Accessibility

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month

Filed under:

Culture
Some of the Hispanics at Taoti tell you how we celebrate their heritage, our experiences as Latinxs in tech and what makes us unique.
Gabriela Luciano

Gabriela Luciano

Marketing Manager
Marketing Manager

While Taoti is a Washington, D.C.-based creative agency, we are incredibly fortunate to have a diverse team spreading all throughout Latin America. We all work in different sectors of the company, from web development to design and communications. But the main thing we all have in common is how proud we feel of our Hispanic heritage— so what better time to celebrate and honor our cultures and background than Hispanic Heritage Month?

We thought the best way to honor our cultures is to share with everyone what we believe makes us unique and how we celebrate our Hispanic heritage. We also felt that a big part of being Hispanic means to share our passions and professions, to inspire fellow Latinxs to thrive in the workplace, especially in the tech industry. So some of us looked into what we can be doing to have more Latinxs in tech.

Below, you will see how each of us thinks differently about our culture; and our experiences in the workplace vary. But the primary trend you will see is that at the end of the day, we celebrate our Hispanic heritage by sharing our traditions with family and friends and bringing our positive energy wherever we go.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 1

Emilie with her family

Emilie Romero, UX Lead
Puerto Rico

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
I think what makes Hispanics unique in the workplace is the fact that we come from different countries but share a similar heritage. So although we might look different, have different cultures, and speak different dialects or languages, we ultimately share a common thread. In that regard, in its best form, I think Hispanic heritage can create empathy and cross-cultural sensitivity, and an openness to people who might be considered “different” in the workplace. For Hispanics living in America, many of us come from families who immigrated to the U.S. We know what our parents and grandparents went through to get us here, and that also can create a culture of gratitude. We know nothing can be taken for granted.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 2
I celebrate by remembering my ancestors and continuing to share the culture with my family. For a long time, my family chose to deny their Hispanic heritage in order to “make it” in the U.S. This is deeply rooted in systemic racism and prejudice associated with being Puerto Rican in America. Therefore, it is very important to me that I make sure my heritage is not forgotten and not hidden, as it is something to be very proud of.

What experiences have you had as a Latinx in tech?
Latinxs in tech are really disrupting the space, and I love it. You see this, especially in design. I have noticed that many Latinx designers are bringing elements of that heritage into their own design aesthetics. This is unique and different and something we need more of. In addition, when you have a family that is only a couple of generations removed from their country of origin, I think you build a lens of empathy and understanding for immigrant culture. From a UX standpoint, this is key. If I am designing for a Hispanic population, many of whom are newly immigrated to the U.S., I pose questions like, what is your translation strategy? Or, how are we designing for mobile? Many immigrants might not have access to a desktop or laptop, or might not understand English, so we need to plan appropriately for that in design.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
There are a lot of Hispanics getting STEM degrees, but there still lies a huge gap in tech. A 2018 study claimed only 4% of Hispanics made up D.C.’s tech workforce. And within that small percentage lies additional issues, like gaps in gender and senior leadership roles. So what can we do? There is a need to first have more companies to commit to doing more around diversity and inclusion. And this doesn’t just mean putting up ornamental statements. This means actually implementing diversity and inclusion trainings, updating hiring and on-boarding practices, celebrating Hispanic culture, and setting benchmarks at the top to really hold senior leadership accountable. And most importantly, hold diverse conversations!

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 3Deivi Sanchez, Developer
Maracaibo, Venezuela

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
What makes us unique in the workplace is positive energy and willingness to take on all kinds of tasks or projects.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
Feeling proud of my cultural heritage and living it day by day. I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The culture of my land is very particular. The music that gives rhythm to the December festivities throughout the country; the music genre is called Gaita Zuliana, a symbol of joy and is also used as a means of protest sometimes. Our way of being cheerful, loud, and friendly. Our way of speaking, unique in the country, exaggerated like everything or what we do, we use “vos” unlike others in the country. As for food, we prepare dishes similar to most Latin America but with the touch of extravagance that characterizes us, such as arepas, goat meat with coconut, or rabbit meat with coconut.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 4What experiences have you had as a Latinx in tech?
I have worked with people from other regions of my country, and from there, you can feel the difference, especially when we communicate and how we adapt to make sure others understand us. After working with French, Russian, Ukrainian, Argentine, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Chilean, Mexican, Peruvian, Bolivian, North American, Canadian, Spanish, and Venezuelan people, I’ve realized that the key to working well as a team is having the patience to understand what others seek to communicate.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
We should have more documentation and information in Spanish so that we can promote tech education. Many times, in Latin America, tech education and information are not as accessible due to political, economic, and social situations. The reality is that knowledge does not come from a lack of interest, but because there are other priorities for young people. Unfortunately, STEM education comes in as the last option.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 10Gabriela Luciano, Marketing Manager
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
What makes us unique, especially when working in corporate offices in the U.S., is our passion for what we do and our caring nature. As a Latina, I’ve noticed how we usually tend to pay more attention to a company’s culture to make sure everyone feels like they belong. When we love what we do, we go all-in. I also think we usually bring a unique positive energy in the room, as we tend to be very lively and celebrate everything.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 12
I celebrate my Hispanic heritage every day with my friends and family, not just during this month. First, I am incredibly close to my immediate and extended family and make sure to talk with them almost every day. Second, I have friends from all around the world and with different backgrounds, so I always make sure to talk about Puerto Rico with them, regardless if it’s about music or the political environment. On the other hand, my husband is Argentinian, so we have an interesting mix of Hispanic cultures at home and make it a point to stick to our traditions, from cooking the classic Puerto Rican rice and beans and the Argentinian asado (which is BBQ but even better) to supporting local artists and stores back in both places.

What experiences have you had as a Latinx in communications and marketing?
There are not many Latinxs in communications in the D.C. market, so it has been an interesting experience. I was very fortunate to attend a great graduate program in the continental U.S., which open many doors for me. I’ve also been lucky to have found great mentors and champions throughout my career. However, in my experience, those people championing me have rarely been Hispanics. As I continue my communications career, I want to make other Latinxs coming into the field see me as someone who will always root for them.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in the public affairs, communications, and marketing field? 
At least in Puerto Rico, there is a wrong perception about career, as most people think that the only way to make a good living is by being a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. Unfortunately, most schools and even universities do not teach young people about different career paths for those interested in social sciences or communications. I think it comes down to education from families and educators to teach children that communications can be a fulfilling career path.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 6Eric Aguayo, Senior Drupal Developer
Quito, Ecuador

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
Humor, food, perspective over certain aspects of life, especially when it comes to overcoming difficult circumstances.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 5
Nothing special, just being grateful for it. Being from Ecuador, I benefit from a rich agricultural heritage and a very special sense of humor.

What experiences have you had as a Latinx in tech?
Pre and post tech events meetups are very enjoyable among Latinxs and there are a variety of topics we can discuss.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
The reality is that as long as there is tolerance, a good environment, and the right incentives and opportunities, Latinxs will be attracted.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 9Cris Nadj, QA Analyst
Patagonia, Argentina

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
We laugh all the time and face the most adverse situations with a sense of humor.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
Drinking a beer? Cheers!

What experiences have you had as a Latinx in tech?
I have gotten the chance to work with people from around the world, and it was always quite challenging at first, but in the end, we’re all the same—meaning professionals from different cultural backgrounds.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
I’d think that it is quite vital to learn and challenge other people to study English. Sometimes they don’t know how important it is.

Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 7Carlos Andres Diaz, Developer
Cundinamarca, Colombia

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
I think we are a little more emotional.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
By getting to know new places within my country.

What experiences have you had as a Latinx in tech? Celebrating Our Cultures During Hispanic Heritage Month 8
The best, I have reinvented my own world and met great people from many places. I have also grown professionally and learned from my mistakes. Every day I learn something new. In short, working in this environment has been the best thing that has happened to me.

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
We need to encourage young people around us so that more people are interested in entering this world and lose their fear. I have noticed that some people choose other options because they feel it a tech career is challenging.

Hugo Chang, Developer
Lima, Peru

What do you think makes Hispanics unique in the workplace?
Besides being bilingual, we tend to care a lot about learning more about our coworkers and clients so we can make sure we address their needs or that work can flow as expected.

How do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
Cooking food, inviting people to eat!

In your opinion, what do you think we can all do to have more Latinxs in tech?
We need to help people value the importance of being bilingual and opening your world to new opportunities.