In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month I had the great opportunity to host a virtual roundtable (“Leading Tech Latinx Style”) with the accomplished Latinx CEOs from three of the fastest-growing tech companies in Seattle.
Joining me were Diego Oppenheimer, co-founder and CEO of Algorithmia; Eugenio Pace, CEO and Co-Founder of Auth0; and Manny Medina, Chief Executive Officer of Outreach.
One of my greatest passions as a Latina woman in the tech community is to help others and advocate for diversity and inclusiveness. I believe strongly in sharing my not-so-common professional journey, paying my success forward, and helping the next generation of Latino leaders. This engaging roundtable event was designed to inspire and attract Latinos and Latinas to join and grow successful careers in tech – all of the participating companies are hiring, including Qumulo!
Here are my three takeaways.
Manny Medina, Outreach: “Find your Latino super powers.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the roundtable was how each of the speakers leveraged their experiences to help define the culture at their companies. Manny shared about his passion for making the workplace more colorful not only because it reflected his own personal and professional experiences, and Diego added that it poses an “existential threat” to those companies that lack a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Everyone shared their passion for tech. Eugenio had an early love for trains, and thankfully his father convinced him that trains were a technology of the past. Manny shared about developing algorithms on paper and that “writing code was like writing poetry.” Diego talked about his life-long dedication to making data available to help both himself and others make better decisions.
While we cannot really generalize a Latino style, we did discuss a few traits from our panelists. Eugenio summarized his Latinx style as being composed of grit and creativity, sharing that he grew up in challenging economies with lots of upheaval and that made him very resilient. Diego and Manny agreed with him on this point. I too can relate to this. I had the chance to work in Germany for a bit, I realized then that in Venezuela we tend to plan in scenarios, while in Germany plans were developed as a sequence of events. Throughout my career, I leaned into my ability to plan for several scenarios at once, and quickly adapt to changing circumstances. That has come in extremely handy in these times.
Diego Oppenheimer, Algorithmia: “Make it cheap to start over.”
Staying resilient when dealing with rejection and failures was a major discussion topic. For many of us in the roundtable, our experience has been that starting over doesn’t have to be a terrifying endeavor. I know first-hand that immigrating to New York (even with good enough English to “pass”) meant starting over without networks or any kind of support. We all discussed the importance of building your network of friends, mentors, and colleagues, which is, for us, the most valuable asset we have.
As entrepreneurs, all of the participants experienced their fair share of rejections and failures. Diego, who is a fan of sports including football and rugby, emphasized the importance of not letting failure occupy space in your brain. In many cases, when you have nothing, losing it all isn’t scary – in fact, it can be a tremendous and rewarding opportunity.
For example, Manny shared how looking and sounding different than the typical entrepreneur has made it hard to fundraise for his company. But he inspired attendees by encouraging them to “find your super power” and accept where you are, and who you are. In his journey, he was able to build lots of strong 1:1 relationships because he was able to take advantage of his professional strengths in sales, and his genuine caring nature to connect with others.
Eugenio Pace, Auth0: “Where there are humans, there is talent.”
In today’s largely remote work environments, Eugenio advised “where there are humans, there is talent.” Eugenio has built a multinational company from the beginning with offices in Buenos Aires and Seattle. Auth0 has embraced remote work from the get-go and a diverse, multi-language culture.That has meant that their company has adapted very well to the impact of COVID. His advice is that both job searchers and recruiters alike should focus on finding strong talent first, and pay attention to location second.
Latinx out there, we’re hiring!
The roundtable then broke out into smaller discussion groups focused on job opportunities within each company, where attendees could learn more about the individual companies and open positions. We were able to share our tips and learnings on how to break through into the tech industry and build a successful career.
If you’d like to learn more about Qumulo’s culture and our community, we have several open job opportunities! Check out our careers page to learn more. Also, check out the job openings at Algorithmia, Auth0; and Outreach – all of these Seattle-area companies are hiring!.
I want to thank all of our participants for their contributions to this roundtable, as well as those within the Latinx community considering a career in the tech industry. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements in this country, and our community is more vital and vibrant than ever.
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