Redefining what it is to be a Latino in Tech and it looks incredibly appealing and inspiring!
I have been attending a variety of conferences and summits over the years ranging from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to smaller regional events for the last 20 years, and thus can speak from experience when I say, that the leadership of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) have come up with a high impact and winning formula.
Since 2011 we've attended their Q4 Executive IT Leadership Summit in Silicon Valley and each year this conference has improved dramatically. There has been a growth in attendance and sponsorships as well as in corporate executive participation. It all seems to be moving forward with great momentum. However, the element that impresses us the most is the organization’s mission to impact those who it touches.
Once again this was clearly displayed at this year’s summit through its “push up, pull up” approach. The enthusiasm was evident as I talked to the various attendees from renowned, emerging and established brands like HP, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Disney, ESPN, Oracle, Accenture, AT&T Apple, Coca Cola, Intel and Microsoft
The summit had an appealing and comprehensive agenda which included numerous hard hitting and relevant topics such as Diversity & Inclusion, The New Style of IT and The Digital Business Economy to name a few. We were particularly impressed with the authenticity of the presenters which included Ramon Baez (Global CIO at HP), Isaura Gaeta (Director, Product Enabling & Ramp Operations at Intel), Marina Escobar (VP of Visual Technology at ESPN), Shari Slate (VP, Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer at Cisco), Gustavo De La Torre (De La Torre D&I Consulting) and Guillermo Diaz JR (Sr. VP of IT at Cisco). Each person shared the real and genuine aspects of their incredible journeys. Many of us were truly touched by their openness and generous manner of relaying their challenges and successes.
As usual several hundred Latinos attend the summit and it’s always inspiring and refreshing to see that these Techies are nothing close to the traditional stereotypes. They are vibrant, charismatic, warm, accomplished and genuine about their desire “push up & pull up.” Oh yeah, I forgot to add good looking, hip and trendy… These are not your grandparent’s nerds - they may be techie but nonetheless bringing “sabor” to the industry.
We think most of us have heard the perception that Latinos are not good candidates for the tech job or that there aren’t enough of us or that we’re not qualified. Well, we must say that my friends at HITEC are certainly demystifying those perceptions. A perfect example of how they are doing this is by recognizing the TOP 100 Latinos during the annual awards gala. Here are a few names from the 100 to offer a sampling of what we are talking about. Ramon Baez at HP, Isaura Gaeta at Intel, Myrna Soto at Comcast, Marina Escobar at ESPN, Jorge Titinger at SGI and Tim Campos at Facebook. These Latino are not only excelling in Tech but they are also leading technology within their premiere brand companies.
One of our personal favorite elements of the summit was seeing Latino high school and middle school students invited to attend the summit. This year the schools that participated were Cristo Rey High School and Sacred Heart Nativity Middle School, both from San Jose. It is exciting to see these young men and women leave so inspired and motivated to be the next generations of Latinos in tech that will take it to the next level.
We would like to thank the HITEC Board of Directors for another great conference and a special acknowledgment to HITEC President Andre Arbelaez and HITEC Chairman J. Alberto Yepez for their vision, dedication and leadership. Silicon Valley Latino once again looks forward to the next summit! Lastly, we would like to give special credit to Elba Linscott of Intuit for sharing her photos for this article. If you had a chance to attend the event share your thoughts with us here or on our facebook page! Here's what others had to say about the summit:
- The Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) brought together the premiere technology executives together from all over the United States to celebrate their success during the Leadership Summit and the HITEC 100 Gala. No greater group of leaders has ever been assembled in the technology industry, let alone with the fact that they were Hispanic. A great achievement for our community! Andre Arbelaez President - Hispanic IT Executive Council
- "Technology is transforming the world, Hispanics are transforming the technology." Dr. Pablo G. Molina - Chief Information Officer and Adjunct Professor, Association of American Law Schools
- “Driving the future of America by inspiring Hispanic youth to pursue education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) --- Great role models!!!!” Alberto Yepez – Chairman, Board of Directors HITEC
- “I got inspired in so many ways at HITEC, but I loved the reminder from HP’s CEO Meg Whitman about the importance to ‘do something you love.’” Elba Linscott - Bay Area Lead for “Latinos Connect @ Intuit”
- “The HITEC summit offered students from Sacred Heart Nativity School a window into their own futures. They saw that they could "be what they see," as one summit participant said. Seeing a room filled with Latino executives and thought leaders showed our students what was possible once they finish their college degrees - a goal we lay the foundation for at SHNS during their middle school years. Many thanks to HITEC and Cisco for broadening the horizons of our students!” Sonya Cotero Arriola - President at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools
Written by Lupe Carrillo
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