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!

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

 

Guillermo Diaz Jr. “G” video interview

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to share Connected Futures Magazine’s interview of Cultura Ambassador and Cisco CIO, Guillermo Diaz. Guillermo or “G” as his friends refer to him, has been a tech leader that we at Silicon Valley Latino have been following for the past few years and it gives us great pleasure to share this interview where he talks about his first year as Cisco’s CIO.  In signature G fashion he talks about engaging others and creating a culture that inspires innovation. He further discusses some of the challenges in this first year, his approach towards solving problems, some of the accomplishments, opportunities and what lies ahead. We are also proud to note that Guillermo isn’t just a tech leader at a Silicon Valley company, he’s also a champion in the community as he makes time to inspire the next generation of innovators on a regular basis. We encourage you to take a moment and learn about how this successful Fortune 500 executive drives a successful approach to innovation, engagement and building a thriving culture at Cisco and beyond.

 

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.

Carlos Barraza – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to present our latest Collegiate Cultura Ambassador, Carlos Barraza. Carlos is a dynamic, vibrant and focused young man who is currently a third-year student at San Jose State University. He is pursuing his Bachelors Degree in Business Management. He lived in El Salvador for seven years where he was immersed in the Latino culture and learned to perfect his Spanish.

Carlos Barraza - SVL Cultura Ambassador

Residing in a different country inspired his travels to various countries and to study the intersection of business and culture, specifically to investigate how culture impacts business practices, strategies and approaches. Carlos has been able to apply these unique insights in his classes on business and human behavior. Throughout the past couple of years he has also held various jobs that have allowed him to experiment and apply different project management skills in roles such as a high school substitute teacher, marketing intern (at a startup) and a street team member for a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

 

These experiences coupled with his initiative and drive to be an effective contributor, have allowed him to be a productive and valuable team member. He has certainly been team oriented in his approach both in school and at work, which has helped him work well with others in projects and allowed him to adapt quickly to shifting situations. In one of his classes, he was on a team that was assigned a project on how to solve for,  “How can companies better attract and retain millennial talent?”  Carlos was able to inspire his team to work collaboratively and develop an effective presentation for Google employees that received very positive feedback. His positive attitude allows him to work well with others and even inspire others to elevate their game. His focus and perseverance are other very valuable traits that others around him appreciate and have come to count on.

Carlos Barraza - SVL Cultura Ambassador

Carlos is also an active member of the San Jose State University Latino Student Business Association where he participates in engaging discussion on how to enhance offerings as well as in their corporate tours where they visit various Silicon Valley companies. Additionally, Carlos is also an active member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity at San Jose State University. There he is also an active member of the Judicial Committee where he helps oversee the administrative justice of other fraternity members who have not up-held appropriate behavior according to the Delta Upsilon bylaws.

 

When Carlos isn’t studying he enjoys living in Downtown San Jose and also loves heading up to San Francisco and experiencing the many dining options the city has to offer. He also enjoys playing basketball and challenging himself in the gym as well as salsa dancing. Currently Carlos is looking for exciting internship opportunities so if your company is looking for a great intern, Carlos is your man!

 

We look forward to following Carlos’s collegiate endeavors and introducing him to the rest of the Silicon Valley Latino familia!

 

Cisco’s 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month

 

Silicon Valley Latino had the pleasure of covering Cisco’s 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month .

Impacto Latino! That was the theme of Cisco’s first annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration  held on October 21, 2015 at its San Jose campus. Hosted by Conexión, Cisco’s Latino ERO, the event showcased the contributions made by Latinos, both at Cisco and across the globe, and also celebrated the unique Latino culture with food, music, art and dancing. The event coincides with the U.S. observation of HHM which is recognized from September 15 – October 15, the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries.

Cisco Hispanic Heritage Month 2015Over 200 attendees joined locally and from remotes sites in Mexico City, Brussels, Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, and Boxborough, MA to hear from the great line up of speakers, network with their peers and celebrate. The agenda featured several Cisco leaders including Guillermo Diaz, Jr., SVP & CIO and Executive Sponsor of Conexion, Shari Slate, VP, Chief Inclusion & Collaboration, and Maria Dincel, Director, Sponsor Marketing and Head of Olympic Games.  In addition, a professional development component was offered and Gina Rudan, leadership coach and author of Practical Genius, delivered a keynote.

Event speakers:

Guillermo shared the impact Conexión has made over the past 17 years and highlighted the continued efforts to develop the next generation of Latino leaders at Cisco. He also shared the impact that Conexion had on his career and encouraged the audience to disrupt themselves and inspire exponentially.

Maria shared Cisco’s sponsorship plans for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and the efforts Cisco is making in Brazil around country transformation.

Gina Rudan shared her 5 steps to leveraging your practical geniusand the importance of marrying the heart and the mind to create your genius.

Shari highlighted the power of partnerships to help unleash the power of our talent. She also shared the progress made by the Office of Inclusion and Collaboration to transform the company.

Following the main event, attendees in San Jose had the opportunity to network with their peers, learn Zumba, and connect with local Latino owned businesses – PONDL Winery, Vino Latino, Voces Wine, Tico Coffee Roasters, Teatro Vision, Ventana de Flores and Latino Art Expressions.  Conexión

Silicon Valley Latino looks forward to covering Cisco’s 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month event.

If you were a part of this event share your experience with the Silicon Valley Latino community.

Viviana Leija-Sysak – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Viviana Leija-Sysak is a visual artist born in Mexico City and currently living in the Bay Area. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Viviana_Leija_Head_ShotShe is currently working as TV producer at CreaTV San Jose and has produced and edited Health Trust TV, Latino Focus and most recently Valley Politics which ranked #1 TV show in CreaTV this year. Her artistic work has been exposed in many venues, mostly in Mexico and USA. She has worked in the TV industry directing, producing, editing and animating shows and spots for several TV stations and production companies. In 2006 she directed and hosted “Mejora Tu Vida” a KPMR show in Spanish to bring fresh information to the Latino population in the Central Coast. Later in 2008, she produced, edited and hosted “Non-Profit Spotlight” a series dedicated to broadcast the best non-profit organizations in the area of Santa Barbara, CA.

She has also worked as a freelance graphic designer and video editor and joined the Marketing Department at The Metropolitan Transit District in Santa Barbara for a year as main graphic designer and producer.  In 2007, she edited the award winning documentary “The Shaken Tree” at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and in 2008, she published her first bilingual children’s book “My House is Full of Light“. Viviana has also worked as an art instructor for different organizations and volunteers as a music entertainer for kids.

Her latest artistic inspiration is combining her drawing skills with digital tools and recently initiated an art blog through Tumblr.com where she’s planning to post some of her personal artwork and comments about contemporary art and TV production.