adding a question in your comment to spark conversation and reaction.
  • Take advantage of the LinkedIn publishing tool to post your own articles. Kathy Goss, Diversity Recruiting Lead, noted that your posts are a way to deeply explore topics that matter to you and an opportunity for potential employers and recruiters to know more about you.
  • Increase your skillset with Lynda.com an invaluable online learning platform to learn business, technology, software, and creative skills through videos.

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On top of the networking and profile tips, another great part of this event was that the attendees had a glimpse of the LinkedIn company culture by being onsite and listening to the panelists from the internal employee resource group HOLA (Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance) moderated by Sean Cevera, Diversity & Recruiting Champion. The panelists included Matthew Mendiola, Talent Solutions Support Specialist, Nicole Prairie, Customer Success Manager, and Andrew Trevino, Recruiter. They shared their unique experiences which in turn led to their current positions at LinkedIn. For example, Nicole discussed leveraging her Portuguese language skills as she navigated her career path including working abroad in Germany. Andrew talked about how he transferred his recruiting efforts at the UC Berkeley campus for a recruiter position at LinkedIn. Matthew shared the importance of being a part of the conversations about corporate culture and making connections in your career.

Your LinkedIn profile is not only a way for potential employers and recruiters to find you but also a great way to be known for what you do and strengthen your reputation. Be sure to take advantage of all the LinkedIn tools and tips in this article to ROCK your profile!

If you are interested in learning more about upcoming SJSU Latino Alumni Network’s events be sure to follow SJSU LAN on Facebook, sign up for their eNewsletter or become a member.

Technovate brings High Tech to Alpha Public School in East San Jose

 

Only 4% of the tech workforce in companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are Hispanics, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal. Hispanics make up 27% of the population in Silicon Valley but are severely underrepresented in the tech industry.

 

Diversity in tech is not a talent pipeline issue. Several studies show that there are more Black and Hispanic computer science and computer-engineering students graduating from college than are working in the tech sector. Tech companies seem determined to address this contentious issue, but much more work and commitment is required to not only look at internal recruiting practices, but also culture in these companies. A very crucial first step is for tech companies to invest and engage with the communities around them. We at Silicon Valley Talent Partnership create opportunities for companies in the valley to do just that. Technovate, held on April 9th, 2016, at Alpha Public School in East San Jose, was an attempt to build that bridge between Silicon Valley and the communities it exists in.

Technovate San Jose

At Alpha, where the demographic leans 88% Hispanic, students learn to code, build robots, and delve deep in computer science. John Glover, the founder and CEO of Alpha Public Schools in East San Jose, is all too familiar with the lack of diversity in tech and his vision with Technovate is to connect his students with Silicon Valley’s innovation community early on.

 

Technovate brought employees from Cisco, SAP, Google, Facebook, SanDisk, Oracle, Samsung, Microsoft, PayPal, Square and others to Alpha Public School in East San Jose. It was a full day event with speakers, demos, workshops and a speed mentoring session, which allowed middle school students and families to interact with individuals currently working in tech.

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Despite the rain, more than 400 students and families assembled at Alpha School early on a Saturday morning. Students experienced virtual reality with Google Cardboard led by Gabe Alatorre and Oscar Cullen, and Shawnee Baughman from Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Microsoft’s Technology and Civic Engagement Fellow, Andrew Hernandez, taught students how to code with Minecraft. SAP’s Vice President of Portfolio and Strategy, Dean Sivara, introduced the concept of Design Thinking to the students— who before Dean’s presentation thought SAP was just a venue for hockey and concerts. LinkedIn’s Oscar Garcia, Andrea Carlos, and Zach Roberts all took turns showcasing students various LinkedIn tools to navigate through college and career. We were very fortunate to have Gloria Kimbwala, a campus program specialist at Square, to lead workshops on career in tech and looking for scholarships for college. As a woman engineer of color in tech industry, Gloria understands the lack of diversity first hand. She is determined to be a force of change, to move that needle, to shatter ceilings. Parents found her advice invaluable and left motivated to stay involved in their children’s lives.

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A panel discussion on career in tech, featured Ricardo Benavidez from Google, Jessica Ruvalcaba from Samsung, Jorge A. Barrera from Cisco, Gloria Kimbwala from Square and Joseph Phan, Developer Support Engineer, Facebook. A parent in the audience felt that, “the speakers were very motivating and authentic in sharing their stories & experiences.” Speaking in both English and Spanish, panelists shared their personal stories of humble beginnings and their experience working in the tech sector.

 

The event concluded with an hour-long speed mentoring session where 27 mentors from various tech companies made themselves available to students and their families. Feedback from both the mentors and the mentees were enormously positive. Our takeaway from this event is that there is a massive need for engagements such as Technovate— and our communities are strengthened as of result of these activities. We invite tech companies to invest time in the Silicon Valley communities and actively participate in developing the next generation of talent pool, which is as diverse as the consumers.

 

For inquiries, interest and/or inspiration, please email us at info@svtpca.org.

 

Srijana Angdembey, SVTP Engagement Manager

Srijana@svtpca.org

You can see photo album of this  event here ==> http://bit.ly/1VXV4u1

 

About Silicon Valley Talent Partnership:

Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) creates, sources, and manages innovative and meaningful partnerships between private-sector volunteers and civic agencies, capitalizing on the unique opportunity to restore public sector’s capacity to innovate, enhance service delivery, and ultimately improve the quality of life of residents and communities across Silicon Valley.

We must invest the same creative muscle and resources we put toward our products into neighborhoods. We must ask how to fulfill the very real needs of communities in ways that are relevant to our business, take advantage of our strengths while being cost-effective and, yes, potentially profitable.

 

About Alpha Public Schools:

Alpha Public Schools is a public charter school network serving grades 5-10 (eventually 5-12) that prepares low-income communities with the knowledge, skills, and character traits they will need to succeed in college and career. By focusing on building collaborative relationships, empowering teachers, and integrating technology with teaching, Alpha Public Schools aims to personalize student learning for each student to ensure that they have the skills ready for future success.

Alpha Schools serves 913 students in 3 schools where 88% of students are Hispanic and 8% are Vietnamese in the East Side of San Jose. 95% of students are on free or reduced lunch and 50% of the students are English language learners.

 

Cornershop App shops 6.7 Million USD from Investors!

 

Silicon Valley Latino is proud to share the news that this Chilean-Mexican-Swedish startup Cornershop App for raising USD 6.7 million this past week from some big players here in the valley and overseas for their operation in Chile & Mexico.
We ask where do you see more money going to in the near future? Latino Startups who focus on all of America seems to be the growing trend as Latin America hosts more than 500 mm people. That is a big market!!

Visionary Latino philanthropists in the Bay Area

LCF is hosting this Community Conversation to recognize visionary Latino philanthropists in the Bay Area and to inspire community giving. Join us for a dynamic panel followed by a lunch reception at PPIC.

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Cisco’s “Conexion” – High Impact, Inclusion & Collaboration!

 

Silicon Valley Latino was a media partner to Cisco’s Hispanic Heritage Month event a few months ago. While there, we had the opportunity to interview several Conexion (Cisco’s Latino Employee Resource Organization) Board Members about the group’s purpose, strategies and impact.

 

We are proud to have many of our Cultura Ambassadors lead Conexion’s efforts and impact in the community through many programs such as “Escuela” and “High School Career Fairs”.  Additionally, this featured video showcases Conexion’s multiple values, from an innovative relationships, products, and culture perspective, as well as through talent pipeline and strategic community outreach.

 

“Conexion plays an integral part in Cisco’s Inclusion and Collaboration strategy. It’s about creating an incubator for innovation, best practices, and collaboration across the globe” says Maria Medrano, Inclusion and Collaboration Strategist, Cisco.

 

We would also like to thank Anne-Marie Azzi and Beatriz Medina Pratt for their exemplary leadership to Conexion for the past two and a half years.  During their tenure, Conexion received numerous awards and recognition, such as Silicon Valley Latino ERG of the Year 2014, Top ERG Award by Latina Style and HITEC, the Hispanic IT Executive Council in 2014. Would also like to give a special thanks to Conexion Executive Sponsors, Guillermo Diaz Jr, Senior Vice President and CIO and Yvette Kanouff, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Solutions. Silicon Valley Latino would also like to give a warm welcome to the new Conexion co-presidents, Juan Del Villar and Oscar Gomez, we look forward to collaborating with them as they step into their new roles.

 

From a personal perspective it’s been a true pleasure to see so many of our Cultura Ambassadors grow professionally and climb the corporate ladder.  A few we would like to recognize today are Guillermo Diaz Jr., Ileana Rivera, Anne-Marie Azzi, Beatriz Medina Pratt, Katty Coulson, Esmeralda Barriga, and Francisco Espana.

 

We look forward to following Conexion and featuring more of their work in 2016!

 

 

Mexican Consulate presents Cross – Border Art & Tech Talk

 

Silicon Valley Latino was delighted to be a media partner as The Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose presented a lunch discussion panel on immigration, the arts and the tech sector on April 1st at the San Jose Museum of Art with guest speakers: Katie Aragon from FWD.US, Professor Matt Spangler from San Jose State University and Curator Emmanuel Audelo from the Mexican organization Habitajes. The panel was moderated by the Consul of Media Relations and Cultural Affairs, Loren Cruz, who remarked about the interest of the Consulate in promoting a positive image of Mexico and the Latino community in the area.

 Cross - Border Art & Tech Talk Lunch

The discussion panel featured the contributions of the Latino community in the US and Silicon Valley, while drawing strategies in order to promote the participation of the Mexican community and for them to take a greater advantage of the programs that could enhance the exercise of their rights in this country, and the wellbeing of their families.

 

This panel highlighted the strength of the Latino community. Economically the Latino community has a purchasing power of more than $1.3 billion USD which represents the 10% of the country. Since 2008, the purchasing power of the Hispanic community has increased by 45% and it is expected to reach $1.7 billion USD by 2017. Mexican immigrants are also business owners that create numerous jobs. In fact, the Latino community has more than 2.3 million businesses, which accounts for more than 8% of the firms in the US. These businesses create more than 2 million jobs. Mexican immigrants, including second and third generations, account for 8% of the GDP of the US, and the Latino community’s influence in the economy is actually growing. Currently one sixth of the US population is Latino, and two thirds of them are of Mexican origin. In fact, more than 20 million people of Mexican origin reside in Texas and California, and these are the two of the principal state economies of the US!

 Cross - Border Art & Tech Talk Lunch

All of the speakers brought very interesting insights to the discussion. Professor Spangler, for instance talked about the different kinds of immigrants that come to this country in order to be able to understand the myths behind immigration currently in the US in this political period. The San Jose State Professor’s research also shows that immigrants are not taking jobs from US citizens. On the other hand, Katie Aragon from FWD.US highlighted the numerous contributions that immigrants have made in the tech sector as well as industries and how immigration reform could help to regularize and match the needs of the industry in Silicon Valley and further create wealth in the US. Emmanuel Audelo, talked about how the arts are the right vehicle to join communities, eradicate myths behind immigration and work together towards a future with less social violence.

 

The Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose would like to give special thanks to the San Jose Museum of Art and Silicon Valley Latino for making this event possible as well as to those who joined this special discussion panel.